NY Daily News: Several NYPD Officers Were Reprimanded for Speaking Spanish on Job

This just in from the New York Daily News:

Officer Jessenia Guzman is not the only Spanish-speaking cop to face consequence under the NYPD’s controversial English-only policy.
A total of nine Hispanic officers have been cited for running afoul of the policy, a national Latino police organization said Tuesday.
Many of the officers were hit with the official reprimands after first filing unrelated discrimination complaints, said Anthony Miranda, chairman of the National Latino Officers Association.

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This latest news, published today, was a follow-up to what the newspaper reported on Monday, which chronicled how Guzman “was issued a “memo of reprimand” after she was caught speaking Spanish while on duty.” Guzman’s actions were “a violation of an English-only workplace rule for city cops.”

Here is what the Monday article reported:

Police Officer Jessenia Guzman, a Bronx native with a bloodline to the Dominican Republic, says she was written up on May 14 for uttering a single sentence in Spanish. Guzman, 40, was working the switchboard at the 24th Precinct stationhouse on the upper West Side when she ran afoul of the little-known rule.

“It was just natural,” Guzman said, recalling the brief interaction with a colleague. “She walked by. She was going to get coffee. She said something. I responded (in Spanish). That was it.”

It seemed so inconsequential that she said she doesn’t even remember what the brief exchange was about.

Hours later, Guzman was called into a supervisor’s office and given the reprimand. It said she was “required to communicate department business in the language of English,” according to a copy obtained by The News.

“This policy is in place to allow proper supervision of personnel,” the memo signed by Lt. Richard Khalaf read.

The NYPD — which routinely touts the diversity of its force — defended the policy on Sunday.

“We’re a 24/7 operation,” said Inspector Kim Royster, an NYPD spokeswoman. “We should be speaking one voice, which is English.”

One in three NYPD officers is Hispanic. Police officials say there’s been a surge in foreign-born recruits in recent years, with one in five coming from countries outside the United States. More than 50 languages are spoken by NYPD employees.

The latest article confirmed that such decisions by the NYPD are not isolated occurrences:

Many of the officers were hit with the official reprimands after first filing unrelated discrimination complaints, said Anthony Miranda, chairman of the National Latino Officers Association.

“They used this policy of English-only to retaliate against those officers that filed complaints,” said Miranda whose group held a demonstration Tuesday after the Daily News featured Guzman in Monday’s paper.

NYPD officials could not immediately confirm the number of officers cited for breaking the English-only directive, but Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly reiterated his support for the policy Tuesday, saying that federal law dictates the rule. “It’s anti-discrimination laws that say that there is a English-only requirement in the workplace,” Kelly said, noting that the department took no disciplinary action against Guzman beyond putting the reprimand in her file.

Dennis Gonzalez, president of the NYPD Hispanic Society, denounced the rule Tuesday night, saying in a statement, “The next logical step would be to reprimand an officer of Asian descent for ordering chow fun or an officer of Greek descent for ordering a gyro.”

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