A Colorado man who is deaf and uses sign language to communicate said two Idaho Springs officers slammed him to the ground during an arrest despite his attempts to tell them that he could not understand their commands.
The man, Brady Mistic, said he was wrongfully jailed for four months over the incident on Sept. 17, 2019. He is suing Officers Nicholas Hanning and Ellie Summers, as well as the city of Idaho Springs and the Clear Creek County Board of Commissioners.
The suit, filed this month in U.S. District Court, says the incident began just after 7:30 p.m. Mistic was alleged to have run a stop sign before he pulled into the parking lot of a laundromat. Unaware that police had followed him into the parking lot, Mistic got out of his vehicle and began walking toward the laundromat, according to the lawsuit.
“As Mr. Mistic exited his car and walked past a dumpster in between his vehicle and the police vehicle, toward the laundry door, he was blinded by police vehicle lights and/or a spotlight shone by the officers,” the suit says. “He had no idea what was happening, what the police were doing, or if the officers’ presence had anything to do with him.”
Mistic stopped walking and used his hands in an attempt to communicate with the officers, the lawsuit says. Mistic uses American Sign Language to communicate, is unable to read lips and can vocalize only a few words, according to the suit. He usually writes messages on a piece of paper to communicate with people who do not know sign language, it says.
The lawsuit claims that without any “warning or attempt to communicate,” Hanning grabbed Mistic by the sweatshirt and threw him on the ground, causing Mistic’s head to hit the concrete. © Google Maps Image: Laundromat parking lot in Idaho Springs, Colo. (Google Maps)
“Defendant Hanning pinned Mr. Mistic to the ground on his back while Mr. Mistic held his hands out with his palms facing defendant Hanning in an attempt to show that he meant no harm and was doing nothing to threaten the officer,” the lawsuit says. “On the ground, defendant Summers joined in, grabbing Mr. Mistic. … Defendant Summers pulled out her Taser and drive stunned Mr. Mistic.”
Mistic tried to communicate with the officers by saying “no ears” in an attempt to explain that he is deaf, but it did not make a difference, the suit says.
“Defendant Summers ignored Mr. Mistic’s plea and then tased Mr. Mistic a second time,” it says.
Hanning and Summers could not be reached at phone numbers listed for them. The Idaho Springs Police Department defended the officers’ actions, saying Mistic approached a “clearly marked patrol car” that had its emergency lights activated.
“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,” the police department said in an online statement.
“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,” the statement continued. “Mr. Mistic resisted the officers, and a physical altercation took place.”
Police said Mistic was taken to the hospital for an evaluation and then transferred to the Clear Creek County jail.
“The incident was reviewed by former Chief Christian Malanka and the officers’ actions were deemed to be appropriate,” according to the department.
Hanning was previously fired by the department following the alleged assault of another man, 75-year-old Michael Clark.
Idaho Springs police said in their statement that Hanning suffered a broken leg because of Mistic’s “resistive actions.” The lawsuit alleges that Hanning caused his own injury.
The suit also claims that at some point Summers realized that Mistic was deaf and relayed the information to responding officers and emergency medical services. Still, Mistic was jailed for four months on charges of second-degree assault on a police officer and resisting arrest, it says. During his time in jail, the suit alleges, Mistic was denied an interpreter and had trouble communicating with jail staff members.
The charges were eventually dismissed, and Mistic was released, the lawsuit says.
A spokesperson for the city of Idaho Springs referred to the police statement. The county Board of Commissioners did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Mistic is seeking compensation for physical and emotional harm, as well as pain and suffering.
Original Article: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/deaf-colorado-man-arrested-for-not-complying-with-police-that-he-couldn-t-understand-suit-says/ar-AAOVuii?ocid=msedgntp
Cops are ignorant and display really stupid tendencies.
What a stupid statement! You group all cops together that makes you appear to be a moron. There might be a few bad cops but there’s also bad dentists, doctors, lawyers and any other professions. You probably think all people of any given race are bad too, you’re pathetic.
And I would guess the truth is somewhere in the middle of these two versions. Unstable people come from all walks of life including police and hearing impaired.
Not cops fault, . Or had. Card on him, saying he was deaf.. WHY DID HE GET OUT OFCAR . STAY IN VEH I CLE HAVE. CARD IN VISER STICK OUT WINDOW. KNEW. DEAF PEOPLE, ALWAYS HAVE CARDS OR PAPER AND PEN.
Why stay in the car. Laundry won’t get clean by staying in the car. Like he said he didn’t know they was there for him. Deaf people have rights like all humans have. A deaf persons hand movements does not come off as threatening and their confusion about what his hands are doing does not justify the need to attack him. If he wasn’t reaching for a weapon or doing anything to cause alert then they could have tried making hand movement back. Deaf people come across thousands of people in their lifetime who try to communicate with their hands and not know a single sign. They have grown accustomed to reading body language and making good guesses at it. It would definitely have been a better option. And anyways what will you say when there is cops beating up a Down syndrome person or mentally handicap person who also makes them confused ?
I am hearing impaired. I lost most of my hearing at the age of 2 due to a bout with spinal meningitis. On the back of my driver’s license is a restrictive notation stating, “Hearing impaired. Must wear hearing aids or have outside rear view mirrors on vehicle”. That restriction has been on my driver’s license for 53 years now. I’m a lip reader and with the combination of the hearing aids I can catch about 82% of any conversation. However, there are caveats. (1) Even with my hearing aids on full blast, I can only catch about 20% of any conversation without the lipreading. Therefore, if one speaks to me with his back turned towards me, not only will I be unaware that he’s speaking to me, but he’s going to think that I’m ignoring him. (2) I generally avoid group conversations of more than 2 people. After two speakers it becomes difficult for me to keep track of who’s speaking and by the time I figure out who’s speaking, I’ve already missed the first five words which came out of their mouths. (3) I cannot take notes and read lips at the same time. My eyes must stay on the lips of the speaker or I will miss the whole course. (4) My disability requires me to have an unusually greater level of book-reading proficiency. What I miss in the classroom, I could later pick up by reading the book for myself. That’s how I graduated from high school. Not by what the instructors taught, but by what I read. (5) My spouse generally does not converse with me while I’m driving. My eyes constantly scan all the mirrors, inside and outside of my vehicle and all traffic conditions through the front windshield. In other words, what I cannot hear I MUST see.
The only real question that I have for Mr Mistic is , “Did you see the emergency lights on the police vehicle flashing in his inside and outside rear view mirrors?” That would have been difficult to ignore. However, he would not have been able to hear the sirens or the cops barking through the loudspeaker. In the earlier days my response was to (when I saw flashing lights through the rear view mirrors) I would pull over, put the car in park and turn off the vehicle. I would then immediately get out of the vehicle, with both hands visible and stand until they approached. With the advanced technology now available, they can now put ones licence plate number in their onboard computers and the drivers license presumably with the restrictions and physical state of the driver if the vehicle. I do not agree with the cops decision to jail Mr. Mistic for forty days. The man communicates with his hands. To have handcuffed him and tasered was one mistake (that took away his ability to communicate). To have jailed him despite being made aware of his condition, is another transgression. I thank God that I’ve never had any tense moments in any police matters. I am a retired service representative for a major copier retailer. I drove for 47 years with well over 1 million miles of automobile travel.