Nightmare For Two Innocent Deaf Ladies

handcuffs

Sue is completely deaf.    She is unable to speak or to use her voice.  She communicates using her hands in sign language or by writing.     One day, she was walking across the street and a cop was telling her to wait for the car to pass by first.    She didn’t hear him, so she kept going.  He used the whistle to try to get her to stop and to turn around.  Nope, she continued on and didn’t hear a thing.    Before she knew it, she was handcuffed and thrown inside  the police car.    She had no idea what happened or what she did wrong.   She was in the back and the cop was talking but did not face her.    She still had no idea why she was arrested and she was unable to speak for herself as she was handcuffed with her hands behind her back.     There was no way the cop was going to be able to get any feedback from her, if she couldn’t use her hands.    She did not know how to speak.    As he was driving her to the jail, Sue cried hopelessly.   Once they got there, she was hoping she could call her parents on the TTY.   She had no chance to do that because the cop was fed up with her not answering any of his questions so he threw her into a locked up room alone.     And she was left there alone with no way out.    inside jail

Mary is a quiet hard of hearing lady, that was being driven to the jail also by another cop.   She had no idea why they arrested her, as she couldn’t understand what the authorities told her as she couldn’t lip read what they said.    She walked inside the jail and saw Sue come out of the room they locked her up in.    Sue was still in handcuffs and crying.   Mary knew this deaf girl, and couldn’t understand why she was there.     Mary was having a hard time herself being there, not knowing why.    She wears two hearing aids and was worried that once her batteries go dead, she won’t be able to hear at all.    She didn’t have extra batteries with her for her hearing aids.    And she didn’t think the jail staff would provide her hearing aid batteries while she was there.    It was unheard of, not many deaf people in jail these days.    So she got upset thinking about this because soon she will go completely deaf if not being provided new hearing aid batteries soon.

jail

Mary wanted to speak to Sue and ask her why she was there.  Unfortunately, Sue was in handcuffs and was unable to use her hands to use sign language.    This made Mary very upset, because she noticed Sue had no way of communicating with anyone for what she needed, and this was an innocent deaf girl.    Sue looked at Mary hopelessly from the jail and cried, she can’t speak, so she was having a hard time.   Now this is sad and very scary.   Mary could not figure out what to do , and the staff in the jail did not know they were deaf.    Sue had no way of telling the staff she was deaf, since she was in handcuffs.    Finally Mary asked to speak to the person in charge and explained to them they needed interpreters.     The people there were shocked, they had no idea Sue could not speak and that she was deaf.   This is one terrible nightmare for these two girls.     Let me stop here, this never happened.   This is something someone had a bad dream about and brought this story up. But things similar to this made up story have happened in real life.   Now , there are groups out there that are going to help the community learn more about how to speak with deaf people.   Are they planning on going to the jails and to teach the people there about deaf people’s communication needs? Are they going to educate the cops better about deaf individuals?  They need it , that’s for sure.

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About wanda4848

I was born deaf. The doctors thought I could hear, but my parents couldn't get me to learn to talk. When I was three, my mom took me to an audiologist who concluded I was deaf. That's when I got my first pair of hearing aids and took speech therapy to learn to talk.

Posted on March 8, 2013, in deaf articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. This would be sad but it does happen. Police officers to also include law enforcement agencies need to better prepare and equip personnel to deal with deaf individuals and be familiar with thier rights. Often, people with disabilities are taken advantage of because they cannot communicate and they are not provided with services they need to communicate.

  2. Yep, and even though laws were made to protect people with disabilities the discrimination against deaf people continues to go on. And I agree with you totally. When I went to the NFTA meeting, I had made a request for them to find a way to educate the police better on how to approach the deaf properly. Will see what happens with that.

  3. Good points here but I think most police and law enforcement agency employees would be able to tell if someone was deaf and could not communicate. I don’t think it would go to the extreme you envisioned but I do agree that more training probably needs to be done. The problem is getting the funding to do this as they all claim there is no budget for it.

  4. You’re probably right on that. I’m still thinking what it was like 20 years ago and I hope things have changed for the better. It’s too bad there isn’t enough funding to get more training done at this point. Hopefully in the future they will be able to figure something out that would be helfpul. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

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