Autistic Man’s ‘Acting Odd’ Lands Him In Jail

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Blake Wimberly lives in the dark, gripped by paranoia.

The 28-year-old hides inside his small Dallas apartment because of fear that police will arrest him wherever he goes.

“I see a cop right there, so that tells me that I should not be going outside not for nothing.”

Wimberly is both autistic and schizophrenic, so he struggles with self-control.

Despite his condition, Blake has progressed enough to live on his own.  But his mother, Lori Lux, says a trip to a grocery store started a downward spiral.  “I see a man who has shut down,” she said.

The incident happened on April 28 at a Whole Foods store on Park Lane.

Police reports say Blake was ‘acting odd,’ leading to customer complaints.

Officers were called, and Blake was told to get out of an unauthorized area or be arrested.  His response to officers was: “No, I have to call my mom.”

That refusal led to Wimberly’s arrest for criminal trespassing even though he wore a medical alert bracelet and told officers about his condition.

“I told them I had autism and he told me basically I was a liar.”

“I asked them repeatedly, was he violent? Did he ever threaten? No, they all told me no he was just odd,” Lux said.

She says she was in the shower when police called her that morning, but no one answered when she called back.

It was more than 12 hours later when she was able to bring Blake home from jail.  “I was mistreated in jail,” Blake said.

“They have just totally turned our lives upside down for no reason,” added Lux.

In a statement, Whole Foods defended the store’s actions, saying Blake was quote, “Running up and down the aisles and repeatedly going into areas of the store that are employee-only.”

A spokesperson says Dallas police officers made the decision alone to take Blake to jail.  Department officials did not return our calls for comment.

Since the arrest, Blake relies on his mother for trips to grocery stores, but still has a compulsion to visit them.

But the experience has made him fearful and reclusive.  “I miss being welcome into places.”

In criminal trespassing cases, DPD officers have the discretion to either issue a citation or make an arrest.  Blake’s family says they are planning to file a lawsuit over what happened.

  • scott

    shame shame dpd what has happed to the pd once were heros now you see them on youtube being fools

    • david7134

      I lived in Dallas long enough to understand several things. First, the area in which this happened is upscale, you don’t do anything in those areas, even dress unusual. Then there is the issue of the cops, there are many areas of Dallas that are no go for the cops. So they have to have something to do and someone to bother. That leaves those that are defenseless and can’t fight back. Thus, the menatlly challenged are fair game as are the prostitutes. Basically if you are a bad guy in Dallas, you have a free ride. This is becoming the norm in the rest of the country. I know they are arresting doctors for giving 60 pills to a post op patient rather than 20 and telling them to go to the ER ($2500 min) to get more.

    • roze

      So Satchmo, because YOU think that gays are “perverts” that gives the cops the right to harass them? Being “perverts” is THEIR business, as long as they are being perverts with a willing participant. God how I despise bad-cop defenders. This man should have never been arrested but instead taken home. Cops aren’t concerned about people’s welfare, their concerned with “getting a conviction” and fines.

      • Robert Oculus III

        “because YOU think that gays are “perverts” that gives the cops the right to harass them?”

        Frankly, yes.

      • UCS

        How exactly were they supposed to take the trespassing man home? They tried calling his mother, but she was “in the shower.”

        If he is unable to go to the grocery store without running into employee only areas, then he shouldn’t be unsupervised at all. How would you feel if your daughter was working behind the deli counter(where there are knives) and some man kept running back there? Would you THEN think the police should arrest him?

        Intellectual Honesty
        Moral Integrity
        Personal Responsibility
        Individual Determination.

    • Stephanie

      As a mother to a young child with autism, I can say that I worry every day about this type of scenario as my daughter becomes an adult. I wonder how my daughter will be able to understand and interact with a world that may be “different” than how she views it.

      As to Whole Foods, they did the right thing to call the police. The police however, should have contacted a medical professional and local Social Services upon bringing the young man into the station. 12 hours should not have passed before this man was released. His mother should have contacted/visited the police department once she realized her son was out of contact with her to determine what happened.

      In other words, a better plan should be in place to assist this young man in day to day interactions in his community, perhaps by visiting his favorite places and introducing himself to local vendors, and some positive behavior reinforcement/social stories to explain what is expected of him as a guest/shoppper/customer in his favorite places; where he is allowed to browse, what places are off limits, etc.

