Video footage captures police punching teen with autism
The video was captured by a Ring video security system
A Ring video security system captured an interaction on April 21 where police in Vacaville, California used physical force against a teenager with autism.
According to Fox 40, 17-year-old Preston was slammed and repeatedly punched in the face by local authorities. The boy’s father Adam Wolf said his son was defending himself after another teenager confronted him. He informed the outlet his son has autism and ADHD and is fearful about what the violent interaction means for his attempt to enjoy the outdoors and other people in the future.
“I just want my son to be able to play and interact with people and not be bullied,” said Wolf to Fox 40. “He loves playing with people and meeting new people, but we feel like now he can’t do that.”
According to the report, the other child involved, an unidentified 16-year-old, was first confronted by officers. Vacaville police did not say whether the 16-year-old had any injuries. The father said the boy attempted to pick a fight with Preston, so he picked up a metal pipe in self-defense as an older gentleman intervened. Preston left the scene, unaware the police were looking for him at the time.
According to Wolf, the police said they were responding to reports of a stabbing. Once police located Preston, the situation escalated. In the video, an officer warned, “you are going to get hurt. Don’t make me hurt you more.”
Josh Bartholomew, the owner of the Ring device, spoke out about what happened.
“Yeah, it was the most horrendous thing I’ve ever witnessed from a police officer in my city,” Bartholomew said to the news outlet. His five-year-old son also witnessed the violent encounter. “I came out of the house, I stood right there and that’s when I saw the officer actually strike Preston in the face.”
Wolf shared the video footage on Facebook, hoping for it to go viral.
“To All my Friends and Family, I need your help. Some of you know and some of you don’t, but my 17 year old son, Preston, has Autism and ADHD. He looks and acts younger than he is. Everyone he meets, thinks he is younger than he is. On April 21st at approximately 2:30 pm Preston was Aggressively approached by a Vacaville, California police officer,” he wrote.
“My son became fearful, as would any child with Autism. The officer went to touch Preston, at which point Preston moves away. 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. Once on the ground, the officer climbed on top of Preston and PUNCHED him in the face. All of this was witnessed by multiple neighbors and caught on video.”
Vacaville Police Department Acting Chief Ian Schmutzler issued a statement to CBS News: “We are scouring the dispatch recordings, body-worn camera video, Ring camera video and any other visual or audio evidence we can find,” Schmutzler said.
He continued, “I want to assure you that I do NOT take this circumstance lightly and that I am dedicated to doing all I can to ensure accountability and transparency as we examine ALL aspects of this incident.”
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