Hundreds of people gathered in Jacksonville, Florida to protest the U.S. military’s action in Syria. 6 people were arrested, including 26-year-old Connell Crooms, who is Deaf.
A video of the event has gone viral, and many people are upset with how the police used physical force to arrest Crooms.
In the video, you can see William Snow Jr., who goes by the alias Gary Snow, provoking the protesters by marching around with a Trump flag and walking up on a raised ledge next to Crooms.. After Snow put his finger in Croom’s face, Croom lunged at him. Police then arrested Croom, pulling him to the ground. His hearing aid’s flew off his head, and he was unable to communicate with his hands behind his back.
Crooms was later taken to a hospital for non-life threatening injuries. He was arrested for Inciting a Riot and Resisting an Officer with Violence, both are felonies.
Dustin Ponder, a 29-year-old union activist, says the violence and arrests could have been avoided, had the police just “kept the normal separation between protesters and counter protesters.”.
We reached out to Sharon Caserta, the Unit Manager for Deaf and Disability Rights at Morgan and Morgan Law Firm. She informed us that there is another case against the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office by another Deaf citizen, Cassandra Kinney.
Cassandra’s federal complaint shows serious and ongoing violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504, which requires accommodations for Deaf citizens.
Regarding the Connell Crooms incident, Sharon in an email said, “We are unable to make any comment on the treatment afforded to Mr. Croom, but as a disability rights attorney what I have seen in the various videos posted on-line is very troubling. Sharon also stated that because Jacksonville is located only 40 minutes from the states only deaf residential school in St. Augustine, Florida, law enforcements are aware of the deaf community and should mandate proper training to reduce risk when encountering the deaf/hard of hearing community.
We reached out to the Jacksonville Sheriffs department for comment and received no response at the time of this report.