'They were rough with him'

Everton McLean
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Woman says autistic son was manhandled, denied phone call by police and corrections officials

A Mount Pearl woman who says her 18-year-old autistic son was assaulted by RNC officers who thought he was drunk says she doesn't think he'll ever get over the encounter.

Diane Spurrell, who was first featured on CBC's Here and Now news program Tuesday evening, has lodged a complaint with the police department and plans to do the same against corrections officers at the St. John's Lockup where her son, Dane, was held.

A Mount Pearl woman who says her 18-year-old autistic son was assaulted by RNC officers who thought he was drunk says she doesn't think he'll ever get over the encounter.

Diane Spurrell, who was first featured on CBC's Here and Now news program Tuesday evening, has lodged a complaint with the police department and plans to do the same against corrections officers at the St. John's Lockup where her son, Dane, was held.

She says Dane was on his way home from renting a movie late Saturday when he was stopped by police. The officers, who Spurrell said thought her son was drunk, arrested him and took him to the lockup.

She said she didn't find out that he was taken in by police until about 5 a.m., after hours of looking for him.

"First I was relieved he wasn't dead in a ditch. I was out looking for him," she said.

"Then I was shocked that he was arrested. When I asked why, they told me he was drunk in public and resisting arrest. I was so stunned that he had been arrested.

"Then it dawned on me, 'Oh my God, Dane doesn't drink.'"

When her son was finally brought home, he was injured, Spurrell said.

"When they brought him home to me, he had injuries. Minor injuries, but still, he didn't return in the same condition he left the house," she said.

Both his wrists were chafed and one was cut from handcuffs and he had a bruise over his eye, said Spurrell.

"They were rough with him. ... They lost patience with him, in any event."

She also said the police refused to allow Dane to call her.

One of the police officers told him "she was not his Goddamn babysitter," she said.

"All she had to do was phone. He's a youth," said Spurrell.

"It's just bad judgment."

She said her son was "eager to see that people are punished" for the incident, and she fears he'll have negative associations with police from now on.

Spurrell said the police officers should have been able to tell that Dane was physically different because he has a chromosomal abnormality and his appearance should have given the officers an idea about his condition,

But the inability to identify the condition is a big part of the issue, said Trish Williams, executive director of the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.

She said it's common for first responders to have difficulty identifying autism.

"It shows a need for more awareness and training," she said.

In fact, she said, the RNC had contacted the society about two weeks ago about providing training on the condition.

"Obviously, that has been fast tracked since then," she said.

Acting Insp. Barry Constantine of the RNC said the initial request was to get some training to better interview people with autism, but now front-line officers will likely get some education on the condition as well.

Meanwhile, he said the RNC is investigating the complaint as an alleged assault and, according to media reports, Chief Joe Browne has committed to formally apologizing to the Spurrells.

Spurrell said Wednesday neither she nor her son have received an apology yet. She said she expects the RNC to do a thorough job of looking into the accusation.

"They have claimed to me they are going to do a job and I trust they will do their job. I do still have trust in the RNC."

emclean@thetelegram.com

Organizations: CBC, Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Mikalah
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    My heart goes out to you and your family from what those rude, arrogant, uneducated RNC/Correction Officer's did to your son....now I feel really safe. They have some nerve - GD Babysitter, who do they think they are, give them a cop uniform - badge and they think they own the world. It's time for a wake-up call for our so called RNC and Correction Officers.....it's time for them to do classes in autism or diabetes, teach them how to deal with these situations!! In such situations patients should wear Medical Alert, things might have been different - but I don't think so.

  • hot shot
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    it seems as if a lot of our servants are hired on book smarts most of them lack common sense these officers should be forced to upgrade the skills without pay and only be hired back when sense prevails NO UNION SHOULD GO TO BAT FOR SUCH IDOTS

  • chuck
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    i agree wi









    I am not a big fan of our city cops but I am on their side in this one. Some one in his family should have gone to the video store with him that hour in the night. If something else had to happen to him the parents would have a different story. Any way typical nl have to whinee about something. I guess there there might even be a sue jobl

  • Dave
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    My son too has an autistic spectrum disorder, its one of my worst fears come true. The police are untouchable,unapproachable and uncaring.He has been bullied and the brunt of the joke since birth by. So now I have to tag my son so he can take the same route he has taken since he could walk to protect him from the very people I rely on to protect him.
    I suspect it's not the first time this kid in Mount Pearl took this route. Every one in my area knows my son except for the RNC. Get the police out of the $50,000 cruisers, knock the attitude out of them and make them accountable for their actions. I can only imagine the terror my son would experience if this happened to him.In his mind grabbed off the street,roughed up,locked up and not allowed to call his safest haven for help. What a bunch of dummies.

  • Suzanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I have twin boys with autism. I agree that people need to be more well informed about autism. It's sad that this had to happen to Dane. This is a true lesson for many.
    However, you can obtain medic alert bracelets for individuals with autism. I'm not sure that this would have prevented this situation, but it certainly can't hurt to have that added bit of information for authorities and rescue personel.
    My heart goes out to Dane and his mother.

  • Suzanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Teed M: Autism DOES qualify for a Medic Alert bracelet. I have a daughter with a mild heart condistion as well as 2 sons with autism. My daughter HAS a medic alert bracelet and upon getting hers i enquired about my sons recieving one for a diagnoses of autism. Autism qualifies. It was also on the hand-outs that my daughter recieved from her school regarding Medic Alert and their program No child without . Autism can affect medical emergencies because MANY autistic individuals (not all but many) cannot speak. Hence the need. And many who CAN speak cannot speak well or become overly anxious and unable to cope in emergency situations... once again justifying the use of a medic alert bracelet.
    I, personally, will have them for my boys once they are older and learn more freedom... It can't hurt.

  • Wendy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    I really feel for Dane and his family and think that this situation should never have occurred.
    I also believe that the RNC should recieve training on signs of Autism and other Mental Health Issues...but I DO NOT think they are the only ones... How many times have you passed someone walking 'erractically' on the street and thought, 'Buddy is wasted!' or ' Missus had way to much to drink!'..Did you stop and offer assistance to these people or did you keep on passing by??! Did you ever think that that person might have a Mental Health Issue?.. No of course you never!!
    So instead of all of us throwing stones, why don't we look deeper and see what we can do to help educate ourselves. PUBLIC AWARENESS is what we need, not just the people involved in this situation.

  • tom
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    RNC is out of control and the chiefs resignation is in order, ory Joe dropping by the spurrels to say sorry don't cut it. name th cops that did it and expose the cancer now. we have had enough of this. Danny Step in and remove your appointment. The old boys and now girls club is alive and well in The old city cops situation. As the Irish amply put centuries ago , if you need help never call a COP.

  • Debby
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    it's not only autism the police need traing in .it is also epilepsy,i had a 15 yr old picked up and brought to the hospital and when i got a call from a rookie policeman he told me it was the worst drunk he had picked up,he even threatened that the child could be taken from me.

  • Barry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Just take a good look at all these new police officers we have around the city, they are just kids in their early 20's. Most don't have enough life skills to be policing the public. I could be wrong but I bet that this incident didn't involve a seasoned officer, all it would of taken was a little common sense to see that this kid wasn't drunk, he was just afraid. The sad thing is he may have that fear for the rest of his life because of this. I sure hope that some sort of good can come from this shamefull incident, and I hope that the officer involed feels that shame.

  • fred
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    the police should be fired on the spot .if the police want the respect then they should give it .they are police with one side and they think they are above the law

  • sharon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    It is time for people who have jobs such as police,who deal with the public, and who's job gives them a perception of POWER or AUTHORITY ...time for them to apply people skills to their jobs. There is no excuse for this type of treatment. Perhaps hindsight is a good thing but I am sure Dane did not show the traits of someone who was dangering the public. Lets pray for Dane to heal from this traumatic episode. If I was responsible for disciplining the RNC,I would ensure they do volunteer time working with Autisic children/adults.Perhaps this should be part of their training before they adorn the badge.

  • Jonathan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    My advice - get a lawyer!!! It seems the legal system is the only way to properly deal with infractions so-called officers of the peace. Not allowing the phone call was a fundamental breach of several laws.

  • P
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    I have to agree on the attitude/arrogance that comes with some of these police officers. I was pulled over last year because I did not have stickers and the female police officer berated and belittled me, scared myself and my 11 year old, left us in the dark on the side of the road to check something out down the road before returning 15 minutes later and giving me not 1 but 2 tickets that I did not deserve. All she had to do was radio in and confirm a couple of things. She was a complete b****! But what are you going to do? Complain and be black marked by every cop in the city...?

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Unbelievable! No amount of training can provide the RNC with common-sense.

    The 2 so called Officers should publicly apologize.

    Who knows, once their faces are seen and their names published perhaps more people will come forward about the behavior of these 2 misfits.

    Thankfully Dane wasnt beaten up, as others have successfully proven they were.

    Are these Officers going to be held accountable? Lets watch this one very closely.

  • Bill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Nevermind training officers... common sense can't be trained in some cases.
    Whoever these RNC officers are they need to be taken off the powertrip before they do serious damage.
    I think this is an embarassment to the whole province.

  • Madelyn
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    I understand that there's a lot more to this story - like what was Dane doing in the first place to even get recognized by the police; etc. Thus, I will not side with anyone.
    However, I have noticed that some RNC officers (I have to pinpoint specifically newer recruits here) have a complete attitude problem. It must be this sense of power that takes over their bodies. It's a poor attitude to have - when you're supposed to provide an honourable service to the public. It's such a power trip for these new recruits. They need to get off their high horses and concentrate on the task at hand.

  • Brooke
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    By law you get a phone call to a LAWYER or legal aid. Since his mother was neither BY LAW they don't have to let him call her.

    Why weren't they informed that he was autistic?
    If he is high functioning enough to walk alone on a busy street late at night he should be able to speak up for himself.

    It's routine to do medical questioning when they bring someone in so he had the chance to speak up.

    I'm not saying this was entirely acceptable but I'm sure there is more to the story.

  • Parent#2 from NL
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I sort of agree with the comments by: Parent from NL. There are many unanswered questions, and given the time of night, the situation, circumstances present at the time, anyone of us may have reacted the same way, if we were in the shoes of those officers. Were they right in their verbal approach, no, however, is the verbal approach as reported fact? I've now heard two different versions in the media of what the officer's said to the young man! Also, why did the family or whomever go to the media anyway? What did they hope to achieve/prove? Remember there are TWO sides to every story.

