be warned, the article in the link is kind of a long one. but it also have videos to back up the article.
But it's important that you read all of it to get the full understanding of what really happens with the deaf community and the police.
This way you can tell me your full feedback of what you think would help resolve those problems between the deaf people and the police.
or even whenever the policeman in question was in the right or not.
I'm deaf myself, so in some ways this issue strikes a cord with me way deeper than it would be for a hearing person.
hell, I've even gotten in trouble with the police a few times due to a few misunderstandings.
Even with police who knew survival level sign (only the basics), they can make plenty of mistakes if they are not a pro at it. A lot of sign language have words that looks very similar to each other, and can be often mistaken easily in terms of different meanings.
like this one segment from the article:
Smith says that he's become increasingly frustrated by the communication problems that plague the relationship between deaf Austinites and police. In one particular incident, he says, police were called to the Texas School for the Deaf to handle a situation between an adult student and his mother. TSD requires a certified interpreter to handle all communications between students and school security guards or outside agency police, so Smith was paged to handle the interpretation. When he met the student and the APD officer, he said the officer dismissed him, saying that he would handle the communication because he'd been “certified” in ASL by Wess Smith. Apparently the man did not recognize Smith, who'd conducted his language assessment for APD. “And he dismisses me. … I said, ‘Okay, first of all, let me introduce myself: I’m Wess Smith.'” He said the officer still tried to dismiss his services. “He should've been thrilled to have it. But it was more about him than about the situation,” he said. “Where does that mentality come from? That you're more important than the situation?”
Since that episode, Smith says, he's been wary of performing assessments for APD officers. He tries to make clear in each assessment how strong the officer's skills are and what their level of proficiency is. In an assessment example he provided to the Chronicle (with the officer's identity redacted), Smith noted that the officer's skill level was that of “survival”: The officer can communicate basic concepts at a “slow-to-moderate rate” and “with many sign vocabulary errors.” Among the signing errors the officer in question made, the assessment notes, were signing “jail” instead of “wait,” and “fuck you” instead of “OK.” Whether APD decides that an officer is proficient enough to receive bilingual pay is strictly up to the city, says Smith; it is not up to Smith or TSD. “Every report gets this disclaimer: This is a communication assessment. This is not an interpreting assessment.”
There's a difference between communication and interpretation. Knowing some ASL, which is a foreign language with its own unique structure, or how to competently finger-spell English words are important skills. But “there is a difference between having the skills to communicate and having the skills to interpret for a legal setting,” says Smith. “If you get into a little fender-bender and you have an officer who can sign, how great it is that you have a police officer who can communicate!” he says. “But there is a time when they have to stop” â€“ when officers need to realize that they've reached the limit of their communication abilities and need to call in a professional for help. “And I don't think they know when to stop.”
in fact, on one occasion I got into trouble with the police because I got upset over some mistake that one policeman made in his attempt to communicate with me. He meant to say something else entirely but he just came off as completely rude and condescending to me because of some wrong wording on his part.
I got upset, and then he misunderstood why I was acting so upset, and thought I was threatening him when I wasn't. I was just trying to tell him what happened and tell him off at the same time.
So I got arrested for no real good reason.
To be fair, in some areas the police have honestly tried to be accommodating about everything. But sadly, the laws that passed to prevent such pointless drama and misunderstanding from ever happening aren't enforced.
and even worse, a lot of the police aren't even briefed in their training about what they are supposed to do if they have an deaf suspect, etc. So they aren't even aware about the laws concerning the deaf people and the police.
and because of this, some situations that was just a silly misunderstanding sometimes end up being a tragic story for the deaf community.
such as some deaf kid who was killed by the police because he did not understand what was going on.
So as an result, there are many deaf people who are truly afraid of police and do not trust them at all.
In fact, most deaf people even expect there to be trouble with the police once they show up.
which is rather sad, really.
So this got me thinking…. how would you fix this situation if you could? Since anything that they tried to do to fix it up above did not work.