Cop Tases Deaf Teenager And Loses His Cochlear Implant | Rikki Poynter


Hello and welcome back to the channel. I hope you all are doing well. So, this morning
I was coming back from the gym to the news and found out that a deaf teenager,
who is 19 years old, lost his cochlear implant
because a deputy tased him. (SIGHS) So, I wanted to read about it
and react to it. This isn’t really a huge story. I’ve only found two articles on it
and they seem to be fairly short. But, without further ado. Oh, but, if you have not yet,
be sure to subscribe and click on the notification bell, so you don’t miss out on any videos like this
about deaf awareness, disability awareness,
other lifestyle things. And if you’re one of those people
that like to support creators and their work, I do have a Patreon page. So, if you would like to pledge,
feel free to do so, always helps me out. And I really appreciate it. So, here is one article
that’s posted on Facebook from CBS 42. ‘Teen loses cochlear implant
after being tased.’ You know what my favourite thing
about news articles about deaf people is? About half the time
they don’t come captioned. You know, when they post the videos
that go along with it, half the time it’s not captioned. So, this happened in LaFollette, Tennessee. “A deaf teenager tased by a sheriff’s deputy because he couldn’t hear
the officer’s command to stop.” It’s missing like, a word. “A deaf teenager was tased
by a sheriff’s deputy.” You need an extra word in there. It sounds like an incomplete sentence. Anyways, that’s not the point. “To make matters worse,” OK, who wrote this? Who edited this? “To make matters worse, when he fell,
his expensive cochlear implant was lost. The teen was released when they realised
there had been a mistake. The young Campbell County man
wears a cochlear implant. It’s a complex electronic device
that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf
or severely hard of hearing.” I do like that they seem to be doing really well
with explaining what it is, that it can help but doesn’t necessarily
make it a cure or anything like that. I can appreciate that.
Thank you. “His device wasn’t working 11 days ago, following an unfortunate incident
in which the young man couldn’t communicate with sheriff’s deputies who were responding to
an emergency call in LaFollette.” That’s not good,
that’s never, that’s never good. “19-year-old Brett Elkins is deaf and he is a graduate
of the Tennessee School for the Deaf. His mother showed us
where Brett’s cochlear implant was located. The surgical scar is behind his right ear, about the size of a quarter. But you don’t see the device, that’s because it was lost
when Elkins was tased and fell to the ground incapacitated on October 11. Elkins had gone to a friend’s house
to use their phone to have his mother pick him up. As he was leaving the house he didn’t know that Campbell County deputies had been called there for a domestic dispute
between Brett’s friends.” You don’t have a cell phone? Why is he using their phone,
does he not have a cell phone? Somebody get this kid a cell phone. “Jamie Wilhoit, Elkins’ mother,
saying, ‘He was walking. He felt a shock, his arms fell beside him
and he fell over. He assumed it was his cochlear,
that it had malfunctioned, that was the first thing he thought. He was scared and crying. His cochlear implant had died, the batteries weren’t working, it wasn’t charged.'” I feel like my friend Amanda
who has a cochlear implant talked about a similar feeling in her book. I’m just trying to imagine… I mean, I’ve never been tased. So, I wonder if there’s a difference in feeling. So, like, if a hearing person who, obviously,
does not have a cochlear implant, if they were tased, would it be less so than if somebody
who is deaf and had a cochlear implant? Would it be worse for the latter? ‘Cause you know when you go through
TSA at the airport and you have a cochlear implant, you have to go somewhere else or something to, you know,
get patted down or whatever, I think, because you can’t
go through the X-rays. At least, that’s what the sign
that I always see outside the machine says. Am I just talking out of my behind here?
I have no idea. I’m just…
I’m asking, I’m wanting to learn. I don’t know how this works. “Elkins’ implant was new,
it came from TennCare. He said somehow it fell off
after being tased.” The fact that it’s also brand new
has to really, really hurt. I mean, those things are expensive. And even if you had it for a while,
that would still hurt, but when something is brand, brand new. Oh, gosh. And if he’s just got it, and it’s going to take him a while
to go through speech therapy or whatever it is that you have to go through to get used to it and learn how to use it. Now, you pretty much have to go through the whole process all over again, I think. “He and his mother went back to look for it
but it hasn’t been found. We received a copy of the sheriff’s report,
and deputies didn’t know Brett was deaf when he failed to respond
to their commands.” Well, if somebody failed
to respond to your commands, what do you think that possibly might mean? How did it not get into anyone’s head,
