Saturday, May 05, 2007

My Deaf Mom, the Cop and the Law

I would like to share the story that I had learned last night about the incident between my Deaf Mom's confrontation with a cop who did not even make any effort to communicate through writing! She requested for an interpreter but was denied. So I decided to investigate the rights of a deaf individual according to the law from NAD. quicktime YouTube

Also I found a cop forum page about their discussion on deaf drivers. Some questioned if deaf drivers should drive and even labeled Ridor as the another "I hate the cop guy." Take a look at this link to see how some of the police officers perceive deaf drivers. Some of them even questioned if we could drive. See the quote written from a cop: "The other day I made a stop and found both the driver and passenger to be deaf. This surprised me, as I didn't think a deaf person could get a driver's license. But the driver presented a driver's license and it came back as valid." Whoa! They must be born yesterday! Although it was posted in 2001, still recent post showed some ignorancy among the cops.

According to the ADA law:

11. Q: If the person uses sign language, what kinds of communication will require an interpreter?

A: The length, importance, or complexity of the communication will help determine whether an interpreter is necessary for effective communication. In a simple encounter, such as checking a driver's license or giving street directions, a notepad and pencil normally will be sufficient.

During interrogations and arrests, a sign language interpreter will often be necessary to effectively communicate with an individual who uses sign language.

If the legality of a conversation will be questioned in court, such as where Miranda warnings are issued, a sign language interpreter may be necessary. Police officers should be careful about miscommunication in the absence of a qualified interpreter -- a nod of the head may be an attempt to appear cooperative in the midst of misunderstanding, rather than consentor a confession of wrongdoing.

In general, if an individual who does not have a hearing disability would be subject to police action without interrogation, then an interpreter will not be required, unless one is necessary to explain the action being taken.

Example: An officer clocks a car on the highway driving 15 miles above the speed limit. The driver, who is deaf, is pulled over and issued a noncriminal citation. The individual is able to understand the reasons for the citation, because the officer exchanges written notes with the individual and points to information on the citation. In this case, a sign language interpreter is not needed.

So my Mom was not able to fully understand the reasons for the citation since no effort was made to write notes and that the ticket was in fine print that she could not even read to the point that she needed an interpreter but was denied.

Interesting to note that in this website, there is a statistic of bilingual police officers as we have 269 Spanish interpreters, 64 Vietnamese interpreters in all of these states, in California, Nevada and Ohio.

According to my Mom's friend who is a cop and working on becoming an interpreter, she said that the Nevada State Law made the law effective on May 1st, 2007 to provide interpreters when giving a ticket.

From this website , it said that in Seattle, Washington, it's required by law to provide an interpreter when requested.

" Then, inform the police officer how you want to communicate. Ask for an interpreter (the law requires that an interpreter be provided when requested). If you prefer, use paper and pencil, face to face communication, lipreading or whatever else you are most comfortable with."

My Mom just reported to the internal affairs and she got good support especially from a cop who could sign. So see what happens!


Oscar the Observer said...

My goodness! That was awful. I really hope your mother get good (not suer what the word is but it mean some type of payback for her suffering that crazy cop).

Yes, I want to see what is up with our states' law concerning that. I live my Illinois myself, hope someone else who lives here know the answer to that:).

Shel said...

That is an awful story! I certainly hope your mom gets her ticket waived as this is extremely insane and unfair. Policemen like the one who bullied your mom give the police profession a bad name. I think your mom got stuck with a cop who is drunk on his own power.


Squ65 said...

A dumb cop *sigh* It is absurd. It is a high chance that your mom has a good case. I hope your mom and your family fight this case. Everything go crazy out there. I am kinda wary of the cops out there. Not all bad cops thou.

mishkazena said...

The internal department would be wise to set up deaf rights and cultural training workshops for the whole police department. There is no excuse for this cop's attitude so I hope he gets an official reprimand. I won't be surprised if the falsification of the charges on her ticket was part of his retaliation against your mom for giving him a hard time. I would be so infuriated. Oh, by the way, kudos to your mom for being assertive!

Checking out the forum, I couldn't believe that some of the cops didn't even know deaf people do drive. Oh my gosh, what kind of training did they receive at the police academy??? This is scary!

Jean Boutcher said...

