LATINO VOICES
02/20/2014 11:54 am ET

When You Ask The NYPD For Help In Spanish, Don't Expect Them To Save Your Life

Spencer Platt via Getty Images

The New York Police Department failed to translate a domestic abuse report given in Spanish by a woman who was later stabbed to death, according to news reports.

The NYPD's failure to translate the report has raised concerns from those who say it might have prompted police to act before Garcia and her two daughters were killed.

Deisy Garcia told police in May that she feared her ex-husband would kill her and their two daughters, Daniela and Yoselin, according to CNN. On Nov. 27, police responded to a domestic dispute at Garcia’s home, and she followed up with the precinct the next day. Garcia, who was born in Guatemala, gave the report in her native language of Spanish.

But police never translated or reviewed the reports.

"No one translated it and they just put it away or placed it into the system,” Roger Asmar, an attorney for the Garcia family, told CNN. “Three complaints were filed by Deisy, and none of the times she filed a complaint did police actually arrest Mr. Mejia, her ex-husband."

Garcia’s ex-husband, Miguel Mejia-Ramos, confessed to killing Garcia and their one and two-year-old daughters.

Mejia-Ramos was jailed without bail and placed on suicide watch after his arraignment in Queens last month. He faces first-degree murder charges.

Garcia’s case is not an isolated one. A group of six Hispanic women and the Violence Intervention Program filed a lawsuit against New York City last year accusing NYPD of discrimination for failing to provide translation when investigating domestic disputes, the New York Post reports.

“Unfortunately, we’re not surprised that something like this happened, because we know that victims of domestic violence, when they’re not able to speak English, are not able to get the protection that they need,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer Edward Josephson said this week, according to the New York Post.

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