|This list is by no means comprehensive. It was compiled by the all-volunteer organization Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of Deaf communities (HEARD) over a span of several years. For more information or to donate to our efforts, please visit our website (www.behearddc.org) & follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/HEARDDC) & Twitter (@behearddc). Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or press inquiries. Note: The toggle at the bottom allows you to see the Spanish translation, & the red highlight means that the incident was fatal.|
|Name||State||County or Police Department||Year||Pysical Violence?||Nature of Incident||Interpreter / Accommodation?||Details||Lawsuit/Outcome||Other Notes|
|Pike||NJ||Paterson||2018||Yes||Arrest & Maced||No||Information forthcoming; preliminary: Black Deaf man with disabled leg thrwon to the groudn and mamced by cops after thy laugh at his speech.|
|Bri Garrison||CO||Aurora PD, Arapaho & Monroe Co Jails, & an associated court||2018||No||Arrest & held with no access||No||April 12th, I flew back from my vacation and I got notified that police came by and dropped off a notice. I call and see what was it for. Police officers from Arapahoe Country came, I met them outside of the house. I told them that I was deaf and we need to communicate through paper and pen. They keep speaking and asked me if anybody could interpret from the house. I repeated myself, “paper and pen please.” They refused to communicate with me through paper and pen. They asked me to get somebody that can speak of the house to interpret. (Friend) came out and try to help with the situation but (Friend) was confused with what was going on so he couldn’t be able to interpret.|
4pm, Aurora Country Police Officer G Medina showed up at the scene. He spoke to me, I told him I can’t understand him. He keeps repeating himself and refuse to communicate with me through paper and pen, I couldn’t understand him. My anxiety rises because I was confused with why I will be arrested. Officer Medina got his cuffs out and cuffed me from behind. I resisted and told him to cuffs me from front. He refused and argued with me. He cuffed me from the behind and escorted me to the vehicle. I was scared, so confused, and my anxiety was off of the wall. I wasn’t provided any interpreters in Aurora station.
6pm, They transferred me to Arapahoe Country Jail, I had no clue what was going on. When I arrived to the station to book me in. They keep speaking to me, I told them that I was deaf. Nobody notified them that a deaf inmate was coming and no interpreters was provided. I had cuffs on for more than two hours because they didn’t know what to do with me. They won’t communicate with me at all. I was scared and confused. They put me in a holding cell for few hours without a paper and pen. Deputy __ came in the room and offered to interpret because I keep requesting for a nurse because I was having a difficult time to catch my breath. She kept asking me to repeat myself and I was having an anxiety attack at the time. I told her that I want an interpreter because she couldn’t able to understand me. She left and I waited for an hour and half for an interpreter.
9pm, They took me to the nurse office and I finally calmed down because I finally have an ability to communicate because there was an ASL interpreter provided because they will provide interpreter for only mental health intakes. I explained that the holding cell is giving me anxiety and I wanted to know what was going on and why was I arrested for. I finally was informed at 9pm. It took 5 hours for me to find out why I was arrested. All because of lack of communication. They explained to me that I will be sleeping in a holding cell for the night then transfer to a unit then I stayed in the holding cell for the night.
April 13th, 9:00am I was transferred into a jail unit D14. Deputy ___ escorted me to the unit and just left me without any orientation. I had no way of communication with any of the inmates or guard because they didn’t provide me any paper or pencil. The Deputy told me that D14 was my cell, that is it. I stayed for night without communication access, I didn't have paper/pencil.
April 14th, 8:00am A officer came to get me and had me transferred to Montrose Country Jail. While the transfer, we got pulled over by the highway patrol. The officer who was driving to transport me to Montrose Country Jail was speeding. I arrived and the transferring procession was a struggle because they also didn’t provide any interpreter. They had a dual pad to communicate but English isn’t my first language. They had no idea how to use the dual pad so I had to teach them. ASL is my first language so I want to communicate through ASL, so I keep requesting for an interpreter. They said they couldn’t get any interpreter. I spent two nights there with a paper and pen for communicating.
April 16th, 11am I was asked to be seen by the Ouray Judge Zachary Martin. The Court didn’t provide an ASL interpreter, so the court took a while to get ready. the only choice I had was using the interpret on relay, so we used an interpreter relay on big screen. The judge set July 5th, 2018 as my court date.
When I was released from the jail. I learnt that Jennifer Gunderson had multiple cases related with assaults. She assaulted few other people before me and was arrested for it. I wasn’t the first victim that was assaulted by her. I reached out several people who was assaulted and they explained me their story and it was heart wrenching to learn that she didn’t stop repeating her mistakes.
