ARLINGTON, Va. — Court documents show that the Department of Justice has launched an investigation of how the Arlington County jail cares for deaf inmates.

The investigation follows a federal lawsuit by an inmate who says his requests for a sign-language interpreter were ignored during a six-week stay.

The inmate, Abreham Zemedagegehu (zeh-MAY’-deh-geh-GAY’-hoo), alleged that medical procedures were performed without his consent and that his jailers failed to communicate basic details to him.

Susie Doyel, a spokeswoman for the county sheriff’s office, said the DOJ investigation is the result of a specific complaint Zemedagegehu submitted to the Justice Department. The jail has defended its treatment of deaf inmates.

The Justice Department has asked that Zemedagegehu’s lawsuit be put on hold while it conducts its investigation.

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