Police in Burlington, Ont. say they did nothing wrong during the arrest of a deaf suspect, which was filmed and shared thousands of times online.
In the video, a Halton Regional Police officer repeatedly tells the man to turn around and put his hands behind his back. The suspect gestures for him to write the instructions down, but the officer responds: “I am not going to write it down for you. Put your hands behind your back.”
At one point, the suspect points to the camera and the officer acknowledges that someone is filming, saying, “That’s fine.”
“I am not going to write it down for you. Put your hands behind your back.”
Eventually, a second officer arrives and the suspect is tackled to the ground and then handcuffed.
Emerson Mueller posted the original video to Facebook on Tuesday.
“The guy was obviously deaf, and the officer refused to write down the reason for arresting him, so he was confused,” he wrote.
“Shame on these cops for not being able to adapt to peoples disabilities [sic].”
Police had interacted with suspect before
In a statement posted to Twitter, the police department denied accusations of wrongdoing.
“The individual is known to police and the arresting officer has previously dealt with, and effectively communicated with him without the use of sign language,” the release said.
“Once in custody the male was provided with an opportunity to communicate with an officer familiar with American Sign Language to explain the situation prior to the arrival of an ASL Certified Interpreter. The HRPS is aware that a portion of this interaction was captured on audio video and posted to social media.”
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