Hearing impaired man says constables failed to provide interpreter

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 9, 2012, 2:50pm


HOUSTON - A Spring man who is hearing impaired has filed suit against the Harris County District Attorney's Office and the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office for failing to provide him with an interpreter.

Court papers filed July 20 in Houston federal court claim a neighbor's dog attacked

Andy Scofield filed suit in federal court in Houston on July 20. The suit states Scofield's own dog and family were attacked by a neighbor's dog on May 5.

When Scofield tried to communicate with the neighbor through sign language, he alleges he was punched in the face.

The plaintiff was not able to give his account of the events afterwards because he was not given assistance for his disability, the suit states.

Scofield claims he asked first responders and police for an interpreter, but was not provided one.

He states his teenage son "was taken away without (his) knowledge or consent."

"The son was a mere thirteen years old but was essentially asked to provide his own deaf father's position and explanation of the incident," the original petition says.

"It is critical to note that the Plaintiff's son is also hard of hearing, which compounded the problem."

According to the suit, law enforcement "refused to take statements from the plaintiff and seemingly made a determination that the two men engaged in mutual combat, without examining or investigating Scofield's narrative."

"A statement was taken from (Mr.) Provost, and because he was hearing, his statement was given full credibility and reliability, without determining the veracity thereof," the suit says.

The plaintiff adds subsequent efforts to get the district attorney's office to secure an interpreter were unsuccessful.

A request to prosecute the neighbor was also denied.

The respondents are blamed for keeping Scofield from taking part in police services, "namely in not being able to issue a police report on a violent crime perpetrated upon him."

Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

He is represented by attorney Deborah L. Crain of Stafford.

Case No. 4:12-cv-2192

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