A suburban New York police department is taking steps to end a discriminatory practice where personnel belonging from minority groups were categorized in a rather racist manner.
The Nassau County Police Department recently announced it is scrapping codes in an internal spreadsheet where Asian officers were denoted with the letter “Y” – apparently for “yellow.”
Besides Asian-American officers, the authorities also reportedly immediately changed the designation the department had used for other ethnic groups, such as “I” for Native Americans or American Indians.
Meanwhile, other codes based on race, such as “B” for black, “W” for white and “H” for Hispanic will apparently remain the same.
The matter came to attention when the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) got their hands on public-records requests for policies and data from various police departments around the state.
"These derogatory designations don't only represent slurs against members of the department, they also raise questions about the way the police department thinks about Asian-Americans and the communities they are sworn to protect," NYCLU Lead Policy Council Michael Sisitzky said in a statement.
According to a detective, Lieutenant Richard LeBrun, the spreadsheet system was about 25 years old and “in no way has the use of these letters reflected any bias toward our Asian American or Native American residents.”
“The Nassau County Police Department strives to protect all of its residents, regardless of race, color, gender and religion,” he said in a statement.
LeBrun said the department would go over all the data that was brought to light by NYCLU and work towards eradicating such practices.
At a time when tensions between law enforcement officials and minority communities are running high, it is extremely important to tackle systemic racism with in the police departments.
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