Police target mentally handicapped children

“Deputy Zipperstein told the Snodgrasse’s mentally handicapped son he was “desperate for drugs,” and demanded not only marijuana but his prescription clonazepam before he was arrested. “I’m on medication and it helps me,” he told his mother. “I thought he needed help.”

“The problem is that her son was never a drug dealer.

“Catherine Snodgrass said her son agreed to get the marijuana because his friend, Deputy Zipperstein, said he was in trouble.

“The Snodgrasses said it was obvious to Deputy Zipperstein that their son suffers from serious disabilities.

“Sheriff’s officials have released few details about how many other special education children were arrested.

“Capt. John Pingel called the department’s undercover operations a success.

“Likewise, Temecula Valley Unified School District Superintendent Tim Ritter, “I’m sure this sent a message to the rest of the kids.”

“When his son sees a police car now, the father said, he panics and ducks.

“I just thought it was really shameful that the Sheriff’s Department targets mentally handicapped children ,” she said. “It’s not within his capacity to deal with this.”

“The Snodgrasse’s son is in special education and receives treatment for several psychiatric conditions. The teen’s name is not being used because he was charged as a juvenile. The parents agreed to be named.

“Sheriff’s officials said they could not discuss details of the case and declined to make Deputy Zipperstein available for an interview.

“The teen didn’t have access to prescription drugs — his parents control his medication. But eventually, they said, their son obtained small amounts of marijuana and twice sold it to the deputy for $20 near campus. He later told his parents he had bought the marijuana from a homeless man on the street.

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