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Family Of Brooklyn Woman Who Was Murdered In 2017 Wants Officers Found Guilty Of 'Failure To Take Police Action' Fired: 'They Have Destroyed A Family'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A family that is still in mourning says police should have done more on the day a young woman was killed.

The mother of a murder victim in Brooklyn is speaking out, and it's not just the suspect who she says is partially responsible for the killing.

As CBS2's Christina Fan reports, Elizabeth Rivera feels the police have yet again let her daughter down.

Three years after 21-year-old Tonie Wells was murdered, the two officers suspended for failing to help her are now back on the job.

"Disappointed. I'm just at a loss for words," Rivera said.

Tonie Wells
The body of Tonie Wells was found in a basement staircase at a building in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. (Credit: CBS2)

Wells was strangled to death inside a Crown Heights brownstone on Dec. 27, 2017. Her family says she called 911 several times that morning, afraid her husband was going to kill her.

Officers Wing Hong Lau and Wael Jaber were sent to check out the domestic violence call, but they never got out of their car to help.

"All these people out here that are saying they're serving and they're protecting us. They're not protecting us. They're not doing anything for us. It's a disgrace," said Katherine Rivera, the victim's aunt.

Officers found Wells' body in the basement an hour later after a neighbor heard the victim's young daughter crying and called 911.

Prosecutors later charged her husband with murder.

But her family says the NYPD is equally responsible.

"I hope today these two officers are watching and know what they have done to my family. They have destroyed a family," Katherine Rivera said.

The NYPD suspended both officers for 30 days without pay in 2017. They were found guilty of "failure to take police action" and "failure to properly investigate."

But instead of losing their jobs, the cops were placed on probation for a year.

Wells' mother is vowing to fight.

"Even though there are days where I feel like giving up, I will never give up. Never give up. As long as I'm breathing, I'm gonna fight," Elizabeth Rivera said.

The family says they will settle for nothing less than termination.

The NYPD told CBS2 it is not allowed to share information because of the active court order. The victim's husband, Barry Wells, is due in court March 18.

CBS2's Christina Fan contributed to this report.

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