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Oakdale Police Reach $30K Settlement In Discrimination Suit

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The state calls it a case of disability discrimination. A deaf man has received a financial settlement after accusing an Oakdale police officer of violating his rights.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights says the Oakdale Police Department paid $30,000 to settle a complaint made by 58-year-old Alan Read.

In August of 2013, a police officer arrested Read at the apartment he shared with his adult daughter after a heated argument between the two.

"I was arrested and brought to jail, and then when I got there, I did not have a sign language interpreter, and I tried several times to request one," Read said. "And they did not provide me with a sign language interpreter. They just neglected my request."

Read says he asked the officer to call his mother for help finding an interpreter, but his request was denied.

"So I was there at the Washington County Jail for 48 hours without a sign language interpreter," he said.

Read pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and he also filed a complaint with the Department of Human Rights.

"This is a situation in which the police should ensure that the constitutional rights being communicated to the individual being arrested are clearly understood, which means an interpreter should be provided," said Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey.

The Human Rights Department also determined the Oakdale police didn't provide training to officers on dealing with hearing-impaired suspects and didn't have a policy in place.

"They are now ensuring that individuals are getting reasonable accommodations when they request it, once they have been arrested," Lindsey said. "And that's significant, because that ensures a fundamental fairness and justice is applied."

As a result of this case, Oakdale police developed a detailed standard operating procedure for interacting with the hearing-impaired.

Read says his arrest was very frustrating and confusing.

The argument with his daughter that led to his arrest stemmed from a complaint he'd filed with police accusing her of stealing money from him.

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