September 16, 2014

Elyria
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Mom angry autistic son was Tasered

LORAIN — The police officer who used a Taser to subdue a 14-year-old autistic boy acted within police policy, a police official said.

Police Lt. Thomas Mize said he was not there Sunday night when officers made the decision to bring the teen under control with two short cycles from a Taser; however, a review of the report showed the officer was “objectively reasonable in the use of force,” he said.

“Officers tried to get him to cooperate, but he would not, and officers were put in a position where they had to make a decision based on the available facts,” Mize said. “The goal was to gain control of the situation, and when it became obvious that talking was not going to work and the boy moved into the street where he posed a danger to himself and others, the officer made a decision to gain control using the least amount of force necessary.”

However, 32-year-old Tashanda Collins said she wishes police would have tried something else. She fears the psychological effects of the incident on her son.

“He keeps telling people that the police shot him, because that’s how he has processed what happened,” she said. “They should have used the Taser as a last resort.”

Collins said she called police shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday because she wanted help getting her son in the house. She said her first call was to the boy’s father, who lives several blocks away, but he didn’t come.

According to police, the teen had broken two windows with rocks at a neighboring home and refused to go inside his house. Officers tried talking to him, but he ran into the street, where he picked up gravel with both hands and began throwing rocks.

He also shattered the rear window of a car parked on the street. The decision to use the Taser was made when the teen reportedly charged at officers, the report said. He was hit with one initial five-second cycle, but it had no effect, the report said. A second five-second cycle was started and stopped midway when officers saw that he was ready to comply.

He was handcuffed, placed in the back of a police cruiser and taken to CHP Regional Medical Center to have the probes removed. He was later sent home with his mother.

Collins said her son has had outbursts in the past, but never to that extreme. He is autistic but functional, she said. He attends Southview High School and is normally a lot easier to control.

“He’s kind of locked in his own world, but we manage just fine,” she said. “Anyone who knows me knows that my son is my life and I’m doing everything I can to help him along."

Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.