Home / Badge Abuse / Body Cam Shows the Danger Faced by Innocent Autistic People When Approached by Bully Cops

Body Cam Shows the Danger Faced by Innocent Autistic People When Approached by Bully Cops

Kodiak, AK – On Wednesday, September 16, 28-year-old Nicholas Pletnikoff was checking his mail when he was approached by Kodiak police Officers Phillip Christman, Kathleen Gambling and Sergeant Francis de la Fuente. The encounter resulted in an incident that many community members are calling a case of excessive force.

According to Police, the officers were responding to a report of a man breaking into cars when they approached the 28-year-old autistic man. As officer Christman noted in his report,

“On approached [sic], I yelled for the subject to stop or I would pepper spray him. I then saw it was Nicholas Pletnikoff, who I recognized from personal contacts, and put my pepper spray away and pulled my handcuffs out to try to detain him.”

Instead of attempting to de-escalate the situation with a man, who the officer knew was mentally disabled, he proceeded to grab Pletnikoff when he didn’t answer their questions. Nicholas, most likely not fully understanding the situation due to his disability, exercised a natural human reaction by resisting his kidnapper. Unfortunately, when your would-be attackers wear a badge, there is always a guaranteed escalation of force.

In response to him failing to immediately submit to their authority, officers quickly tackled Nicholas, repeatedly drove his head into the pavement and, after a brief struggle, deemed it necessary to pepper spray the innocent, autistic man.

After police failed to respond to their inquiries, Nicholas’ family hired attorney Josh Fitzgerald. On Thursday, a judge ordered Kodiak police to release the video of the incident in response to a lawsuit filed by the family.

Below is the video, which police had previously refused to release. Notice how the officer asks him for ID, despite knowing that he is Nick Pletnikoff. The screams of “I’m sorry” and “I want to go home” are horrifyingly similar to the video of Kelly Thomas.

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A second video shows the tense aftermath when officers are confronted by Nicholas’ mother Judy Pletnikoff, who immediately instructs the officers to remove the handcuffs from her son and informs them that she is taking him home.

Although Nicholas was subjected to this level of force at the hands of police, he was not charged with any crime. City officials also stated that an investigation into the incident determined that the officers acted “professionally” and the level of force used was “minimal and necessary under the circumstances in order to maintain officer and community safety.”

Following this act of police violence, local resident Brent Watkins responded by staging a silent protest in front of the Kodiak police station holding a sign that stated simply “Heroes don’t beat up handicap kids.” When reached for comment Watkins remarked of Nicholas,

“Oh, he’s a heck of a kid. Always pleasant, always ready to say ‘hi,’ greets you if he knows you. But he can’t express himself really well, and that’s where things went south.”

Judy Pletnikoff has also been vocal about her displeasure with the way her son was treated. When asked about Nicholas’ condition following the incident she said,

“He’s afraid. Definitely afraid of figures of authority and figures in the police. He’s definitely changed by it. But my biggest concerns is how to get him back to his former considerate, reasonable, happy self.”

This act of senseless violence is far from an isolated incident. In June of 2015, police were caught on video using a mentally ill man as “batting practice” repeatedly thrashing him with a torrent of baton strikes.

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In addition to brutalizing the disabled, police have also become notorious for immediately resorting to deadly force when they confront mentally challenged individuals. Just last month we reported on the story of Michael Noel, whose mother had called 911 for medical help for her schizophrenic son, only for police to arrive and tragically gun him down.

The truly staggering numbers behind this trend were recently exposed by  the Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center in their study, Overlooked in the Undercounted: The Role of Mental Illness in Fatal Law Enforcement Encounters. This shocking report found that the mentally ill have a 1,600% higher chance of being killed by police than average citizens.

Until Police are required to obtain training in dealing with the mentally disabled, this horrible trend will persist. It is time for us to demand a higher standard for ALL public servants.

Johnny Liberty is a researcher and investigative journalist. You can follow him on twitter @LibertyUnltd

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  • “It’s long been rumored amongst law enforcement critics, but did you know that police departments officially disqualify high-scoring applicants? That’s not to say that all cops are stupid… Just that if you’re too smart, the police simply won’t hire you.

