Friday, November 16, 2012

Portland Police Suit

A deaf man is suing the Portland police dept. for violating his ADA rights. Philip Wolfe says there's no system in place for how officers are supposed to deal with deaf people even though the Justice Department has created a list of recommendations for law enforcement agencies. Wolfe points to what happened to him during the Spring of this year. He left his apartment to get away from an abusive partner and had a friend call 911. His friend told police that Wolfe would need an interpreter. When officers arrived with no interpreter, Wolfe asked for one. They did not honor his request and then misunderstood his desire to report domestic abuse for wanting to get into his apartment. His partner broke in the apartment that evening and attacked him. Again, Wolfe asked his friend to call 911. Again, his friend asked for an interpreter. Police arrived without an interpreter. Once again, Wolfe asked for an interpreter. Instead of calling for an interpreter, another officer was sent to the scene who knew some ASL. But she was only a beginner and was unable adequately interpret for him. Police eventually arrested his partner, but the charges were dropped when the partner committed suicide. Wolfe's suit asks for $5000.