KGMI News Reporting
By Alex Gray
WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. – The unlawful arrest and ill treatment of an elderly deaf Blaine man brings about a change in policy.
The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office settled a federal civil suit last week awarding 76-year-old Donald Pratt over $62,000 and establishing a policy on the treatment and communication with people who are blind or deaf.
Pratt’s attorney, Larry Hildes says in April 2011 authorities arrested Pratt based on a false report by his son.
They handcuffed Pratt so he could not communicate through sign language and held him in the back of a police car for several hours without telling him what was going on.
The new policy says handcuffing a deaf person is like gagging a person who can hear and that deputies should expand their efforts to communicate the situation.