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Family of teen with autism files $5 million claim against Buckeye police for park incident

Posted at 3:46 PM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-23 20:13:14-05

A Phoenix family has filed a multimillion-dollar claim against the City of Buckeye after an officer mistook a 14-year-old boy with autism for a drug user.

The notice of claim, which is a precursor for a lawsuit, comes six months after Connor Leibel was stopped, detained, and injured by Officer David Grossman in a neighborhood park.

The July 2017 incident at the center of the notice of claim was captured on Grossman’s body camera and made international headlines.

Buckeye Police cleared Grossman of any wrongdoing and said his level of force was justified. The city also created a controversial registry and wristband program for individuals with disabilities.

RELATED: Mom says autistic son's run-in with Buckeye officer was 'excruciating'

Leibel suffered scrapes and bruises from the incident. He also badly injured his ankle needing surgery, the claim said.

After the incident, the Leibel family through an attorney sent Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall a letter with three requests: (1) Grossman apologize face to face (2) Grossman perform community service in the autism community (3) Buckeye institutes autism training for officers.

The letter then said, “If these terms are agreed to first, any financial component of this case will be quickly resolved.”

RELATED: Teen with autism hurt after being detained by Arizona officer

Buckeye ignored the family’s requests, according to the notice of claim.

“So it’s with a heavy heart, and having received no meaningful response or apology from Buckeye to date, that Connor L. and his family are forced to pursue legal action…,” the claim states.