Sunday, October 01, 2006

I Apologize...

These were the powerful words by Chief Lansdowne at the San Diego Deaf Awareness Day.

He came to the DAD event at 3:10pm and walked around. He was very impressed as he walked around all the booths. What caught his eye though was the Video Relay technology. He did not know it even existed and he was mesmerized by it and even took some brochures and wants to look into how to implement VR technology within the Police Department in the future if there are any ASL-fluent officers in the future that could use this technology to communicate with the Deaf Community. We walked by a few more other booths and he was fascinated with the booth. The company is relatively new and they produce cards that are sort of "hologram" like where you see one image and as you turn it the picture changes, so it has pictures of children signing "thank you". It is really cute and Chief Lansdowne was fascinated by it. Then we walked to the stage area where he was introduced around 3:30pm.

Chief Lansdowne introduced himself and gave a quick explanation about the Deaf beating incident. He then explained that they had arrested the leader of the group and that he had 90,000 dollar bail and had confessed to the beating. The criminal confessed that he had beaten the Deaf boy because he did not respond and got angry so he threw a basketball at his head. He did not know that the boy was Deaf but instead thought that he wasn't being ignored and as a macho gang leader he initiated the beating. That alone made it not a hate crime since there was no intent but rather just stupidity on the behalf of the criminal and the Chief pointed out that the criminal had a long history of violence and that he would be facing a serious sentence of up to 15 years in prison in this beating.

The Chief then apologized. He delieved a very strong apology. No one videotaped the speech but I believe that he used the words "I apologize" at least three times. He explained that they were wrong when they did not assign someone who knew minimum ASL to the case when they should have since they did have a few officers on the force that know sign language. He then said that he wanted everyone to contact the Police Department whenever they had concerns and that if they needed to they could contact his office directly. You can find contact information at the San Diego Police Department Website on He promised to respond within 1 business day.

Chief Lansdowne went on to promise that next year the Police Department would have a booth at next year's Deaf Awareness Day and provide 911 dispatchers and regular officers at the booth to answer any questions Deaf people may have about communicating and working with the Police Department. Then he went on to encourage the Deaf community to apply for jobs with the City of San Diego. At the end, I came up to the stage and gave him a 11x17 card saying "On the Behalf of the San Diego Deaf Community - Thank You Chief Lansdowne". Several people signed it before the speech and I presented it to him and the presentation ended.

As he walked out, Jared Evans was able to catch him and ask him to do a quick interview on camera so he could post it online. The Chief agreed and they taped for several minutes and hopefully by the end of the week the video will be online. When it is online Jared will let me know and we will post it on this blog.

My overall impression is that I am VERY HAPPY. I didn't expect the Chief to make a strong apology. I did think he would give a veiled apology but he gave a STRONG BLUNT APOLOGY and admitted that they made a mistake and WANT to work together and are committed to the Deaf Community.

This will be our last blog unless we get more information in the future. We will also post one last Vlog when Jared Evan's video is ready. So I want to thank everyone who sent in emails to the City Council, Mayor and Police Department. THANK YOU! None of this would have happened without your support! Thank you again to Ridor of and Jared Evans! They both helped A LOT in bringing this whole thing to the internet and making all of this possible. Thank you!


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Arrests made public

The arrest of the man who was the prime suspect was made public and the identity of the victim was made public as well.

The Police Department was aware of this prime suspect for a while now and I could not list the information on the website due to the sensitivity of the investigation but now that the information is public... Read it! And note what the authorities are saying in this one line:

"Authorities said Bureng's disability might be the reason he was attacked and that Bureng was unable to communicate with his attacker because he does not speak."

I still don't trust the media after my experience getting different information from the media and the police department themselves so I still don't know what to say about this but WOW because I got different information that was strong enough to show that it was a different type of crime, not a Deaf Hate Crime but hey maybe we changed their thinking and maybe the "authorities" really are opening up to understanding the Deaf community!

The link to the article is:

Many thanks to Mari for alerting me to this news item!

Here is the article copied and pasted...

SAN DIEGO -- Police said on Thursday that they have arrested the man who severely beat a deaf teenager in San Diego last month.

Officials said Loro Bureng, 18, was playing basketball at Rosa Parks Elementary School in the 4500 block of Landis Street in City Heights when he was approached by a group of people. He was severely beaten, suffering a broken eye socket and nose in the attack.

San Diego police said Jesse R. Ross, 20, beat the victim for "no apparent reason." Authorities said Bureng's disability might be the reason he was attacked and that Bureng was unable to communicate with his attacker because he does not speak.

Investigators said they were led to Ross -- who was arrested in El Cajon on an unrelated theft charge -- by a Crime Stoppers tip.

Police said Ross faces assault charges in connection with the attack on Bureng. He is currently being held on $90,000 bail. Investigators said they are still looking for the other young men who took part in the beating.


The San Diego Police Chief WILL speak at San Diego Deaf Awareness Day, sponsored by Deaf Community Services of San Diego. Keep your eyes open for the exact time he will show up to speak at the event.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Quick Update about the Chief

A quick update...

Contact has been made with Deaf Community Services of San Diego. There will be a meeting next week to work together to bring Chief Lansdowne to the Deaf Awareness Day on September 30th. It made more sense to invite the Police Chief to an event that draws over a thousand attendees instead of the coffee night meeting which draws about 50 people.

I am very sure that after inviting the Chief we will see him at the Deaf Awareness Day event and I will also ask Deaf Community Services, the sponsor of the Deaf Awareness Day event, if they would be interested in inviting City Councilwoman Toni Atkins to the event as well because her office played a big role in getting our voices heard. I think it would be best to have both Chief Lansdowne and Councilwoman Atkins at the event to show that the city has heard our complaints and is here to listen and help us.

Because of these recent updates, I won't be at the coffee night event tonight with a big card to sign. Instead I am going to wait until the Deaf Awareness Day event so more people can sign the card and then we would have a card with so many signatures that it will show how many Deaf people there are in San Diego that are thankful to the Chief and Councilwoman Atkins. That should help us build a bond with them which is important since Councilwoman Atkins is already considered the frontrunner for a State Assembly seat in 2010. It would definitely be nice to have a State Assembly member in California that is aware of the Deaf Community.

