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School Sues Police After Teen with Autism Arrested in Drug Sting

The Temecula Valley School District in Southern California is suing Riverside County and its Sheriff’s Department after an undercover cop arrested a student with autism in an apparent drug sting.

In August 2012, 17-year-old Jesse Snodgrass, who was a student at Chaparral High School, told his parents he had made a friend at school. His parents were happy to hear the news because Jesse’s autism often made it difficult for him to make friends. Little did Jesse know, his new “friend” was part of an undercover drug sting by the Riverside Sheriff’s Department.

After weeks of text messages and pressure, Jesse finally was able to purchase marijuana from a medical dispensary and deliver it to his new “friend.” A short time later, Jesse and 21 other students were arrested in the sting operation.  

Jesse’s family sued the school about a year after the arrest for targeting him even though they new he had autism. Now the school district is suing the Riverside Country Police Dept. citing a contract that says the department would assume liability for any legal issues associated with the sting.

Rolling Stone magazine recently published a lengthy feature on the event titled, “The Entrapment of Jess Snodgrass.”