State News

Lawsuit filed over police handcuffing autistic child in 2018

Posted October 10, 2020 12:52 p.m. EDT

— A lawsuit filed in federal court in North Carolina accuses a former police officer, the city of Statesville and a local board of education of violating an autistic boy's rights after he was handcuffed at school in 2018.

The Charlotte Observer reports the lawsuit was filed Friday in response to an incident at the Pressly Alternative School in Statesville.

The lawsuit says Statesville Police Officer Michael Fattaleh handcuffed the boy after the officer saw the special needs student spitting in a “quiet room.”

The case includes video that shows the 7-year-old boy handcuffed with his arms behind his back on the floor.

Fattaleh was put on administrative leave shortly after the incident. He later resigned from the Statesville Police Department. His attorney, Ashley Cannon, told the Observer that the State Bureau of Investigation conducted an independent probe of the incident, resulting in no criminal charges.

Charlotte attorney Alex Heroy is representing the boy’s mother. He says Fattaleh inappropriately injected himself into a situation without being summoned by teachers. He says the officer used physical force that caused the child at times to scream out in pain.

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