Your mother's story is scary.
I wish to alert some readers
of your b/vlog that some people impersonate police officers.
First and foremost, memorize
or jot down the number of a
cop's badge. Another thing
to remember is to report if
a cop does not wear a cap
when stopping a driver. It
is unbelievable that cops
in some states are in the
oblivion about deaf people's rights for interpreting
service. The same was true
with the ones here in the
national capital like
Washington, D.C. in 1990s.

Christopher Moore said...

Poor thing your mother !! Some cops are idiot or ruthless. Did your mother pay the fine, yet ? What is her result at Internal Affair after she filed a complaint against an idiot cop ? I hope ZERO !

The X-ASL Files

Karen Mayes said...

Make sure that your mom has the notes that she communicated with the cop... if she has them, more power to her and the cop could lose. Tsk, tsk!

I am sorry to hear that it had to happen to your mother, but an excellent opportunity for you to share with us and for the police stations in Nevada to refresh their knowledge of ADA, to develop more sensitivity toward people.

Anonymous said...

I live in Las Vegas. There is a law that the cop or police station require to provide an interpreter for the deaf/hearing impaired. I have two driver licenses - one is for driver license, you know picture, address and all that stuff. The second one is another one that .stated "hearing impaired" On the back there is a law quote about providing an interpreter for the cop to read.

Anonymous said...

Hi again,

I forgot to add one more thing about my 2nd ID card. Im from Las Vegas. anyway, on the back of my 2nd id card stated

"This person is handicapped (ha ha ha) as defined in NRS 50.050. Pursuant to NRS 171.1536 upon arrest and before interrogation or the taking of a handicapped person's statement, the peacer officer in actual charge of the station, headquarters or other facility to which the handicapped person has been brought shall make an interpreter available at public expense to the handicapped (interestin huh?) person, subject to the provisions of NRS 50.052 and 50.053....

Kyung Don said...

Feelling so RAGE!!!! I've lost totally respect for the police officers. It doesn't matter if they are nice or not. Cops are Cops. They know they can and would do anything to get away with it.
I'm feeling so HOT right now!

jwomick said...

WOW! poor ur mom have hard time with policeman.

anyway u want know about states have require for interprefer if they have hard time to read or not success communication. HERE (SOUTH CAROLINA) have require choice if they want interpreter. but honest my experience. month ago i did WRECK CAR oops! it's just accident. i have to called to troop state as reposiible for highways or roads which car wreck on the roads so i have report to troop state. anyway he show up and talk me with voice i told him i am deaf and i want write. he just gulp and take his notebook paper and pen give me and i wrote down and explain what's happened. just ME nothing other wreck my car i just hit on the hill land anyway he have no problem but he have tiny problem to understand my direct how i did wreck as i am not good write with english of course. he keep patient with me i really appericate about it. he did asked me for interpreter. i told him nah i can READ AND WRITE anyway thank to him. i have no problem with it.

but that policemans not know that deaf have license mean THEY DON'T TAKE SERIOUS TEST FOR PASS POLICE JOB! it's really no excuse for police dept. they suppose TEACH THEM HOW DOING JOB u know famous quote for police " TO SAFE AND TO PROTECT" what the heck wrong with them? i am sure ur mom will win that case anyway!

oh i want add something funny about my old friends it's real happened anyway. 2 girls and 2 boys in one car one guy drive on highway kind of speed cuz they are late to pick their friend up at airport place. they are hurry drive so fast. somehow one girl told him slow down! but he said nah need hurry get friend so tell her shut up. somehow car back of his car SHOW LIGHT OF POLICE as siren. guy show on the mirror and SHOCKED! have to pulled off and that man walk to guy drive window and talked to him wiht voice he said i can't hearing and write? man said i know sign language little bit. they SHOCKED they know who he is cuz he is one of their teacher's husband! he is on way to airport pick his wife too! he told them slow down or will give them ticket for sure. they accept warning and slow down drive but man still behind them all way to airport and he told to teacher about it she laughed. that's what she told me about it i think it's so funny when they shocked that our teahcer's husband lol. well he is not REAL policeman but he is volunteer for safe protect. so he sign up under goverment service and he have 2 job work as one real job and other volunteer as police service.

Joshua "Vampbat" Womick

Katherine said...

