JAN 11 1994 T.

12/30/93

Mr. Robert M. Singer Attorney-at-Law 18 Cardo Road Hamden, Connecticut 06517 Re: Complaint Number XXXX (XXXX v. New Haven Police Department) Complaint Number XXXX (XXXX v. New Haven Fire Department) Complaint Number XXXX (XXXX v. New Haven Police Department) Dear Mr. Singer: This letter constitutes the Department of Justice's Letter of Findings with respect to the complaints you filed with our office on behalf of your clients, XXXX and XXXX, against the New Haven, Connecticut, Police and Fire Departments under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA). Your complaints allege that New Haven's Fire Department and Police Department discriminate against individuals with seizure disorders. Specifically, you point to two incidents that occurred on November 6 and November 13, 1992. The first incident involved Ms. XXXX allegedly being forcibly detained and injured by a police officer and several paramedics after having an epileptic seizure. The second incident consisted of Mr. XXXX allegedly being arrested because of a seizure and not being allowed to contact his doctor while he was being held. FACTS The Civil Rights Division has completed its investigation of your complaints. Our investigation revealed that the City of New Haven trains its police officers and the Fire Department's emergency medical technicians and medical response technicians in the handling of individuals who are experiencing seizures. Every

cc: Records CRS Chrono Miltoncomplnts. XXXX lof

Friedlander

01-00124 -2police officer on the New Haven police force received in-service training between February 1 and April 16, 1993, that included specific information concerning seizure disorders. As new police officers come on the force, they receive the same training. Furthermore, much of the material used to train the New Haven police force is provided to New Haven by the Police Executive Research Forum, the entity that produced the pamphlet and video that you recommended in your most recent letter to this office. All firefighters, including paramedics, receive initial training, including training on seizure disorders, and get in-service training throughout each year. The City of New Haven also has adopted a policy that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in public services, programs, and activities. The policy provides that "No qualified individual with a disability shall be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of the services, programs or activities provided or made available by the City of New Haven, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability." The City has also adopted an ADA grievance procedure to which your clients were provided access. Regarding the incident of November 6, the evidence indicates that the actions of the police and the paramedics were not discriminatory. The medical reports show, and you acknowledged in a phone conversation with Ms. Naomi Milton of my staff, on March 5, 1993, that the injuries sustained by Ms. XXXX on November 6 may have been the result of her seizures rather than

of the actions taken by the police and paramedics. Furthermore, the interview of XXXXX, Ms. XXXX friend and the witness to this incident, taken during the Police Department's internal investigation of the incident, indicates that Ms. XXXX was not abused by the police or paramedics. There is no evidence, beyond Ms. XXXX allegations, that the restraint of the police or the paramedics was excessive. Regarding the incident that occurred on November 13, the evidence again indicates that the actions of the police were not discriminatory. The investigation conducted by the Internal Affairs Unit of the New Haven Police Department, which includes an eyewitness interview, indicates that Mr. XXXX was combative upon awaking from his seizure and that, thus, the officer who arrested Mr. XXX had reason to believe that he may have been a threat. The officer was therefore acting neither arbitrarily nor discriminatorily in arresting Mr. XXXX Furthermore, the City of New Haven is not responsible for detainees after they are arrested and processed. At the time of the incident, once temporary surrender of a detainee was accomplished by the New Haven Police Department, the State of Connecticut assumed all responsibility for the custody, welfare, and security of the detainee. Therefore, the allegation that Mr. XXXX was precluded from making a phone call to his doctor

01-00125 -3is being investigated by this office through a new complaint we have opened against the Connecticut State Department of Corrections (complaint # XXXX) LEGAL STANDARDS With respect to services provided by a public entity, such as police and paramedic services, 28 C.F.R. 35.130(a) states that "(n)o qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any public

entity." Furthermore, "(a) public entity, in providing any aid, benefit, or service, may not, directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements, on the basis of disability --" 1) "(d)eny a qualified individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit, or service;" 2) " (a)fford a qualified individual with a disability an opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit, or service that is not equal to that afforded others;" or 3) "limit a qualified individual with a disability in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity enjoyed by others receiving the aid, benefit, or service." 28 C.F.R. ​ 35.130(b)(1)(i), (ii), and (vii). ISSUES AND ANALYSIS Issue 1: Whether the actions of the Police Department and the Fire Department during the incident on November 6, 1993, discriminated against Ms. Johnson in violation of 28 C.F.R. ​ 35.130(a), (b)(1)(i), (b)(1)(ii), or (b)(1)(vii). Because there is no evidence that the injuries sustained by Ms. XXXX on November 6 were the result of any actions taken by the police or the paramedics, and because the witness present at the incident reported that neither the police officer nor the paramedics used excessive force, it is our determination that neither the Police Department nor the Fire Department violated the ADA or its implementing regulations with respect to this incident. Issue 2: Whether the actions of the Police Department during the incident on November 13, 1993, constituted discrimination against Mr. XXXX in violation of 28 C.F.R. ​ 35.130(a), (b)(1)(i), (b)(1)(ii), or (b)(1)(vii) It appears that the arresting officer had reason to believe that Mr. XXXX might be a threat. Therefore, it is our determination that the Police Department did not violate the ADA in the arrest of Mr. XXXX. Furthermore, at the time of the incident, it was the State of Connecticut, and not the City of New Haven that was responsible for detainees after they were

01-00126 -4arrested and processed. Thus, the City of New Haven cannot be found in violation of the ADA for failure to allow Mr. to make a phone call to his doctor. CONCLUSION Based on the foregoing information, we have concluded that New Haven has adequately addressed the needs of individuals with seizure disorders and that neither of the incidents about which you complained constituted a violation of the ADA. Therefore, we are closing your administrative complaints against the New Haven Fire and Police Departments. If you are dissatisfied with our determination, you may file a private complaint in the United States District Court under title II of the ADA. This letter does not address other potential claims of discrimination on the basis of disability that may arise from the activities of New Haven's Fire Department and Police Department. Rather, this letter is limited to the allegations presented in your complaints. You should be aware that no one may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or engage in other discriminatory conduct against anyone because he or she has either taken action or participated in an action to secure rights protected by the ADA. Any individual alleging such harassment or intimidation may file a complaint with the Department of Justice. We would investigate such a complaint if the situation warrants. Under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 522, we may be required to release this letter and other correspondence and records related to your complaint in response to a request from a third party. Should we receive such a request, we will safeguard, to the extent permitted by the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act, the release of information that could constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy. Sincerely,

Stewart B. Oneglia Chief Coordination and Review Section Civil Rights Division cc: Aileen M. Bell Assistant Corporation Counsel City of New Haven

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