Dispatch audio reveals new details in arrest of Vacaville teen with autism

Bay Area

Warning: The video below shows violence being used against a minor. Viewer discretion is advised.

VACAVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) — The Vacaville Police Department said Friday it is reviewing dispatch audio and body camera video from the arrest of a 17-year-old with autism.

An officer was seen on video from a Ring camera striking the boy repeatedly.

“We are scouring the dispatch recordings, body-worn camera video, Ring camera video, and any other visual or audio evidence we can find. I’m working with the leadership within the City of Vacaville and there will be more information provided very soon,” Acting Police Chief Ian Schmutzler wrote on the department’s Facebook page.

Officials say the officer was responding to a call about a possible stabbing.

FOX40 reviewed dispatch audio from Wednesday afternoon that includes an officer saying he knew of the teen, Preston, and knew he has special needs.

Schmutzler said that officer was not the one who responded.

“Multiple people have asked if the arresting officer knew that the suspect had special needs. In the dispatch audio, there is a conversation between a dispatcher and a different officer (who was not on the scene) who asked whether the suspect was ‘Preston,’” he wrote. “Our preliminary review of the available video and radio traffic indicates the arresting officer did not have prior knowledge that the suspect was an individual with special needs. We are in the process of confirming the time stamps of those various sources so we have an accurate timeline of the events of the incident.”

Audio from the Ring video also captured the officer warning Preston, “You are going to get hurt. Don’t make me hurt you more.”

FOX40 asked police about the officer’s acknowledgement that he had already inflicted pain, but they did not give a specific answer.

“Details of what the officer said and his actions at the time of the arrest are currently being investigated,” said Sgt. Katie Cardona.

“He confronted Preston, asked Preston to sit down. You can see he sits down, the police came over and threw his scooter and got in his face,” Adam Wolf, Preston’s father, told FOX40 on Thursday. “Preston got scared, and that’s when he got up and the officer felt the need to throw him to the ground, and then straddle him and punch him directly in the face.”

The teen was in police custody for about an hour before he was brought home.

Schmutzler said he does not take the incident lightly and pledged transparency as the investigation continues.

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