A 16-year-old boy with autism was handcuffed by police officers who attempted to arrest him after he suffered from an epileptic seizure at a fast food restaurant.
Lourdes Ponce said her son had just left the doctor after suffering from epileptic seizures when they went to an El Pollo Loco fast food restaurant in central Fresno, California, according to ABC News’ Fresno station KFSN.
Those seizures, however, returned when he went to the bathroom at the restaurant and his mother heard him hit the floor.
“I stood outside the door, I heard him hit the floor, I tried to open the door but it was locked, that’s when I asked for help,” said Ponce. “We called paramedics for help, we did not call police. He was not hurting anybody; he was having a seizure.”
Ponce’s daughter called 911 for help, but when police arrived they attempted to handcuff the teenager. Video of the incident obtained by KFSN shows officers apparently trying to put Ponce’s son in the back of a police car.
“He has autism, he has epilepsy, stop it!” Ponce can be heard screaming.
Ponce’s son began to panic and vomit during the incident with the police.
“[The police] saw that my son was throwing up and instead of helping him so that he wouldn’t choke on his vomit, they had him on the ground in handcuffs,” she told KFSN.
Ponce then ran to her car and produced papers that showed her son’s medical history as well as his history of epilepsy, which is allegedly when authorities released the boy and emergency medical services were able to take him to the hospital to be treated.
Ponce says that her son is still recovering from his epileptic attacks at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, California, and that he is so traumatized by what happened that he is having a hard time receiving treatment from hospital staff.
While her son is expected to recover, Ponce is furious that the incident happened in the first place and believes police should get more training on how to deal with people who are having medical emergencies.
According to Ponce, authorities came to the hospital on Friday with a certificate of release form that states the teen will not be arrested upon release from the hospital.
Fresno Police have issued a statement regarding this case: “This case is currently under Administrative Review. The review will include the examination of all the information pertaining to the officer’s contact including Body Worn Cameras.”
Ponce’s son remains in hospital for treatment and it is not known when he will be well enough to be released.