Volunteers Needed for Role Playing with Austin Police Department Training 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012
By Deaf Network

Have you ever been interested in giving back to your community? Have you ever thought of being an actress or actor? Now is your chance to do both!!

Join us in a role play training with the Austin Police Department!!

We need volunteers that are at least 18 years of age, are fluent in ASL, and have no criminal history! We will be acting as civilians in the community that call 911, and participate in the response of the call with APD. We need deaf and hearing volunteers for NOV 7, 5pm-2am and Nov 8, 5pm- 2am

If you cannot commit to the full time, please contact us anyway because we will be scheduling the interpreters and volunteers based on availability. Dinner will be served on these two nights.

RSVP to Jamie.Kail@co.travis.tx.us with your full name, Date of Birth, and Texas ID number

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Source: Deaf Network of Texas


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Emergency Workers Get Ahead With Sign Language Course

Megan Berry and Liz Udall

By Sandish Shoker, Coventry Telegraph

Sep 14 2012

Warwicks, England — A Nuneaton police support officer and midwife are leading the pack for raising awareness of sign language in their professions.

Liz Udall and Megan Berry have both completed level two of a sign course at the Need BSL centre, in Burbage, near Hinckley.

Liz, aged 32, from Nuneaton, who works as a PCSO for Warwickshire Police, said her job had made her aware of how vital good communication was with every section of the community.

She explained: “When I started this job I realised that having sign and communicating with people was important.

“In an emergency it is vital BSL users can communicate quickly and effectively and I think people are really pleased someone in the police force is willing to learn sign to help them.”

It is a view shared by her classmate Megan, a midwife at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton.

Megan, aged 22, also from Nuneaton, had been interested in learning to sign to help her communicate with mums-to-be who need it.

She was enrolled on the course as a 21st birthday present with a difference from her boyfriend.

She said: “I don’t know of anyone else in the hospital who can sign, but for deaf women effective communication will greatly improve the care they receive.

“It is about helping those people and raising awareness and showing medical staff how they can communicate with their patients.”

Michael Broderick, who was their Need BSL tutor, said he hoped more professionals might consider following the example set by Liz and Megan.

He said: “It is really encouraging to have people from their profession taking an interest in sign and deaf awareness. Hopefully it is a start for other emergency workers to follow and hopefully will encourage more people from the deaf community to use the police and hospital services.”

Source: Coventry Telegraph


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Denver Agrees to Pay $695,000 to Settle Suit in Deaf Man’s Jail Death

POSTED: 09/18/2012 12:01:00 AM MDT

By Jeremy P. Meyer
The Denver Post

DENVER, CO — The Denver City Council on Monday agreed to pay $695,000 to settle a lawsuit by the family of a deaf man who died in the city’s jail after attempting to kill himself in 2005.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in 2007 was set to go to trial this month. The council voted 12-0 to accept the terms of the settlement.

The suit alleged the city did not adequately train staff, didn’t have proper accommodations for hearing impaired inmates, failed to provide a sign language interpreter and did not screen the inmate for mental health concerns.

The inmate, 23-year-old Shawn Francisco Vigil, was arrested in August 2005 on suspicion of sexual assault and was jailed for about a month before he attempted to hang himself in his jail cell and died shortly thereafter.

Jail officials had housed Vigil in a special unit away from the general population and failed to do any “meaningful analysis of whether he posed a substantial danger to himself,” according to the lawsuit that was filed by Debbie Ulibarri, Vigil’s mother.

City officials say the system has been improved for people with disabilities since Vigil’s incarceration. The downtown detention center was built in 2010 and the county jail was remodeled this year.

New buildings comply with American Disability Act requirements and have technology that includes video phones and “video orientation with sign language” interpretation, said Denver Undersheriff Gary Wilson in an e-mail to The Denver Post.

The new facilities helped alleviate the “severe overcrowding that existed in 2005 and 2007,” Wilson said.

Despite the settlement and alleged fixes to the jail, attorney Paula Greisen who represented Vigil’s family said she worries the issues still remain.

