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City Settles Suit With Deaf Citizen

City Settles Suit With Deaf Citizen

Jail and several courtrooms will get videophones


AUGUST 3, 2012

For the second time in a decade, the city of Austin has settled a
federal civil rights suit, reaffirming its agreement to provide
training for Austin Police officers on how to effectively communicate
with Austin’s deaf population, including instructions on how to obtain
sign language interpreters to ensure the kind of effective
communication required under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The lawsuit was brought by the Texas Civil Rights Project on behalf of
Esther Valdez, who is deaf and who was arrested in 2009 for resisting
arrest after failing to hear an officer yelling at her to stop walking
down a sidewalk along a busy street in North Austin. The story of
Valdez’s arrest was featured in a cover story in the Chronicle (“Tone
Deaf,” Dec. 3, 2010). The charges against her were eventually
dismissed, but last year she filed suit against the city and against
Travis County, arguing that the two entities discriminated against her
based on her inability to hear. In settling the suit, the city has
agreed not only to require additional training for police, but also to
install videophones in the jail and in several courtrooms. For more on
the story see, “Not So Tone Deaf?” Newsdesk, July 31.

Related source: (July 31, 2012)
Related source: (December 3, 2012)

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