  • L
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I agree that there are most certainly two sides to the story. Maybe Dane shouldn't have been out alone that hour of the night. But really...if the police had an 18 year old in the back of their car, impaired...do you really think he would be wanting to call his mother??? I have to say that lately I have seen some younger male officers going around like they own the place. I don't know if it's a power trip or what. Maybe they were a bit overzealous in their treatment of Dane...and failed to fully assess the situation. Not saying the arresting officers were young or new...but a look at the full picture would go a long way in such a case...

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Puzzled from NL do you really think he shouldn't have been out alone ? Why wouldn't he be allowed to live in freedom and try to lead a normal life ? Do you believe his mother is incapable of determining what he is or isn't able to do with the advice of medical professionals ? Are you saying that we should not encourage people with disabilities to try and oversome their limitations ? Maybe you believe people with disabilities should be locked up either in the penn or at home. Are you a caveman ?

    There are different levels of disabilities and anyone, and I mean anyone including medical professionals would encourage these people to try and get on with their lives.

    The penn officials DON'T CARE. They just follow the advice of police and then go eat their lunch.

    No smell of alcohol. No phone call ! People... if you get falsely or rightly arrested, be aware, you won't be getting a phone call. This is called a Police State. The RCMP is having major image and performance problems right now. If you follow the news you'd know all about it.

    Something needs to change.

    My father was in the RCMP and if he were alive today he'd be shocked at the poor level of policing these days. He referred to himself as a Peace Officer.

    What would help would be a police services board who assign a civilian member to every patrol to ensure the public is treated fairly. This is what it's going to take these days - all across Canada and for each police force.

    Shameful. Yet another blow for police respect. You reap what you sew.

    I'm so disappointed and quite frankly it scares me a little.

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    This is a tough one because we dont know all facts yet.I believe the officers truly believed the young man may cause harm to himself if he was walking along road in dangerous manner.What are they to do.We dont know what happened when they confronted him-was he compative maybe.Yes they should be better trained in recognizing these conditions-why didnt they smell his breath or give him breathalizer.They may have believed he was on drugs also i guess.I guess better training should help.Even though he may not be a candidate for a medical alert bracelet wouldnt it be wise if he had one or some info on him at all times.I know theres privacy issues -but come on -theres common sense.

  • jon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    You should sue the RNC

  • Crystal
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    I have mild autism, and hearing this story has made me frightened of the RNC more then ever. I have heard nothing but negative stories about them.

    As a kid in my home community there would a RCMP officer on patrol every weekend, he was all smiles, waves and hellos if you walked by him, today I don't think I have ever seen a RNC officer smile.

    Even today I have a tendincey to day dream, If I where downtown waiting for a bus, people may think I am off in space while I am aware of what is going on around me.

    And poor Dane, he knew that he did nothing wrong and struggled as a first instinct, chances are I might have done the same thing, either that of be frozen in fear.

  • Brad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Parent from nl, you aren't a cop or a peace officer and you aren't human. This guy is 18 years old and legally an adult, he is autistic not a dog to be tied up in the house all the time. Do you know where your kids are 24/7 I doubt it very much. The unprofessionalism and abuse of authority by the RNC astounds me. Just because you are wearing a uniform doesn't give you the right to be above everyone else. We see it time and time again with these goons, strutting around with their chests stuck out like we are supposed to bow down before them. Maybe if they hired some people who weren't highschool dropouts or who got all C's in school, this goon mentality may disappear. What a disgrace, this woman should sue their a$$es off.

  • Teed
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    To those of you who are suggesting that this young man should have been wearing a medical alert bracelet, youre wrong.... The fact is Medic-Alert is intended for those with conditions, which could compromise their treatment in a time of a MEDICAL emergency in which they are incapacitated, and cant speak for themselves. At the time of this incident, Mr. Spurrell was, in fact, speaking for himself. The last time I checked, Autism is not considered to be a life threatening condition, which would have an impact on the manner in which the individual would be treated in a Medical emergency.

    Furthermore, Autistic individuals have a right to privacy. Wearing a Medic-Alert bracelet would compromise an individuals right to privacy and confidentiality, and its presence would of no consequence in a MEDICAL emergency. Keep in mind, This incident was NOT a Medical Emergency.

    Using the Medic-alert bracelet argument as a means of trying to get the police off the hook is reprehensible.

    The Medic-alert website specifically says...
    ==================================================
    Who Needs Medic Alert?

    -You have an ongoing medical condition
    -You have a severe drug or food allergy
    -You take medication regularly
    -You have an implant such as pacemaker or coronary stent
    - You have any other medical condition that could impact your treatment in an emergency

    ...Medical personnel will be aware of your condition in the event of an emergency. In an emergency, many patients cannot speak for themselves. Proper diagnoses in the first few minutes are critical for proper treatment as symptoms in an emergency situation from common maladies may easily be misdiagnosed. In an emergency, medically audited Medic Alert IDs provide accurate life saving medical information.

  • Book Em Danno
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Yes Me the Lousy Cop


    Well Mr. Citizen, I guess you have me figured out. I seem to fit neatly into the category you place me in. I'm stereotyped, characterized, standardized, classified, grouped, and always typical. I'm the lousy cop. Unfortunately, the reverse isn't true. I can never figure you out.

    From birth you teach your children that I am the bogeyman, and then you're shocked when they identify me with my traditional enemy, the criminal. You accuse me of coddling juveniles, until I catch your kid doing something. You may take an hour for lunch, and have several coffee breaks each day, but point me out as a loafer if you see me having just one cup.

    You pride yourself on your polished manners, but think nothing of interrupting my meals at noon with your troubles. You raise hell about the guy who cuts you off in traffic, but let me catch you doing the same thing and I'm picking on you. You know all the traffic laws, but never got a single ticket you deserved. You shout foul if you observe me driving fast enroute to an emergency call, but literally raise hell if I take more than ten seconds responding to your call!!!

    You call it part of the job if someone strikes me, but it's police brutality if I strike back. You wouldn't think of telling your dentist how to pull a badly decayed tooth, or your doctor how to take out your appendix, but you are always willing to give me a few pointers on law enforcement. You talk to me in a manner and use language that would assure a bloody nose from anyone else, but you expect me to stand and take it without batting an eye.

    You cry, Something has to be done about all the crime! but you can't be bothered with getting involved.

    You've got no use for me at all, but, of course, it's OK if I change a tire for your wife, or deliver your baby in the back seat of my patrol car on the way to the hospital, or save your son's life with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, or work many hours over-time to find your lost daughter.

    So Mr. Citizen, you stand there on your soapbox and rant and rave about the way I do my job, calling me every name in the book, but never stop a minute to think that your property, your family, or maybe your life might depend on one thing, ME, or one if my buddies.

  • Rob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    After deciding to train their own home grown talent the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has accepted the liability of these incidents on a go forward basis.
    This story has proven what many in the Law Enforcement community in the areas policed by the RNC have said for some time, A University Degree cannot buy you Common Sense!!
    Unfortunately this has not been the opinion of RNC Brass, however incidents like this Will be the Proof injected into the Pudding.....
    It sickens me as a member of the public to continue to watch the RNC Recruits on the pages of the Telegram and on the Television being portrayed as though they are receiving the best training available!
    The public deserves to be informed that the only accredited Police Cadet Training Program in Atlantic Canada with over a 50 Year successful record in police officer training is the Atlantic Police Academy in Summerside, PEI. The RNC broke away from their relationship with Holland College and the Atlantic Police Academy some three or more years ago.
    The public deserves to know that every officer trained in the Co-operative RNC / Memorial University cadet program is ONLY employable with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary! There is not a police force in Canada that will hire a Newfoundland Cop trained by the RNC at Memorial!!
    Up to about 2006 every officer employed at the RNC received their training from the Atlantic Police Academy or came to the RNC via a lateral entry from the RCMP program.
    The Fact of the matter is with over 50 years experience in admission and screening of Police Recruit applications
    approximately Only 10% of current Police recruits trained by Memorial and the RNC and currently working on the streets would make the cut and be accepted into the Atlantic Police Academy Police Sciences program.
    I publicly call on the writers at the telegram to follow up on my comments with an investigative report that will most certainly reveal many other anomolies and injustices to the people served by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

  • Bobby
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    About 20 years ago a young man was pulled over by police and because he had a speech impediment and stutter he was taken to jail and accused of impaired driving. He had to clear his name in court because the police officer wasn't educated about physical impairments and didn't have the essential ability to listen and understand. It was an unnecessarily stressful event in this young man's life!
    Can you imagine a life where it is already difficult to communicate on the most basic level, even with your own family? How scary this must have been for him!

  • Linda
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I was horrified when I read the story. The memory of this incident will be with that family for years to come, especially the young man. I hope the RNC will go above and beyond their duty to build up the trust that was taken away from Dane that night. Good luck Dane!

  • Labradorian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Never read sooo much police bashing, give it up! these are you kids who became polimen and women not mosters, not perfect, just doing the best they can. If you want perfection read a
    fairy Tale.

    Leave it Alone, so many other improtant things going on right now, and this is not one.

  • Cheri
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    For Puzzled to say that Dane got off lucky tells me that he/she knows very little about what it's like to have Autism or has no direct experience dealing with such a condition. Not much different than dealing with the RNC on this issue. Dane wouldn't have been much better off in Puzzled's hands perhaps.
    Our 11 yr old has Autism, and luck doesn't play into it anywhere at all. There are so few people in our lives who can deal with our son that we lead a very isolated life, getting a babysitter and going out to a movie is a foreign concept to us. Another thing: based on how my son carries himself or behaves in public I could see this same type of misunderstaning happening. It's a wake up call for sure. Dane is 18 yrs old, I imagine he likes to be treated his age and likes to go rent movies, as is his right as a human being. As another comment stated, he's not a dog to have tied on in the yard. All I can do is pray that by the time our son reaches that age, things will have changed and more people will have been educated: puzzled and the RNC being only 2 of many who need it. Otherwise I'll be as over-bearing and over-protective then as I am now.

  • Mary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I hope that Dane is able to move beyond his experience. The real diability here is with the police who assaulted Dane. There is good and bad everywhere and there a people who should not be police. I'm sure they'll use every excuse to justify what they did, but in the end it was wrong regardless. Dane should have been allowed to call home. Anyone can tell from his appearance, as his Mom stated, that he has some problem. We know now it is Autism. It wouldn't matter if it was Epilepsy or something else, the police officers in this incident were off base in their handling of the situation. They should be charged and given community service with young people of different disabilities and fined or suspended without pay for two weeks. This may sound harsh, but what they did to Dane was much worse.

