The Intersection Of Alameda County And An Old Deaf Woman

We often use “jaywalking” as part of the joke, an offense so trivial as to serve as the perfect juxtaposition for police excesses. But Hui Jie Jin is alleged to have jaywalked, and Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Phillip Corvello didn’t get the joke at all. Turns out he was all intersectional, and wasn’t about to let Jin get away with it.

A deaf 76-year-old woman accused an Alameda County Sheriff’s Office deputy of excessive force during an alleged jaywalking incident last year, claiming the deputy “violently threw” her to the ground and handcuffed her to an ambulance while she was unconscious.

It wasn’t merely her jaywalking that gave rise to Corvello’s outrage. It was her failure to do as he commanded, a cardinal sin.

Jin and Corvello encountered each other on the morning of July 21, 2017, when Jin was out shopping for groceries. The lawsuit claims that Corvello began yelling at Jin while she was allegedly jaywalking, but because Jin is “profoundly deaf” she couldn’t hear or understand his commands.

As Corvello moved closer to her, the suit alleges, Jin pointed to her ear with one hand and waved her hand back and forth with the other to signal that she was deaf.

The more typical scenario is the perp suffering from some condition about which the cop knows nothing. It’s not that the cop couldn’t find out, but that they assume normalcy and, well, can’t be bothered taking the risk of knowledge when ignorance better serves their needs.

Except here, Jin, her threatening groceries in hand (who knows what weapons might be concealed below the greens?) had the opportunity to let Corvello know that she was deaf. She pointed to her ear. She waved. Even if Corvello was of average intelligence and denseness, it was fairly clear she was trying to make a point, some point, about her hearing.

More officers arrived on the scene and performed a search of Jin and her grocery bags, according to court documents, and during this time Jin emptied her pockets to hand Corvello her California identification card, disabled senior citizen bus pass, and a handwritten card with the name and phone number of Jin’s daughter for emergencies.

At this point, Corvello and his backup for this jaywalking old woman could be fairly certain that there was no AK hiding in the grocery bag, that Jin presented no threat of imminent death to him, and at least one of them should have had the ability to grasp from her disabled senior citizen bus pass that she was disabled and a senior citizen, if those two things were still in doubt.

Hui Jie Jin’s injuries.

Jin prayed and repeatedly bowed in front of Corvello “in order to beg … for mercy and not to hurt her.”

In response, the suit alleges, Corvello slammed the woman to the ground, placed a foot or knee behind her neck or back and handcuffed her.

Jin was at the intersection of old, female, [edit] POC and disabled. Corvello was more concerned with the intersection of his knee on her back to force her against the pavement. Jin passed out and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Jin was issued a citation for jaywalking and resisting arrest, but no paperwork exists and no charges were filed, the suit states.

The absence of charges attest to the discretion of Alameda County, finally appreciating perhaps that her bowing wasn’t the “aggressive stance” that ordinarily accompanies the excuse for excessive force, but then, that doesn’t mean the force was excessive, either.

Nate Schmidt, a Dublin police captain, confirmed that the department conducted an internal investigation after the incident and found Corvello’s use of force to be within policy.

The department’s policy does not count jaywalking as an arrestable offense, Schmidt said, but “there was more than an arrest for jaywalking. Not obeying a lawful order is an arrestable offense, so that’s what we were looking at.”

Indeed, it doesn’t matter if Jin was, in fact, committing the heinous crime of jaywalking, but merely that Corvello had reasonable suspicion to believe that she was. Nor, obviously, does it matter that obeying his “lawful order” to . . . do something was an impossibility because she was deaf?

As trivial as the offense of jaywalking may be, the offense of not obeying while deaf is one that cops find intolerable. It’s almost as if you don’t respect their authority, which cannot be tolerated if they’re to protect us from jaywalkers.

But as much as Corvello may have been infuriated by Jin’s perceived disrespect, her bowing aside, the whole ear-pointing thing should have been more than sufficient to alert him to the fact that she couldn’t comply with a command she can’t hear, who throws a 76-year-old woman to the ground, then does the knee to the back, putting his full weight on her, to emphasize his point?

That would be the very intersectional Alameda Sheriff’s Deputy Phillip Corvello. That’s who.

(If anybody can locate a pic of brave Deputy Corvello, please let me know. The people of Alameda County deserve to see the visage of their intersectional protector.)

