A photo of Stephen Pyles, 55, taken after he was arrested by police. In April, Stephen Pyles and his mother, who are both deaf, awoke to find their home burglarized. They called 911 and both police and paramedics arrived, but no one was able to read sign language and there was difficulty communicating. The arresting officer said Pyles punched him in the chest with his fist. But Ashley Eckhardt, a paramedic with the county Fire Department, wrote a different account. Pyles apparently "frustrated from not being able to communicate with the officers, attempted to get an officer's attention by grabbing the officer's arm and placing a piece of paper with a note for the officer on the officer's chest," she wrote. "It was at this time that the officer began wrestling the patient to the ground." Pyles was "guarding himself from the officer," "pointing to his neck" and "motioning for officer to stop," she wrote.
Baltimore Sun photo by Chiaki Kawajiri