- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

OAKDALE, Minn. (AP) - A Twin Cities suburb has agreed to settle a disability discrimination complaint about how police interacted with a deaf suspect, state officials said.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights earlier found probable cause that Oakdale officers discriminated against Alan Read, 58, when they responded to a domestic dispute call in August 2013. Read requested a sign language interpreter to communicate with officers. Instead they communicated with hand-written notes. He was taken to the Washington County Jail and held for 48 hours while repeatedly asking for an interpreter.

“They were trying to force me to write back and forth or do some gesturing,” Read said Tuesday through a sign language interpreter. “Which was not successful at all.”

Read said he did not understand a written copy of his Miranda rights either and told police he wasn’t confident in his writing skills.

The City of Oakdale has agreed to pay Read $30,000 and update its policies on deaf and hard of hearing services.

The state investigation found the officer interviewing Read in jail knew about his disability but continued the interview without an interpreter, telling Read, “I don’t have all morning” to wait for an interpreter, according to a memorandum released by the department.

Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey told Minnesota Public Radio (https://bit.ly/1TnRmI7 ) that failing to accommodate people like Read is a growing concern in places like hospitals and jails.

“When we think about a disability, sometimes unfortunately in our society we think of the individuals in a wheelchair, but there are a whole range and host of disabilities which are out there,” Lindsey said. “If we’re really going to make space for individuals with disabilities we have to think a little bit more broadly as it relates to what might be necessary to provide those accommodations.”


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org

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