July 3rd, I was informed that the court wasn’t able to get ASL and CD interpreter. The court date had been set to August 2nd, 2018.
|Hui Jie Jin||CA||Alameda County Sheriff’s Office||2017||Yes||Physical violence& unlawful arrest||No||A deaf 76-year-old woman accused an Alameda County Sheriff’s Office deputy of excessive force during an alleged jaywalking incident last year, claiming the deputy “violently threw” her to the ground and handcuffed her to an ambulance while she was unconscious. The department’s policy does not count jaywalking as an arrestable offense, Schmidt said, but “there was more than an arrest for jaywalking. Not obeying a lawful order is an arrestable offense, so that’s what we were looking at.”|
Jin and Corvello encountered each other on the morning of July 21, 2017, when Jin was out shopping for groceries. The lawsuit claims that Corvello began yelling at Jin while she was allegedly jaywalking, but because Jin is “profoundly deaf” she couldn’t hear or understand his commands. As Corvello moved closer to her, the suit alleges, Jin pointed to her ear with one hand and waved her hand back and forth with the other to signal that she was deaf. “Despite recognizing that Mrs. Jin could not hear or understand him, Officer Corvello made no attempts to effectively communicate with Mrs. Jin at any point before or during her arrest,” the suit states.More officers arrived on the scene and performed a search of Jin and her grocery bags, according to court documents, and during this time Jin emptied her pockets to hand Corvello her California identification card, disabled senior citizen bus pass, and a handwritten card with the name and phone number of Jin’s daughter for emergencies.
“Mrs. Jin was terrified, but at no point did she resist arrest or attempt to flee, nor could she due to her age and disabilities,” the complaint states. Jin prayed and repeatedly bowed in front of Corvello “in order to beg ... for mercy and not to hurt her.”
In response, the suit alleges, Corvello slammed the woman to the ground, placed a foot or knee behind her neck or back and handcuffed her. Jin passed out and was taken to the hospital via ambulance, according to the suit, which alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, negligence, and deprivation of Jin’s civil rights. Jin was issued a citation for jaywalking and resisting arrest, but no paperwork exists and no charges were filed, the suit states.
|Attorneys for plaintiff Hui Jie Jin laid out the allegations in a lawsuit filed late last week in Northern District of California. The suit claims Jin suffered a permanent brain injury, along with contusions and abrasions, as a result of what her attorneys called an unlawful arrest. Attorneys for plaintiff Hui Jie Jin laid out the allegations in a lawsuit filed late last week in Northern District of California. The suit claims Jin suffered a permanent brain injury, along with contusions and abrasions, as a result of what her attorneys called an unlawful arrest. Defendants named in the suit include sheriff’s Deputy Phillip Corvello, Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern, Alameda County and the city of Dublin. Corvello is contracted to work with the Dublin Police Department. Nate Schmidt, a Dublin police captain, confirmed that the department conducted an internal investigation after the incident and found Corvello’s use of force to be within policy. Schmidt declined comment on the allegations in the civil suit but confirmed that Corvello is still employed by the agency. Jin is seeking an unnamed amount in damages, as well as a training and policy overhaul on how the agencies handle people with hearing loss. A case management conference is scheduled for Nov. 26 at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco.|
|Magdiel Sanchez||OK||Oklahoma City Police Department||2017||Yes||Shooting - Fatal||No||More details forthcoming. Deaf Disabled Latinx man killed within moments of cops arriving to his and his father's home. Witnesses shouted to the cops that he could not hear them.|
|Dennis Hunt||NC||North Carolina State Highway Patrol||2016||Yes||Shooting - Fatal||No||October 10, 2016. Hurricane Matthew left parts of NC under water. 56 year old Deaf Native man (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina) was shot and killed by North Carolina State Highway Patrolman in Lumberton, NC, in what should have been a seach and rescue mission. He was low income and reported to be homeless, deaf and nonverbal by his family. It was nighttime, around 8pm and North Carolina is an Open Carry State. There is no video and police claim Hunt became hostile with them (that he yelled and swore at them) and they saw a gun in his waist, took a shooting stance before one officer shot him three times. The officer was cleared.||Defendants named in the suit include sheriff’s Deputy Phillip Corvello, Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern, Alameda County and the city of Dublin. Corvello is contracted to work with the Dublin Police Department. Nate Schmidt, a Dublin police captain, confirmed that the department conducted an internal investigation after the incident and found Corvello’s use of force to be within policy.|
