Should the police be allowed to be your friendly neighbor?
If that means tossing around a football with a 7-year-old while they are on duty, then perhaps not. Four members of the New York police department were patrolling the Webster Houses in the Bronx last summer when they came across a scene worth checking out.
"It was the Fourth of July, it was 96 degrees out and we were interacting with the community," said Officer Catherine Guzman, a 17-year veteran of the force. "I don't think throwing a football to a 7-year-old boy is misconduct."
But that's what the football four were charged with, as they received command disciplines. Two of the four also accepted a penalty of two vacation days. And now Guzman along with fellow officer Mariana Diaz are appealing the ruling and taking the case to the departmental trial room, according to the New York Daily News.
As a post on Gawker notes, how long the four remained playing football is unclear. But their upcoming case will turn on whether the police "did fail and neglect to remain alert," according to police codes.
Taking note of where the Bronx football case fits in with the current atmosphere between the police and citizens in New York City, a post at New York magazine's website went with the headline: "Cops Can Dry Hump the Locals, But Can't Throw Them a Football." The New York-based weekly magazine was referring to another incident that drew wide attention in New York from this past summer. The celebration for West Indian cultures and communities, held over the Labor Day weekend, gained notoriety when a video surfaced showing policemen "dancing, grinding, and outright humping some barely clothed women," as New York put it.
No one was disciplined, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg seemed content that his force was interacting with the community.
"[It's] great advertisement for New York [and] it sends the message that police officers are our friends, not our enemies," he said, according to a separate report from New York.