FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 20, 2015
DNA PROVES WOMAN ACCUSED OF ABANDONING NEWBORN IS INNOCENT
Belen Ramirez was Previously Arrested By LAPD on Suspicion of Abandoning Newborn Male Infant in South Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA – October 20, 2015 – According to information provided to the Los Angeles Superior Court at a hearing on September 30, 2015, a DNA test conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) shows that Belen Ramirez, 20, is not the mother of a newborn male infant that was found abandoned in South Los Angeles on August 4, 2015. Ms. Ramirez, who was previously arrested during the early morning hours of August 8, 2015 on suspicion of abandoning the newborn male infant, is no longer a person of interest in the LAPD’s investigation.
Ms. Ramirez will file a federal lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department for violating her civil rights and causing her significant emotional distress. The LAPD failed to provide Ms. Ramirez, who is deaf, an American Sign Language interpreter during her arrest, Miranda admonition, interrogation, and three-day detention despite her repeated requests for one. Ms. Ramirez can only effectively communicate with others using American Sign Language. As a result, she was unable to understand her Miranda rights and the questions LAPD detectives and police officers asked her during their interrogation.
The Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness (www.gladinc.org), a non‐profit social service organization that serves the deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind community, has helped Ms. Ramirez cope with this incident. “GLAD is appalled that this ignorance within LAPD continues to this day, in the 21st century. The deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf‐blind community continues to experience this treatment from those within law enforcement and it’s past time that LAPD learns that it is not exempt from protecting and abiding by the civil rights afforded deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf‐blind individuals,” stated Dr. Patricia Hughes, Chief Executive Officer of GLAD.
Ms. Ramirez has already filed a claim against the City of Los Angeles and the LAPD, which is the first step in the legal process. Through the lawsuit, Ms. Ramirez will seek unspecified damages and injunctive relief in the form of policy modifications in order to ensure that other deaf persons in the LAPD’s custody are provided American Sign Language interpreters when necessary to ensure effective communication. Trevor Finneman, an attorney with the law firm of Almazan & Finneman (www.alfilaw.com), represents Ms. Ramirez. “Longstanding federal and state laws require police departments to ensure effective communication in their interactions with people who are deaf or hard of hearing,” stated Mr. Finneman. “The failure of the LAPD to provide an American Sign Language interpreter for Belen Ramirez is inexcusable. Not only did the LAPD violate its own policy regarding interactions with people who are deaf or hard of hearing, it also violated federal and state laws.”