Reginald “Neli” Latson, is a 20 year-old autistic young man, who on the morning of May 24, 2010, sat in the grass outside the local library with a hoodie on waiting for the library to open. What happened next landed then 18 year-old Reginald “Neli” Latson in jail for one year awaiting a trial without bond. During that jail time, Neli spent eight straight months isolation.
That morning the school crossing guard across the street made a claim that is debatable by 911 calls that three kids came up to her and said there was a black man sitting underneath a tree and that he may have a gun. Unbeknownst to Neli, he was now the target of a full-on manhunt by Stafford County’s sheriff department. When Neli was confronted by a sheriff deputy, he complied to a search and no gun was found. That should’ve been the end of the story, but the officer started to verbally harass Neli and Neli became afraid. He calmly tried to walk away when the officer choked him from behind and tried to place him under arrest. When Neli went to trial, he was convicted of four felonies of assaulting a police officer. The jury gave Neli 10 ½ years in prison. However, the judge gave Neli another year in the penitentiary. During that time, Neli was placed on a mental health unit where he spent most of his time in isolation.
My son Neli is innocent and went through a significant trauma. The injustice that Neli has endured has left him scarred for life. On February 13th Neli was released from prison and sent to a residential program court ordered by the judge not to be released until the age of 22. Neli made a very good transition into his new environment. After 30 days of Neli doing a great job, the commonwealth attorney personally called up his probation officer for a report. The report was a good one, yet further restrictions were placed on Neli. I am not allowed to leave campus with my son and he is not allowed to come home on overnight visits. So our family continues to suffer at the hands of a wicked and unjust judicial system. Please sign this petition so Neli can receive justice and end his suffering.