KEY POINTS

  • The deaf man, who cannot read lips, used his hands to try to communicate with the officers, the lawsuit says
  • The man spent four months in jail without an interpreter before his assault and resisting arrest charges were dropped
  • He is now suing the officers, the city of Idaho Springs and the Clear Creek County Board of Commissioners

A deaf Colorado man who communicates with sign language is suing two police officers who allegedly attacked him because he could not understand their commands.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, Brady Mistic alleged that he was slammed to the ground, beaten and electroshocked during an arrest in Idaho Springs by officers Nicholas Hanning and Ellie Summers on the night of Sept. 17, 2019, before being wrongly jailed for four months.

Mistic was stopped by the Idaho Springs Police Department (ISPD) officers in the 1300 block of Miner Street for allegedly running a stop sign, The Colorado Sun reported, citing the lawsuit filed against the two cops, the city of Idaho Springs and the Clear Creek Board of County Commissioners.

Mistic, then 24, had become "confused and bewildered" after he was blinded by police vehicle lights and/or a spotlight that was shone by the officers, according to the document filed Sept. 17.

Mistic, who cannot read lips, allegedly used his hands to try to communicate with the officers. Additionally, he "raised his hands up with palms out in an obvious non-threatening position of deference and/or surrender," according to the lawsuit.

"[Mistic] commonly communicates that he is deaf and that he needs to write to communicate by raising his hands, touching or covering his ears, and shaking his head 'no' and then mimicking the act of writing on a piece of paper," the suit said.

Hanning, despite Mistic's stance, "immediately went hands-on" with the deaf man and proceeded to grab his shirt and throw him to the ground, which resulted in Mistic's head being bashed into the concrete, the lawsuit alleged.

Summers allegedly joined in and grabbed Mistic even after the latter "held his hands out with his palms facing [Hanning] in an attempt to show that he meant no harm and was doing nothing to threaten the officer."

Summers then allegedly pulled out a stun gun and used it on Mistic, who cried out "no ears" as he was tased, according to the document. The officer allegedly ignored Mistic's plea and tased him a second time.

The ISPD defended Hanning and Summers and claimed Mistic had approached a "clearly marked patrol car" and that both officers "gave verbal commands for [Mistic] to get back in his vehicle," according to a statement regarding the lawsuit.

Both officers also claimed they did not know Mistic was deaf, a report by CBS 4 said. The lawsuit alleged, however, that Summers was "clearly aware that [Mistic] was deaf and told other officers and EMS that he was deaf."

Mistic was later taken to a hospital for his injuries.

Hanning, at some point during the incident, allegedly realized he had broken his own ankle.

The officers charged Mistic with felony second-degree assault on a police officer and resisting arrest — two charges that were later dismissed.

"At no time did [Mistic] threaten, physically harm or fight with the officers. At no time did [Mistic] flee or attempt to flee from the scene," the lawsuit said.

Mistic spent four months in jail before the charges were dismissed, CBS News reported. He allegedly was not given an interpreter or any reasonable way to communicate while in jail despite requesting assistance multiple times, according to the outlet. This allegedly denied him access to counsel and the ability to bail out of jail.

Mistic is seeking monetary damages for "loss of liberty, emotional distress, physical injury, scarring, monetary harm, indignity and humiliation as well as being deprived of means to communicate and otherwise being discriminated against due to his disability," the lawsuit said.

"The true reasons the officers were aggressive, physically rough with, and asserted charges against [Mistic] was that they falsely perceived [Mistic's] confusion, behavior and attempts to communicate as a deaf person as disrespect, impudence, and/or suspicious or hostile behavior and/or to fabricate a reason for their unnecessary and unjustified use of force against a non-threatening deaf man," the document alleged.

Hanning was fired in July after he was accused of violently arresting a 75-year-old man.

police-5226674_1920 Representation. Brady Mistic was beaten by two police officers because he allegedly did not understand their commands. Photo: Pixabay