COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The man accused of tackling a speaker at an anti-Trump protest at Ohio State Monday night has Asperger’s, according to family members.
Shane Michael Stanton, 24, was arrested Monday night. He is accused of pushing a protester who was standing on stairs at the Ohio Union.
Stanton, an OSU student, appeared in court Tuesday morning, where he was held on a $2,500 cash surety bond. Court staff said he posted bond within minutes.
The victim, Tim Adams, said he originally wanted to press charges against Stanton because he thought this was a politically motivated attack. However, after he learned it wasn’t on Tuesday, he said he planned to ask for the charges against Stanton to be dropped.
Stanton’s father told NBC4 his son has Asperger’s, an autism spectrum disorder, but declined to comment further on the situation.
Dr. Becky Morrison of Oakstone Academy said Asperger’s is no longer technically a diagnosis but is included on the autism spectrum. She described it as a “social disorder.”
“They’re not able to process or naturally interpret social norms, social behavior in the same way that you or I would,” Morrison said.
Morrison said sensory issues can also be problematic for those on the spectrum.
“It could impact their visual, their auditory system, their vestibular—how their body moves through space,” Morrison said. “Every person on the spectrum is different.”
While it’s not known what led up to the incident at the Ohio Union, Morrison said it’s common for people on the spectrum to become overwhelmed if there’s a lot going on, whether it’s noise, chanting or a crowd.
“At that point you see a lot of our folks have judgment issues, there might poorer judgment or more reactionary judgment calls,” Morrison said.
Morrison said she did not know Stanton, but several of her former Oakstone students attend OSU.
“I can only imagine that he’s worked so hard to get to this level, to this place,” Morrison said.
According to the Franklin County Board of Elections, Stanton voted in the Democratic primary in 2016.