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.