RICHMOND, Va. — Sheria Jackson wanted her autistic son to feel comfortable around police officers.
Her uncles are officers and she has great respect for their work.
“I wanted him to have a positive view of police officers instead of all the negative views he sees on TV.
She enrolled him in the after-school tennis program at Virginia Commonwealth University. In this program, officers from the Richmond Police Department volunteer through the Richmond Police Athletic League.
However, on November 3rd, Jackson turned up on the tennis court to find his son handcuffed to the ground.
“We ended up going to the VCU emergency room. They diagnosed him with a TBI concussion,” Jackson said.
According to Jackson, tennis program staff said her son was unhappy with his serve and told him to practice on his side.
Her son said one of the police officers called out to him and he started moving away from her.
“I know he tries to self-adjust and walk away from the situation. She may have thought he was rebellious,” Jackson said.
Jackson then said his son had been grabbed by cops.
“When I got here, my son was handcuffed on the ground right behind the open fence,” Jackson said. “There was a cop holding his head, a cop on his left leg, someone on his right leg, a cop on his knees with his shoulders down on his right, and another cop standing.”
Jackson said Richmond police told her her son had headbutted an officer while in custody and were worried he would run away.
But she still doesn’t know why he was handcuffed or what caused him to have a concussion.
“He shouldn’t be treated that way, not just by my son, but by anyone,” Jackson said. “Where’s the training? Are you just going to train and not taking it?”
Jackson said she has spoken to various people at Richmond police on numerous occasions about the incident, but has yet to receive an answer to her questions.
The police report, for which she paid $5, gives no account of the incident.
A Richmond Police spokesperson said there was an ongoing internal investigation and that no further details could be provided at this time.
While waiting for results, Jackson worries about his son’s mental health.
She said he went from being a top performer in his middle school grades to having trouble getting through the day at school.
“As soon as I have a concussion it’s like bang bang bang. I’m like ‘Oh my gosh.’ It happens every day,” Jackson said.
VCU Police responded to a service call related to the disturbance involving the boy and Richmond police, but said the boy and his parents were no longer present when they arrived.
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