To All my Friends and Family, I need your help. Some of you know and some of you don’t, but my 17 year year old son,…
As seen on video, a police officer in the city of Vacaville, California threw a 17-year-old autistic boy to the ground, and punched him.
“I don’t believe that Preston will ever trust a police officer again,” father Adam Wolf wrote on Facebook Thursday. “I am pro police, but I am not pro ABUSE! This individual and department must be held accountable for their actions. NO child, disability or not, deserves to be treated like this.”
Wolf told CBS 42 that another teen tried to pick a fight with his son Preston.
“My son picked up a piece of metal or a metal pole off of the ground to defend himself, and I was told that an older gentleman intervened,” he said. Preston went to play with a neighbor. He did not know cops had been called.
Wolf said in his Facebook statement that in the Wednesday incident, the officer in question screamed at his son, and “moved aggressively” toward him.
As seen in the top video, the officer approached Preston, telling him to sit down. The official picked up the teen’s scooter, and threw it aside. He repeatedly ordered him to “kick your legs out.” Preston stood, and began to get away, but the officer grabbed him, and slammed him to the ground.
“The officer went to touch Preston, at which point Preston moves away,” Wolf wrote. “At this point, Preston was confused and afraid and moves away from the officer even more. At that point the officer felt it was a good idea to THROW Preston to the ground.”
In the top video, the officer manhandled the teen, telling him to put his hands behind his back. He punched him in the head.
“You’re going to get hurt,” said the officer. “Don’t make me hurt you more. Don’t make me hurt you more.” Other officers arrived at the scene.
Adam Wolf told CBS 42 that police detained his son for an hour, brought him home bruised and terrified, and tried to make him sign a citation.
Josh Bartholomew‘s Ring camera captured the incident. He said he saw the officer punch Preston in the face, and he tried to tell him that the teen had special needs.
“The officer at that time had the opportunity to deescalate the situation, and he chose to escalate the situation in a manner that resulted in Preston, in my opinion, being assaulted,” he said.
Vacaville police are investigating. In a statement, Acting Police Chief Ian Schmutzler suggested that the officer in question did not know Preston was on the autism spectrum. From his statement:
I want to assure you all that myself and the department’s leadership are taking this matter seriously and FULLY investigating any and all aspects of this incident, from the initial call of someone actively “being stabbed” to the descriptions provided by witnesses, the knowledge of a pipe or knife being involved, as well as the officer’s response, communication with other officers who were at the original scene, and all of the other questions that need answering.
Multiple people have asked if the arresting officer knew that the suspect had special needs. In the dispatch audio, there is a conversation between a dispatcher and a different officer (who was not on the scene) who asked whether the suspect was “Preston.” Our preliminary review of the available video and radio traffic indicates the arresting officer did not have prior knowledge that the suspect was an individual with special needs. We are in the process of confirming the time stamps of those various sources so we have an accurate timeline of the events of the incident.
[Screengrab via Adam Wolf]
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