      The Dallas PD absolutely did their best, WHICH IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH in this case! They might consider autism sensitivity training, and hopefully their local chapter of the Autism Society will be happy to provide them with information to do so.

      People with autism have the right to live, work, and interact in their own community. They have the responsibility to be made aware of the social expectations necessary in public places that will keep them safe, the public safe, and enhance their enjoyment of every day life. It is up to caregivers, the individuals, and public officers/support professional to make this a reality.

  • Iva

    I thik that all stores and police departments should. Have training on how to be sensitive to people with special needs. I have an 18 year old with autism and most of the people who know her know that when she has a bad day on what to do when I am not there to help calm her down.

    • goatley

      Sorry Iva, Police have a responsibility to protect the public. They have no responsibility to Identify mental illness. They had no choice. They could arrest him or allow him do continue what he was doing. They did not arrest or abuse him. Was it a set back yes. But the behavior obviously indicates he was not as far along as his handlers thought. @Eddy, verry fiew officers have a college degree, it’s not a requirement. College educated lawenforcement generally go federal.

      • Franny Brill

        He had as much right as you are I to be there. By now people (police included) should be more aware of this problem…These special people are loving and so innocent…they just like to explore and try to fit in even though it is so hard for them.

      • UCS

        He has the RIGHT to run behind the deli counter with the knives and scare the hell out of the employees?

        You are being ridiculous and delusional. YES, people should be understanding, and that includes YOUR side of this issue. He was asked REPEATEDLY to come out, they tried to call his mother, what more do you want?
        Should the employees and customers have been endangered by some strange man running around where there are knives and such to make you feel better?

      • Melanie

        Dad of an Autistic Son,
        They did make a phone call and the mother was in the shower. The police and the store behaved responsibly. The mother and the son did not.

      • Dad of and Autistic Son

        His not an animal that needs a “handler” he is part of the community. And as far as “protecting the public” part WRONG!!! it is there job to investigate and apprehend not protect. That is your job. He did not have to be arrested all they had to do was look at his Medic alert type ID and make a phone call. Problem solved.

    • CarlieBrowne

      Iva, it sounds like you have taken care to make sure your daughter doesn’t find herself in situations like this man, where nobody knew him. No amount of training would help the general public not to be alarmed by this man’s disturbing behavior, and he had NO right to stay in the store.

      • Eddy LeRoque

        Carlie why don’t you tell us how much you love Jesus. The police should have as a minimum a college diploma.

        Also that one phone call needs to be enforced and I don’t mean a collect call from the county lock up.

        Finally if someone has a medical tag call an ambulance.

        Dallas is trully a heartless calvinistic society where hate is preached from the pulpit.

        But then again the officers got to hang out for the rest of the day filing useless paperwork at Lew Starett where no doubt the officers mocked him. Then retired to the employee cafeteria for the coffee and donuts special, all on the taxpayers dime.

        So how much is this going to cost the taxpayer??

    • Wilheml

      The general public should not have to treat these people, the general public including employees of stores and the police can not have the expertise to deal with a mentally ill person or should they. The employees of the store and police did exactly what they should have done. Humanly deal with the person, isolate them from others to prevent the mentally ill person from hurting others or themselves; if this had been done in AZ the Gov. of the state would not have been shot and others would not have been murdered.

      • Dan B

        You are uneducated on autism It IS NOT a mental illness. It IS a malfunction of the way the brain is wired so to speak. AS far as your “These people” comment I seem to remember a certain lunch counter in Montgomery Alabama where “these people ” were not allowed to eat. Take your prejudice’s and preconceived ideas and educate your self. Please.

      • Amazed

        The Gov. of AZ got shot? Police shouldn’t be trained in how to deal with disturbed people? Put down the bottle and slowly back away from it.

      • edgar hoffpauir

        Get your story straight, Wilheml, that was not the Gov of Az, it was a congresswoman from Tueson. The Gov is Jan Brewer and the person shot was Gabby Gifford. At the time he was not known by those at the scene to be mentally ill and who was supposed to isolate him anyway, just some bystander?.

