Deaf US driver shot dead by the police during traffic stop

MIAMI (AFP) - The authorities in the southern United States state of North Carolina said on Monday (Aug 23) they are investigating the death of a deaf man who was fatally shot after a trooper tried to pull him over for speeding.

Mr Daniel Harris, 29, who used sign language to communicate, led trooper Jermaine Saunders on an 13km chase on Thursday that started on an interstate highway and ended outside his home in Charlotte, local television station WSOC reported.

The driver exited his vehicle in the neighbourhood and an "encounter took place" that led to a shot being fired, North Carolina State Highway Patrol spokesman Michael Baker said in a statement.

The driver died at the scene, Sergeant Baker said. No weapon was recovered from Mr Harris, the State Bureau of Investigation told WSOC.

Officer Saunders has been placed on administrative leave while investigators review evidence, including dashboard and body camera videos.

A neighbour called the shooting "totally unacceptable".

"He didn't even hear the siren, he didn't hear anything... You're pulling someone over who is deaf, they are handicapped," Mr Mark Barringer told WSOC.

Mr Harris' family has launched an online fundraiser to pay for funeral expenses.

Leftover money "will be used to set up a foundation in his name to educate and provide law enforcement proper training on how to confront deaf people", the family's YouCaring.com fundraising page said.

They hoped to change drivers' registration systems so that a "deaf" alert will show up when police look up a car's licence plate.

"With this change, Daniel will be a hero in our deaf community," the family said.

More than US$10,000 had been raised by late Monday.