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Officer Asks Family With Autistic Child to Leave Restaurant

Gail Martin was about to order lunch with her two daughters at a cafe in South Carolina when one of them started crying. A police chief who happened to be in the restaurant yelled: "You need to take that screaming child outta here now!" The upset four-year-old is autistic, and Gail is now demanding an apology from the police chief, who she says embarrassed her whole family. According to this video, the officer knew the child was autistic when he asked them to leave. Gail is hoping her story will bring more awareness to autism around the country. This report comes just a month after a mother and her autistic two-year-old were escorted off an American Airlines flight in North Carolina.

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jpp11 jpp11 3 years
The police officer was within his rights. This "parent" was disturbing the peace. Said "she" did not mind the child's behavior, but only the police officer's behavior. She is really off target. Get carry out and have respect for other diners' rights.
RJJ7 RJJ7 7 years
I personally didn't father a child who has a disability with AUTISM. I didn't know what it was until I got involved with a woman who I planned to be with for the rest of my life who has a child who is AUTISTIC. It's appalling to hear people speak on things and give opinions when they have no clue what parents go through. THAT'S IGNORANT. Parents who have children with AUTISM need help...Its sickening to hear ADULTS saying keep your child at home if he cant cooperate when he has a disability, it's sickening to see ADULTS tease a child with a disability, its sickening to see ADULTS say control your child disabled or not. People need to research AUTISM instead of the LAW!
7kimba7 7kimba7 9 years
I agree with CaterpillarGirl. I didn't watch the video so I can't comment on specifics of THIS event, but I used to give behavior therapy to autistic children, and some of my clients could SCREAM. If those specific kids were in public screaming like I know they can and did often, I can totally see why they would be asked to go outside and calm down.
My-Opinion My-Opinion 9 years
Babies and kids cry. Get over it. The kid wasn't tearing anything up., just crying. :oy: Some advice for the hateful cop: Go fight crime. Don't frighten & scream at little girls and their mom to get out because you've had a bad day and can't handle (oh wait for it now).... a kid crying.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
"Those "tons of laws on the books" aren't commonly enforced for a reason. I'm pretty sure I would rather my taxes go to fighting legitimate crime than rounding up crying children." They aren't commonly enforced because they are out fighting "legitimate" crime. Although I must say, as a business owner, if someone were in my place of business being disruptive and the parent were doing nothing about it AND there was an officer of the law there, I would EXPECT them to do something.
Chloe08 Chloe08 9 years
It sounds like the police officer may have been a little harsh, but I don't disagree with his decision. It drives me absolutely insane when parents allow their kids to scream and carry on. Disabled or not, parents should control their kids and teach them to act like decent human beings in public. If the kid can't behave properly, leave them at home.
hoosiergirl98 hoosiergirl98 9 years
Those "tons of laws on the books" aren't commonly enforced for a reason. I'm pretty sure I would rather my taxes go to fighting legitimate crime than rounding up crying children.
Mishell Mishell 9 years
That was handeled poorly! No stranger has the right to scream at someone in public. On the other hand, going out to eat is not a neccesity. Being out in public is normal, even for people with a disability, but sitting down in a restaurant is not a basic human right. If kids have behavioral problems take them to the park instead, where no one can expect to sit and have a quiet meal.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
i have been in a doctor's office when a doctor poked his head in the room and said "can't you shut her up?". been at an amusement park when a woman was immitating my then 6 year old autistic daughter who was just laughing and jumping up and down (she was pointing and making a face to her son who was about 10). been at target when a police officer told me i was a "bad mother". and in every case i held my ground and told the person what the situation was that they were out of line and that i did not appreciate their rudeness. i reported the cop to his superior officer. but do you know why i was able to do this? because i had already spent YEARS being "beat up" emotionally for having a special needs child. for having a child that was "scary", "rude", ""disrespectful", shouldn't be allowed out of the house", etc. one day i decided i had had ENOUGH. i'm tired of apoligizing for her disability and i'm tired of having my 2 younger children made to feel embarassed because their sister has special needs. there is no shame in having autism. there IS shame in trying to make a disabled person or their care givers feel bad about having autism. if i had been in that restaurant that day there would have been a VERY different outcome. personally, i've been more bothered by the loud conversations or discusting table manners of other restaurant guests than i ever have by a disabled child. imo the cop was causing a scene. if he's such a bad ass why doesn't he go track down a gang banger and leave a disabled 4 year old and her family alone.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
Your excellent debating skills aside, technically yes, they are. Anyone causing a scene is. It just isn't commonly enforced. There are tons of laws that are on the books that aren't commonly enforced. Do your research.