|Terrence Crutcher||OK||Tulsa PD||2016||Yes||Shooting - Fatal||No||On September 16, 2016, Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old African-American man, was fatally shot by white police officer Betty Shelby in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was unarmed during the encounter, in which he was standing near his vehicle in the middle of a street. Crutcher's sister, in a CNN interview revealed that he was hard of hearing and that he had a prosthetic eye. Photos show him always wearing dark glasses to protect his eyes.||The shooting led to protests in Tulsa. On September 22, the Tulsa County District Attorney charged Shelby with first-degree manslaughter and later the shooting was labeled a homicide.|
|Daniel Harris||NC||Charlotte (NC State Trooper)||2016||Yes||Shooting - Fatal||No||Officer alleges that Daniel Harris was speeding. The officer rammed Mr. Harris' car and tailed him home--which was a few minutes away. According to neighbors, he officer opened fire within seconds of Harris exiting car. Reports say the officer fired within seconds of arriving at the house. Details forthcoming.||Jan 30, 2017, Mecklenburg Attorney General announced no charges to be filed against Trooper Jermaine Suanders.|
|Darnell Wicker||KY||Louisville Metro PD||2016||Yes||Shooting - Fatal||No||This 57 year old veteran was deaf in one ear and hard of hearing in the other ear. Police officers were called by his long term girlfriend's daughter to their home. One police officer was on the scene communicating with Mr. Wicker when two other officers pulled up. Body camera footage shows the two officers driving up, jumping out of their cruiser, approaching Mr. Wicker, one officer shouting, "drop it," and within one and a half seconds opened fire. Mr. Wicker died on the scene.||Officers deemed "justified." Family still fighting in early 2017.|
|Hannah Cohen||TN||TSA (Memphis Shelby Co. Airport Authority)||2016||Yes||Physical beating||No||This young St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital cancer patient, was attempting to travel back home to Chatanooga, TN with her mother when she was told by TSA she needed additional screening. Only minutes later, Cohen, who is blind in one eye and deaf was in handcuffs on the ground with her head bloodied from a tackle to the ground by a TSA. According to Cohen's mother, her daughter became confused with instructions and became disoriented with TSA shouting instructions. Thereafter she was tackled.|
|Opal Gordon||NY||NYPD||2015||No||Wrongful arrest||No|
Her name is Opal Gordon (54). She was arrested September 2015 when she left the Manhattan Family Court related to a child custody case. NYPD police arrested on a violation of a protection order — but did not explain her why they arrested her, did not read her Miranda rights, and kept her in custody overnight.
Opal asked for an interpreter but was denied repeatedly — and after 21 hours, one was finally provided. Opal filed a lawsuit on December 2015 and now she’s won a $100k settlement.
It is the latest large settlement from the city of NY to a Deaf person who was mistreated by NYPD.
|Deaf Woman Wins $100k Settlement from NYC/NYPD|
February 23, 2017
A Deaf woman won a $100,000 settlement from the city of New York City/NYPD after she sued them for jailing her overnight and denying her an ASL interpreter.
|Randall Waddel||TX||Weatherford police||2015||Yes||Shooting - Fatal||No||A police officer shot Waddel in the back as he tried to run out of a store to escape paramedics who previously took him to a pscyhiatric institution resulting in him losing everything. Waddel wad deaf and also had mental illness. He had a pocket knife. Here is video footage of him attempting to flee paramedics: goo.gl/uwGIB0|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 11 [Name Withheld]||CA||Alameda County (Pleasanton)||2014||No||Officer refusal to communicate with Deaf driver & use of small child as "interpreter"||No||A California Highway Patrol officer refused to communicate with Deaf driver. Instead, the officer talked to the driver's 10 year old child, who tried their best to "interpret." The parent-driver could not understand everything the child said and could not hear the officer talking. The officer refuse to write anything on paper as requested by the driver.|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 12 [Name Withheld]||CO||Chaffee County||2014||Yes||Wrongful Arrest, Abuse & Impounding of Service Dogs||No||A Deaf homeless person went to a local church with his two service dogs. Staff at the church were giving him painreliever for chronich toothaches when a pastor saw his dogs and wanted him to leave. The Deaf person person trid to explain that these were service animals but the pastor called the police who similarly did not listen. Police officers cuffed the Deaf person, removed his service dogs and had them sent to the pound. The Deaf person began having a seizure as a result, so officers called first responders to transport the person by ambulance to the ER. On the ride to the ER, officers cuffed the Deaf person and put a hat over his face and such that he could barely breathe. The Deaf person was just trying to communicate with officers but they refused to take the time to listen. The Deaf person was given a ticket and kicked him out of town. Officers threated to arrest him if he refused to leave town.||The person found someone to pay $60 to get his service dogs out of the pound. He had no money.|
