Brevard County Sheriff releases video of tasing incident; experts weigh in

Brevard County Sheriff's Office released a new video of the 911 response involving an autistic man in Cocoa. 

In the new dash camera video, you can see deputies approach 23-year-old Jarquez Johnson who appears to hold a knife. According to the case report provided by the sheriff's office, deputies were responding to a report of a disturbance off Lake Circle. In the video, you can hear deputies call Johnson to drop the knife, and neighbors alert deputies that he has autism before he is tased and detained. 

Not everyone in that community agrees with that response. 

"I was yelling and telling the police to get the hell off of him. He has special needs," said Teena Crawford. 

Johnson was detained in her yard.

However, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey stands behind the deputies' response. 

"When my team does wrong, I'm going to personally hold them accountable. But, when they do right and in this particular case - exactly right," said Ivey in a video posted to Facebook. 

Ivey points to his deputies' previous mandatory training on ‘Mentally Ill and Substance Impaired Individuals’ and their actions in the video. 

"Deputies give repeated commands to drop the knife," said Ivey, "Also witness deputies holster their firearms." 

RELATED: Mother demands answers after Taser was used by deputies on son with autism

"To be honest, I didn't see anything wrong with what they did," said Dr. David Thomas, Department of Justice Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University. 

Retired Law Enforcement Official Dr. David Thomas helps trains current law enforcement officers. He says even though Johnson has autism - he appeared to have a knife, so that changes things. 

But, Autism Advocates wonder if more could have been done before the taser was deployed. 

Stacey Hoaglund with Autism Society of Florida says in the response curriculum created for the state, officers and deputies are advised that people with Autism may need more time to understand what you're asking. Depending on their diagnosis this could involve switching from verbal commands to physical cues or cutting off patrol vehicle lights if the person has sensory processing difficulties. 

Hoaglund says the 911 call is alarming, but in the video shared she doesn't believe Johnson understood what was happening.  

"They never know what they're going to get, so we understand they have to go on the side of caution because they don't know," said Hoaglund, "If I would say anything, I wish they would have taken a moment to turn down the lights, quiet the situation, and give him extra time to process." 

RELATED: Video: Florida sheriff says man with autism was holding knife before deputies Tased him

In the original case report provided, deputies said they weren't able to find the knife at the scene while a crowd was forming. The same report also says deputies didn't find the knife on Johnson. 

The newly released dash camera shows a different account. Dr. Thomas says that while he agrees with the process used to detain Johnson, missing evidence is important. 

"Report was clear - large crowd and couldn't find the knife. My question is if it was a shooting or stabbing, would you not do the same thing and collect evidence? That evidence is paramount to everything you did," said Thomas, "Only complaint I have is you did not collect evidence. The sheriff may have a different perspective." 

Dr. Thomas says this incident could be a tipping point for perspective in the community. 

"Guys have to get out and spend time in the community if they aren't. Need to talk to people, so people understand who they are and get it - they have a job to do," said Dr. Thomas,"When that happens a lot of this dissension and divisiveness stops." 

FOX 35 News did reach out to the sheriff's office to get more information about its use of force policy and mandatory training.

FOX 35 did also reach out to the Johnson family for additional comment.