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St. Paul to settle lawsuit charging police abuse against deaf man

ST. PAUL, Minn., May 7 (UPI) — Minnesota officials say they have reached a settlement in a lawsuit that charged police beat a deaf man who asked an officer to communicate with him in writing.

The settlement between the city of St. Paul and Doug Bahl also requires police to develop policies and training to deal with deaf people, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Monday.

The suit stemmed from police stopping Bahl in 2006 for running a red light. Bahl charged in the suit he informed the officer he was deaf and wanted to communicate in writing. Instead, the officer sprayed him with a chemical irritant, struck him and pulled him from the car, where he was beaten and kicked by other officers.

In the settlement, which the city council will consider Wednesday, Bahl will receive $20,000 and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid will get $73,450.

Bahl received $230,000 in 2011 in a suit against Ramsey County after he was jailed for three days following the traffic stop. He charged the county failed to provide a sign-language interpreter, leaving him with no means of communicating with jail staff or his family.

So far this year, the city has settled or is scheduled to settle two lawsuits totaling $267,500 stemming from allegations of police misconduct. Some $1.29 million was paid out in 2012 to settle lawsuits against the police, the city attorney’s office said.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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