Deaf Man Calls Arrest Wrong and Humiliating
PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - Police laughed at a deaf man when he asked why he was being arrested and refused to provide him with a sign language interpreter, the man claims in Federal Court.
David Updike says police descended on his home in Gresham, Ore., based on a neighbor's report of a disturbance there. It had been early in the afternoon on Jan. 14, 2013. The neighbor, who learned about the alleged disturbance from a note left at her door, informed the operator that all parties involved in the disturbance were deaf, according to the complaint.
Four officers allegedly entered the garage where Updike was working, grabbed the man and placed him under arrest.
Though they knew Updike was deaf, they did not provide him with an American Sign Language interpreter and did communicate with him in ASL, according to the suit.
Updike, who was born deaf, says he signed, "What did I do?" to the officers and then tried to speak those words. Both times the officers allegedly ignored him.
When brought to the police car, Updike again asked, "Why am I being arrested," according to the complaint.
"The police officers refused to communicate with [Updike] and roughly pushed him into the police car," the complaint says.
Updike allegedly saw the officers laughing at him, which he found humiliating and embarrassing.
The complaint implies that Updike had been wrongfully arrested in relation to a disagreement with a woman who is not a party to the action.
Updike insists, however, that he had not harmed the woman, and that she had actually "physically attacked" him when he refused to give her money.
Updike says he requested an ASL interpreter and a text telephone when he was taken to jail, but police refused to provide either. He says police then asked him to write a statement of the incident leading to the arrest.
At his arraignment, prosecutors did not have an ASL interpreter for Updike, and Judge Kathleen Dailey asked why they sent Updike for arraignment without one, according to the complaint.
Updike says he discovered upon his release that the woman from the disagreement earlier had broken into his bedroom and ransacked it. She also allegedly stole his van and other items. He says Gresham police refused to enter his stolen van in the nationwide system.
The city of Gresham, Multnomah County and Oregon are named as defendants. Updike seeks punitive damages for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, as well as negligence and false arrest.
He is represented by Daniel Snyder.