Deaf news: Shocking video shows deaf man being ejected from Canadian courthouse

Posted on February 21, 2012

You might not want to watch the video below. It scared the life out of me.

It shows hard of hearing cancer survivor Bill Berry, 52, being forcibly ejected from a courthouse in Alberta, Canada. His crime? Inadvertently walking into the building without being screened by security, then not responding to the warnings of a sheiriff…

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have watched that with your hands over your eyes.

Berry was in the courthouse to pay a speeding fine. Having recently undergone treatment for throat cancer, he was wearing a tube in his neck that was removed during the struggle, leaving him unable to breathe. Amazingly, it was decided that the sheriff should not be charged as a result of the incident. (Read a full report here.)

This is just one of a number of incidents where deaf people have been injured or killed because they haven’t heard a warning from a police officer or a security guard.

Last year, an elderly deaf cyclist in America died after a police officer Tasered him when he didn’t respond to verbal warnings. (Read the story in the Mail Online and Gawker.)

And let’s not forget the incident outside a US shopping mall where a deaf ASL user was held in a ‘choke hold’ by a security guard in an incident that went viral on YouTube.

Less seriously, but still worrying, was the story last year when a deaf man was arrested because his sign for “I’m deaf” was mistaken for the V sign by a police officer.

It’s about time people realised that those who do not react to what you say, or respond with gestures instead of words, may not be trying to annoy you. They may simply be deaf.

Apparently, one in six of us are.

By Charlie Swinbourne (Editor)

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