Demand Justice for Autistic Teen Presumed Drunk and Detained for 10 Hours

Target: Merseyside Police

Goal: Urge the Merseyside Police to apologize to the autistic teen wrongly accused of being drunk and disorderly.

Last June, 17-year-old Melissa Jones was arrested by Merseyside Police in Liverpool, England. Even though she was sober, she was charged with being drunk and disorderly, and forced to undergo DNA testing and finger-printing. Jones is autistic and has communication disabilities, thus she was most likely unable to properly communicate with the police upon her arrest. Although the doctor at the police station and Jones’ mother expressed that the teen had not been drinking, the police did not listen. Demand an apology from the Merseyside Police to the autistic teen for wrongly accusing her and putting her through this traumatic experience.

Last summer Melissa Jones had gone with a friend to a store to buy soda when they were both attacked by an aggressive, inebriated woman. The teens were both beaten by the woman, who immediately fled. When the police arrived, Jones was upset and crying. The police believed she was inebriated and hysterical, which led to her arrest. Due to Jones’ autism, she was unable to express what had happened and how she was feeling. Jones was distressed and confused, and could not adequately express her emotions to the police without crying or coming off as hysterical. Even after the doctor at the police station expressed that the teen was not drinking, the police did not release her. Jones was held for 10 hours, even after the teen’s mother explained that she is autistic and has communication disabilities. The mother reported that the police simply did not want to hear her excuses or reasoning.

Thankfully Melissa Jones’ charges were dropped due to the police not having sufficient evidence to prove that the teen was drunk and disorderly. Even though the case has been dropped, the teen deserves an apology from the police station at the very least. Sign this petition and urge the Merseyside police to apologize to the autistic teenager they wrongly accused of being inebriated.


Dear Merseyside Police,

I would like to express my concern for the way the autistic teenager, Melissa Jones, was treated last June. Jones was wrongly accused of being drunk and disorderly when she was in fact upset about recently being assaulted. Melissa Jones suffers from communication disabilities related to her autism. Therefore, the teenager was not able to adequately express her emotions upon her arrest. No one listened to Jones’ mother when she explained the teen was autistic and had communication disabilities. They did not listen even after a doctor confirmed that the teen had not been drinking. It is outrageous that the Merseyside Police station continued to wrongly accuse Jones of being drunk and disorderly even after learning of her disabilities.

While the case has been dropped, Melissa Jones still deserves an apology from the police station. The teenager was put through a very traumatic situation. Please apologize to Melissa Jones for wrongly accusing her of being inebriated.


[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. Gillian Miller Gillian Miller says:

    There is a lot missing from this story. First of all, what happened to the friend Melissa was with. Secondly, as a minor Melissa had to have an appropriate adult, presumably her mother, present at the interview. She should have called for a duty solicitor who would have dealt with the situation. Additionally, the police complaints authority should be investigating this or, better yet, a complaint to the Area Commander. I have to say that this is unusual, police are usually very good at dealing with mental health issues as well as learning disabilities.

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