Philadelphia police settle with feds over treatment of deaf

Philadelphia Police Department headquarters at 7th and Race streets (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Philadelphia Police Department headquarters at 7th and Race streets (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The U.S. Department of Justice has entered into a three-year settlement agreement with the Philadelphia Police Department over complaints it had not provided effective communication to deaf detainees and victims of crime.

Under the settlement announced Thursday, the department will pay eight individuals a total of $97,500 and adopt Americans with Disabilities Act compliant policies including providing hearing aids, accessible phone equipment and sign language interpreters when necessary.

The Department of Justice started an investigation into the concerns about ADA compliance for hearing-impaired or deaf people after receiving a complaint from a deaf detainee saying that proper communication devices had not been provided.

Investigators reached out to deaf individuals who had interacted with the police department and found complaints from crime victims and other detainees.

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