On July 19, 2017, exactly one year from the accidental drowning death of 7 year old Alexis Wartena, her parents Michael Wartena and Michael Tiffany Stewart, have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Amarillo Police Officers who they allege mentally tortured them, wrongly accused them of murder and prevented them from searching for their autistic daughter.
According to the Wartena family attorney, Jesse Quackenbush, “[W]hat happened to the family was atrocious and amounted to nothing less than government sponsored torture.” Quackenbush was hired by the family shortly after the parents were forced into detention and interrogation and their children were taken away by Child Protective Services. Quackenbush immediately contacted Amarillo Police Department and demanded the return of his client’s belongings and children. A few days later, the children were released from custody and the family returned to California with the cremated remains of Alexis.
“This whole situation could have been avoided had Amarillo Police Department invested the time and effort into training its first responders about the realities of autistic children and their known behavior when they go missing, including being attracted to water. Instead, we have untrained officers exacerbating the problem with their ignorance and hellbent inclinations to act like thugs with tunnel vision,” according to Quackenbush.
Quackenbush also stated, “training is absolutely free through the National Autism Association. Yet, a year has passed and APD has done absolutely nothing. Perhaps this lawsuit will motivate the Mayor and City Council to take action to prevent future deaths of autistic children who go missing.”
Click here to see the official Media Announcement.
Click here to see the Original Complaint.
Click here to see the Wartena Family’s Notice of Claim against APD and City of Amarillo sent October 6, 2016.
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Tagged Alexis Wartena, Amarillo Globe News, Amarillo Local News, Amarillo News, Amarillo Police Department, Anniversary, APD, California, Child Protective Services, City Council, City of Amarillo, Civil Rights, Civil Rights Violations, Lieutenant Scott Chappell, Mayor, Media Announcement, Michael Tiffany Stewart, Michael Wartena, National Autism Association, Northern District of Texas, Original Complaint, Paul Harpole, Press Release, Sergeant Chris Sheffield, Sergeant Thomas Callahan, Texas Tort Claims, TX Tort Claims Act, US Constitution, Wartena, Wartena Family,