You are a rookie police officer, teamed with an experienced officer on patrol. You are both white males on patrol in a predominantly Asian neighborhood. Racial tensions increased between police and residents became worse last week.

As you patrol, you and your partner notice a young Asian male wearing a shirt that states, “I hate pigs”, and has a picture of a gun pointing at a police officer. You let it roll off your back, as trained to do. Your partner, however, tells you to pull over. He suggests the “punk needs to show a little respect.”

Your partner approaches the youth and tells him to get into the patrol car. The youth complies and your partner tells you to drive off. While driving around, our partner threatens to violently beat the youth and make sure nobody knows anything about it. You are taken aback by what is going on, expecting much more from your colleague.

The young man is crying; fearing for his life. He says his older brother made him wear the shirt. After a while, your partner tells you to pull over and let the boy out. He is about 2 miles from where you picked him up and left alone to find a ride home.

While pulling away, the officer tells the boy if anything of this incident is said about this encounter, the officer will make “good on is threats”


  • Should our laws regarding freedom of expression permit individuals to wear hate-based, threatening clothing?
  • What type of social interaction and non-verbal communication instigated this incident?
  • Should you and your fellow officer have responded at all to the symbolism found on the youth’s shirt?
  • What steps should you have taken to address this troubling situation?
  • How would your actions have influenced your role and status as a police officer?

Minimum 500 words.

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