But you can still expect to see me at the coffee house for a drink at 9pm. If you are there tonight feel free to ask any questions.

Thanks again to everyone.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Police Chief LISTENS

Today at 4:15pm there was a meeting with Police Chief Lansdowne regarding this incident and the response that was given to the Deaf Community by the San Diego Police Department.

Chief Lansdowne was very attentive to this issue and definitely paid attention to what we had to say the past two weeks.

He shared good news that they were very close to capturing suspects in this case and that they had identified one of them. He agreed that there was an obvious communication breakdown that occurred. He explained that there were a few police officers that knew sign language and that what should have happened was they should have assigned a police officer that knew sign language to this case. It could have improved understanding BIG TIME between the Deaf Community and the Police Department.

Chief Lansdowne was a BIG improvement over the response we had gotten from Officer Donelson. Chief Lansdowne was aware of the case and explained clearly what steps had been taken and what they would do next. He pointed out that they would let the District Attorney's Office determine whether not it would be a hate crime and they would do this after arresting them and questioning them to figure out if there is such a motive involved. This response alone was GREAT. Instead of getting a NO NO NO response, we got a clear explaination of how they were approaching this case and how they would let the DA's office make a determination after the arrest and questioning. As most of you will remember Officer Donelson avoided any possibility or mention of this being a possible Hate Crime. Even though now it has become apparent that it isn't a Deaf Hate Crime, the fact that the Chief is explaining how this will all work out and pointing out that it is still possible that it is a hate crime if they get more information from the suspects after arresting them and questioning them for more information is a VICTORY for the Deaf Community because at least we know they are listening.

Chief Lansdowne also expressed an interest in speaking to the Deaf Community in the near future, possibly in two weeks at the Deaf night gathering at the Coffee Bean in Mission Valley. He is looking into this possibility and we should have the suspects in custody by then so we can have a productive meeting between the Chief and the Deaf Community so he can understand that we have a huge Deaf Community that is concerned about our relationship with the Police Department.

I will also be bringing a big card on Friday this week to Deaf night at Coffee Bean at Mission Valley to sign as a THANK YOU to Chief Lansdowne and Councilwoman Toni Atkin's Office for paying attention to us about this issue.


Will update you when Chief Lansdowne will meet with the Deaf Community to focus on improving the relationship between our community and the San Diego Police Department.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Meeting with Councilwoman Atkin's Staff Aide

This morning at 9:30am, I met with Pam from Councilwoman Toni Atkin's office in Downtown.

The meeting was very good and was the first time I felt like the city was paying attention to what we had to say. Pam clarified many things. She explained that there was a meeting with one of the police captains and Ashley Walker (the Human Relations Committee Director) and they talked about this issue which was good to know because it means they were listening to us.

Pam also explained in depth that it was not a Deaf Hate Crime and she went into some depth to explain the situation more clearly and I came away satisified but asked for a complete police report (with confidential information blacked out) to post that would help the Deaf Community feel comfortable with the path that the police department is taking. She will work on that and get back to us about that.

I explained to her about our experience with Officer Donelson and Keith Corry from Councilwoman Frye's office. I explained that if they had been receptive to the Deaf Community and simply shown a willingness to look into this and talk to people and try to understand the Deaf Community's perspective and then come back with a lot of information to show that this was not a Deaf Hate Crime as it seemed to be then none of this would have happened. She understood how this whole thing unfolded and I made it clear to her that the issue now is communication and awareness of the Deaf Community from the Police Department's end and that the goal now was to meet with Police Chief next Wednesday afternoon and explain how our community felt shut out, ignored and belittled by Officer Donelson's behavior in constantly saying it was a gang incident instead of trying to understand our culture and figure out if our perspective was valid in this case by reaching out to our community.

Overall, all I can say is that the police department and city hall needs more people like Pam! Pam did an excellent job and followed up on this issue and met with people and was really interested in this issue! If Pam ever decides to run for office then I am all for her!

The goal now is to prepare for the meeting with the Police Chief on Wednesday, September 6th at 4:15pm. I am hoping to start reaching out to as many Deaf people in San Diego and ask them if they have had any problems with the Police Department and that this is a chance to build a new bridge with the Police Department and educate them on the Deaf Community and our issues. I did sense some scorn against the police department from some Deaf Community members especially one person who mentioned he had been pulled over a few months ago and the police officer yelled to test his hearing to see if he really was Deaf. These are the types of complaints we need to raise with the Police Department that way in the future they will be aware of our community and culture and hopefully they will take better steps of action in meeting our needs instead of automatically assuming that they know what is happening without listening to what we have to say.

After leaving the meeting, Jared Evans was able to alert me to an article that appeared in the city newspaper today. I copied and pasted it below. You can find it at the bottom of the page at this link : or read below for more information. Please note that the Police Department heard our complaints and now is answering it directly through the media. E-mailing and bothering the leaders of San Diego DOES WORK! Good job to everyone who e-mailed them!

Attackers of deaf man sought by police

CITY HEIGHTS – Police are seeking the public's help in finding the people who attacked a deaf man on the basketball courts at Rosa Parks Elementary School.

The 18-year-old victim, who is from Sudan, was playing ball by himself on the courts on Landis Street about 5:30 p.m. Aug. 13. About seven young men, all in their early 20s, approached him, chased him down and beat him for no apparent reason, San Diego police Detective Rob Newquist said.

The victim suffered a broken eye socket and bruising to his nose and upper body. He was treated at a hospital and released.

“He is doing OK; I just visited with him,” Newquist said yesterday, adding, “Several people were in the area and may have seen those responsible.”

Police do not believe the man was attacked because he is deaf.

“We have no indication that this is a hate crime, or that the victim was singled out because he is deaf,” Newquist said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-TIPS.

Update and MANY Thanks to Ridor & Jared Evans

I wanted to add another update from Jean. She posted information about this in my most recent post.