      • WhoDat

        This comment shows your stupidity! You need to check your facts on who was shot in AZ. While you are at it why dont you look up the rate that Autism is being diognosed! In less than 20 years 1 in every 100 adults will have Autism. You can have the police and the community (Whole Foods) accomidate these individuals or you can use tax payer money to pay for a personal shopper?

      • Common Sense

        The general public were not asked to treat this guy. As a practice the manager on duty, someone who deals with emotional and mental issues of his/her own employees, should be well practiced in creating a calming environment during this in-store crisis. No weapon, just a freaked out man, and his mother, who I’ll bet would have returned a call if a message had been left on her phone. This should also be a heads up for some social training by the mother. Who knows, it may have been the purple hair or facial piercings of the cashiers that freaked him out.

      • chris

        There is no law that says you have a right to a phone call. Its a common misconception fro watching TV. Know your rights its no ones responsibility but your own

      • 2sister

        He apparently wasn’t violent or deemed a violent threat by the store. Furthermore not everyone with a mental illness is violent or dangerous to themselves or others. It depends on the person, how the mental illness manifests itself, and what kind of mental illness they have. Also, his odd behavior might have been due to his autism which is a developmental disorder and not his mental illness. The article is not clear on that.

      • 2sister

        Dan, he had both a mental illness and autism. The article isn’t clear, however, if his behavior was related to the mental illness, autism, or both.

      • Peg

        The police absolutely SHOULD have expertise to deal with developmentally disabled people. It’s part of their job. If anyone had bothered to go up to this man and simply ask him what he needed, he probably would have told them, they could have helped him and no police intervention would have been necessary. The lack of critical thinking in this country is mind-blowing.

      • Mr Wonderful

        Did you read a different article than the one I read?
        I didn’t see any reference to a deli section or knives. Or do you just assume that anyone with a developmental disability is going to do something dangerous?

  • darrell

    first i notice CBS pulled the video. censorship? or who are they protecting?
    i have never been there but my sister has on several occassions. when i told her of this story she wasnt surpised. she said that allthough she likes the whole foods concept that particular store had the rudest customers and employees she has ever seen at any retail outlet. she no longer shops there as a result. her opinion.
    then there is the wonderful dallas police. (cough) poor training, lack of sensitivty, horrible judgement. all of the above. either way, the decision by a few officers has given the DPD another black eye.
    he explained his conditions, wore a medical bracelet and wanted to call the only person he knew he could trust and was refused. that call could have avoided the entire situation and this would not be in the news and the DPD wouldnt again look like a rogue out of control force. most of the children in any retail outlet could be arrested for the same thing. go get those child criminals DPD.

    • Fred Ogle

      Why is this not surprising? Perhaps because by and large the the whole concept of whole foods is to;

      Charge $6 for a $ pound of beans (apply that methodology to any item in the store)

      Fill the store with employees with the general attitude of the French

      Sit and wait for the snobby anti-anything else hipster fools come and throw away their cash in the name of feeling good.

      BTW, do you know what the difference is between the Whole Foods pound of green beans and the pound at the local Acme? A sticker and $4 per lb.

      And FWIW, moral obligation is much different than a legal one, so remember how you trumpet getting riid of the “weirdo”, when things come ’round and you’re the doddering old fool in the market who could use a little patience.

      Absolutely shameful attitudes.

    • CarlieBrowne

      Screaming children, while annoying, do NOT cause alarm or pose the same danger as a fully-grown man racing up and down the aisles. (Side note to parents of screaming children, though: Remove them!!) And I was in Whole Foods yesterday. It was great. You really can’t generalize about a store and all its customers based on one individual store. How could all the customers be rude? Maybe your relative just prefers Twinkies to tofu.

      • Jbmw

        If see screaming children running up and down the aisles, I will run them over and the parent too for doing such a poor job. If I see an adult, I will question why is he doing that? I just about killed myself in Whole Foods because of oil splilled on the floor. Employees just looked on, then away, as if they didn’t see anything. Nasty, smelly, dirty store.

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  • Arthur Villarreal

    As an uncle! My sister’s child.Is a Miracle. Be it Austsim,Schizoprenic,or Down Syndrome . NO MATTER THE AGE.. I feel the DPD could have done a sincere investigation! What do Tax Payer’s Pay For? Beside’s Trial’s for courption in Dallas. This make’s want to get out of Dallas. For Shame DPD!!!!.. Police Abuse…. call his MOM OR DR! He had THE Braclet? Don’t we pay to train for Better Officer’s ?

