Pearl Pearson, a black and deaf senior citizen, was recently given a $175,000 settlement after being beaten on Jan. 3, 2014, by Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers.
Part of the incident was filmed on a trooper’s dash camera. Most of the incident happened off-camera, but the audio includes the confrontation.
Pearson, who is 68 years old now, was chased and pulled over Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers after allegedly being in a hit-and-run accident.
The troopers were not aware that Pearson was deaf and non-verbal.
Pearson keeps a placard in his car that reads: “Driver is deaf. Failure to follow verbal commands means I am NOT hearing you.”
When Pearson reached for his placard, the troopers reportedly feared he had a gun.
Pearson recalled the incident to KFOR through an interpreter:
You know, they hit me in the face first. After that, I was thrown. I didn’t know why I was handcuffed, and I didn’t know why it was happening.
After the beating and all that, I tried to communicate (to officers) I need an ambulance. They were like no, no. They were going slow as snails. I was thinking, please, Lord, don’t let me die here. When I finally got to the hospital, I thought I’m safe.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who cleared the troopers of wrongdoing and charged Pearson with a misdemeanor, said in 2014:
You have to comply with law enforcement. They have to see your hands. That’s what you kill someone with. That’s what you use to punch people. That’s what you use to stab people. That’s what you use to shoot people.
Prater, who was so absolutely sure of his case against Pearson in 2014, dropped the charges because the trial cost was going to be very high due to hiring out-of-state interpreters.
Pearson told KFOR:
All I know is I just don’t get why they beat me up like that. They looked at me, and they assumed a stereotype that they assume is the case about all people that look like me.
Pearson’s lawsuit claimed the troopers “used unnecessary, unprovoked and excessive force.”
A federal judge approved a settlement between the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and Pearson.
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety insisted the settlement was not an admission of liability but was done to avoid the expenses and uncertainties (such as not winning the lawsuit trial).
Pearson was also got a settlement of $20,000 from Oklahoma County.
(Source: KFOR, Photo Credit: PearlPearson.com)