Unarmed Deaf Woman Tased By Tacoma Police

Marshall D. Culpepper

A deaf citizen of Washington state, who called authorities for help, became a victim a second time when Police tasered her in front of her Tacoma apartment building.

Lashonn White told KIRO 7 news, that she called 911 on April 6 with the help of a certified American Sign Language interpreter.

“I said, ‘Please hurry! There’s a person here beating me up,’” White recalled.

When the 911 dispatcher instructed White to meet the cops at the front of the building, she couldn’t have expected what happened next.

As she exited the door of her apartment building and hurried towards police, Officer Ryan Koskovich drew his taser, and shot the innocent woman.

“All I’m doing is waving my hands in the air, and the next thing I know, I’m on the ground and then handcuffed. It was almost like I blacked out. I was so dizzy and disoriented,” White explained. Photographs showed that White also suffered injuries to her cheek, chin, ribs, neck and arms.

Near-identical matching reports submitted by both officers claimed that Koskovich had held up his right hand and ordered White to stop but she continued to run toward him.

Residents state that they saw otherwise.

“They had Tased her because he thought she was coming at him, but what she was doing was running to him,” Margaret Sims recalled to KIRO. “But he said, ‘stop’ and he didn’t put his hand up. He just said, ‘stop’ and she couldn’t understand that.”

The officers placed White under arrest and charged her with Simple Assault, and obstruction of a public servant.

Washington state laws, as well as the Americans with Disabilities act, are both very clear in requiring any police dept. to provide a certified A.S.L. (American Sign Language) Interpreter from the very beginning of any investigation, a requirement that the Tacoma Police failed to comply with.  That resulted on a brutal attack on an innocent and defenseless victim.

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-Marshall D. Culpepper-

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