    • Taxpayer

      He didn’t have “the bracelet”. He has one he made himself.

      • JsMom

        And you know this because?

    • Wilheml

      They did do a sincere investigation…however the investigation could NOT Have been done in the store with a nut running up and down the aisles screaming for his mother…the police and employees did the right thing…isolate the suspect and find out what is problem.

      • NY Irish

        By God, you are a hateful person, WILHELM. And you are a willful liar making up details that are not in the news story, ie. screaming and calling for his mother. And he is not a “nut”, but you are both stupid and heartless. Obviously, you have no experience of having an autistic child or one with any disability. And what the hell does “a sincere investigation” mean? The young man was not violent. The police could have walked him out of the store and let him call his mother. No arrest and jail for 12 hours, a horribly traumatic experience for this young man. The world is in no danger from these gentle and innocent people. It is people like you who pollute this world with your narrow minds and mean souls.

  • Christopher

    I DID Shop at Whole Foods all the time, and I cant tell you the number of ODD acting people I see there. Shame on Whole Foods for not approaching the customer first and trying to reason with him or find out what he was doing. I always thought Whole Foods was a relaxed place to shop. Well let me tell you. I have a Nephew that has been diagnosed with Autism, and at times even though he is only 5 he does display what some would deem “ODD” behavior This does not mean he is not a Brilliant child. If Whole Foods Makes People On the Spectrum feel unwelcome like this Then they have just LOST my business. I would never go anywhere that my nephew did not feel comfortable or welcome. As for the Dallas Police Department I have read so many stories of a negative nature about them in this very publication that their ignorance of people with true disabilities does not surprise me.

    • James

      Whole Foods has lost my business as well.

      • mugsy

        what the hell did Wholefoods do wrong? I mean come on, get real.

      • Humpy J. Brown

        Well, now maybe you’ll actually be able to save some money instead of paying twice what you should for your tofu.

      • Scott

        What if a man you did not know was running around in your back yard “acting odd”, and then he decided to come inside your house? What would you do? Try to reason with him? Or would you call the police? Whole Foods acted properly, out of concern for the safety of their customers and their employees. If the DPD were unreasonable or acted improperly, that’s on them and not the fault of Whole Foods.

      • Christopher

        @ Scott, lets keep it real. You know as well as I do there is a difference between my back yard and a super market. Now that was just ridiculous. A super market is a Public place, and if you are going to run a business that is a Public Place then you must expect that there will be people that will display “ODD” behavior. These people especially the Autistic ones are not a danger to themselves or others.

        I find it amusing that most people making a fuss on here most probably have no one that they know or are related to that suffer from Autism or Downs which may cause the person suffering from it to behave in an ODD manner. It is easy to cast stones at people that you know nothing about or to speak disparagingly about a disease that does not concern you, but be careful what goes around comes around. One day you may be blessed with person in your family or near to you that has a disability then you will sing a different tune.

      • Scott

        Right, a supermarket is a public place. And there are standards of behavior in such places, such as not allowing people to RUN up and down the aisles creating a physical danger for other shoppers, particularly elderly people and children. This was not “odd” behavior, it was dangerous behavior. Also, an “employee only” area of the supermarket is certainly NOT a public place–that alone was grounds for calling the police. Whole Foods has a responsibility for the safety of ALL the people in the store, including people with autism who are on the brink of seriously injuring themselves and others. The best thing for that man–for himself and others–was to stop running around the store. He wasn’t going to do it himself, Mom wasn’t around, and the employees can’t touch him without threat of a lawsuit or injury to themselves. You’d reason with him? I would love for you to put yourself in the shoes of the manager on duty at the time this happened and tell me–specifically–what you would have done different. Again, I am not defending the DPD, just Whole Foods.

