A teen who had severe autism died last year after several Louisiana deputies sat on him for almost 10 minutes. According to CNN, 16-year-old Eric Parsa was tragically killed on Jan. 19, 2020 and his parents are now suing the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana sheriff.
“Never did we ever think that our 16-year-old son with special needs would die in front of our eyes at his age and in the hands of law enforcement,” Donna Lou, Parsa’s mother, said Thursday (Jan. 14) during a news conference. “Unfortunately it is our reality of a nightmare that we have had to live with every day since his untimely death.”
In their suit, the family claimed Parsa was “held down, sat on and handcuffed by deputies in a shopping center parking lot after he had an autism-related meltdown, an outburst resulting from emotional or sensory overload,” according to The New York Times.
Parsa’s parents also said authorities “exhibited negligence and used excessive force while also violating their son’s civil rights and his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Last January, Parsa and his parents were leaving a local laser tag facility when he experienced a sensory overload in the parking lot. He started slapping himself and his father and a shopping center employee called the police — with approval from the parents. Once a deputy arrived to the scene, he placed Parsa face down on the ground and sat on him as he waited for other officers to arrive.
Six more deputies arrived and they placed Parsa in handcuffs and shackled his legs. Three different officers sat on him — one at a time — and one of them placed the teen in a chokehold. He was not rolled over onto his back until “his body had gone limp.” He went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital.
Seven deputies from Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto III of Jefferson Parish are listed as defendants for the lawsuit. Attorney Howard Manis, who represents the family, says the officers “clearly had no idea how to handle an individual with special needs.”