Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How many Dallas cops gave tickets to non-English speakers?

I couldn't make this stuff up; from the Dallas News:
Since 2007, at least 20 Dallas police officers from five patrol divisions have wrongly cited motorists for not speaking English, according to records.

The number of officers tied to the tickets is greater than police initially estimated. And it is likely to grow because Dallas police officials say they plan to look back several more years and include the supervisors who signed off on the tickets in the investigation for possible dereliction of duty.

Almost all of the 38 people cited for the offense – which is not a crime in Dallas – were Hispanic. None of the officers who wrote the tickets were Hispanic, records show. The officers range from rookie to 13-year veteran and wrote as many as five tickets each for not speaking English.

In five cases, the person cited paid all or a portion of the $204 fine. In the other cases, the charges were dismissed, officials said. Police initially said 39 tickets had been issued in the last few years, but Administrative Judge C. Victor Lander said one of those tickets was voided.
One could almost imagine the combination of ignorance, bigotry and departmental folklore that might combine to cause 20+ officers to give tickets for this imaginary offense, but what explains how or why the municipal courts processed guilty pleas and fines in five cases? Apparently a case of the blind judging the blind.

Kathy and I would like to drive down to Veracruz state next summer to Xalapa and I hope the Mexicans don't reciprocate and require me to demonstrate Spanish fluency. If they do, though, just like these five people did in Dallas, I'll probably just pay la mordida and move on.

If this doesn't make it into Texas Monthly's annual Bum Steer awards then Jake Silverstein and Co. just aren't paying attention.


Scott D said...

A sadder part still is the rookie likely had Field Training Officer standing by while he wrote this ticket. When I was a cop they were called "feather legged tickets" to refer to how chickensh*t they were.

What mind boggling ignorance is at work here.

Anonymous said...

Hefe '! Usted trabaja como un Muel hoy

John said...

This looks to be a lack of training and just not paying attention to the law. A CDL holder is required to be able to speak English; the report in the Dallas MN says that they were writing the tickets on computers in the car where the requirement to speak English was on a pull-down menu. No excuse and it was stupid, but it looks like that's how it happened. However, supervisors signing off on the tickets is completely unacceptable

Obsessed Grits Fan said...

Kathy and I would like to drive down to Veracruz state next summer to Xalapa...

Oh, I wouldn't be so sure of that...

Anonymous said...

No, not a lack of training. They go through a minimum 14 week academy. By the time they are through with that they ought to know better. If not they shouldn't graduate and be given a license.

Its not about training. Its about arrogance. Its an attitude of "we do it because we can".

Anonymous said...

From one of the commenters at the DMN..............

¿Si maneja en México y conseguir un billete allí, puedo asegurar que el billete no sería en Inglés. Escribir entradas en los EE.UU. en cualquier otro idioma que no sea Inglés es absurdo!

Si usted sólo habla español, mientras que viven en este gran país, yo recomiendo a aprender Inglés! Usted no tiene derecho a tener todo lo que traducido para usted.

Mi padre vino de España y aprendió a leer, escribir y hablar en Inglés. Mi madre llegó de Italia y aprendió a leer, escribir y hablar en Inglés. Tú también puedes!

Hablo español con fluidez y domina el italiano, pero no espero nada en este país para estar en cualquier idioma que no sea Inglés.


Translation of above:

If I drive in Mexico and get a ticket there, I can assure you that the ticket would not be in English. Writing tickets in the U.S. in any other language other than English is absurd!

If you speak only Spanish while living in this great country, I strongly advise you to learn English! You are not entitled to have everything translated for you.

My father came from Spain and learned to read, write, and speak in English. My mother came from Italy and learned to read, write, and speak in English. You can too!

I speak fluent Spanish and fluent Italian, but I do not expect anything in this country to be in any language other than English.

Anonymous said...

If you won't learn English...then go back to Mexico!!!!!!When we go to Mexico we try to use Spanish. Use it or lose it. We can't support the whole 'free everything, everybody' people that rip off America. America is being destroyed by 'give everybody everything'!

Anonymous said...

"If you won't learn English...then go back to Mexico!!!!!!When we go to Mexico we try to use Spanish. Use it or lose it. We can't support the whole 'free everything, everybody' people that rip off America. America is being destroyed by 'give everybody everything'!"