    The policy became solidified as a concrete federal ruling almost a decade and a half ago with little fanfare from the mainstream media. Back in 1999, a Federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by a police applicant who was barred from the New London, Connecticut police force. The reason for the disqualification was literally because he had scored “too high” on an intelligence test. The department made it clear, they didn’t want the bottom of the barrel in terms of intelligence, but they didn’t want anyone “too smart” either.”


  • I’m not watching this video b/c I can’t handle graphic stuff, but what I DO know is that this unnecessary bullying from officers to citizens needs to STOP. Deaf people have gotten shot b/c cops thought they weren’t obeying orders; now autistic people… and I’m not EVEN going into the skin color factor b/c it’s not what this particular article is about but that too….
    If this were my son, I’d sue the sh** out of them. Police are being trained as though they work for the goddamn gestapo.

  • Well it’s not as bad as people getting murdered and beaten by police.

  • A couple of Thugs.
    Or pricks.
    Both work.

  • More roid rage dickheads.

  • first you will have to teach them that they are public servents and not heroes to be worshiped,.

  • It’s so sad that the officer tells the mother that “they” don’t choke people, but at the one minute mark you can clearly see his hands around the person’s neck and also that he didn’t know her son, but clearly one of the other officers did and probably knew of his condition and could have easily spoke up and told him…hey this is so and so he has autism, let’s approach this a different way :(… its so sad that they can’t even admit when they’re wrong, when they’re wrong… no accountability whatsoever…that tells you a lot about a persons character !!!

  • This POS knew he was wrong but didn’t even have the decency to apologize. Thats why they’re never going to have my respect

  • Your daughter must be so proud of your action, 3 grown men on him and they had to pepper spray him?

  • Don’t worry, they are just planting seeds of disillusion for the masses, waking more people than they are indoctrinating.
    Ultimately,a good thing.

  • It’s a shame the police are so ready to bully everyone who doesn’t bow to them.

    • That’s why you suck up your pride, treat them with respect, and bow to them. They are just cops and live in another universe. It’s not like you’re bowing down to your best friend and kissing their ass.

  • if you notice the police always take id etc from the folks they talk to. here is the mother and brother given their details? they are gonna be witnesses unknowingly “against” their own son should they make a claim against the so called police corporation for their crime,s of harm and injury to a Human.

  • He died!

  • This is just sick.. I have some experience in dealing with autistic individuals.. for the most part they simply don’t process things the way a so-called ‘normal’ person would.. It’s too bad that compassion doesn’t seem to be a requirement for those who are in the ‘public service’..

  • That’s gonna require a 4 year degree

  • What the FUCK is happening??? We are getting to the point where every time there is an encounter with Law Enforcement they react as if every person they confront is a possible Gang Member or Terrorist? Then their Superiors and the Legal System that is supposed to Impartially make sure Laws and Proper Procedures are followed side with the Officers/ I have spent decades defending Officers to my peers because the job they do is very very hard but!!! This is turning into Stanley Kubricks “A Clockwork Orange”

  • Power to the PEOPLE!! All people.

  • It’s always the weak who are mistreated. Nobody dares to mistreat a stonger person.

  • What do you expect,eh

  • disgusting

  • I guess they hire all the cops that stupid

  • After watching the full video, I have to say I really cannot criticize this particular cop.

  • Just more asshole cops fucking with helpless people sad part is the mother fuckers know it and enjoy doing it. they also love to watch you squirm once they have you in the syatem..

  • Revolution is the only way

  • kaynash

    That’s not ‘excessive force’ – that is assault.

    • James Michael

      Actually aggravated battery and false imprisonment not to mention treason of oath….

  • Mike Moose

    that cops a loser

  • Mycosyco


  • ben dover


  • dufas_duck

    No matter what the truth is, the police will give themselves a pass, it never fails… Police policy is to break things and kill people…

  • James Michael

    Funny, I thought aggravated assault and battery, false imprisonment, kidnapping, treason and terrorism were crimes? Did I miss something here?

  • peter baker

    I just fixed your final comment.

    “Until Police are required to obtain training in dealing with everyone, this horrible trend will persist. It is time for us to demand a higher standard for ALL public servants.”

  • CharlieWaters5050

    I am autistic. This is not unusual. I have dealt with police abuses all my life. This last false arrest was all I could take, now I have to fight back. I am asking you to please help.


  • dmprisk

    I’m glad Mom told them what for.