  • Tina
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    I am wondering if the young boy was manhandled by any of the guards at the lockup. He may have mistaken the guards for the police. Some of them I am sure can be just as bad

  • san
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Ok, I wrote a comment and then read everything else. I still can't believe that there is so much police bashing. Everyone is referring to drunk maybe the word should be impared...which does't necessarily mean booze. So, there would be no smell of booze if there had been some form of drugs involved...Anyone thinking of that???? I dont' think so. This is very simple. Everyday, the police are faced with men and woman of every race, size and age and mental ability. They saw a young man late at night on the street, acting in a matter that was not fitting someone normal for lack of a better word. If any of you were walking on that same street or driving on that street, you'd probably wonder too. Why is he staggering or walking in the middle of the street as reported. IF Dane was able to verbalize his disability he would have, he didn't so he must not have been able to. He was offered a phone call, however according to law, which the police were following, it was to a lawyer not mommy!! We dont' hear about the weirdo's the police have to deal with day in and day out. To be bashing them becasue of this is shameful. As someone wrote above, some adults with autism would beat their head off a wall if in that situation....so a medic alert bracelet is certainly needed for this condition or any condition where a person can not clearly identify there medical condition. As for a privacy issue as someone else said,,,the family isnt' too concerned about that, are they.

  • You Have
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Time for a little more training for the RNC. They need to understand that not everyone walking the street is a drunk like they might like to think. Basic human rights come into play here, and it seems these rights have been violated in this case.

    If we want police to have respect, then police must treat those they serve with the same respect. Some do, while a few do not. It is the ones that do not that need to be weeded out before they take a life.

  • Devil's Advocate
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Wait a minute... an article on CBC.Ca stated that Dane said he wasn't upset at all. How come now all of a sudden he'll 'never get over it'? Methinks someone is thinking about a lawsuit.

  • July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    san to from st. john's, nl you just described everyone I see walking down the street every single day.

    Are you suggesting marshal law next ?

  • Drew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Odd...I though the role of police was to keep the public safe not to lord over them. I have a high regard for police too..... when they act in the public good.

    To be quite honest how on earth did they determine he was drunk? I've been drunk, be around drunks, smelled drunks and in order to be drunk there needs to be alcohol.

    I'd like to see these offices called to account for their actions so they can wear the shame of their wrong doing. Do either of them have a child? much less one with a disability? The poor child wanted to call his mother and you swear at him. SHAME SHAME SHAME on you!

    Here is an idea, go pick up the dirtbags, drug dealers and thieves and bring them to the lockup and leave peace abiding citizens in that...peace.

  • RNC
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Can we say RNC Damage Control. The RNC knows just what this would cost them if these people wanted to take it to the next level. Next time I hope they use this lesson learned to not have any repeats.

    And I think these RNC officers need to be made known. It would put a face to the abusers of those who are clearly at a disability. They should be placed on desk duty and taken to speak out about abuse by those in the workplace, schools and homes. Once an abuser is found we need to control the actions to prevent another event. Failing to do so will only enable them to continue.

  • Butch
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I was shocked but not surprised when I saw this on NTV News last night. I think most of thes new cops are in fear of their own safety let alone Joe Public's . Go to ANY Tim Hortons and just look at the size of these officers. I saw two female officers the other day having a well deserved break. Both of these little girls must have been fresh out of high school. They were around 5' and maybe 110lbs. If they didn't have a gun, a two way radio, and pepper spray they would be useless. I am 6'2 and 285 lbs. How would one of these ladies wrestle me to the ground and hand cuff me? Probally wouldn't happen. The cops have a hard time getting the public's respect and this incident certainly doesn't help. Cops need brawn and street smarts, not a high score on an S.A.T.

  • T
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I believe this whole story to be a sad one. I feel for this poor boy and what he went through. I think instead of pointing fingers and blaming we all should take the time to appreciate the fact that this young boy is safe and increase our knowledge and awareness of autism.
    Being a parent of an 18 year old I would like to say that if my child was staggering around drunk, I think the last person he would want to call would be me.
    I do pray that these officers are truly sorry for this situation and are willing to increase their knowledge.
    To Diane, protect your son always because no one else will!! God bless!!!

  • AmazedInAlberta
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Likewise, I experienced the cruel and derogotory behaviours by the RNC to both myself and my family. I, unfortunatly, did not report it, as I was scared. I just kept my mouth shut and did as I was told, and still have nightmares and scares about the whole ordeal. Not to mention the impact it has had on the rest of my family. I will certainly keep you and your son in my prayers....

  • wayne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    quote: she was not his Godd** babysitter.

    they're not only non medical trained but they seem to have no potty training either.

    i work with autistic adults and know some who if placed in the same situation would probably kill themselves from head banging on the cell wall.

  • Rich
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    If this is the practise of the RNC, they should have to put a bus on for the downtown area for weekend nights.

  • mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Frist off, I do know alot of good cops in this town and hope this doesnt paint the whole force with the same brush. However, far to many officers, both new recruits and seasoned vets simply do not have the atributes or maturity to deal with the public.

  • Puzzled
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    While I am compassionate about this story, I do have to wonder.......... If Dane is autistic to the point his actions could be observed as that of a drunk indivudal, should he have been out, alone doing whatever it was he was doing when the police picked him up? Remember, the lock up took him in as well, so this now was not just the officiers. There are two sides to the story, it will be interesting to see what the officier can say to recount this story. I am by no means stating that I think this was proper, however, was Dane completely innocent? Did he put up a fight? He has come back and detailed that he was treated badly, but becasue of his condition, could not at the time of arrest justify what he was doing. Again, should he have been out alone with no support or defense on that day/night? Additionally, did he take a breathalizer test? Those results, and his actions that night should tell the tale. I do not think an officer should have to appologize for doing their job, given the Chief has already offered his appolgy the family had to deal with this. If this was a person who did not suffer from this condition, public attention like this would not be happening. If he showed the signs and resisted arrest, but was let go and not charged, the officer must have done their job right (aside from the apparent foul language and hasrsh treatment, which is a differnt case) and in the long run Dane has gotten off lucky. On top of this, IT IS NOT JUST THE OFFICERS! The lock up staff would need to be questioned too, if both parties determind his actions and state cause for punishment then really, we need to look at what fight he was putting up as well.

    Again, I am not saying the officers were right nor am I saying this was correct. I am reminding all, including the familiy that have taken this to the media that once the two sides of the story merge (potentially) a very honest and understanding story may unfold.

  • Calvin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Ok Puzzled From NL , did you read your comment before you posted it? Sure there are 2 sides to every story, but police mistaking someone with a disability for someone drunk? The only way that could happen is if the person were drunk, and police have not said yet that there was any alcohol testing of any kind. I know if I were arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct (or whatever the reason for the arrest was) I would demand to be tested, and I think you would too. Also, maybe the young man being arrested here resisted arrest because he didn not know what he was being arrested for. The same saying Think before you speak can also be applied to written comments, you may want to try that next time.

  • San
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Of course this is a terrible thing to happen...to anyone. HOWEVER, Do any of us know the difference between a person with autism? Doesn't it even take time for Dr.'s to diagnose? And a police officer is expected to see it in the dark in the street? Come on people. It has nothing to do with ignorance. It has everything to do with communication. And Dane would have been able to communicate this had he been wearing a medic alert bracelet. Anyone with any kind of disability should have one and be taught to point to it should when in trouble. Even if the police were educated about autism, wouldn't it still take time for them to determine if they were dealing with a metal handicap, or a drug user or a drunk? Of course it would. I think the public are being way too unfair to the police. From his photo's Dane looks like a big boy, even if the police suspected a mental disability, lets face it, some mentally disabled could also get violent.
    A medic alert bracelet would have avoided this. Why don't he have one? They are designed to help, and if my child had anykind of medical problem, be it autism or diabetes, she would be wearing one.

  • Julie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    I think a big part of the problem here is that the new police studies program at MUN has actally lowered the requirements for acceptance so much to meet the new More Female requirements set out by the Department of Justice, that more and more unsatisfactory candidates are getting in. And No, I am not picking on female officers. I'm all for equal opportunity and if you can do the job you have every right to be there. I am picking on the people who are getting in that just aren't cut out to be productive, effective police officers. I can guarantee the criteria and training is nothing like what the more experienced officers received at Holland College. Unfortuantely, I suspect we will be having more and more incidents like these happening with newer, unexperienced police officers. A lot of these cadets are coming out with inflated egos thinking they are the only ones in the world that know anything.I have close friends that work with the RNC and it's scary to see some of the people that are getting into the program.

  • George
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    All you people who think some high school drop-out in a 'roid rage' is going to pay attention to or even know what a medic-alert
    bracelet is, think again. The police forces in this country need mandatory drug testing, especially for steroids. Too much of this kind of nonsense is happening right across Canada and its time police forces have some serious civilian oversight.

  • Doug
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    If the new program at MUN is turning out so-called police officers who can't figure out if someone is in fact drunk or perhaps dealing with some other issue then the entire program and everyone it is cranking out are a complete failure.

    I would imagine that this was a case of some rookie cop who was in such a rush to run home to tell mom and dad that she made her first arrest, that she couldn't take the time to actually figure out what the situation was. Look mom, no hands!!!

    This begs the question of how often does this sort of thing happen to other innocent people who might not have such an obvious condition to deal with. How many people are roughed up by these thugs and then released with nothing more than an oops, sorry excuse.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    The officers involved in this situation should be made to take sensitivity training and meet this young man again to personally apologize. That being said, I am sure that they are deeply regretful of their actions.

    This unfortunate occurrence probably could have been avoided if the autistic gentleman had been wearing a medic alert bracelet. I hope that parents of developmentally challenged individuals will read this story and obtain a medic alert bracelet for their children as well.

    The mother of this young man does not want the names of the officers to become public and I think that is a very mature and positive decision to make. She should be commended for her patience and understanding.

  • July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    towny girl from Newfoundland - wow that was ignorant. You clearly demonstrated not a clue. I guess you've applied to the RNC.

  • Concerned
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I feel the parents are to blame in this situation, they should have taken the responsiblity of ensuring this childs safety. 18 years of age or not, if he is too sick and innocent to be arrested for abnormal behaviour, and resisting arrest he should not be wandering busy streets late at night, alone. He seesm to be of sound mind, being able to reocunt exactly what happened to him- apparently, meaning he should be treated and repremanded for his actions!

  • Michelle
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    My heart goes out to you and your son. I can't imagine how you must be feeling right now. I know alot of RNC officers and I'm willing to bet that it was first or second year cops who arrested your son, becuase most of the new ones are on this super power trip and think they own everything and everyone here. I've had situations in the last couple where I've needed help from the RNC, and instead of helping, they turned the other way and completely ignored my problem or simply said, there's nothing we can do for you.
    Mrs. Spurrell, don't let this slide by, do whatever you can to make sure they pay for what they put your son through. That was cruel and unusual punishment and no one especially not someone who is Autistic should have to go through that.