|Edward Miller||FL||Volusia County Sheriff||2014||Yes||Shooting - Fatal||No||Plainclothes deputy shot a deaf man six times after the deputy "perceived a threat" when Miller "failed to obey" the deputy's commands. The man's son was present and informed the deputies that his father could not hear them prior to them opening fire.||Updates forthcoming|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 10 [Name Withheld]||AL||Cullman County||2014||Yes||Abuse||No||Deaf driver was pulled over by an officer who "was so angry that he almost broke [the driver's] door and was going to draw a gun on me when [the driver] repeatly informed the officer that [the driver is] deaf." The officer became frustrated with the driver within minutes and kept their hand on their service weapon. The driver was fearful and could tell that the officer would "draw the gun at any time."|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 15 [Name Withheld]||CA||Alameda County||2014||Yes||Officer frustrated with communication kept their hand on service weapon during a routine traffic stop||No||Deaf driver was pulled over by an officer who "was so angry that he almost broke [the driver's] door and was going to draw a gun on me when [the driver] repeatly informed the officer that [the driver is] deaf." The officer became frustrated with the driver within minutes and kept their hand on their service weapon. The driver was fearful and could tell that the officer would "draw the gun at any time." The officer went back to his patrol car and after fifteen minutes returned with a ticket & forced me to sign it. I wanted to refuse because the officer did not explain the reason why he pulled me over.|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 17 [Name Withheld]||TX||Hays County||2014||Yes||Officer Refusal to Communicate with Deaf person, Use of family member as interpreter; Wrongful Arrest & Police Brutality||No|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 18 [Name Withheld]||WA||Spokane County Sheriff Department||2014||Yes||Held at gunpoint & nearly hit by patrol car||No||Deaf pedestrian was walking down the road when a sheriff's patrol car quickly sped in front of the pedestrian to cutt him off nearly hitting pedestrian's knee. The deputy got out of his patrol car with his gun drawn while speaking to the pedestrian who raised his hands. The pedestrian can speak but can not hear. The deputy used a hand guesture and the pedestrian read his lips that he wanted to see identification. Pedestrian handed identification to the deputy who was still pointing his weapon. The pedestrian reports being in fear for their life and keeping quiet and an eye on the depputy's gun.||None||This pedestrian is a single parent of two sons. The pedestrian reports the following: "I don't trust Police Community and fear they would not understand about me being deaf. I avoid large crowded areas or cities ...and now they are killing people it makes me feel more insecured to be around police. Hopefully one day our justice system can change our police forces and train them to not use excessive force on us. . . . I don't want my son to be a victim. He is mixed-race, black and white, and I fear for my family and myself around police because what I see and have been through.|
|unnamed||MO||Bridgeton PD||2014||Yes||Tasered||No||Searching for more details on this incident. The department was sued by this person and Robert Kim (below in 2012) within 30 days of each other.|
|Jonothan Meister||CA||Hawthorne PD||2014||Yes||Taserd & beaten||No||Meister was carrying his belongings from his friend's home when officers mistook him for a burglar, determined that his attempts to use sign language were aggressive, and began beating, tasering and choking him to the point of unconsciousness.||Lawsuit pending|
|Pearl Pearson||OK||Oklahoma Highway Patrol||2014||Yes||Pulled from car and beaten about face/head/chest||No||Video showed patrolmen brutally attacking Pearson within seconds of approaching his vehicle. Pearson, a 68 year old Deaf man, was attempting to indicate that he was deaf when he was beaten for nearly seven minutes.||Immediately following Pearson’s assault, the troopers’ dashboard camera revealed officers cursing after they run a quick check of his license and realized that Pearson is deaf. The district attorney announced that the officers would not be charged for this attack & charged Pearson with "resisting arrest.” Pearson and his attorneys are in their second year of fighting this charge.||Pearson's son is a police officer & he is fully aware of protocol and argues that he followed proper procudure and was attacked by officers when he was trying to indicate that he was deaf|
|Tanya Ingram||NY||NYPD||2013||Yes||arrested for requesting access||No||Ingram claimed NYPD officers wrongly collared her after a car accident at the intersection of Second Ave. and E. 120th St. in East Harlem on the afternoon of Feb. 26, 2013. Ingram was scared of the other driver so she "picked up a small metal pipe that she had in her car and exited the car, gesturing to (the other driver) to back away with her free hand. At no time did Ms. Ingram swing the pipe, nor did she ever attempt to strike (the other driver)," according to the Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit.|
Cops got to the scene around 45 minutes later and spoke extensively with the other driver. While Ingram tried to explain she's deaf and tell her side of the story — typing a note on her phone asking for an interpreter — they "expressed visible annoyance" and "appeared to be mocking her use of gestures," her lawsuit, filed in February, said.
"You did not understand me. That's not right. I know she's lying to you. How can I tell you my story? I want my rights. Call interpreter," her note said.
Ingram didn't know what was going on when the cops started to arrest her. She became "extremely frightened and utterly bewildered as to the reason for her arrest, began crying and repeatedly tried to audibly shout, "Why?,'" the suit alleged.
