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?’"
News of the football caper comes on the heels of controversy over cops videotaped dancing and gyrating during the annual West Indian American Day Carnival Parade. Police officials are reviewing the tape of the Labor Day weekend incident, which shows cops happily grinding their hips into the backsides of scantily clad dancers at the Brooklyn parade.
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.
Both face significantly stiffer penalties if they are found guilty of charges that they “did fail and neglect to remain alert, to wit: throwing and catching a football with three uniformed members of service…while maintaining a foot post.”
Their lawyer, Eric Sanders, said the NYPD needs to rethink its definition of community policing.
"I think the Police Department prefers its officers to be an occupying force rather than interacting with the community it serves," Sanders said.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne did not respond to a request for comment.
Diaz said she’s taking a stand on principle.
"There’s a lot of negativity toward police," she said. "I want kids in the community to look at us in a positive way."
Alleged child abductor Randall Peter Hopley, 46, arrived at court in Cranbrook, B.C., early Wednesday morning to face charges in the alleged kidnapping of three-year-old Kienan Hebert last week.
Hopley was spotted being transferred from an RCMP vehicle around 8 a.m. PT. He is expected to appear briefly in court to face charges of kidnapping and abduction of a person under age 14.
On Tuesday morning Hopley was arrested with the assistance of police dogs as he was running from an abandoned cabin at a bible camp in the Crowsnest Lake area in Alberta near the B.C. border.
Hopley, 46, is accused of abducting Kienan Hebert from his home in Sparwood last Wednesday. Kienan was returned unharmed to his family home on Sunday morning.
Court documents indicate Hopley has already been charged with two counts of breach of probation. One of the breaches is alleged to have occurred last Wednesday, and the other on Monday.
9/11 - Ten Years Later by Constable Sandra Glendinning (Vancouver PD)
We all have a story from that fateful morning.
Of where we were. Of what we were doing. Of the memories.
Some from the East coast of Canada took in those stranded by re-routed planes – God bless you. Others tried contacting friends and loved ones in the stricken areas. Still others were there, at Ground Zero.
For most of us, though, our memories revolve around watching the day unfold on television.
I was attending the Vancouver Police Department’s Homicide Conference in downtown Vancouver, and the morning of September 11th found me shoulder to shoulder with dozens of police officers from all over North America as we watched the big screens in the hotel lobby.
The first tower fell, and we pressed closer together in an unconscious effort to drawn comfort from one another. When the second tower fell, we spread apart, milling about, not sure what to do with our overwhelming emotions.
Ten years later, I still think about those who were lost – who they were, what they believed in, and what they stood for. First responders – fire fighters, police officers and paramedics – were doing what they did best, and they died trying to make a difference.
Citizens went out of their way to help others in dire need, and strangers reached out to one another.
A plane full of people took charge of their own fate, and likely saved hundreds of innocent lives in the process.
May we never forget.
Where were you?
MONTREAL — Some amateur video shot on The Main has put the Montreal police in the spotlight again for its apparent use of excessive force.
Police were called to St-Laurent Blvd. near the corner of Prince Arthur St. late Wednesday night to deal with a case of public drunkenness.
Robert Bugeag was out that night, saw the commotion and began recording it with his mobile phone.
The video appears to show police using a billy club on one person, and then using pepper spray.
"They didn’t seem to have control at that point, because I think there were three cops and maybe four other people who were arguing and screaming at them, and of course all the other civilians that were around," Bugeag said Friday. "So they seemed to be out numbered."
Later in the video, a woman is crouched near the person who had been pepper sprayed. A police officer appears to be asking her to move away, then grabs her and pushes her into a bicycle post.
"At that point he pushed her so yes, she actually hit the post and with the bicycle there," Bugeag said. "After that she was complaining that she hit a rib and was in a bit in pain."
The police say they are looking into the incident.
"Montreal police is analyzing the event to be sure that the right actions are taken," said Chief Inspector Patrick Lalonde.
That analysis will attempt to determine whether the level of force seen in the video was appropriate, but Lalonde stressed that civilians need to allow the police to work.
"We always ask the citizens who are witnesses to police intervention to step away and let police officers do their job," he said.
However, in Bugeag’s eyes, not much more analysis of the event is required.
"For me was it excessive," he said, "maybe a little bit."
Always Remembered ♥
We all remember exactly where we were when tragedy struck on September 11th, 2001. Many of us lost a loved one, or know somebody who did on that day. But tonight, as the tenth anniversary approaches, we pay tribute to the victims that many of us never saw: the 3,000 children who lost their mother or their father on that day. 9/11 touched children of all ages, backgrounds, and religions. They are the living legacy and enduring light of 9/11. Tonight, we salute these remarkable individuals. This is their story.