Fox 6 news had a quick report on this crime, check it out at

This report has new information and raises more questions. Since Officer Donelson was not very forthcoming about what happened, we were not aware that the Deaf boy did try to run away as announced in this news report. In the morning, I will be meeting with Councilwoman Toni Atkin's staff. One of my first questions will be why Officer Donelson could not be forthcoming with the Deaf Community because now that the boy did try to run away and Officer Donelson never mentioned this, I wonder if the boy did sign or do anything that made it obvious that he was Deaf prior to him running away. What Officer Donelson said was that they approached him and asked him what gang he claimed and as he was unable to respond they beat him up. That is definitely different from what this news report is saying. Hmm... Should we be listening to Officer Donelson anymore? It is becoming more clear that he was only interested in debunking our arguement that it was a possible hate crime by telling us that it was a gang incident by just saying that he was approached and asked what gang he claimed when thats not what this news report says.

I will update the blog immediately at around Noon Pacific Time with an update of what happened at the meeting with Councilwoman Atkin's staff. I think they will be very attentive to this issue because Councilwoman Atkins is the only gay city council member and she is aware of the impact of hate crimes on her own community.

I also want to take a moment to thank Ricky aka Ridor. I never got to thank him on this blog and want to do so. When all of this started, Ricky was the first person I contacted because of attention that his blog gets. He was generous enough to take the time to hear me out on this issue and was VERY helpful in getting the word out about this issue. I cannot thank him enough because without him and his blog I don't think many people would have been aware of this. THANK YOU RIDOR!

I also want to thank Jared Evans. After he found out about this issue, he was very interested and helped me figure out the art of blogging. I have never had a real blog with frequent postings and Jared has helped out in understanding the art of blogging! He also worked hard to make the vlog of the speech at Coffee Bean. THANK YOU JARED!

Will be back with an update in 12 hours!

Monday, August 28, 2006


The e-mails definitely made an impact! So far 43 e-mails were sent to the City Council and Mayor's Offices. I called four of the offices today and they all were very aware of the e-mails. In fact when I called one city councilman's office, I introduced myself and asked to speak to someone about the incident and the person right away said "Yes, you guys are the ones sending all those e-mails." So they ARE getting the e-mails and ARE aware of us which is definitely good.

Even when I called the Police Chief's Office the officer that answered the phone immediately recognized our cause and when I introduced myself and said they were very aware of what was going on.

This is very good news because this means word is getting around about our cause.

Two major updates to report...

This Wednesday there will be a meeting with Councilwoman Toni Atkins' staff to discuss this issue in more depth. The meeting will take place at the City Hall offices on the City Council Floor near the top of the building at 9:30am. If anyone wants to join me please let me know! I was unable to request an interpreter due to it being short notice.

Councilwoman Atkins' office along with a member of the Police Advisory Committee referred me to Ashley Walker the Exec Director of the Human Relations Commission. They both advised that I could file complaints against departments or persons for discrimination and general issues. I contacted Ms. Walker regarding Officer Donelson's stubborness and unwillingness to listen to the Deaf Community. After further discussion, Ms. Walker suggested that we meet with the Police Chief himself for a meeting to discuss this issue and if it still doesn't work out we could go ahead and officially file the complaint with the City.

After calling the Chief's office, an appointment was made for September 6th at 4:15pm. The meeting will take place at the Police Headquarters at the end of Broadway street in Downtown. Please let me know if you would like to come too, just e-mail me at and we can all meet at 4pm in the Police Headquarters Lobby.

Interpreters have been requested and the Officer who I spoke with on the phone had quite a sense of humor, when I requested an interpreter the Officer said I could bring my own and I said "We both know the law, you provide the interpreters" and the operator said that the Officer starting laughing really hard and then said "I know, I know." At least the Police Department is aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act otherwise I would have been damned if they didn't.

But this is definitely big that we were able to get an appointment with the Police Chief of America's 8th Largest City. And from what Ms. Walker told me, the Chief usually likes to take care of situations and that after meeting with the Chief it is very uncommon for complaints to be filed with the Human Relations Commission. So that is a good sign that perhaps we will be able to come to a compromise but it is my hope that we will have the thugs caught by then!

Thats the update for today. Thank you to everyone who sent e-mails and made all of this possible!


Here is an update:

* We have been contacted by someone who serves on the Police Advisory Committee. The person is interested in this and is trying to find out how to help us.

* NAD has sent an e-mail. The e-mail is displayed below. It is a great start and is a offer that the City should take in order to understand the Deaf Community and figure out if it got off on the wrong foot on automatially labelling this as a regular assault via gang incident.

* This afternoon I will be making phone calls to all city council offices to make sure they got the e-mails and ask who their contact person is for the issue.

* Our goal is starting to shift towards asking the Police Department to have the District's Attorney's Office review the case as it is and determine if there is probable cause to consider this a hate crime. We will also ask that the District Attorney's Office to release their findings. We are still figuring out the wording of this goal. Basically the goal would allow us to have a single goal which is for the Police Department to have a legal professional look into whether not this is a probable hate crime and I believe lawyers are more open to interpretations than police officers that are out on the field often and are not educated on our community. Give us feedback or ideas on this goal or any other goals you may have!

The e-mail from NAD is below.


The Honorable Mayor Jerry Sanders:

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), founded in 1880, safeguards the civil rights of deaf and hard of hearing Americans. As a national federation of individual members, state associations, organizational and corporate affiliates, the advocacy work of the NAD encompasses a broad spectrum of areas including, but not limited to, accessibility, education, employment, health care, mental health, rehabilitation, technology, telecommunications, and transportation.

We read with concern the article "Deaf teen beaten by group of men" published by the Union-Tribune on August 14, 2006. The NAD urges the San Diego police department to continue its active investigation into this incident to apprehend the perpetrators, to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to qualify this incident as a hate crime, and to ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted appropriately.
The NAD has a wealth of information and resources that are available. Please contact us if we can be of any assistance.

