Disability Law

Deaf Man Jailed for 25 Days Without Interpreter, Suit Alleges

A deaf man who alleges he was jailed for 25 days without access to a sign-language interpreter is suing the sheriff of the Colorado county where he was held.

Timothy Siaki is seeking unspecified damages and a finding that Adams County, Co., sheriff’s deputies violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Denver Post reports.

Siaki was arrested last May after deputies responded to a noise complaint at a motel where he and his fiancée, Kimberlee Moore, who is also deaf, were staying, according to the suit.

Deputies knocked down the motel room door and tackled Siaki after he failed to respond to their commands, the suit alleges. He wasn’t provided an interpreter until 25 days later, when he went to court, where a domestic assault charge against him was dropped.

“There were 25 days of his life that he had access to nothing—no information on why he was being held, no information about his case or what was going to happen to him,” Siaki’s lawyer, Kevin Williams, told the newspaper.

Siaki doesn’t read or write English or read lips, the suit says, but does communicate through American Sign Language.

The suit alleges that the county violated the ADA by not providing an interpreter nor auxiliary aids for deaf suspects during their arrest and booking. It also alleges that the county provides no aids or services so that deaf inmates can communicate with others outside of the jail.

County officials declined to comment on the suit until they have a chance to review it.

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