NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
MINEOLA, N.Y. — The Nassau County Police Department has been using a “Y” for yellow to categorize its officers of Asian descent, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.
When a person, male or female, became an officer in the Nassau County Police Department, a letter was put near their name on their personnel paperwork. The letter was a B, H, W, Y, or I.
The Y stood for “yellow” and referred to someone who is Asian, while the I stood for “Indian” and referred to someone who is Native American, a representative admitted.
The practice was uncovered by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU).
Michael Sisitzky, the lead policy counsel for the NYCLU, told The New York Post, “These derogatory denotations 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.”
While the practice had been going on since the 1980s, it was immediately stopped when it came to the attention of the police commissioner.
“In this particular situation, this computer program was developed over a quarter century ago and in no way has the use of these letters reflected any bias toward our Asian American or Native American residents,” Nassau County police Detective Lt. Richard LeBrun said in a statement. “We are immediately modifying the use of these demographic notations. Asian Americans and Native Americans will be properly identified in the revisions to this IT system.”
Staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.