Recent HS grad believes stuttering led to unfair arrest

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.

photo: davidsonscott15

By | 2017-02-19T06:27:03+00:00 October 6th, 2010|Headlines, People Who Stutter|4 Comments


4 Comments

  1. john jennings October 6, 2010 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    I am trying to read this article but I cannot. Please, black writing against a brown background? Why? Short of doing green writing on a camo background I can’t imagine a more challenging color combo.

  2. Eric October 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Hi John – I’m not sure I see what you’re referring to. I’ve checked the blog in several browsers and can’t recreate the black-on-brown text that you’re seeing. What web browser are you using?

  3. Atif Abdelmageed October 6, 2010 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    As odd as this sounds, it’s funny that I had a similar experience in Florida aslo.few years ago. Few years ago I had a car accident at intersection; even though it wasn’t my fault the cop gave me ticket and three points on my driver license that I had to attend 8 hours class for reckless drivers. The only reason I got the ticket was because I wasn’t able to defend my self because my speech. The cop told that I had two minutes to justify what happened or he will have to write me a ticket. That was really frustrating, yet I made my peace with it.

  4. sachin November 5, 2010 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Difficult to believe that something like this could happen in a society which is driven by information.. It only proves that law enforcing authorities need to learn a lot about disability and diversity in human functioning..

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