“I think there have been some improvements, but I have not seen any effort to improve the training,” she said. “The only training the officers received on how to communicate with deaf people was through the training academy. They are never given refresher courses.”

Greisen said the court case and other examples of deaf people being mistreated in jail show a pattern of “the government failing to follow the law with very, very serious repercussions.”

Vigil had never been in jail before and was isolated in a jail cell with little oversight. He wasn’t able to communicate with anyone and wasn’t even provided a phone call with his family, Greisen said.

“He basically became invisible,” she said. “He sat in the cell and drew a picture of himself crying.”

Source: The Denver Post


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Deaf Police to Monitor Security Cameras in Mexico

OAXACA, Mexico — Deaf police officers have been recruited to monitor security cameras in the Mexican city of Oaxaca because of their ‘heightened visual abilities’.

There’s a brief and somewhat clunky English-language news article from the local paper that describes the project:

“Ignacio Villalobos Carranza, Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Public Security of Oaxaca, said most of the monitoring of the 230 cameras is done by law enforcement officials that are hearing or speech impaired. He noted these police officers have a very strong deaf and visual sense and can better detect what is happening in different places where the cameras are located; they can often remotely read the conversations of people, to the benefit of this security system that operates 24 hours a day.”

The ability to lip read conversations is a fantastic advantage, but the project raises the question of whether deaf people would actually be better at security monitoring in general.

As far as I know, there are no studies comparing hearing and deaf people on specific monitoring tasks but there is evidence that deaf people have certain advantages in visual attention.

This isn’t vision in general, such as having sharper visual acuity – where there seems to be no difference, but there is good evidence that deaf people are better at noticing things in the periphery of vision and detecting movement.

This potentially makes them perfect for the job and likely better than their hearing colleagues.

So the project turns out to be a targeted way not of recruiting ‘disabled people’ into the workforce, but of recruiting the ‘super able’. In fact, turning the whole idea of disability on its head.

There’s also a Spanish-language video report from BBC Mundo if you want more información.

This entry was written by vaughanbell and posted on September 8, 2012 at 8:54 am

Source:  Mind Hacks


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Deaf Murder Suspect Wants His Confession Video Tossed

Gabriel Thompson

Posted: 2:22 AM, September 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NY — Justice is blind, but that’s no help if you’re deaf.

A suspect in a Bronx murder is trying to get his videotaped confession tossed because he says he was misunderstood and confused by a sign-language interpreter.

Following a tip, cold-case investigators nabbed Gabriel Thompson, 48, in 2010 — 25 years after he allegedly stabbed and killed a man who was having an affair with Thompson’s live-in girlfriend.

Prosecutors say Thompson confessed to the murder, but he claims the cop who interpreted his answers during an interrogation ignored his request for a lawyer and misconstrued him.

Thompson says it was also not clear to him that the person asking questions during the session was actually a prosecutor trying to gather evidence to charge him with the murder of Miguel Lopez.

The DA’s case against Thompson may “fall apart” if Supreme Court Justice Margaret Clancy rules that jurors cannot view the videotaped confession, defense lawyer Arnold Kronick said.

The unusual pretrial drama opens a debate on the practice of using police officers trained in sign language as interpreters for deaf suspects.

Ralph Reiser, a disability-rights lawyer who has filed several federal lawsuits against the NYPD on behalf of the hearing impaired, insists cops and prosecutors are obligated to use “impartial” interpreters. “It’s a total conflict of interest and morally reprehensible,” he said.

According to Officer Julio Vasquez, who interpreted Thompson’s comments, the suspect admitted he confronted Lopez at 1013 E. 180th St. in August 1985 after learning he had contracted a sexually transmitted disease from his girlfriend, who was having an affair with Lopez.

He also claims, according to the interpretation, that Lopez suddenly reached behind his back, as if, he said, to grab a gun.

“So I defended myself,” Thompson said, according to Vasquez’s interpretation. “So I stabbed him once, one time, that’s it. And I saw him still alive and then I left.”

