Police arrest autistic man at Whole Foods for odd and harmless behavior

Saturday, October 15, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: Whole Foods, autism, health news

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(NaturalNews) Dallas police officers recently took 28-year-old Blake Wimberly into custody after customers at a Dallas Whole Foods Market complained about his erratic and allegedly disturbing behavior while in the store. CBS News 11 in Dallas reports that Wimberly, who suffers from both autism and schizophrenia, had allegedly been running up and down store aisles, and trespassing into employee-only areas prior to his arrest.

When he is not barricaded in his apartment trying to avoid police officers, which he believes are out to get him wherever he goes, Wimberly says he enjoys visiting the grocery store. But his recent escapades at Whole Foods that resulted in his arrest have "turned our lives upside down for no reason," alleges his mother, Lori Lux.

According to CBS News 11, Wimberly had been "acting odd" in the store, which prompted some shoppers to voice a complaint. Whole Foods issued an official statement claiming that Wimberly had been "running up and down the aisles and repeatedly going into areas of the store that are employee-only."

When police eventually arrived on the scene, they reportedly asked Wimberly to leave the restricted areas, but he refused, claiming that he needed to call his mother. Officers then attempted to call Wimberly's mother directly, but were unable to reach her, which resulted in them deciding to simply arrest Wimberly and haul him off to jail.

"I told them I had autism and he told me basically I was a liar," said Wimberly to CBS News 11 concerning his interactions with the officer that made the arrest.

Lux added that she later asked the arresting officer herself if her son had done anything threatening or violent to warrant the arrest. The officer admitted that Wimberly had not done these things, but had simply been acting "odd" in his refusal to vacate the restricted areas.

Whole Foods insists that it played no role in Wimberly's arrest, and that DPD officers had made the decision entirely on their own volition, which is permitted in cases of criminal trespassing. But Wimberly's family is reportedly planning to file a lawsuit in response, claiming that Wimberly should have been treated differently because of his condition.

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