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Police Sued After Allegedly Body-Slamming Autistic Teen

Reuters/Joe Penney

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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A lawsuit filed on behalf of an autistic boy alleges Minnesota police officers used excessive force when arresting him and a friend.

Marcus Abrams, an 18-year-old, alleges two Metro Transit police officers attacked him at a light rail station after getting off work at the state fair, reports the Star Tribune. The lawsuit asks for $350,000 in compensatory damages and an unknown amount in punitive damages. A court appointed guardian filed the lawsuit for Abrams. A U.S. district court will hear the case.

Officers Richard Wegner and Paul Buzicky and the Metropolitan Council are all named in the lawsuit.

The officer’s actions caused Abrams to have a seizure, for which he need hospital treatment, according to Abrams. Abrams also alleges he still suffers lasting pain.

Wegner approached Abrams and a friend because they were “horsing around,” according to court documents. Wegner went up to Abrams, asked if he was intoxicated and for his identification. While Wegner told Abrams he was being detained, Abrams asked Wegner “politely” not to touch him, according to the lawsuit.

Wegner then “body slammed” Abrams, causing his head to hit the platform and trigger a seizure.

“This take-down was done strictly to punish Mr. Abrams for the perceived but imaginary affront to Wegner’s authority and had no legitimate law enforcement purpose,” the lawsuit claims.

Wegner and Buzicky allegedly delivered “knee strikes” and punches to Abrams during his seizure. While Abrams was seizing, the officers handcuffed him and shouted at him to “stop resisting,” according to the lawsuit.

Wegner was on first-year probation as a new full-time hire during the time of the incident, and the department has since fired him. Buzicky still works with the department.

Both men denied using excessive force and not having probable cause to approach Abrams.

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