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Father says son with autism was slammed to ground, punched by officer

The incident happened on Wednesday in Vacaville, California, and was captured on a doorbell camera.
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A California father accused a police officer of being unnecessarily aggressive during an incident involving his teenage son, who has autism.

The father said a Vacaville officer threw his son, Preston, 17, to the ground and punched him in the face during a citation Wednesday afternoon.

"I am pro police, but I am not pro ABUSE," Adam Wolf wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. "This individual and department must be held accountable for their actions. NO child, disability or not, deserves to be treated like this."

Police said an officer was dispatched to the area around 2:30 p.m. for a report of a possible stabbing or assault with either a knife or a pipe. The officer found the victim of the assault, a 16-year-old boy, who had minor injuries that did not require medical attention, the department said in a press release.

The officer then found the suspect, a 17-year-old boy, police said.

"The officer asked the suspect to sit down, which he did. When the police officer took out his handcuffs, the suspect actively began resisting arrest, trying to get up and run. In response, the officer forced the suspect to the ground and onto his stomach," the press release states.

The incident was captured on a Ring doorbell video, which Wolf shared on his Facebook page.

In the footage, the officer is heard telling Preston to sit down. "I'm not going to tell you again, sit down," the officer says.

Preston sits on the curb. The video shows the officer grabbing something from the teen and throwing it.

The teen then gets up and appears to run away, but the officer grabs him and slams him to the ground, the video shows. A second doorbell-camera video shows what appears to be a scuffle between the officer and Preston.

"You're going to get hurt," the officer says. "Don't make me hurt you more."

Wolf said in his Facebook post that his son has autism and ADHD and "looks and acts younger than he is."

He accused the officer of throwing his son's scooter and said Preston tried to leave because he was scared.

"My son became fearful, as would any child with Autism. The officer went to touch Preston, at which point Preston moves away. At this point, Preston was confused and afraid and moves away from the officer even more," Wolf wrote. "At that point the officer felt it was a good idea to THROW Preston to the ground. Once on the ground, the officer climbed on top of Preston and PUNCHED him in the face."

Wolf could not be reached by NBC News on Friday. He told NBC Bay Area that he thought the officer's actions were "sickening and it shouldn’t have happened."

Police said the teen was arrested and detained for about an hour before he was cited and released to his stepmother. The officer, who has not been identified, was unaware that the teen has special needs, the department said in its release.

“We understand the video posted on social media can appear very disturbing,” said acting police Chief Ian Schmutzler. “When we receive a 911 call involving an assault with a deadly weapon and potential stabbing, we respond immediately to ensure we keep those in the vicinity safe. Our officer had a clear description of the suspect and the minor who was arrested fit this description."

The Vacaville Police Department is handling the investigation into the incident.