67 thoughts on “The Intersection Of Alameda County And An Old Deaf Woman

  1. delurking

    Unfortunately, the article does not say if Jin was actually crossing at an intersection. Too many people are unaware that “unmarked crosswalks” exist at the vast majority of intersections. I learned of this only because two police officers beat the crap out of a guy for “jaywalking”, when in fact he crossed legally at an unmarked crosswalk. This is your public service message for today.

    1. SHG Post author

      What makes SJ so special is that if one person isn’t there go off on his own third-grade tangent, there’s always someone else, especially when it’s a non-lawyer who utterly lacks the grasp of the fact that their notion of the law (which may be completely wrong, but what he do they know, since somebody told them that AND SO IT MUST BE REAL!!!) wouldn’t necessarily be the law anywhere other than that one jurisdiction, if it’s not completely wrong in the first place. But it’s in their head and so they must tell the world about it to prove they know stuff.

      I’m sorry. You were saying?

      1. delurking

        I think I was saying something to the effect that lawyers specialize too, and criminal defense lawyers commenting on areas of law outside their specialties are sometimes no more informed than your average joe. Alameda is in California, right?

        1. SHG Post author

          Remind me again what your practice area of law is, and what state you limited your insight to in your comment, since you use your real name and everyone knows where you physically are?

          1. delurking

            States where I have read the definition of “crosswalk” in their state codes:
            NY (where I used to go a lot)
            NJ (where I used to live)
            NC (where I used to live)
            MD (where I live now)
            VA (where I go a lot)
            CA (where Ms. Jin lives)

            I deduce from this site:
            that a similar definition exists in at least 46 states, but I have not gone to all of those states code webistes to read the full definitions.

            I am not a lawyer, I am a physicist. I apologize to all for not using my name. It is important for my career for people to be able to quickly find my professional work using google. However, sites like SJ are so much more popular than my work that if I used my real name my work would be buried. I also apologize for my crappy handle. I regret choosing it now, but enough people recognize it that I haven’t changed it.

            1. SHG Post author

              I should trash your comment, but I won’t. Here’s the deal: your reach has (typically, for non-lawyers) exceeded your grasp, first by going down a tangential rabbit hole (now that we’re three levels deep into your personal shithole), second by confusing generalities with specifics of law, and third by not even understanding what you’re talking about.

              You’ve had some decent comments, and of course I knew you weren’t a lawyer when I asked the rhetorical question, and nobody gives a shit where you live. That was used to point out the bullshit of your inept attempt to defend yourself in your second comment, which sailed over your head.

              Point is, you not only went off topic, but made people stupider by doing so. I don’t give a fuck whether you’re a physicist or janitor. I do care that you not make people stupider. I also care that you not behave like a three-year-old defending your making people stupider. Your absence will be missed by no one. I hope you’re getting the message here.

            2. Miles

              My unsolicited two cents. You really need to seriously consider rejecting non-lawyers talking about law. It’s not just the stupid, but that they can’t stop fighting over the stupid. You’ve been through this a thousand times. Enough already. Just end it.

    2. Glenn Raymond Griffin

      I found this interesting, and it motivated me to look it up for my state (Florida). Since I live out here in the country, though there are sidewalks, none of the crosswalks are marked. So your comment educated me about a point of law I was unaware of. Thanks!

      1. SHG Post author

        Well then, I guess delurking should start his own blog and you will be motivated to follow him there and be educated. Two birds, one stone.

        You’ve motivated me as well. No more non-lawyer comments on law. There ya go.

        1. OtherJay

          How dare you ignore the lived experience of a non-lawyer you shitlord!

          Can we get an exception for jake?

        2. Skink

          If you find one that’s exceptionally worthy of ridicule and create an exception, my license is available as a temporary rental.

            1. SHG Post author

              I’m gonna have to check IDs at the door of this hotel pretty soon. I’m not having fun running this joint today.

    3. Lucas Beauchamp

      If I may engage in some projection, one reason our host may have disliked your comment is that the newspaper reporter understood what you did not. Deputy Corvello’s conduct has nothing to do with whether he understood the complexities of California jaywalking law. Even if Ms. Jin committed the vile crime, she did not deserve what he did.

  2. Henry Berry

    “[W]ho throws a 76-year-old woman to the ground, then does the knee to the back, putting his full weight on her, to emphasize his point?” You must be being facetious — the obvious answer is that heroes do this. If you don’t believe this, just ask the Alameda County sheriff’s office.

