Sunday, May 1, 2011

In Florida, deaf men stabbed when ASL was mistaken for gang signs

From NewsCore:

A group of hearing-impaired men were recovering May 2 after being stabbed during a night out in Florida when a fellow patron confused their sign language for gang signs.

Alfred Stewart, 31, was at the Ocean's Eleven Lounge in Hallandale Beach to celebrate a friend's birthday with a group of friends, all of whom are deaf, NBC Miami reported.

The group was communicating using sign language, but a woman at the bar thought the group was making gang signs in her direction.

According to police, 45-year-old Barbara Lee became angry and confronted the group, but they motioned for her to leave them alone.

She then left the bar, before returning with two others - including 19-year-old Marco Ibanez.

Mr Ibanez allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed Mr Stewart, two of his friends and a bouncer, during a confrontation at the club.

Mr Stewart's mother, Brenda Stewart, said her son was not making gang signs.

"Only sign language," she told WSVN. "That's the only way [for] all of them, they do sign language."

"They all were doing hand signs, and it went as if someone thought it was a gang sign," she added.

Mr Lee and Mr Ibanez were both charged with assault with a deadly weapon.