CADDO PARISH SHERIFF’S OFFICE SUED IN FEDERAL COURT FOR TASING TENTH-GRADE, NON-VERBAL AUTISTIC STUDENT

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[SHREVPORT, LA, August 1, 2018] – According to a lawsuit filed in federal court, on August 31, 2017, Deputy Nunnery, an employee of the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office stationed at Northwood High School, unnecessarily tased a severely autistic, non-verbal student.

The unnamed minor, who was a student in the school’s special needs program, walked out of his classroom, plugged his ears, and compulsively drank water, all common behaviors of a child with autism. Security camera footage captured the entire incident, beginning with Deputy Nunnery approaching the student and immediately placing his hand on his taser.

Rather than attempting to de-escalate the situation, the deputy and multiple other members of administration circled the student. After circling the student for approximately nine minutes, Deputy Nunnery then tased the student. The student fell to the floor, urinated on himself, and was left in lying in a pool of his own urine, motionless and terrified. His mother later arrived and escorted him from the school. The student was not charged with any crimes following the incident. He had been attending Northwood High for just fourteen days, and was still adjusting to his new surroundings. Following this incident, the student has shown significant emotional regression, and is afraid to leave his home or family’s side.

The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Department, as the employer of Deputy Nunnery, has been sued in federal court for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Attorney Garret S. DeReus of Bizer & DeReus requested a copy of all training materials and policies pertaining to Sheriff’s deputies and individuals with autism. The Sheriff’s Office could not produce any training documents pertaining to the interactions between Sheriff deputies and persons with autism. Shortly after the incident occurred, a training session was provided by the Caddo Parish School Board to security personnel, including members of the Caddo Parish Sherriff’s Office, demonstrating how to interact with individuals with autism.

Garret DeReus, of Bizer & DeReus, commented, “The treatment of this young student with a documented disability is absolutely appalling. Rather than acting appropriately and professionally, Deputy Nunnery chose to tase a non-verbal child who had just left a special-needs classroom, in a blatant disregard for his disability.”

The attorneys of Bizer & DeReus Law, located in New Orleans, Louisiana, have over a decade of experience in civil rights litigation fighting on behalf of persons with disabilities who have been unfairly treated or discriminated against due to their disability. Anyone with questions can contact Bizer & DeReus at 504-619-9999.

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