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A 16-year-old British girl with autism was taken into custody earlier this week after saying a police officer looked like a lesbian.
The girl’s mother uploaded a video to TikTok showing seven West Yorkshire Police officers entering their home and dragging the autistic girl away for a “homophobic public order offense.” Police had initially driven the girl home after her sister alerted them because she was concerned the autistic girl was acting in “unsafe ways.” Upon arriving at her home, the teenager reportedly made a comment about one of the female officers escorting her.
“She said ‘I think she’s a lesbian like nanna Julie,’” the girl’s mother said, according to Reduxx. “I just felt a jolt on my back… the officer had launched herself in my home at me and Amanda. She was grabbing her.”
UK: A mother in Leeds captured terrifying footage of West Yorkshire Police brutally arresting her 16-year-old autistic daughter for "homophobia."
She told Reduxx that her child was in custody for 20 hours despite not knowing what the charges were.
— REDUXX (@ReduxxMag) August 10, 2023
The mother, who goes by Nikita Snow on social media, said her daughter ran and hid under the stairs and began apologizing to the officer, but the female officer insisted that the teenager would be placed under arrest.
“She’s getting arrested,” she said. “Another unit’s coming, don’t worry … I’m telling you another unit is coming, she is going to get arrested tonight.”
“She’s got autism, can you just stand there please? She’s in a cupboard, she can’t go anywhere,” Snow said. “You’re going to remove her for what? Because she said the word lesbian? Her nana is a lesbian, she’s married to a woman. She’s not homophobic!”
Footage of the incident showed the West Yorkshire police taking the girl out of the house as Snow tells them that she suffers from scoliosis. The girl then fell to the ground and grabbed her shoulder as police attempted to take her into custody.
She “was never read her rights, was not cautioned, and the police woman did not have a warrant and was not invited inside [my home],” according to Snow, who said police kept her daughter in custody for 20 hours. The young girl was finally released “pending further inquiries and advice from the Crown Prosecution Service,” police said.
U.K. law defines a homophobic hate crime as “Any incident/crime which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a person because of their sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity by the victim or any other person.”
The West Yorkshire Police warned that the video posted on social media “only provides a very limited snapshot of the circumstances of this incident.” The department said it would review the bodycams of the officers and “ask that people avoid reaching any conclusions about it solely on the basis of the social media video.”
The police statement said the teenager appeared to be intoxicated and was “putting herself at risk.” The statement acknowledged that she was arrested “on suspicion of a homophobic public order offense.”
“West Yorkshire Police takes its responsibilities around the welfare of young people taken into custody and around neurodiversity very seriously,” the statement continued. “We also maintain that our officers and staff should not have to face abuse while working to keep our communities safe.”