Note: transcript is available below.

NBC News covered a story about Abreham Zemedagegehu and his experience in jail without an interpreter. NAD Attorney Debra Patkin is also shown in the video explaining the unfortunate reality that Zemedagegehu is not alone in his experience.

Please note, this video was recorded on a mobile device and later uploaded to YouTube.

Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/d…

Transcript:
HE SPENT WEEKS IN JAIL AND FOR A WHILE HE DIDN'T KNOW WHY BECAUSE HE'S DEAF AND HE COULDN'T COMMUNICATE WITH THOSE WHO WEE HOLDING HIM. NOW THE MAN WHO S SUING THE ARLINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF AND TODAY HE SAT DOWN WITH OUR KRISTIN WRIGHT.

Reporter: HE'S DEAF AND HAS STORY HE WANTS EVERYONE TO HEAR.

Zemedagegehu: I WAS WALKING ON THE DOORS AND WALLS AND BEING IGNORED.

Reporter: HE WAS HOMELESS. ARRESTED AND ACCUSED OF STEALING AN iPAD AT REAGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT FEBRUARY OF LAST YEAR FOR GO TWO DAYS HE SAYS HE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHY HE WAS HANDCUFFED. FOR SIX WEEKS HE SAYS THE ARLINGTON COUNTY JAIL REFUSED TO PROVIDE AN INTERPRETER. HE DOESN'T READ OR WRITE ENGLISH. HE DOES KNOW THIS WORD.

Zemedagegehu: I TOOK OUT A PAPER AND PEN AND WROTE INTERPRETER. AND EVERY TIME I MADE THAT REQUEST I WAS DENIED.

Reporter: HE FILED A LAWSUIT AGAINST ARLINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF BETH ARTHUR AND THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS. 27-PAGE COMPLAINT CLAIMS THEY VIOLATED THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT. ARLINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S CHIEF DEPUTY PAUL LARSON TELLS ME THEY PLAN TO FIGHT THE SUIT. DID YOU PROVIDE HIM WITH AN INTERPRETER?

Arlington County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Paul Larson: AGAIN, I'M NOT GOING TO GET INTO THE SPECIFICS OF THAT, BUT I'M VERY CONFIDENT THAT WE DID WHAT WE WERE SUPPOSED TO DO.

Reporter: DEBRA PATKIN WITH NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THE DEAF.

Patkin: MY REACTION, UNFORTUNATELY, IS THAT I'M NOT SURPRISED. IT'S HAPPENING ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. MANY PRISON SYSTEMS DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW TO WORK WITH DEAF PEOPLE.

Reporter: ATTORNEY LARRY TANNENBAUM'S LAW FIRM IS TAKING ON THE CASE PRO BONO.

Tannenbaum: HE WENT SIX WEEKS WITHOUT ANY MEDICATION TO TREAT HIS BACK.

Reporter: HE SAYS HE PLEADED GUILTY WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT HE WAS DOING AND WAS RELEASED FROM THE JAIL. LAWSUIT SEEKS MONETARY DAMAGES. THE AMOUNT HASN'T BEEN DETERMINED. HE SAYS HE DOESN'T SLEEP.

Zemedagegehu: THAT EXPERIENCE HAS SCARRED ME.