A Des Moines man was arrested Sunday after allegedly punching a 14-year-old autistic boy in the course of an argument.
Jermall Tarrell Whitmore, 33, of 6387 Vista Dr., West Des Moines, was charged with assault causing bodily injury or mental illness and child endangerment-serious injury.
The incident began about 10:30 a.m. Sunday in the 6300 block of Vista Drive, where officers of the West Des Moines Police Department responded to a report of a fight in progress.
The officers arrived and “observed blood on the mouth of the victim,” a 14-year-old male with autism, according to court records.
A witness said Whitmore and the victim “were arguing” and the victim “was becoming agitated and kicked at” Whitmore “with his foot.”
The witness said Whitmore then “punched” the victim “in the mouth,.” according to court records. The victim also said Whitmore “punched him in the mouth.”
Whitmore told the officers “that he pushed” the victim in order “to keep him from hitting him,” and “the push may have caused the blood on his mouth.”
Whitmore is held in the Dallas County Jail
Whitmore was convicted of two counts of second-degree harassment and violation of probation in 2019 in Polk County District Court.
*A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is innocent until and unless proven guilty.