The Department of Justice announced that the Philadelphia Police Department has agreed to require providing communication and working with Deaf community. Eight Deaf individuals were awarded an amount of money. In Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs’ letter on Thursday, August 2, 2018:
“Pay eight aggrieved individuals a total of $97,500.”
It is not clear to me. What does it mean? Does it mean each individual get $97,500 at once or does it mean a total of $97,500 to pay eight aggrieved individuals $8125 a month for 12 months? Or does it mean $97,500 divided by eight: $12,187.50—meaning each individual gets $12,187.50 at once.
If it is $12,187.50 each, then that is very, very, small amount and it is pretty insulting. Is that enough to cover years of humiliation, grief, suffering, and loss of trust? It is not enough. Imagine the cost of mental health, counseling, injuries either mentally, emotionally or physically that are long-term, bills, food, travel, basic necessitates, hard time finding jobs because of their status of being Deaf and regain trust with police community. Remember, Philadelphia Police Department’s motto: Honor, Service, and Integrity. I disagree.
The citizens of Philadelphia including Deaf individuals comes first before police. That is all about honor, service, and integrity. Taxpayers. Plenty of police departments had perceived personal and political bias and command of Deaf individuals. When DOJ announced that PPD has agreed to the big changes, and supportive of Deaf community after bringing national attention for just the opposite behavior on PPD’s mistreatment vs. Deaf people. If there is one more sneeze what they had violated Deaf community, what would it happen this time?
In Merriam Webster definition of “Aggrieved”, an adjective term: 1) Troubled or distressed in spirit. 2) A) Suffering from an infringement or denial of legal rights. B) Showing or expressing grief, injury, or offense.
Deaf individuals are not aggrieved because they are not viewed as “troubled” individuals because they are Deaf. Everyday, Deaf individuals in America, are still suffering from denial of legal rights, because they were denied their own constitutional rights by law enforcement agencies, and Deaf individuals had been injured and killed in the hands of police department. It is a constitutional crisis. It is serious; crisis is happening, visible or invisible.
We should not forget John T. Williams; a Deaf Native American was shot and killed by Seattle Police Department. No charges had formally charged the police officer for murder of Williams.
We should not forget Magdiel Sanchez, a Deaf Latino who was killed by Oklahoma City Police Department. Charges against police officer has been dropped and got away with it.
We should not forget many Deaf individuals who experienced police brutality. For example, Pearl Pearson, Deaf Black who was brutalized by Oklahoma City Police Department.
We should not forget Daniel K. Harris, Deaf white guy who was killed by police department in North Carolina.
There are many, many Deaf individuals who were brutalized by police departments are even not reported, because Deaf people do not exist. Why add more grief to their lives?
In DOJ/Office of Public Affairs letter writes: “The Department initiated an investigation in response to a complaint that PPD had not provided effective communication to a deaf detainee.”
Deaf detainees need to protect their rights, and be aware of Miranda Rights, and tolerance and be succeed in protecting their rights. Police departments often show intolerance as possessing Deaf individuals not to deserve respect and civility. Police department awareness about Deaf community is not enough, and holds opinion that often founded in bigotry.
Police brutality put Deaf “aggrieved” individuals subjected to lifelong pain—a kind of social death sentence. $97,500 is not enough. It’s insulting.
To those advocating higher than $97,500, please, bless your heart. To those who disagreed with it, please, look around. Is the problem simply ignorance or that there is no alternative advocacy?
Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier
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