Troy Canales was standing in front of his home in the Bronx late last year when two NYPD officers stopped to ask what he was doing.
The teen, who has autism, told officers he wasn't doing anything, but the two cops reportedly grabbed the teen and slammed him to the pavement, a new federal lawsuit claims.
Details of the suit were published this week by DNA Info, alleging that the officers beat the then 17-year-old without provocation, throwing punches even as he pleaded with family members to save him.
The suit stated (via the New York Post), "[The officers] each grabbed plaintiff's arms an 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 suit claims that officers ignored family members, who tried to tell them that Troy was autistic.
"All I see is my baby on the ground with a cop on his back," his mother Alyson Valentine, told DNAinfo New York. "And they wouldn't even give me any indication of what the reason why."
"I think maybe he didn't have eye contact with them. Maybe that could have been a problem," she added. "When he goes outside he thinks he's normal but he's not really normal, so he does things that people don't really understand."
The lawsuit claims that the NYPD doesn't give proper training on how officers should deal with autistic people.
"The New York City Police Department's practices, procedures, training and rules, including those in the NYPD Patrol Guide, do not account for, instruct on, delineate, or provide guidelines for Police Officer communication and interaction with people with developmental disabilities and autism in a constitutionally adequate manner," lawyer Carmen Giordano wrote in the lawsuit.
The incident also left Troy Canales scarred, the New York Daily News reported:
"Canales now is afraid to go outside and becomes extremely anxious at the sight of a police car, the suit claims. He makes efforts to avoid cops when he sees them, increasing the likelihood of another encounter with them due to movements that could be construed as suspicious, documents read."The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages and asks the NYPD to improve its practices when dealing with people who have developmental disabilities.
Troy Canales was released a few hours after he was arrested last year. He was never charged with a crime.
[Image via Spencer Platt/Getty Images]