Should Cops Communicate With The Deaf Before Tasering?


To Seattle police, it was a near-perfect use of a Taser — subduing a man whose behavior otherwise might have forced a more violent confrontation, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. To Bob Ross’ friends, his being electrically stunned was an excessive use of force brought on because he is deaf and did not hear the officer’s commands.

It was a situation that might have been avoided, Ross’ friends say, if police were able to recognize the disabled, learning even a basic sign such as the one asking a person’s name. The department will examine whether training needs to be improved, but the officer’s Taser use was appropriate, said assistant Seattle police Chief Clark Kimerer. Ross, 56, was shot with a Taser after he was unsuccessful in entering his workplace at a pottery supply company. When the officer drew her gun and ordered Ross away from the door, he ignored her. She fired the Taser when Ross was picked up wooden dowels for use in making pots and came “toward me in a quick pace,” she reported.


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