Authorities held Ingram for 24 hours — and they never gave her an interpreter, even though it's required under the law. Ingram faced four misdemeanors — menacing, harassment, resisting arrest and criminal possession of a weapon — but prosecutors dropped all charges in July 2013, the suit said.
|December 2016 - The city will pay $80,000 to a deaf woman who accused cops of wrongly arresting and denying her an interpreter, officials confirmed Thursday.|
|David Updike||OR||Gresham & Multnomah County PD||2013||Unknown||No interpreter with officers. Court provided interpreter several days later.||Public defender requested an interprter and was laughed at , judge ordered ASL interpreter 3 days later||Released, charges dropped after 8 days, lawsuit pending|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 5 [Name Withheld]||KY||Laurel County Sheriff||2013||Yes||Beaten & wrongfully imprisoned||No||After the deaf person asked the deputy to read the deaf person's communication card, the officer ignored this request, then grabbed the person and threw them to the ground. He was beaten, taken to jail and charged with "resisting arrest, "endangerment of a police officer," and "assaulting a police officer" as related to the physical encounter.||The person was wrongfully imprisoned and fought this charge for two years.|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 14 [Name Withheld]||MA||Hampden||2013||Yes||Assaulted & wrongfully detained||No||An officer asked this deaf person to share their version of events on an incident. As this person tried to share details, a second officer kept interjecting. This deaf person "sternly, but politely" told the officer that she was interjecting and not listening. The other officer responded but this person could not hear, "if I interrupt her I will be detained." The female officer again interjected and changed this deaf person's story. When the deaf person tried to speak again, the officer threw the deaf person against the house and detained them. ||This deaf person did not have contact with a lawyer or have water for nine hours.|
|Doug Bahl||MN||St. Paul PD||2013||Yes||Beaten||No||requested interpreter, PD refused to interview due to request. Beat Bahl because he tried to communicate via paper & pen||Lawsuit: $20k damaged & $73k in legal fees. Bahl passed away in January 2014 from cancer.||St. Paul retrained its PD due to this incident & ensuing litigation|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 9 [Name Withheld]||FL||Pasco County||2013||Yes||Restrained by officers||No||Deaf person was restrained by the three police officers for using pen and paper I to request n ASL interpreter. Officers refused this refused all communication.||Unable to find legal counsel for this case|
|Robert Kim||MO||Bridgeton PD||2014||Yes||Tasered & beaten||No||Kim pulled over to fix a flat tire just before slipping into a diabetic episode. He was seated on the grass when a police officer arrived. Kim tried to make the officer aware that he was deaf, that he had trouble speaking, and that he was in diabetic shock. Instead of contacting paramedics, this officer and others beat and tasered Kim for failing to respond to their verbal orders. Doctors at the hospital where Kim was subsequently taken assessed his condition as life-threatening.||Charges dropped against Kim.Lawsuit pending|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 3 [Name Withheld]||MI||Bary & Calhoun Counties||1999 - 2013||Yes||Verbal & physical abuse||No||Requests for interpreters are denied by officers and officers demand that complinant "read, write and speak." Physical abuse and threats involve, "rough manhandling because I can't hear or lip read from behind, or when at night and they point a flashlight in my face refusing to acknowledge that I cannot hear." They also threaten to arrest me.|
|Unnamed 12 Year Old child||CT||West Hartford||2013||Yes||Taser||No||Police were called to American School for the Deaf and they tased the child who was seated with his back turned to police and hands on his face. The police nor staff informed the child that they were there. The child was taken to the hospital.||Settlement reached between the city and the child in 2018.||http://www.courant.com/community/west-hartford/hc-news-west-hartford-asd-taser-settlement-offer-20180214-story.html|
|Lashonn White||WA||Tacoma PD||2012||Yes||Taser||No||White called 911 via video relay service to request assistance with an abusive domestic partner. When officers arrived, White ran toward them for assistance. They tased, beat and arrested her for "ignoring the command" to stop running toward them. Neighbors claim that they informed the officers that she was deaf & dispatch claims to have informed officers that the complainant was deaf.||White was released w/o charge. An internal investigation determined that the officers were "justified" in their use of force. Lawsuit against the city settled.|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 2 [Name Withheld]||IL||Carterville PD||2012||Yes||Unlawful removal of child from deaf parent without provision of interpreters||No||An angry teenager called 911 to their home where they lived with one parent who happened to be deaf. The parent later explained that the teenager was upset that they could not stay at a friend's house longer, so they called the police.The PD admits that the parent was never consulted about the incident because she requested a qualified interpreter but they refused to provide an interpreter. The officer even asked for advisement of the chief of the department "to ask what to do about the circumstances surrounding the difficulties in communicating with [the deaf parent] and [parent's] demands of a Signed English Translator. " [The chief] stated " that we would not get a Signed English Translator and to only attempt to make effective communication through writing our questions and responses on paper. He also stated if it were okay with [child] an arrest would not be made on [parent] for Domestic Battery , due to [parent's] failure to effectively communicate with law enforcement on the scene." The hearing teenager was taken by the police officers and given to the hearing parent who did not have custody of the child. The deaf parent never provided a statement to the police and had no idea where their child was taken. ||This person was denied an interpreter by the police. This person only communicates though sign language and has difficulty writing English and speech reading. After going through the legal system, largely without an interpreter--even attempting to communicate with the public defender in writing and not understanding what was happening in court--this person pled guilty to charges they did not understand and lost custody of their child.||Other issues: |
1. The Williamson County Public Defender Service did not provide an interpreter to this parent
2. The Williamson County Court also failed to provide interpreters at at least one hearing
3.The Ill. Dept. of Children & Family Services sent a letter to the parent stating that after they completed their investigation into other charges against her, they found the charges were "unfounded." This letter also states that the recipient has exactly 10 days to request a report that states that the report against the recipient was falsely filed. For an individual who does not speak English, this is not accessible. The parent could not understand this letter because the parent uses sign language to communicate.
