Thursday, July 1, 2010

Police Taser Autistic Teen with a Heart Condition

We have to find a way to keep our children with ASD safe. Maybe Medi-Tag or FRAAP will help a little, but it's just a drop in the bucket until society, and ALL first responders learn how to recognize and support people with ASD.

Georgia police taser Clifford Grevemberg, an autistic teen with a heart condition

Clifford Grevemberg says that Georgia police used a Taser on him Friday night. Grevemberg is autistic, and his heart needs regular monitoring, according to his family. An 18-year-old autistic Georgia youth with a heart condition says police turned a Taser on him, according to The Associated Press. Officers arrested Clifford Grevemberg Friday night, says the AP and told his brother, Dario Mariani, that the teen was drunk and disorderly. But Mariani said Grevemberg is a special-needs teen who’s never consumed alcohol.

The 170-pound teenager, who’s from Tybee Island, said the police used a Taser on him twice and threw him to the ground, breaking a front tooth.

“I just wanted to go to sleep,” the teenager told the Savannah Morning News, as reported by the “I sat down on the curb and put my head in my arms, and they stopped me.”

Mariani said he had gone into a restaurant briefly and when he stepped back out, his handcuffed brother was bleeding and two Taser barbs dangled from his back.

When he told the police about his brother’s health, "Their eyeballs got about that big when I told them he has a heart condition," Mariani said. The autistic teen’s heart must be monitored regularly, according to his family.

After being taken to the Tybee police station, Grevemberg was released. Yesterday a police dispatcher said that no one was available to comment, according to The Associated Press.

I'm so afraid of this happening to Nicky, our kids are so vulnerable. Did you know individuals with ASD come into contact with law enforcement 7 times more often than others. We can't foresee every possibility but we can do something; take our kids to visit local police stations and firehouses and talk about our kids, visit with every EMP, police or fireman we encounter in our community, let all of our neighbors know about our children and our need for everyone to keep an eye out.

Talk to everyone who will listen about this problem and how to recognize a person with ASD. If we all just keep talking I believe we will make a difference. I might save your child and you might save mine.


  1. Police like to shoot first and cover up second. They are not really all that interested in serving and protecting anyone, especially our most vulnerable citizens. I think it begins with our culture's obsession with violent video games that train young boys to not socialize but instead to work out their emotions with their trigger fingers. Disgusting. Thanks again, Donna, for telling it like it is.

  2. I attended an excellent presentation at Area Baoard XI recently that highlighted the special training police and judges are being given regarding people with disabilities - we need to support and encourage more of this. Regional Center of Orange County CA also provides special cards for clients to carry, explaining their circumstances and with additional contact numbers for police to call.