Rosaline Hayes Crawford
Law and Advocacy CenterNational Association of the Deaf
8630 Fenton Street, Suite 820
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (301) 587-7730 (V/TTY)
Fax: (301) 587-1791


Don't Settle for Lesser Charges

After re-reading Officer Donelson's response on Friday, I got interested in this part:


This crime is listed as "Battery with Serious Bodily Injury", a very serious felony crime, which the facts of this case clearly support. The Department is confident that we will be able to identify these individuals and bring them to justice. Additionally, this crime will be featured on Crime Stoppers. If anyone has any additional information regarding this case, please e-mail me directly and I will forward it to the investigators working this case.


I googled "Battery with Serious Bodily Injury" and result #31 was Charlie Sheen. He actually faced this charge in CA and plead no contest to get probation. If one of tonight's Emmy Nominees faced that charge and plead no contest and is still out there, then I don't want to let the San Diego Police Department think they can "settle" on this charge. Charges related to Hate Crimes are more serious than "Battery with Serious Bodily Injury."

I really believe that we have a strong case that this is a Hate Crime and needs to be looked into. Our case only seems to get stronger by the fact that Officer Donelson is not educated about the Deaf community and he has constantly avoided the issue of this being a possible Hate Crime.

There are some Deaf people out there that question the validity of this arguement but as Ridor said in his blog...

"Some readers paged and emailed me to question whether if it is hate crime or gang-related crime. Actually, that is the WHOLE point. We lack the means to know the accurate information because the San Diego Police Department is not doing enough to provide so that we can say whether if it is a hate crime or gang-related crime.

The goal is to pressure the city council and the police department in order to gather more information for everyone to determine what really happened. Right now, Pepe Cervantes and I, along with many others, reserve the right to speculate."

Ridor is exactly right. Until the Police Department starts cooperating shows us enough evidence to refute their original statements in the newspaper article, this must be considered a possible hate crime. In other words, the put their own foot in their mouths by making the statements in the newspaper that showed intent for a hate crime, now if they want us to shut up, they need to get their feet out of their mouths and show us what their evidence is that this is solely a hate crime. Just saying it and ignoring their own original statements in the news isn't enough. Until then I hope those of you who still are reclutant to join us, at least send some emails asking for QUICKER ACTION to bringing these thugs to justice.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Over the weekend, I spent some time preparing strong arguements to use when talking to Officer Donelson and others from the City and stumbled onto this interesting webpage. It is four years old but still very relevant. It is related to Hate Crimes vs. the Disabled and really not much has changed since the article was written.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Video of Speech at Deaf Night at the Coffee Bean

Thanks to Jared Evans for videotaping this and posting it at his blog!

Go to or follow the link below


We are seeking people who CARE about their Deaf Community and want to bring 10 thugs to justice for beating up one of our own!



It is very simple. All you need to do is read the post below and just COPY and PASTE the provided email into your own e-mail and add your name to the end of the e-mail to show that it is from YOU. Then send it to the e-mails provided!

Q: Who are we sending it to?
A: To all city councilmembers, their chiefs of staff, and the Mayor.

Q: Will this make a difference?
A: YES! But only if MORE people get involved and take just TWO minutes of their time to send this email to them! The Mayor's Office and City Councilman Kevin Faulconer have already responded! Imagine the pressure they will have if we overwhelm all of them with 100 e-mails?!?

So far only 15 emails have been sent! This is according to emails that were also sent to, this is one of the emails included on the email list we gave you. It helps us track how many e-mails have been sent. PLEASE help and send more! Ask your parents, your siblings and your kids to send e-mails! And don't forget to let us know if you sent an email to them but forgot to CC it to

Come on!
40 emails sent... 60 more to go!

Sample Template Email #2

Here is a new E-mail you can copy and paste and send it to the San Diego City Council and Mayor as your way of complaining to them to take action! Just copy and paste it into your e-mail and then copy and paste the e-mail addresses I have provided of ALL City Councilmembers, their Chief of Staffs and the Mayor's Office. (e-mails are provided at the bottom of this post) Then put your name on the bottom after "Sincerely," and SEND! Very simple!

Please send this e-mail, it only takes less than 2 minutes to copy and paste and type your name at the bottom! Tell your friends to do it! Even your parents or siblings or children! They can simply type simple message asking for ACTION!

Sample E-mail Template 2

Dear City Council and Mayor,

I am writing to you about the incident in City Heights that occurred on August 13th where a 18-year old Deaf boy was beaten up because a group of gang members thought he was “looking at them funny.” According to the police officer quoted in the newspaper, the Deaf boy was also unable to respond to these ruthless criminals as they approached him to ask him what gang he claimed.

It has been TWO WEEKS and no arrests have been made, when will the police department realize they need to do more?

Last month, three gay men were beaten up by three hate-mongers. The Mayor and the Police Chief spoke up and THREE days later all three men were brought to justice. Now it has been TWO weeks. None of the city leaders have spoken up about the need to get these criminals off the streets. In the situation in the beating of the gay men, only three criminals were involved and they were all arrested, now in the situation of the Deaf boy there were not three, but TEN men involved and not one has been arrested.

We as a Deaf community have reached out to the Police Department to tell them that this IS a possible hate crime! Deaf people usually have very strong facial expressions and strong body language because that IS how we communicate! Now if someone is going to beat us up because we use our facial language and body language to communicate and they think “we look at them funny” then that is just wrong because they ARE beating us up because we are Deaf, just like how a KKK member would beat up a black person just because they “look funny” due to their color skin. Even worst if a group of men is going to approach a Deaf person and they can see that he can’t respond, then either this group of men is REALLY stupid and can’t figure out that this person is Deaf or they knew he was Deaf and they STILL beat him up. This IS a possible Hate Crime.

So why won’t the Police Department consider this a possible hate crime? They are too stubborn and do not understand the disability community. They are not doing their job listening to a community that is speaking up. We have bothered Officer Donelson many times and he has responded saying they are taking this seriously and he keeps avoiding the fact that it is a possible hate crime!

