Texas man with autism trying to cross road says officer tackled him

TEMPLE, Texas -- The Temple Police Department is reviewing an officer's actions after a 30-year-old man with autism says a police officer tackled him, simply for walking down the street, then arrested him.

Police told KXXV that around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, they received a call about a man walking in and out of traffic. The woman who reported the man, identified as Sergei Hall, said he was acting erratically.

According to officials, the woman said she was leaving Planet Fitness when she saw Hall and feared for her safety. As she was leaving the parking lot, she said Hall walked in front of her car and stopped, causing her to brake quickly so she wouldn't hit him.

But Hall said he was just standing at the corner, waiting to cross the road to buy a sweet tea, when the officer came up and spooked him.

Police say the officer asked Hall to step back from the intersection, so he could talk to him but instead Hall walked away and into the road. That's when the officer grabbed him.

"He kind of just threw me against the ground and my face, my face hit the ground hard like, my face smashed the ground," Hall explained. "I told the officer I wanted to go home, and that it wasn't my fault, and he told me I had to go to jail last night."

Hall was booked for evading arrest.

"It makes me feel that I wish more people understood me," Hall said.

The Temple Police Department released a statement about the arrest, saying that the officer, identified as Jacob Perkins, was concerned Hall would be hit by a car since it was dark and there was heavy traffic.

Under the Samuel Allen Law, which went into effect last September, anyone with a communication impediment such as autism, deafness or Asperger's syndrome, can register with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The initiative places a code on license plates to prevent miscommunication with officers. A written note from a doctor is required.

Hall told KXXV he does not have the distinction from the DMV, but he does carry a puzzle piece with him at all times to let people know he has autism.

The puzzle piece is a well-known symbol of autism.

Hall's family says they're working to get body camera footage from the police department to see exactly what happened during the arrest.
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