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Deaf Advocates Responds On Police Brutality

The National Association of the Deaf CEO Howard A. Rosenblum discusses police brutality towards Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

National Association of the Deaf CEO Howard A. Rosenblum in a video description and transcript: I'd like to discuss a serious situation that recently happened in Florida. Due to a miscommunication between the police officers, the Deaf man involved died. This is a terrible situation. We need to make sure that does not happen again.

What happened in Florida isn't the only time that happened, it has happened all over in the United States of America, within the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community as well. Similar situations including Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and police officers has happened in Seattle, Washington, Texas, California, Illinois, Michigan, Oklahoma, and most recently in Florida.

There's many more situations that have happened in other places that I haven't mentioned. This is terrible. Some have died or have been badly hurt because of miscommunication with police officers... this is not acceptable and it must stop.

Some police officers are not aware and do not respect Deaf and Hard of Hearing communication needs. When a police officer approaches an individual, they assume that person is hearing and take action if the person does not respond. Instead, what should happen is police officers analyzing the situation first and figure out if the person is Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and from there they should respect their communication needs to resolve the situation.

Regarding the situation in Florida, the NAD President Chris Wagner is from Florida and is working with the police and other leaders to determine how to improve the situation and prevent such instances from ever happening again.

The NAD has also worked with others in different states when similar situations have happened in the past. Again, this is not acceptable and it must stop. We have since realized we need to deal with the US Government on a national level in order to remedy the many situations across the US, specifically with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Attorney General. We need to work with them to set the standard protocol for the Police Department. Police officers must realize that in all situations the persons they encounter might be Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and respect the communication needs.

This is important for the safety of the police, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, and everyone else. Many of you have contacted the NAD expressing concerns about this important issue. The Board of Directors and the NAD staff all agree that this is important for the safety and protection of all individuals involved. I want to thank you for contacting us and please know we are working hard on this issue. Thank you for your time.


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