Family: Ohio State student who assaulted protester has Asperger syndrome


The video shows protesters gathering to speak out against Donald Trump at the Ohio Union Monday night. Suddenly a young man charged down the staircase and knocked the speaker down several steps to the floor.

Friends of the suspect say the video doesn't tell the whole story.

Ruben Castilla Herrera was standing next to the victim when he was taken down.

"It's nothing unusual to hear someone yelling during a protest, or someone being upset about what we're about or saying," he said. "So I really didn't pay too close of attention, and by the time he came close enough, when the video started actually, was when everything happened at once."

He calls the victim, 25-year-old Timothy Adams, his friend.

"It happened so quickly and I was concerned for Tim most of all because you could hear even in the video, you could hear the fall."

Drew Reidel wasn't at the Union but quickly saw the video online. He recognized the suspect as his friend, 24-year-old Shane Stanton.

"A friend sent me a Twitter link, like 'Oh my Gosh, this is Shane. Have you seen this?' And I see it and I'm like, 'Oh boy.' Because I love the kid. You want to protect him."

Reidel and Stanton's family told 10TV Stanton has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. Reidel says Stanton has challenges processing situations and stimuli and points to the notepad in his hands seen on the video.

"You can see in his hands- one of the things that he does is he writes down what he's thinking and he will process it, and he has a pen and paper with him wherever he goes. It's in the video, observationally that you can see for yourself," he said.

Reidel fears his friend's actions will be misinterpreted in the midst of heightened political tensions.

"I know what he's worked for and what he's trying to do in his own personal life," he said. "So just it's painful to watch. Because that's not a good indicator, that sliver of time, of who this person is."

Castilla Herrera says his protests will continue, but calls this an opportunity for reconciliation.

"I would say for the circle of love around this young man, I would say, join us. Let's get together, let's talk about this. And how do we move forward."

Stanton is out on bond, charged with assault. Other than to confirm his Asperger diagnosis, his family declined to comment.

The victim, who was not seriously hurt, says based on what he has learned about Stanton, he no longer wants to press charges.

He plans to contact police and the prosecutor's office to make those wishes known.

The attorney for Stanton issued the following statement:

As counsel for Mr. Stanton, I wanted to provide /confirm some information that has been circulated, but not confirmed. Mr. Stanton does in fact have Asperger’s syndrome, which is a type of autism spectrum disorder. Mr. Stanton is deeply sorry for the events that occurred on November 14, 2016. But, to be clear (and contrary to some media reports), the events were not in any way politically motivated. In fact, Mr. Stanton, a registered Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, supports the right of all to peacefully assemble and protest.