NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A former NYPD recruit has hired a lawyer, claiming religious discrimination by the department over his beard after he was cut by the police academy.

38-year-old Fishel Litzman is a Hasidic Jew from Monsey, N.Y., and he said that trimming his beard would violate his religious beliefs. His attorney, Nathan Lewin, told the New York Daily News that the department knew he wouldn’t be trimming it.

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Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer wants Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to reconsider the case.

“I remember when the police force did not have African-Americans, Latinos and women in numbers that would reflect the New York City population,” Stringer told 1010 WINS, “and great strides were made. This is another case where we should take a look at these rules so that we continue to get a diverse police force that can respond to the many different citizens of this city.”

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NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said that department policy states that religious beards be kept to one millimeter in length. He added that the policy was clearly explained to Litzman at the police academy.

Lewin has previously won beard battles for observant Jews in the military.

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What is your take on this? Is this religious discrimination or is the NYPD’s policy a legitimate one? Offer your thoughts in the comments section below…