Arrest of deaf man in Paterson under investigation

PATERSON, N.J. -- Video of police officers in Paterson, NJ arrested a man who is deaf and mute raised enough concerns with the city’s Mayor to prompt an emergency meeting Monday evening.

“I’ve seen the video," Mayor Andre Sayegh said. "I want to see what the prosecutor says as a complete and exhaustive investigation. This is very serious to me – and I want to make sure we assure the public that this is the case."

Eyewitnesses say Raaseon Adams, who can be heard making noises, allegedly tried to intervene in a friend’s traffic stop.

A woman can be seen trying to convince Adams, who cannot speak, but reads lips,  to leave the area.

At one point, it appears Adams flicks something toward the officers – reportedly a cigarette, and that’s when officers move in to make an arrest -- eventually spraying Adams with mace, and possibly punching him during an attempt to put on the handcuffs.

There has been mention in the media of Adam’s criminal record and previous run-ins with police.

However, Adam’s past is not under scrutiny in this story. For Paterson elected officials and community leaders – it’s the way the officers interacted with a man who is deaf and mute, and the level of force they used to arrest him.

“Considering the temperature of these types of incidents around the country, we should be looking for – setting a higher standard,” said Paterson Councilman Michael Jackson.

“I think they should have been a little more sensitive to this gentleman, especially because he was deaf,” said National Action Network spokesperson Jamie Bland.

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