  • concerned
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH SOCIETY?????????????

    To the RNC, Correctional officers, and the public....

    EDUCATE YOURSELVES WITH ATUISM.....
    1 in 150 children are diagnosed yearly, on the Autism Spectrum. Autism is a neurological disorder, characterized by impaired social interaction and communication with the presence of unusual behaviors and interests. Currently, there is no cure for Autism.

    This is a complete embarrassment to society as a whole, that our authority has the incompetence of understanding the difference between Autism, and Alcoholism. I have a 5 year old Autistic son, and it hurts to know that our law enforcement (and society for that matter) has not been trained or educated enough, in situations such as dealing with individuals with different disabilities. Perhaps if they followed their procedure of testing for alcohol in his body, they would have quickly realized this young man was in fact NOT drunk. Why was he not given the opportunity to call his mother? Isn't that a person's right when they are arrested? My heart truly goes out to this young man, and hopefully, with the help of his family and friends, he will overcome this. Not only have the RNC embarrassed this young man, they have also embarrassed me as a parent. Knowing that if my child is ever walking the street by himself, that he will not be protected.
    This is truly unacceptable. A couple of months ago, another incident happened with the RNC and a young autistic man downtown, St. John's. Some teenagers stole items belonging to this man, and when his father came to pick him up, he asked a uniformed officer if they would do anything about these teenagers taking his son's things... they said there was nothing they could do... The father later found the teenagers and went back to the police officer and they said there was nothing they could do, and if he tried to do something himself, like taking the things back, HE could get charged for assault.

    A police officer going to this young man's house to apologize, will look good for his reputation, and the enforcement as a whole, but it will not take back the fact that people he looked up to, trusted to take care of him in his time of need, people he thought would be there for him if he was ever in trouble... have emotionally abused, and traumatized this man, more than likely for the rest of his life. Just because he is Autistic, does NOT mean he does not know what is happening around him. He just may not be able to communicate it, as you or I would. Just because people with Autism are unique, does NOT mean they are not human. They have the same rights as you and I. Yet, they are being pushed to the side, because they do not fit in mainstream society . It's time for people to step up and face the facts... Autism is NOT going away... accept them for who they are, they are truly great people, you can actually learn a lot from them.

    To the person who said that this young man should not have been out by himself that night. Clearly you are not educated enough about this disorder, and it's people like you that sicken me, by making uneducated comments such as yours. What gives you the right to say that he should be followed closely, or can, and can't go to places by himself? He is not an animal, nor should he be locked away. I think it was great that he went to the movie store, picked out a movie he liked, paid for it, and was on his way home, all by himself!! Great job Dane!!!!!

    As for Teed M, arguing about medical bracelets, They ARE used for people with autism. Not every autistic person is the same, some talk, some don't. If you have ever read a pamphlet for medical alert bracelets, you would quickly realize that there is one, specifically for people with Autism. While no this was not a MEDICAL emergency, the law enforcement would have noticed a bracelet, while cuffing him.. (or maybe they would have missed that too, just like they assumed he was drunk). What would happen if he couldn't talk? Would he be treated more harshly? While yes everyone is entitled to their privacy, how do you explain people with disorders such as what you've stated, wearing bracelets? How can you state that medical personnel would know if someone is autistic? Autism is not a look they have, it's not an action they do. They have a communication problem.
    Again, educate yourself with Autism, clearly come of you, have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to this disorder. And until you do, these situations will keep happening and society will keep pushing these people to the side, and they are the one's suffering.

  • sherri
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    This situation is soooooo not right. I guess they never had anything better to do or hardly had any calls that night so they had to pick someone up.Bullshit they thought he was drunk.....when they spoke to him they would have smelled alcohol off him.

  • Kim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I think this is an absolutely shocking story! Maybe next time your son goes out he should have i.d or a medical bracelet stating that he has autism so this dont happen again. I feel for you & your son. I cannot imagine what you must have been feeling when you couldnt find your son. I hope everything gets better and your son recovers from this horrible incident. Take Care

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I just read the comment from Teed M from St.John's. I commented earlier about the need of a medic alert bracelet. I guess I should have done my homework before I made an assumption. Thanks for the information. I think this young man's parents have everything under control. I am still confused, however, as to why this young man was not able to communicate with the police that he had Autism. I haven't had much experience dealing with autistic individuals and I'm guessing that I'm not the only reader asking the same question. I'll follow up on this page so I would appreciate any insight so we can be better educated.

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    If in fact that comment regarding not being your GD babysitter was actually used the
    officer involved should be forced to go
    face to face with this family and apologize
    Great attitude from an RNC officer, same
    old attitude, job goes to their head.

  • laura
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Concerned from NL :.. you say He seesm to be of sound mind, being able to reocunt exactly what happened to him- apparently, meaning he should be treated and repremanded for his actions! ... so what exactly is he to be repremanded for?.. for being autistic?.. what you say is so irrelevant, its just funny!.. this young man goes out for whatever it is he was doing.. and because the police assume hes drunk, that gives them the right to mistreat him? ( because no human being should be treated ignorantly, regardless of what their job is, if they dont like they're job, quit!!, people do have rights.).. they should have taken the correct procedures to positively correct their judgement, clearly those procedures were NOt performed. i work with disabled and handicapped people, most of them you wouldn't know were in any shape or form, disabled or handicapped, but if i didnt know, and i assumed a person was drunk, i wouldnt just go by what i saw, or what i heard.. there are procedures to follow , if not followed correctly, then thats where the problems arise!...
    therefore, i do believe it was a human error, not an honest one.. because i do see that ignorance did play a huge factor as well... but none the less a mistake.. and proper training should be a priority for sure!... butt.. to finish this.. i must say there are actually 3 sides to every story.. one side, the other side.. and lastly... the truth!!

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Everybody is quick to judge the actions of the police. I would like to know how many good things they do compared to the isolated 'negative' incidents. Ask yourself, would you really want to deal with the people that the RNC have to deal with on a daily basis? Drunks, wife abusers, addicts, thieves, etc. How many of us could do that same job without an occasional error? I hope everyone who is complaining about the horrible training, skills and judgement of the RNC dial a different number when they need help. Maybe try Open Line?

  • parent
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I'm siding with the RNC on this one. Based on the CBC story I saw, indications were that Dane was walking somewhat erratic (abnormal) in the street, a busy street at that (commonwealth ave) in the later hours of Saturday night. If I were an RNC officier, I would draw the same conclusion, a teenager hopped up on something about to be hit by a car, so lets get him off the street for his own safety. He says he wants to call his Mom-Kid gets caught being intoxicate and is scared....Good call by the RNC. On the CBC story Dane says he went to the video store at about 11:30pm just before the store closed. I feel the parents are mostly to blame here. If you have an Autistic Child, would you let them go out by themselves at 11-11:30pm on a Saturday night, knowing they are going to be in a busy area? Please the RNC are not to blame here, It was just an unfortunate occurance, but the parents are the root to this one. I hope the RNC officers do not get a reprimand for this, they were just doing their job....no I'm not a RNC officier or any peace officer.

  • DB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    For the people who side with police maybe you are touched just a little.Don't they have devices to tell the if someone is drunk, DUH its called a breathalizer people and it's time they learned how to use them.Oh also if he had enough booze in him to be drunk don't you think you could smell it off him.

  • Shocked
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    For the sake of Dane, these officers should be compassionate enough to understand they must apologize to him to help alleviate the future fear he will carry with him the rest of his life (and that he will share with others). If they can't see understand this, they're uncaring thugs (who should be removed in handcuffs off the street, ruffed up for fun and have their civil rights arbitrarily suspended like they did to Dane).

    Years ago we locked up people with disabilities in a dungeon on Signal Hill. Are we back to that again ?

  • ME
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    It's time to get the REAL DRUNKS/TRASH OFF THE STREETS!!

  • Rick
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    As a father with an 18 yr old autistic son, I feel so sorry for the family. I would be totally horrified if this happened to my son. I would demand a face to face meeting with this officer.

    My son could be mistaken like this boy if he was observed by a police officer. My son is 6'1 and 200 pounds. If he was treated like this kid, it would impact him for years and all the effort we have done to make him more part of the community would have been destroyed if he were subjected to this same treatment from this officer.

    The RNC should put their community team to work here an offer to meet some of the families with autism. I would feel so much better if the RNC had some sort of registration or allow us to drop by and give them information on my son's condition.

  • Man
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Ok first off the RNC say he was drunk in public, if so was he on his way home, and if they thought he was why didn't they offer him a ride? Second, again if he was drunk as they say and he was minding his own business why did they arrest him he was on his way home, and third why did they not give him a breathalizer. So if your out to a party and you are drinking and you decide to walk home and sober up a bit the RNC will arrest you. I know my comment does not have much to do with the ignorance of the RNC's ability to recoganize someone with Autisum, but more with there bully tactics. I mean they had no probaly cause to arrest this man. They came up on him thinking he was drunk in public but yet there was no calls to police saying if he was making a disturbance.

  • Brett
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    I would hope that if I had an 18 year old son who was found (supposedly) drunk and walking in the middle of the road, the police would determine who his parents are and call me themselves!!!! This is ridiculous... both the fact that he was taken into custody as result of his condition, and that he begged to contact his parents and was denied. He was under the legal drinking age. So even if they believed him to be drunk, their first priority should have been to get him home safely, not to the lock-up. This has diminished my faith that the police would do what they could to protect my own children, should they wind up in trouble. At the very least, formal reprimands should be issued to the arresting officers and the lock-up staff.

  • towny girl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Newfoundlanders are too sensitive. Obviously, you all have for too much time on your hands. You all get so worked up over the slightest things! Take it easy, sit down, enjoy life (I know that's not too easy to do in Newfoundland because I was born and raised there for 24 years) and have a glass of wine. Yes, that's it... sue sue and sue again. What in the world is that going to do?? Try being a better parent and don't let your child out if he's so sick. Really... get a grip on reality Newfoundland and god forbid... the police... doing their job... what a nerve! Please, give me a break! You're all pathetic!

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Everyone remember, police are human and they make mistakes just like every one of you and me. You can all be Monday morning quarterbacks and think you would have done different but you probaly don't have the full story much like everything else in the media. Albeit this is unfortunate but it doesn't mean the police are on a powertrip or they are brutes, they made a human mistake.

  • Proud Newfoundlander
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    If you're arrested, are you not entitled to a phone call? I think the most basic human rights have been sacrificed here. Even if the RNC picked up some drunk guy who was wandering the streets, he would get a phone call. The fact that it was denied is grounds for legal action.

