Autism Citizen has engaged in one of its first cases with astounding results. We’re working with Johanna Burke, Esq., a New Jersey lawyer, wife, mother of two sons – one of them autistic – and co-founder of Fight4Autism, another NJ charity. As a result of everyone’s efforts, Tyler is free of jail, and now hospitalized until he is evaluated and placed in a much better facility.
Advocacy for Tyler began at Autism Citizen almost within five days of Tyler’s arrest, with Co-Founder Dr. Robert Angelone picking up the mantle to help this unfortunate young man and his mother through his fight for justice. The fight’s not over, but we’ve participated (along with Attorney Burke) in a major victory in securing his release from jail.
Intense political pressure was brought to bear on New Jersey legislators, U.S. Senators Corey Booker and Robert Menendez, and Congressman Chris Smith, to secure Tyler’s release after he was arrested for “making terroristic threats” and “illegal possession of a weapon”. Washington lawmakers were especially responsive to this case, and some state representatives helped push responsible agencies to finally do something right.
Confronted by police after running away from a group home where he was mistreated by other residents and staff, Tyler, who is autistic and developmentally disabled, threatened to commit suicide with a 3-inch knife. He was arrested and placed in a jail cell in Flemington, county seat for Hunterdon County, where he was held for 20 days. Jail really is no place for an autistic person.
Autism Citizen’s numerous calls and advocacy struck the right note, and Tyler was released on short notice last week to another facility. In addition to advocating his release, Autism Citizen also advocated for Tyler at a recent Town Hall conference on Autism and with a New York attorney who specializes in cases related to autism.
Ms. Burke said “