Stafford Trial Muddied By Issues Of Race, Autism | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Stafford Trial Muddied By Issues Of Race, Autism

Play associated audio

18-year old Reginald Latson was found guilty of assault and battery of an enforcement officer, both of those are felonies. He was also found guility of two midemeanors in connection with the case.

Sentencing has yet to be scheduled.

Last May, Latson, who suffers from Asperger syndrome, was sitting outside a library in Stafford when he was approached by a police officer and a confrontation ensued.

ORIGINAL POST: On May 24, Reginald Latson, an autistic 18-year-old, was sitting outside of a public library in Stafford before it opened. He got restless, so he went for a walk in some woods nearby.

That's when police say they received a call about a suspicious man in the area, possibly carrying a gun. A police officer came across Latson in the woods and approached him.

Police say Latson brutally attacked the officer after simply being asked to identify himself. Latson's mother, Lisa Alexander, says it's the officer who made the first physical contact.

"As my son tries to walk away, the officer tries to grab my son from behind, and that is when the struggle ensues," she says.

Police say the incident left the officer with lacerations to his head, and a broken ankle; no weapon was ever found.

Latson is now on trial, facing nine felony counts, including malicious wounding of an officer.

Latson's mother claims he was provoked by racial slurs used by the officer.

Ann Gibbons, the director of Autism Speaks for the National Capital area, says the case isn't just about race or disputed evidence. It's about a scenario that every parent of an autistic child fears every day.

"Latson is on trial today, but all of us feel that our sons are on trial today, because this could be our set of facts," she says.

No one from the sheriff's office responded to a request for comment on the case. Closing arguments begin Friday morning.

NPR

How'd A Cartoonist Sell His First Drawing? It Only Took 610 Tries

Tom Toro was a directionless 20-something film school dropout. Then, after an inspired moment at a used book sale, he started submitting drawings to The New Yorker ... and collecting rejection slips.
NPR

Will Environmentalists Fall For Faux Fish Made From Plants?

A handful of chefs and food companies are experimenting with fish-like alternatives to seafood. But the market is still a few steps behind plant-based products for meat and dairy.
WAMU 88.5

Plan To Offer Free Community College Divides Along Party Lines

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama laid out a plan to offer two years of community college. But at least in Northern Virginia, support for the proposal seems split on partisan lines.

NPR

Sling TV Could Be Cable-Cutter's Dream

Sling TV launches in a few weeks. That's the new streaming service from Dish that allows viewers to stream content previously only available through cable.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.