Englewood police settlement requires sign-language interpeters for deaf people

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - A settlement agreement announced Friday requires the Englewood Police Department to provide sign-language interpreters to deaf people who are arrested, detained or questioned.

The agreement resulted from a federal lawsuit filed by William Lawrence and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition.

The suit claims that in August 2011, Lawrence was arrested on a warrant from Jefferson County, and Englewood police didn't provide him with a sign-language interpreter during questioning. He also was handcuffed.

According to the Denver Post, Lawrence was unable to effectively communicate with anyone for at least a day until he was transferred to the Jefferson County Jail, where he was provided with a sign-language internpreter.

Kevin Williams, the coalition's legal director, told the newspaper that Lawrence wasn't resisting police, and "to not provide him a way to communicate violates the basic principle of personal liberty."

Police, who denied wrongdoing in the settlement, communicated through notes and through Lawrence's hearing roommate, but the coalition says that was inadequate and unlawful under the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to the newspaper.

According to the settlement agreement, Englewood denied any wrongdoing and liability, the newspaper reports. Englewood police did not comment.

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