    • JL

      Acting odd like criminal tresspass, failure to leave, and endangering customers? A 28 year old running down isles IS a danger. Add to that he both suffers from paranoia, and struggles with self-control. This is much different than an 8 year old kid on too much sugar, and much more dangerous to those around him in case he lashes out. These kinds of actions could be mistaken for a person under the influence off a less than mellowing drug. Cocaine or Meth which could lead to a presumption of violent tendencies, and thus the opting to call the LE’s. Just because the article doesn’t say whether or not WF employees told the individual to leave, doesn’t mean they up and called the cops on the first complaint.

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  • Alert Bracelet???

    Anyone else notice that the bracelet lacks the standard medic alert symbol? It just looks like some bracelet they had engraved. No wonder the police thought he was lying. Also, did you notice it is completely different from the one that the reporter holds up!!!

    • Peg

      The medical alert bracelets are not secure enough to use with most people who have autism. Sensory issues are common and you use what you can. The point is to communicate with the public and police that there is an issue here. If someone is going to put on a bracelet that says autism just to go running down aisles in a store then obviously they have a mental disorder anyway so it doesn’t really matter.

  • Kim Havanis

    @ Reality Check – just because an individual may be able to tell others they are Autistic that does not always mean they are fully able to comprehend and understand the situation they might be in or even have caused as a result of an action he or she did. Please research before you make blanket statements. I do agree that the entire story is most likely not what we are getting.

  • Jack

    So society is now suppose to accept EVERYBODY’s odd behavior? Society can’t even handle a petty thing like gay marriage. Please!!!

    • Paul

      You’ll just have to face the fact that society is more apt to be sympathetic to someone out of control running down grocery aisles than Adam and Steve walking down the aisle.

      • jbmw

        Why can’t we just be tolerant of both?

    • Don

      You are too kind. I’d kick him in the broken leg.
      Do people like “ME” know how stupid and hateful they are. Pinched little minds a

  • rd

    Yes the police were wrong. Yes they went too far. But a lawsuit? They lost credibility with that. “Oh you offended me, now I’m going for money!”

    • 2sister

      It depends on their motives for the lawsuit. I knew someone who filed a lawsuit over the death of a loved one.. Their loved one was hit and killed by a police officer who was speeding to the scene of a crime or something like that. He had no lights or sirens on. The people that I’m talking about didn’t file the lawsuit for money. They just didn’t want it to happen to someone else, and they wanted the police officer to be held accountable. I don’t remember anything about the outcome. Sometimes lawsuits are not done, because someone wants money. Sometimes they are done to get things changed.

      • AFSGTSAM

        This lawsuit is all greed I am sure the parent and kid is mooching off the taxpayer already and now they are likely going to get more of our money.

      • litgation ftw

        In which case, they would donate the proceeds to a charity or trust setup to help others in that position, rather than keep the money for themself!

      • Christopher

        @ Air Force Sargent SAM. You are just talking off the top of your head. My Nephew has Autism, and My Brother in-law clears a 6 digit salary annually. AT NO POINT AND TIME HAS OUR FAMILY EVER ACCEPTED PUBLIC ASSISTANCE FOR THE CARE OF MY AUTISTIC NEPHEW. For you to sit there and make a statement like that shows a lack of intelligence on your part. I will tell you this though If we ever went into a Whole Foods Store and they had my nephew arrested for displaying “Odd Behavior” you can certainly bet that Lawyers would become involved. We would sue the DPD and Whole Foods even though we don’t need a dime of their money. Unfortunately the only time any organization is forced to make changes and educate their employees is when you hit them in the pocket book.

      • Tim Bates

        @Sam. I hope they sue and win. I was a cop in the army. I saw things that they did that were subhuman at best. What we had were a bunch o 18-20 year old rednecks with guns. BAD IDEA! Giving bullies guns. Dumb, that’s just dumb.

      • Peg

        What if she simply files a lawsuit asking the store and police for proper training?

    • mugsy

      yup, so his loving, caring mother can line her pockets.

    • Eliot

      Unfortunately, hitting government in the pocketbook is usually the fastest, sometimes the only, way to get changes made to the way they do things. They are far more afraid of lawsuits than they are a petition.

    • Joe

      And I hope they get a lot of money from the store and the DPD.

    • Mark D.

      Exactly, and when they don’t get anything from the DPD, then they will try to go after Whole Foods. You can guarantee that.

