GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA-TV) – The trial is underway for a federal lawsuit claiming Greenville police used excessive force when arresting Tario Anderson, an autistic man, on Christmas Eve in 2014.
Tario Anderson’s mother filed this lawsuit claiming officers used excessive force when they tased her son in 2014. She also claims this caused her severe emotional distress.
The defense has put 3 officers on stand plus played a video deposition of former officer now out of state.
Officers say they noticed Tario might have a might have a mental impairment after they got him back to detention center.
They initially left the arrest scene at Sullivan St. because of the crowd forming around them.
They wanted EMS to see Tario because of abrasions he suffered during arrest. But thought it was better to do it at detention center.
During the arrest his mother was yelling and screaming at officers. Officers said she was agitating Tario while they were trying to calm him down.
Two officers recalled the mother scream that he was autistic.
They say they could pretty much tell he was autistic by the way he talked with EMS.
Tario is a big guy – nearly 7 feet tall – and officers said they used three handcuffs on him to make sure he was comfortable as reasonably could be.
They also shackled his legs because he was kicking.
He calmed down once they got him away from his mother, officers said.
After realizing his mental condition at the detention center, officers say they called a judge to see if they could get him out of detention center so he wouldn’t have to stay overnight.
“They should pay attention very carefully to the city’s position to what has happened and what could potentially happen in the future,” said family attorney, Michanna Talley.
The mother took the stand, Monday, saying everyone knew her son and his nightly walks.
Greenville Officers were on Sullivan Street investigating reports of shots fired when they saw Tario Anderson. Police say the officers told Anderson to stop and Anderson ignored their commands and ran away. That’s when officers tazed him twice and arrested him.
The solicitor cleared the officers in 2015.
“This case has brought to light the need for de-escalation training,” said Paton Blough, a mental health advocate based in the Upstate.
He’s worked alongside the Greenville Police since the Anderson case to implement a crisis intervention team, specifically designed to handle the mental ill in potentially unsafe situations.
“We know across the board that this type of training should help keep someone with autism from getting tazed or having some kind of interaction with police that doesn’t work out well,” said Blough.
The 40 hour course is currently only taught in about half of South Carolina counties. This is something Blough is trying to change through a bill currently in committee.
“This bill would actually mandate all 46 counties to receive this type of training on a mandatory basis,” said Blough.
The bill also advocates for restoration centers to be built and designed as a third option for police to take those arrested with mental illness over jail or the hospital.
The fact that Anderson was taken to jail instead of a hospital is a reason Ms. Anderson is calming she faced emotion distress in her lawsuit.