ST. PAUL (WCCO) — The way a deaf man was treated after he was arrested and held in the Ramsey County Jail has led to a settlement that calls for significant changes.

The settlement will make the jail more accessible for deaf people, as well as compensation for Doug Bahl and his wife.

Bahl was pulled over for a traffic violation, but was taken to jail because he could not communicate with the officer.

While he was at the Ramsey County Jail, he was not allowed to have an interpreter or access to a phone for the deaf.

His wife was in the hospital at the time and didn’t hear from her husband for three days.

Tuesday, Bahl held a press conference and communicated with sign language along with an interpreter.

He said if the changes had been made before his experience, it would have made a world of difference. He would also like police to have more training about the deaf community.

Comments (22)
  1. ? says:

    taken to jail because he could not communicate? wcco could you please get the facts and not put a half @$$ story out. i would love to see the statute or hear the court discussion that discussed misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony “non-communicaion”

    1. B in MPLS says:

      Hey Genius… You can be jailed for obstruction of justice. That includes refusing to communicate.

      This is a really sad story!

    2. Nary says:

      Hey! I am deaf woman , I been through that what officer arrested me without my statement and went to jail that i told police i cant use that phone that i couldnt hear the phone so that is not fair to us that we have rights to communicate to tell what happend and the interpeter better than write down a paper and pen it is hard to understand what we are trying to say on that paper but we understand better to have an interperter. so I am supporting deaf culture…so Thanks! My name is Mary Ann

      1. Derek Nelson says:

        Mary Ann, I would like to know about your story further… I have a lot of interaction with different Jails and have been wanting to see these types of changes for some time! Especially since I am hearing, but my extended family and brother are Deaf and I have grown up within the Deaf community.

        Thank You!

  2. The whole story please... says:

    Not quite sure this is the whole story. I find it very hard to believe that he is the “victim” he is portrayed to be in this story. I am sure everyone was wrong on certain levels pertaining to this incident but I would like to see the dash cam audio/video of the traffic stop. Also, what is the charge for which he was jailed?

    1. ? says:

      thank you sir or ma’am

  3. ? says:

    Hey Genius…..they did not say obstruction of justice (which is very vague). They said “Bahl was pulled over for a traffic violation, but was taken to jail because he could not communicate with the officer.” It says nothing about obstruction. It says he was taken to jail because he COULD NOT communicate. I digress!

  4. jean says:

    communicate ever hear of paper and pencil, LOL

  5. Kevin says:

    And when they say Ramsey County settles…they do mean “YOU” settle……

  6. Diane Squires says:

    Wow.. Some of you are rude. You can’t assume everything about Bahl. This article does not tell the whole story. The Deaf guy was beaten up! His face was badly bruised. The cop didn’t bother to write down for him. Bahl doesn’t deserve to be beaten up due to lack of communication. He was pulled over for a speeding or miss the stop sign. As a Deaf person, I have experienced many oppression during my lifetime. Thanks.

  7. Drew says:

    I have to say something about police. It same thing happen to my wife while was in accident. The guy who hearing one who want to call police to made report. My wife provide to exchange information with plenty information.

    There was no damaged but he still continue call police. I wasn’t there when I was in bath. I got message as I was hurry to getting there due she was upset. At same time the police and I arrived. Police “think” us to understood and asked me interpreter because I am ‘hard of hearing’. I refusing do anything for police but do the job. They wouldn’t provide access communicate but with that note 2×3, no space to explain event of accident.

    The she just bump that car and man explain police with show both hand clap and rub his neck. We assume he tells something more than the actually facts. Police explains that he has right to call police because we are DEAF. I just couldn’t believe they actually say to us.

    My point, if there are accident, should have some provider because the insurance. If there are misunderstanding then that affect the insurance raise the premium cost. Again, hearing man and police who is also hearing and those group hearing are talking and stare at us. It like we are freak.

    It has to change and improve… Almost roughly 25% to 35% who is Deaf and didn’t get mental health service with proper communicate but paper to write. Therefore; if thing has improve and more aware of communicate. Dude, we have various language, what wrong with Deaf? Are we freak to you or should I say the person who speak only in Spanish and its freak.

    All language are beautiful, but not just sign language.

  8. Dianrez says:

    A very common scenario in accidents involving one deaf person is that the hearing person tells his side, and does so in volume and quantity, while no one asks the deaf person their side. Here, from previous reports, it was the word of the police against the deaf person, who was never asked his side till some time later after he was jailed. Also, he was pulled out of his car by jerking on his arm with a sore shoulder and beaten so that his eyes were both blackened and he had head abrasions. While there may be two sides, I am certain that Bahl never got to tell his side adequately or was given a chance before he was roughed upl.

  9. Ryan J Burgess says:

    I am for Mr. Bahl. However, I think the polices and sheriffs need to have more training. They need to learn how to communicate with deaf/hard of hearing people. I stress that the polices and sheriffs must obey ADA and allow the deaf people to have an interpreter. Spokane County and Spokane, WA Police, Sheriff and Fire Departments provide a program with Deaf Community because they communicate with deaf community. That works very well for the whole departments and deaf community. I strongly urge the polices, sheriffs, and fire departments in the cities, small towns, and counties in the US to have a program with deaf community like Spokane County and Spokane, WA Police, Sheriff and Fire Departments. That would work out for deaf community and the departments. in order to avoid a big misunderstand. Follow the Spokane County Sheriff and the city of Spokane Police Dept and Fire Dept’s example. I understand how deaf/hard of hearing people are very furious with the cops because the cops have a lack of communication with deaf people or refuse to provide them an interpreter.. It is time for the whole cops/sheriffs/fire departments and dead communities to have a communication and understanding…

    1. jean says:

      I agree, however a paper and pencil work to, and a lot less complicated

      1. Drew says:

        paper and pencil is a big different view. If pull over by police then not need the interpreter.

        If anything with accident; it should being interpreter because does the person write the paper told the police? no.

        1. Kasi Hall says:

          you can only GET the paper and pencil if A. the officer provides it or B. you want to get shot.. Just try it one time.. try without using words AT ALL to reach into your glove box or visor without the cop knowing what you are doing…

  10. greengoss says:

    Obstruction of Justice.. is a COMMON FABRICATED charge cops use to throw at you for no reason at all. Cops like not deserve to be working in law enforcement. PERIOD!

    1. Drew says:

      I agreed. I understand they are looking for living, but that kind they want to treat human service? Image when the police officer get retired then later on become old and living in nurse home, image that nurser deserved to work as nurse?

      It would be interesting the two different between Nurse and Police that “HUMAN SERVICE”

  11. DFCurl says:

    Police/sheirff knows better. They were trained and they surely ignore the ADA law. When you (Police/sheirff) see deaf’s hand talking. GET INTERPRETER. Period. Their way are inhumane to Deaf citizens!!!! I see them as incompetency. against the Deaf world.

  12. phil says:

    Deaf should carry ID of ADA Law in your wallets or purses , if if if police or sheriff stopped or arrested you , then they refused to listen your requestion for an intepreter then WHY NOT deaf people SHOW them ID of ADA like Credit card to show them that we have riight the law. Therefore police or sheriff would be stucked with our right. ASK CODIE or GLAD or other ageniies for the deaf in the America.

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