SweetPeasMom SweetPeasMom 9 years
:rotfl: riiiiight. Every kid who cries and/or has a fit is breaking the law. :oy: Puh-lease.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
If a child is screaming and crying, the officer has the right to ask them to leave, disabled or not. It is called disturbing the peace.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I don't see how a cop's "duties" include making sure children are kept under control in a restaurant. I don't see how this has anything to do with breaking any law, either. I wonder why the lady didn't just stand her ground and stay? Lickety I agree, and what a great attitude you have. I know you have a child with autism, and I'm really curious... what if the same thing happened to you? I don't know what I would do exactly because I don't have a child with autism, but I definitely don't think I'd leave the place simply because a grumpy police officer told me to.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
" it's only because she is disabled and he hid behind his badge that it was allowed. sickening." Wow, that is jumping to some serious conclusions.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
I agree lickety, do some people think some of us during gestation said I wish I had a (mildy retarded kid) which is a sickening word I'm glad my son has mild cerebral palsy and knows the difference between right and wrong and has the same rules my (fortunate normal children have :oy:) I would never ever treat or accept that this behaviour is okay, and no one should have a miserable lunch\dinner but what are parents supposed to do keep them locked away from society is that the answer, I mean a little compassion, these kids did not ask to be born this way and don't know that they are being disruptive unless they do I'm not sure not a mother of an autstic child but I am a mother and it sickens me that people are so close minded on disabilites existing I wish no child with speacial needs on anyone, let me tell you it is hard my son is my world I would hate for him to know that people feel this way about children like him
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
i think this is another example of people treating others badly simply because they can. the cop is on an ego trip, no one else complained now did they? i was at the grocery store yesterday and the woman in front of me was trying to use food stamps and a wick voucher to buy something that wasn't allowed. the checker treated her like a criminal "this isn't something you can get with FOOD STAMPS. it's NOT ALLOWED. i'm going to have to GET MANAGEMENT for this situation". the checker had his turn at being the person to make another person feel bad. it was offensive and i told him so. then i gave him $3 so the woman could have her freaking grape juice (only apple juice is on the list!) and we could all get on with our day. no one wants to have a child with a life long disability. no one wants to be on government assistance. people who see the opportuinty to make someone else feel bad so they can feel good really bother me. as the mother of a child with autism i'm sick and tired of apoligizing for every little thing my daughter does that other people don't like. the cop in this situation sounds like a bully. if the child didn't have autism or he wasn't a cop NO ONE would have allowed this treatment. it's only because she is disabled and he hid behind his badge that it was allowed. sickening.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
Me too, Caterpillar is right on. If your child, handicapped or not, is being unruly, you try to resolve the situation. Step outside or into a restroom or playground. Everyone else there was a paying customer too. It is awful when a child has a problem, but having that child have as normal a life as possible, including being around non-handicapped people, should be part of his/her curriculum. There are millions of handicapped adults that are functioning beyond well in the everyday world because they were taught that they were EQUAL to everyone else, that means behaving as best they can with respect for others.
schnappycat schnappycat 9 years
I agree with CaterpillarGirl.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Damn. What an ass.
sofi sofi 9 years
The nerve of this officer- like they were committing a criminal offense. How much energy would it have taken for this "officer" to go over and try and talk to the mother or -gasp- give her a hand instead of yelling across this diner? Considering he knew this child was autistic, I find this extremely irresponsible and ignorant.
SweetPeasMom SweetPeasMom 9 years
I think it is totally insane that an officer would tell any family to leave a restaurant because a child was crying.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
i think parents of special needs or autistic children have so much to overcome and deal with on a regular and daily basis... this may have been the straw that broke the camels back for this mom... i also think it's important that law enforcement professionals be trained and know how to deal w/a special needs kid... 1 in something like 150 kids is autistic in this day and age... thats a big chunk of children... i just think there needs to be more tolerance, understanding and education about it all... i also dont think an apology that results from a demand, is an apology at all. i don't think i'd demand or ask for an apology... i dont know that i'd want the publicity... but i guess if you're that angry... and it's the last straw... well yeah... i'd wanna scream from the rooftops. it's really a shame the officer should take them all out to dinner
skigurl skigurl 9 years
i have a couple things to say: 1. this situation is sad, and i feel for this child and mother. a screaming kid in a restaurant for 10 minutes (enough time to order and take the meal to go) is tolerable and while it may be annoying, the officer was being intolerant 2. this is a much different situation than the kid hurting others in church and the poor kid who had to get deplaned...this isn't hurting anyone and doesn't pose a safety risk...the deplaning incident i feel was justified, but this was just rude 3. why would the mother demand an apology? obviously she's just whiney...she should have just let it go instead of further drawing attention to this "embarassing" situation
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
What right does this police officer think he has to demand people leave a restaurant? Since when is a screaming/misbehaving child a crime?! I think this has less to do with autism and more to do with a police officer in a bad mood who won't mind his own business.
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