I feel for your mother, Barb. I have had an awful direct experience with several police officers and this police officer does remind me of one of them. I never wish it on anyone to have to go through this. This is not to say I haven't met good police officers because I have.

C said...

Pretty typical. By the way, that link about WI cop saying he didn't think deaf people could get drivers lic. I wish I knew where he is from. See, I live in WI. I am orginally from IL. And 15 years ago my family and i went through hell because of ignorant cops in our town. I mean, true hell. The whole system sucked. WE came out of it ok, but with deep scars. I grew up in Chicago in a neighborhood with two cops and one detective that knew my deaf parents (one grew up with my dad). So, I was shocked when I moved to WI and had to deal with biased cops who view deaf very badly. Most now know us and know better not to treat us any different from hearings. I've had a few cops telling me that my family taught them a lot. At what expense?

I hope your mom wins!

mule4350 said...

Intersting but I had some experince with Police in Canada when I was sppeding little excess and He come to ask for something and I requested for a note to make our communication but he was stubborn and refuse to write it down but I got a ticket and went to Provincal Court and you know what! That Police refused to appear that time and Court dropped my charge .

Second time was I was driving thru yellow light but Later moment Police stop me and asked for my driver Licence and regisration licence too and i just cooperate with him and I went into a office in Court building and I requested what did police wrote down on his report. They dont allow me to see it but I wanted to see it before I can plead quilty or not quilty while a lady decided to change her mind to show me his report and I was disgusting that Police told them that I understand his lip read all way but it was crap then i pleaded not quilty then went to a court and happen again that police did not appear that court at that time and clerk and judge asked me if did i do it but i keep to tell JUdge thay i requested for an interpeter and Judge asked me again and again but i demanded it again and again till she delinced my charge.
Dont afraid with Police system OK?

The One and Only Ridor said...

MishkaZena, dont be delusional.

In the last 25 years, Deaf agencies/organizations/individuals has provided training/workshops to different police departments.

They still disregard it.

Let's face the reality: Training/workshop do *not* work.

How to make it work? Start *hire* Deaf individuals to work in the OFFICE at the Police Departments where the officers get to know them on a daily basis.

That, I strongly believe, will work tremendously.



NavyBeagle said...

Here is my response

Seek Geo said...

OMG, that is horrible! I cannot believe what your mom had to go through, she does NOT.. I mean absolutely NOT deserve this and how the way she was treated.

This is very wrong. She have a good case not only because they did not provide an interpreter but the most important of all was that the cop did not have radar. I mean how can he proved it that she was speeding? I might be wrong but it is illegal to pull over without the evidence of certain speeding by radar and whatnot. Cops can't just guess whatever they wish.

And as for cops forum, at first I thought it was just a bunch of jokes how they were surprised that a Deaf person can drive. Until I had to read it second time, I realized it is no joke.

Actually it was posted on 6/6/06 (Oct 2001 was when that person joined the forum.) I went ahead and bookmark that stupid forum and I will jump in and make sure they wake up and smell the coffee.

I'm like you, I'm so shocked there is actually some cops out there believe we can't drive.

Oh, interesting about Seattle, I had no idea. That is great thing to be aware of. Thank you very much for it!

Keep us posted, please, we might not be there to back your mom up but we sure can give her a LOT of supports.


Judge said...

A lesson from your mom goes down the line to all of us. You all prepare this situation where they can impose on those elderly people who the cops think they re clueless and would accept anything!

My old friend from my childhood times at home was telling me about him driving motorcycle and got stopped by a big bully trooper and was talking as if they were in a military camp. He was required to respond by saying "Yes sir." At that time, he was carrying the recorder and recorded the conversation. La la, the cop was suspended for being bully on the drivers.

This situation would be perfect if there was a video camcorder and film everything between the cop and your mom. The cop would be suspended instantly and would require him to go to the sensitivity training!

Hope your mom prevail!

michele said...

Like I said earlier a few months ago in another blog, I was stopped by a police when I accidently made a wrong u-turn, the police asked me for identification, I told him I could not hear, imagine that, he DID NOT believe me!!!! He told me I had to produce some kind of vertification that I was deaf! Nevertheless, I was shocked at his request, of course I didn't have anything to prove that I was deaf so I wrote on a pad to tell him that I was telling the truth that I am deaf and that he needed to believe me. He got mad, slammed his fist on the top of my car and told me to go! Of course I was very upset and distressed, looking back, I should have gone straight to the police department and filed a complaint but I didn't do it. So there are police out there who don't believe that deaf people can drive....... The famous deaf hitchhiker joke probably has hurt us in many ways because many police may think we are faking our deafness.

