Richmond's top prosecutor won't prosecute police over interaction that left autistic child with concussion

Posted at 6:14 PM, May 25, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin declined prosecution after reviewing the case of a 12-year-old with autism who ended up with a TBI concussion during an interaction with officers from the Richmond Police Athletic League on November 3 of 2022.

A spokeswoman for the Richmond Police Department previously told CBS 6 it conducted an internal investigation and referred the case to the commonwealth's attorney for criminal review.

"We have concluded our review. Based upon the BWC video, multiple witness interviews, and the investigative report of the incident, we have declined prosecution," Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin said.

Sheila Jackson signed her son up for the after-school tennis program at Virginia Commonwealth University, where officers from RPD volunteer through the Richmond Police Athletic League.

But, on that day in November, Jackson showed up at the tennis courts to find her son on the ground in handcuffs.

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

Jackson said the staff at the tennis program said her son was getting frustrated on his serves, and they told him to practice off to the side. But she is unclear on what happened next.

Her son said one of the police officers raised her voice at him, and he started to walk away from her.

After that, Jackson said her son said the officer grabbed him.

"When I got here my son was handcuffed on the ground, right behind where that fence is opened," Jackson said. "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."

Jackson said Richmond Police told her that her son headbutted an officer while they detained him, and they were worried he was going to run.

But she is still not sure why he was handcuffed, and what exactly happened that caused him to get a 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?"

Jackson said she has spoken to various people with the Richmond Police Department about the incident a number of times, but she still has not gotten answers to her questions.

The police report she paid $5 for does not have an incident description.

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