Saturday, 19 November 2016

Arlington Sheriff fined $250K for deaf abuse.

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2015 file photo, Abreham Zemedagegehu, is seen at his lawyer's office in Washington. The Arlington County, Va. Sheriff┬┐s office is im...The Arlington County Sheriff's Office is implementing new procedures to accommodate deaf inmates after reaching a $250,000 civil settlement with a former inmate who said he was unable to communicate effectively during a weeks-long, incarceration.

Abreham Zemedagegehu, a homeless man and Ethiopian immigrant, sued the sheriff's office last year. He spent six weeks at the county jail on charges he stole another man's iPad; that man later recanted his accusation.

Zemedagegehu can't read or write English and said for the first few days of his incarceration he didn't even know why he'd been arrested. He said his requests for an American Sign Language interpreter frequently went unanswered.

The Arlington County, Va. Sheriff's office is implementing new procedures to accommodate deaf inmates after reaching a $250,000 civil settlement with a former inmate who said he was unable to communicate effectively during a weeks long incarceration. Zemedagegehu, a homeless man, and Ethiopian immigrant, sued the sheriff's office last year. He spent six weeks at the county jail on charges he stole another man¿s iPad; that man later recanted his accusation. 

He said jail officials offered him a Teletype machine to communicate with the outside world, but that was ineffective because the technology is obsolete and hardly used in the deaf community anymore. It also requires a command of English. He said he needed access to a videophone or video relay service that is more commonly used.

The U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria announced the settlement Friday.


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