- A deaf Colorado man is suing after Idaho Springs officers tasered him and sent him to jail.
- Police ordered the man to return to his car, but he could not understand their commands, leading to an altercation.
- The man said he was jailed for 4 months without an interpreter before his charges were dropped.
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A deaf Colorado man is suing the Clear Creek County Board of Commissioners, the city of Idaho Springs, and two of its officers after they threw him to the concrete, tasered him, and jailed him for 4 months without an interpreter, federal court filings allege.
According to his suit, Brady Mistic drove through a stop sign while running errands in September 2019. After exiting his vehicle and walking toward his laundromat, the lawsuit alleges two officers approached him and shined lights in his face, disorienting Mistic. The officers demanded he return to his car but did not know he was deaf.
Mistic’s lawsuit notes he has no sense of hearing in either ear and cannot read lips — his primary way of interacting with people is through sign language or writing on a sheet of paper.
Without any way of understanding the officers’ commands, he alleges he “raised his hands up with palms out in an obvious non-threatening position of deference and/or surrender,” an action that was lost on two officers.
Because he was not following their commands, the officers attempted to handcuff him, throwing him to the concrete in the process where he hit his head. One of the officers broke their own leg during the scuffle. The other used her police-issued Taser to stun Mistic twice while on the ground as he yelled out “no ears” in an attempt to alert the officers of his disability, the lawsuit details.
The Idaho Springs Police Department issued a statement directly after Mistic filed his lawsuit, saying an internal review of the incident cleared the officers of any wrongdoing in the eyes of the department.
“The incident was reviewed by former Chief Christian Malanka and the officers’ actions were deemed to be appropriate,” the department’s statement reads.
The statement also notes that the officer who broke their leg, Nicholas Hanning, is no longer with the Idaho Springs Police Department, though it does not specify why. Of note, a 75-year-old man filed a separate lawsuit against Hanning in July after the officer tasered the man and kneeled on his neck during a dispute.
Mistic was ultimately charged with assault on a first responder, obstructing a peace officer, and resisting arrest stemming from the incident and the officer’s broken leg. He was in jail for 4 months before the charges were ultimately dropped.
His attorneys said he “suffered even further indignity, humiliation, isolation, and discrimination due to being deaf due to being unable to communicate,” especially after Mistic said he “repeatedly and continually” tried to tell staff that he needed an interpreter, to no avail.
Mistic’s lawsuit seeks compensation for his “physical and emotional harm, pain and suffering, permanent scarring, and economic damages, as well as punitive sanctions against the individual officers to punish and deter the blatant abuse of authority and violation of rights,” and requests a jury trial.
The next filings in the case are due on November 4.
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