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cletus8269

speaking only spanish is fine... sign here on the line.

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Dallas police ticketed 39 drivers in 3 years for not speaking English

By SCOTT GOLDSTEIN / The Dallas Morning News

sgoldstein@dallasnews.com

Dallas police wrongly ticketed at least 39 drivers for not speaking English over the last three years, Police Chief David Kunkle announced Friday while promising to investigate all officers involved in the cases for dereliction of duty.

Pending cases will be dismissed, and those who paid the $204 fine for the charge, which does not exist in the city, will be reimbursed, Kunkle said.

"I was surprised and stunned that that would happen, particularly in the city of Dallas," Kunkle said. "In my world, you would never tell someone not to speak Spanish."

The citations were issued in several different patrol divisions by at least six different officers. One of those officers was responsible for five of the citations, Kunkle said.

The case that led to the discovery of all the others occurred Oct. 2, when Ernestina Mondragon was stopped for making an illegal U-turn in the White Rock area. Rookie Officer Gary Bromley cited Mondragon for three violations: disregarding a traffic control device, failure to present a driver's license and "non-English speaking driver."

In that case and perhaps the others, officials said, the officer was confused by a pull-down menu on his in-car computer that listed the charge as an option. But the law the computer referred to is a federal statute regarding commercial drivers that Kunkle said his department does not enforce.

Bromley, 33, is a trainee officer in the northeast patrol division, meaning he still works with a training officer during every shift. His training officer on that day was Senior Cpl. Daniel Larkin, 53.

According to department policy, a sergeant must also sign off on all citations. The supervisor who signed off on the Mondragon ticket was Sgt. David Burroughs, 50.

"In this case, the field training officer was aware of ultimately what the recruit officer had done," Kunkle said. "The field training officer is going to bear more responsibility than the recruit officer."

Mondragon, a native Spanish speaker, challenged the charge in court and it was dropped, her daughter said. Dallas police said they will drop all charges against Mondragon, who speaks limited English and does have a Texas driver's license.

Police officials did not release the names of the officers and supervisors involved in the other cases. Kunkle said he expected the investigation to last at least a few weeks and could reach back several years.

"An officer has to know the elements of an offense or what's necessary to constitute a crime," Kunkle said. "In this case it appears that officers did not understand."

It is unclear whether the erroneous tickets were reported by the courts. Administrative Judge C. Victor Lander said Friday afternoon that he would be surprised if such charges got past a judge. He said he would conduct a review.

"If there are any outstanding warrants as a result of these kinds of cases that have been inadvertently written, I'm going to direct that they be immediately held," Lander said. "If there are any cases in the prosecutorial pipeline, I'm going to request the city attorney to hold the case."

The citations amount to a small percentage of the roughly 400,000 tickets issued by Dallas police each year. But the total is large enough to have possible legal ramifications, said George A. Martinez, a professor at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

"It sounds like a policy," Martinez said. "Discrimination on the basis of language ability, and that's targeting Latinos, and so that sounds pretty serious to me."

Attorney Domingo Garcia said he has been hired to represent the Mondragon family.

"The issue has nothing to do with whether people should learn English or not. I believe they should," Garcia said. "It's about not following the law and issuing citations against a law that doesn't exist, against a fairly voiceless and helpless population."

Beyond potential legal problems, some said the tickets send a troubling message to Hispanics.

"It's the principle of the matter that there are police officers out there representing our city who actually think that it's a crime not to speak English," said Brenda Reyes, a political consultant and member of the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Kunkle, who apologized repeatedly, said he recognized the incidents probably would damage the department's relationship with the Hispanic community.

"When we deal with crime victims ... our interest is not their immigration status," Kunkle said. "It's not something that we concern ourselves about. We want to serve all people."

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Dropping all charges against this immigrant is a mistake. She still made an illegal u-turn and failed to present her license to the officer when asked, in English (hopefully).
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:lol: check out the google bot!

edit... never mind, it changed. it was saying something about obama in spanish hehe.

anyway in my mind if a person cannot speak english, how can they read it? most signs are symbols and whatnot but there are some that say merge left, men working, yada yada.

Edited by cletus8269
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:lol: check out the google bot!

edit... never mind, it changed. it was saying something about obama in spanish hehe.

anyway in my mind if a person cannot speak english, how can they read it? most signs are symbols and whatnot but there are some that say merge left, men working, yada yada.

Reading is a lot easier than speaking or listening. I turn on Univision and have no idea what they're saying, but I can get by with closed captioning.

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Well, obviously it's wrong to ticket someone because they only speak Spanish......

......but I have to admit this problem of people immigrating over here and not learning and speaking the language really irritates me. Too many don't seem to even make an effort.

Being in L.A......where we have so many different cultures.......I'd have to say that in my interactions on a business and personal level, it is the hispanics that seem to be the majority that don't seem to want to even try to learn. (Edit: Of course there are many hispanics here that DO speak English....not trying to generalize....just an observation.)

I deal with Asians, Middle-Easterers, and even quite a few Polish/Russians as of recent.....and they have all learned enough to communicate at a decent level. And I'm talking about people that haven't been over here for all that long.

