Four police officers in Hawthorne, California beat and tased an innocent deaf man when he failed to respond to their demands during a routine call out. The cops then charged the man with assault, according to details released as part of a lawsuit on behalf of the man.
Cops in Hawthornes face charges of civil rights violations after tasering a deaf man ’til his flesh burned.
The suit, being facilitated by the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, notes that the plaintiff, Jonathan Meister, attempted to use sign language to explain to the cops that could not hear him when they confronted him outside his friend’s home, from which he was removing boxes of his own possessions.
A neighbor had called police, saying that Meister was acting suspiciously, after he had failed to respond to verbal calls from across the street.
Believing he was a burglar, the cops approached Meister, and grabbed him by the wrists when he didn’t verbally respond to them.
“Because he is deaf, Mr. Meister depends on using his hands while facing a person to communicate,” the complaint states. “The officers’ sudden aggression, which both caused pain and interfered with his ability to communicate, caused Mr. Meister reflexively to pull his hands away, hop back over the fence and step toward the gate … to create some space so that he could communicate.”
The suit then notes that Meister began to panic and resist being handcuffed. That was when one of the officers shot him twice with a taser. Another officer then deployed a second taser, delivering a “drive stun” to his abdomen.
The report notes that officers “struck Meister with fists and feet, and forcibly took him to the ground.” The cops then kicked and punched him in the back and stomach, while another choked him around the neck. The suit also alleges that the cops delivered “punishing shocks” with the tasers, intentionally “burning his flesh.”
After he was knocked unconscious and taken to a hospital, Meister was cited for assaulting the officers. The charges were later dropped.