When Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department learned of a young man imprisoned and isolated in his Santa Maria, California home, the Department chose not to respond. Now twenty-five, the young man was diagnosed with autism as a child. He has largely been denied contact with the outside world since age seventeen.
Sergeant Richard Brittingham barked a hearty guffaw at the suggestion that deputies should protect a person with a disability. When Sergeant Brittingham controlled his laughter, he exclaimed:
That would be a stretch beyond imagination!