If you don’t watch Telemundo, you might not know the name Maria Celeste Arraras. She appears on “Al Rojo Vivo” on Telemundo and on the “Today” show and she is called the “Katie Couric of Spanish television.” Earlier this week in Today’s Lady News, I reported that on May 28 in Miami, Arraras was allegedly the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her boyfriend. According to The New York Daily News (in an article tastelessly titled “Latina TV Host Maria Celeste Stars In Own Abuse Saga”), a police report of the incident said the boyfriend, Raul Quintana, hit Arraras several times, pulled her by her hair and threw her on the floor.
That alleged assault would be horrifying enough for most women. But the blog Tiger Beatdown has posted a transcript of Arraras’ 911 call to report the alleged incident and the operator’s dismissive treatment of a panicky Arraras is straight-up galling. Like, Amelia actually gasped when she read it.This is a transcript of Arraras’ 911 call to the Miami-Dade Police Department, which was published in the print version of The New York Daily News — but not online — according to blogger C.L. Minou at Tiger Beatdown:
Operator: Miami Dade, where is your emergency?
Arraras: Please send the police to [redacted] right now. Somebody is about to kill me. Please.
Operator: What are they doing?
Arraras: Choking me. Please hurry.
Operator: They are choking you?
Operator: Ma’am, you are on the phone; they are not choking you. What did they do?
Arraras: They just hit me and tried to choke me. Please.
Operator: Who did that to you?
Arraras: Somebody that lives with me.
Operator: Okay then, who is that somebody? Let’s not be silly. Ma’am, answer my question.
Arraras: I have three kids here.
Operator: And who is this someone that tried to kill you?
Arraras: It’s somebody that I’m dating, that lives here … please, could you send somebody right away?
Operator: Okay, ma’am. Hello. Instead of just saying hurry up, why don’t you answer the question?
Arraras: Listen to me, I have to go because he’s trying to get back in. Could you please…
Operator: So the person is outside?
Arraras: Outside, but not for long.
Operator: So, he lives there with you?
Arraras: Are you sending somebody right now?
Operator: I said, yes, if you would have listened instead of just talking. Okay.
Wow. That’s pretty bad. Even if it’s a partial or edited transcript, it’s bad. “If you would have listened instead of just talking”? What is this, kindergarten?
Is this 911 operator power-tripping or something? His or her job is just to get details to relay to the police/fire/EMT and that entails keeping the panicked person on the phone calm, which is it difficult to see happening with such snotty questions like, “Instead of just saying hurry up, why don’t you answer the question?” Can you imagine a 911 operator talking that way to a parent who just saw his child swallow poison or an old lady watching her husband have a heart attack?
My suspicion is that this particular 911 operator does not take domestic violence calls very seriously. But considering the nature of domestic violence in general — seconds wasted criticizing the panicked caller could easily be time for the situation to escalate and become more violent — to be this dismissive is unforgivably ignorant behavior. This person should be fired.
(As a side note, Arraras has since retracted the allegation that her boyfriend hit her. Is that the truth? Or is it another case of a woman changing her story later to protect her guy because he has apologized, etc. etc.? Who knows. Regardless of what happened that night, the phone call was inappropriately handled.)