Jonathan Meister was retrieving some stuff he was storing at an ex-roommate’s home when he looked up to find several members of the Hawthorne Police Department approaching.
The South Bay man claims officers didn’t give him a chance to explain what he was doing before placing him in handcuffs, beating him and using a stun gun to shock him into submission.
The problem began when police reportedly misunderstood Meister’s attempts to speak in sign language as threatening gestures.
Moreover, officers didn’t realize that when they handcuffed Meister, who is “profoundly deaf” and non-verbal, they took away his ability to communicate.
An officer was placed on leave after he was arrested, accused of spitting on a woman and calling her a racial slur.
Clayton County police Officer Thomas Sheats faces simple battery, simple assault and disorderly conduct.
He was arrested and booked into the Henry County Jail but has since bonded out.
Henry County police said the incident began June 29 on Highway 155 in Locust Grove. Michele Griffith, 27, said that’s whereSheats followed her for miles, blowing his horn, driving erratically and bumping her car.
Griffith said when they pulled into a parking lot where she was going to get pizza, Sheats approached her car and angrily shouted at her.
“Why the (expletive) you going 35 miles per hour on a 45 mile per hour road,” Griffith saidSheats told her.
she told Sheats he could have went around her. She said that’s when he really exploded.
“‘I couldn’t pass, you low life piece of (expletive) (n-word)’ … and (he) spit on me,” Griffith said was Sheats’ response.