Friday, September 5, 2014

Deaf man who was beaten by police after not following verbal orders needs interpreters for his 'resisting arrest' criminal trial


Pearson claims he was unable to hear the verbal commands of the OHP trooper who ordered him out of his car during a traffic stop in January. The stop came after troopers say he left the scene of a non-injury accident. Video of the stop show troopers yelling at Pearson and pulling him from his vehicle. Pearson says that is when he was beaten. Court documents say Pearson fought the officers and resisted arrest.

The district attorney cleared the troopers of any criminal wrongdoing in the case.

In court Wednesday Pearson's attorney, Scott Adams, asked a judge to order up to six sign language interpreters for the upcoming trial. Adams says Pearson learned sign language during segregation and that form of sign language is different than the traditional “American Sign Language,” or ASL.

“He grew up in a segregated society,” Adams said outside of court, “65 years of age, never been in any trouble before, he learned a different type of sign language than what they typically teach.”

Prosecutors did not object to the need for interpreters but agreed to waive any bias arguments in order to get interpreters from Oklahoma. Defense attorneys say Pearson is active in the deaf community and is friends with most of the people who are certified to do court interpretation.