Whatcom Co. settles with handcuffed deaf man

BLAINE — Whatcom County has reached a $62,500 settlement with an elderly deaf man who was handcuffed for at least a half-hour by sheriff’s deputies, rendering him unable to communicate.

The Bellingham Herald reports that 76-year-old Donald Pratt was arrested in April 2011 based on made-up report filed by his estranged son, who said Pratt had pointed a loaded gun at his mother.

The complaint filed by Pratt says his son had been kicked out of the house several months before the arrest and his parents wouldn’t let him borrow a motor home.

Pratt’s complaint also says he tried to ask why he had been detained. His questions came out as grunts. The officers took him outside to a patrol car. Pratt couldn’t ask for an interpreter and couldn’t say he needed to go to the bathroom. He later soiled himself in the car.

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