Police violence against people with hearing loss is a far too common occurrence and serves as a central evidence for the cult of compliance. These people are being killed not for being threats, but for not following commands promptly.
I am also interested in the ways that ear buds, cell phones, and those around other loud noises experience similar problems in police presence. Not because wearing ear buds are the same as those with hearing loss, but that in the moment of a police encounter, the function is similar. It’s a way that the menace of the cult of compliance extends from the disabled to all of society, and making that argument is important, if we want change.
I wrote about the Deaf woodcarver, John T Williams. Pearl Pearson, a Deaf black man driving (the ACLU wrote about this case too). A Deaf boy tasered in Connecticut. I wondered whether Andy Lopez was killed for wearing headphones (this was a case of a fake gun that looked real).
And then this longer post on three people – A Deaf Man, a man on a phone, and a man with earbuds, all killed within a few weeks of each other.
Here’s a new story. “Earbuds, BB Gun at Play in Fatal Police Shooting in Florida” [my emphasis]
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies quickly arrived, saw McBean at the apartment complex and yelled for him to put the gun down. At first he didn’t react — perhaps he couldn’t hear because of his earbuds — then, as he began to turn around, he was fatally shot by Deputy Peter Peraza.
Now, nearly two years later, a Florida grand jury will investigate the McBean shooting. Homicide detectives have completed their investigation and turned the case over the prosecutors, who will soon present it to the grand jury. It’s not exactly clear when those jurors will get the case, nor why it has taken two years, though in Florida police shooting investigations can often take years to complete.
The McBean shooting generated only modest interest in 2013 but is getting renewed attention because of a wrongful death lawsuit his family filed and the national conversation about how police treat blacks. McBean was black and Peraza is Hispanic.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said his detectives have done a “thorough and complete investigation” and he believes the shooting was justified. His officers even received a prestigious award for their actions that day, even though they haven’t been cleared yet.
McBean’s mother accuses Peraza and the sheriff of seeking to cover up the facts surrounding McBean’s death, including lying about whether McBean was wearing earbuds, according to a wrongful death lawsuit she filed in federal court in May. The family’s lawyer, David Schoen, said the deputies would have “beyond any question” noticed the earbuds after the shooting.
There will be more deaths like this.