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Colorado police sued over arrest of deaf man

Man was tased and cuffed after failing to respond to verbal commands

IDAHO FALLS, Colo. (NBC News/KYMA, KECY) - Two officers from Colorado are getting hit with a civil lawsuit for their arrest of a deaf man.

Police body cam video shows the incident. Officers Ellie Summers and Nicholas Hanning pulled over Brady Mistic in September of 2019. They say Mistic ran a stop sign.

The officers followed him to his destination, about a block away, then got out of their patrol car, shouting commands. Mistic says he failed to respond, because he couldn't hear them. He also says he didn't know he was being pulled over.

Mistic cannot speak, and only understands sign language. He says, when he tried to sign with officers, they hit him with a Taser, and put him in handcuffs.

Mistic was ultimately charged with resisting arrest, second-degree assault, and a stop sign violation. He spent four months in jail before the district attorney dropped all the charges against him.

Officers say they didn't know he was deaf. At the time, the police chief reviewed their actions and determined they were appropriate. But Mistic's attorney said their failure to communicate created the situation.

S/Raymond Bryant - Mistic's Attorney:06

"They didn't stop behind the vehicle to let them know hey I'm pulling you over. They alleged to have observed my client running a stop sign a block away from the laundromat where he was intending to go," said attorney Raymon Bryant. "It should be an attempt to establish a rapport on communication, some baseline of understanding so the citizen knows what's going on and the officer knows what's going on."

Officer Summers is still with the police department. Her partner, Officer Hanning, was fired after he was charged with assaulting an elderly man last May.

No word on the dollar amount the suit seeks.

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Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director in September of 2019, but she and her family have a long history in the Desert Southwest. Her grandmother first moved to Yuma in the late 1940’s, and Lisa got her first job in TV news at KYMA in 1987.

Reach out to Lisa with story ideas and your digital feedback at lisa.sturgis@kecytv.com.

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