Target: North Carolina State Highway Patrol Head Colonel William J. Grey
Goal: Fire the cop who shot and killed a deaf, mute man who was trying to communicate with sign language.
A deaf and mute man was shot down by police in front of his house in another alleged case of unnecessary force. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol claims that the deaf man, Daniel Kevin Harris, failed the pull over when signaled by trooper Jermaine Saunders. At some point the vehicles became damaged and stopped in front of the deaf man’s home.
The police report states that there was then an “encounter” between Harris and Saunders before the trooper fired his weapon, and somehow during that period Harris had tried to communicate using sign language. However, witnesses say that Saunders fired his gun immediately after exiting his police car. Unfortunately, the local police department has not yet equipped its police officers with dashboard or body cameras.
Harris died just a few feet from his front door, shocking the neighborhood. In addition to people of color, people with disabilities have been shown to be disproportionately targeted by police brutality. There have been multiple incidents of deaf people in particular being attacked, shot, and killed by police for failing to heed instructions they couldn’t hear. Sign our petition to demand this officer be fired for shooting an unarmed deaf man.
Dear Colonel Grey,
One of your State Highway Patrol Troopers, Jermaine Saunders, was involved in a controversial shooting incident that resulted in the death of Daniel Kevin Harris. This young man was deaf and mute and had reportedly attempted to communicate with the trooper in sign language before he was killed. This is according to your departments report–witnesses say that Saunders shot Harris immediately after exiting his police car.
It’s difficult to believe police reports in a culture where so many people have been killed by police who have then lied to cover their tracks. Police brutality against marginalized communities, including the deaf community, has become a massive problem, and little has been done to stop it. The only way to improve things is to hold officers and troopers accountable when they go too far.
Harris was unarmed before he died. Even if this young man did wrong by failing to pull over, he did not deserve to die, and there is no reason he couldn’t have been apprehended using non-lethal means even if he had become combative. Please ensure that Trooper Saunders is removed from his position permanently before more people die.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Elvert Barnes