New York governor sued for failing to provide interpreters at coronavirus press briefings

New York governor sued for failing to provide interpreters at coronavirus press briefings


New York governor sued for failing to provide interpreters at coronavirus press briefings

New York governor sued for failing to provide interpreters at coronavirus press briefings

New York governor sued for failing to provide interpreters at coronavirus press briefings 1

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is being sued for not providing a sign language interpreter at his daily coronavirus news briefings, according to a new federal lawsuit.

A group of deaf residents in New York have filed the lawsuit against the governor alongside the nonprofit Disability Rights New York (DRNY) alleging that in failing to provide live interpreters Gov Cuomo is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The suit states that 208,000 people in New York City are deaf or hard of hearing and that a large portion of these individuals can’t access the daily briefings without American Sign Language (ASL).


“New York is the only state that has never provided televised in frame ASL interpretation of its Covid-19 briefings,” the suit alleges.

The filing is asking a judge to order Gov Cuomo to provide in frame live ASL interpretation of all his daily briefings.

The complaint claims DRNY contacted Gov Cuomo on 24 March outlining the need for the provision of ASL after receiving complaints from deaf New Yorkers.

Allegedly, the governor directed the complainants to close captions and that they planned to begin ASL interpretations on streams of the briefings on the governor’s website.

The suit says these measures are not adequate, explaining that close captions are often inaccurate or not available, that live briefings do not direct people to the online ASL versions. and those without the Internet would still not be able to access the online briefings.

“It is inexplicable that during this pandemic, the Governor would choose not to have ASL interpreters at his daily live televised briefings,” said Timothy A Clune, executive director of DRNY.

As a result, deaf New Yorkers are unable to obtain vital life and death information at the time they need it most.”

DRNY said it had also filed a complaint with the US Department of Justice.

“We deployed a dedicated ASL stream that’s available on our website and all conferences have been close-captioned,” Gov Cuomo spokesperson Richard Azzopardi told The New York Post.

“We’ll review the suit, but we’ve been moving heaven and Earth and working with the Albany press corps to reduce density in the room and respect social distancing standards as we fight this pandemic.”


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