The lawsuit that was filed in federal court on Thursday claims the officers positioned 16-year-old Eric Parsa in a susceptible position, handcuffed and shackled him, held him down, and utilized their own body weight as a type of restraint while the boy was having an outburst and attempting to assault his dad and mom. The family accuses the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office of using excessive force despite realizing the teenager was autistic and overweight.
“They knew (Eric) was in a crisis situation and that the family needed help. They knew he was unarmed,” the lawsuit alleges. “Yet they persisted in dangerously and forcefully restraining (him) without appropriately monitoring his condition until they killed him.”
The horrific ordeal, part of which was caught on surveillance video, occurred within the parking lot of a strip mall in the New Orleans metro area on January 19, 2020.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office stated the complaint is “rife with false claims and malicious accusations.”
“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 department mentioned in a press release to the media and added that it will respond to every allegation in the courtroom.
The boy had just finished enjoying laser tag at a Metairie shopping center when he experienced a sensory overload and started slapping himself and his father, prompting a bystander to dial 911, the mother and father’s attorneys said in the lawsuit.
A sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene moments later and struggled to restrain the teenager before sitting on his back, the surveillance footage reveals.
“Eventually there were a total of seven JPSO deputies involved, sitting on, handcuffing, shackling, holding down, or standing by (Eric) as he was restrained and held face down on his stomach against the hard surface of the parking lot,” the lawsuit reads.
During the 9 minutes, the boy was held down, there had been “several clear and distinct opportunities” when Eric was calm and not actively resisting, however, the deputies “failed to appropriately reduce the use of force,” the complaint says.
The sheriff’s department stated its deputies had been attempting to stop the teenager from attacking his dad and mom and first responders after watching him behave violently.
An autopsy later determined that his death was unintentional, with morbid weight problems, an enlarged coronary heart, and the susceptible position as contributing factors.
Eric’s mother and father, Daren Parsa and Donna Lou want his death to be labeled as murder. They filed the lawsuit seeking justice and accountability for their only child and to make sure that no other severely autistic youngster “experiences such a terrible and completely preventable loss of life while in the custody and care of law enforcement.”
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.