Odd Suspensions

Police officers make the news for a variety of reasons.

Obviously, not all of them positive.

But is it always bad when officers who are given suspensions, take their case to reporters?

Not in every situation, as this story details:

Even before the NYPD was embroiled in a dustup over dirty dancing, four cops got caught up in a Fourth of July football-throwing fiasco, the Daily News has learned.

Two of the officers are fighting the discipline raps they received for tossing around a football with a young boy at a Bronx housing project - charging oversensitivity from police brass jeopardizes community relations.

"I don't think throwing a football to a 7-year-old boy is misconduct," said Officer Catherine Guzman, a 17-year veteran of the force. "It was the Fourth of July, it was 96 degrees out and we were interacting with the community.


"Everybody was happy," she added.

That is, everybody except Deputy Chief James McNamara, the commanding officer of the Bronx Housing Bureau. He witnessed the football tossing and gave the cops a dressing-down worthy of Vince Lombardi.

"He was irate and berated us in front of everyone," Guzman recalled. "He said, 'What are you doing? Do you realize you are on overtime?'"...

The four officers involved in the 2010 football-throwing incident at the Webster Houses were slapped with command disciplines, and two accepted a penalty of two vacation days.

But Guzman and Officer Mariana Diaz are appealing the ruling and taking their case to the department trial room.

Suspended for throwing a football with a seven-year-old boy in your zone?

Yikes.

Police officers simply can't be effective crime fighters if they are seen as faceless storm troopers who never have positive interactions with the community.  Under most circumstances, throwing a ball with a child "on the clock" is not something that should be discouraged.

With it now in the media, I think police administrators will be highly scrutinized by the public for this apparent case of injustice against the pigskin throwing officers.

I'd expect the charges to be reduced or even dropped.

____________________________

Have a good weekend everyone.

19 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

"Pigskin throwing cops" lol, love it.

Clarissa Draper said...

Please tell me McNamara was just having a bad day because it's ridiculous what he did. I hope they can appeal it successfully.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

That stinks. I realize it's totally different, but I did juvenile probation for 5 years and we were encouraged to interact as much as possible in the community - on the clock. So I often attended my kids' basketball or football games, and once took one of my probation kids horseback riding. It was an enticement for them to do well, and gave them support where they weren't getting any.

Matthew MacNish said...

Ridiculous.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I think it's the Deputy Chief who needs talking to, especially for berated the cops in public like that.

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah the berating should definetly be the other way around, that's just pathetic.

Katherines Corner said...

UGH! Sending big hugs and sincere wishes for a weekend filled with joy, Katherine

Little Ms. Fun said...

That is beyond crazy! Sounds like McNamara was flexing his power muscles for all the wrong reasons.

julie fedderson said...

And then they wonder why people feel the police don't understand--or worse, are too afraid to contact them. Kudos to those officers for making a kid feel like they were approachable.

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
Okay, now THIS qualifies as a real "WTF?" moment!

And this happened in the BRONX?
(one of the WORST areas for police to handle on the east coast)
Perhaps it shouldn;t have been on O/T..
And maybe the DC should have said something "off the streets" and behind closed doors, is he needed to.

I think rather than bring ANY reprimands against the officers, that deputy "chief" should instead be charged with an acute case of "dumbassery"!

Better to represent an active & POSITIVE force in any community, than a neck-stomping quasi-gestapo troops (as too many already perceive, erroneously at that).

The officers should be given a citizen award for their actions, if nothing else!

Good post.

Stay safe.

Christina Lee said...

There are always two sides to every story but in this case, it does sound ridiculous!

Elena said...

I don't think I ever saw a NYPD throwing a football to a kid, but I certainly wouldn't mind if I did...

Lisa said...

I certainly hope the charges are dropped. And apologies would be in order as well...but that might be asking too much.

BobKat said...

Good story, appreciated.

In some respect though it's representative of the times. In a big way, law enforcement seems to have drifted significantly from "Every Child's Friend", here "To Serve and Protect". It's my perspective that in may ways, a faceless, bureaucratic specter has been created.

Police are fighting several wars. This is not to say police are impersonal or discourteous, but rather, especially since 9/11, they have become an armed forces division within the US. They carry automatic weapons, the latest in highly advanced technology, and NYC officials admitted they have the firepower to bring down an airplane, and spies in various countries.

There are many sides to this story, hope to hear more.

Thanks

secret agent woman said...

All the police brutality that goes unpunished and they penalize the cops who are doing something right? Crazy.

Amy Sullivan said...

What???

Hello, um, would that go under improving relationships in the community?

Sigh.

T.O. Geezer said...

The media seems to love tearing down police officers :-(

Have a great week :-)

& BTW, thanks for your recent comment on my WCS post. ~Ron

Momma Fargo said...

Wow. I guess I better be careful the next time I go sledding with the kids or buy lemonade from them.

missannakay said...

great post!