Deaf man says jailers held him incommunicado for six weeks

March 20, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

 


March 19, 2015

A deaf man able to communicate only with sign language has alleged in a federal lawsuit that he was held for six weeks in the Arlington County jail last year after jailers failed to provide an interpreter or allow him to call attorneys or a friend by videophone.

The suit alleges that Abreham Zemedagegehu was held for more than 24 hours before he knew why he had been arrested. He was administered a tuberculosis shot without his consent, often went hungry because he couldn’t hear alerts for mealtime and was unable to call friends or an attorney because of inadequate technology in the jail — all of which violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the lawsuit said.

“The lack of access to communication during the booking process exacerbated the feelings of frustration, humiliation, anger, anxiety, isolation, confusion, and loss of dignity that Mr. Zeme­dagegehu otherwise would have experienced as a result of his arrest and detention,” said the lawsuit, which was first reported Thursday by the Associated Press.

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