Please use your power to tell the Police Department that what they are doing by ignoring the Deaf Community and the Disability Community is WRONG. They need to get their act together and consider this a Hate Crime because if they do they will make this a priority crime and bring these 10 thugs to justice NOW just like they did when they assigned 5 detectives and worked around the clock to find the three men who beat up the three gay men last month in just three days. They need to do the same in this case so we can make the streets safer for Deaf people and Disabled people around San Diego.

If you won’t protect the streets for the Deaf Community and the Disability Community, then who will?




Once again, the email addresses to send your emails to are:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

"What if this was your Deaf brother, sister or child? What would you do?"

Last night I spoke at the Coffee Bean in Mission Valley (central San Diego). Every Friday night ASL students and Deaf people get together and just chat for a few hours and it is quite a fun place to just catch up with old friends!

At 8pm I spoke about this incident and the crowd was a bit small at first (mostly ASL) students but they still understood and were surprised about this incident. I told them to please e-mail our city council and mayor!

At 9pm when there was a bigger crowd and plenty of Deaf people, I spoke again. This time the crowd was more involved with the speech, we had three Deaf people come up and speak and talk about how this was IMPORTANT. One woman made an impact when she came up and said something that was obviously a strong point to get everyone to DO SOMETHING. She said "What if this was your Deaf brother, sister or child or relative? What would you do?" and it did hit the crowd. Now I hope they WILL get involved and e-mail our city council and mayor to tell them to HURRY UP and do their job.

Jared Evans was at the event as well and he was able to video tape the speech and he will be posting a vlog soon and when it becomes available please watch it!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Officer Donelson Responds

Officer Donelson responded to my e-mails to the city council offices and the mayors office. He also sent the email to three other Deaf people who also have sent e-mails. So far 8 people have sent e-mails to the City Council and Mayor. We need MORE than that! We are already getting a response and attention with just 8 e-mails. Imagine what we can do with over 100 emails! Please get involved and help us e-mail the San Diego City Council Members, their Chief of Staff and the Mayor! Only takes a few minutes!

Read the email from Officer Donelson. Now remember this is the same Officer that still refuses to talk about the possibility this is a hate crime. Notice how he avoids this subject completely. Is he still closed minded and not willing to understand the Deaf culture and our community?

Read below:


To: Pepe Cervantes
Cc:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, "DONELSON, SHAUN" , [deleted the three other Deaf e-mail addresses out of respect for privacy]

Mr. Cervantes,

The San Diego Police Department takes crimes of this nature very seriously. As stated previously, our Detectives are actively and dilligently working this case. Yesterday, members of Mid City Division's Detective Bureau returned to the scene of the crime to canvas the area for additional witnessess. Evidence collected from the scene is currently being processed and leads are being followed-up.

This crime is listed as "Battery with Serious Bodily Injury", a very serious felony crime, which the facts of this case clearly support. The Department is confident that we will be able to identify these individuals and bring them to justice. Additionally, this crime will be featured on Crime Stoppers. If anyone has any additional information regarding this case, please e-mail me directly and I will forward it to the investigators working this case.

A/Lieutenant Shaun DonelsonOffice of the Chief of Police


Just YESTERDAY they finally returned to the scene and now evidence is being processed? And the crime happened TWELVE DAYS AGO? How in the world did they catch the three criminals that beat up three gay men in July? They caught the criminals in THREE DAYS! Why? Because the Police Department believed it was a hate crime and assigned FIVE detectives to the case and worked around the clock. And when a Deaf person gets beat up... TWELVE DAYS LATER this is the response we get?

I am off to Deaf Coffee Night, will respond more later!

Councilmember Kevin Faulconer's Office Responds

From: Nicholas Calero
Date: Aug 25, 2006 3:22 PM
Subject: Re: Possible Hate Crime in San Diego

Mr. Cervantes-
Councilmember Faulconer asked me to look into your concern.Let me make some calls to find out about this matter, and I will get in contact with you some time later.

If you know any other persons wishing to express there concerns, they can either e-mail the Councilmember or myself directly at

thank you

Nick Calero
Council Representative
Councilmember Faulconer
City of San Diego District 2
(619) 236-6622
(619) 236-6996 (Fax)
Disclosure: This email is public information. Correspondence to and from this email address is recorded and may be viewed by third parties and the public upon request.

Mayor Sanders' Office Responds

This Morning I got a reply for Mayor Sanders' Office. Last night I sent an email to everyone on the e-mail list that is provided in the post below. And amazingly Mayor Sanders' office was the first to reply. If we get 100 more people to send emails then imagine how much more attention Mayor Sanders will tell the Police Department to focus on this crime? So HURRY AND SEND E-Mails! Read the recent post to find out how to send e-mails.

Here is the reply from Mayor Sanders:


From: Office of the Mayor
Date: Aug 25, 2006 9:43 AM
Subject: Re: Possible Hate Crime in San Diego

Mr. Cervantes:

Mayor Sanders has asked that I respond to your email. Our office has forwarded your comments to the appropriate person within the San Diego Police Department. Mayor Sanders believes that it is his responsibility to do everything possible to ensure public safety for all San Diego residents. He does not believe that any group of people should be fearful of being who they are and that everyone should enjoy the basic human right to co-exist peacefully.

I assure you that the San Diego Police Department is handling this situation efficiently and that the needs of our citizenry will be served. Please contact me directly if you need further assistance.

Beryl Rayford
Community Outreach
Office of the Mayor
San Diego, CA
(619) 236-7168


Send more e-mails so the Mayor's office can feel the pressure to move faster because "the San Diego Police Department is handling this situation efficiently" is not enough if no one has been arrested after almost 2 weeks!

Sample Template for E-mailing the City Officials

Here is the first sample template you can use to email San Diego's City Councilmembers and their Chief of Staff. Remember this is only a sample, you can use it by copying and pasting it and simply adding your name to the end or you can change it around or use it to get an idea of how to write your own letter to San Diego's city officials.

More sample templates will be on the way...

Sample Template 1

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this e-mail to express my anger and disappointment in the City of San Diego for not protecting its own Disability community.

