NYPD Sued for Mocking and Arresting Spanish-Speaking Domestic Violence Victims

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Legal Services NYC filed a lawsuit on behalf of five Spanish-speaking domestic violence victims who claim that they were not provided translators, mocked and arrested instead of their abusers, reports The Daily News.

Twenty-six-year-old Staten Island resident, Arlet Macareno’s niece called 911 after finding her badly beaten in her home. When cops arrived at the scene, they ignored the victim’s request for a translator and told her husband, the alleged perpetrator, to go upstairs and sleep. Macareno also says that once she repeatedly asked for a translator, a police officer joked, "Oh si, hablo español. Goal! Goal! Mexico!"

Macareno, a Mexican immigrant, was booked and spent the night in a holding cell - barefoot. “What was my mistake? My husband beat me,” she told the newspaper. “Now, sincerely, I am very afraid to call 911. I wouldn’t report something, I don’t want to go back to the precinct. I feel traumatized.”

Another plaintiff in the case, Yanahit Padilla Torres, 26, was handcuffed to a hospital bed after trying to report her beating. Due to the language barrier, the officers in question spoke to the English-speaking abuser instead, who in turn accused her of beating him. No charges were placed against her.

Spokesperson for the NYPD, Paul Brown says that a phone translation service is available for victims. “In addition to having thousands of Spanish-speaking police officers on the job, the NYPD has recruited and enlisted members of the service in its volunteer translator program,” he said.

He also states that cops who speak a foreign language should help out. Over the years, the NYPD has made an effort to add more diversity to the force. According to their website, one out of five new recruits in the Police Academy are foreign born. Also, nearly one out of three New York City police officers are Hispanic. Despite those numbers, a report last summer claimed that 96% of students arrested by the NYPD in 2011 were Black or Latino.

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