    For any charges brought against a person, there has to be proof. IE. a sobriety test in this case. A good lawyer would eat this stuff up.

    Perhaps the RNC did Dane a favour. Had they left him alone, he could have potentially been assaulted and traumatized in the wee hours of the morning on Commonwealth Avenue.....oh wait......never mind.....

  • Labradorian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Mountains out of Molehills........Sh!t happens.

  • Brenda
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    As a grandmother of a 13 yr old grandson with autism and a former Newfoundlander,I am APPALLED at the treatment given to this child. Did the police smell alcohol on his breath,did they give him a breathalizer test??
    IWhat sort of training do these so-called police receive. Just looking at this child should have given them an indication as to what was happening here. He kept asking for his mom ( heart-wrenching ) and taking his lifeline away from him must have terrified him ,as well as ,his mom could not communicate as to his where abouts.
    The policeman is where these kids go for help if needed,now that is lost to them.
    Shame on all of you,God help you all. Even the young children in the schools today have more tolerance for their school mates with disabilities.
    You police would have a different tune if it were one of your children. He was given a cell phone to call his mom,why was he not allowed to use it??
    COWARDLY BULLIES!!!! The schools do not even allow this anymore...
    Too much POWER,not enough THOUGHT.
    Mrs Spurrel,do not let this rest,for the assurance that all autistic children will be safe,take this to a higher level. Just the fact that a policewoman said she was not his GD babysitter tells me that that she was a very callous person and not a help to the public,unreal!!!
    All those years of therapy killed by your Friendly Neighbourhood Policeman

  • Mikalah
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    My heart goes out to you and your family from what those rude, arrogant, uneducated RNC/Correction Officer's did to your son....now I feel really safe. They have some nerve - GD Babysitter, who do they think they are, give them a cop uniform - badge and they think they own the world. It's time for a wake-up call for our so called RNC and Correction Officers.....it's time for them to do classes in autism or diabetes, teach them how to deal with these situations!! In such situations patients should wear Medical Alert, things might have been different - but I don't think so.

  • hot shot
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    it seems as if a lot of our servants are hired on book smarts most of them lack common sense these officers should be forced to upgrade the skills without pay and only be hired back when sense prevails NO UNION SHOULD GO TO BAT FOR SUCH IDOTS

  • chuck
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    i agree wi









    I am not a big fan of our city cops but I am on their side in this one. Some one in his family should have gone to the video store with him that hour in the night. If something else had to happen to him the parents would have a different story. Any way typical nl have to whinee about something. I guess there there might even be a sue jobl

  • Dave
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    My son too has an autistic spectrum disorder, its one of my worst fears come true. The police are untouchable,unapproachable and uncaring.He has been bullied and the brunt of the joke since birth by. So now I have to tag my son so he can take the same route he has taken since he could walk to protect him from the very people I rely on to protect him.
    I suspect it's not the first time this kid in Mount Pearl took this route. Every one in my area knows my son except for the RNC. Get the police out of the $50,000 cruisers, knock the attitude out of them and make them accountable for their actions. I can only imagine the terror my son would experience if this happened to him.In his mind grabbed off the street,roughed up,locked up and not allowed to call his safest haven for help. What a bunch of dummies.

  • Suzanne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    I have twin boys with autism. I agree that people need to be more well informed about autism. It's sad that this had to happen to Dane. This is a true lesson for many.
    However, you can obtain medic alert bracelets for individuals with autism. I'm not sure that this would have prevented this situation, but it certainly can't hurt to have that added bit of information for authorities and rescue personel.
    My heart goes out to Dane and his mother.

  • Suzanne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Teed M: Autism DOES qualify for a Medic Alert bracelet. I have a daughter with a mild heart condistion as well as 2 sons with autism. My daughter HAS a medic alert bracelet and upon getting hers i enquired about my sons recieving one for a diagnoses of autism. Autism qualifies. It was also on the hand-outs that my daughter recieved from her school regarding Medic Alert and their program No child without . Autism can affect medical emergencies because MANY autistic individuals (not all but many) cannot speak. Hence the need. And many who CAN speak cannot speak well or become overly anxious and unable to cope in emergency situations... once again justifying the use of a medic alert bracelet.
    I, personally, will have them for my boys once they are older and learn more freedom... It can't hurt.

  • Wendy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    I really feel for Dane and his family and think that this situation should never have occurred.
    I also believe that the RNC should recieve training on signs of Autism and other Mental Health Issues...but I DO NOT think they are the only ones... How many times have you passed someone walking 'erractically' on the street and thought, 'Buddy is wasted!' or ' Missus had way to much to drink!'..Did you stop and offer assistance to these people or did you keep on passing by??! Did you ever think that that person might have a Mental Health Issue?.. No of course you never!!
    So instead of all of us throwing stones, why don't we look deeper and see what we can do to help educate ourselves. PUBLIC AWARENESS is what we need, not just the people involved in this situation.

  • tom
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    RNC is out of control and the chiefs resignation is in order, ory Joe dropping by the spurrels to say sorry don't cut it. name th cops that did it and expose the cancer now. we have had enough of this. Danny Step in and remove your appointment. The old boys and now girls club is alive and well in The old city cops situation. As the Irish amply put centuries ago , if you need help never call a COP.

  • Debby
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    it's not only autism the police need traing in .it is also epilepsy,i had a 15 yr old picked up and brought to the hospital and when i got a call from a rookie policeman he told me it was the worst drunk he had picked up,he even threatened that the child could be taken from me.

  • Barry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Just take a good look at all these new police officers we have around the city, they are just kids in their early 20's. Most don't have enough life skills to be policing the public. I could be wrong but I bet that this incident didn't involve a seasoned officer, all it would of taken was a little common sense to see that this kid wasn't drunk, he was just afraid. The sad thing is he may have that fear for the rest of his life because of this. I sure hope that some sort of good can come from this shamefull incident, and I hope that the officer involed feels that shame.

  • fred
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    the police should be fired on the spot .if the police want the respect then they should give it .they are police with one side and they think they are above the law

  • sharon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    It is time for people who have jobs such as police,who deal with the public, and who's job gives them a perception of POWER or AUTHORITY ...time for them to apply people skills to their jobs. There is no excuse for this type of treatment. Perhaps hindsight is a good thing but I am sure Dane did not show the traits of someone who was dangering the public. Lets pray for Dane to heal from this traumatic episode. If I was responsible for disciplining the RNC,I would ensure they do volunteer time working with Autisic children/adults.Perhaps this should be part of their training before they adorn the badge.

  • Jonathan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    My advice - get a lawyer!!! It seems the legal system is the only way to properly deal with infractions so-called officers of the peace. Not allowing the phone call was a fundamental breach of several laws.

  • P
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    I have to agree on the attitude/arrogance that comes with some of these police officers. I was pulled over last year because I did not have stickers and the female police officer berated and belittled me, scared myself and my 11 year old, left us in the dark on the side of the road to check something out down the road before returning 15 minutes later and giving me not 1 but 2 tickets that I did not deserve. All she had to do was radio in and confirm a couple of things. She was a complete b****! But what are you going to do? Complain and be black marked by every cop in the city...?

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Unbelievable! No amount of training can provide the RNC with common-sense.

    The 2 so called Officers should publicly apologize.

    Who knows, once their faces are seen and their names published perhaps more people will come forward about the behavior of these 2 misfits.

    Thankfully Dane wasnt beaten up, as others have successfully proven they were.

    Are these Officers going to be held accountable? Lets watch this one very closely.

  • Bill
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Nevermind training officers... common sense can't be trained in some cases.
    Whoever these RNC officers are they need to be taken off the powertrip before they do serious damage.
    I think this is an embarassment to the whole province.

  • Madelyn
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    I understand that there's a lot more to this story - like what was Dane doing in the first place to even get recognized by the police; etc. Thus, I will not side with anyone.
    However, I have noticed that some RNC officers (I have to pinpoint specifically newer recruits here) have a complete attitude problem. It must be this sense of power that takes over their bodies. It's a poor attitude to have - when you're supposed to provide an honourable service to the public. It's such a power trip for these new recruits. They need to get off their high horses and concentrate on the task at hand.

  • Brooke
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    By law you get a phone call to a LAWYER or legal aid. Since his mother was neither BY LAW they don't have to let him call her.

    Why weren't they informed that he was autistic?
    If he is high functioning enough to walk alone on a busy street late at night he should be able to speak up for himself.

    It's routine to do medical questioning when they bring someone in so he had the chance to speak up.

    I'm not saying this was entirely acceptable but I'm sure there is more to the story.

  • Parent#2 from NL
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    I sort of agree with the comments by: Parent from NL. There are many unanswered questions, and given the time of night, the situation, circumstances present at the time, anyone of us may have reacted the same way, if we were in the shoes of those officers. Were they right in their verbal approach, no, however, is the verbal approach as reported fact? I've now heard two different versions in the media of what the officer's said to the young man! Also, why did the family or whomever go to the media anyway? What did they hope to achieve/prove? Remember there are TWO sides to every story.

  • L
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    I agree that there are most certainly two sides to the story. Maybe Dane shouldn't have been out alone that hour of the night. But really...if the police had an 18 year old in the back of their car, impaired...do you really think he would be wanting to call his mother??? I have to say that lately I have seen some younger male officers going around like they own the place. I don't know if it's a power trip or what. Maybe they were a bit overzealous in their treatment of Dane...and failed to fully assess the situation. Not saying the arresting officers were young or new...but a look at the full picture would go a long way in such a case...

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Puzzled from NL do you really think he shouldn't have been out alone ? Why wouldn't he be allowed to live in freedom and try to lead a normal life ? Do you believe his mother is incapable of determining what he is or isn't able to do with the advice of medical professionals ? Are you saying that we should not encourage people with disabilities to try and oversome their limitations ? Maybe you believe people with disabilities should be locked up either in the penn or at home. Are you a caveman ?

    There are different levels of disabilities and anyone, and I mean anyone including medical professionals would encourage these people to try and get on with their lives.

    The penn officials DON'T CARE. They just follow the advice of police and then go eat their lunch.

    No smell of alcohol. No phone call ! People... if you get falsely or rightly arrested, be aware, you won't be getting a phone call. This is called a Police State. The RCMP is having major image and performance problems right now. If you follow the news you'd know all about it.

    Something needs to change.

    My father was in the RCMP and if he were alive today he'd be shocked at the poor level of policing these days. He referred to himself as a Peace Officer.

    What would help would be a police services board who assign a civilian member to every patrol to ensure the public is treated fairly. This is what it's going to take these days - all across Canada and for each police force.

    Shameful. Yet another blow for police respect. You reap what you sew.

    I'm so disappointed and quite frankly it scares me a little.

