Oklahoma City, OK — Police officers assaulting or even killing deaf people for being unable to hear their commands is a tragic reality. Pearl Pearson Jr. learned that reality the hard way. For nearly seven minutes, Pearson, 64-years-old at the time and diabetic, was beaten and arrested by police officers as they yelled at him to stop resisting.
Now, the taxpayers of Oklahoma are being forced to pay the brutal incompetence of two Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers. It was announced this week that Pearson has received a settlement in the amount of $175,000 in taxpayer funds to settle the claims of his abuse.
As the Times-Record reports, Pearson, now 68, of Edmond, Okla., claimed three troopers “used unnecessary, unprovoked and excessive force” when he was unable to communicate or follow verbal commands, according to the lawsuit.
“Pearl was very pleased with the results,” his attorney, Derek Burch, told The Oklahoman.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers, Eric Foster and Kelton Hayes were the two officers that were involved in what an affidavit claims was a 7-minute altercation. Naturally, since the incident, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater cleared Foster and Hayes of all wrongdoing.
“Excessive force was used for a very minor matter that could have been handled very easily with these three troopers,” Burch said. “It ultimately resulted in him having facial injuries, and the worst injury was a completely separated shoulder.”
When the original incident happened on January 3, 2014, police refused to release the video. However, weeks later, after the media frenzy died down, police quietly released the dashcam. The disturbing video shows troopers yelling at Pearson and dragging him from the vehicle.
He was dragged from the vehicle in spite of the fact that he did everything he was supposed to as a deaf driver, according to his family.
According to Pearson’s family, Pearl pulled over and rolled down his window expecting an officer to ask for this identification. An officer struck him in the face before Pearl had the chance to do anything.
The photos of his swollen and bruised face clearly show the result of the police action.
After Pearson was beaten by police, he was arrested and charged with resisting arrest. He was thrown in jail, and, according to his family, an interpreter was never provided while Pearl was under the care of law enforcement — not during the booking, hospital, or time at the jail was an interpreter provided — even though Pearl requested one.
Pearson was sitting in a jail cell, battered and bruised, and had no idea ‘why.’
Pearson has no criminal record, and in fact is a father to a police officer. His son-in-law is also a cop. In 2015, Pearson was given an award for his amazing service to the community for working with people with disabilities.
Finally, after 3 years of holding it over his head, the District Attorney’s office decided to drop the charges. However, they dropped the charges, not because they thought the cops were in the wrong, and not because they thought Pearson was innocent. In fact, neither of the cops involved in beating a deaf man for being unable to understand them has faced any discipline at all. The sole reason the case was dropped was that the trial cost was too high.
Pearson, who learned sign language during segregation, learned a different way of communicating other than the traditional American Sign Language (ASL). He needs a translator for court officials to understand him. Because the cost of translators was so high, the DA decided to toss the case out.
Pearson also won a second lawsuit against the hospital as they failed to provide a translator while police had him in custody at the hospital which resulted in the missed diagnois of his separated shoulder.
Below is the video of this glaring incompetence which the taxpayers of Oklahoma have now been extorted to pay for.