Fake Sign Language Interpreter Leaves Thousands Confused

by Olivia Butler

December 8, 2017

Photo by Instagram

After a string of murders in Florida, Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan held a press conference Wednesday evening to announce the arrest of Howell Donaldson. They hired an interpreter Derlyn Roberts to help them. While the press conference seemed to go well, the deaf or heard of hearing viewers were in for a surprise.

“She sat up there and waved her arms like she was singing Jingle Bells,” Rachell Settambrino, who is deaf and teaches American Sign Language at the University of South Florida, told the Tampa Bay Times through an interpreter.

According to ABC 13 some of the things Roberts signed, according to Settambrino, included the following: “Fifty-one hours ago, zero 12 22 (indecipherable) murder three minutes in 14 weeks ago in old (indecipherable) murder four five 55,000 plea 10 arrest murder bush (indecipherable) three age 24.”

In reality, the chief was providing a timeline of the four shootings, and describing how his agency had received some 5,000 tips before arresting the 24-year-old suspect.

So how did she end up in the position? According to the Tampa Police Department, she just showed up and no one questioned her. “I allowed her to do it. I didn’t ask enough questions,” spokesman Hegarty said.

While impersonating an ASL interpreter is not a crime, it is unethical. Roberts has not made any public statement about the event.

Roberts won’t face any charges.

TELL US: Why do you think she did it?

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