Judge Weighs Lawsuit Filed by Deaf Inmate at Arlington Jail - NBC4 Washington

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Judge Weighs Lawsuit Filed by Deaf Inmate at Arlington Jail



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    In this photo taken Feb. 27, 2015, Abreham Zemedagegehu, seated in a conference room of lawyer’s office in Washington, discusses the lawsuit he filed against the Arlington, Va., sheriff in federal court. Zemedagegehu, a U.S. citizen who was born in Ethiopia, learned that he'd been accused of stealing an iPad — an iPad whose owner later found it. He spent the next six weeks in jail, unable to communicate with his jailers because he is deaf. He described a frightening, isolated experience in which medical procedures were performed without his consent and he feared for his safety.

    The Arlington County sheriff and state officials are asking a judge to toss out a lawsuit filed by a deaf man who says he spent six weeks at the county jail unable to adequately communicate.

    A hearing on the lawsuit filed by Ethiopian immigrant Abreham Zemedagegehu is scheduled for Thursday in federal court in Alexandria.

    Zemedagegehu says he was arrested last year at Reagan National Airport on charges he stole an iPad, but was unaware of the charges against him for several days because he had no access to a sign-language interpreter.

    His ability to communicate in written English is extremely limited, and he says he spent six weeks in the jail with only intermittent access to an interpreter.

    Government lawyers say the jailers did nothing wrong.