Deaf Driver Shot by North Carolina State Police During Traffic Violation
News| | By Margo Gothelf
A state trooper shot and killed a deaf man from North Carolina last Thursday night.
29-year-old Daniel Harris was shot and killed after he was pulled over for a speeding violation. According to an early report, Harris was unarmed and killed “almost immediately” after leaving his vehicle. Harris was trying to communicate via sign language to the officer before the officer took action.
“They should’ve de-escalated and been trained to realize that this is an entirely different situation,” neighbor Mark Barringer told the New York Daily News. “You’re pulling someone over who is deaf, they are handicapped. To me, what happened is totally unacceptable.”
According to reports, police were attempting to pull Harris over when he continued to drive and ignored the sirens. It is unclear whether or not Harris fully understood what was happening since he could not hear the sirens.
Harris’ family and siblings are also hearing impaired.
“It seemed like a very peaceful family,” neighbors Ryan Russell told WBTV. “These things are always heartbreaking.”
Harris’ family has set up a memorial page in honor of their son sharing:
“Our family is raising funds to cover his memorial and cremation expenses (details pending). Any monies left over will be used to set up a foundation in his name to educate and provide law enforcement proper training on how to confront Deaf people. Subsequently, we hope to change the DMV registration system by requiring states to set up a ‘DEAF’ alert to appear when law enforcement look up a car’s license plate. With this change, Daniel will be a hero in our Deaf community.”
Over the past year, 752 people have been killed by police in America.