Teen hospitalized after confrontation with police

July 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A 16-year-old is in the hospital after a violent confrontation with Santa Clara police. His family is outraged, but officers say they were forced to act.

A 16-year-old is in the hospital after a violent confrontation with Santa Clara police. His family is outraged, but officers say they were forced to act.

Austin Calhoun is being treated for swelling on his brain, the result of a drunken show-down with authorities early Sunday morning.

"He was in ICU and he had had brain surgery for a clot to be removed off his brain from blunt force trauma is what they said it was," Austin's father Mark Calhoun said.

The trauma happened after Austin left a party intoxicated. He wandered to a fire station near Homestead Road and Kiely Boulevard and called 911. Several officers responded.

"They found a young man out in public holding a knife to his throat," Santa Clara Police Capt. Phil Cooke said.

Cooke says a negotiator was called in, but police were forced to act when Austin came toward officers. They fired two rubber projectiles. Austin fell to the ground and was handcuffed, but his dad says that wasn't all.

"They released the dog on him and it bit his left shoulder and tore up and down his back," Mark Calhoun said.

Austin was brought to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

"Sometimes he knows who I am, sometimes he doesn't, he doesn't know what year it is," Mark Calhoun said.

Doctors removed part of Austin's skull to alleviate swelling. It is uncertain how much brain damage he may have suffered. His family believes police used too much force and wants answers.

"I don't think they were trying to hurt him, I just don't know why when someone's asking for help that they end up almost dying," Mark Calhoun said.

"It's a very dangerous situation when you have somebody, you know, threatening to harm themselves with a knife out in public and then actually moves in an aggressive manner towards the officers," Cooke said. "We think they showed great restraint and utilizing the devices they had rather than resorting to deadly force."

Austin is now breathing on his own, but it is unclear how well he is going to recover.

Police are still investigating.

Mark Calhoun is looking for any surveillance video that may have captured the incident.


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