Deaf man claims police laughed at him, denied request for interpreter during arrest
A deaf Oregon man has filed a lawsuit claiming that police violated his civil rights when they laughed at his request for a sign language interpreter during his arrest.
Officers arrested David Updike at his Gresham, Ore., home during a Jan. 14 domestic disturbance, according to OregonLive.com.
According to the site, Updike used sign language to ask officers what he’d done to result in his arrest, and he also tried to speak the words, “What did I do?”
The suit claims officers pushed him roughly into a patrol car and laughed at him.
Updike said he continued asking for an interpreter or a text telephone to help him communicate, even after he was moved to another jail and appeared for a video arraignment.
According to the suit, the judge in that case expressed concerns about a deaf defendant appearing before the court, and an interpreter was assigned when Updike appeared again two days after his arrest.
He was released from jail, and all charges were dropped against Updike eight days after his arrest.
Updike claimed the woman he’s accused of assaulting had attacked him first in a dispute over money and drove off in his minivan.
The suit claims Gresham and Multnomah County violated Gresham’s rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
His lawyer told the website that federal law requires government agencies to accommodate people with disabilities whether they are crime victims, suspects or witnesses.