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    This is a tough one because we dont know all facts yet.I believe the officers truly believed the young man may cause harm to himself if he was walking along road in dangerous manner.What are they to do.We dont know what happened when they confronted him-was he compative maybe.Yes they should be better trained in recognizing these conditions-why didnt they smell his breath or give him breathalizer.They may have believed he was on drugs also i guess.I guess better training should help.Even though he may not be a candidate for a medical alert bracelet wouldnt it be wise if he had one or some info on him at all times.I know theres privacy issues -but come on -theres common sense.

  • jon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    You should sue the RNC

  • Crystal
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    I have mild autism, and hearing this story has made me frightened of the RNC more then ever. I have heard nothing but negative stories about them.

    As a kid in my home community there would a RCMP officer on patrol every weekend, he was all smiles, waves and hellos if you walked by him, today I don't think I have ever seen a RNC officer smile.

    Even today I have a tendincey to day dream, If I where downtown waiting for a bus, people may think I am off in space while I am aware of what is going on around me.

    And poor Dane, he knew that he did nothing wrong and struggled as a first instinct, chances are I might have done the same thing, either that of be frozen in fear.

  • Brad
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Parent from nl, you aren't a cop or a peace officer and you aren't human. This guy is 18 years old and legally an adult, he is autistic not a dog to be tied up in the house all the time. Do you know where your kids are 24/7 I doubt it very much. The unprofessionalism and abuse of authority by the RNC astounds me. Just because you are wearing a uniform doesn't give you the right to be above everyone else. We see it time and time again with these goons, strutting around with their chests stuck out like we are supposed to bow down before them. Maybe if they hired some people who weren't highschool dropouts or who got all C's in school, this goon mentality may disappear. What a disgrace, this woman should sue their a$$es off.

  • Teed
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    To those of you who are suggesting that this young man should have been wearing a medical alert bracelet, youre wrong.... The fact is Medic-Alert is intended for those with conditions, which could compromise their treatment in a time of a MEDICAL emergency in which they are incapacitated, and cant speak for themselves. At the time of this incident, Mr. Spurrell was, in fact, speaking for himself. The last time I checked, Autism is not considered to be a life threatening condition, which would have an impact on the manner in which the individual would be treated in a Medical emergency.

    Furthermore, Autistic individuals have a right to privacy. Wearing a Medic-Alert bracelet would compromise an individuals right to privacy and confidentiality, and its presence would of no consequence in a MEDICAL emergency. Keep in mind, This incident was NOT a Medical Emergency.

    Using the Medic-alert bracelet argument as a means of trying to get the police off the hook is reprehensible.

    The Medic-alert website specifically says...
    ==================================================
    Who Needs Medic Alert?

    -You have an ongoing medical condition
    -You have a severe drug or food allergy
    -You take medication regularly
    -You have an implant such as pacemaker or coronary stent
    - You have any other medical condition that could impact your treatment in an emergency

    ...Medical personnel will be aware of your condition in the event of an emergency. In an emergency, many patients cannot speak for themselves. Proper diagnoses in the first few minutes are critical for proper treatment as symptoms in an emergency situation from common maladies may easily be misdiagnosed. In an emergency, medically audited Medic Alert IDs provide accurate life saving medical information.

  • Book Em Danno
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Yes Me the Lousy Cop


    Well Mr. Citizen, I guess you have me figured out. I seem to fit neatly into the category you place me in. I'm stereotyped, characterized, standardized, classified, grouped, and always typical. I'm the lousy cop. Unfortunately, the reverse isn't true. I can never figure you out.

    From birth you teach your children that I am the bogeyman, and then you're shocked when they identify me with my traditional enemy, the criminal. You accuse me of coddling juveniles, until I catch your kid doing something. You may take an hour for lunch, and have several coffee breaks each day, but point me out as a loafer if you see me having just one cup.

    You pride yourself on your polished manners, but think nothing of interrupting my meals at noon with your troubles. You raise hell about the guy who cuts you off in traffic, but let me catch you doing the same thing and I'm picking on you. You know all the traffic laws, but never got a single ticket you deserved. You shout foul if you observe me driving fast enroute to an emergency call, but literally raise hell if I take more than ten seconds responding to your call!!!

    You call it part of the job if someone strikes me, but it's police brutality if I strike back. You wouldn't think of telling your dentist how to pull a badly decayed tooth, or your doctor how to take out your appendix, but you are always willing to give me a few pointers on law enforcement. You talk to me in a manner and use language that would assure a bloody nose from anyone else, but you expect me to stand and take it without batting an eye.

    You cry, Something has to be done about all the crime! but you can't be bothered with getting involved.

    You've got no use for me at all, but, of course, it's OK if I change a tire for your wife, or deliver your baby in the back seat of my patrol car on the way to the hospital, or save your son's life with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, or work many hours over-time to find your lost daughter.

    So Mr. Citizen, you stand there on your soapbox and rant and rave about the way I do my job, calling me every name in the book, but never stop a minute to think that your property, your family, or maybe your life might depend on one thing, ME, or one if my buddies.

  • Rob
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    After deciding to train their own home grown talent the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has accepted the liability of these incidents on a go forward basis.
    This story has proven what many in the Law Enforcement community in the areas policed by the RNC have said for some time, A University Degree cannot buy you Common Sense!!
    Unfortunately this has not been the opinion of RNC Brass, however incidents like this Will be the Proof injected into the Pudding.....
    It sickens me as a member of the public to continue to watch the RNC Recruits on the pages of the Telegram and on the Television being portrayed as though they are receiving the best training available!
    The public deserves to be informed that the only accredited Police Cadet Training Program in Atlantic Canada with over a 50 Year successful record in police officer training is the Atlantic Police Academy in Summerside, PEI. The RNC broke away from their relationship with Holland College and the Atlantic Police Academy some three or more years ago.
    The public deserves to know that every officer trained in the Co-operative RNC / Memorial University cadet program is ONLY employable with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary! There is not a police force in Canada that will hire a Newfoundland Cop trained by the RNC at Memorial!!
    Up to about 2006 every officer employed at the RNC received their training from the Atlantic Police Academy or came to the RNC via a lateral entry from the RCMP program.
    The Fact of the matter is with over 50 years experience in admission and screening of Police Recruit applications
    approximately Only 10% of current Police recruits trained by Memorial and the RNC and currently working on the streets would make the cut and be accepted into the Atlantic Police Academy Police Sciences program.
    I publicly call on the writers at the telegram to follow up on my comments with an investigative report that will most certainly reveal many other anomolies and injustices to the people served by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

  • Bobby
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    About 20 years ago a young man was pulled over by police and because he had a speech impediment and stutter he was taken to jail and accused of impaired driving. He had to clear his name in court because the police officer wasn't educated about physical impairments and didn't have the essential ability to listen and understand. It was an unnecessarily stressful event in this young man's life!
    Can you imagine a life where it is already difficult to communicate on the most basic level, even with your own family? How scary this must have been for him!

  • Linda
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    I was horrified when I read the story. The memory of this incident will be with that family for years to come, especially the young man. I hope the RNC will go above and beyond their duty to build up the trust that was taken away from Dane that night. Good luck Dane!

  • Labradorian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Never read sooo much police bashing, give it up! these are you kids who became polimen and women not mosters, not perfect, just doing the best they can. If you want perfection read a
    fairy Tale.

    Leave it Alone, so many other improtant things going on right now, and this is not one.

  • Cheri
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    For Puzzled to say that Dane got off lucky tells me that he/she knows very little about what it's like to have Autism or has no direct experience dealing with such a condition. Not much different than dealing with the RNC on this issue. Dane wouldn't have been much better off in Puzzled's hands perhaps.
    Our 11 yr old has Autism, and luck doesn't play into it anywhere at all. There are so few people in our lives who can deal with our son that we lead a very isolated life, getting a babysitter and going out to a movie is a foreign concept to us. Another thing: based on how my son carries himself or behaves in public I could see this same type of misunderstaning happening. It's a wake up call for sure. Dane is 18 yrs old, I imagine he likes to be treated his age and likes to go rent movies, as is his right as a human being. As another comment stated, he's not a dog to have tied on in the yard. All I can do is pray that by the time our son reaches that age, things will have changed and more people will have been educated: puzzled and the RNC being only 2 of many who need it. Otherwise I'll be as over-bearing and over-protective then as I am now.

  • Mary
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    I hope that Dane is able to move beyond his experience. The real diability here is with the police who assaulted Dane. There is good and bad everywhere and there a people who should not be police. I'm sure they'll use every excuse to justify what they did, but in the end it was wrong regardless. Dane should have been allowed to call home. Anyone can tell from his appearance, as his Mom stated, that he has some problem. We know now it is Autism. It wouldn't matter if it was Epilepsy or something else, the police officers in this incident were off base in their handling of the situation. They should be charged and given community service with young people of different disabilities and fined or suspended without pay for two weeks. This may sound harsh, but what they did to Dane was much worse.

  • Tina
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    I am wondering if the young boy was manhandled by any of the guards at the lockup. He may have mistaken the guards for the police. Some of them I am sure can be just as bad

  • san
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Ok, I wrote a comment and then read everything else. I still can't believe that there is so much police bashing. Everyone is referring to drunk maybe the word should be impared...which does't necessarily mean booze. So, there would be no smell of booze if there had been some form of drugs involved...Anyone thinking of that???? I dont' think so. This is very simple. Everyday, the police are faced with men and woman of every race, size and age and mental ability. They saw a young man late at night on the street, acting in a matter that was not fitting someone normal for lack of a better word. If any of you were walking on that same street or driving on that street, you'd probably wonder too. Why is he staggering or walking in the middle of the street as reported. IF Dane was able to verbalize his disability he would have, he didn't so he must not have been able to. He was offered a phone call, however according to law, which the police were following, it was to a lawyer not mommy!! We dont' hear about the weirdo's the police have to deal with day in and day out. To be bashing them becasue of this is shameful. As someone wrote above, some adults with autism would beat their head off a wall if in that situation....so a medic alert bracelet is certainly needed for this condition or any condition where a person can not clearly identify there medical condition. As for a privacy issue as someone else said,,,the family isnt' too concerned about that, are they.

  • You Have
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Time for a little more training for the RNC. They need to understand that not everyone walking the street is a drunk like they might like to think. Basic human rights come into play here, and it seems these rights have been violated in this case.

    If we want police to have respect, then police must treat those they serve with the same respect. Some do, while a few do not. It is the ones that do not that need to be weeded out before they take a life.

  • Devil's Advocate
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Wait a minute... an article on CBC.Ca stated that Dane said he wasn't upset at all. How come now all of a sudden he'll 'never get over it'? Methinks someone is thinking about a lawsuit.

