• 911 dispatchers under fire after parody sign language video

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    FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - Two 911 dispatchers are in hot water after a parody video of a news conference about Hurricane Dorian went viral.

    The press conference parody was posted first on personal Facebook pages, but was later picked up by the Houston Black Deaf Advocates.


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    The clip showed Catherine Hammonds giving an update on Hurricane Dorian while Tamra Whitted pretended to interpret using sign language. 

    There was no part of the interpretation that was understandable, with only the words mom, dad and rain briefly appearing.

    Josie Croteau is the actual interpreter for Robeson County emergency services and provided actual sign language during the actual Hurricane Dorian press conference. 

    Crotos said she took calls from her clients who found the video both offensive and confusing.

    "The lady that was pretending to be an interpreter had on a black shirt and interpreters' code of ethics, we are supposed to wear dark colored shirts that are skin contrasting. So it caused a little bit of confusion and some people in the deaf community thought she was hired, that this was an actual broadcast. And they didn't realize this was a farse and that their language was being made fun of," Croteau told WTVD.

    Tonight, the city of Lumberton released a statement, saying the city "disapproves of the video" and that, "It was a serious error in judgment."

    The city said both employees still have their jobs and will undergo training from the North Carolina Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
     


     

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