The Daily Moth 2-23-17

February 23, 2017



Trump Withdraws Obama’s Transgender Guidelines, Anaheim Off-Duty Officer Fires Gun in Altercation with Middle School Boy, IRS Scam Alert Targeting Deaf People, Deaf Woman Wins $100k Settlement from NYC/NYPD, Deaf Man Arrested in Murder of Deaf Man in Mississippi, and Gallaudet Professor & Dean Dr. Isaac Agboola Passes Away. 




Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, February 23. Ready for news? 




President Trump’s administration withdrew an Obama administration guidelines to allow transgender students to use restrooms of their choice. The Trump administration said they prefer to leave the issue to the states and local school districts — that it is not a federal issue. 


Conservatives feel that there is a risk of predators “acting” as the opposite sex and infiltrating restrooms, while liberals argue that transgender students are at risk for abuse or hate crimes.


Transgender students using restrooms was a hot issue last year when multiple states, most prominently North Carolina and Texas, sued the Obama administration, saying it was government overreach. A Texas federal judge put a temporary hold on nationwide enforcement Obama’s order, but that Obama order is now  “dissolved.” 


North Carolina passed a law last year that required students to use the restroom that corresponded to the gender they were born with. Multiple other states are considering passing similar legislation. 


The question here is — should it be a state issue — which means transgender students might have various rights/protections across America — or should it be a civil rights issue, which requires federal oversight/enforcement? Also debated is Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination in education — does Title IX apply to gender identity? 


There is now a Supreme Court case related to this brought by a transgender student, Gavin Grimm. He was born a female but now identifies as a male. He attends a high school in Virginia and was barred from using the men’s restroom — and was told to use a single-stall unisex toilet. 


So Gavin/his family sued the school board last year in federal court. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of him, saying the school should follow the Obama interpretation. The school board appealed and it will be discussed in the Supreme Court sometime next month. 


But the Supreme Court’s final ruling might only discuss whether the Fourth Circuit was correct in referring to the Obama administration — instead of making a broad decision on the issue of transgender students using restrooms. The Trump administration’s different directive on the issue might complicate things further. The final decision is sometime before July. 




Yesterday afternoon in Anaheim, California — there was a physical altercation between an off-duty LAPD officer at his home — with a 13-year old boy — that led to the officer firing a single shot. 


It was caught on cell phone video by other students and it led to protests last night in which 24 people were arrested. 


The off-duty officer said teens often walked across his lawn — and when a girl walked across his lawn — the officer said something to the girl, possibly he said the c-word, which prompted the teen boy to defend her. 


It led to the officer and the teen holding each other in a physical struggle. More students came to the scene — one of them ran and tried to tackle the officer. That was when the officer, still holding the boy, pulled out his gun and fired a single shot — which caused the students to disperse. The gunshot didn’t hit anybody.  


The off-duty officer called 911 and when police arrived, they arrested the 13-year old boy and another teenager, but later released them. The off-duty officer said the boys threatened to shoot him, but the teens said they only threatened to sue him. 


The family of the boy said they would sue, saying it was not necessary to pull out a gun and fire it, that it could have killed the boy. Many protesters feel the officer should have been arrested instead of the boys. The city said they would investigate. 


Local News Story/Videos:




The IRS is warning Deaf people about various scammers using VRS interpreting services to act like IRS agents and ask for personal information. The IRS said you shouldn’t automatically trust calls made through VRS services because VRS interpreters do not screen calls to see if they are valid or not — that IRS usually mails a letter to the taxpayer about tax-related issues first before making a phone call. 


If the person is demanding immediate payment, threatens arrest by police, or ask for credit/debit card information, then it is more likely a scammer. If you think someone is a scammer or are not sure, you can call IRS to confirm or file a complaint. More information at the link below.  


IRS Warning:




A Deaf woman won a $100,000 settlement from the city of New York City/NYPD after she sued them for jailing her overnight and denying her an ASL interpreter. 


Her name is Opal Gordon (54). She was arrested September 2015 when she left the Manhattan Family Court related to a child custody case. NYPD police arrested on a violation of a protection order — but did not explain her why they arrested her, did not read her Miranda rights, and kept her in custody overnight. 


Opal asked for an interpreter but was denied repeatedly — and after 21 hours, one was finally provided. Opal filed a lawsuit on December 2015 and now she’s won a $100k settlement. 


It is the latest large settlement from the city of NY to a Deaf person who was mistreated by NYPD — I previously reported about a Deaf woman who won a $80k settlement for wrongful arrest when she called police after getting in a car accident — and was scared of the other driver, who was hearing. When police arrived, they only listened to the hearing person’s side of the story and arrested her and held her in jail for 24 hours without an interpreter. 


The city also paid a settlement of $750,000 to a Deaf woman/landlord in 2015 for wrongful arrest. In that instance she and her husband tried to evict a hearing tenant who did not pay rent. The deaf couple said the tenants threatened them with a gun — so they called the police, but when police arrived, they only listened to the hearing tenants and arrested her and eld her in jail for 24 hours and did not provide her an interpreter.


Local News Story:


Moth Report about $80k Settlement (FB Link):


Story about $750k Settlement:




I reported last week about a 27-year old Deaf man who was shot and killed in his SUV in Mississippi — Rafael Thompson. Police has arrested a 32-year old Deaf man, Christopher Grubbs and charged him with murder. He is now in custody. 


A source notified me that Christopher Grubbs was a former student at the Mississippi School for the Deaf. She said a possible motive for the shooting was to rob him. 


Very sad situation. Police said they are looking for other suspect and might make more arrests. 


Local News:




Dr. Isaac O. Agboola, a longtime Gallaudet professor and Dean of the School of Education, Business, and Human Services, passed away yesterday. He was 60. He was on medical leave for the past two weeks — but many were shocked and saddened by his unexpected passing. 


Gallaudet’s Provost, Dr. Carol J. Erting, posted a tribute of his life. He was born in Nigeria and attended a school that was founded by Dr. Andrew J. Foster (who founded 31 deaf schools across Africa). Isaac then attended Gallaudet in 1978 and got his BA and MBA — then a PhD in Information Systems from the U of Maryland. 


He became a Gallaudet faculty in 1984 in the Department of Business, later became the department chair, then became a Dean in two different departments and have been in that position up to his passing. 


His death has touched several generations of Deaf people who knew him by working with him, taking a class with him, or at an event outside of Gallaudet. There are many social media postings of people sharing memories with him. 


Isaac is survived by his wife, Jumoke, and four daughters. Rest in peace, Dr. Isaac Agboola. 


Gallaudet Tribute:




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