Latino group challenges NYPD's English-only rule

June 25, 2013 1:51:40 PM PDT
The National Latino Officers Association leveled some serious allegations over the NYPD's English-only workplace rule.

"This policy, which the NYPD implemented, is clearly targeted toward officers who have filed complaints of discrimination and is clearly issued as retaliation against Latino officers," Anthony Miranda of the NLOA said.

The department insists the policy is in place to allow proper supervision, but that critics call a "racist throwback."

"While the police department is in the process of changing and having diversity, they are latching onto the old policies of discrimination and try to enforce them at this time," Miranda said.

Miranda claims at least 8 female officers have filed complaints about English-only reprimands, including most recently officer Jessenia Guzman at the 24th precinct on the Upper West Side.

She claims a lieutenant placed the letter of reprimand in her file after she responded to a co-workers brief personal comment in Spanish. Guzman had previously filed EEOC complaints against that same Lieutenant.

"We have identified the 24 as allocation where police officers have been told they cannot speak any other language but English," Emmanuel Gonzalez, of the New York chapter of LOA, said.

Despite the growing diversity of the city's population, even within the NYPD one in three officers is now Hispanic, Mayor Michael Bloomberg defends the "English-only" rule as practical.

"In America, in New York, I think it's fair to say that the majority of people speak English and so that's the language that we have to communicate in," Bloomberg said.