On August 13th, a deaf boy was beaten up in City Heights because a group of men that attacked him "didn't like the way he looked at them." According to one police officer: "The other guys in the park think he's looking at them funny, and they don't like it," he said. "So they approach and he's unable to respond, so they beat him up."

As a Deaf person, I use my facial expressions to communicate more than a typical hearing person would as a consequence of my hearing loss. I can understand how another person would mistaken my very expressive facial expressions as “looking funny” at someone else. That is what seems to have happened in this situation. Because this boy was Deaf and acting Deaf, he was beaten up. This argument if correct means that this was a hate crime.

Yet the San Diego Police Department, more specifically Officer Donelson has not been respectful or helpful to the Deaf Community. He refuses to consider the strong possibility that this was a hate crime. He keeps stating that this was not a hate crime because the Deaf boy was not beaten up because he was Deaf. Officer Donelson says this because he is not willing to understand that Deaf people do use facial expressions extensively that may be translated as looks that would make some think that we are “looking at them funny.” He has already stated that “looking funny” at someone and getting beaten up for it is not a hate crime. This is true for others but not for people who use their faces extensively like I do because of who I am. I am Deaf and I will not allow some thugs to scare me into not signing and using my facial expressions because they beat up one of my own kind for having the characteristics of a Deaf person.

Please use your position and your heart to tell the San Diego Police Department that enough is enough and they need to devote more resources to getting these thugs off the street so they cannot commit anymore hate crimes and harm other Deaf people.

Only last month, 3 gay people were beaten up and the City of San Diego rallied to nab these hate-mongers in less than a week. Yet when a disabled person is beaten up because they had characteristics of their disability, they still have yet to capture anyone nearly two weeks after the crime. This is not right, just because we are not as visible as the GLBT community, we should not be put on the backburner.

Please take action and help push the San Diego Police Department to recognize that this was possibly a hate crime and needs to be treated like one to remove these criminals from the streets to make the streets safe again for San Diego’s Deaf Community.

Thank you for your time,



Once again, the email addresses to send your emails to are:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Friday Night Coffee House

Every Friday night there is a Deaf gathering at the Coffee Bean in Mission Valley.

I will be there at around 8pm with envelopes, stamps and papers. If you live in San Diego then come and hear about what we need to do and write a letter to our councilmembers and mayor!

See you there tonight at 8pm!

I also will be posting again soon with sample templates for E-mails so everyone outside of San Diego can help us PUSH for ACTION. You can use the sample templates to copy and paste and E-mail to all of the city councilmembers, the mayor's office and the San Diego Police Department.

For those of you who want to go ahead and write your own e-mails about how you feel and why they need to take action and investigate this as a possible hate crime and work harder to get these thugs off the street, you can use the following e-mail addresses:

City Councilman Scott Peters (District 1) -
His Chief of Staff - Betsy Kinsley -

City Councilman Kevin Faulconer (District 2) -
His Chief of Staff - Steve McNally -

City Councilwoman Toni Atkins (District 3) -
Her Chief of Staff - Denise Price -

City Councilman Tony Young (District 4) -
His Chief of Staff - Jimmie Slack -

City Councilman Brian Maienschein (District 5) -
His Chief of Staff - Lance Witmondt -

City Councilwoman Donna Frye (District 6) -
Her Chief of Staff - Stephen Hadley -

City Councilman Jim Madaffer (District 7) -
His Chief of Staff - Aimee Faucett -

City Councilman Ben Hueso (District 8) -
His Chief of Staff - Alonso Gonzalez - unknown email.

Mayor Jerry Sanders -

San Diego Police Department - Assistant to the Chief Shaun Donelson -

Please CC a copy of all of your emails to so I can keep track of how many e-mails are sent! This will help me so if 200 different people CC me I can use it as proof that specific number of people emailed the city council and can use this proof to show to the media and other organizations to show that many people are concerned and involved.

To make it easier please copy all addresses below and paste them into your "To" field in the e-mail. I know how annoying it is to copy and paste all of the addresses above into one email "To" box so I am making easier for all of you to just copy and paste! Enjoy!,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Thursday, August 24, 2006

San Diego Democratic Club Meeting

At 7pm in Hillcrest, there was a meeting for the San Diego Democratic Club which is one of the most successful and most influential Democratic organizations in San Diego. This specific organization represents the GLBT community and they have done an incredible job at this.

During the announcement section of the meeting, I spoke to the crowd of about 60 to 70 people. As I spoke, I got more angry and made it clear that what happened was WRONG and to see the San Diego Police Department continue to ignore the possibility that this crime was a hate crime was a big shadow over the Deaf Community. I explained to them that we were just a small group with no political power and I wasn't sure if we would be able to grab enough attention for this issue but if we DID succeed at gaining attention that I hope the GLBT community will support us. They all applauded and several people smiled and gave me the thumbs up after I sat down.

Now they know about this incident, now we need to keep spreading the word!

The two goals are:

(1) Overwhelm the city council's email with complaints and concerns about this incident from Deaf people all over the country.
(2) Get as many San Diego Deaf people to send in letters.

The Story A to Z

This whole incident sounds like a possible Hate Crime because we use more facial expressions and signs that might confuse others and in this case it made a group of 10 stupid men beat up an innocent and helpless Deaf boy.

A hate crime is defined as a crime committed because of someone's disability, skin color or sexual orientation. It is obvious that the men could have beaten up the boy because he was Deaf. Why? Because it is known that Deaf people are VERY expressive when it comes to body language and facial expressions. Unfortunately there are close-minded people out there like these 10 men who did not understand that this Deaf boy was not "looking at them funny" he was just being himself, a Deaf person. If they beat him up because of this then he was beaten up because he was Deaf. That is a hate crime.

When will Deaf people in City Heights in San Diego be safe knowing we can walk around signing without fear that some idiot won't think we are "looking at them funny" and beat us up?

