BRIGHTON, Colo. (AP) – A lawsuit claims Adams County authorities detained a deaf man for 25 days in jail without providing a sign-language interpreter before domestic assault charges were eventually dropped.

Timothy Siaki’s lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court seeks unspecified damages and a finding that Adams County officials violated the Americans With Disabilities Act over his May 14, 2010, arrest and detention.

The Denver Post reports Siaki doesn’t read or write English or read lips, but he does communicate through American Sign Language. Deputies arrested Siaki after a noise complaint at a motel where Siaki and his fiancDee were verbalizing sounds while arguing.

Deputies responding to the complaint knocked down the motel-room door and tackled Siaki after he failed to respond to their commands.

An Adams County sheriff’s spokesman says officials need to review the suit before commenting. Siaki’s fiancee, Kimberlee Moore, as well as Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition advocacy group are also plaintiffs in the suit.

Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr is named as the defendant.

“There were 25 days of his life that he had access to nothing — no information on why he was being held, no information about his case or what was going to happen to him,” said Kevin William, an attorney who filed the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Moore tried to tell the deputies that Siaki didn’t hurt her but couldn’t because she was not provided an interpreter or any aids.

The suit claims Adams County is violating the ADA by failing to provide an interpreter or auxiliary aids for deaf suspects during their arrest and booking process.

“To this day,” he said, “we don’t know why he was held for 25 days.”

Williams told the paper the coalition recently settled a similar case against the Lakewood Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office that call for very specific policies for compliance with the ADA.

“They need policies and procedures for folks who are deaf,” Williams said. “People just assume that a deaf person understands what they are saying.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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  4. Rabelais Todais says:

    This is why we have courts. The court of public opinion often is oblivious to things called “facts”. The comments here should have consisted mainly of complaints about the lack of salient information concerning this episode. I read the article and I’m scratching my head wanting to learn the facts behind this. Superficially, one sees that the deaf fellow has a valid case, but without more info, one truly cannot understand, much less decide, who is to blame or what needs to be done to make sure this does not occur again.

  5. Drew says:

    I don’t know what to think about this. I find it really hard to beleive that the police would throw a guy in jail without communicating with him in any way or being able to figure out he is deaf. All it takes is for him to point to his ears and shrug shoulders. Is it possible this guy was not helping matter any and not attempting to diclose he was deaf? Where was his GF? Why wasn’t she down there with an interpreter pounding on the desk wanting to know the status of her BF? There is much missing from this report and I dont think all the blame lies with the Police.

  6. DFCurl says:

    OMG! This is terrible and agony. What’s matter with Sheriff Doug Darr and his deputies? They are grossly incompetent. Adam County surely know the policies and procedures. I can’t believe they ignored and disobeyed the ADA law. The law is quite very clear, all deaf persons have the right to an ASL interpreter! Everybody know!!!! When this DEAF man was arrested and they solemnly did see his “hands talking” or gesturing and they didn’t get the interpreter immediately! It’s obvious that hearing people sheriff and/or deputies waited for a request from the deaf is wrong. The hearing people sheriff and deputies did very inhumanity. They know better!!! They received training at the academy, but… why do they still ignore them? Oh, come on hearing people!!! This reminds me of the “racism” against the black in the 1960s. Sheriff Doug Darr and his deputies should receive punishment and fired their employment. I prefer we throw them to the wolves! WE ALL KNOW the hearing people should never use ASSUMPTIONS anything about the deaf’s communication skills. Writing or lip-reading isn’t the priority. When hearing people while employed in the governmental organizations see the “hand talking” or gesturing, they must get the interpreters immediately so the communication would be more efficiency
    between the deaf and hearing. Deaf people do talk or raise their voice VERY loud unlike the hearing people talk in the hearing world. That’s their natural way in the Deaf world!!!!

  7. AEB says:

    Wow. I was a waitress years ago and I had deaf customers on a regular basis. Thankfully, I didn’t make them wait 25 days at their table just because I couldn’t understand them. The officers in this case should be ashamed, this was simply torture for the poor guy.

  8. Malcom says:

    again, the cops are getting out of control and acting like NAZI’s. I hope he sues for millions and wins. Also these cops need to be on charges for violating his Constitutional rights at the very least. As long as people let the cops keep hurting the civilians they are sworn to protect then nothing will change. the FEDS need to investigate as well as the United Nations.

  9. carl says:

    My dad is deaf. However, he said he enjoys being deaf because he can’t hear my mother yelling at him all the time.

  10. Testicus says:

    i am a late deafened adult. thankfully i grew up with normal hearing and acquired the skills for alternative ways to communicate with hearing people… but none of that helped me when the police arrested me for something so totally minor, it was bordering on ridiculous. all the charges were later thrown out, but enduring the trauma of law enforcement officers bent on no other goal except forcing you to comply, what chance does a person who cannot hear have? this article says they “broke down the door.” couldn’t they have gone to the clerk and simply got a key?? why all the drama? i know why: the cops love drama and anything that inflates their sophistic sense of self-worth.

  11. Lost Freedom says:

    Those cops are real heroes.

  12. Healot Hell says:

    Fascism is right around the corner when you’ve got undereducated cops and others in their system making decisions like this. Must be Republicans. Liberals would not do this.

