The parents of a severely autistic teenager have filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s deputies who detained their son, alleging that they sat on the 16-year-old for a combined total of nine minutes before his death.
According to People, Daren Parsa and Donna Lou, Eric Parsa’s parents, are accusing Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto III and seven deputies of negligence and excessive force and for violating their son’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to their lawsuit, Eric was in the middle of a “meltdown” when he and his parents were leaving a laser tag play center in Metairie, Louisiana. The teen reportedly started slapping himself and his father, which prompted the laster tag manager to call reserve deputy Chad Pitfield, who provided security to the surrounding shopping center.
Once Pitfield and the other deputies arrived on the scene, they allegedly pinned Eric to the ground to detain him and ultimately bound his hands and feet.
The Parsa Family’s attorney claims the officers had been told that Eric was autistic. Their lawsuit claims that Pitfield sat on the teen for about seven minutes before another deputy took over. Parsa was restrained this way for a total of nine minutes and six seconds.
The lawsuit contends that seven deputies ended up “sitting on, handcuffing, shackling, holding down, or standing by E.P. as he was restrained and held face down on his stomach against the hard surface of the parking lot.”
“They should’ve taken the weight off of Eric Parsa’s back,” William Most, one of Eric’s parent’s lawyers, told the New York Times. “They should have rolled Eric Parsa on to his side to ensure that he could continue to breathe.”