The St Paul City Council approved a $95,000 payment to settle a lawsuit brought by a deaf woman who alleged that the department did not provide a qualified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter when needed, according to an article in the Duluth News Tribune.
According to the article, Catrina Hooper visited the St Paul police station in 2014 to file a domestic assault report; the station provided an officer who they said knew sign language, but Hooper’s lawsuit said the officer was not “a qualified interpreter,” as required by law. Hooper alleges that the city violated both the American with Disabilities Act and the Minnesota Human Rights Act, a charge the city denies, according to the Tribune article.
Hooper was represented by The Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid’s Disability Law Center (MMLA). The MMLA has previously represented Doug Bahl in a lawsuit against the city’s police department in 2008, according to the Tribune. Bahl alleged that he asked an officer to communicate in writing when he was pulled over for a traffic violation in 2006. Instead, he said, the officer sprayed him with a chemical irritant and beat him. The department settled with Bahl for $93,450 in 2014, and made changes to the law that requires a certified ASL interpreter be present when police have a scheduled meeting with a deaf person, the Tribune reported.
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Source: Duluth News Tribune