This type of post totally misses the point. This isn't about illegal immigrants. Its about the law. If we condone this behavior then next time a cop could decide to give someone a ticket because their eyes are brown, or maybe they just don't like the way you look so they write you a ticket.

It amazes me how many people are okay with the police breaking the law as long as someone they don't like is the victim. If we allow this to go on eventually they will get to you.

Let's see, how about a ticket if you have too much of a redneck accent. Or, how about a ticket if you have a third party candidate bumper sticker on your car. Or, how about a ticket for whatever reason the cop feels like giving you a ticket.

Come on people, pull your head out....its about the law,stupid. Do you believe that the police should abide by the law? Or does your answer depend on whose rights they are violating? If you let them get away with this, you will be next.

This has nothing to do with illegal immigraion and everything to do with the law. It amazes me how many law and order types think the law doesn't matter when ignoring it suits them.

If we let the cops make up the laws as they go, you will be next.

Hook Em Horns said...

Who cares?

sunray's wench said...

Boyness ~ do you know how much foreign money helps the US economy from tourism each year? The ability to speak English by someone visiting America is not and should not be a guaranteed thing. The above poster is right, it is not about immigration at all, it is about so many other things.

Admittedly, most Europeans speak English (many far better than us natives do), but if your are just visiting Italy or Spain or Norway, or even that big old baddie Russia, it is accepted that visitors will probably not speak the native language and efforts are made to find someone to translate - before any tickets or prosecution is brought.

And even this native English speaker has difficutly understanding and being understood sometimes while in Texas.

Anonymous said...

I'm not in any way condoning the officers behavior, but I fail to see how somebody passed the driving test with out being able to speak English. How can one be able to adhere to the road signs if they are unable to understand them?


Anonymous said...

A police officer is supposed to uphold the law and in doing so is given the benefit of the doubt in all cases when in error; they do not have crystal balls that say “quick turn the car around you just passed a bank robber.”

If in fact a pull down menu indicates that a person is required to speak English then write the ticket. The prosecutor and magistrate on the other hand should be held liable for judicial misconduct, which if it does not; it certainly should fall under the criminal statute and at a minimum the absolute possibility of disbarment.

If a person is pulled over and cannot cooperate with the officer; especially if they cannot provide ID; failure to show ID is a trip to jail for anyone if the officer is doing their job. Likewise if a police officer doesn’t have the ability to have a Spanish speaking; Vietnamese speaking; Arabic speaking, or lets just say a linguist available then the courts do.

A great deal of discussion is played out by politicians and the question is [how do we identify an illegal alien?] when in fact their shell game has nothing at all to do with anything other than self protection for their own political agenda.

The immediate thought for someone who passes by two or three hundred of them a day; watching them stand on street corners waiting for the next person who is looking to employ them for that day, is how can every single cop driving by not know they are illegal?

It is understandable why so many American born or Nationalized Hispanics are sympathetic to those who wish to come to our country. I wonder if they would be so sympathetic however if a huge influx of Chinese joined their buddies on the street corner and were willing to work for 50 cents an hour.

To say this isn’t about illegal immigration is skirting the truth when it has all the undertones of being pretty darn close, and the truth is our jails are quickly becoming temporary holding facilities for ICE. What isn’t told here is how many of these folks didn’t get a ticket and were actually taken to jail for other reasons because they were pulled over, and then deported.

Anonymous said...

In addition since I ran out of room to finish my comment:

I have no problem with people immigrating to the United States until the poor, the tired, and the huddled masses look more like my family. The present administration seems hell bent on making it much worse for everyone by making it better for everyone, just another political joke.

I can remember when a job for a teenager included picking produce, but farmers and now any form of labor now needs the cheapest labor available. I’m not a damn bit interested in global warming when it looks like my children may become indentured to China and Russia whose economies relied on the United States not so long ago.

The only thing that Russia has is oil and they are very close to making a deal with China that will devalue the dollar and may very well aid in the collapse of our economy. So shall we continue to play this shell game or start drilling before it’s too late?

The governments of Russia and China are just as susceptible for economic failure which also has the added benefit of the absolute possibility of political change in their regime, however given the status quo, instead, the Chinese auto industry has had a 78% increase.

