Arlington County Sheriff's Office, DOJ Reach Settlement on Inmat

Published on November 18, 2016

(CORRECTION 11/22/2016): Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this release inadvertently left out that under the terms of the agreement reached with the Department of Justice, Abreham Zemedagegehu will receive a $250,000 payment. We regret the omission.)

  • Sheriff agrees to change policies, practices to fully comply with ADA

  • Substantial changes already implemented


The Arlington County Sheriff's Office has amended its policies and practices to ensure full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in its treatment of inmates with disabilities in a settlement reached with the Department of Justice.

The agreement settles a lawsuit brought by Abreham Zemedagegehu, a deaf Ethiopian immigrant who alleged that he was not provided appropriate accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act during a six-week stay in the County Detention Facility in 2015. The settlement includes a $250,000 payment to Zemedagegehu. The Department of Justice began an investigation in April 2015.

"The Arlington County Sheriff's Office strives to treat all individuals committed to our detention facility with dignity and respect," said Sheriff Beth Arthur. "These changes to our policies and practices will enable my staff to provide the means necessary for individuals with disabilities to benefit from all the programs and activities provided in our facility."

Substantial changes already made

Arthur noted that the Sheriff's Office began making substantial changes to its practices and policies in August 2015 to ensure compliance with the ADA. Technology in the detention facility has been upgraded to ensure that all individuals can communicate effectively. In the spring of 2016, the Sheriff's Office completed extensive ADA training for all staff and contractors. Annual ADA training will be conducted to ensure that the Sheriff's Office remains in compliance with the ADA.