Worldwide Support for Deaf Crime Victim Tased, Jailed in Tacoma

Nearly 32,000 sign petition, demand justice for Lashonn White

White’s injured chin.

Posted: 4:48 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012

TACOMA, WA — From Maylasia to Madagascar, tens of thousands of people from around the world are showing their support for Lashonn White, a deaf Tacoma woman who was tased and jailed for 60 hours without getting an interpreter.

At last count, nearly 32,000 people have signed an online petition on Care 2 Petition Site, demanding Tacoma Police reinvestigate White’s case.

KIRO 7 Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne has been digging into White’s case for months.

Halsne first reported the discrepancies between the official Tacoma Police Department report and witness statements. Most recently, he delved into Pierce County Jail polices.

Despite numerous phone calls and emails TPD has refused to conduct an interview on what happened the evening of White’s arrest.

Pierce County Jail administrators went on the record, stating they believe they followed all laws while White was in custody.

White never got an interpreter in jail. Yet, people who speak a first language other than English are afforded an interpreter via a phone call. That interpreter explains why the person was arrested and booked.

Because of our investigation Disability Rights Washington, a federally mandated organization, is probing Tacoma Police and Pierce County Jail policies.

David Carlson, a spokesperson for DRW said Tacoma officers violated the law by not offering an interpreter once the scene was controlled. Carlson also said Pierce County Jail administrators are required to offer interpreters and pointed out that an online service is free to use and already funded by taxes.

Meanwhile, the online petition allows users to post comments along with their names. One person calls Lashonn’s case “heartbreaking” another simply says “unreal”.

Click here to go to the petition

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