VACAVILLE (CBS13) – A Vacaville teen on the autism spectrum was punched in the face by a police officer Wednesday after reports the boy was involved in a fight with a deadly weapon, police said.
Preston Wolf's dad said he was being picked on and picked up a metal object to defend himself. The altercation was broken up by a good Samaritan.
Preston is the most popular kid in his neighborhood. He likes catching lizards in a nearby creek, hanging out with friends, and riding his scooter – which is what he was doing when he was attacked by a police officer.
The teen's father is now concerned his son will never trust cops again.
"It seemed to have unfolded in a matter of 60 seconds or less," said Preston's father, Adam Wolf.
The officer confused Preston with a suspect he had been searching for and forced him to the ground.
"The officer got out, shouting commands, told him to sit down," Adam said. "He got into his face."
Preston is on the autism spectrum and his father says he was scared of the officer and tried to run.
"He was trying to back away because he probably wanted to come home to us," Adam said.
But it made things worse.
"When he got up to move that's when the officer grabbed him through him on the ground and then proceeded to climb on top of him and punch him in his face," Adam said.
Preston begged the officer to stop and call his parents, but nothing helped. In the video, the officer could be heard saying, "Don't make me hurt you more."
Adam says it's not the first time Preston's been bullied.
"He's been called the autistic kid. The autistic boy," he said. "Preston has had interactions with bullies and we've had to get the police involved."
But this time the bully was a police officer.
"He said he always thought they were there to help and he doesn't feel like that anymore," Adam said.
The Vacaville Police Department responded.
"We're very sorry to hear that Preston expressed that," said Vacaville Police Sgt. Katie Cardona. "The officer was not aware the individual was a special needs individual."
Vacaville police say they've extended resources to the family to help Preston. There is body cam footage of this incident and Vacaville police are still considering whether or not it will be released.
"There needs to be education on how you handle people, I don't care if you have disabilities," Adam said.
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