On May 30, Deisy Garcia filed a police report saying she feared her husband would kill her and their two daughters. According to the NYPD, that report was never translated from Spanish into English for further review.
On January 18, according to authorities, Garcia and her daughters were stabbed to death in their Queens apartment by Garcia’s ex-husband and the girls’ father, Miguel Mejia-Ramos.
The department says officers at the murder scene filed their own report, but they have no explanation for what happened to Garcia’s two reports from months earlier.
“I knew about the police report, and I knew about the police showing up at the house previously on one of the times where Deisy had called the police because she had been the victim of domestic violence,” said Roger Asmar, the Garcia’s family attorney. “But we did not know that every time Deisy filled out a report – every time she went to the precinct or the cops came to the house – no one actually translated the text into English, so, apparently no one looked into it.”
“She said when her husband came home, he threatened to kill her. She was crying so she called the police and told them that her husband had threatened to kill her,” said Sara Alvarado, Garcia’s aunt, who was present during the police visit that time.
“At about 2:40 am my husband came home and assaulted me, he pulled my hair and kicked me twice, then grabbed my phone. After he did that, I called the police, but he changed and ran out taking a phone that is not mine with him. Today in the morning, he was threatening me that he would take away my daughters,” Garcia reported in a domestic incident report written in Spanish.
Mejia-Ramos allegedly told prosecutors he’d been drinking when he got home on the night of January 18. He went through his wife’s phone and Facebook account and saw a photo of her with another man, according to the Queens district attorney’s office. Mejia-Ramos then said he grabbed a knife and stood over Garcia and allegedly stabbed his wife multiple times before entering his daughters’ bedroom where he gave each of them a hug and a kiss, and stabbed them as he asked for their forgiveness.
“If the police had done something, this tragedy could have been avoided — my daughter would be alive.”
Before Garcia filed her domestic-abuse report in May, an organization that serves “limited English proficient” domestic-violence victims filed a lawsuit against the city on behalf of six other Latina women. The group claims that the NYPD denies interpreters to limited-English speakers, depriving “them of access to NYPD services.”
“Not only does the NYPD fail to provide language assistance, it also degrades, ridicules and otherwise mistreats limited English proficient individuals who request interpreter services, actively demeaning them for their lack of English proficiency,” according to the lawsuit.
“The NYPD has more foreign-language-speaking officers than any police department in the country, including thousands of Spanish-speaking officers,” said Nicholas Paolucci, spokesman for the New York City Law Department.
“Also, the NYPD has a corps of 19,000 members of the service who can provide interpretation services in over 70 languages.”