A Deaf American woman who was detained by police for 24 hours without an interpreter or assistance with communication has won a legal settlement of $750,000, in a decision which sends out a clear message to public bodies in America.
The case was bought by Diana Williams, below, against the City of New York after her arrest by the NYPD.
We have been told:
On September 11, 2011, Williams was detained overnight by the NYPD. At no time from the police officers’ initial on-the-street interaction with Williams, when they concluded that probable cause existed for her arrest, until her release from NYPD custody almost 24 hours later, did the NYPD provide Plaintiff with an American Sign Language (“ASL”) interpreter or any auxiliary communication aid.
A statement from Eisenberg & Baum, the firm representing Diana Williams, said:
“Our client is pleased that she can now move on with her life and put this horrific situation behind her. Due to the immense barriers they face when trying to communicate with the hearing world, Deaf individuals often find themselves without a voice to assert their rights. Deaf individuals have rights, and they do not have to tolerate discrimination and injustices of any kind. It is a sad reality that Deaf individuals continue to experience blatant discrimination on a routine basis. Ms. Williams hopes that the settlement will send a message to all law enforcement agencies across the country that they should adopt proper policies and procedures to ensure full communication access for Deaf individuals.”
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