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

"You just Tased an autistic kid, bro!"

An emotional video is making its way around social media after a neighbor recorded what happened in their Cocoa, Florida neighborhood.

On Dec. 22, Brevard County deputies responded to 4022 Lake Circle after a 911 caller reported seeing a man with a knife. When deputies arrived, they said they found Jarquez Johnson walking around the property, moving his right hand up and down several times.

The case report reads, "One deputy told Johnson several times to drop the knife, as they addressed him at gunpoint. Johnson did not drop the knife nor did he respond to any of the verbal commands." 

After several commands, they Tased him, after which he dropped to the ground and was placed in handcuffs. In the video, you can hear the neighbor, Teena Crawford, screaming at deputies for several minutes, "He has autism!"

A knife was never recovered.

Crawford spoke to FOX 35 News and said Johnson was actually on the way to her house to visit. She told us Johnson isn't the type of person to have a weapon on him.

"I was standing there when they were looking for it [knife] and I'm shaking my head. This can't be right," Crawford said.

Not only did the whole interaction have some people upset, but it also has some questioning why the use of force was needed, if no knife was found.

"If there's no object, and you're saying those words to justify your use of force, then I have a problem with what happened," David Thomas, professor at Florida Gulf Coast University said. He has worked in law enforcement, and said there are two sides to this. 

Even though people may be screaming in the background, Thomas said, "You can't really listen to what people have to say, because your focus is on dealing with this subject, whatever that may be." However, he did emphasize, "What bothers me is that they used the Taser, but they didn't recover a knife."

Jarquez Johnson's mom, Tiffany, said Jarquez was known in the community. She said he is now terrified of the police.

"He's afraid of the police officers now, when he sees a patrol car, he just goes in his room and stays there until they're gone," she said.

Tiffany did file a formal complaint with the sheriff's office but hasn't heard back on the status. She told FOX 35 News she would like to see deputies be equipped with body cameras, something they currently do not have.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey was not in office to comment on this incident.