    • NY Irish

      rd: The young man was not offended. Due to his condition he was traumatized to the point that he is afraid of police and afraid to shop for himself. You or I may at some time be offended, but we soon forget it. This young fellow has been set back in his quest to attain some semblance of independence. Maybe you have to have a child or grandchild with a disability to really understand. The NYPD would never act like these Dallas police. Also, making only one attempt to call his mom after they must have seen at the police station that he was gentle and child-like, that was really heartless and mean. In my profession I dealt with many really bad people, and a policeman with any experience can soon see the difference between the bad guys and an autistic man.
      Some of the posters are unbelievably ignorant and mean spirited. And the store manager is a wuss, for not handling it himself. The cops really blew it.

  • Joe

    So now days it’s a crime to “act odd”. I hope these people take lots of money from the DPD and that food store.

    • Rayc

      I am a retired cop and my wife is a special ed teacher for 30 years for profoundly autistic children. The Police should have issued a citation or desk ticket at the most. We don’t need to enrich lawyers, clog criminal courts, and give autistic people arrest records. This was a civil matter at the most not a criminal matter. I stick up for Police but they need some training on the matter.

      • Rayc

        PS I would add that training for the Food Store Chain as well. Autistic people should not be institutionalized for the comfort of the general public so they don’t have to see them.. The goal now a days is main streaming and socializing them.

        It is even harder on the parents since it is 24/7 and they never get a break , and I swear it shortens their lives in the process. Again Society better get some sensitivity training with the 1 in 60 male children being classified as autistic spectrum.

      • Oli Phaunt

        If you read the story he was arrested after the police asked him to leave the employee only area and he refused. They couldn’t exactly hand him a ticket and then leave him in the staff break room. Once he was at the station I would imagine he was extremely agitated at the best so just releasing him onto the street would probably not have been in his best interest at all. That leaves getting in touch with his contact person so they can come get him. Which they did. The trouble was his contact person (his mother) was unavailable so he had to wait for her to become available. Once she got out of the shower no one answered her the first time she tried calling the station and she chose to sit and wait instead of trying to call again or getting in her car and driving to the station.

  • Hank in Ft Worth

    This IS Dallas PD we’re talking about. “Decent people shouldn’t live here. They’d be happier someplace else!” It’s easier to arrest you and take you to jail than deal with your autism, so find a friendlier town!

  • 2sister

    It does not say that she played phone tag for twelve hours or that she didn’t leave and go to the police station when she couldn’t reach him. It says it took 12 hours before she was able to take him home.

    • 2sister

      Oops. I meant couldn’t reach them ( the police).

  • bdub77

    1. Jack – as a gay man, I’m telling you, GET OF THE CROSS! you’re words have nothing to do with this story, not all of us are “odd”, which apparently, YOU ARE.

    2. Whole Foods has cameras – in both public, and in private places – if they stand by their story, lets roll the footage.

    3. @realitycheck – you’re a moron

    4. @alertbracelet – there are different medicalert bracelets out there besides the one you’re refering too. and if you look at it again – you’ll notice that the bottom half of his bracelet, is BLURRED OUT, because this is where his personal info is.

    5. until you’ve lived with a mental illness, or with someone else affected…don’t be so quick to judge. lots of people with disabilities live on their own, that doesn’t mean that they don’t need help from time to time – everyone has a bad day from time to time, even those of you who claim to be perfectly normal…. & you weren’t there, and there are always 2 sides to every story, and then there is the TRUTH!

    • Ultros667

      Are you not reading all of the posts by folks who have relatives who are autistic, work with folks with autism and still say that Whole Foods and DPD are not at fault it is the MOTHER!!!

      The man clearly is a danger to himself if he is roaming in an “employee’s only” area of the store. Whole foods is a public store, but an employee area is an employee area.

      I don’t fault the man, I fault his mother, she is obviously trying to get rich fast. I have had a personal incident at a Whole Foods store where management went out of their way to help me. So for the “Boycott Whole Foods” crowd, get real. I guarantee they have done more for people with disabilities than all the other grocery chains combined.

      • 2sister

        He wasn’t exactly violent, according to the article, and so it would kind of be hard to say if he was a danger to himself. I agree that he needed to be removed from the situation, but that doesn’t mean the police handled everything correctly. Also, he apparently lived on his own. Many people with disabilities do this, but still get a little help with certain things. I don’t think we can really blame the mother without knowing exactly his situation and what kind of services or help he received from her or other organizations.

