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Teen With Autism Surrenders To Burbank Police For Allegedly Resisting Officer

BURBANK ( —  A teenage boy with autism turned himself in to Burbank police Friday for allegedly resisting an officer during a traffic stop.

In the arms of his family and surrounded by news cameras, the 16-year-old tearfully surrendered to police.

On July 8 around 4:30 p.m., a Burbank police officer pulled the boy's mother over at Burbank Boulevard and Hollywood Way because the teen, sitting in the front passenger seat, was not buckled up.

As the officer was explaining to him that he had to wear a seat belt, "the subject interrupted multiple times with provocative and inflammatory dialogue," according a police press release.

At one point, the teen did put his seat belt on but later removed it and kicked the car door open, hitting the officer in the knees, police said. The boy continued to curse at the officer and said he wanted to fight him, Sgt. Claudio Losacco wrote.

After getting out of the car, the boy advanced toward the officer and told him to pepper spray him, the press release said. "The officer pepper-sprayed the young man. The pepper spray did not have the effect that we had hoped for. And ultimately, the young man was tazed with a Tazer after he struck the officer several times in the head and the upper body," said Losacco.

"Seeing him being arrested is the second most worst thing that could happen to him," the boy's mother, Tawnya Nevarez, said as she wept. "This has been a devastating experience seeing my child on the ground. I was being tazed by a police officer was the worst moment of my life."

The Sherman Oaks teen's family attorney claimed the officer used excessive force, violated the teens civil rights and was not properly trained to handle people with special needs.

"This officer leans his body into the passenger side of the vehicle where her 16-year-old son, who has both autism, ADD, ADHD and some mental health issues," said Areva Martin, civil rights attorney and autism advocate.

The family disputed the police's account of the incident, which was captured on the officer's body audio recorder, and said they were told the boy would not be charged.

But after being hospitalized for a mental-health hold, the teen was booked on three misdemeanors and a felony count of resisting an officer.

Burbank police said it was not its goal to arrest the boy but to get him the help and services he needs.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney will decide whether the teen will be formally charged.

If charged and convicted on all counts, the special-needs teen could face up to seven years in jail.

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