when somebody isn’t responding, maybe, they couldn’t hear me? “It states he was released once determined he had nothing to do with
the domestic disturbance. Deputies also called an ambulance
to check him out, however, there was no reference
to the implant. Connie Hull, Elkins’ grandmother, saying, “He got the cochlear three years ago,
it was $8,000, they don’t just hand those out left and right.” Brett showed us his back
where several prongs from the taser gun left welts after suffering a five-second shock.” Ouch. “His mother telling us
Elkins would like an apology and for them to replace his cochlear implant. A ranking officer from
the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office called Elkins’ mother and said, “Sheriff Goins has talked to with our…” Who is writing this? What is this writing? What is this writing? Is it just me or does not make much sense? Or it just sounds wrong? “A ranking officer from
the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office called Elkins’ mother and said, ‘Sheriff Goins has talked to
with our insurance provider and they are willing to pay
for Brett’s implant.”‘ Yeah, you better. “Elkins and his mother were overwhelmed. ‘Wow! Oh my God,
oh, they cared, they cared.’ It will take a few weeks before
Elkins’ fitted with a new cochlear device. Sheriff Robbie Goins telling us
that domestic violence calls are the most danger his deputies face, and they have to make
split second judgement calls with the information they have
during a situation. He also said his deputies acted reasonably
under the circumstances when they first confronted Elkins. Sheriff Goins is pleased to learn that Elkins and his family are happy
with the resolution.” OK. If the boy was coming at them with a gun, with a knife. OK, I could get that,
because he’s actually coming toward you, armed, with the intent
of attempting to hurt you. But if the guy is walking away. Calmly, might I add. He wasn’t running off,
like he thought he was in trouble or trying to run from the cops,
he was just walking home, minding his own business, and you tased him
because you thought your life was in danger. (confused ding noise) Why has nobody learned from past instances where cops would shoot, tase, whatever,
deaf people and then it made… breaking news, national news, and then it, this… So, a few years ago,
I made a whole video just about police brutality
against deaf people and I’ll link it in a card
or down below or both. This has to stop happening. Like OK, I hear, or I read,
your point about needing to make decisions when you think that your life is in danger. So, if somebody were coming at me, little civilian me, yeah, I would probably be doing something because I’m scared
that somebody’s going to try to kill me. But when a 19-year-old kid
is just minding his own business, walking away in a calm manner, just like if he was walking
out of the grocery store to get to his car. How do you think that your life is in danger? How did you need to make
a split-second decision? How many times do people have to say, if somebody isn’t responding to you they probably are not hearing you, until somebody gets it. You know, every once in a while, especially since the murder of Daniel Harris
here in Charlotte. People would bring up police training and how deaf people were getting involved
in the whole police training thing. But, I’m wondering, yeah, people say, police need training,
let’s get training, and then police do training. But how many people
are actually leaving the training and keeping that in their head? I 100% agree that police need training when confronting people who are deaf and yeah, of course, you’re not going to know
if somebody is deaf just by looking at them, unless you’re wearing
a “Do I Look Deaf Now” T-shirt. But why is it now, in this day and age, that people are just not thinking, “Wait, this person must not
be able to hear me?” I feel like people think this more when they’re just having
regular casual conversations with their parents,
with family members, with friends, but then when it comes to
a cop versus deaf person, like all of that just flies out the window. I’m very glad that this kid wasn’t hurt other than the pain that he got from the tase. I’m glad that they were able to get
a replacement for the cochlear implant because, hell yes, they definitely
should have paid for a new one. And I don’t know if this kid
has to pay extra to get it refitted and if he has to go through
and get more speech therapy or whatever it is
after you get a cochlear implant, should they have to do all that
all over again and pay more for it, I hope they cover that. Police departments, please do better, please. Alright, so, that’s my take on the situation. Let me know what your thoughts are
down below. If you would like to help translate this video, I’ll have a translation link down below
in the description box. Always super helpful. Thank you for taking your time
out of your day to watch this video. Give it a thumbs up, share the video all over your social media and I will see you later. Bye. (OUTRO MUSIC)