  • July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    san to from st. john's, nl you just described everyone I see walking down the street every single day.

    Are you suggesting marshal law next ?

  • Drew
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Odd...I though the role of police was to keep the public safe not to lord over them. I have a high regard for police too..... when they act in the public good.

    To be quite honest how on earth did they determine he was drunk? I've been drunk, be around drunks, smelled drunks and in order to be drunk there needs to be alcohol.

    I'd like to see these offices called to account for their actions so they can wear the shame of their wrong doing. Do either of them have a child? much less one with a disability? The poor child wanted to call his mother and you swear at him. SHAME SHAME SHAME on you!

    Here is an idea, go pick up the dirtbags, drug dealers and thieves and bring them to the lockup and leave peace abiding citizens in that...peace.

  • RNC
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Can we say RNC Damage Control. The RNC knows just what this would cost them if these people wanted to take it to the next level. Next time I hope they use this lesson learned to not have any repeats.

    And I think these RNC officers need to be made known. It would put a face to the abusers of those who are clearly at a disability. They should be placed on desk duty and taken to speak out about abuse by those in the workplace, schools and homes. Once an abuser is found we need to control the actions to prevent another event. Failing to do so will only enable them to continue.

  • Butch
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    I was shocked but not surprised when I saw this on NTV News last night. I think most of thes new cops are in fear of their own safety let alone Joe Public's . Go to ANY Tim Hortons and just look at the size of these officers. I saw two female officers the other day having a well deserved break. Both of these little girls must have been fresh out of high school. They were around 5' and maybe 110lbs. If they didn't have a gun, a two way radio, and pepper spray they would be useless. I am 6'2 and 285 lbs. How would one of these ladies wrestle me to the ground and hand cuff me? Probally wouldn't happen. The cops have a hard time getting the public's respect and this incident certainly doesn't help. Cops need brawn and street smarts, not a high score on an S.A.T.

  • T
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    I believe this whole story to be a sad one. I feel for this poor boy and what he went through. I think instead of pointing fingers and blaming we all should take the time to appreciate the fact that this young boy is safe and increase our knowledge and awareness of autism.
    Being a parent of an 18 year old I would like to say that if my child was staggering around drunk, I think the last person he would want to call would be me.
    I do pray that these officers are truly sorry for this situation and are willing to increase their knowledge.
    To Diane, protect your son always because no one else will!! God bless!!!

  • AmazedInAlberta
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Likewise, I experienced the cruel and derogotory behaviours by the RNC to both myself and my family. I, unfortunatly, did not report it, as I was scared. I just kept my mouth shut and did as I was told, and still have nightmares and scares about the whole ordeal. Not to mention the impact it has had on the rest of my family. I will certainly keep you and your son in my prayers....

  • wayne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    quote: she was not his Godd** babysitter.

    they're not only non medical trained but they seem to have no potty training either.

    i work with autistic adults and know some who if placed in the same situation would probably kill themselves from head banging on the cell wall.

  • Rich
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    If this is the practise of the RNC, they should have to put a bus on for the downtown area for weekend nights.

  • mike
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Frist off, I do know alot of good cops in this town and hope this doesnt paint the whole force with the same brush. However, far to many officers, both new recruits and seasoned vets simply do not have the atributes or maturity to deal with the public.

  • Puzzled
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    While I am compassionate about this story, I do have to wonder.......... If Dane is autistic to the point his actions could be observed as that of a drunk indivudal, should he have been out, alone doing whatever it was he was doing when the police picked him up? Remember, the lock up took him in as well, so this now was not just the officiers. There are two sides to the story, it will be interesting to see what the officier can say to recount this story. I am by no means stating that I think this was proper, however, was Dane completely innocent? Did he put up a fight? He has come back and detailed that he was treated badly, but becasue of his condition, could not at the time of arrest justify what he was doing. Again, should he have been out alone with no support or defense on that day/night? Additionally, did he take a breathalizer test? Those results, and his actions that night should tell the tale. I do not think an officer should have to appologize for doing their job, given the Chief has already offered his appolgy the family had to deal with this. If this was a person who did not suffer from this condition, public attention like this would not be happening. If he showed the signs and resisted arrest, but was let go and not charged, the officer must have done their job right (aside from the apparent foul language and hasrsh treatment, which is a differnt case) and in the long run Dane has gotten off lucky. On top of this, IT IS NOT JUST THE OFFICERS! The lock up staff would need to be questioned too, if both parties determind his actions and state cause for punishment then really, we need to look at what fight he was putting up as well.

    Again, I am not saying the officers were right nor am I saying this was correct. I am reminding all, including the familiy that have taken this to the media that once the two sides of the story merge (potentially) a very honest and understanding story may unfold.

  • Calvin
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Ok Puzzled From NL , did you read your comment before you posted it? Sure there are 2 sides to every story, but police mistaking someone with a disability for someone drunk? The only way that could happen is if the person were drunk, and police have not said yet that there was any alcohol testing of any kind. I know if I were arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct (or whatever the reason for the arrest was) I would demand to be tested, and I think you would too. Also, maybe the young man being arrested here resisted arrest because he didn not know what he was being arrested for. The same saying Think before you speak can also be applied to written comments, you may want to try that next time.

  • San
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Of course this is a terrible thing to happen...to anyone. HOWEVER, Do any of us know the difference between a person with autism? Doesn't it even take time for Dr.'s to diagnose? And a police officer is expected to see it in the dark in the street? Come on people. It has nothing to do with ignorance. It has everything to do with communication. And Dane would have been able to communicate this had he been wearing a medic alert bracelet. Anyone with any kind of disability should have one and be taught to point to it should when in trouble. Even if the police were educated about autism, wouldn't it still take time for them to determine if they were dealing with a metal handicap, or a drug user or a drunk? Of course it would. I think the public are being way too unfair to the police. From his photo's Dane looks like a big boy, even if the police suspected a mental disability, lets face it, some mentally disabled could also get violent.
    A medic alert bracelet would have avoided this. Why don't he have one? They are designed to help, and if my child had anykind of medical problem, be it autism or diabetes, she would be wearing one.

  • Julie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    I think a big part of the problem here is that the new police studies program at MUN has actally lowered the requirements for acceptance so much to meet the new More Female requirements set out by the Department of Justice, that more and more unsatisfactory candidates are getting in. And No, I am not picking on female officers. I'm all for equal opportunity and if you can do the job you have every right to be there. I am picking on the people who are getting in that just aren't cut out to be productive, effective police officers. I can guarantee the criteria and training is nothing like what the more experienced officers received at Holland College. Unfortuantely, I suspect we will be having more and more incidents like these happening with newer, unexperienced police officers. A lot of these cadets are coming out with inflated egos thinking they are the only ones in the world that know anything.I have close friends that work with the RNC and it's scary to see some of the people that are getting into the program.

  • George
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    All you people who think some high school drop-out in a 'roid rage' is going to pay attention to or even know what a medic-alert
    bracelet is, think again. The police forces in this country need mandatory drug testing, especially for steroids. Too much of this kind of nonsense is happening right across Canada and its time police forces have some serious civilian oversight.

  • Doug
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    If the new program at MUN is turning out so-called police officers who can't figure out if someone is in fact drunk or perhaps dealing with some other issue then the entire program and everyone it is cranking out are a complete failure.

    I would imagine that this was a case of some rookie cop who was in such a rush to run home to tell mom and dad that she made her first arrest, that she couldn't take the time to actually figure out what the situation was. Look mom, no hands!!!

    This begs the question of how often does this sort of thing happen to other innocent people who might not have such an obvious condition to deal with. How many people are roughed up by these thugs and then released with nothing more than an oops, sorry excuse.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    The officers involved in this situation should be made to take sensitivity training and meet this young man again to personally apologize. That being said, I am sure that they are deeply regretful of their actions.

    This unfortunate occurrence probably could have been avoided if the autistic gentleman had been wearing a medic alert bracelet. I hope that parents of developmentally challenged individuals will read this story and obtain a medic alert bracelet for their children as well.

    The mother of this young man does not want the names of the officers to become public and I think that is a very mature and positive decision to make. She should be commended for her patience and understanding.

  • July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    towny girl from Newfoundland - wow that was ignorant. You clearly demonstrated not a clue. I guess you've applied to the RNC.

  • Concerned
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    I feel the parents are to blame in this situation, they should have taken the responsiblity of ensuring this childs safety. 18 years of age or not, if he is too sick and innocent to be arrested for abnormal behaviour, and resisting arrest he should not be wandering busy streets late at night, alone. He seesm to be of sound mind, being able to reocunt exactly what happened to him- apparently, meaning he should be treated and repremanded for his actions!

  • Michelle
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    My heart goes out to you and your son. I can't imagine how you must be feeling right now. I know alot of RNC officers and I'm willing to bet that it was first or second year cops who arrested your son, becuase most of the new ones are on this super power trip and think they own everything and everyone here. I've had situations in the last couple where I've needed help from the RNC, and instead of helping, they turned the other way and completely ignored my problem or simply said, there's nothing we can do for you.
    Mrs. Spurrell, don't let this slide by, do whatever you can to make sure they pay for what they put your son through. That was cruel and unusual punishment and no one especially not someone who is Autistic should have to go through that.

  • concerned
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH SOCIETY?????????????

    To the RNC, Correctional officers, and the public....

    EDUCATE YOURSELVES WITH ATUISM.....
    1 in 150 children are diagnosed yearly, on the Autism Spectrum. Autism is a neurological disorder, characterized by impaired social interaction and communication with the presence of unusual behaviors and interests. Currently, there is no cure for Autism.

    This is a complete embarrassment to society as a whole, that our authority has the incompetence of understanding the difference between Autism, and Alcoholism. I have a 5 year old Autistic son, and it hurts to know that our law enforcement (and society for that matter) has not been trained or educated enough, in situations such as dealing with individuals with different disabilities. Perhaps if they followed their procedure of testing for alcohol in his body, they would have quickly realized this young man was in fact NOT drunk. Why was he not given the opportunity to call his mother? Isn't that a person's right when they are arrested? My heart truly goes out to this young man, and hopefully, with the help of his family and friends, he will overcome this. Not only have the RNC embarrassed this young man, they have also embarrassed me as a parent. Knowing that if my child is ever walking the street by himself, that he will not be protected.
    This is truly unacceptable. A couple of months ago, another incident happened with the RNC and a young autistic man downtown, St. John's. Some teenagers stole items belonging to this man, and when his father came to pick him up, he asked a uniformed officer if they would do anything about these teenagers taking his son's things... they said there was nothing they could do... The father later found the teenagers and went back to the police officer and they said there was nothing they could do, and if he tried to do something himself, like taking the things back, HE could get charged for assault.