So while this discussion concerns violating the law with regards to what is probably an illegal immigrant issue the answer is why isn’t our economy so strong that the American farmer and the labor force being compensated, because if they were we wouldn’t be so dependant on cheap labor in the first place, and not much attention would be given to immigration.

If we started drilling for oil we could put a Nation to work; have the strongest economy on Earth, and make migrating to the United States for our neighbors a smooth process legally which could help bolster our economy through taxes.

While we are at it we can make demands on the oil industry to start implementing a clean earth alternative energy strategy with all the money they will be making. Give them a ten year window with the threat of having their oil wells confiscated if in their poor judgment they think the money could be better spent on executive compensation.

Anonymous said...

"If in fact a pull down menu indicates that a person is required to speak English then write the ticket."

So, your logic (or lack thereof) is that if the computer tells the cop to do something they should know is illegal, they should do it anyway. Give me a break. At least think about the subject before you respond.

Your position is that it is acceptable for a police officer to knowingly (yes, they should know or they should not have license) break the law and then blame it on the computer....come on........I can't believe the leaps in logic some will take to justify something that is clearly illegal just because it affects someone they don't give a damn about.

Let them give you an illegal ticket because the computer said so and see how loud you holler.

The problem is some people walk around in a fantasy world thinking every cop is an honest and good person and "should be given the benefit of the doubt". Well, when they arrest you for breaking a law they just made up, lets just give them the benefit of the doubt.

I was a police officer. Any officer should know that was an illegal ticket. If they don't its time for them to find another career. Its not even about giving them the benefit of the doubt. Its about doing something illegal that they know or should have known was illegal. No room for "doubt" there.

Making it about illegal immigrants is just a distraction and provides cover for dishonest or, at best, incompetent cops. Why do some insist on doing that?

Anon. 9:15, I hope you get pulled over and the cop makes up a crime and writes you a ticket. Then lets see if you are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Don't think that can happen? In a small town where I used to live there was railroad crossing that only had a stop sign, not lights are arms. A local cop would sit there frequently. He made up his own law that "stop" meant that the person had to stop for at least 4 seconds. If you did not remain stopped for 4 seconds he would write you a ticket. I assume, 9:15, by your logic we are to give him the benefit of the doubt. Why do we waste all of this money on the legislature if we are just going to let the cops write the laws? If you let them get away with this you will be next, whether its only stopping at a stop sign for 3 seconds instead of 4 or something else.

I agree illegal immigration is a problem. Anyone, who is not trying to defend dishonest, and/or incompetent cops, can clearly see this is not about illegal immigration.

The question is 9:15, do you believe in the law or don't you? From your post it is clear you believe in the law only when it suits you. You believe the police are above the law and are free to do things that they know or should have known were illegal because they should have been given the benefit of the doubt.

I'll warn you, 9:15, if you are ever in Whitehouse, Tx be sure you stop at least 4 seconds at every stop sign. If you don't and don't get a ticket, well....I guess we'll just give you officer the benefit of the doubt.

Anonymous said...

She's already hired an attorney. Nothing more chickensh*t that trying to get paid for not doing anything. Typical of the liberal agenda..

gravyrug said...

I have a problem with the idea of cops having the pull-down menu at all. It reeks of attempting to load tickets with as many charges as possible to increase the fine. It's one thing for a LEO to pull someone over for speeding and discover they're drunk, or don't have insurance, or have a suspended license. It's something else entirely to search a database for as many charges as possible to add to the ticket.

Anonymous said...

In response to anon 9:40

You are mistaken if you felt from my comments that I am trying to defend a bad cop which unfortunate as it may be, holds far too much truth to the oxymoron.

I’m simply suggesting that when a cop appears on the scene in any circumstance that for all practical purposes a snap judgment is required. Since you were at one time a law enforcement officer then you are more than aware of the fact that not all of whom you arrested were found guilty in court, however you were not then prosecuted for making a bad arrest.

I am also suggesting that if the prosecutor and magistrate had done their job then it would only have taken one incident of not guilty or an immediate dismissal and an absolute understanding of, (this is not a crime) then an understanding for the officer to change his practices with the obvious threat of losing his job and possibly facing charges himself by continually issuing citations for things that are not illegal.

