Deaf New Yorkers demands NYPD learn how to treat those with hearing challenges
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
BY GINGER ADAMS OTIS
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Four letters, scrawled in the dust of an NYPD patrol car, became a terrified woman’s only hope of survival: H-O-S-P.
Diana Williams, a deaf New Yorker who’s also unable to speak, traced the cryptic message with her index finger after contorting her body so her cuffed hands reached the side of the car.
“Hospital,” she then mouthed as tears spilled in soundless sobs. “Help. Help. Please. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”
When a police officer nodded that he understood, she cried even harder — with relief. But the deaf woman’s ordeal was far from over.
Williams, 48, says she was an upbeat, confident woman before her still-stunning arrest after calling the police for help on Sept. 11, 2011. Now she’s in the third year of a bitter legal fight with the NYPD, still racked by the lingering terror from her 24 hours in police custody. “I have never been so terrified in my life,” Williams told the Daily News, through an interpreter.