ALBION, MI (WWMT/CNN) - Following the firing of a Michigan officer in February, body camera footage showing the man hitting and using pepper spray on a mentally ill teenager has emerged.
The Albion Public Safety officer was fired following an investigation into the November 2018 incident in which he repeatedly punched a handcuffed 13-year-old boy, known to have a mental illness, in the back of a police SUV.
Moments later, the same officer can be seen on body camera footage pepper spraying the boy.
Eusebio Solis, an attorney who represented the 13-year-old during criminal proceedings, says it's unfair that the boy was incarcerated following the incident while the officer was not.
"Given the video, they should have authorized a criminal complaint against the officer,” Solis said.
The county found no reason to charge the officer. However, the Albion Department of Public Safety fired him, saying he violated several department policies.
"It should only get to that point if you’re being assaulted and you’re fighting in self-defense. But if you have a 13-year-old kid, who is handcuffed with his hands behind his back, is laying on his back, has no way of protecting himself, it should not. The officer just lost his temper,” Solis said.
Solis says he feels the officers were poorly prepared to handle a child with a mental illness.
"They had been to his home numerous times. They were familiar with him, but more importantly, they were familiar with his mental condition. So, he should not have been treated as a criminal. He should have been treated as a patient,” Solis said.
The 13-year-old has been in a juvenile detention facility for several months.
Neither the teenager nor the officer involved in the incident has been identified.