Thursday, December 2, 2010

Failure to Train

The Supreme Court helped to set guidelines related to training law enforcement officers in how they deal with the public, including deaf individuals, in a case known as Canton v. Harris. A woman who was acting strangely was taken to the Canton Police Department. Officers failed to provide her with needed medical attention. She was later diagnosed with an emotional disorder and received treatment at a hospital. She later filed a suit in 1983 saying this was a violation of her due process rights by the city. While agreeing that there was a failure in this case on the part of the officers, the Court found there was liability only when the inadequate training amounted to “deliberate indifference to the rights of the persons with whom the police come in contact.” In other words, liability hinged on the adequacy of the training program instead of the performance of an individual officer in a particular case. This case may come into play whenever a deaf person is mistreated by officials and then files a lawsuit against a municipality for failure to respect their rights.