Police department draws criticism for labeling Asian officers 'Y' for 'yellow'
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A police department in Long Island issued a statement on Monday after it was revealed that it was using the letter “Y,” for the color yellow, to indicate Asian officers in its internal system.

The Nassau County Police Department came under fire from the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) after a document obtained by the civil rights organization by way of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request showed the department has been using the letter to tally its personnel of Asian descent.

NBC News reported Monday that the department confirmed it used “Y” in its internal system to signify yellow for its Asian officers. The department also confirmed that it used “I," for "Indian," to signify Native Americans.


“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,” Michael Sisitzky, NYCLU’s lead policy counsel, said of the department’s categorization in a statement to NBC News.

In addition to those notations, the police department also said it used "B" for black, "H" for Hispanic and "W" for white.

The department said in a statement to the publication that it plans to change the use of the racial notations immediately.

“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,” Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said in the statement.

“Asian Americans and Native Americans will be properly identified in the revisions to this IT system,” LeBrun added. 

The NYCLU included the personnel spreadsheet in its report titled, “Behind The Badge,” in addition to more than 15,000 pages of materials the civil rights organization received in response to FOIA requests, published on Wednesday.

LeBrun said the police department plans to review the report.