A deaf man in the US state of California has filed a lawsuit after he was brutally beaten and tasered by police officers while trying to signal to them that he was deaf.
The incident occurred on Thursday when Jonathan Meister went to his friend’s home to pick up a snowboard and winter clothes for a trip to Utah, the Daily Breeze reported.
As Meister was removing boxes and bags he had stored in the backyard of his friend’s home, a neighbor saw him and, suspecting a burglary, called out to him but Meister did not respond because he could not hear the neighbor’s calls.
The neighbor called the police and two police officers arrived. When Meister, who was carrying some his personal belongings to his car, saw the officers, he put down the boxes and signaled to them that he could not hear.
However, the officers grabbed his wrists, turned him around and, tried to handcuff him.
“Because he is deaf, Mr. Meister depends on using his hands while facing a person to communicate,” the suit stated. “The officers’ sudden aggression, which both caused pain and interfered with his ability to communicate, caused Mr. Meister reflexively to pull his hands away, hop back over the fence and step toward the gate ... to create some space so that he could communicate.”
At this time, two more officers arrived and one of the officers shot Meister with a stun gun. The officers kicked him and tasered him three more times.
According to the Courthouse News Service, law enforcement agencies across the United States face numerous similar lawsuits over incidents in which police beat and arrested people with diabetes suffering from insulin shock, claiming officers thought they were drunk.