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Father speaks out after non-verbal son with autism Tasered, handcuffed by Peel police

When Majd Darwich realized his 19-year-old son Abdullah, who has autism and is non-verbal, had left their Mississauga dwelling carrying solely shorts final week, horror set in.

He says he instantly acquired in his automotive to search around, however he solely needed to drive just a few homes away earlier than he got here throughout what he described as a big crime scene.

Police tape surrounded his road in Mississauga, with a number of officers within the neighborhood. In the centre of all of it was his son; shirtless, handcuffed, his face bloodied.

“I noticed his face, it was filled with blood, I attempted to see what was occurring however the officers have been saying, ‘Don’t contact him, keep away from him,'” Darwich recalled.

“I mentioned, ‘This is my son, he is autistic, I have to see if he is okay.'”

But he wasn’t okay. Peel police officers ended up subduing Abdullah with a Taser, leaving him with bodily accidents and psychological impacts which can be nonetheless weighing on his household.

Peel police say they have been responding to a name on Nov. 4 about “a suspicious particular person in a state of undress, trying to enter a car and a home,” and that they are offering assist to the household. But Darwich would not consider the state of affairs was dealt with appropriately, and one knowledgeable says the incident reveals there’s nonetheless work to be finished to make sure police interactions with weak individuals do not finish in violence.

Moments earlier than he discovered his son, Darwich says neighbours had noticed Abdullah close to the street sitting in a pile of leaves, enjoying. He says a neighbour knowledgeable him she known as police as a result of Abdullah appeared younger, and was not carrying a shirt within the chilly climate. CBC News spoke with a number of neighbours who described the same scene — a younger man enjoying within the leaves adopted by a big and aggressive police response.

Darwich says after the incident, he discovered six spots on his son that seemed to be accidents from the Taser. He says he additionally had cuts and bruises all through his physique, together with on his face.

‘He’s afraid of every part’

Abdullah was later handled at a close-by hospital.

“This was very painful, particularly for such a boy like him; he’s very delicate,” Darwich mentioned.

Beyond any bodily accidents, he says he is seen his son’s persona change over the previous few days too. He’s grow to be afraid of individuals, and has been spending plenty of time alone in his room, Darwich says.

“We spent the final 4 years now in school making an attempt to assist him advance, and after this occurred he grew to become this shocked boy. He’s afraid of every part.”

Darwich says his household has labored to assist Abdullah advance for the previous 4 years. But now, since Friday’s incident, he says his son has been afraid of individuals and has regressed. ‘He’s afraid of every part,’ Darwich says. (Submitted by Majd Darwich )

In a press release to CBC News, Peel police say on the time of the incident, “the id and the situation of the person was unknown to the officers. Upon arrival, officers have been unsuccessful in speaking with the male, who seemed to be in misery and was not responding to officers.”

The assertion goes on to say the particular person was apprehended and brought to a hospital to obtain medical consideration and assist following using a conductive vitality weapon, extra generally identified by the model title Taser.

Peel police say their Divisional Mobilization Unit has been assembly with the household to supply assist.

While Darwich did not witness every part that unfolded earlier than his son was handcuffed, he speculates officers tried talking with him, however Abdullah could not talk. Darwich says officers later informed him Abdullah tried to run away, and that is why he was Tasered.

Knowing Abdullah might presumably be in peril if he left the home alone, Darwich says he deliberate forward with that kind of state of affairs in thoughts.

In 2020, he added Abdullah to the Peel Police Vulnerable Persons Registry — a service in Mississauga and Brampton that permits caregivers of weak individuals to submit very important data to a database that shall be used by police and different emergency providers throughout a disaster state of affairs.

“They have his picture, his deal with, I do not know what extra I might have finished,” Darwich mentioned.

More police coaching wanted, knowledgeable says

Julius Haag, an assistant professor within the division of sociology at University of Toronto Mississauga, describes the incident as “extraordinarily troubling.” Haag’s analysis explores the person and community-level impacts of policing and criminalization on younger individuals from racialized and marginalized backgrounds.

“I feel it is indicative of issues that folks with developmental disabilities have been experiencing with police for fairly a while now,” he mentioned.

He says whereas efforts have been made in the previous few years to develop police coaching to deal with conditions like this, it is clear officers did not reply successfully based mostly on Abdullah’s wants. Haag notes a big police presence might be overwhelming for somebody with autism as effectively.

“And using a Taser is just going to worsen the state of affairs.”

Haag says incidents like this can have an effect on individuals’s notion of police, and believes coaching must be improved.

“That coaching must be finished utilizing unbiased individuals from the incapacity neighborhood,” he mentioned.

“This must be a core aspect of how the police are educated significantly in using power space.”

Officers visited and apologized, Darwich says

Darwich says uniformed officers who weren’t concerned within the incident visited his dwelling Tuesday night, and informed him Abdullah ought to have been appeared up within the system. He says they apologized for the best way it was dealt with.

He says he hopes different households by no means must undergo what his household skilled. He plans to file a criticism with Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director.

“This has been a nightmare. A nightmare for him, for me and for his mom,” he mentioned.

Recalling his immigration to Canada from Syria 5 years in the past, he says he by no means would have anticipated one thing like this might occur, as a result of he had a lot respect for Canadian police.

“I by no means imagined they might be a supply of terror or a menace to my son,” he mentioned.

“I used to suppose if he was exterior and an officer was there, it could imply he was secure. Now I can not really feel secure about him even leaving this dwelling.”

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