VACAVILLE, Calif. - Surveillance video shows a Vacaville police officer throwing a 17-year-old boy with autism and ADHD to the ground. Authorities said the teen was suspected of assault and tried to run away.
"Get your hands behind your back!" the officer can be heard yelling at the teen before punching him.
The struggle continues a bit longer. The officer warn the teen, "You're going to get hurt. Don't make me hurt you more!"
"It was a very poor decision professionally from that officer," said neighbor Josh Bartholomew, whose cameras captured the confrontation Wednesday.
Bartholomew knows the teenager and his family who live around the corner.
"The officer had an opportunity to deescalate," Bartholomew said. "He used the discretion to escalate the situation, and it turned out how it was."
Vacaville Police Sergeant Katie Cardona said, "We completely understand that the video shown on social media is extremely difficult to watch."
Cardona said the teenager was a suspect in an assault with a pipe that left a 16-year-old boy hurt. She said the officer's responsibility was to find the suspect and that the teen resisted.
"Get down! I'm not going to tell you again!" the officer is heard on the video.
"The arresting officer did not have prior knowledge that the subject was a special-needs individual," Cardona said.
But in police audio obtained by KTVU, another officer who was not at the scene did know after consulting with dispatch.
The other officer is heard asking dispatch if the subject "has autism."
To which the dispatcher responded, "Affirm, possible special needs, per prior contacts." The officer replied, "Copy, I'm familiar with him."
By then the officer on the video was already struggling with the teen. "Fighting with one!" the officer reported over the radio.
"As they say, he was resisting, which I know in the video it appears that he was resisting. At the end of the day, he's just an autistic kid," Bartholomew said.
The boy's father declined to comment on the incident, but wrote on Facebook, "I am pro-police, but I am not pro-abuse."