A Colorado man who is deaf in both ears is suing two officers after they accosted him in a laundromat parking lot when he couldn't hear the demands they screamed. The grave offense Brady Mistic allegedly committed that led to his being thrown to the ground and shocked with a Taser was running a stop sign, NPR reported of the lawsuit on Wednesday. “They went to force unreasonably fast, unreasonably rashly, without any legitimate justification for using force, which is particularly problematic for a person who’s disabled like Mr. Mistic was,” Raymond Bryant, Mistic’s attorney, told the news nonprofit.
Bryant and attorney Rachel Maxam detailed in the lawsuit that their client was ”confused, blinded by police lights, and unable to hear or know what was going on,” when officers attempted to stop him. Attorneys wrote in the suit that Mistic “stopped walking, attempted to communicate with his hands, and then put his hands up in a non-threatening manner … Without providing any warning, commands, or reasonable opportunity for communication, the Defendant Officers quickly grabbed Mr. Mistic, slammed him to the ground, and repeatedly tasered him despite him saying ‘no ears’ to communicate he was deaf,” attorneys stated in the lawsuit.
Warning: This video contains violent footage that may be triggering for some viewers.
Former Idaho Springs Police Officer Nicholas Hanning and Officer Ellie Summers, who was in training during the encounter, stopped Mistic after they allegedly saw him run a stop sign on Sept. 17, 2019 and followed him into the laundromat’s parking lot, the Idaho Springs Police Department said in a statement released on Sept. 17.
Officials said when officers stopped Mistic, he "immediately got out of his vehicle and quickly approached a clearly marked patrol car with the emergency lights activated."
"Sit back in your car! Sit back in your car," Summers can be heard shouting in officer body camera footage CBS-affiliated 9News obtained of the incident.
Hanning could be heard asking Mistic: “Run up on us like that? Excuse me, who do you think you are?”
A scuffle and shaky camera footage followed.
In the police department’s version of what happened, officials said:
“The officers gave verbal commands for Mr. Mistic to get back in his vehicle. It was later determined Mr. Mistic was deaf, but this fact was not known to the officers during the initial encounter.
Officers then directed Mr. Mistic to sit down. At one point officers attempted to gain control of Mr. Mistic by placing him into handcuffs due to his unexplained actions. Mr. Mistic resisted the officers, and a physical altercation took place. One of the ISPD officers was injured (broken leg) due to the resistive actions of Mr. Mistic.
Mr. Mistic was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. A short time later, he was cleared for detention and transported to the Clear Creek County Detention Facility where the officers charged him with Assault on a First Responder, Obstructing a Peace Officer, and Resisting Arrest.”
Summers and Hanning, who reportedly suffered a broken leg in the incident, also accused Mistic of possessing forged currency in the form of a movie prop discovered in his wallet, according to the lawsuit. All charges against Mistic have since been dropped. And while Summers is still employed with Idaho Springs Police, Hanning was fired in July after using a Taser on a 75-year-old man in an unrelated incident, CBS Denver reported.
The incident involving Mistic was reviewed by former Chief Christian Malanka and “the officers’ actions were deemed to be appropriate,” Idaho Springs police said in the department’s statement. “The District Attorney’s Office for the 5th Judicial District ultimately allowed Mr. Mistic to participate in a Diversion Program in lieu of formal charges being filed,” police officials said in the statement.
Mistic’s attorney wrote in the lawsuit:
”This is a civil rights action seeking justice for the shocking use of unnecessary police force and wrongful incarceration of a deaf man whom the Defendant officers rashly attacked after failing to recognize his disability and misinterpreting his non-threatening attempts to see and communicate as challenges to police authority. When one of the officers hurt himself in the course of the attack, the Defendant officers falsely charged the deaf man with assault on a police officer in an illusory attempt to cover up their misconduct – which caused the man to unjustifiably spend months in jail without appropriate accommodations to help him communicate that he was, in fact, the victim.”