Family calls for accountability after Eustis officers tased man with autism

Chief Craig Capri says incident is unfortunate, but officers did everything by the book

EUSTIS, Fla. – A family is calling for accountability from Eustis police, who tased their loved one with autism.

The incident occurred after police responded to a call about an attempted burglary in a Eustis neighborhood Saturday afternoon.

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Police released body camera footage Wednesday, showing the struggle between officers and 20-year-old Louis Graihai.

You can hear police yelling commands on the video, found below.

“Dude, get on your stomach. I don’t want to have to do it again! Get on your stomach,” said officers, after tasing Graihai.

The woman who called police thought Graihai was trying to break in to her home after he approached her.

The woman said, “I heard him… I think he was trying to open it. I don’t know if he was slamming it, but I heard the doorknob on the door shaking.”

Authorities searched for the suspect who attempted to break into her home and found Graihai, who did not respond to any commands from police when they attempted to stop him.

It wasn’t until Graihai’s family arrived that police gleaned Graihai was diagnosed with severe autism.

“I been trying to get them to put a sign up that my child is disabled. It’s a disable child that stay on this road,” Graihai’s mother said in the video.

The family told News 6 Graihai has the mental capacity of a young child, can’t speak and has to wear a diaper, and police, who have responded to calls in the area previously, should’ve known a disabled man lived in the neighborhood.

News 6 spoke with Chief Craig Capri who said his officers did everything by the book in this type of situation.

“I wish we would have known this gentleman was autistic, but you are making split second decisions based on information you are receiving… I think they did a great jo by de-escalating and not using excessive force in this situation,” Chief Capri said.

Chief Capri added although this ordeal was unfortunate, it could’ve been avoided.

“We reverted to our training on how to responded to a situation. I think the bigger question is the supervision of the severely autistic gentleman. There should’ve been better supervision in place,” Chief Capri continued.

Graihai did suffer some injuries from being arrested, but he has since been released from the hospital, officials said.

Eustis police said going forward they will be looking into additional training and noting those with disabilities in surrounding neighborhoods so this doesn’t happen again.

About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.