TEMPLE, Texas – The Temple Police Department reviews the actions of an officer after a 30-year-old man with autism said that a police officer attacked him, simply for walking the street, and then took him stopped.
Police told KXXV that around 7:30 p.m. On Wednesday, they received a call about a man entering and leaving traffic. The woman who reported the man, identified as Sergei Hall, said he was acting erratically.
Officials said the woman said she was leaving Planet Fitness when she saw Hall and feared for her safety. As she left the parking lot, she said that Hall walked past his car and stopped, making it brake quickly so as not to hit it.
But Hall said he was standing just around the corner, waiting to cross the road to buy a sweet tea, when the officer came and scared him.
Police said the officer asked Hall to withdraw from the intersection so that he could speak to him, but instead Hall walked away and set off. It was then that the officer caught him.
“It sort of just threw me against the ground and my face, my face hit the hard ground like, my face smashed the ground,” said Hall. “I told the officer that I wanted to go home, and that it was not my fault, and he told me that I had to go to jail last night.”
Hall was reserved to escape arrest.
“It makes me feel like I want more people to understand me,” said Hall.
The Temple Police Department released a statement on the arrest, saying that the officer, identified as Jacob Perkins, was concerned that Hall would be hit by a car because it was dark and there was heavy traffic.
Under Samuel Allen’s law, which came into effect last September, anyone with a communication problem such as autism, deafness, or Asperger’s syndrome can register with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The initiative puts a code on license plates to avoid miscommunication with officers. A written note from a doctor is required.
Hall told KXXV that he doesn’t have the distinction with DMV, but he still has a puzzle piece with him to let people know he has autism.
The puzzle piece is a well-known symbol of autism.
Hall’s family says they are working to get body camera images from the police to find out exactly what happened during the arrest.
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