December 5, 2005

Autistic 15-Year-Old Tasered At School

Autistic 15-Year-Old Tasered, Arrested At Florida School
November 30, 2005

FT. MYERS, Fla. -- A school resource officer is being accused of excessive force after using a taser on an autistic student. Now, that boy's mother says a misunderstanding has left her child confused and bruised.

Dennis Caliguri, 15, has bruises to show for what happened when he encountered a school resource officer and his taser. Investigators said Dennis was so violent and out of control that it took five faculty members to restrain him and the taser was used to calm him down.

Dennis is autistic and functions at the level of a six-year-old. But at 5'8" tall and 220 pounds, his mother, Susan Caliguri, said he is big but harmless. So she was shocked to get a call from Cypress Lake High School saying he was acting out. When she got to the school, she was horrified.

"It was a nightmare. They had him handcuffed, his legs were tied, he was on the ground. They had four sheriffs on top of him. I mean, he is bruised down his back, they were stunning him and he was already down. He couldn't do anything," she said.

Susan calls it excessive force, but the Lee County Sheriff's Office said the taser was the only way to calm him down.

"The matter is that the deputy, if he is that tired out and he has a fear of being overpowered, his weapon being taken away from him, he has to be able to overpower and be able to take control of the situation," said Charles Ferrante, Lee County Sheriff's Office

School administrators said Dennis got upset after being told not to come to school one day last week. He misunderstood and thought he was in trouble and started throwing papers.

Despite his mother's concerns, Dennis was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace and resisting arrest.


Anonymous said...

Just a reminder, remember the autistic young man who died as a result of being tazered because his care-giver at his group home said he was out of control??? Someone needs to intervene on behalf of those w/ autism. This is all going a bit too far!

Kristjan Wager said...

The whole concept of tazing a child makes me furious. What kind of barbaric person would do that?

Ginger Taylor said...

the Lee County Sheriff's Office said the taser was the only way to calm him down.

...and this statement was not even true.

They could have tried a "beer bottle to the head" or "punching him in the face". Either one of those would have done the job just as well. Plus, you would not have had to waste a bunch of electricity from the stun gun.

Your tax dollars at work.

Wade Rankin said...

"...Dennis was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace and resisting arrest."

I assume the charges demonstrate the philosophy of the sheriff's office that the best defense is a good offense. In fact, they are just compounding arrogance on top of ignorance.

Ginger Taylor said...


Your comment was removed for violating the comments policy.

But you are invited to repost your comments and make your point with out the insults.

Thanks for visiting

Unknown said...

I think it's sad that a disabled child functioning at the level of a six year old could be arrested for throwing paper. I hope the charges against the boy are dropped what they going to charge him for being autistic. This makes me feel ashamed for being disabled and different and it shouldn't be that way it should be people like those cops who feel a shamed of them selves. And the schools should have better ways of dealing with their students without needing to resort to violence they have acted more in a criminal manor than that poor child. Cops should be taught how to deal with disabled people better too before this becomes a more common problem hope to god the parents and the son are all ok after such a sad state of affairs.