Mom Seeks Answers After Autistic Son Handcuffed At Cop-Run Tennis Program

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A Virginia mom is seeking answers after she found her 12-year-old austistic son on the ground in handcuffs at an after-school tennis program run by Richmond police officers, CBS 6 reports.

Sheila Jackson said she signed her son up for the after-school tennis program at Virginia Commonwealth University, which is run by volunteer officers from the Richmond Police Department, because she wanted him to feel comfortable around law enforcement.

"I wanted him to have a positive view of police officers and not all the negativity he sees on TV," Jackson said.

Jackson said she was shocked when she showed up at the tennis courts on November 3 and saw her son in handcuffs.

"When I got here my son was handcuffed on the ground right behind where that fence is opened," Jackson recalled. "There was an officer holding his head, there was an officer on his left leg, someone on his right leg, there was an officer on his right side kneeling holding his shoulders down and then there was another officer standing up."

"We ended up going to VCU emergency room," she continued. "They diagnosed him with a TBI concussion."

According to Jackson, the staff at the tennis program said her son was getting frustrated with his serves, so they told him to practice off to the side. But she's still unsure of what led an officer to grab her son.

"He knows to try to self-regulate and walk away from a situation, she may have thought he was being defiant," Jackson said.

She said Richmond police told her that the 12-year-old headbutted one of the officers while being detained. However, Jackson said it's still unclear why he was handcuffed and what caused the concussion.

"That is not how he should be dealt with, not only my son, anyone," Jackson said. "Where is the training? Are you just going to the training and you're not taking it in?"

After speaking with multiple officials with the Richmond Police department, the mom said she hasn't gotten answers to her questions. Even the police report doesn't have an incident description, Jackson said.

According to a spokesperson for Richmond Police, the department has launched an internal investigation into the incident.

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