Probable cause vs. reasonable suspicion
I read with great interest Newsday’s article “Unequal Justice” [News, Oct. 22], and there is one component with which I respectfully disagree. The reporters seemed to have placed vehicle traffic stops and stop-and-frisk in the same category.
Stops are made under vehicle and traffic laws when an officer observes a violation committed by an individual, and the officer knows that the person he or she is about to encounter is responsible. It could be an act of commission like speeding, passing a red signal or unsafe lane change etc., or it could be an act of omission, such as not having a front license plate, working lights, valid registration or inspection stickers.
Stop-and-frisk is when a police officer encounters a person who the officer believes may have committed a crime.
In a traffic stop, you have probable cause; in stop-and-frisk, you have reasonable suspicion. They are explicitly different; however, Newsday grouped them and labeled them stop-and-frisk-like.
Once Newsday did that, I believe any statistics compiled are flawed.
If we are investigating discrimination and the targeting of certain individuals, it is important to show the cause of the initial interaction.
Thomas Duignan, West Islip
Editor’s note: The writer is a retired detective sergeant with the New York State Park Police.
Spanish speakers should learn English
Writer Christopher Dale’s op-ed contains many misconceptions [“¿Hablas español? Why not?,” Opinion, Oct. 16].
First is his comparison to Quebec. French Canadians are not recent immigrants. They do not refer to any country other than Canada as their country. They speak English as well.
Second is his reference to Spanish signs in commerce. Has he ever walked the streets of Flushing or parts of Hempstead? You find Korean and Hindi signs, but many of those immigrants speak English.
Immersion classes should be for Spanish speakers to learn English, not the other way around.
Roy Sperrazza, Northport
Former President Theodore Roosevelt would applaud the Oct. 18 letter “English language binds Americans.” In a speech in 1907, Roosevelt said, “We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language . . . and . . . room for but one sole loyalty, and that is a loyalty to the American people.”
Elgin Alexander, Northport