Autistic teen says he was beaten and arrested - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Autistic teen says he was beaten and arrested

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By Melanie Ruberti - bio | email

WILMINGTON ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - A Wilmington Island family is upset, after they say four Tybee Island Police officers beat their autistic son.

A broken tooth, scrapes and bruises and two puncture marks from Tasers are the only reminders Clifford Grevemberg has of his visit to Tybee Island Friday night.

"They literally just beat the heck out of me," he said.

A beating 18-year-old Clifford and his brother, Dario Mariani, said happened after they left the annual Tybee Beach Bum Parade.

They say they stopped to get food at the Rockhouse. Clifford is 18, but couldn't go inside. Instead he sat on the curb. That's when he said the trouble started.

Tybee Police officers asked for his ID twice. The second time he says it turned violent.

"They basically threw me down to the ground," Clifford said. "Before I hit the ground, they Tased me. That's when I lost my tooth."

"I walked back inside for maybe one or two minutes to speak to one of my friends and when I came back outside, Clifford's face was completely bloodied," said Dario. "He was in handcuffs, he had a Taser sticking out of his back and he was screaming for help. He was asking me to help him. All he could do was cry and scream, he was in agony."

Dario said he told the officers repeatedly that Clifford was autistic and has a heart condition.

"They completely disregarded anything I said," said Dario.

Instead, Dario told us officers arrested Clifford and took him to the Tybee Island Jail. Clifford's mom, Nancy Grevemberg, said police couldn't tell them why Clifford had been arrested.

"We could never get a straight answer out of anyone," she said.

"I was thinking, 'What did I do? Am I in trouble or something?' And I was scared. I was traumatized," said Clifford.

Now the family is angry and wants some answers.

"Even if he wasn't a special needs child. Even if he didn't have a heart condition, there's no need for four cops and a Taser. Period," said Dario.

WTOC did call the Tybee Island Police Department numerous times this weekend. They didn't want to talk to us on camera, but said they will issue a statement on the incident Monday.

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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