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Calif. Officers Accused of Beating Deaf Man

February 18, 2014  | 

A newly filed lawsuit alleges officers from the Hawthorne (Calif.) Police Department beat a deaf man and shocked him with a Taser as he tried to sign that he couldn't hear, KNBC reports.

The Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness filed the lawsuit this week on behalf of a deaf man from Manhattan Beach, claiming the officers committed a civil rights violation under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act during a confrontation last year.

According to the man's lawyer, the incident happened Feb. 13, 2013, when Jonathan Meister made arrangements to pick up a few belongings from his friend's home on the 3550 block of 147th Street in Hawthorne.

A neighbor apparently mistook Meister for a thief and called police. The neighborhood, according to a police report, had experienced a recent rash in burglaries.


Best Practices: Dealing with the Deaf

Contacting the Hearing Impaired

Comments (15)

Displaying 1 - 15 of 15

S.S. @ 2/19/2014 5:14 AM

The last paragraph on this story is the most important. There should be more written on how this occurred, and more from the reporter who called it in, in reference to a burglary.

TX Lawman @ 2/19/2014 6:46 AM

This sounds like a tragic mistake, but it sounds like the officers were answering a burglary call and had, what they thought was a burglar. Now I have not seen the reports so it's hard to say if there were mistakes made or not, but if I had the ability to know what every person's disabilities were when I came in contact with them I would be the best officer in the world. The problem is we don't and we react to actions taken on what we know in that split second. Were the officers wrong? I have no idea. I'm sure they feel some remorse after they found out he wasn't a burglar and was deaf. It's like shooting a person that points a toy gun at you. You wished they hadn't made you do what you had to do. It's a tough job that no one else wants! Stay Safe Blue!

A.T. @ 2/20/2014 8:22 AM

I say, stupid move on the part of the suspects. There is a simple universal sign that should be taught by the deaf community to the police on how to get a clue that a suspect is deaf.
Besides, a deaf person should also be taught (more so in view of their disability) some common sense, that when a police car approaches them with their emergency lights, walking up towards the car is not the thing to do. Just stay put, give the signal "I am deaf", make no threatening moves and wait for further instructions, perhaps via simple hand motions, or written ones, for the moment (?). It might take a while, if at all, to get an interpreter on scene, I have a son who is deaf and I taught him to do that.
Anything else perceived as non compliant or even threatening and the suspects stand a chance of getting sprayed, tasered or even shot.
OTOH, what is an officer to do when a perp uses an "I am deaf" ruse to get close up for an attack? I have had that happen and had to back off behind cover.

Lenny @ 2/20/2014 9:00 AM

You must be f**king kidding me? This is entirely the the victim's fault? Do any of you cowards have any sense of decency? Cover for each other is the only thing that you understand and screw the public if we don't like it. All month, all over the world the police(and I am being very polite for how I am feeling right now) have been beating, tasering, whipping and killing more innocent that can be counted. The good news is the protesters in Kiev just captured 67 of you and a cop in China is going to be executed for murdering a prgnant woman. Closer to home there is this story, the story of Christopher Roupe who was gunned down by trigger happy Cpl. Beth Gatny for the crime of being armed with a Wii remote. As well as Luis Rodriguez who was beaten to death by 5 of you for not showing his papers, hadn't actually done anything criminal at all. He just ran into the wrong white cops who thought they would give a good ole beatdown to a hispanic man. Good work boys and girls.

Capt. Crunch @ 2/20/2014 6:40 PM

@ Lenny, you just made a raciest remark against white police officers and you will be punaished for that if you do not apologize in writing to us through Police Magazine. Remember white people have rights too.

Lenny @ 2/20/2014 9:26 PM

@Capt. Crunch

Not surprising that the only thing you got from my comments about the horrors and acts of terrorism that people like you inflict on innocent people all over the world every day is that you feel I owe an apology. That sense of entilement and indifference that cops have is legendary.
And don't even open your yap about rights those in your line of work have no idea what rights are until you run into someone who does. Good luck with me apologising.

Capt. Crunch @ 2/21/2014 9:40 AM

@Lenny, we now have it on paper you were advised.

Lenny @ 2/21/2014 10:38 AM

@ Capt. Crunch

You really shouldn't post after you've been drinking.

Capt. Crunch @ 2/21/2014 3:38 PM


I guess your mad because the judge won't let you shine his balls.

Lenny @ 2/21/2014 5:14 PM

@ Capt. Crunch

As I have said before to you and others like you, It's truly a privilege to watch your minds at work. It shows without doubt why most crimes go unsolved.
When should I expect you to follow through with you punishment?

Capt. Crunch @ 2/22/2014 10:09 AM

@ Lenny, my attorney will be contacting you.

Lenny @ 2/22/2014 6:00 PM

Sure he/she will sweetheart.

A good book you should read "Torts for Tots and Tards".

tornadojimbelino @ 2/24/2014 11:20 AM

Tragic, isn't it? It's tragic that police have the power they do. If you don't do what they want you to do as quickly as they want you to do it then you're resisting. If you try to explain your side of the story to them they want to know if you're an attorney. If you're pointing a toy gun at them they're allowed to kill you. If you're deaf, blind and can't talk and in the wrong place at the wrong time they just might assume you're a criminal and beat you half to death. We need cops. I grant you that, but what we need are smarter ones, not wanna-be's who's Uncle the sheriff got them on the police department. Every cop should be forced to rotate into the roughest crime ridden area's of the closest major city. Most would probably quit if they had to do real police work instead of pulling teen-age girls over for crossing the double yellow line. Maybe ten percent of real cops put their lives on the line daily the rest are nothing but overpaid boy-scouts and bullies.

Ret. MotorBoots @ 2/25/2014 10:04 PM

Sounds like some people need to suit up or shut up. It’s real easy to type snubs against police officers. But, I bet it wouldn’t be as easy if the snubbers were to suit up, jump in a radio car and then have someone point an unknown object at them. I would like to see if they would wait to see the flash and hope to hear the bang.

Lenny @ 2/25/2014 11:24 PM

@ Ret. MotorBoots

No I think some people just need to shut up.
The only people who ACTUALLY point things at people are cops.
And yes we all know how your jobs are just one big "rapidly evolving stressful situation where you fear for your lives". Think I got that right.

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