Arrest of Jonathan Meister



February 18, 2014

2013 Arrest of Jonathan Meister

A lawsuit was filed last week against the City of Hawthorne and Police Department in response to a year-old arrest of Jonathan Meister, a deaf individual contacted during a burglary investigation.  Initial notoriety has centered only on a perspective purported by this claimant and his attorneys; that being that Police Officers failed to neither recognize nor use alternate methods of engagement considering the aspect of hearing impairment. Defense-protocols to litigation preclude many of the immediate responses that this Police Department would normally present in factual contradiction; however, the below is necessitated pursuant to our commitment to the Hawthorne Community and its service:  

Hawthorne Police Department Officers are trained to deal with incidents whereby communication, for various reasons, can sometimes be difficult.  Examples range from dealing with persons who speak different languages, those who cannot see, cannot hear, those in shock, or in often cases – agitated or hostile.  Officers make every effort to communicate effectively and bring every one of these incidents to the most peaceful resolution feasible.  In almost all cases though, it is the contacted person’s behavior and actions which dictate police response – not necessarily communication barriers.  That is certainly the case in this specific matter. This was not a case of Police Officers not accurately assessing or mishandling a deaf individual.  This was a case of Meister, a 31-year-old, 6’-03” / 205 pound, ex-collegiate Rugby player, with accompanying physical skill sets, willfully and physically resisting and fighting uniformed Hawthorne Police Officers conducting a felony investigation, which he was the suspect of and no verification of his innocence had been achieved.

The Hawthorne Police Department assures its Community and stakeholders that our highest emphasis is always placed on treating every individual, regardless of attributes or limitations, with professionalism and respect.

Contact:  Lieutenant Scott Swain

Detective Bureau Commander / Public Information Officer