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GRAPHIC: Teen with autism punched by police officer in Calif.

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 1:52 PM EDT
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VACAVILLE, Calif. (KMAX) - A teenager with autism was reportedly punched in the face by a police officer during an altercation caught on video.

“It seemed to have unfolded in a matter of 60 seconds or less,” Adam Wolf said.

His son, 17-year-old Preston Wolf, has had his share of bullies.

Adam Wolf said Preston, who has autism, was being picked on and had allegedly grabbed a metal object to defend himself. The altercation was broken up by a good Samaritan.

It was then that Preston was approached by a police officer who his dad said had received a report of a fight with a deadly weapon.

“The officer got out shouting commands, told him to sit down,” Adam Wolf said. “He got into his face.”

He said Preston feared the officer and tried to run.

“It looks like he was trying to back away because he probably wanted to come home to us,” the father said.

Preston’s actions, however, made things worse.

“When he got up to move, that’s when the officer grabbed him, threw him on the ground,” Adam Wolf said. “And then proceeded to climb on top of him and punch him in his face.”

Preston begged the officer to stop, asking for him to call his parents.

“After that interaction, I doubt he will ever trust another police officer,” the father said. “He said he always thought they were there to help, and he said he doesn’t think that anymore.”

The Vacaville Police Department has reached out to the family.

“We’re very sorry to hear that Preston expressed that,” Sgt. Katie Cardona said. “The officer was not aware the individual was a special needs individual.”

Adam Wolf said that while he considers himself “pro-police,” he finds the actions of that police officer to be unacceptable.

“There needs to be education on how you handle people,” he said. “I don’t care if you have disabilities.”

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