After a 14-year-old Arizona boy had a run-in with police for alleged drug use, people are now questioning the practices by officers and their ability to handle certain situations.
In July, David Grossman, an officer from Buckeye police, mistook Connor Leibel for a drug user. While patrolling a quiet neighborhood park, the officer claimed he saw the teen put his hand up to his face, giving him suspicion to handcuff and detain the boy.
That’s when the officer lost control of the situation, and forced the boy to the ground causing multiple scrapes to his back, arms and face as they fell into a nearby tree.
Connor was using a small string to “stim”, which is a coping mechanism common for people with autism. In Connor’s case he flicks a small string in front of his face as a repetitive motion.
Diane Leibel, the teen’s mother asked to see the police body camera video to get some more clarity on what happened.
“It was excruciating honestly,” she said. “I’ve never heard my son scream like that before. I don’t understand how it even got there.”
On August 2, ABC received an anonymous email tip about the incident.
“On wed. 7-19-17 between 4-5pm, a 14 year old autistic boy was tackled to the ground by a Buckeye police officer at a playground in Verrado. The officer was repeatedly told that the boy was autistic but refused to let him up until backup arrived, the boy had nothing to indicate he was a threat. Please investigate this story, this is appalling, and must be known ….terrible, please investigate.”
And they did.