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Mother sues school resource officer for handcuffing, pinning 7-year-old with autism

Mother sues school resource officer for handcuffing, pinning 7-year-old with autism
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A North Carolina mother is suing after her 7-year-old son who has autism was handcuffed and pinned down by a school resource officer in 2018.

Body camera footage that was obtained by local station WSOC TV shows a school resource officer grabbing the arms of the boy and laying him on the ground before cuffing his hands behind his back. In the incident, which WSOC reported lasted about 30 minutes, the boy is visibly uncomfortable.

Officer Michael Fattaleh responded to a call from school staff, who informed him that the boy was spitting, WSOC reported.

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“Don’t move. Spit on me, and I’ll put a hood on you,” Fattaleh says in the video.

He then goes on to say, “If you, my friend, are not acquainted with the juvenile justice system, you will be very shortly. You ever been charged with a crime before? Well, you’re fixing to be.”  

School staff provided the boy with a pillow to rest his head on but made no other attempts to relax him. 

The lawsuit was filed on Friday against the city of Statesville, N.C., Michael Fattaleh and the Iredell-Statesville Board of Education for constitutional violations, negligence and infliction of emotional stress, WSOC reported. 

“It is incomprehensible to me that anyone would think this response is appropriate and necessary,” Alex Heroy, the family’s attorney, told The Washington Post this week. “You don’t need to put metal handcuffs on a 7-year-old and pin them down and turn their arm.”

Throughout the video Fattaleh is heard asking the boy if he can breathe, patting him on the back and asking him to "chill out."

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When his mother arrives at the school, she picks her son up off of the floor and begins to hug him.

“I was enraged, infuriated and just devastated,” she told WSOC TV. “The staff and the officer, while he was basically torturing my son, talked about the upcoming hurricane, the effects of that and football." 

And while the 7-year-old returned to school just a day following the incident, according to The Washington Post, he is now being home schooled.

Fattaleh resigned from the Statesville police force days after the incident, according to the reports.