Today, a lawsuit was filed in federal court against the NYPD on behalf of five limited English proficient (LEP) New Yorkers. The plaintiffs, all crime victims, were denied the services of an interpreter by the officers handling their cases, in spite of official City and NYPD policies to provide translation assistance and federal and City laws defending access to police services. As a result, the lawsuit claims, LEP individuals often find themselves unable to report crimes and unable to rely on the NYPD for protection. In some instances, LEP victims of domestic violence with English-proficient abusers were unable to communicate their situation to the responding officers and received no assistance. In addition, the complaint alleges that NYPD officers not only fail to provide translation services, but also degrade and demean LEP individuals because of their language skills.
The plaintiffs in the case are represented by Legal Services NYC. ECBAWM’s Matt Brinckerhoff is co-counsel on the case.