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NYPD Cops Punished For Tossing Football With Kid; Two Officers Challenge Ruling

First Posted: 09/19/11 01:38 PM ET Updated: 09/19/11 01:38 PM ET

Football Nypd

On a hot, July 4th in the Bronx, NYPD Officers Catherine Guzman, Mariana Diaz and two of their colleagues were disciplined by a superior for tossing a football around with a 7-year-old boy outside a housing project, The New York Daily News reports.

Deputy Chief James McNamara, the commanding officer of the Bronx Housing Bureau spotted the cops engaging in some friendly "community policing" and publicly berated them, asking, "'What are you doing? Do you realize you are on overtime?"

Two of the officers accepted a penalty of two vacation days. Guzman and Diaz, however, are now formally challenging the ruling in the department court room.

"I don't think throwing a football to a 7-year-old boy is misconduct," said Officer Catherine Guzman, a 17-year veteran of the force. "It was the Fourth of July, it was 96 degrees out and we were interacting with the community."

"Everybody was happy," she added.

And the two women might have a good case.

Recently, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly didn't see the need to discipline some male cops getting down and dirty with scantily clad women during the West Indian Day parade in Brooklyn on Labor Day. Bloomberg even went so far to say that the incident, captured in a viral video, was a great advertisement for New York City.

It's a also a tense moment for NYPD-community relations in the city.

A report earlier this year showed the NYPD broke its record for controversial stop-and-frisks--a police method a new lawsuit claims unfairly targets young black and hispanic men.

Also, during the West Indian Day parade, cops possibly racially profiled a city councilman before arresting him, and may have accidentally shot and killed an innocent Crown Heights woman.

And earlier this summer, the two "rape cops" were found not guilty of raping a drunk woman they escorted home, but found guilty of official misconduct for repeatedly entering the woman's apartment and "spooning" with her in bed.

Guzman and Diaz will make their case at the risk of facing even harsher discipline for "fail[ing] and neglect[ing] to remain alert" during the game of catch, The News reports.

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Filed by Christopher Mathias  |