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Thug Mistakes Sign Language for Gang Signs; Stabs Deaf Friends

Thug Mistakes Sign Language for Gang Signs; Stabs Deaf Friends

Barbara Lee (left) and Marco Ibanez (Photo courtesy of the Broward Sheriff's Office)

Orlando Sentinel via YellowBrix

May 12, 2011

MIRAMAR — Two hearing-impaired men are recovering from stab wounds they suffered when a patron of a Hallandale Beach bar apparently mistook their sign language for gang signs.

Neither Alfred Stewart nor the other man, whose name could not be confirmed, could be reached for comment on Tuesday, four days after the attack at Ocean’s Eleven Lounge. But Stewart’s mother, Brenda Stewart, had a lot to say.

She is still livid over the incident that sent her 31-year-old son to the hospital, where he spent more than two days. A knife wound across the upper left side of his back required about 20 stitches to close.

“If I was there [at the bar], things would’ve been really ugly,” said Stewart, 51, of Miramar. “I don’t know if they were drunk or stupid, but how can you confuse sign language as a gang sign?”

According to Stewart, her son met up with several of his friends for a birthday get-together — not his — on Friday night at the bar in the 800 block of Federal Highway.

Most of the friends are graduates of Miami Central High School in Miami-Dade, where they took classes for the hearing impaired.

Alfred Stewart told his mother that a woman approached the group at the bar and yelled at them, but since they could not comprehend what she was saying, they paid little attention to her. The woman left the bar and returned moments later with a man carrying a knife.

“He doesn’t remember much [about] what happened,” Brenda Stewart said of her son. “He only remembers everyone fighting and then he ran to the bathroom, where he noticed blood all over his shirt.”

Stewart’s son, who became deaf following an illness when he was 4, was resting at home on Tuesday with a sore back. He works for a Coral Gables restaurant, she said.

A woman who answered the phone at Ocean’s Eleven on Tuesday said the bar’s bouncer tried to break up the fight but was hit on the head with a beer bottle. The bouncer, who was not seriously hurt, was back at work the next evening, added the woman, who declined to give her name.

She said police arrived quickly and arrested the man and woman who started the fight.

“What happened here was stupid, very stupid,” she said before hanging up.

Hallandale Beach police charged Barbara Lee, 45, with aggravated battery causing bodily harm, two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and probation violation, according to court records.

They also arrested Marco Ibanez, 19, who is charged with one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Both were listed as incarcerated at the Broward County Main Jail on Tuesday afternoon.

Hallandale Beach police could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. They told other news outlets that the suspects believed the victims had been flashing gang signs.

Shana Williams, a psychologist at the Center for Hearing and Communication in Fort Lauderdale, called the incident “bizarre.” She said it is not rare, however, for hearing-impaired people to be caught up in angry confrontations.

“Most of the time it’s someone thinking they are being made fun of through sign language, or being mimicked,” she said. “But I’ve never heard of something that has led to such violence.”

  • 1asteriskshield_ezr_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Stupid people do stupid things. It's a shame folks such as this are allowed to procreate.

  • 582602_3283682777720_334551836_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Yes Traffic,I noticed that, thought the moron was blowing kisses. Maybe the story could have been turned around to Death Students Beat up Guy for throwing up Kisses and Passes at them.

  • Car_004_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I have heard of incidents like this before, to bad a off duty cop wasn't there enjoying a cold soda when these idiots came in.

  • 20552_1343137337912_1215571721_31006460_5991340_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    What a couple of idiots. Is it just me, or does Marco have a pretty mouth? LOL

  • Hpim1329_max50


    over 3 years ago


    What scum. Both of them look like the turds they are.

  • Meangreen01_max50


    over 3 years ago


    In a truly fair world, their tongues would be cut out and they'd be forced to learn sign language... they're lucky we live in an unfair, and often liberal, world.

  • Profile_pic_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Ignorance, stupidity and alcohol do not mix

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    over 3 years ago


    At a loss for words on this one ......

  • Cot_max50


    over 3 years ago


    i had no idea that dumb and dumber were in a gang! the 45 year old left and came back with a 19 year old? must be a mother - son gang!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Why is it that most trouble makers in bars and clubs seem to be the probationers or parolees? The truth is; they just haven't learned their lesson yet! These are areas where conditions of probation/parole should be strict and not be allowed. I can't tell you how many times I have been on calls where probationers and parolees were the spotlight in incidents, and proceed to act like a little "know it all" because they have spent time in the yard and law library and read a few outdated books. Glad the subjects were captured and held for justice in this case.

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Best wishes for the victims to fully recover. I hope that the court will give these lowlifes the maximum penalities afforded by law.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    This is not new, there were similar incidents in California, in or near LA several years ago, and an incident in Seattle, WA. I do have sympathy for the hearing impaired victims, as they have now been completely victimized by a medical condition not of their choosing; by thugs and gang members. My very own personal opinion about gangs and their members is that they should be placed into the Federal Terrorist database and be treated and considered as "homegrown terrorists". It is a simple fact that where gangs are located, they do in fact terrorize the local populace who live in or near the gangs so-called "truf".

  • Academyrun_014_max50


    over 3 years ago


    And we live among these type of people.....Some times its embarrasing to be human.....I hope the victim makes a full recovery.

  • Half_dome_yosemite_national_park_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • 2008_masonic_coin_max50


    over 3 years ago


    45 year old gang banger? What a loser! Anything else I have to say may be deemed inapropriate.

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