Teen Arrested for Being Drunk When, Really, She’s Autistic

Horrifying 20

Jail cellLast year, 17-year-old Melissa Jones had her life changed forever. After going into a convenient store to buy a drink with a friend, a drunken woman attacked the two girls, leaving them with bruises. Instead of arresting the attacker, though, police took Jones into custody saying she was intoxicated. The truth? She is autistic.

The rest of the story is a true nightmare. Her mother came to her side, telling police that her daughter had autism, ADD, and communication problems. When a doctor confirmed she hadn't been drinking, she was still held for 10 hours in a cell, fingerprinted, and charged with being drunk and disorderly.

Parents of autistic children have to overcome obstacles on a regular basis. People are constantly staring, fingers are being pointed, one Milwaukee man with autism was asked to be put on a leash inside of a Whole Foods, and now ... a teen arrested for being "drunk" in public? The rate of autism is rising. People have to get more educated.

Children with autism deserve to be treated with more empathy. Today, autism occurs in 1 in 88 kids. Because it's so common, one would expect that society as a whole would show more compassion toward those effected. Instead, for one girl in England, she's treated like an intoxicated lunatic for being unable to control her emotions.

My heart hurts thinking about Melissa and her mother. Thankfully, the charges have been dropped against her due to "lack of evidence," but they are forever on her record. Melissa became suicidal because of the way the authorities treated her. A teenager, who should simply be enjoying studying baking at university, is forever changed. Let's hope that maybe after this horrific incident, the authorities will change their ways as well.

Can you believe this?


Image via dereksky/Flickr

drugs & alcohol, autism


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Coles... Coles_mom

I'm sorry, but police had to do what they thought was right. If this became that easy, every person pulled over for DUI or public intox would start screaming they were autistic and the police could touch them?

Coles... Coles_mom

*couldnt touch them

Sierr... SierraLynn

Coles_mom, normally in the case of any alcohol related offense there is a blood alcohol test given. If she had no alcohol in her system and was proven to be Autistic it should have been dropped that very second. Even if someone else down the line calls out that they are Autistic, they will still be given a breathalyzer test. If they are under the influence, autistic or not they should be held accountable. But in this case, she was not intoxicated in the least.  

Now Im not screaming that they cops should be held accountable or anything like that. They did what they thought was right, but after the fact is what is upsetting.

CPN322 CPN322

SierraLynn - I completely agree with your first paragraph. I differ in feeling the police should be held accountable for their mistake.

Irela... Ireland69

So instead of arresting the other lady also they went with the just the girl??  They did the same to my nephew he has the mentality of a kid.  he looks normal but doesn't act like an adult. he was walking in Milwaukee to his sisters and the cops told him to stop which he did so but  he couldn't answer correctly  so they beat him and took him to jail.  because he couldn't reply!!

Sierr... SierraLynn

CPN, thinking about it more the cops should be held accountable. In the very least they should have done a field sobriety test and tried to figure out what had happened.

Flori... Floridamom96

Absolutely I can believe this happened. Police routinely abuse their authority with an "arrest them and let the DA sort it out" attitude. This is unconscionable!

alask... alaskalove

This is all too real. I worked for an agency that provided services to people with DDs. I was working with a 13 year old autistic girl and we went to Walmart to get lunch. I was asked BY AN EMPLOYEE if she was drunk, and we were asked to leave. I immediately demanded the manager present. We were apologized to, but it didn't make up for what happened. 

nonmember avatar Heather

If I read this correctly, the incident occurred in England, not the US. It is a different country, with different laws governing police procedure and even the technology they are allowed to carry. Furthermore, they probably have a different statistical incidence of autism, and possibly a different level if media-driven awareness. It's terrible that this happened, and yes, everyone needs to be more sensitive and aware--but get your facts straight about the context and culture in which the incident happened. Just because English is the main language does not mean their laws, technology, and healthcare statistics are the same as those in the US!!!

nonmember avatar Missy

coles mom, you are so uneducated. The police have no idea what is "right". Most have an IQ of less than 100, and they are bullies who think their badge makes them above everyone else. Would you have been kissing their butts and bowing to their flawed judgement if they had beaten her to the ground (which is their usual M.O.), tased her, and held her at gunpoint? To hear the popo's side, you'd think they are all a bunch of wimps, they are always in fear for their lives, even if someone is simply reaching for the wallet to retrieve the ID the po demanded!

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