Hearing impaired man complains after he plead guilty but had no interpreter

Hearing impaired man complains after he plead guilty but had no interpreter

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Rico Dancy is hearing impaired. He has been active in demonstrations after the Tamir Rice verdict and other social causes. That involvement got him into hot water.

Rico's troubles can be traced back to 2014 when he attended and spoke at two meetings about police treatment of people with disabilities. It appears someone holding the meeting thought his speech went too far.

Some days later he was charged with telephone harassment and stalking. He was arrested at his CMHA apartment in Lakeside Terrace. Later Police went all the way to Virginia to get him.

That's when he says things turned ugly, "Took my hearing aids, crushed em, stepped on em beat me up," said Dancy.

Rico complained about how police treated him and claims the city turned a deaf ear to him saying, "When I filed a complaint she told me at CMHA Headquarters and Olivet that we can do whatever we want to and get away with it."

In 2014 Rico went to court and plead guilty to the harassment charge. But now he says he didn't understand the proceeding because he was not given an interpreter. He was back in court Friday to make the case that he didn't get a fair shake explaining.

"I filed a complaint with the law director, they don't want to respond, the Mayor don't want to respond," added Dancy.

There are Americans with Disabilities Act implications that could come into play, but not in the criminal court. That would involve a civil lawsuit and court documents show he's told public defenders he has hired a private lawyer.

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