Mother Calls Police in Mascouche, Que., for Using Stun Gun on Nonverbal Son with Autism | TBEN News


When Marie Ismé gets a call from the police about her son, she tries to stay calm.

He is an 18-year-old with autism who is also non-verbal. On several occasions he has run away from the rehabilitation center he attends north of Montreal.

But Ismé got a call on Wednesday that knocked her out.

Her son had run away again, but instead of being told he had been found safe and taken back to the day center, police in Mascouche, Que., told her to use a stun gun to neutralize him.

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“I was devastated. I couldn’t even speak,” Ismé told reporters near her home on Thursday, holding back her tears.

Brandon-Lee Paris was taken to hospital but did not sustain any serious injuries.

His mother speaks out because she is concerned about what the police would do if they had another run-in with her son or another person with a developmental disability.

“What if one day it’s not the Taser gun?” she said. “[What if] they take the first weapon under their hand and shoot it, you know? It’s really scary.”

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Ismé said she can’t imagine why the stun gun was necessary, as police have treated her son before and are aware that he is on the autism spectrum and is non-verbal.

She plans to file a complaint with the police ethics committee.

“Yes, that’s for sure. This is unacceptable,” she said. “I said to them, ‘You know Brandon, he’s never been aggressive with you, he’s always working with you, so I don’t know why you needed the taser gun.'”

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She also wonders if the situation would have turned out differently had her son not been Black.

Speaking on behalf of the Mascouche police on Thursday, Martin St-Pierre said the use of force against the teen will be reviewed by police. (Radio Canada)

Teen entered other people’s homes after flight, police say

Police say the teen ran away twice from La Myriade, a government-run center for people with developmental disabilities. In both cases, police say Paris broke into other people’s homes as officers tried to overtake him.

The taser was used during the second police intervention.

“There was a chase to try and get him under control. It didn’t work. He went into a house again and at that moment a police officer had to step in and use his guided electric weapon,” said Martin St. Pierre, an officer who died Thursday. spoke on behalf of the Mascouche Police Department.

St. Pierre confirmed that police have treated the teen several times before, enough that officers know him by his first name.

“As with any use of force, this case will be reassessed,” he said.

When she heard about the version of events the police gave to reporters, the mother said she doesn’t know where the arrest took place and because Paris is non-verbal, he can’t tell his side of the story.

Ismé also said she often wonders why the center’s staff always calls the police when her son leaves the building.

TBEN News asked the local health authority for the Lanaudière area that oversees La Myriade if it is standard procedure to call the police every time one of its customers leaves the facility. The health authority has postponed all questions about what happened to the local police.

“For our part, we are in contact with the mother,” said spokesman Pascale Lamy.

Fo Niemi, the executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, says the police intervention involving the teen sheds light on the need for better training for officers on how to deal with someone with a developmental disability. (Kwabena Oduro/TBEN)

‘One of their worst nightmares’

According to Fo Niemi, the executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), the use of the stun gun by the police in this case highlights the need for officers to be better trained to deal with people with developmental disabilities.

Niemi says that for many parents of children or young adults with autism, confrontation with the police is “one of their worst nightmares.”

“We work with many parents of children with autism or even young autistic adults,” Niemi says.

“There is always the fear that an untrained police officer will not understand the behavior of autistic children or people or that they will perceive their behavior as dangerous or, say, threatening to others.”

The mother fears that the incident will scare her son that the police are moving forward, which could make future confrontations with law enforcement even more complex or even more dangerous.