“Too often, officers make verbal orders for individuals to comply and act aggressively when those individuals do not comply,” Rosenblum said on Thursday. “Deaf individuals are unable to understand the verbal commands of law enforcement officers, and this has led to many physical altercations…with some resulting in death.”
According to US media reports, Daniel Kevin Harris, who was deaf, was driving when North Carolina trooper Jermaine Saunders attempted to pull over his car on August 18. The two cars became involved in a chase that ended with Saunders fatally shooting Harris.
The NAD urged US law enforcement agencies to hire officers who can communicate in American Sign Language and assist in situations with deaf individuals.
Additionally, the NAD recommended that police make note of deaf drivers in license plate registration databases.
Denver District Attorney Lynn Kimbrough confirmed that Harris had previously been charged with traffic violations, but his hearing impairments were not mentioned in the reports.
The US Department of Public Safety in North Carolina is investigating Harris’ death and Saunders has been placed on administrative leave.