Police Diversity Week 2
Where were the primary mistakes made, if any?
The primary mistake that the law enforcers made including the police and justice department is ignoring the cultural background of an individual involved in a crime while executing judgment. Some of the criminal activities can be justified with respect to the belief and custom of the community. Most of the law enforcers tend to limit themselves to the motives and behavior arguing from their own point of view while disregarding the cultural point of view. The interpretation of criminal activities based on an individual’s view is a blinder as the individual or law enforcer is unable to appreciate the cultural component or motivations behind the crime, thus drawing the wrong conclusions.
In the case of the Tai Chi, a marital art, carrying a sword is a common practice and there is no criminal component in it in Asia. In other countries such as in the United States, carrying a sword would amount to criminal activities. In the case of Turban and the enclosed knife (Kirpan), the charge of possessing a weapon levied against husband is misguided in that Sikh men must possess a Kirpan. Some of the medical practices in some part of Asia may amount to criminal activities in other countries. Some of the cultural medicinal practices involve cutting, burning or bruising the skin, which can be termed according to the United States law as an abuse.
The case where a man was arrested for bruising his son is a perfect representation of misinterpretation of cultural practices since the filtering criterion is the law. The father loved his son and according to the cultural practices of the Vietnamese people, rubbing a coin to a part of a body was a form of medication, which according to the principal, teacher, and law enforcers was abuse. The father ended up in jail for mistreating his son. Misinterpretations of this act lead to the death of the son and his father who committed suicide on receiving the news about the death of his son while in jail. The law enforcers could have saved the life of the boy if they analyzed the cultural background of the Vietnamese rather than using the law as the only criteria for executing judgment.
What could be done differently?
The law enforcer should focus on integrating cultural understanding and the law in making a judgment. When analyzing the motives of a criminal activity, it is important to consider the cultural component to avoid the dangers emanating from misinterpretation of such acts. The cultural beliefs and customs should be an integral part of the investigations carried out by law enforcer as they provide a better understanding of the motives of the case under investigation. The law enforcers should however, ensure that the cultural component is not exploited since some people may try to defend serious criminal activities such as rape and murder on cultural grounds.
The police officers should also focus on bringing the gap between them and the inhabitants of a particular area, as this would enhance their cultural understanding. This can be attained by associating the leaders of a community including the chiefs and elders in conflict resolution rather than exposing different communities to a similar judgment criterion. The law enforcer should also educate communities to abandon cultural practices that pose a danger to human life such as murder.