LAPD says it trains officers how to deal with autistic people

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Los Angeles Police officials say they began providing training on how to deal with people with autism long before two officers shot and killed an autistic man over the weekend.

LAPD officials say they began working with the Autism Society of America three years ago, and started a one-hour course for officers in 2008.

That periodic training focuses on helping officers understand how to deal with an autistic person in the field.

Officials said about 2,500 members of the department had completed the training. They could not say whether the two officers who shot and killed an autistic man in Koreatown on Saturday had received the training.

The anti-gang officers say they had believed Steven Eugene Washington, 27, was grabbing for a gun when he reached toward his waistband. He was unarmed.

His family said he was not a violent man and, because of his autism, was often afraid of strangers.

The ACLU has called for a review of the LAPD’s policies.