The San Diego Police Department does not consider this a hate crime. In fact when I first contacted Councilwoman Donna Frye's office, I was connected to Council Representative Keith Corry. You can find his bio at . He represents disability services issues for this Councilwoman. Apparently he doesn't think much of disabled people because when I called him and asked him if this was a possible hate crime he said no and I explained why I thought it could be a hate crime and he still did not think it was one and did not even try to understand my point about how Deaf people communicate and investigate if it is possible that the Deaf boy's facial language was due to his Deafness therefore proving that the group of men beat him up because of his Deafness. Then he said he would ask the Police Department about this and get back to me. So this is what he sent to Police Officer Shaun Donelson:


From: Keith Corry []
Sent: Monday, August 14, 2006 04:45 PM
Subject: deaf teenager beating

Hi, Sean.

This gentleman believes that the following article indicates that this boy was beaten
because he is deaf. He wants to know why it is not being treated by PD and the media as a hate crime.

In your explanation please send along specifics about the incident that prove this was not a hate crime, and any criteria the City uses in differentiating between hate crimes and other criminl activity.

Thank you very much for your help in this matter,

Keith Corry
Council Representative
Councilmember Donna Frye

Disclosure: Correspondents should assume that all communication to or fromthis address is recorded and may be reviewed by third parties.


Look at the bold yellow text. Mr. Corry was biased and didn't even do his job correctly, instead of trying to help me all he did was believe that he was right and that I was wrong. He asked them to prove that it wasn't a hate crime. He didn't even ASK if it was possible that it was a hate crime.

Officer Shaun Donelson works in the Chief's office and became my source in what the Police Department's views on this incident. His reply to Mr. Corry's request to prove that he was right without inquiring about the possibility that it was a hate crime was this:


To: "Keith Corry"
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2006 12:41:15 -0700
Subject: RE: deaf teenager beating


I reviewed the report on this incident and it is not a hate crime. Gang members appropached him and asked what gang he claimed. When he didnt answer, they beat him. In order for it to be classified as a hate crime, the suspects would had to have beat him BECAUSE he is deaf. I hope this explains it.

The below link describes what a hate crime is.


Okay, who is it that is Deaf here, me or Officer Donelson or Keith Corry? Of course I know that to be considered a hate crime the suspects would have to beat him BECAUSE he is Deaf. That is the whole arguement that I am trying to make with them that they could have beat him up BECAUSE he was making facial expressions and using body language that DEAF people use therefore they could have misunderstood them and beat them up because they are Deaf just like some dumb people who beat up a black person just because they look black, they didn't ask to be black and they were beaten up for it. Gay people don't ask to be gay and they have gotten beaten up for it. Deaf people don't ask to be Deaf, we are Deaf and we get beaten up for it, so why isn't it the same when a black person is beaten up by skinheads and it is called a hate crime and a gay person is beaten up because they make it known they are gay and it is called a hate crime and now when a Deaf person acts like themself by using their body language and very expressive facial expressions and they are beat up for it and it isn't hate crime?

Here is my reply to Officer Donelson:


From: Pepe Cervantes []
Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2006 03:19 PM
Subject: Re: RE: deaf teenager beating

Hi Mr. Donelson,I wanted to thank you for looking into this crime.

I inquired about this through Keith Corry in Donna Frye's office. I have one last question, why is your report about the incident completely different from what was reported in the newspaper?

The newspaper reported the following: The victim, an 18-year-old who is deaf, was playing basketball with several friends, said Sgt. Bob Dare."The other guys in the park think he's looking at them funny, and they don't like it," he said. "So they approach and he's unable to respond, so they beat him up."If a police officer says that instead of what was in the police report then why is that different? Because if you are correct about the gang member approaching him and asking what gang he claimed then it is definitely not a hate crime. But if the news report was correct then it would be a possible hate crime otherwise.

I know the definition of a hate crime and don't need to be referred to a definition of it because if the newspaper account is correct they could have approached the boy because he was Deaf and asked what gang he claimed simply because he was Deaf because Deaf people look different, we use our faces and body language more differently. You have to understand that Deaf people use their faces and make noises that are sometimes discomforting to hearing people and that can cause looks like the Deaf boy might have accidently given to the gang members like the newspaper implies he did so I want to double check on this lead because it just seems too difficult for me to believe that the police report you haveis different from what the police officer said in the news article and I am very active in making sure that the disability community is protected and I don't want to let this one slip away if it really is a possible hate crime because then they get more time in jail and that is what I am for if they abuse anyone via a hate crime.

Thank you for looking into this and I hope to hear back from you.

Best wishes.

-Pepe Cervantes


The point of my email as to inquire why he was telling me something completely different from the newspaper article. I had a fishy feeling because it was possible that he was making a bad conclusion when he did not understand my point that the Deaf boy could still have been beaten up because he was Deaf.

Officer Donelson's reply:


To: Pepe Cervantes
Cc: "Corry, Keith"
Date: Aug 21, 2006 3:51 PM
Subject: RE: RE: deaf teenager beating

Mr. Cervantes,

In their effort to report breaking news, news reports are often in error or incomplete as they rely on preliminary accounts of the incident when all the facts and witnesses have not been contacted. Crime reports have accurate details as reported by the victim and witnesses. That is what we go by when responding to requests such as yours. The police report clearly indicates that gang members approached and asked him what his affiliation was. That preceeded his beating.

A/Lt. Shaun DonelsonChief's Office


This email was a BIG OBVIOUS RED FLAG. Why? Because now Officer Donelson won't share more information than neccessary. Notice how he only talks about how the gang members initiated the beating... by asking the Deaf boy what gang he was from. For those of you who don't know, gangs usually initiate a beating or a shooting after they ask someone "where are you from" or "what gang do you claim." So now he keeps trying to focus only on how the gang started the fight, all of the sudden he is not discussing my biggest concern, WHAT HAPPENED LEADING UP TO THE BEATING? Because like the newspaper said the gang members thought he was looking at them funny and they beat him up for it, now he won't even talk about that, he is just focused on ignoring the fact that it is a possible hate crime by sticking with his poorly made conclusion that it cannot be a hate crime since it involved a gang.

