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Deaf Man Sues Police In Colorado Over Alleged Excessive Use Of Force

September 30, 2021

A deaf man in Colorado has filed a civil rights suit alleging he was slammed to the ground by police after running a stop sign two years ago.

In his lawsuit, Brady Mistic claims two Idaho Springs police officers misinterpreted his attempts to communicate and “rashly attacked” him.

He says he was was wrongfully jailed for four months after the incident.

The police department has said it believes the officers acted appropriately.

His deafness was a “fact was not known to the officers during the initial encounter” when he failed to comply with verbal commands, the department wrote in an online statement defending the response.

Mr Mistic, now 26, is deaf in both ears, communicates via sign language and cannot read lips.

He alleges he was “confused, blinded by police lights, and unable to hear or know what was going on” when officers Nicholas Hanning and Ellie Summers apprehended him on 17 September, 2019 for running a stop sign.

According to the court filing, he used hand gestures and “clumsy verbal speech” to say the words “no ears”. The filing claims the two officers grabbed him “without providing any warning, commands, or reasonable opportunity for communication”.

He accuses the duo of slamming him to the ground and repeatedly shocking him with a taser device.

Mr Mistic was eventually charged with assaulting an officer after Mr Hanning broke his own leg during the arrest.

The charges were later dismissed though the police department has said those initial charges were “due to the resistive actions of Mr Mistic”.

Mr Mistic denies resisting arrest and his suit claims the charges were “an illusory attempt to cover up [the officers’] misconduct”.

Both police officers and the Idaho Springs police department are named in the lawsuit.

The department has said it reviewed the incident and deemed that the officers acted appropriately when Mr Mistic “immediately got out of his vehicle and quickly approached a clearly marked patrol car with the emergency lights activated”.

Mr Hanning is no longer with the police force, according to US media. He was fired in July and is currently facing separate assault charges over another arrest earlier this year.

Also named in the lawsuit is the county board of commissioners, which maintains the jail where he was held.

“In jail, Mr Mistic was repeatedly denied an interpreter or other reasonable means of communication for four months,” reads the lawsuit.

It claims that he was also unable to communicate with jail staff or use the inmate telephone system.

Mr Mistic is seeking compensation for physical and emotional harm under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and punitive sanctions against the both officers.

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