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Security Officers Indicted in Death of Gallaudet Student

August 27, 1991

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A grand jury indicted four Gallaudet College security officers Tuesday on charges of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a deaf student.

The District of Columbia Superior Court indictment alleged that the officers used excessive force in arresting Carl Dupree, 41, of Springfield, Va., at the Washington campus of the school for the deaf last Nov. 9.

University officials said an English instructor summoned security officers after Dupree went to the professor’s office to discuss a grade and an argument erupted. The university said the officers asked Dupree to leave and arrested him when he refused.

Dupree died from asphyxiation. Police have said a choke hold may have been used while the guards tried to handcuff Dupree. Such a hold is illegal in Washington.

Dupree’s death touched off a class boycott by some students, who claimed the officers had been brutal and should not have handcuffed Dupree. Handcuffing prevented him from using sign language, they said.

Security officers are required to learn sign language when they come to work at Gallaudet, but school officials said their proficiency varies.

Dupree withdrew from Gallaudet about three weeks before his death. He had been a leader in a student movement protesting a university requirement that students pass a basic course known as English 50.

Gallaudet did not release the name of the professor with whom Dupree argued.

Indicted were security officers Bernard A. Holt, 42, James R. Rossi, 35, Paul C. Starke, 30, and Steven L. Young, 26, U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens said.

If convicted, each faces up to 15 years in prison.

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