Vasquez later admitted at an evidence hearing that prior to the confession he didn’t tell the prosecutor that Thompson asked him, “Is the lawyer coming?” after some confusion over the Miranda warning.

When asked if he informed Thompson that Holtzman was seeking evidence to prosecute him for murder, Vasquez replied, “No.”

Both sides have since reviewed the video with their own sign-language interpreters, who each provided different transcripts to the court. No independent sign language expert has viewed the video.

Thompson refused the DA’s offer to plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter in exchange for 4 to 12 years behind bars. He faces 25 years to life if convicted of second-degree murder.

Source:  New York Post


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Handcuffed Deaf Couple Wants Answers

Reported by: Lauren Lea

Published: 9/04/12  — 10:20 pm

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – A deaf couple claims two off-duty Bexar County Sheriff’s deputies handcuffed them and roughed them up as they were shopping inside a west side convenience store. Now the two want to know why it happened in the first place.

Jeffrey Donovan and his girlfriend Mercedes Castellano were shopping inside the Express Mart on Ceralvo, off Zarzamora on Aug. 23 and had only been inside for about two minutes before deputies approached. Surveillance video shows how quickly the deputies came inside and cuffed the couple.

“They were waving at us to come over there and all of a sudden they handcuffed us and were really rough at us,” Donovan said, through an interpreter.

“It really freaked me out because we were trying to tell them, ‘they’re deaf! They’re mute! They can’t speak!'” said a person who was inside the store, who did not want to be identified. “I think it was uncalled for. They were too rough.”

Employees said the deputies were yelling for the couple to put their hands up.

“I don’t understand why they rushed up on us like that. I couldn’t understand what we’d done wrong,” Castellano signed.

The witness said the couple were very frightened. Donovan says they were taken outside where they tried to communicate with the deputies.

“I was trying to explain to him that I couldn’t hear. I was deaf. I tried to explain to him twice. As they uncuffed us, we asked if we could write back and forth. I guess they didn’t want us to write back and forth,” Donovan signed. “As we were standing there, they still refused to talk to us through writing back and forth. Again, we asked and they said no. So we stood there and waited.”

Donovan is also blind in one eye and has a pacemaker. His father said he suffered a sprained shoulder because of the incident.

“As we waited, one police officer wrote down, ‘so you went through the gate and then after that you were running,'” Donovan signed.

He lives across the street at the San Juan Square Apartments. He showed us how they squeezed through the gate to walk across the street to the store. He says they never saw the deputies and after being let go, they never got an explanation.

“I have no reason. We’re deaf. I don’t know,” he signed.

Employees of the store said many people go through or jump over the fence to leave the apartment complex because of locked gates. Donovan’s father and the employees also said the deputies were providing security for the complex.

Donovan and Castellano are now sharing their story, hoping someone will finally give them answers.

“I don’t understand why they did that to us. We’re innocent. We didn’t do anything wrong,” Castellano signed.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office did not want to comment about the incident, but Internal Affairs is investigating.

Source: WOAI


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Alberta Sheriff Thomas Bounds: Taking Insensitivity to an All-New Low

Photo Credit: JEFF STOKOE, Red Deer Advocate staff

Jan 27, 2012

Calgary, AB, Canada:

Thomas Bounds is a sheriff with the Alberta Sheriff’s Service. He requires, at a bare minimum, a severe reprimand and retraining to learn how to act like a human being, since he clearly has no clue at the moment. For his blatantly abusive and potentially life-threatening treatment of Bill Berry, a 52-year-old deaf and mute cancer survivor, Sheriff Thomas Bounds should really be fired.

Does that sound harsh?

Perhaps, but it’s certainly an apt punishment for almost killing Bill Berry for the dastardly crime of trying to pay a parking ticket.

That’s right, Bill Berry was attempting to pay a parking ticket on December 9, 2011 at Red Deer’s courthouse when Sheriff Thomas Bounds became enraged that the deaf man wouldn’t follow his orders.


Source: Christopher di Armani.com






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