Cy said...


Sigh. Sorry it had to happen to your mom. I personally never had trouble with cops. I had one or two who continued to speak after I told them I was "deaf-mute." What I did was point at the glove compartment, signaled the way I would open it and awaited the cop's nod of understanding. I opened it and grabbed my pen and paper to explain that speaking wouldn't help because I can't lipread. From that point, we wrote. What I learned is not to frustrate the cops - a frustrated cop is a bad situation in the making. What I learned is keep calm and show patience and they are likely to follow your example.

It saddens me that there are ignorant cops out there still thinking deaf people can't drive! Sigh! Are we really in year of 2007??

mochame said...

OMG, That darn police does not know how to sign langauge or refuse to write to your mom for communication use. I think that police must fired for it. To Anonymous: You are right, I have two license since 2001 in nevada. I hope your mom win the suit over stupid ticket.
P.S. My late response because i worked lot lately.

San Mateo, CA resident said...

Police officers need $$$$ and collect from drivers. They can whisper to his partner or his team members that they can be boastful and pride or feeling good that they gave citations to. Why not putting one or two cops in police departments in all big cities? Let hearing polices fearing of Deaf police officers becuz they don't know how to be. So they have to learn about Deaf people. If so, I laugh and go off for somewhere. I let you know that I never like police officers.

Anonymous said...

Holy Cow!

Can not believe that it still happens to this day and age.

Please do keep us posted!

We are rootin' for your Mom!

Kelly -

Anonymous said...

sorry about ur mom! maybe cop does'nt feeling comfortal to write notepad. like Michele's experinced, I believe that cop could'nt write that his problem. so cop fist hit on the car and tell go. it mean that cop is idiols do with Deaf!. Galley area that cops could'nt write or reading. because good eudcation cops wont live there in Washington D.C. so therefore who uneudcation cops lives in Washington D.C. area!! because many black lives there and they have no eucation and alot of muscles. so cop muscles with no brainer! but Deaf are higher eudcation than cop in Washinton D.C. area! I guess cop blow their thumb make muscle bigger? or cop play themself make more muscles? heeheelol we are very support ur mom's case!

Mark M.

Anonymous said...

I know that what I'm about to say is going to make me seem like the bad guy, but honestly about what the cop posted isn't so bad. It's just him not knowing. When someone doesn't know and doesn't take the time to either learn, or choose how they say it, it comes off as bad. Now, I'm really sorry that this happened to your mother, But it really isn't nice to bash someone for not knowing, even if they're a cop. Just my thoughts, take'em or leave'em. On another note, the other police officers on the forum had a lot of positive things to say/help the guy out to make things easier for people that are deaf, and for themselves. But like I said, sorry to hear about this :(

Anonymous said...

I have thought that cops were crooked since about 3 years ago, my cousion was gunned down anwsering his door on a false surch warrent, the cop who did it said he confused the sound of the battering ram with the sound of gun fire. This same cop was accused of shooting two teens like 2 years before when the video clearly shows they did nothing wrong, they were lucky they lived. The family just won the case aggenst the whole police department where everyone is being replaced by the SBI.

So the fact that your mom was hasseled I am sorry to say doesent surprise me. My feiance got a ticket last year for not wereing his seatbelt when he was(wering it), he is native american and has a very long beard so the cop targeted him as we don't know what, he surched his car and frisked him this guy was horrible. So I feel for your mother I am so sorry but it sounds like she at least has a witness! I hope everything turns out ok for ya'll and that the cop learns a very good lession!

Anonymous said...

I understand your frustration, but the Officer is human and simply didn't know better. I read above about a person that took the time and patience to pull out a pad a pen to write to the officer. Great move.

I don't think that fighting the case simply because the officer didn't take the time to respond or understand the disability.

I do think that if your mother was pulled over for a good reason, then the case is valid. Simple as that.

Sorry for your mother's inconvenience, but if she were prepaired she might not have had the problem.


Anonymous said...

I came from the YouTube video, looking for a transcript...I don't see a transcript anywhere?
I like the YouTube video.