What are some common problems that people with disabilities have with law enforcement?
Unexpected actions taken by some individuals with disabilities may be misconstrued by officers or deputies as suspicious or illegal activity or uncooperative behavior. Example: An officer approaches a vehicle and asks the driver to step out of the car. The driver, who has a mobility disability, reaches behind the seat to retrieve her assistive device for walking. This appears suspicious to the officer. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who have speech disabilities or mental retardation, or who are blind or visually impaired may not recognize or be able to respond to police directions. These individuals may erroneously be perceived as uncooperative. Example: An officer yells “freeze” to an individual who is running from an area in which a crime has been reported. The individual, who is deaf, cannot hear the officer and continues to run. The officer mistakenly believes that the individual is fleeing from the scene. Similarly, ordering a suspect who is visually impaired to g