Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Police Brutality Excuses Are a Death Sentence for Deaf People

A deaf man was shot and killed by a police officer after a "chase" in which the man didn't pull over after being signaled to stop by the cop for speeding. We'll never know if this is because the deaf man didn't hear the sirens because the deaf man is dead.

Daniel Harris was both deaf and mute, only able to communicate via sign language. Apparently, both his car and the police car appeared damaged by the time they pulled over outside of Harris' home, but it's unclear how that happened. As usual, the police report conflicts with witness statements. His neighbors say they saw the cop exit his vehicle and immediately shoot Harris. The police report says there was an "encounter" that involved Harris trying to communicate with the officer in sign language before he shot him for some reason. Oh, and it's been confirmed that Harris was unarmed.

This is the problem with officers not only being trained to shoot first and answer questions later but constantly being excused by people saying that officers are justified in acting the same way every time because god forbid an officer gets hurt in a job that they should know ahead of time is dangerous. Cops can't expect every person they encounter to act the same, to immediately follow orders, and be completely complaint in just the way they expect, because not every person is capable of that. This is not the first deaf person to be killed by a cop because he couldn't hear instructions but the officer assumed he was a fully hearing person.

As long as cops keep being excused for this bad behavior, every deaf, disabled, and/or neurodivergent person in the nation is at risk. They shouldn't have to live with the threat of being randomly murdered by police for things they can't control.

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