Mother Wants Answers After Autistic Son is Struck by Police

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

JONESVILLE -- Jonesville mother Kristen Kolodie is still livid.

"You do not hit an eight-year-old with a baton -- twice," she told News 10 on Friday.

Kolodie met with Hillsdale County Intermediate School District officials to figure out what exactly happened to her autistic son Eli.

And she says they weren't taking much responsibility.

"Their stance is that it was 100 percent the responsibility of the police department, and once they entered the scene their job was done and they could step back," she said.

According to Kolodie, Eli took off running from the playground of Williams Elementary on Tuesday. Two school officials caught up to him.

And when police arrived, she says those officials stood by as the chief struck Eli with a baton and placed him in handcuffs to try to calm him down.

"They're the experts," Kolodie said. "They're the ones that we trusted our son with. And even when police arrived, they should've stood up. They should've done something."

She told school officials she wants additional training for staff, and wants any 911 caller from the school to specify if the child has development delays. She also asked school officials to install a fence around the playground.

And she still can't understand why the police chief went as far as he did.

He told us over the phone Thursday he did what was necessary to get the child under control.

Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth says it's exactly because of situations like these that he puts his officers through autism training.

"It's serious because these people aren't always able to control what's going on inside their own body, so we have to be compassionate in that we handle them properly," the sheriff said.

And he added striking an autistic person should be a very last resort -- especially with an eight-year-old.

Michigan State Police will be conducting an independent investigation of Tuesday's incident.

The superintendent of Hillsdale County ISD said his staff will also be conducting a full review of the case, and will change protocol if needed.


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