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Racial Harassment Alleged During Arrest of Autistic Teen

Posted: 06/28/10 12:36 PM ET

The disturbing case of Reginald Cornelius Latson, the autistic young man arrested in Virginia last month, has taken an even more disturbing turn. His mother, Lisa Alexander, told an internet-based radio audience Sunday night that Stafford County deputies used racist slurs against her son when they stopped and arrested him May 24.

Reginald, whom his family calls Neli, is diagnosed with Asperger's. He described the events of May 24 to his mother, who took notes, during her visit to the Western State Hospital in Staunton, VA. Neli was sent to the facility by a judge for a psychiatric evaluation and treatment, after 11 days in an isolated jail cell following his arrest.

Neli was the subject of a manhunt after a caller reportedly told police that a subject who "possibly has a gun" was sitting in front of a library. Police also responded by locking down eight area schools.

Neli said he was first approached by a Stafford County sheriff deputy behind a high school, and was searched without incident. After no weapon was found, Neli told his mother, this is what the deputy said:

How is your mom? Did she find her baby daddy yet? Don't worry champ, keep hope alive (pumps fist in air), bet your grandma still hasn't found her baby daddy yet. What is she, 100 years old? Maybe she should call Tyrone and find out. Maybe you should go on Maurey and find out who your daddy is. Your dad is probably sitting on the corner at the liquor store drinking. I have a dream that one day all the little black boys and little black girls will know who their father is. I have a dream that one day all black fathers will stop running out on their whores to go rob a bank. I bet you all are glad that Barack Obama is president now. You get to get free fried chicken. You can rob a bank and get away with it. Maybe now dog fighting will not be illegal. He should have went to jail longer.


Barack Obama is going to turn the White House into a strip club and call it the nigger house. He's going to paint the White House black and put strippers on top of it. Don't get me wrong, I love me a black bitch every now and then. But that's not what the White House is about. Oh, I forget, it's called the nigger house. How's a baboon going to know how to run the White House? That's why it's called the White House, not the baboon house. Boy, I remember the good old days when we were cracking the whips on your backs.

The deputy then asked the young man to identify himself. Neli responded "I don't have to tell you my name. You're a racist, I know my rights, and you're harassing me." Then he turned and walked away. The deputy, according to Neli, grabbed him from behind and choked him. A scuffle ensued during which Neli was tased and pepper sprayed. Police said Neli took the pepper spray from the deputy and sprayed him with it. The deputy reportedly broke his ankle during the altercation for which he required surgery.

According to the official Stafford County Sheriff Department version of the incident, Neli escaped and evaded capture for 45 minutes. He was spotted shortly before 10 a.m. near the same high school. Neli said that when he was arrested, he was thrown to the ground and kicked. He said "I didn't do anything wrong!" The officers responded "You don't have to do anything wrong. Welcome to Stafford County."

Neli told his mother that after he was handcuffed, the police spit in his face and called him a nigger. One said to him "I will blow your fucking head off, nigger."

As Neli sat handcuffed in the squad car, the deputies allegedly taunted him further: "Nigger's going to jail. Nigger's going to jail. Oh yeah, you can make a Snoop Dog rap song about that."

Neli said the deputies manhandled him as they were putting him in the squad car. They bent his neck, and tried to slam the car door on his ankle. More taunting occurred during the ride to the station house, where he was interrogated. During the questioning, investigators tried to coerce Neli into admitting he had a gun. Neli made no such admission, and no gun has been found.

The Stafford County Sheriff Department has not returned emails or phone calls for this story.

In another strange twist, Neli's mother says two deputies appeared at her door last last night who said they had an arrest warrant for her son. "I told them that Neli was already in custody. They just stood there, then asked to come in. I refused." She said the deputies never produced a warrant, and left without incident.

Lisa Alexander says her son has an exceptional recall of events, and it is unlikely he could have fabricated his version of the arrest.

Neli faces one count of malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer, one count of assault and battery of a law enforcement officer, and one count of knowingly disarming a police officer in performance of his official duties. He is scheduled to be released from a state mental hospital in two weeks, and returned to police custody.

Cross-posted at AutismNewsBeat.com

Porter Library, where Reginald Latson was reportedly sitting in the grass on the morning of May 24. A 911 caller allegedly told police the young man was "possibly in possession of a gun". No gun has been found, and it is unclear whether the caller claimed to have seen one. The call triggered a lock down of eight area schools, and a manhunt. by sheriff deputies.
 

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