This Is What Happens to a Deaf, Mentally Disabled Man in America


Bill Flanigen notes that police in Mobile, Alabama, recently used pepper spray and a stun gun on a deaf, mentally disabled man who overstayed his welcome in a Dollar Store restroom, then charged him with disorderly conduct for provoking the assault. Alabama's definition of disorderly conduct is similar to the one used in Massachusetts, and it's not clear which part the police thought applied to sitting on a toilet too long. Engaging in "tumultuous behavior"? Obstructing "pedestrian traffic"? Making "unreasonable noises"?

Love, who has a mental age of about 10, says he was not feeling well and was in the bathroom for about a half-hour before the police "throw poison under the door." Soon they broke into the bathroom, he recalled in an account he wrote for his family, and "the police get the tazz three strings in my stomach, chest and hand and hit my head." Later, he says, "I saw police laugh at me." Citing a police spokesman, the Mobile Press-Register reports that "the officers' decision to take Love to jail—even after they discovered his disability—as well as their conduct throughout the incident is still under investigation."