  3. Ahaz01

    So tired of…”use of force was within policy” even when clearly wrong and unjustified. How do we stop it when the SCOTUS has deferred so much to the discretion of an individual officer? Awful but lawful shouldn’t exist in our vernacular but sadly it is ingrained in our LE and justice system. Until the next incident…cheers.

      1. Ahaz01

        Agreed. However, apathy is a condition that’s hard to overcome. Voters seem to believe that incidents like this will never happen to them and as long as it happens to the other guy it’s just police doing their jobs. DAs that advocate reform are rarely elected and local politicians don’t want to appear soft on crime. Low information voters eat up tough on crime slogans and succumb to fear quite easily.

      2. LocoYokel

        Are they not? It seems that every time you hear of some real effort to reform (frequently started by some voter referendum) the police the unions come down on the politicians and make sure it gets killed either before it makes it on the ballot or by having the local pols pass a bill to kill it after. And let’s not even discuss the union contracts that somehow manage to supersede the law and give the cops immunities, privileges, and rights not present in the law.

        1. SHG Post author

          Police unions give endorsements and money to candidate to buy their devotion, plus say nice things about them in the papers when their pols give them blow jobs. Voters don’t have to acquiesce. But they do. All the time. That’s democracy in action. And the only time that voters seem to be willing to buck the norm is when they go off the rails the other direction, but then, they’re still off the rails.

        2. Steve Magas

          I’m confused – is this the 87 yr old lady in the tactical Camo Babushka who was Tased while cutting dandelions in Georgia?
          And what about those furtive movements??
          For all we know she was an Elder ninja

  4. losingtrader

    Thanks for criticizing delurking. You made me look up the law in Nevada,
    and every intersection is an unmarked crosswalk with pedestrian right-of-way.

    I’m going to get RICH being hit by cars. I can’t wait to go test this out.

          1. Kirk Taylor

            Great. Now I need a lawyer to tell me if it’s okay before I cross the street. This is going to cost even more than what I already spend on lawyer fees before I post anything on the internet.

            1. Steven Magas

              In my new app, which I’m going to call “SnapWalk” you can put me on retainer for any walking done in Ohio… I’ll take PayPal – $50/intersection… Just send me a SnapWalk photo of the proposed ambulatory crossway & I’ll offer up an immediate completely non-binding legal opinion of your options, which could change in a heartbeat based on a change in circumstances…

  5. Black Bellamy

    Deputy Corvello is smart in some ways. Like not having his picture all over the easily searchable social media networks. Also smart enough not to post under his name on the many police forums. What is interesting is how much he gets paid to beat up deaf people:

    Regular pay: $105,436.00
    Overtime pay: $205,499.00
    Other pay: $8,458.00
    Total pay: $319,393.00

    That info is three years old too. So just multiply by 1.2 or something.

    1. SHG Post author

      In looking for his pic, I saw that and decided not to post it, as it’s utterly irrelevant to what he did here. But I don’t feel strongly enough about it to stop you from posting it.

      1. Patrick Maupin

        If he really earned that overtime and isn’t simply a thief as well as a thug, and if overtime is paid at time and a half, he must be working over 90 hours a week, enough to make anybody tired and cranky.

        1. OtherJay

          I’m sure those overtime hours working security at sporting events really cuts into his family time, poor guy.

  6. Nemo

    There are reasons galore for why things like this happen, but one significant one, IMO, is that the press has bought into police doublespeak; hook, line, and sinker. All the sheriff needed to say is “it’s within policy”, and interest withers. Same thing goes with the rest of the official proclamations. How often do PDs stonewall after promising ‘transparency’, regarding something controversial?

    It’d be nice to see a headline from around there; ‘Local sheriff’s policy allows police to arrest deaf people for not hearing orders?’, or something like that. But there’s that wishful thinking stuff again, as though reporters would do such a thing, in a world where words have no meaning.

    Well, the world may be going to hell in a bucket, but I’m gonna keep on trying to enjoy the ride. Optimism may not pay, but pessimism always costs, when it comes to ways of looking at life.



    P.S. I considered risking a music link, up above, but still can’t decide if it should be “Dead Puppies” or “I Eat Cannibals”, so I guess we all dodged a bullet.

