County agrees to pay $62,500 to handcuffed deaf man

Aug. 29, 2013 at 6:40 PM
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BLAINE, Wash., Aug. 29 (UPI) -- A Washington state county has agreed to pay $62,500 to an elderly deaf man who was handcuffed by sheriff's deputies, cutting off his means of communication.

Whatcom County agreed to pay the settlement to Donald Pratt, 76, whose attorney filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court in Seattle alleging deputies handcuffed his client and put him in the back of a patrol car as a result of an apparently false report, The Bellingham (Wash.) Herald reported Thursday.

The complaint said a deputy used a written message to ask if the plaintiff was Donald Pratt and the man was handcuffed and placed in a car after nodding his head. Having his hands bound left him with no means of asking the reason behind his detention and he was unable to ask to use the restroom, leading him to soil himself, the complaint said.

The complaint alleges Pratt was in the car for more than 2 hours before being released, but deputies contend the amount of time was closer to a half hour.

The deputies had been responding to an allegedly false claim from Pratt's son, Tom, that the elderly man had pointed a gun at his wife, Tom's mother. The complaint said the report was retaliation for Tom having been kicked out of the house months earlier.

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