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View Diary: Young man with down syndrome suffocated to death by police (197 comments)

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  •  I hate this. I hate that some cops think (29+ / 0-)

    everybody is "bad" and must be detained with force.  I know 90% of the time, those actions are called for, but it's the 10% of the time when they aren't properly assessing the situation.  

    They don't seem to ever recognize when people are developmentally disabled or deaf.  

    My sister in law is an interpreter for the deaf - she goes to court all the time to translate into ASL for clients.  

    But what upsets ALL of us, is how police restrain deaf people by binding their hands behind their back.  They cannot speak if you do that.  They become agitated, extremely agitated.  

    My other sister in law is a paramedic, she also "speaks" ASL and is frequently called out to accidents involving a deaf person.  I can't tell you how many times she's found a deaf person locked in the back of a cop car, because they became agitated, were "waving their arms around and shouting unintelligibly."  The cops assumed they were drunk or on drugs.  They're not - they're scared and upset (wouldn't you be if you were in a car accident)?  They are unintelligible because they are deaf and may not verbalize - many deaf people do, but many don't as well.  They are NOT just "waving their arms around."  They are trying to communicate.  

    Since she got on with the FD 10 years ago, she and her partner have been trying to educate both the PD and the FD about dealing with the deaf, if they are responding to a call.  She's taught everybody the basic "are you deaf?" and "OK, I'll get help for you" signs.  Most of the people in her department know they can call her to get help for translating - the City has also tried to have ASL people on call for the different shifts, just in case.  

    The hardest part is getting everybody to calm down enough to assess the person's actions - so you can calmly ask questions and see what kind of response you get.  When people are scared and upset, they'll be agitated.  Doesn't mean they are drunk or high or violent.  But agitated victims make for agitated cops.  And it's really hard to educate everybody to STAY CALM when you are in a crisis situation and a bunch of people are shouting at you, you can't hear them and they think you are ignoring them, which leads to all kinds of trouble.  

    "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

    by Ricochet67 on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:24:36 PM PST

    •  I'd say you've (6+ / 0-)

      got your 90% and 10% inverted.

      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

      by JesseCW on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 03:02:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You could be right - depends on the city? eom. (0+ / 0-)

        "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

        by Ricochet67 on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 06:46:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nope. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, lyvwyr101

          Restraints should only be used when taking a non compliant person to jail. Not for every random person on the street so you now have an excuse to search them, "For your safety".

          "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

          by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 07:26:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, but where I live, if you get (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Horace Boothroyd III

            pulled over, 90% of the time they're gonna haul you off to jail once they run the plates and license.  

            Even for silly stuff like suspended license for unpaid parking tickets (happens all the time here).  And people are always driving without insurance, and other stuff.  They just keep going, never updating anything.  

            If they stick in you the back seat of the police car, they usually cuff you.  Doesn't matter if you're compliant or not.  They want to make sure they stay compliant.  Might depend on the department - Metro Dade is bad about it.  City of Miami has its issues.  The smaller towns in the county, I don't usually see them cuffing people.  

            Then they tow your car and it sits there and rots for 4 days while you figure out how to pay off your tickets, bail yourself out and go pick it up.  

            It's stupid, I know.  

            "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

            by Ricochet67 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:07:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  As someone who uses hearing aids, (24+ / 0-)

      and who has lost 50% of my hearing over the last five years, I live in fear of not stopping when an officer behind me calls me and I don't hear him, or don't understand he is talking to me. About three years ago, the transit police in Vancouver, where I was living, were given permission to use tasers. Tasers are dangerous enough, I know from living in Vancouver where Robert Dziekanski was killed by police using a taser, but the idea of having 50,000 volts going through my brain via the electronics of my aids scares the hell out of me, and I don't swear.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                      Standing with you.
                             Heather

      Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

      by Chacounne on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 03:40:07 PM PST

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    •  Years and years ago I wrote a script (18+ / 0-)

      for a cop show involving the arrest of a deaf suspect -- with exactly the outcomes you describe.  In doing research, I went to the New York Center for Law and the Deaf (where someone smiled at me and my limited ASL abilities, and signed to me "Here, you are deaf") -- and there I heard the most horrible stories about how the deaf are treated by cops who don't bother to properly asses the situation.

      This whole thing -- Anton's diary and all the comments here -- speak loudly for the need for a whole different set of skills taught to the cops.  But the police are not who they used to be, and I doubt it would do any good -- or even that such training would be made available to them.  

      What a miserable situation.

      "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

      by Yasuragi on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 05:07:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  With the militarization of police (8+ / 0-)

        there seem to be more reports of cruel, sadistic, and frankly criminal (but mostly unpunished) behavior by "officers of the law". I don't know if there is a trend of hiring that looks for a different psychological type--some have proposed that the hiring of recent combat vets might have something to do with it, who might carry over the rules of engagement of war to the civil scene where they are inappropriate. Also, the general tone from Homeland Security--Fear! Loathing! All the time!--and the dehumanization of anyone who is different as "the enemy"--can't help but affect police mindset.

        But those are just theories. It could be that we are simply hearing more reports than we used to, thanks to the internet. Most of the police offenders appear to be multi-year veterans of the force, not newly hired recent Iraq and Afghan war vets. It is scary to think these sadists have been on the force for years, undoubtedly brutalizing others and getting away with it.

        I once encountered "mental health police" who were specially trained. If only every place had such a group.

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