Mother concerned about safety of Down Syndrome son

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BEAN STATION, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Everyday, we ask you to tell us about stories you'd like us to investigate or share and Wednesday Stephanie Holland did just that. She wanted to find out if local police have special policies to deal with disabled people or those with mental health issues. She asked and we found out!

Stephanie Holland's son Josh is a 26-year-old music fan who was born with Down Syndrome which makes him a little slower than others.

She said "If we were out somewhere and I wasn't with him I have no idea of knowing how other people are going to react to him."

Her concerns grew after her son's best friend, Ethan died at a Maryland movie theater.

"When the movie was over, Ethan didn't want to leave. He wants to see it again so he stayed in the theater while his nurse aid went to get the car. When she came back security officers were in the theater." said Stephanie

The three security officers were actually off duty deputies who tried to restrain Ethan.

Stephanie explained "He ended up on the ground face down and they were handcuffing him behind his back and he according to the coroners report he suffocated and died."

A scary thought for any parent; so what policies are in place here in East Tennessee?

We talked to Captain Catlett from the Knoxville Police Department who said they follow detailed General Orders especially when it comes to the use of restraints.

Bottom line, officers are trained to recognize the differences between criminal activity and the effects of seizures or other disabilities. There's no set rule since every case is different but common sense and caution are important.



 
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