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Jun 10, 2014 12:13 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Autistic man jailed for domestic violence, parents upset he was handcuffed and arrested

TUCSON - A family in Vail is upset with the Pima County Sheriff's Department after their autistic son was arrested and taken to jail.

18 year old Michael Maga is charged with domestic violence and criminal damage.

The man's parents say he didn't harm anyone and the whole ordeal is a big misunderstanding. Maga's mother says she called 911 because her son needed a ride to the hospital not a trip to jail.

Chesia Maga says Monday morning her son was having an autistic meltdown. To prevent harming him or anyone else, she calls paramedics for help getting him to a doctor. Sheriff's deputies showed up too.

"As he was getting into the ambulance two of the Sheriff's deputies tacked him, threw him onto the asphalt, hot asphalt and handcuffed him," says Chesia Maga, "we kept asking what are you doing?"

Chief Deputy Chris Nanos with the Pima County Sheriff's Department says, "it's unfortunate that this young man had to be arrested."

Nanos says the autistic man punched his mother and damaged property at their home. In a case of assault and domestic violence, deputies are mandidated to make an arrest.

"When our deputies arrived on the scene, the father had the boy pinned to the ground because they were trying to control him," says Nanos.

"This young man has a history with domestic violence. Can you expand on that? No, I can tell you law enforcement has dealt with him in the past," said Nanos.

News 4 Tucson asks, "did Michael hurt you?

"No he did not and I said it. Michael smacked me on the back, immediately he said oh mom, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," says Chesia Maga.

The Maga's feels deputies over stepped their boundaries by not listening to their pleas to allow Michael to ride in the ambulance, instead of being handcuffed and going to jail.

Another concern is their ability to see Michael and get his medication to him.

"The police have no training, no concept what they're doing to these children. Number one, restraining them is the worst thing you can do to them," says Michael's dad John Maga.

"He has no idea of where he is or what's going on, all he knows is that he's a criminal, he's locked up in a cage like an animal," he adds.

Nanos says the Sheriff's Department's Mental Health Investigative Support Team or MIST made sure jail staff are aware of Michael's needs, and have extended an invitation for future evaluation at the Crisis Response Center.

"I hope they can get this young man the help he needs," says Nanos.

Michael is scheduled to see a judge late Monday night and afterwards be released to his parents.


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