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Deaf Rhode Island man arrested for obscene sign language gesture

May 1, 2016 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law

 

 

The Rhode Island branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, along with the Rhode Island Disability Law Center, has filed a federal lawsuit against the Woonsocket Police Department for the arrest of a deaf man.

They claim 25-year-old David Alves of North Smithfield was apprehended and detained for making an obscene sign language gesture.

On July 8 of last year, Alves, who is deaf, was at the City Side Club in Woonsocket with friends, including some who are also deaf or hard of hearing. He had just returned home from summer break at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

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