Am I just being harsh? I remember a few years ago being in South Gate (a very hispanic suburb close to east L.A.) and I went into a McDonalds there to eat lunch.....and couldn't get my order through because they simply didn't understand my english....?? WTF??

Edited by The O.C.
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Well, obviously it's wrong to ticket someone because they only speak Spanish......

......but I have to admit this problem of people immigrating over here and not learning and speaking the language really irritates me. Too many don't seem to even make an effort.

Being in L.A......where we have so many different cultures.......I'd have to say that in my interactions on a business and personal level, it is the hispanics that seem to be the majority that don't seem to want to even try to learn. (Edit: Of course there are many hispanics here that DO speak English....not trying to generalize....just an observation.)

I deal with Asians, Middle-Easterers, and even quite a few Polish/Russians as of recent.....and they have all learned enough to communicate at a decent level. And I'm talking about people that haven't been over here for all that long.

Am I just being harsh? I remember a few years ago being in South Gate (a very hispanic suburb close to east L.A.) and I went into a McDonalds there to eat lunch.....and couldn't get my order through because they simply didn't understand my english....?? WTF??

You're not alone, its the same way up here.

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Well, obviously it's wrong to ticket someone because they only speak Spanish......

......but I have to admit this problem of people immigrating over here and not learning and speaking the language really irritates me. Too many don't seem to even make an effort.

Being in L.A......where we have so many different cultures.......I'd have to say that in my interactions on a business and personal level, it is the hispanics that seem to be the majority that don't seem to want to even try to learn. (Edit: Of course there are many hispanics here that DO speak English....not trying to generalize....just an observation.)

I deal with Asians, Middle-Easterers, and even quite a few Polish/Russians as of recent.....and they have all learned enough to communicate at a decent level. And I'm talking about people that haven't been over here for all that long.

Am I just being harsh? I remember a few years ago being in South Gate (a very hispanic suburb close to east L.A.) and I went into a McDonalds there to eat lunch.....and couldn't get my order through because they simply didn't understand my english....?? WTF??

Was sagst du? Ich verstehe das nicht! :smilewide:

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well....at least the dept isn't making their officers learn spanish.

if they have drivers licenses, wouldn't the test have to be in english? and if they have a license they have to be a legal immigrant...? so this can't be a case of illegals. yes, if you come to this country you should have some basic english, otherwise you're limiting yourself to a very small area, ethnic communities. those used to abound, prolly there are many still here, but when they leave those areas, they can not function if they were not exposed to the other language on a near daily basis.

if they are citizens, they'd have to know english if they were drafted, and if they were naturalized, those tests are in english, no?

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Well, obviously it's wrong to ticket someone because they only speak Spanish......

......but I have to admit this problem of people immigrating over here and not learning and speaking the language really irritates me. Too many don't seem to even make an effort.

Being in L.A......where we have so many different cultures.......I'd have to say that in my interactions on a business and personal level, it is the hispanics that seem to be the majority that don't seem to want to even try to learn. (Edit: Of course there are many hispanics here that DO speak English....not trying to generalize....just an observation.)

I deal with Asians, Middle-Easterers, and even quite a few Polish/Russians as of recent.....and they have all learned enough to communicate at a decent level. And I'm talking about people that haven't been over here for all that long.

Am I just being harsh? I remember a few years ago being in South Gate (a very hispanic suburb close to east L.A.) and I went into a McDonalds there to eat lunch.....and couldn't get my order through because they simply didn't understand my english....?? WTF??

Really? I don't see it as a problem in L.A...

I have an internship in the City of Commerce, which is 98% Latino, and I walk through neighborhoods in East LA, Bell Gardens, Pico Rivera, Montebello, and Huntington Park all the time and have rarely encountered language as a problem. There's almost always a few people in the household who speak English - young adults and children are always fluent, while older immigrants tend to struggle with it. It's a generational thing. My grandparents who came from Asia in their sixties 20 years ago still can't speak it... when you're working 60 hours a week, there's no time to take English classes, and frankly, you stop learning new things at that age.

The main problem I see with those immigrants not learning English is in the workforce. It must have been frustrating walking into an establishment expecting a service and not getting it. I don't think, however, that your experience can be extrapolated to reflect the attitudes of most Latino immigrants. Most *want* to learn the language and would use it if they could.

On the other hand, I've heard of loud, obnoxious, ethnocentric Anglo Americans abroad who simply refuse to speak the local language, but I won't generalize...

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well....at least the dept isn't making their officers learn spanish.

if they have drivers licenses, wouldn't the test have to be in english? and if they have a license they have to be a legal immigrant...? so this can't be a case of illegals. yes, if you come to this country you should have some basic english, otherwise you're limiting yourself to a very small area, ethnic communities. those used to abound, prolly there are many still here, but when they leave those areas, they can not function if they were not exposed to the other language on a near daily basis.

if they are citizens, they'd have to know english if they were drafted, and if they were naturalized, those tests are in english, no?

My grandfather's written test was in poorly-translated Chinese. There's surprisingly technical language in there... especially about booze.

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My grandfather's written test was in poorly-translated Chinese. There's surprisingly technical language in there... especially about booze.

ah. didn't know. i'm sure chinese isn't the easiest to translate to either. hopefully it's better today than before.

has he picked up any simple english, or does he rely on others in his family to help him?

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