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“We don’t have abilities to determine proficiency in any language, and we shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,” Kunkle said. “I apologize to the Spanish-speaking Hispanic community.”
After a review of the records, Kunkle said about a half-dozen officers had issued a total of 38 similar citations. He said police would recommend to the courts that any pending cases be dismissed.
“Any citations that were paid, we’re going to reimburse the people who paid the citation,” Kunkle added.
The Dallas Police Department said it was embarrassed by what it calls a mistake by rookie Officer Gary Bromley after he stopped Ernestina Mondragon for making an illegal U-turn.
In addition for being cited for the U-turn violation, Mondragon received another ticket for being a “non-English speaking driver.”
Bromley and his supervisors met Friday morning with police superiors. The department has launched an internal affairs investigation.
“We’re looking at dereliction of duty for the officers who wrote the citation, and also dereliction of duty for the sergeants who reviewed each of these citations and allowed them to go through our system,” Kunkle said.
The chief met with the Mondragon family before speaking with reporters.
Dallas City Council member Delia Jasso is trying to assure the public that the officer made a mistake.
“What I want people to know is that we do not give tickets for speaking Spanish, especially when you’re driving a car,” Jasso said.
The department has recently hired more than 400 new officers. Jasso questioned whether police need to take a closer look at the qualifications of applicants.