September 22, 2014 trial date is postponed. The next event will be a hearing to determine the number of interpreters (Certified Deaf Interpreters, etc...) Follow this website to keep up with new information.

AuthorPearl Pearson

OKLAHOMA CITY -A deaf man, injured during a traffic stop, is asking the court to provide interpreters for his trial. Pearl Pearson, Jr is facing a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest after that arrest.

Pearson claims he was unable to hear the verbal commands of the OHP trooper who ordered him out of his car during a traffic stop in January. The stop came after troopers say he left the scene of a non-injury accident. Video of the stop show troopers yelling at Pearson and pulling him from his vehicle. Pearson says that is when he was beaten. Court documents say Pearson fought the officers and resisted arrest.

The district attorney cleared the troopers of any criminal wrongdoing in the case.

In court Wednesday Pearson's attorney, Scott Adams, asked a judge to order up to six sign language interpreters for the upcoming trial. Adams says Pearson learned sign language during segregation and that form of sign language is different than the traditional “American Sign Language,” or ASL.

“He grew up in a segregated society,” Adams said outside of court, “65 years of age, never been in any trouble before, he learned a different type of sign language than what they typically teach.”

Prosecutors did not object to the need for interpreters but agreed to waive any bias arguments in order to get interpreters from Oklahoma. Defense attorneys say Pearson is active in the deaf community and is friends with most of the people who are certified to do court interpretation.

“This is new ground to all of us, both to the defense counsel Mr. Adams and myself, who have not dealt with these issues before in the courthouse that I'm aware of,” said District Attorney David Prater, “Especially when you have a defendant that does not adequately communicate with American Sign Language.”

Prater said he wants to make sure Pearson has an adequate number of interpreters on hand and ones that are able to appropriately communicate with him. “I think all of us, including the court, are trying to find the best way to make sure Mr. Pearson is afforded a fair trial,” Prater said.

“For most deaf people, we really need to have interpreters…deaf people are not all the same. There are some who sign on different levels,” Reba Rippeto said via an interpreter. Rippeto is one of Pearson's friends and a member of the deaf community that came to court to support him.

“I can understand that the policeman and law enforcement have a job to do but they've got to be careful, they've got to be sensitive with deaf people,” Rippeto said.

Adams said he hopes the case will bring to light the issues the deaf community faces that the hearing take for granted and may bring about changes to how deaf people are treated. “Mr. Pearson, in my opinion, has been the victim of the system up to this point. We're now getting to see some justice and at the end of the day I'm confident a jury will acquit him of what he's charged with.”

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AuthorPearl Pearson