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Very Real

Body Cam Video Shows Texas Cops Tasering A Teen With Autism In His Own Backyard

“I'm just a normal kid,” said Michael Moore, 19, to the police.

By Samira Sadeque

Body camera footage has emerged showing Graham, Texas police tasering a teenager who has autism.

The incident took place on June 26, when someone reportedly called the police, complaining that their neighbor, 19-year-old Michael Moore, was throwing rocks in their backyard.

The body camera footage was released by Graham police on July 12 and shows Moore being taken down violently. The body cam falls to the ground, after which threats of a taser and Moore's screaming are audible.

The police were not aware that Moore has autism, and had mistakenly thought he was high on drugs, according to WFAA, a Dallas-based ABC News affiliate.

"It really doesn't take long conversing with him to figure out he has a disability," Tracie Moore, Michael Moore’s mother, told WFAA earlier this month. "Now, he has a busted blood vessel in his eye. He had scratches and abrasions on both sides of his face."

Police say Moore was first seen running away, according to the initial WFAA report. In the video released on the Graham Police Department’s Youtube account, the first officer is seen driving up to the property where Moore approaches him. 

The officer asks Moore if he has any identification on him, to which Moore says “no.” Moore appears to become agitated. When the officer asks him if he’s under influence of any substance, Moore says that he isn't, and that he's “just a normal kid.”

At different points throughout their conversation, Moore says “I’m sorry” to the officer.

The officer then conducts a sobriety test on Moore. During this, another officer joins him, according to a second video released by Graham Police Department.

When they try to arrest him, Moore screams “I’m sorry,” while one of the officers is briefly seen holding him in a chokehold.
“Put your hand behind your back,” one of the officers says loudly, before warning Moore that he was “about to get tasered.”

Moore is heard calling for his mother, and screaming in pain while repeating “I’m sorry.”

The 911 call responder had reportedly been notified that Moore had a “mental disability” but that information was not passed on to officers, WFAA reported.

Later in the video, one of the officers is heard saying, “That’s what I’m thinking ... I’m thinking he might be ... maybe mental.”

Moore’s mother told WFAA that it’s pretty well known in their small town of less than 9,000 that he is autistic.

When the officers are seen speaking to her later in the video, they tell her, “We don’t know who he is, we’ve never dealt with him before.”

Tracie Moore said she was out of earshot of the whole incident, and was in total shock. "It could've all been avoided," she told WFAA.

Moore was not arrested or charged, WFAA reported, and his family later took him to the hospital to treat injuries to his face and right eye.

The Graham Police Department defended the officers’ actions, with a statement released on July 12 on its Facebook page: “It is our opinion that our officer made a judgement [sic] call based on the limited information available, as the job forces them to do every day.”

This is the only statement the police department is releasing, an official told Oxygen.com.

Moore’s family is considering legal actions against the department, according to the initial WFAA report.

[Photo: A screenshot from the video by Graham Police Department shows an officer grabbing Michael Moore. By Graham Police Department]