  13. Pam says:

    Didn’t he see a judge? Didn’t he have a Public Defender?

  14. Jn Brown says:

    ASL or how i got thru school. .My niece started a program that teaches it to Girl Scouts. He played the cops and didn’t force the issue and now they will pay for their indifference to the “dummy.” hahahahaha

  15. sailordude says:

    I bet that dude was saying to himself, dang, I wish I knew how to understand English! LOL, poor dude, sounds like he’s living a pretty poor life.

  16. Montford says:

    Stupid pirates. Yet more that need a beatin.

  17. AndyH says:

    This is a ridiculous story. I don’t mean that the subject is inappropriate for a news story, but the reporting is shoddy and incomplete. Common sense says that there HAS to be more to this than stated in the report. We’re given to understand that this gentlemen ‘speaks’ nothing but ASL (interestingly, some sharp eyed commenters have pointed out that he probably speaks Samoan too…how come the reporter couldn’t figure this out?) and therefore the police were unable to communicate with him for 25 days! I’m no reporter but at least 2 obvious lines of inquiry presented themselves to me just in the time it took me to read the piece: (1) he was arrested in a motel: how the heck did he communicate enough in order to check into a motel but then be incapable of communicing with police? (2) I don’t know a single ‘word’ of ASL, but I know when someone is signing: surely the police were not so dense as not to recognize that sign language was being ‘spoken’, even if they didn’t understand it. How is it that CBS can publish this piece without even basic, common-sense lines of inquiry like these being followed-up.

    I’m not commenting either way on the underlying dispute; I’m just astonished that CBS could publish such a dimwitted piece of ‘journalism’.

  18. tramky says:

    Idiots all.

  19. j smith says:

    The police held this man and did not provide for an interpreter…I am an ICU nurse, and I have had several patients that were deaf (inluding deaf from birth). In order to communicate complex issues, it was necessary to have an interpreter. It was not al all difficult to get one. The hosiptal I work for has a contract with a company that provides ASL interpreters when needed. The turnaround time was less than a day. Why couldn’t the police department do the same thing?

  20. jeff says:

    Does he know how to read and write? Shouldn’t need a translator. I worked with a deaf guy once. He always had a note pad with him so he could communicate with others. it worked out ok.

  21. Jerome Nyquist says:

    Lame to bring in the ADA at all. This is illegal under regular laws that apply to all of us, not just the disabled. There is no need to sue under the ADA. He cannot be held for 25 days with no charges, period. But, every group has to have their own additional, redundant laws now, don’t they?

  22. Rhonda Z says:

    You people are acting as if the deaf experience is the same for all deaf people. That is not the case. I think you able people hate the disabled so much because of an innate fear of becoming unable themselves. familiarize yourself with AUDISM and what it’s all about.

  23. bob self says:

    well, now the cancer that is denver’ “law enforcement”, has encroached the suberbs. guess the idiots who couldn’t make “the grade” in denver just keep trying untill someone is stupid enough to hire them.

  24. Ranger01 says:

    I hope the deaf person owns the police department after this deboggle. There is no excuse for not having an interpreter. After all, we have them for the Mexican people who are not here legally, do not speak English for all Banks, hospitals, clinics. Why not for the legal citizens who are deaf?

  25. balzac says:

    They were not able to understand his sign language because he forgot to take off his mittens.

  26. Pilot.Dave says:

    Something missing here – what happened at the Arraignment hearing when the Judge asked him “do you understand?”

    I’m sure they did not hold him for more than 72 hours without charges and an Arraignment hearing.

    1. AndyH says:

      I agree that it’s pretty unlikely that there wasn’t a court appearance during his entire 25 day detention. Just another example of what a lousy piece of reporting this is. Didn’t it occur to anyone at CBS (or the Denver Post where the story apparently originated) to consult the court records? Detaining someone for 25 days without charge or without bringing them to court would be a gross violation of his constutional rights, yet none of these genius reporters appear to have seen fit to even ask the question.

  27. Monkeyman says:

    Timothy Siaki in a statement to the press has said, ” Bwa knue blem pagfngen phoota gwa dub Ten Million Dollars!”

  28. Dr. says:

    From an immigrant, sort of…
    This is precisely why I like the US.
    Some of the comments here are outright hilarious, others are just mean. And you’re all right.
    There’s been a massive oversight by the Police Department. Can they be this unprofessional? Sure they can, they are the police where the combined education and common sense does not equal to a high school diploma.
    Every country has this sort of problems.
    Should the city pay this man damages? Of course, they come from the tax payers anyways.
    Would this change the police? No it wouldn’t, as I said, the damages always come from the tax payers. The police can be neither fired nor disciplined. And they carry guns!

  29. bullsballs says:

    LUCKY HE WASN’T TAZED AND KILLED LIKE THE DEAF BIKE RIDER…

  30. Odins Acolyte says:

    Anybody may be sues in civil court because of their action on or off the job. This includes law enforcement officers and presidents and congressmen and judges.

  31. seanpatriot says:

    Um, Maybe Im just dumb but couldn’t they have just wrote notes to each other

    1. TrueBlue says:

      He doesn’t speak or read English.

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