Deaf Colorado Man Says He Was Arrested After Not Obeying Police Commands He Couldn't Hear: Lawsuit

Brady Mistic, 26, spent about four months in jail after his encounter with police

Brady Mistic
Brady Mistic . Photo: Courtesy of the Civil Rights Litigation Group

A deaf man who communicates with sign language has accused two Idaho Springs, Colo., police officers of knocking him to the ground in 2019 during an arrest after he allegedly ran a stop sign and then couldn't understand their commands.

In a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against the officers and the city of Idaho Springs, Brady Mistic, 26, said officers "rashly attacked after failing to recognize his disability and misinterpreting his non-threatening attempts to see and communicate as challenges to police authority."

On Sept. 17, Mistic allegedly ran a stop sign and then pulled into a laundromat to wash his clothes when officers pulled up and "shone a light in his eyes," the lawsuit states.

Mistic alleges he stopped, "attempted to communicate with his hands, and then put his hands up in a non-threatening manner."

Mistic alleges he was then "slammed to the ground" and repeatedly tasered "despite him saying 'no ears' to communicate he was deaf," the lawsuit alleges.

Mistic's lawyer Raymond Bryant tells PEOPLE that the officers didn't "make any reasonable attempt to communicate" with Mistic.

"If the officers would have just stopped, looked and listened and attempted some reasonable communication, they would have known right away he was deaf," Bryant says. "They just got upset with seeing him out of his car. Instead of trying to ask themselves, 'Why is this person out of the car? Could there be some reason? Could there be something this person doesn't understand, whether he is disabled or not?'"

In a response to the civil suit, the city of Idaho Springs defended the actions of the officers, stating that Mistic got out of his car and approached the patrol car.

"The officers gave verbal commands for Mr. Mistic to get back in his vehicle," according to the city's statement.

"It was later determined Mr. Mistic was deaf, but this fact was not known to the officers during the initial encounter."

The city alleged Mistic "resisted the officers, and a physical altercation took place. One of the ISPD officers was injured (broken leg) due to the resistive actions of Mr. Mistic," states the city's response.

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Mistic was charged with resisting arrest, obstructing a police officer and assault on a first responder, and he spent nearly four months in jail. The Clear Creek County Board of Commissioners, which maintains the jail, is also a defendant in the lawsuit.

"It was terrible," says Bryant. "He didn't have an interpreter in the jail. He was refused [an interpreter] multiple times. They didn't have technology in the jail that would allow a deaf person to communicate with people in or outside the jail. He felt isolated and alone."

The Board of Commissioners could not be reached for comment.

The city said the incident was reviewed by former Chief Christian Malanka and "the officers' actions were deemed to be appropriate," the statement reads.

According to the city, Mistic participated in a Diversion Program and charges against him were dropped.

CBS Denver reported that one of the officers involved in the incident with Mistic was fired in July 2021 after he was allegedly accused of violently arresting a man who was in his 70s.

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