Pennsylvania State Police

Police suspect autistic, intellectually disabled man of ‘fleeing’ traffic stop—but he can’t even drive

'Keep being irrational, and I'll be irrational, too,' one trooper tells the man's terrified mother.

Jan 27, 2021, 2:45 am*



Eilish O'Sullivan

A TikTok user shared, in several videos, how her autistic and intellectually disabled brother was pulled out of their vehicle and suspected of “fleeing” a traffic stop by police in Pennsylvania. 

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Since being posted on Thursday, the videos featuring the incident have racked up a collective 1 million views on TikTok. The TikToker, @queenofoncall, claimed the police demanded her brother, Jimmy, get out of the vehicle with no explanation as to why. 

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In part one of the incident, a Pennsylvania State Police trooper and a Kennett Township Police Department officer are peering into the vehicle. The TikToker and her mother try to tell the officers that Jimmy, who is already outside of the vehicle, is intellectually disabled and “can’t even sign his own name.” They even attempt to reassure Jimmy. “You did nothing wrong, Jimmy. You did nothing wrong,” they say from inside the vehicle. They then ask the officials to “please keep your bodycam(s) on” and notify the officials that they are going to continue recording. 

The officer tells the mom, who is seemingly panicking, that Jimmy doesn’t appear to be in distress. “He’s not all right. What don't you understand about him being autistic and intellectually disabled?” the mom says in response.

In part two, another trooper approaches them. "He has an IQ of 76, and why are all these police coming with sirens?" the mom questions the officials.

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The trooper who was there from the start of the video jumps in. "Are you going to stop yelling, so I can explain everything?" he asks them.

The mother tells him that she will not stop yelling. "Then, I'm not going to explain it. Keep being irrational, and I'll be irrational, too," he says in response.

The third trooper who arrived later then explains "why this is going on." He tells them that Jimmy fits the description of someone who fled from a traffic stop.

The trooper continues in part three, saying that if they cannot confirm Jimmy is the person who fled from the traffic stop, then he will be free to go.

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"Fleeing from a traffic stop? Because they were driving a car?" the mother questions the trooper. "My son doesn't drive."

The trooper then tells her that he "will go into further detail, even if (he) shouldn't." "He wasn't the driver of the vehicle," the trooper says, implying that Jimmy was instead being investigated as a passenger. "We just have to confirm he isn't the person who fled from the traffic stop."

Toward the end of the video, the trooper says that they confirmed "there's nothing there" and that the family is "good to go."

"Are you going to apologize?" the mother asks him before the video cuts off.

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In follow-up videos, the TikToker explains that her other brother, who is also autistic and Jimmy's twin, was in the car with them as well. She says that her mother tried getting out of the car because she is Jimmy's "advocate" and needed to be there to help him answer the officials' questions. The TikToker alleged that the officials wouldn't let the mother help Jimmy and instead blocked her from getting out of the vehicle. "Jimmy is still absolutely terrified," she says. "We're going to actually have the psychologist talk to him just to give him some support."

In another follow-up, the TikToker says she tried to file a report regarding the incident via a phone call, but her report was unfortunately directed to the man who took Jimmy out of the vehicle in the first place. The officer allegedly denied any wrongdoing and said that the only reason "Jimmy wasn't in handcuffs and on the ground" was because he is autistic. The officer allegedly also accused the family of "overreacting."

She says in a final update on the incident that she filled out two complaints regarding the incident—one against the police and one against the troopers.

"Our family is not looking for a monetary lawsuit against these police and the state troopers. We are looking for them to explain their actions, to improve their actions, and to determine if the policy they have—if they even have a policy—is actually effective with handling individuals who are autistic and have intellectual disabilities," she says.

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The comments on the videos featuring the incident have since been turned off, she later said, because of "issues between commenters."

Update 8:30pm CT, Nov. 12: When reached for comment by the Daily Dot, a Pennsylvania State Police spokesperson said in a statement that the incident "is currently under review by the Internal Affairs Division of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Integrity and Professional Standards."

The Daily Dot has reached out to @queenofoncall and the Kennett Township Police Department.

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*First Published: Nov 11, 2020, 6:33 pm