US

Judge weighs lawsuit filed by deaf inmate at Arlington jail over lack of interpreters

Local and state officials in Virginia have asked a judge to toss out a lawsuit filed by a deaf man who says he spent six weeks at a county jail unable to adequately communicate.

A hearing on the lawsuit filed by Ethiopian immigrant Abreham Zemedagegehu (zeh-MAY'-deh-geh-GAY'-hoo) was held Thursday in federal court in Alexandria.

Zemedagegehu says he was arrested last year at Reagan National Airport on charges he stole an iPad, but was unaware of the charges against him for several days without access to a sign-language interpreter.

His ability to communicate in written English is limited. He says he spent six weeks in jail with only intermittent access to an interpreter.

Government lawyers argued that there was no intentional discrimination. A judge will issue a written ruling later.