|Jacob Cody Plemmons||NC||Buncomb County Sherriff's Office||2012||Yes||Shooting||No||Plemmons, a 17 year old deaf youth who officers had stopped several minutes before wrote back and forth with officers to communicate that he had taken his mother's car and was lost. Officers wrote back to Plemmons that he was free to go. When he drove away, officers quickly turned around and pursued him. Witnesses and the Deaf teenager state that officers did not have their lights on and that they were chasing him. The teenager says he was confused because they told him he was free to go home. Plemmons says he raised his hands and shook his head yes, trying to put vehicle in park, but that before he got the vehicle in park the officers opened fire, striking him five times.||Police were found not at fault & the Plemmons is physically disabled as a result of the incident. The family is still seeking redress.|
|Philip Wolfe||WA||Portland PD||2012||No||PD failure to provide interpreter led to violence for deaf domestic violence survivor.||No||On two separate calls with 911, the caller requested ASL interpreters, but officers failed to provide interpreters. Instead, an officer with basic ASL abilities came to the scene. Consequently, officers could not effectively communicate with Wolfe and he was attacked a second time by the same domestic assailant after officers left the scene.||In July 2013, federal judge ordered city of Portland to pay $51,500 for failing to provide communication access in violation of the ADA.||District court judge also ordered the city to adopt the U.S. Justice Department's model policy on how to communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing|
|Diana Williams & Chris Williams||NY||NYPD||2011||Unlawful arrest when in need of protection||No||Williams and her husband, Chris Williams, both of whom are deaf (Latinx), are landlords of a building in Staten Island. On Sept. 11, 2011, when the couple were trying to evict tenants who hadn’t paid rent, the boyfriend of one of the tenants allegedly gestured that he had a gun. |
Chris then called for police using a video relay service — which the couple later argued should’ve signified to police that they would need a sign language translator. But when officers arrived on the scene there was no translator, and it was only the tenant and the boyfriend, both of whom can hear, who could communicate their side of the story.
Some deaf tenants in the building later testified that the officers rejected their offers to translate for Williams, who cannot hear, speak English or read lips. Instead, Williams was arrested for allegedly getting into a fight with one of the tenants.
Panicked, Williams attempted to scrawl “HOSPITAL” in the dust on the window of the police cruiser, according to The New York Daily News. She made it to “HOSP.”
Williams was detained for 24 hours, during which a translator was never provided. She was released without charge.
