When Deisy Garcia was threatened by her husband, she filed a report with her local police precinct. Then she and her children were murdered–and critics believe they'd still be alive if police had translated her report, which she wrote in Spanish.
Garcia, who lived in Queens, filed her first report against her husband, Miguel Mejia-Ramos, after he assaulted her in May. Such reports are required by law, and instructions on the forms are written in English and Spanish. Since Garcia was a Guatemalan immigrant she elected to file hers in her native language. In it, she said she feared he might kill her or their children. She filed a second report in November, also in Spanish, although it did not mention the same fears for her life.
Neither report was translated until January, by which point it was too late: Garcia and her two daughters had all been fatally stabbed. Mejia-Ramos was later apprehended in Texas as he attempted to make his way to his native Mexico. Speaking to the New York Post, Garcia's brother said the bureaucratic failure is at least partially to blame for his sister's death:
Garcia's brother José Garcia, 19, added, "When someone comes to them with a problem but only speaks Spanish, find someone who speaks Spanish. "They're supposed to help us no matter who we are. My sister and her kids might still be alive if they had done their jobs."
The NYPD is required by law to translate any reports written in foreign languages–a rule about which authorities reminded all precincts after Garcia's death. The department is looking into software to automatically translate foreign-language reports.
[Image via AP]