Police Abuse

Autistic 10-Year-Old Handcuffed, Pinned to Back of Hot Police Car: Why?

Cop: "We sort of own the situation."


Moses Maldonado / WFTV

A Kissimmee, Florida, police officer handcuffed an autistic 10-year-old boy, laid him down face-first on the back of a hot squad car (at least it wasn't as hot as the pavement! was the rationale), and took him in for a psych evaluation.

This was done for the boy's own safety, of course. The boy, Ryan, had been acting out at school and threatening to harm himself. His father, Moses Maldonado, came to calm him down, but the police were already at the scene. According to WFTV:

Maldonado said the incident started when he was called to Cypress Elementary because his son, Ryan, was acting out.

Kissimmee Police Chief Lee Massie said the child was threatening to harm himself.

"Stab himself with a pair of scissors, cut off some of his fingertips," Massie said.

Maldonado said the whole situation got out of hand because he wasn't allowed to calm his son down.

"I'm his dad. I know how to deal with him. He was screaming for help and screaming for Daddy," he said.

Ryan's threats continued, and police thought it best to commit the boy for evaluation.

"We sort of own the situation, and we have to make a determination what is in the best interest of the child," Massie said.

"We" being the police, not the boy's parents. As the father told local reporters, "I am his dad, I know how to deal with him."

Police also stood by the decision to place the boy face-down on a hot police car, because what else were they supposed to do—place him face-down on the hot pavement?

Massie said they laid the child on the car was because the other option was laying the child on hot pavement.

"The other officer felt it was best to place the child on the trunk where he felt the temperature was more appropriate than the ground," Massie said.

Ryan was released two hours after the evaluation. Everybody—school officials and police officers—is pleased with how the situation was handled. Everybody, except Maldonado.

Hat tip: Betsi Fores / Rare