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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Courthouse News Service
Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Cop’s Tasering Doesn’t|Help Deaf Man Hear

ST. LOUIS (CN) - Suburban St. Louis police officers Tasered a deaf man who was having a diabetic episode during a routine traffic stop, the man claims in court.

Robert Kim sued the City of Bridgeton and its police Officers Brandin Raney and Leah Hall in Federal Court.

Bridgeton, pop. 11,630, is home to Lambert International Airport.

Kim says his troubles began when he got a flat tire on Feb. 21, 2012. Kim, who is profoundly deaf and has type one diabetes, fell into a hypoglycemic state and was suffering from life threatening shock while waiting for roadside assistance.

Kim claims Hall was the first to arrive. He says Hall immediately became aware that Kim was deaf, had trouble speaking and was repeatedly told that he was in diabetic shock. Instead of seeking emergency care, Hall called for backup, the lawsuit states.

Kim says he was seated in a grassy area along the side of the road when Rainey arrived. He claims that Hall did not inform Rainey about the diabetic shock or that he was deaf and that Rainey appeared to be angry and started screaming at him.

"Unable to effectively communicate with plaintiff, defendant Raney fired his Taser at plaintiff, striking plaintiff in the chest," the complaint states. "Plaintiff immediately fell to the ground. Defendant Raney continued to apply repeated electrical shocks through the Taser, even after plaintiff was on the ground.

"Defendant Raney also struck plaintiff repeatedly while plaintiff was on the ground and handcuffed plaintiff while plaintiff was on the ground.

"Upon information and belief, plaintiff was Tasered by defendant Raney at least three times, one of which was while plaintiff was handcuffed."

Kim says he eventually was taken to a hospital, where medical personnel noted that his blood glucose level had dropped to a life-threatening level.

Kim claims Bridgeton failed to take appropriate steps to ensure communication with deaf or hearing-impaired people.

"Defendant Bridgeton is mandated to provide aid and services to those individuals with disabilities such as plaintiff," the complaint states. "Plaintiff was discriminated against by not being provided with medical services, but instead was subjected to an unlawful battery and detainment as a result of the failure of defendants."

Kim seeks actual and punitive damages for violations of his civil rights, the Americans with Disabilities Act, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He is represented by Cyrus Dashtaki.

This is the second time this month that police have been sued for Tasering a deaf man .

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