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The Time I Had to Talk to Police as a Man With Autism

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I have autism. I live on my own. I have my independence. I’m a very good person who does good things for the world. Sadly, good people still have to go through some scary situations in this world and that includes people with autism. Sometimes you have to talk to police if you break the law, but other times you have to do this even if you didn’t break the law. For someone with autism, this could be one of the scariest situations you can ever have.

I came home from work one day and pulled into my spot in the back of my apartment. I live in a decently quiet area, but there are still some people whom I would get concerned to live near. However, that’s anywhere in the scary world we live in today.

I walked to the front of my apartment building. There were two local police officers doing an investigation on my next door neighbors. As a good American citizen, I kindly said “Hi, officer.” They were kind in return, saying “Hello,” right back at me. I went on with my day by going into my apartment, changing my clothes, and quietly going about life. Suddenly, I heard them knocking on my downstairs neighbor’s door asking questions. I was stunned and scared when I heard them knock on mine.

I couldn’t believe police were at my door asking my questions about an investigation I didn’t have a clue about. I was so nervous about asking their questions as it’s hard for me to answer certain questions to begin with. I was cooperative with them, but I was still nervous because I didn’t want to give them false information about anything to get me into trouble with the law. When they left, I was so panicked that I didn’t do a good job talking to the police.

I feared they would come back and knock at my door again. I looked out my apartment windows for police cars every day for a while after. I thought, “I really hope they aren’t going to arrest me for anything related to this.” I got on the phone immediately with one of my supports who works with me regarding my autism to see if that had to be reported as police involvement. I wanted them to know right away. That person told me she only needed to know if I was arrested. I also got on the phone with my therapist and mom because of how scared I was that I had to talk to police. I mean, I’ve had to talk to police after a car accident a couple of years before, but that wasn’t as scary as this.

If this ever happens to you, just be cooperative and do the best you can. Don’t worry about being in trouble with the law if they’re not talking to you about anything you’ve done. I had nothing to do with what was going on with my neighbors and it never came back at me.

Getty image by Alex Schmidt.

Originally published: August 27, 2018
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