  • Mike G

    He was at Whole Foods, their is something wrong with this man

  • Leigh Anne

    I have worked with Autistic children for nearly 20 years. Yes, there ARE times that the authorities need to be called. When they get very excited or disoriented, they can become completely unresponsive to commands (like “This area is for employees only, please get out”) and can become a danger to themselves or others. Since I haven’t seen the footage, I can’t say if that’s the case here. Also, please don’t expect every police officer to understand every nuance of every mental condition. They are not doctors. They are there to protect the public. If this person was not cooperating, then they did the right thing by removing him from the situation. My two cents.

    • Guest

      Our public school is the magnet school in the area for autism. I agree with you. Even with one on one aides some of the kids with autism still manage to physically abuse the other children. One started to punch other kids (smaller, weaker kids) on the school bus if they accidentally sat in “his” seat. Having helped out at school and seen some of the kids completely out of control and not able to follow a simple command, I can understand how scared the employees in the back room (employee only area) might have been depending on what he doing.

    • 2sister

      First, autism is not a mental illness. He also has schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental illness. Second, every indication is that he wasn’t violent. I agree that he needed to be removed from the situation, but it shouldn’t have taken 12 hours to realize that he was telling the truth about his autism. I also agree that they might have had to call the police, but that doesn’t mean the police handled everything correctly. It’s possible that they didn’t.

  • 2nd Amendment

    this is wrong

  • Susan Stock

    Watch the movie MIRACLE RUN. It’s about my friend’s identical twin boys, both Autistic, one with Tourette’s Syndrome. This film (with Mary Louise Parker, Zac Efron and a great cast) will educate the public on Autism. It helps us to recognize this “odd behavior.”
    The Miracle Run Foundation

  • theonewhoknows

    TIMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TIMMY?????????? TIMMYTIMMYTIMMYTIMMY
    TIMMY:) HANDCUFFS??????????? TIMMY:(

  • Cindy Dial

    If the man is like this then he should not be left unsupervised by his mother. But his mother doesn’t want to be bothered so lets this poor fellow “live on his own.” Whatever happens after that she blames on everyone else.

  • tramky

    Yes, I love it that Whole Foods takes no responsibility for this incident. It was just the police who did it, not Whole Foods’ management at this store. What a crock. Whole Foods’ management CALLED THE :POLICE because this man was “acting odd”.

    Of course, this could also be the TSA effect–everyone is treated like a terrorist-in-waiting. We are advised by the Feds to be vigilant, to report odd behaviors to authorities, to be wary of our fellow citizens. And this can be an effect of zero-tolerance policies in our public schools, where judgement is denigrated, replaced by application of pre-set policies that can not & will not be altered by the now-brain-dead school officials.

  • arg2015153

    So, how does one act oddly at Whole Foods? Doesn’t it kind of go with the territory?

  • Nathan

    I have a child with autism, too, and, honestly, I’m sick and tired of reading stories like this where people try to use their autism as a crutch to excuse bad behavior. All it does is confuse the public about what autism is. Autism is generally manifested as a difficulty in communicating with other people. It does not make you run up and down aisles and break rules by going into employee-only areas. This guy and his mother should be ashamed of themselves for confusing the public even more about a condition that is already difficult enough to understand.

    • drcldh

      Nathan, I don’t know what kind of autistic child you have, but my autistic son, when he was a young boy, would run up and down the aisles without warning, and I eventually had to make different arrangements if I had to go out to run errands…I had no choice because I became a single parent through no fault of my own, and it became just me and my autistic son. if you have a child with autism then you know there are a whole lot of different behaviors that go with it and no two autistic people are alike…YOU should be ashamed for confusing the public with your ill-informed post. This is about how this young man was treated by the police – calling him a liar, etc. This is not about how he was behaving.

      • Ronchris

        If the guy had not been behaving oddly, the police would never had gotten involved.

        You need to figure out cause and effect.

    • Mark

      Is there something about the word, ” schizophrenic”, that you do not understand?

  • Miguel

    Obviously the guy needed to be removed from the store and whether he is autistic or not is not the issue. He needs supervision and the people who failed him are his family.

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