In this case you not only have officers writing illegal citations but much more obvious and to the point is the fact that these folks were prosecuted and judged accordingly.

You can file a formal complaint with the District Attorney but that doesn’t mean that they will accept it. If a formal complaint is accepted then the prosecutor must prove up their case and a judge can throw it out based on its merits if no such crime exists. The police while receiving training for their vocation are to be to the best of their ability able to distinguish lawful from unlawful, but the majority of them are not lawyers, they are certainly not the prosecutor or the judge, and so they are entitled to be in error. If it looks like a fish and smells like a fish then it’s probably a fish, but then if it is determined through the process of law that it is not a fish then right or wrong as the officer may or may not have been it is still determined for him that it is in fact not a fish.

I am hopeful that by my explanation you can then see that I am not so ignorant, nor am I interested in what my suit me personally.

As for police officers writing tickets in general; thousands of traffic citations are issued each day in Houston. Do I believe that all of this ticket writing is for the common good? No, that would not be the truth; traffic citations are used to generate income for the government in my humble opinion; and as for the traffic laws surrounding the Drivers Safety Responsibility Act, I believe that to be of such a distorted application of law that we are in fact producing unlawful behavior. Unfortunately, as with most government involvement, that is much too much the case and is certainly the case in this scenario.

Anonymous said...

The officers did not break any laws. They merely misapplied a federal motor carrier law. I support some retraining of the officers, but absolutely nothing else. Now an individual will cash in on the ridiculous hype. This is the land of irresponsibility and "It's not my fault." Where have you guys been?

Anonymous said...

As for not thinking that this is not an illegal immigration matter, until recently if a person was arrested and then believed to be an illegal immigrant no action was taken to deport or notify immigration. In many instances if immigration was notified, still no action was taken.

According to the original blog this activity dates back to 2007, and so then, I personally would assume that these officers did in fact purposely write tickets for not speaking the English language to unlawfully prosecute what they believed to be an illegal immigrant, which does in fact very much make this an illegal immigration based act, and I would tend to also believe that since that were the basis for bias anyone else would assume the same.

It would be very difficult for me to believe that a cop would knowingly write an unlawful ticket or that a prosecutor would prosecute an unlawful ticket or that a judge would render a guilty verdict on an unlawful ticket for any other purpose.

I suppose it could have been about the money, but they generate plenty of that already and this seems to be just a bit more malicious in intent.

Anonymous said...

"It would be very difficult for me to believe that a cop would knowingly write an unlawful ticket...", Anon 11:40 said.

Want to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?

Go to the Harris County Sheriffs vent website and read how some deputies will shot-to-kill an 18 year old kid who "escapes" the jail by walking away KNOWING he was in the jail for simply failing to pay a minor court fine.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we just get back to basics.....and worry about our own personal problems/concerns. A sermon is not needed from some of you folks as you are wasting your time.........white, black, brown, yellow, democrat, republican, whig, liberal it doesn't matter we are all the same, just too bad that a few morons cause everyone to get in an uproar and out come the labels, stereotypes, politicial rants, and the idiotic racial comments. This rhetoric crap is so played out....f 'em all!!

Anonymous said...

In that case my response to 3:19 would be

To 2:34
My apologies, I guess if I slow down and don’t hit the return key my sentences will make more sense, however if you read the rest of what I wrote I think it’s fairly obvious that I have suggested that the cop, the prosecutor and the judge knowing and willingly mistreated these people.

Anonymous said...

As trillions are stolen by big bankers, la mordida here in the USA, they distract us with the immigration issue..."Look over there, at the illegal immigrant who are costing us so much money!!!"

While I think that illegal immigration must be addressed, at the same time, to argue about it in monetary terms while sitting passively about the trillions stolen by big banks and insurance companies is rather hypocritical.

Ticketing someone for not speaking english? Give me a break! Who wrote THAT law???

Anonymous said...

Again I respond

This blog discusses how they were prosecuted over a law that doesn’t exist, so it isn’t a law.

You should put the blame where it belongs for the trillions, 536 people in Washington D.C. created and continue to create this financial mess.

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