JP was 33 and had traveled to York College to ask about enrolling in a course. Once done he spoke with a group of girls and gave them a hug. A misunderstanding followed the hug. When JP boarded a bus to meet his mother, two police officers boarded after him and arrested JP for sexual assault – a crime he didn’t comprehend. He explained that he had Aspergers syndrome and presented his alert card. They held him for a solid six hours.
Thankfully the charges were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service. However the incident has left JP with post-traumatic stress disorder, causing his mother to plead for better police interactions with those on the autism spectrum. His mother told news outlet The Northern Echo that:
“From our experience it is clear there needs to be improvements in the way police deal with those with autism, particularly those who identify their condition and for whom detention in a cell for a long period of time can cause significant issues.”
The specialist lawyer who won the settlement, Fiona McGhie, agreed, adding that there should be training for all police officers. Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwich said that not only have they apologized, but that they have introduced more autism awareness training for all officers and staff.
Source: Mark Foster on the Northern Echo website: Police apologise after payout to autistic man