34 comments

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  2. This is so stupid they accidentally tased a deaf kid who couldn’t hear. His implants are visible and they aren’t AirPods so the police should of been taught this years ago! This just is lack of stupidity if they tapped him he would of responded and they would saved them. He would get electric shock as well from the magnet I believe because our skin touches it and it’s so expensive

  3. He didn't "lose his cochlear implant" because it's an implant in his skull. What he lost was the earpiece or whatever it's called.

  4. That sucks that that happens plus the shock could had ruined his equipment! He fell and it fell off was he out of it??? I feel like there’s more to the story as if my hearing aid falls off I would noitice. I feel as if the Deaf person could have been out of it to retrieved it… then someone stole it???? Police really need to be better…. honestly in fact I would want to see their training and have a Deaf person teach them the do’s and Dont’s. ambulance services, doctors and police….. honestly…. there was no need to zap anyone! I hear it hurts like hell.

  5. Hey Rikki I actually live close to where this happened at. I am not deaf but I am legally blind. Yes you would think that if a person is not responding to you trying to talk to them than they obviously cannot hear them. I am glad they are paying for his replacement cochlear implant.

  6. My local cops are learning ASL (or at least, fingerspells.)
    The department are training them to learn how to approach the deaf person, and how to communicate with them as well. I met with a few of them. They were very kind and awesome. They asked me some questions about what to do when they encounter the deaf people who couldn’t hear them.
    So, this was a perfect timing.

  7. Sorry if this has already been stated, but shouldn't a taser only be used if they are a danger to themselves or others? He was causing no harm to anyone, just not responding. This is sickening.

  8. I'm gonna be as nice as I can be. I hate the police. You have to realize, humans are so brainwashed, they make you think cops are a higher human than the rest of us. It's happened so often, you can't possibly think it's "just an accident". I agree with you completely Rikki. And I don't associate you with my opinion, I just like your opinion. 💗💖💗

  9. So the external microphone/processor piece was lost. Do we know if the internal portion was damaged by the electrocution? Would they even be able to tell if the internal part was non-functional without the external processor?

  10. This reminds me of the time when a cop tackled me to the ground because I couldn't hear him. This same cop had me at gun point until my ex ran up to us and very clearly said that I was deaf and had PTSD from sirens.

    The cop profusely apologized and sent me to the hospital in an ambulance to get my swollen ankle checked out that got severely twisted in the tackle.

    His reasoning was that I ran suspiciously the other way. It was unfortunate, but it does happen more to deaf people than you think.

  11. This highlights the need for an internationally-recognised sign that people are deaf. What, I don't know – maybe an armband or something that can be clearly seen. In everyday life it would help to avoid awkward situations, and in a scenario like this one, it could potentially save lives. I would certainly use one.

  12. I know a gal that has some sort of genetic cause that resulted in no useful hearing. (She's just about the most awesome person you could ever meet.) If you sound an airhorn behind her she'll still jump, (Not going to admit how I know that. 😀 #prankwars ) but there is no way she can understand a person trying to talk to her by voice alone. She's non-verbal. (Texting and a note app on her phone is how she gets through life, I can't imagine.) She has a sign in the back driver's side windows of her car that reads, deaf driver. Both the door window and the back window. A police officer was standing right next to the signs, gun out, shouting commands. He could have glanced to the right and read either sign. She used text 911 to call for help when additional officers arrived they forcefully extracted her from the car, as in cut her seatbelt, dragged her out of her car and pinned her to the ground, and handcuffed her with her hands behind her.

    Oh the lawsuit… It was in 2002ish, I think. The local PD lost 3 million dollars but she asked that the money be put into a fund for mandatory police training. (As I said, she's on her own level of awesome, the woman was on public assistance because her job was not enough to pay her bills.) The department runs an academy and she wanted to make sure that all officers are better trained to look to the right, I mean to recognize the signs that they may be dealing with a deaf person.

    Anyone want to know why she was pulled over? The registration tag on her car had fallen off, apparently, the adhesive did not stick well in the cold when she put it on the car. Running her plate number would have shown that the car was properly registered. <_< And, the owner information would have shown that she had a clean criminal and driving record. She literally drives like a stereotypical little old lady. I can totally understand why she's more cautious, she's hyper-cautious about everything. I still bite the dashboard when she drives because I'm a terrible passenger. >_<

    By the way, she loves to torment hearing people by turning everything up as loud as it will go because the noise will never bother her. Never trust her near a volume knob. >_>

  13. Addressing the issue of a stun device damaging a cochlear implant. It's possible but very unlikely. A stun device uses very high voltage and very low amperage to disrupt the electrical pulses that control muscle movement. It feels like a really painful version of a limb falling asleep, if you can imagine that. The goal of the person operating the stun device is to aim for the center of mass, chest or back. The devices are designed so that they are unlikely to stop the heart or cause a seizure, but can do both in a person that as health issues.

    With that out of the way, let's talk about the device itself.

    All medical devices designed to be implanted inside of the body have to be designed to survive a certain level of electrical shock, in case a person accidentally shocks themselves, the device malfunctions or fails, or the person is stunned. This is not 100% guarantee that it will not be damaged, but it makes it unlikely. The further away from the probs from the stun device the less likely the device will be damaged by the electrical charge.

