NBDA Statement on Investigation into Battery and Arrest of Lashonn White

National Black Deaf Advocates, Inc. makes the public statement on the investigation into the battery and arrest of Lashonn White in Tacoma, WA on April 6, 2012. Ms. White claimed on August 5, 2012 that she was tased and arrested by the very police she called for help. Enclosed in the statement is the letter that was sent to the Tacoma Police Department.

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NBDA will continue to monitor the investigation into the mistreatment of Ms. Lashonn White, and advocate where necessary. If you would like to join NBDA in advocating for Ms. White contact us at or via our contact form.

Kari Cooke, NBDA Communications Director

Text Letter to Tacoma Police Department

August 17, 2012


Chief of Police Don Ramsdell
Tacoma Police Department
3701 South Pine St.
Tacoma, WA 98409


Dear Chief Ramsdell,

On August 5, 2012, Lashonn White, a Deaf, sign-language user, posted a verbal complaint to the media, claiming that she received unlawful treatment by the Tacoma Police Department, including, but not limited to, being tased and wrongfully arrested without benefit of an interpreter around April 6, 2012. The National Black Deaf Advocates, Inc. (NBDA) expresses our deepest condolences to Lashonn White, and call upon the Tacoma Police Department, FBI, and Justice Department to conduct a thorough, transparent, and unbiased investigation into Ms. White's arrest and the lack of interpreter provided after she identified as Deaf during her 911 call for help. NBDA has initiated collaborative actions to monitor the investigation and ensure that it is in full compliance. Additionally, we will continue to advocate for Ms. Lashonn White's protected interest in seeking justice for the alleged violation her human rights.

The public relies upon Police Departments sworn service to protect all citizens and defend the law of the land. Black Deaf Tacomans rely upon the police to serve and protect all citizens, no matter their ability to communicate in verbal language. It is our wish, and to your benefit as well, to diligently improve the service for all Deaf and Hard of Hearing citizens in living in Tacoma. We would like a response within two weeks, by August 31, 2012 with further information on the investigation's progress thus far. Additionally NBDA is available at any time to discuss how our two organizations can work together to improve service for the Deaf Community in Tacoma through police trainings.

Respectfully Submitted, 

Benro Ogunyipe
NBDA President


Founded in 1982, National Black Deaf Advocates is the nation's only advocacy organization catered to thousands of Black Deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. Its members throughout the United States and the world make up the premier advocates for civil rights of Black Deaf Americans in their communities, using shared resources to support the improvement of services for the Deaf, and advocating for the consistency of justice among all peoples.





Federal Bureau of Investigation
1145 Broadway, # 350
Tacoma, WA


ACLU of Washington State
PO Box 21022

Seattle, WA 98111

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530


National Association of the Deaf
8630 Fenton Street, Suite 820
Silver Spring, MD 20910


Tacoma Police - Internal Affairs
930 Tacoma Ave S, # 363
Tacoma, WA


P.O. Box 5323

Tacoma, WA 98405


National Action Network
106 W. 145th Street
Harlem, New York 10039





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