| A New York City woman, who is deaf and says NYPD officers wrongfully arrested her and then ignored her pleas for an American Sign Language interpreter, has settled her lawsuit against the city for $750,000, a sum her lawyers say is the largest ever deaf discrimination settlement for a single person. |
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 4 [Name Withheld]||MI||Oakland & Wayne Counties||2010 - 2012||Yes||Dangerous encounters during routine traffic stops||No||Officers pull over the deaf driver at night with a flashlight directly in the driver's eyes & with his hand on his gun. The deaf driver believes the officer was upset because the driver did not to respond to verbal commands that the driver can not hear (or see with the flaghlight directly in the driver's eyes). Officers also demand that the driver read lips and argued with the driver who could pick up on some of the words the officer speaks.|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 6 [Name Withheld]||WA||Snohomish County||2011||Yes||Beating & unlawful arrest with to access to telecomm||No||This deaf parent came to provide information to an officer who had pulled their child over. The child could not find the registration and asked the officer if it was okay if the child's deaf parent came to provide the information. The officer agreed. When the parent arrived, the officer shined a light in the deaf parent's eyes and grew angry when the parent did not repsond to verbal commands that the parent could not hear or see. The officer used his flashlight to break the window of the parent's car, then smashed out the parents front teeth with the flashlight then dragged the parent out of of the truck to the ground and took him to jail. The parent is still fighting the charges several years later.||This parent and their deaf spouse experience PTSD as a result of this incident because they live in perpetual fear of abuse by officers when they leave their homes.||This parent was not provided a videophone to make phone calls to family or attorneys. The parent's case was postponed for many months because interpreters were not being provided by the court. The attorney had to file motions for interpreters and a motion to dismiss the case as a violatio of the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial.|
|Roger Anthony||SC||Halifax County ?||2011||Yes||Taser - Fatal||No||Black Deaf Intellectually Disabled Elderly (who also experienced seizures) man was riding his bike and did not respond to oral commands from police. They tased him to death.||http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2065629/Police-killed-deaf-cyclist-stun-gun-failed-obey-instructions-stop.html|
|Brenda Williams||CA||LAPD (shooting occured in Watts Neighborhood; was the third fatal shooting in a period of 24 hours by LAPD-two in Watts, on in P)||2011||Yes||Shooting - Fatal||No||A 57 year old Deaf Disabled Black woman with mental disabilities had an altercation with her family. She had a gun and had reportedly fired it at the chldrwoman's daughter. The daughter had asked police to take the weapon from her mother the day before but the police did not do this. The next day the mom fired the wapon and the familiy called police again. The daughter Frankie Jenkins, said she told police her mother was deaf.|
"My mom was shot and I asked them not to kill my mother, she's deaf." Jenkins told NBCLA.
|John T. Williams||WA||Seattle PD||2010||YES||Shooting - Fatal||No||Native American woodcarver was shot several times in the back and side by an officer for "refusing to turn and face him" while he was walking down a busy street. Williams had in his possession a small, legal, closed carving knife as shown in evidence photos taken minutes after his murder.||Shooting not justified, officer resigned, not charged. Lawsuit filed, $1.5 million paid to family|
|Alejandro Rea||CA||Security Guard||2010||Yes||tackled, put in headlock||No||tried to sign to guard who has him in headlock, brother also tries to sign/communicate||Guard suspended by store, man in prison awaiting trial, no further info||Alejandro is clearly tapping the guard's arm as he turns purple and trying to sign. He struggles after his tapping & signing go unnoticed|
|Jacob Cowie||FL||Tampa PD||2010||Yes||Punched, kicked & tasered||No||Three undercover police officers and one uniformed police officer attacked and beat Jacob Cowie when he was attempting to prevent a friend from being ejected from a nightclub. Video captures officers throwing Cowie to the ground, using a Taser on him, and repeatedly punching and kicking him. Cowie was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The charge was subsequently dropped. ||The disorderly conduct charge against Cowie was dropped and Cowie sued the city of Tampa and police officers alleging that the officers used excessive force. Cowie stated that when the officers intervened, he was unable to hear whether the officers had identified themselves. Cowie's attorney claims and video confirms that the first officer to approach Cowie was dressed in jeans and a hoodie and had party beads around his neck. Prior to trial the case was settled, with the city of Tampa agreeing to pay Cowie $165,000.|
|Esther Valdez||TX||Austin PD||2009||No||Unlawful arrest & detention||No||Valdez was arrested in 2009 for "resisting arrest" after failing to hear an officer yelling at her to stop walking down a sidewalk along a busy street in North Austin.||Charged w/ resisting arrest. Charges dropped. PD settled Law suit ($500 + legal fees)|
|Name Witheld||TX||McLennan County Sherriff's & Bruceville - Eddy PD||2009||Yes||Tasered||No||Police did not discover he was deaf||Investigation pending||Call about aggressive dogs. Dogs found at man's house. Dog attacks. Dog shot. Elderly Man runs from house, ordered to freeze. Does not hear & is tased|
