Racial and Autism Injustice

Racial and Autism

On May 24, 2010, 24-year-old Reginald Cornelius Latson was arrested. The facts of his arrest are still under dispute. Two things we know to be true are that he was sitting outside of a Stafford County library, waiting for it to be open and he has Asperger’s Syndrome.  A full article on this story can be found on the Washington Post.

To sum it up, Authorities gave this account: “About 20 minutes into the search, Deputy Thomas Calverley, the resource officer at a nearby high school, saw Latson and noticed that he matched the description of the suspicious man. Asked for identification, the teenager began “to attack and assault the deputy for no apparent reason.” Latson struck the deputy several times. The officer unloaded pepper spray on the teen, who wrestled the container away and sprayed the officer. Latson then ran. Other officers found Latson in the nearby woods and the deputy on the ground with a head laceration, cuts and a broken ankle that would require surgery.

Latson’s version “He got bored waiting for the library to open, so he left. When the deputy confronted him, Latson submitted to a search. He had no weapon. The deputy addressed him with racial slurs, and the teenager accused the deputy of harassing him. When Latson turned to walk away, the deputy grabbed him from behind and started choking him. Latson was kicked, Tasered and pepper-sprayed before running away.

As a mom of an autistic child, I tend to believe Latson’s (Or Neli‘s, as he is known by his mom) version. In my opinion, I believe that it is very possible that the Police Department is trying to cover their behinds. Latson was admitted into a mental hospital to undergo evaluation. They are now going to send him back to jail. This breaks my heart. Jail is no place for this young man.

Neli’s mom has set up a blog to help get support for her son. She is claiming that this is an issue of racial injustice, as well as injustice to an autistic individual.

A Voice For Neli is her, and her son’s, story. They could use your help. Please stop over and visit their site.

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