Family of Dead Autistic Teen Demand Answers From Fulton County Police

The family says Bojangles employees beat AJ and threw chairs at him before he died.

Amanda Cooper
November 25, 2019 - 11:55 pm

Tonight, a prayer vigil was held for a 19-year-old autistic teen who died after being restrained by several police officers.

AJ Mitchell
(Photo Credit: A.J. Mitchell's Family)

The family of Anthony Jermaine “AJ” Mitchell says the recent Rockdale High School grad went to Bojangles on Fulton Industrial Blvd Saturday, November 16th, 2019, around 9:30 pm to purchase dinner for his family.

Family of Dead Autistic Teen Demands Answers From Fulton County Police
(Photo Credit: A.J. Mitchell's Family)

According to his mother, Shanita Swanson, the family just moved to South Fulton County from Conyers three weeks ago, and her son had a history of wondering to familiar places like Bojangles. Swanson says her son was a friendly face, and he would sit in the restaurant and draw quietly. She also shared if he became angry, the management or the local police would contact her, and she would come and pick him up. 

Family attorney Michael Harper, told WAOK News Reporter Amanda Cooper, the night of his death, AJ went to the Bojangles and attempted to purchase food, but his debit card was denied. Harper says the family was told that an altercation occurred between AJ and four restaurant employees and they learned from social media, employees repeatedly beat AJ and threw chairs at him which they believe caused him to suffer internal bleeding, facial swelling, and severe facial lacerations.

Fulton County Police were called to the scene and several officers used excessive force to restrain AJ on the ground. The family provided WAOK with a short video that shows AJ's face down on the concrete parking lot with a white cloth bag over his head. 

Family of Dead Autistic Teen Demands Answers From Fulton County Police
(Photo Credit: A.J. Mitchell's Family)

AJ’s mother, Shanita Swanson, says upon arrival, she immediately informed the officers that her son was autistic and attempted to calm the frightened young man. Swanson says Grady EMS was also called to treat AJ’s injuries but did not treat him after learning that she was an EMT. She claims they asked her to take him home, where he later died in her arms. 

The family is asking for anyone who witnessed what happened inside the Bojangles to please call 404-965-3565.