    1. SHG Post author

      The public tends to feel badly when they read/hear about someone with a disability, especially kids, harmed by cops. And then they go back to sleep. From the cop’s perspective the problem is usually framed as “do I wait for the person to kill me because I don’t know if they didn’t hear my order to drop the weapon or do I save my own life at the risk of their being deaf, which I can’t tell because it’s not like you can see that someone is deaf”?

      This case strays from the usual story, which is why I wrote about it. Not that it will be an epiphany for anyone.

    2. Marty

      One optimistic perspective: Ms. Hui’s grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s college tuition will likely be fully funded from the settlement by Alameda County and its generous taxpayers!

      1. SHG Post author

        Provided she doesn’t spend it on a condo in Boca. It’s hard to pinpoint, but I wouldn’t expect any huge recovery here.

  7. kemn

    Are we sure she didn’t threaten him by making a gesture?

    Maybe he felt in fear for his life because he believed her gesture meant she was going to cut his ears off?

    She should be grateful he didn’t feel the need to draw his weapon and shoot her, repeatedly, in the back, while she lay on the ground under his knee, because he was afraid for his life.

    “Corvello’s use of force to be within policy.” – my lily white, cis-gendered arse! That’s the real pisser. Any bets that this never goes to court, probably some arbitrary settlement, and the deputy responsible never sees any meaningful punishment (meaningful means that if he ever ends up in a similar situation, he doesn’t repeat his errors)

      1. Frank

        I like the idea used in Mad Magazine’s parody of McCloud: Transfer him to meter maid, and require him to wear the uniform.

    1. ShootingHipster

      Pointing at your ear, clasping your hands together, and bowing your head are all furtive gestures. She ought to have known this.

      1. Henry Berry

        The good officer probably thought the woman was making a gang gesture toward him, triggering panic in him.

  8. B. McLeod

    I blame this on bad Kung Fu movies, wherein elderly Asian people very commonly bow just before they kick the living crap out of someone. The officer had probably seen a bunch of those, and just assumed he was in peril of his life. This is why movie producers should learn to be more careful about stamping out those stereotypical chop-sockey flicks, and they probably ought to include some kind of disclaimer, pointing out to viewers who work in law enforcement that these are highly choreographed works of fiction, and not indicative of common behaviors of elderly Asians in general.

  9. Guitardave

    SHG, “I’m gonna have to check IDs at the door of this hotel pretty soon. I’m not having fun running this joint today”

    Come on man, LIGHTEN UP! I lurked here for a few months before I had the balls to say anything. ( and you busted’em as soon as i did, which i WAS ready for, BTW) The fact is, I’ve read every post (and a ton of old ones) since i found you. Its because I find your logic, intellect, sense of humor, and the willingness to own up to what you say more than just refreshing…it’s like a tank of oxygen for some noob halfway up K2.
    Other blogs i used to follow just didn’t get to the point, were cult-ish, and had an obvious agenda….hell, I could deconstruct their faulty logic, and 99% of the comments were like a drunken wrestling match between Billy Bob and Barleycorn, with idiot emoticon cheerleader chicks on the sidelines, AND a couple of Jake’s thrown in for fun….ugh!
    Here is the low-down…you say things that make me go…OH!..OK!….little “light bulb” moments, and making me look up def’s of the secret code of lawyers. ( fucking Latin…its like a pair of whacked out sisters i used to know, they made up their own language so they could rip on ya without leaving the room)
    Now here’s the feelz…and I DON’T have a problem with this, but…you make me feel quite stupid…BillyBob, and others, make me feel smart, and barleycorn makes me feel ….a, well…not as batshit cray-cray as i sometimes fear i am. One other thing, YOU chose to have a publicly accessible blawg…. WTF did you think would happen? I’m sure you know better than I what many great men have said about speaking the truth. So suck it up brother….your the meat in this mulligan stew..and when you deconstruct a moron, it truly helps us non-lawyer morons… and some of us really appreciate that. I would be quite sad if you over-moderated this joint, so DON”T! Now here’s a little tune from one of the best.

    1. RB

      tldr: thanks for your continued efforts at leaving the world less stupid than you found it.

      Agreed! If the original post were attending class, the comments are homework that solidify the lesson and fix misconceptions.
      Really stupid ideas also seem to be less unique than really good ones, so for every post you respond to is hopefully also fixing several doppelgangers.
      At any rate, you have at least two people that appreciate the effort.

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