The mother of an autistic teen that was assaulted by police outside of his home has filed a lawsuit against the New York City Police Department for their role in the unwarranted attack.
According to the New York Post, Canales was standing outside of his Bronx home in November when two officers drove up and asked what he was doing. Canales, 17 at the time of the incident, was nervous and scared when he replied that he was "just chilling." The officers were not satisfied with the response and allegedly gabbed Canales before assaulting him, according to the lawsuit records.
"[The officers] each grabbed plaintiff's arms and forcefully threw him down on the sidewalk, smashing his head against the concrete. [The officers] kneed plaintiff in the back and punched him in the face as he screamed to his family for help."The New York Daily News reported that officers refused to listen to Canales' mother when she rushed out of the house and explained that her son is autistic. Police ignored her pleas as they handcuffed Canales and drove him to the station, where he sat for an hour while his mother pleaded with the commanding officer to let her son go.
Canales' mother, Alyson Aulet-Valentine, is concerned that her son is now too afraid to go outside and no longer trusts the police to the extent that they cause him great anxiety when he sees them on the street.
Aulet-Valentine hopes to not only receive compensation for the incident, but more importantly demands that NYPD officers receive training on how to approach and interact with individuals that have mental disabilities. Currently, the NYPD patrol guide does not have information on how to interact with individuals that have mental disabilities.
The lawsuit claims that Tory Canales' civil rights were violated during the incident. Canales is able to verbally communicate, but has significant trouble making eye contact with others. His lack of eye contact is believed to be the reason the officers approached him to begin with. However, he was not able to comprehend what was happening as the officers interrogated him and eventually assaulted him.
When asked about the incident, an NYPD spokeswoman stated that she was looking into specific protocol in regards to dealing with individuals with disabilities, but would not comment on the specific case.
"Due to pending litigation we will refrain from commenting on the particulars of this case."[Photo By Spencer Platt / Getty Images News]