|Antonio "Tony" Love||AL||Mobile PD||2009||Yes||Pepper Sprayed & tased||No||Police did not know he was DeafDisabled (Intellectual/Developmental Disability), did not give him a chance to explain until AFTER tasing him. Arrested him for disorderly conduct. Magestrate threw it out.||Suit filed for $2M||Went into loo. Remained for 1 hr. Store called PD. PD broke door open, tried to keep door closed, confused. PD saw "weapon" (umbrella) and pepper sprayed then Tased him. http://blog.al.com/live/2009/07/deaf_man_tased_pepper_sprayed.html|
|Stephen Pyles||MD||Anne Arundel County PD||2008||Yes||Wrestled to ground||No||Not offered, man tried to give officer NOTE and officer tackled him||Lawsuit settled||Pyles' house had been burglurized and he had CALLED for help|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 1 [Name Withheld]||OH||Union (County)||2008||No||Officer refusal to communicate with deaf driver||No||Deaf driver attempted to have an exchange with the officer about the ticket he was being given but the officer refused to communicate in any manner with the deaf driver.|
|Donnell Williams||KA||Wichita PD||2007||Yes||Tased||No||Tased immeidately after PD broke into home, Donnell yelled "I can't hear" at PD before being tased||PD apologized, unknown if lawsuit followed||Was in bathroom, wearing a TOWEL, still wet from tub|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 8 [Name Withheld]||IL||Cook County||2007||No||Officer refused to communicate with deaf driver||No||Deaf driver attempted to communicate with officer that driver was deaf. Officer laughed at driver and told the driver to read his lips.||Driver contacted the state police service to file a complaint but could not because "the paperwork was too complicated."|
|HEARD-ACLU Submission No. 7 [Name Withheld]||GA||Decatur||2007||No||Details not provided||Details not provided||details not provided|
|Dan Tessien||CA||Modesto PD||2006||Yes||Shot w/ lead beanbags||No||Police did not know he was deaf, did not give him a chance to explain||Lawsuit settled - PD paid $40k||Mistaken identity, PD yelled to exit car (from their cars) he did not respond. Rear window shot out w/ beanbag. Lept from car, shot 8 times|
|Jason Tozier||WA||Portland PD||Yes||Punched & kicked miltiple times||No||PD laughed when interpreter requested. Refused to interview||No Lawsuit Pending||The paperwork for this event missing. All charges against Jason were dropped.|
|Eric Putnam||VT||2003||No||No||Officers allowed lip reading & note passing||Breathalizer test excluded, case not dismissed||Officers acted in good faith, but failed to realize limitations of lip reading & Engligh notes|
|James Levier||ME||Scarborough PD (state police sharpshooter had disabled him with a shot to the arm)||2001||Yes||Shooting - Fatal||Yes but not allowed to come close enough to sign||James was physically and sexually abused at the Baxter School for the Deaf which led to mental health disabilities. His lawsuit against the governement for compensation had just failed and the governor had refused to apologieze. He staged a death by suicide to bring attention to the violence experienced by deaf people due to society's audism. He was killed after about an hour of standing off with police. This was deemed "suicide by police." "A state police sharpshooter fired into Levier’s shoulder to disable him. Three Scarborough officers heard the shot, saw Levier’s shoulder recoil and thought he was firing. They fired, shooting him four times."||Deemed Justified||https://www.pressherald.com/2012/12/09/shoot-man-tormented-by-sex-abuse-appears-to-commit-suicide-by-cop/|
|Errol Shaw||MI||Detroit PD||2000||Yes||Shooting - Fatal||No||Witnesses informed PD he was deaf, but were ignored. According to officers, Shaw was "wielding a rake."||Officer charged w/ manslaughter|
|Richard Bell & Joan Bell||TX||Austin PD||2000||Yes||No||Catfish Parlour incident, which took place June 30, 2000 – two months after the policy took effect. It involved a deaf-blind man, Richard Bell, and his deaf wife, Joan. After a dispute with the manager over the lack of a braille menu, the manager knocked Richard down and then called police. When APD Officer Daniel Arizpe arrived, he did not provide an interpreter even after Joan repeatedly asked for one; instead, Arizpe used only his voice to communicate that he intended to arrest Richard. Richard didn't know what was happening – or even that Arizpe was a cop – and when Arizpe tried to arrest him, he bit the officer's arm.||No charges were ever filed against the Bells, and, two years later, the city settled a federal lawsuit brought under the ADA on their behalf by the Texas Civil Rights Project. The city agreed to ensure that every APD officer receives at least four hours of training on dealing with individuals with disabilities, including the deaf and blind. (By contrast, the state's police-licensing agency, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, does not require any specific training that covers the deaf or hard of hearing.)|
|Sanford Diamond||CA||LA PD||1999||Yes||Forced to ground, face, arms & shoulders injured||No||Recognized as hard of hearing by officers, but they did not attempt to see if he needed an interpreter||Lawsuit settled||Diamond known as hard of hearing person by police. No care taken. Elderly and injured by rough treatment|
|William Odom||NY||Rochester Police Department||1997||Yes||Shooting - Fatal||No||Police were called to the scene of a dispute. Odom, a Black Deaf man, reportedly had a knife. Police were aware that he was Deaf. Police claim that he lunged at them and they had to shoot him. The officers fatally shot Odom.||That tragedy sparked protests by Rochester's Deaf community & deaf-centered, deaf-led training for RPD.|
|Eric Smith||IL||Forest View PD||1996||Yes||Shooting - Fatal||No||A Black Deaf man was killed by two white officers who had stopped on the side of the road to better communicate with his family who was driving down the road.||Deemed Justified||http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-04-24/news/9604240272_1_excessive-force-eric-smith-officers|