NYPD Officer Punished for Speaking Spanish

June 24, 2013 | Andy Cush

Is it possible that the NYPD’s apparent disdain for Hispanic people extends to members of its own force? In May, officer Jessica Guzman was issued a department reprimand after speaking one sentence of conversational spanish to a colleague who had addressed her in the same language. The interaction was so insignificant, Guzman says she doesn’t even remember what it was about.

Surprisingly, the supervising officer who issued the slap on the wrists was actually within his right–the department has a little known rule requiring officers to “speak English while they are conducting business for the department unless speaking a foreign language is a necessary component to performing their duties and responsibilities,” according to the Daily News.

The policy seems geared towards making sure things like official announcements and orders are made in English, and explicitly specifies that “common-sense type situations such as a cursory greeting to a co-worker” are okay. Apparently, the department has only recently started enforcing the policy, and some within the police community are worried it will be used to discriminate against Hispanic cops. “It used to be a joke, when white supervisors went around and said, ‘Hey, speak English,’” said National Latino Officers Association Director Anthony Miranda, a retired NYPD cop. “Now they’ve made it a rule.”

(Photo: Ed Yourdon/Flickr)