Deaf Man Was Allegedly Beaten For Resisting Arrest Because He Couldn't Hear Orders

Officers thought he was reaching for a gun. He was reaching for a placard to tell officers he was deaf.

By Jaime Lutz

An elderly deaf man who was allegedly beaten by Oklahoma cops in 2014 after he didn’t respond to the officers’ requests had his charges for resisting arrest dropped on Tuesday, a local news station reported.

Highway troopers claimed they pulled Pearl Pearson Jr., 67, over on suspicions of being involved with a hit-and-run investigation involving minor car damage, said D’Lyn Kiser, a legal assistant for Pearson’s lawyer Scott Adams, in an interview with Oxygen. Pearson was ultimately never charged in the hit-and-run, according to Kiser.

Video of the traffic stop shows troopers yelling at Pearson and pulling him out of his car, Oklahoma's News Channel 4 reported. The scuffle between troopers and Pearson allegedly went on for nearly 6 minutes. 

Pearson claims that the troopers struck him first; troopers, on the other hand, believed he was reaching for a gun when he was actually reaching for a placard that told officers he was deaf. Pearson cannot speak verbally.

Pearson’s mug shot shows significant injuries, which he claims is the result of the troopers beating him during the arrest, the station reported. His right eye is completely swollen shut in the photo.

Pearson is currently suing the Oklahoma troopers for his treatment, Kiser said, though David Prater, the Oklahoma district attorney, cleared the troopers involved—Eric Foster, Kelton Hayes, and Jason Owens—of criminal charges.

“Trooper Foster and Trooper Hayes demonstrated commendable restraint and judgment throughout the incident,” Prater said in a statement. “Only minimal necessary force was employed by the Troopers to defend themselves and civilians at the arrest scene from physical harm and to affect the arrest of Pearson.”

Oxygen reached out to Prater’s office for an updated statement, but hasn’t yet heard back.

Court records show that prosecutors agreed to dismiss the case due to the cost of sign language interpreters. Pearson’s misdemeanor trial had been scheduled for next week. Pearson still had to pay for his defense attorney in the case, outlets reported.

[Image: Oklahoma Highway Patrol]

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