Not long ago there were "gangs" that beat up black people and lynched them because they were black. Do we look at this as just "gang activity" and not a hate crime? NO. We see it as a sad period of history in the USA where there were many hate crimes. And now this applies to this situation. How can Officer Donelson say that just because these people were gang members and asked which gang this Deaf person was in (don't forget that in the news article a police officer is quoted saying that the victim could not respond) that it could not be a hate crime and completely ignore the fact that an innocent Deaf boy that could not respond and was beaten up because of his facial expressions that many Deaf people have when communicating.

This is just sad and makes me more angry that Officer Donelson and Keith Corry aren't smart enough to do their job as city employees and serve the public instead of focusing on being closed minded and constantly sticking to their conclusion that it was a gang incident and had nothing to do with being Deaf.

In my reply to him I focused on trying to pull out more information about what happened BEFORE the gang members approached him because this would be a big clue in determining whether not it is a possible hate crime.... I replied two times since he did not respond to my first reply... here they are:


From: Pepe Cervantes
Date: Aug 22, 2006 12:31 PM
Subject: Re: deaf teenager beating


Thank you for following up on this yet I still have one more question.

Does the police report omit that the group of men thought he was looking at them funny? I want to clear this up because even if the police report states they asked what gang he claimed prior to the beating, it can still be assumed that they used the gang claimation as an excuse to beating up a Deaf person because he looked at them funny.

I want to clarify that. I apologize if I seem annoying by being persistent in this particular case, I am just frustrated by it because had it been a blind or wheelchair bound person, it probably would get a little bit more attention. Have any arrests been made in this case? And if the SD Police Dept ever needs someone to help educate or explain aspects of the Deaf community or disability issues please do let me know.

Thank you and I hope to hear back from you.


Pepe Cervantes

After 31 hours and no reply I sent a second email:

From: Pepe Cervantes
Date: Aug 23, 2006 9:32 PM
Subject: Re: deaf teenager beating


I am following up to see if you have any update to the last email I sent to you yesterday.

Some Deaf people in the San Diego community are starting to get concerned about this issue and I would like some clarification on this issue because I still want to know what the police report says happened before the gang members approached the Deaf person because we still have a fishy feeling that it is quite possible that the report is omitting that the gang members could have possibly been offended byhis facial language as a disabled individual and then in turn the gang members could have been offended and decided to beat him up by initiating the "what gang do you claim" method. I have also seen ananonymous tip online that the boy did not want anything to do with this out of fear for his family and his own safety so I am starting to wonder if things were omitted from the original report because even if the boy does not want anything to do with this, there should be action to seek out these ruthless people who preyed on a disabled individual and isn't about the boy anymore but about the SDPD and the community's relatively slow and inactive reaction to this issue.

I want clarification on this and if it is better I could meet with you and discuss this some more.

A group of Deaf community members will probably start writing a lot of emails and letters and start making many phone calls to city council offices and the mayor's office next week because we still believe swift action should have been taken because this was a Deaf person who was disabled and if it had been a blind person or wheelchair bound person beat up there should and would have been an uproar about it and there should be about this Deaf beating, it is not right and we want to push the SDPD and city council to pay attention to this and take swifter action on this if no one has been arrested.

Please write back.


Pepe Cervantes


The goal of this email was to ASK FOR INFORMATION ON WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE the gang initated the beating. And I was hoping this time that Officer Donelson would stop making me look hearing and stop acting "deaf" about this issue and answer my question.

Guess what I got? An indirect answer but good enough. Figure it out yourself:


To: Pepe Cervantes
Cc: "Corry, Keith"
Date: Aug 24, 2006 9:30 AM
Subject: RE: deaf teenager beating

Mr. Cervantes,

Our Mid City Division Detectives are still actively working this case and looking for additional witnesses. Some physical evidence was collected at the scene which will be helpful. There is no evidence that supports they beat him because he is deaf. Beating a person becuase they looked at you "funny" would not be enough to justify calling it a hate crime. Absent any further information from an undiscovered witness, that will not change. I understand your concern, but rest assured that the Police Department takes all such matters very seriously for ALL of our citizens.

A/Lieutenant. Donelson
Chief's Office


READ THE RED HIGHLIGHTED PART! He IMPLIED that yes they beat him up because he looked at them funny but it isn't a hate crime. He doesn't even answer my question directly by saying NO because he already lied enough by saying the news article was inaccurate when he just implied right now that it WAS accurate and that they did think he "looked at them funny".

Officer Donelson DOESN'T GET IT. He thinks that we can be ourselves and just walk around City Heights signing and using our face expressions and that if these same 10 men happen to see us they beat us up and it is STILL NOT A HATE CRIME, why? Because Officer Donelson and Keith Correy are UNEDUCATED on how Deaf people communicate using strong body language and facial expressions that identify us as Deaf and if someone is going to be beating Deaf people up because they use facial expressions just like how the KKK beats up black people just because they are black, then it is a hate crime that we are targetted because we use facial language that some dumb uneducated thugs will use as a reason to hate us and beat us up just like the KKK uses a black person's skin color as a reason to hate them.

Why do we have to wait for the Police Department to educate themselves? We NEED to get these 10 thugs off the street NOW! We need the Mayor and the City Council to WAKE UP and realize that it is a POSSIBLE HATE CRIME and they need to dedicate more resources to get these 10 people off the street IMMEDIATELY! How can a Deaf person feel safe walking around City Heights knowing these 10 men are on the loose and could possibly beat us up because we use our facial expressions very expressively that could lead them to commit another Hate Crime and beat up another Deaf person?

JOIN US IN HELPING US REACH OUT AND PUSH THE CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR TO DO SOMETHING! In July three gay men were beaten up and it was a hate crime and the Police Department dedicated more resources and they CAUGHT the hate-mongers in less than a week! And now it has been almost 2 weeks and they still have not caught a single one of the 10 men who beat up a member of our community. When do we say enough is enough, the City needs to take this possible Hate Crime SERIOUSLY and listen to our concerns and spend more resources to remove these 10 thugs off the streets NOW.