By PoliceOne Staff
NEW YORK — Two NYPD officers are challenging the disciplinary action taken against them for throwing a football with a child at a Bronx housing project.
Officers Catherine Guzman and Mariana Diaz say they were humiliated by the commanding officer of the Bronx Housing Bureau for playing the game last year on the Fourth of July, according to the New York Daily News.
"He was irate and berated us in front of everyone," Guzman said. "He said, 'What are you doing? Do you realize you are on overtime?'"
Four officers were involved in the incident, and two accepted a penalty of two vacation days, but Guzman and Diaz are appealing the ruling.
Charges against them say 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." Both will receive harsher penalties if found guilty.
Lawyer Eric Sanders said the NYPD needs to rethink how it defines 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.
"I don't think throwing a football to a 7-year-old boy is misconduct," Guzman said. "We were interacting with the community."