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Police Refuse To Press Charges Against Man With Autism Who Grabbed A 3-Year-Old & Put His Mouth On His – 'Why Did You Let Him Get So Close To Your Kiddo?'

Photo: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock; TikTok
police refuse charges on autistic man

A viral video sparked a heated debate online when a bystander recorded a dispute between two families who were met with serious consequences for leaving their kids unsupervised.

Police denied a family's wish to press charges against a man with autism who grabbed a 3-year-old by the neck and kissed him.

In a now-deleted two-part video, TikTok user @fatimasrz.original filmed an altercation between two families and law enforcement after a 19-year-old autistic man forced himself on a 3-year-old boy at a playground.

The video was reposted by a TikTok account that showcases videos of what is going on around the world.



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The first part of the clip captures a little boy walking towards a relative who protectively hoists the child on her hip. Seconds later, a man in a blue shirt and two police officers emerge from the other side of the playground. 

“Who’s the little one? Is this the little guy?” the man asked. “Look, this guy’s autistic, okay? He did not try to kiss your child,” he began explaining but was shut down by the boy’s family who told the man that they had to wipe off saliva from the 3-year-old’s mouth.

The woman holding the child subsequently tried to empathize with the 19-year-old’s disability, saying, “Okay, I understand he’s on the spectrum and everything, we understand that completely. My point here is this cannot keep happening.” 

The man quickly tried assuring the woman that this is the first time this had ever happened. To that, she said, “Well, if it hasn't happened before, then this is the first time and we cannot let it keep happening. There’s kids that are here by themselves all the time, and yes, okay, maybe their parents could, you know, be watching them. And they thought we were, but [the 19-year-old] had his hands around his neck. He is three years old.” 

She added, “We understand he’s on the spectrum [but] somebody needs to be watching him. I don’t care.” Defensively, the man replied, “I’m trying to apologize to you right now, and I just told you that I’m sorry,” further adding, “If he tried to kiss your child, then he is sorry. He has never done that in the history of 20 years.”

Other members of the boy’s family chimed in with, “You think it’s safe for all the kids? You tell me that. You tell me that.”

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The once “respectful conversation” eventually turned into a series of overlapping arguments that prompted one female police officer to interject. “I am talking now and you will listen,” she asserted, taking the opportunity to break down the varied experiences among those with special needs. 

“So every special kid has different levels of what they can and cannot do. I have special needs friends that drive cars. I also [know] special needs kids that have constant attention, okay. These parents are trying to explain that in his history, this has never happened before, and they are extremely apologetic,” the officer explained.

“But to tell these parents that they need to keep an eye on their son 24/7 is about as good as telling you, ‘Don’t ever let this child out of your sight, even if he’s in another room watching TV.’”

While the officers claimed to understand both sides of the situation, it became clear to viewers that their bias favored the autistic man’s family. 

Photo: @fatimasrz.original / TikTok

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As the altercation progressed, the woman expressed fears that the situation was likely to happen again regarding the 19-year-old’s actions and pleaded with his caretakers to keep an eye on him; however, the female police officer was determined to play devil’s advocate. 

“Don’t tell somebody else how to parent their child,” the officer stated. “You were here watching your child. Why did you let him get that close to your kiddo?” Jaws dropped by the police officer’s insensitive remark.

In the second video (also now deleted), other bystanders jump in to defend the little boy’s family as a result of the police officers’ seemingly one-sided perspective. Unfortunately, there was no positive outcome for either family as suggested at the end of the recording.

Many people in the comments were frustrated with the officers’ biased way of handling the situation.

One user wrote, “The police are taking the parents word that it’s his FIRST time!! You need to file a report on the kid and the police.”

“Please press charges. I’m so sorry this happened. The parents and the police are gaslighting you,” said another. 

“What difference does it make if it was his first time?” another user chimed. “That cop questioning why u let him get close to your child was way out of line! File complaint.”

Some people claimed that the officers’ bias came from a place of racism against the little boy and his family who are brown Latin Americans. “They tried to justify it because [the 19-year-old] was white. If it was a [child of color] it would have been a different story.”

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Others defended the autistic man for not knowing any better due to his disability.

“Clearly some of you have NEVER been around or have taken care of a child/adult with special needs and it shows,” someone said. “Accidents happen no matter what age!!”

Someone also commented, “Idk why people keep saying press charges. [It is an] unfortunate event but people really need to do more research on autism.”

“I understand the parents' frustration, I'd be livid. But what the cop said is absolutely correct too. It is not easy parenting a special needs person,” another concluded.

As some comments mentioned, parenting someone with autism has its set of challenges. In a lot of cases, many (though not all) people with autism have a harder time protecting themselves from dangerous scenarios while their primary caretakers are not present.

Yet, it is also possible in other instances that a person with autism can be the perpetrator of a situation they may not have a total understanding over. Though, that is not to say everyone on the autism spectrum lacks a sense of right and wrong, but some may need additional support.

This issue, however, has urged folks to question whether or not an autism diagnosis excuses the 19-year-old’s inappropriate behavior towards the toddler. The simple answer is no. At 19 years old, one is still considered an adult despite being autistic.

As one user noted, it’s unlikely that the 3-year-old would have an understanding of autism, much less the situation itself, only that they’d been touched in a way that made them uncomfortable. So in times like these, it is the safety and well-being of the child that would take precedence.

Nevertheless, these issues are never easy to navigate, but things would have been a lot easier if everyone had just watched their kids in the first place.

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Xiomara Demarchi is a writer based in New York covering human interest topics for YourTango’s news and entertainment team. Keep up with them on Instagram.