    A police officer going to this young man's house to apologize, will look good for his reputation, and the enforcement as a whole, but it will not take back the fact that people he looked up to, trusted to take care of him in his time of need, people he thought would be there for him if he was ever in trouble... have emotionally abused, and traumatized this man, more than likely for the rest of his life. Just because he is Autistic, does NOT mean he does not know what is happening around him. He just may not be able to communicate it, as you or I would. Just because people with Autism are unique, does NOT mean they are not human. They have the same rights as you and I. Yet, they are being pushed to the side, because they do not fit in mainstream society . It's time for people to step up and face the facts... Autism is NOT going away... accept them for who they are, they are truly great people, you can actually learn a lot from them.

    To the person who said that this young man should not have been out by himself that night. Clearly you are not educated enough about this disorder, and it's people like you that sicken me, by making uneducated comments such as yours. What gives you the right to say that he should be followed closely, or can, and can't go to places by himself? He is not an animal, nor should he be locked away. I think it was great that he went to the movie store, picked out a movie he liked, paid for it, and was on his way home, all by himself!! Great job Dane!!!!!

    As for Teed M, arguing about medical bracelets, They ARE used for people with autism. Not every autistic person is the same, some talk, some don't. If you have ever read a pamphlet for medical alert bracelets, you would quickly realize that there is one, specifically for people with Autism. While no this was not a MEDICAL emergency, the law enforcement would have noticed a bracelet, while cuffing him.. (or maybe they would have missed that too, just like they assumed he was drunk). What would happen if he couldn't talk? Would he be treated more harshly? While yes everyone is entitled to their privacy, how do you explain people with disorders such as what you've stated, wearing bracelets? How can you state that medical personnel would know if someone is autistic? Autism is not a look they have, it's not an action they do. They have a communication problem.
    Again, educate yourself with Autism, clearly come of you, have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to this disorder. And until you do, these situations will keep happening and society will keep pushing these people to the side, and they are the one's suffering.

  • sherri
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    This situation is soooooo not right. I guess they never had anything better to do or hardly had any calls that night so they had to pick someone up.Bullshit they thought he was drunk.....when they spoke to him they would have smelled alcohol off him.

  • Kim
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    I think this is an absolutely shocking story! Maybe next time your son goes out he should have i.d or a medical bracelet stating that he has autism so this dont happen again. I feel for you & your son. I cannot imagine what you must have been feeling when you couldnt find your son. I hope everything gets better and your son recovers from this horrible incident. Take Care

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    I just read the comment from Teed M from St.John's. I commented earlier about the need of a medic alert bracelet. I guess I should have done my homework before I made an assumption. Thanks for the information. I think this young man's parents have everything under control. I am still confused, however, as to why this young man was not able to communicate with the police that he had Autism. I haven't had much experience dealing with autistic individuals and I'm guessing that I'm not the only reader asking the same question. I'll follow up on this page so I would appreciate any insight so we can be better educated.

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    If in fact that comment regarding not being your GD babysitter was actually used the
    officer involved should be forced to go
    face to face with this family and apologize
    Great attitude from an RNC officer, same
    old attitude, job goes to their head.

  • laura
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Concerned from NL :.. you say He seesm to be of sound mind, being able to reocunt exactly what happened to him- apparently, meaning he should be treated and repremanded for his actions! ... so what exactly is he to be repremanded for?.. for being autistic?.. what you say is so irrelevant, its just funny!.. this young man goes out for whatever it is he was doing.. and because the police assume hes drunk, that gives them the right to mistreat him? ( because no human being should be treated ignorantly, regardless of what their job is, if they dont like they're job, quit!!, people do have rights.).. they should have taken the correct procedures to positively correct their judgement, clearly those procedures were NOt performed. i work with disabled and handicapped people, most of them you wouldn't know were in any shape or form, disabled or handicapped, but if i didnt know, and i assumed a person was drunk, i wouldnt just go by what i saw, or what i heard.. there are procedures to follow , if not followed correctly, then thats where the problems arise!...
    therefore, i do believe it was a human error, not an honest one.. because i do see that ignorance did play a huge factor as well... but none the less a mistake.. and proper training should be a priority for sure!... butt.. to finish this.. i must say there are actually 3 sides to every story.. one side, the other side.. and lastly... the truth!!

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Everybody is quick to judge the actions of the police. I would like to know how many good things they do compared to the isolated 'negative' incidents. Ask yourself, would you really want to deal with the people that the RNC have to deal with on a daily basis? Drunks, wife abusers, addicts, thieves, etc. How many of us could do that same job without an occasional error? I hope everyone who is complaining about the horrible training, skills and judgement of the RNC dial a different number when they need help. Maybe try Open Line?

  • parent
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    I'm siding with the RNC on this one. Based on the CBC story I saw, indications were that Dane was walking somewhat erratic (abnormal) in the street, a busy street at that (commonwealth ave) in the later hours of Saturday night. If I were an RNC officier, I would draw the same conclusion, a teenager hopped up on something about to be hit by a car, so lets get him off the street for his own safety. He says he wants to call his Mom-Kid gets caught being intoxicate and is scared....Good call by the RNC. On the CBC story Dane says he went to the video store at about 11:30pm just before the store closed. I feel the parents are mostly to blame here. If you have an Autistic Child, would you let them go out by themselves at 11-11:30pm on a Saturday night, knowing they are going to be in a busy area? Please the RNC are not to blame here, It was just an unfortunate occurance, but the parents are the root to this one. I hope the RNC officers do not get a reprimand for this, they were just doing their job....no I'm not a RNC officier or any peace officer.

  • DB
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    For the people who side with police maybe you are touched just a little.Don't they have devices to tell the if someone is drunk, DUH its called a breathalizer people and it's time they learned how to use them.Oh also if he had enough booze in him to be drunk don't you think you could smell it off him.

  • Shocked
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    For the sake of Dane, these officers should be compassionate enough to understand they must apologize to him to help alleviate the future fear he will carry with him the rest of his life (and that he will share with others). If they can't see understand this, they're uncaring thugs (who should be removed in handcuffs off the street, ruffed up for fun and have their civil rights arbitrarily suspended like they did to Dane).

    Years ago we locked up people with disabilities in a dungeon on Signal Hill. Are we back to that again ?

  • ME
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    It's time to get the REAL DRUNKS/TRASH OFF THE STREETS!!

  • Rick
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    As a father with an 18 yr old autistic son, I feel so sorry for the family. I would be totally horrified if this happened to my son. I would demand a face to face meeting with this officer.

    My son could be mistaken like this boy if he was observed by a police officer. My son is 6'1 and 200 pounds. If he was treated like this kid, it would impact him for years and all the effort we have done to make him more part of the community would have been destroyed if he were subjected to this same treatment from this officer.

    The RNC should put their community team to work here an offer to meet some of the families with autism. I would feel so much better if the RNC had some sort of registration or allow us to drop by and give them information on my son's condition.

  • Man
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Ok first off the RNC say he was drunk in public, if so was he on his way home, and if they thought he was why didn't they offer him a ride? Second, again if he was drunk as they say and he was minding his own business why did they arrest him he was on his way home, and third why did they not give him a breathalizer. So if your out to a party and you are drinking and you decide to walk home and sober up a bit the RNC will arrest you. I know my comment does not have much to do with the ignorance of the RNC's ability to recoganize someone with Autisum, but more with there bully tactics. I mean they had no probaly cause to arrest this man. They came up on him thinking he was drunk in public but yet there was no calls to police saying if he was making a disturbance.

  • Brett
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    I would hope that if I had an 18 year old son who was found (supposedly) drunk and walking in the middle of the road, the police would determine who his parents are and call me themselves!!!! This is ridiculous... both the fact that he was taken into custody as result of his condition, and that he begged to contact his parents and was denied. He was under the legal drinking age. So even if they believed him to be drunk, their first priority should have been to get him home safely, not to the lock-up. This has diminished my faith that the police would do what they could to protect my own children, should they wind up in trouble. At the very least, formal reprimands should be issued to the arresting officers and the lock-up staff.

  • towny girl
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    Newfoundlanders are too sensitive. Obviously, you all have for too much time on your hands. You all get so worked up over the slightest things! Take it easy, sit down, enjoy life (I know that's not too easy to do in Newfoundland because I was born and raised there for 24 years) and have a glass of wine. Yes, that's it... sue sue and sue again. What in the world is that going to do?? Try being a better parent and don't let your child out if he's so sick. Really... get a grip on reality Newfoundland and god forbid... the police... doing their job... what a nerve! Please, give me a break! You're all pathetic!

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Everyone remember, police are human and they make mistakes just like every one of you and me. You can all be Monday morning quarterbacks and think you would have done different but you probaly don't have the full story much like everything else in the media. Albeit this is unfortunate but it doesn't mean the police are on a powertrip or they are brutes, they made a human mistake.

  • Proud Newfoundlander
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    If you're arrested, are you not entitled to a phone call? I think the most basic human rights have been sacrificed here. Even if the RNC picked up some drunk guy who was wandering the streets, he would get a phone call. The fact that it was denied is grounds for legal action.

    For any charges brought against a person, there has to be proof. IE. a sobriety test in this case. A good lawyer would eat this stuff up.

    Perhaps the RNC did Dane a favour. Had they left him alone, he could have potentially been assaulted and traumatized in the wee hours of the morning on Commonwealth Avenue.....oh wait......never mind.....

  • Labradorian
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Mountains out of Molehills........Sh!t happens.

  • Brenda
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    As a grandmother of a 13 yr old grandson with autism and a former Newfoundlander,I am APPALLED at the treatment given to this child. Did the police smell alcohol on his breath,did they give him a breathalizer test??
    IWhat sort of training do these so-called police receive. Just looking at this child should have given them an indication as to what was happening here. He kept asking for his mom ( heart-wrenching ) and taking his lifeline away from him must have terrified him ,as well as ,his mom could not communicate as to his where abouts.
    The policeman is where these kids go for help if needed,now that is lost to them.
    Shame on all of you,God help you all. Even the young children in the schools today have more tolerance for their school mates with disabilities.
    You police would have a different tune if it were one of your children. He was given a cell phone to call his mom,why was he not allowed to use it??
    COWARDLY BULLIES!!!! The schools do not even allow this anymore...
    Too much POWER,not enough THOUGHT.
    Mrs Spurrel,do not let this rest,for the assurance that all autistic children will be safe,take this to a higher level. Just the fact that a policewoman said she was not his GD babysitter tells me that that she was a very callous person and not a help to the public,unreal!!!
    All those years of therapy killed by your Friendly Neighbourhood Policeman