    The most likely scenario is that the exterior portion of the device is damaged from a fall.

    Generally speaking, it's almost unheard of for a stun prob to hit or stick to someone's head. The probs would need to be that close to be any real danger.

    (Trained to use a stun device.)

  14. This situation was focused on the guy losing the external processor, it seems like a miracle to me that being tased doesn't impact the internal implant. It is a very delicate piece of technology and is literally a magnet… I am shocked this situation wasn't a lot worse

  15. Hey, I’m not sure if anyone else already mentioned this in the comments, but you do not have to get patted down or go to an alternate location at the airport when going through TSA if you have cochlear implants. I got implanted three years ago and never have i needed patting down due to my implants and i’ve flown often since getting implants. Modern implants are unlikely to get damaged when going through a metal detector or full body scanner. It does happen to the external processor rarely but it’s such an infrequent occurrence that I never worry about my CIs getting damaged when going through airport security.

  16. My boyfriend was almost murdered by cops when he was 17. He was walking home from the gym with his hearing aids out (to protect them from water/sweat damage) when a car pulled up and men got out, surrounded him, and tried to tackle his gym bag out of his hands. He thought he was being robbed and didn’t let go, and all of a sudden there’s guns shoved in his face. He had absolutely no clue what was going on. Turns out they were plain-clothed officers in an unmarked car looking for a man with a gun in a bag. They thought he fit the description and instead of asking questions, they jumped him and pulled guns in his face without bothering to see why he wasn’t responding to their commands. If he had been shot, they still would have framed it as his fault. Its disgusting how people are treated by police in our country.

  17. I'm not okay with any of this. I expect more from those in uniform.

    There are plenty of reasons why someone may not hear you. Deafness is just one cause. Earbuds are easily concealed. Sirens clutter sound, as do plenty of other things like cars passing by or being on a phone.

    I understand split second decisions need to be made. I just don't think violence is the answer if you aren't afraid for your safety.

  18. Ok, it was the cochlear implant processor that was lost, not the internal..I wish they would be clear about that.. the processors are not always visible because of hair, hat, etc.., but still, if someone is walking calmly, not responding to police talking or whatever, there's no threat! Heck, a hearing person could be blasting music with earbuds and wouldn't hear someone yelling at them…

    Re: insurance, I'm wondering if they mean that the kid's insurance is who will be paying for the processor replacement or the police department's insurance? Either way, it shouldn't take weeks to replace..unless he has to wait to be able to see his audiologist, and this would be a situation warranting an emergency appointment… replacement of the processor would only take a day or two, the CI companies, at least Advanced Bionics, sends them overnight.. AB had each client's programs in their system, so an audiologist appointment should not be needed unless the taser affected the internal?

    Also, I wonder if the boy that was tased was white? I don't think the article says one way or another?

    Lots of missing info.. Hopefully this is all covered in the actual situation…

  19. You can’t go through the x-rays in airports because the metal in the import would set it off casing a false positive (they would think you had a weapon when you didn’t). It wouldn’t effect you differently if you had an implant unless the taxer leads hit your implant. The electricity flows from where you are hit to the ground so unless this cop is Hawkeye and wants to hit your implant (this is a weird situation but the only one I can think of as headshots with tasers don’t really work like with guns so why anyone would aim for you ear is beyond me) there could be a possible burn hazard as the wires inside the implant could heat up from that much electricity. That said it’s neigh impossible to hit an implant from regular tasing distance and you wouldn’t want to.

    Tl;dr: x ray machines don’t mess with cochlear implants and nor do tasers unless you hit the implants with the tasers; the fall is what caused him to loose the implants.

  20. Okay, since this is the internet I'm going to throw my opinion in the mix.

    I don't think the officer was fearing for his life at that moment, but he did need to freeze the situation. This was a domestic violence call and the officer did not know whether Elkins had anything to do with it. Elkins could have been carrying a gun for example (they did not know that). The fact that he kept walking is suspicious (okay, he could not hear them. But the officers couldn't have known he was deaf) . He could have swung around at any point and started blasting at the officers. I don't know, was this during the day or in the evening? If it was dark outside maybe the officers should have turned the blue lights on first to get his attention.

    I'm obviously not saying it's Elkins's fault , because it's not . But I don't think the officers are to blame either. I think they solved it right by paying for the replacement CI and apologizing.

  21. Ugh this makes me upset. Like you mentioned, sure if he was armed..go for it.. but that wasn't the case. I could only imagine the situation if the police department decided not to cover the loss of the implant.

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