When Alex Fernandez was stopped for speeding on a college campus, it should have been, at most, a minor run-in with the law.
However, his traffic stop ended with an arrest, and he believes that it was because he stutters.
Fernandez, a recent high school graduate, was visiting the campus of Sarasota County Technical Institute when a sheriff’s deputy stopped him for driving 30mph in a 15mph zone. The deputy questioned him, and Fernandez stuttered while answering. He believes that his stutter convinced the deputy that he was under the influence of drugs.
After searching Fernandez’s car and finding nothing illegal, the deputy arrested him for trespassing, when the school is clearly marked as being open to the public. Fernandez spent six hours in jail, with his mother paying $500 to bail him out.
He is now worried that the arrest will hurt his chances as he applies for schools and, eventually, jobs.
If Fernandez’s suspicions are correct, then this is an unfortunate example of how misunderstood stuttering can be.