Lawsuit Claims Teen With Severe Autism Died After Louisiana Police Sat on Him For 9 Minutes

Ryan General
·2 min read

A Louisiana couple is suing the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office after the death of their severely autistic 16-year-old son, who they claim was killed by deputies who sat on him for over nine minutes.

  A teen’s death: In January of last year, Eric Parsa died while being restrained by JPSO deputies at the parking lot of a Metairie shopping center, CNN reports.

  • Eric’s parents, Daren Parsa and Donna Lou filed a lawsuit on Thursday, releasing a new video showing how the incident unfolded.

  • In the clip, the visibly upset teen was first seen leaving the mall’s laser tag venue.

  • He then experienced what the parents described as a "sudden sensory outburst" and started slapping himself and then at his father.

  • Deputies intervened shortly after and restrained Eric by pinning him face down on the pavement, reported WWLTV.

  • After handcuffing him behind his back, the officers used a chokehold on the teen and sat on him for over nine minutes, according to the family’s lawyers.

  • “As a result, Eric went limp, he stopped breathing and he died,” lawyer William Most was quoted as saying.

The lawsuit: Seeking an unspecified amount in damages, Eric's parents are suing Sheriff Joe Lopinto, seven JPSO deputies and the owners of Westgate Shopping Center for negligence and violation of his civil rights.

  • “They violated the most basic tenants of good law enforcement and it resulted in the loss of a life,” said attorney Howard Manis.

  • According to Lou, they are pursuing the case so their son’s death will not be in vain and that “no other families will have to go through the same horror, loss and shock that we are experiencing.”

  • In a statement, JPSO claimed the deputies were just trying to subdue the teen's outbursts to stop him from attacking his parents and first responders.

  • The statement further noted how the officers allowed the victim's mother to remain close during the ordeal in a bid to let her aid in defusing her son's behavior.

  • “While the Sheriff's Office remains deeply saddened over this unfortunate loss of life, it does not intend to allow Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Deputies to be maligned and slandered by those seeking to profit from this unfortunate situation,” the statement went on.

Feature Image via WWLTV

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