January 15, 2015

CC BY by .v1ctor Casale.
CC BY by .v1ctor Casale.

RICHMOND, VA – We recently reported on the case of Reginald “Neli” Latson, 23 who had allegedly assaulted a correctional officer. Governor of Virginia asked to intervene in case involving inmate with autism.

Advocates for both mental health and civil liberties have asked the Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe to intervene in the case. Mr Latson is on the autistic spectrum.

He has been arrested twice in the past, both for assaulting police officers. His supporters claim that this is due to his Autism Spectrum Condition and the ‘fight or flight‘ reaction.

Latson’s troubles with the police began in 2010. He was approached by a police officer,responding to a report of a suspicious person situated outside Stafford County library. Mr Latson, is a young black man and at the time was wearing a hoodie, and he refused to identify himself. The officer grabbed and led him into custody which resulted in Mr Latson hitting him.

Julie M. Carpenter, Mr Latson’s attorney, wrote in her first letter to McAuliffe:

“This is the sort of situation that an autistic young man simply cannot comprehend — he had done nothing wrong and yet the officer was restraining him — and the actions of the officer seemed threatening to Neli because he does not understand social roles the way others do,”

About the author 

Jo Worgan

Jo Worgan is a published author, writer and blogger. She has a degree in English Literature. She writes about life with her youngest son who is on the autistic spectrum. Jo tweets (@mummyworgan) and is also a freelance columnist for the Lancaster Guardian. ‘My Life with Tom, Living With Autism‘ is her second book and a culmination of her blog posts, and available on Kindle now, along with her first book, Life on the Spectrum. The Preschool years.

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