School Deputy Fired Over Mistreating Autistic Teen

LARGO (970 WFLA) -- He was dealing with an autistic teenager who had a meltdown. But the Pinellas Sheriff says a school resource deputy is the one who "lost it", his cool and his job, after 22 years as a deputy. 

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri fired Deputy Ural Darling, who served 16 years as school resource deputy at Osceola Middle School, after the parent of the 13 year old  student sent a recorder to school and captured audio of the deputy berating the boy. 

Gualtieri says Darling went over the line when he taunted and yelled at the boy, over an incident in which he threw books at a teacher. 

"Darling... threatened that he was going to take (the boy) into custody under the Baker Act," Gualtieri said, "and said I'm going to have to take you to a mental hospital" for life. 

The boy has the cognitive skills of a first grader and the language skills of a five-year-old. Gualtieri says he asked Darling to explain himself after hearing the recording, and that Darling claimed he had not been trained in handling autistic students. 

The incident was discovered when the boy's mother noticed his behavior was regressing, and hid the audio recording device in his clothes. 

Darling was named the state's top School Resource Officer in 2011. More than 60 school district employees wrote to Gualtieri praising his record as a resource deputy. 

Watch Sheriff Gualtieri's news conference below. 

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