A couple of TikTok videos have gone viral of an autistic and intellectually disabled man being stopped by police for supposedly fleeing a traffic stop.
In videos posted to the user’s page, the user states that she, her mother, and her twin brothers were coming back from a quick shopping trip at the dollar tree. On the way home, they were stopped by police and asked to turn off their car and put the keys on the roof. The user noted that she has never been asked to do this by an officer before. After presenting her license and registration, the user says they were informed that state troopers were on their way, but the family still did not know what was happening. When state troopers arrived on the scene, they asked for the user’s brother, Jimmy, to step out of the car without explaining why.
The videos of the interaction show that the mother was distressed and wanted to make sure her son was safe. She kept referring to his disability and stated that he had an IQ of 76. She and the sister were also trying to reassure the boy that he had done nothing wrong. At this point, the police officers seem to lose their cool with the family.
After more questioning, the police officers concluded that Jimmy was not the individual they were looking for and they let him go. The sister stated that her twin brothers were terrified to go out in public after the incident. She explained that she tried calling the police office to file a complaint, however, the officer who answered the phone was the one who took her brother out of the car.
In a video after the incident, the user posted the video talking about her experience filing a complaint with the local police department. The user talks about how the officer said she and her mother had been overreacting to the event and that the department was sorry she felt like the officers were being rude.
The user then gave context to what happened prior to the stop in another video.
“We were driving away from the Dollar Tree in Kenneth square and I was on Route 1 just past Longwood gardens about to turn onto Route 52, when a Police officer behind me turned her lights on,” she said in a later video. I immediately pulled over into the space that was available right next to the church. The officer got out of the vehicle and told me to turn off my ignition, put my keys on the roof, which was the first time I’ve ever been asked to do that. I did so and gave her my license and registration and she asked me if I knew why I was being pulled over. I said no I didn’t and she said, sarcastically, ‘Oh well you didn’t?’ The she asked for the license of every person in the car, my mother started to get hers out and she explained at that point that both of my brothers were autistic and they did have IDs they could give to her. At that point, she only took my ID and went back to her vehicle. When she came back, she said we have to wait for the state troopers to arrive but did not tell us what we were being investigated for or why we had been pulled over.”
“When the state troopers arrived, they came up on both sides of my vehicle, which is what I expect of state troopers, they’re being cautious. But they looked in the window at my brother Jimmy and then said ‘You need to step out of the vehicle.’ At that point my mother started getting upset and said what are they taking him out of the vehicle for. They told us to stay calm and stay in the car and would not tell us why.
As of Wednesday, she posted that she had muted her comments but that she would update the followers of the story soon when she had more information to report on. The muting was due to commenters arguing in the comments.
Some users were stating the officers were just doing their jobs while others agreed that what the cops did was wrong.
One user stated, “They need to change the way they handle special needs individuals and I agree with your statements 100%.”
“Ignore the hateful people. We know what they did was wrong. There are so many who support you. Praying for you,” another stated. As of now, she said that the family is not looking to press charges.
This video adds to a year already rife with police controversies. Hopefully it is the last.
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