ELK GROVE (CBS13) – An autistic teen suffered cuts and bite wounds after a run in with the law, and now his mother is begging to bring awareness.
“I think it was excessive force,” said Leslie Mantalvanos. “He’s nonverbal, and I’m sure they could tell something was going on with him.”
Something was very wrong Saturday morning when Alex Mantalvanos went missing and wandered upstairs into a neighbor’s home.
“Usually we have it locked down pretty tight,” she said.
“The residents are fearful. They are thinking that it’s some type of burglary, robbery, home invasion, they don’t know what’s going on and they flee and call us,” said Elk Grove Police Department Officer Chris Trim.
Police were looking for the reported burglary suspect and later found Alex walking home.
“The first two officers could not control him, could not get him to comply, could not get him to put his hands behind his back,” he said.
The struggle led to multiple wounds including bite marks from a K9.
“When they said to put his hands behind his back, he didn’t understand that, so when they went to grab him, Alex freaked out of course and tried to run,” said Leslie.
Trim said the officers were following protocol and didn’t know he was autistic.
“There’s nothing that our officers could tell,” he said.
Leslie said there needs to be more awareness within the department.
“I think that they need to be trained or something better to tell the signs of autism maybe,” she said.
Trim said the officers will undergo training and the incident will be reviewed.
“There’s body cam footage, and we are going to review that and make sure our officers did everything that they were supposed to do,” he said.
While the wounds are fresh, Leslie wants to bring more awareness, so other families don’t have to go through this.
“They can’t tell by looking at him that he’s autistic, but I don’t think it’s was necessary to put the dog on him when they had him on the ground already — for anybody, even if they weren’t disabled,” Leslie said.
Alex usually wears a medical bracelet, but it’s broken, and they’re waiting for the new one to arrive.
If you have a loved one who wanders, you can also register them with the Elk Grove Police Department.