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Deaf man suing Benton County Sheriff's Office over traffic stop

by TRACY M. NEAL NWA Democrat-Gazette | September 3, 2015 at 12:10 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- A deaf Benton County man claims deputies arrested him after a traffic stop without calling for qualified American Sign Language interpreter.

Jayson Lawson claims the arrest violated his Constitutional rights, according to lawsuit. Fayetteville attorney Joshua Bryant represents Lawson.

Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck and Deputy Jason Woods are named as defendants in the lawsuit filed in Benton County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Keshia Guyll, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Wood and another deputy stopped Lawson's vehicle at Second and Easy streets in Rogers on Sept. 3, 2012, according to court documents,

The lawsuit claims Wood spoke to Lawson, but failed to recognize Lawson is deaf and failed to take into account Lawson communicated primarily using American Sign Language or he ignored Lawson is deaf.

Wood attempted to communicate with Lawson and question him, but he didn't call for a qualified American Sign Language interpreter at any time during the traffic stop, according to the complaint. Wood also didn't write instructions on paper for Lawson during the traffic stop, according to the complaint.

Wood ordered Lawson out of his vehicle and attempted to administer a field sobriety test, the complaint states. Lawson was arrested for driving while intoxicated, careless/prohibited driving and driving too close.

Lawson's car was impounded and he was held overnight in the county jail.

The lawsuit also contends deputies later took a blood sample from Lawson without his consent or a warrant.

The lawsuit claims deputies stopped Lawson while he was driving June 25 and again failed to call for an American Sign Language interpreter or write instructions on paper for Lawson, who was ticketed for speeding and following too close.

The lawsuit claims the Sheriff's Office failed to provide deputies with appropriate training regarding the rights of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing under the American Disability Act and state disability rights laws.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages. The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Brad Karren.

NW News on 09/03/2015

Print Headline: Deaf man suing Sheriff's Office over traffic stop

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