Eric Parsa

Photo of Eric Parsa, a chubby teenage boy with light skin and dark hair in a buzz cut. He is smiling awkwardly for the camera. His T-shirt is red. He is leaning against a woman off to the left of the frame.Name: Eric Parsa.
Died: January 20, 2020.
Age at death: 16.
Cause of death: Suffocation in restraint.
Location: Metairie, Louisiana, USA.

High-schooler Eric liked going to Laser Tag. The staff there knew and liked him and tried to interact with him as much as they could, because they knew it was good social skills practice for him. He especially liked the bumper cars and the bowling alley.

Eric was at Laser Tag when he had a severe meltdown after an argument with his father. He began hitting himself and shoving and biting his father. Someone called the police, and the police pinned the teen down. Several large men knelt on his back, keeping Eric from breathing. Despite multiple opportunities to let him up and put him into the recovery position so he could breathe, police pinned him down for seven to nine minutes. When they finally checked on him, he was no longer breathing and could not be revived.

Video of the incident shows a typical autistic meltdown, with the teenager pushing and slapping at people nearby. The police perform a “take-down”, slamming him into the ground hard and restraining him in a prone position. This risks both head injury and suffocation.

Police are blaming Eric’s death on “excited delirium”; Eric’s parents are suing. “Never did we ever think that our 16-year-old son with special needs would die in front of our eyes at this age and in the hands of law enforcement,” his mother says. “Unfortunately, it is our reality of a nightmare.”

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One thought on “Eric Parsa

  1. I am parent of a special needs child, and I most certainly feel the loss of this family. To conclude that this was a homicide, however, is premature and judgmental to a fault. We cannot be so hasty and ignorant in some ill-placed desire to place blame and garner emotional support. To memorialize this without conclusive facts is irresponsible and reprehensible.


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