No Profiling

Dovarganes, Damian. 2009. Los Angeles, California. Web. 2 Dec. 2010.

We must recognize that having a tattoo; gang related or not, is not a valid reason for police to arrest someone, but it can be a reason to question someone. In one case, U.S. vs. Vasquez- Ortiz, a man named Vasquez-Ortiz was questioned by police about his residency status because gang affiliated tattoos were seen by the police officers. He was in a location that had many gangs made up of illegal aliens. Because the officers just asked Vasquez-Ortiz about his residency status, he did not have to answer the way he did which was to say that he was illegal and a citizen of El Salvador. Because of the nature of their inquiry where they did not draw weapons or demand anything, they were within the law in their actions. However, had they drawn weapons, required anything of Vasquez-Ortiz, or even raised their voices, the incident could have escalated to a full-scale arrest. Because they did not have any concrete reason to arrest the man in question, this would have been against the law. The regulations are strict and there is a fine line between what is valid and what is not. It would therefore only be viable for a gang member to be arrested for other reasons after being questioned. Once they have been arrested, it becomes possible for the police officers to take as many pictures as necessary (Emery). They would then have their tattoos recorded while they are being prosecuted, which can be used against them in the future. Some could see this as blackmail, however the police officers are just being resourceful and the pictures are similar to a legal record that a person would have for past offences. Gang members wanting to get out of a gang could show their tattoos to the police willingly in order to help then out, but most of the time this does not happen for fear of the repercussions. Even if a gang member says that he or she has no more affiliation with a gang they still may have the lasting effects that will follow them for the rest of their lives (Valdemar). The law is trying to keep up with gangs, however as both groups progress it becomes difficult for either group to get ahead.

Tattoos as Clues
Transforming Uses
Permanent Pictures
Not Pop Culture
Police Work Uncovered
Gang Retort

Works Cited:
- Anonymous. “Officers approach man sitting in public, notice insignia of gang known to have illegal alien membership.” Boston, Massachusetts. Court Case US vs Vasquez-Ortiz. 33.10: (2009) n. pag. Web. 29 Nov. 2010.

-Emery, Sean. “Police Tactics, CHP aid rein in gang violence.” The Orange County Register, 1 Oct. 2010. Web. 29 Nov. 2010.

-Valdemar, Richard. “Murder Ink: If you know how to read them, gang tattoos can tell you the history of a suspect.” Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine 1 Feb. 2006. Web. 29 Nov 2010.

Anika McEwan