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Cross-Cultural Contact Between Police and Civilians

Examine cross-cultural contact that police officers and civilian employees have with citizens, victims, suspects, and coworkers.
Cultural differences may lead to erroneous conclusions about Asian/Pacific American behaviors. These misunderstandings can cause the entire system to become involved in a family’s life (courts, district attorneys, police, child protective services, etc.).

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• Include common stereotypes and communication styles that affect cross-cultural contact that police officers and civilian employees have with citizens, victims, suspects, and coworkers.
• Analyze how important cross-cultural knowledge is for police officers and civilian employees.
Scenario 1
Seng Chang and Kaying Lor were glad to learn Monday afternoon that their family’s journey through the courts was over. Police took away the couple’s four children on April 30 after employees at Sherman Elementary School noticed marks on the youngsters’ bodies. The marks had been produced by a traditional Asian healing technique commonly called coining. The children were returned to their parents on May 3 but officially remained in state custody. Prosecutors Monday dropped the case against Chang and Lor after medical experts reviewed the case and determined that there was no evidence of child abuse… The family is Hmong, and ethnic group from the hills of Laos. Lor said he and his wife will continue using the coining remedy when their children are sick. The technique involves rubbing ointment into the skin with a coin or spoon. He said he hopes those who investigate abuse allegations have learned a lesson and will listen more carefully to what parents are saying before removing children from their homes. Six other children were taken from a Vietnamese couple in a separate but similar case. Prosecutors dismissed that case last week (Morton, 2002, p. B1).
Scenario 2
In northern Wisconsin, 36-year-old Chai Vang is sentenced for the murder of six deer hunters in 2004. The shooting followed a racially charged trespassing confrontation. Vang is Hmong, and the killing sparked racial tensions in both Wisconsin and Minnesota, where more than 100,000 Hmong have settled after fleeing Laos (npr.org). In retaliation, almost 3 years later in 2007, 28-year-old James Nichols is charged in connection with the killing of a Hmong hunter, Cha Vang, who was found shot and stabbed to death in a wildlife area near Green Bay, WI. The complaint against James Nichols also alleges that he made disparaging remarks about Hmong people to the investigators who questioned him. Relatives of the man who was killed have speculated that the slaying was racially motivated and may have come in retaliation for the 2004 murder of six white hunters at the hands of a Chai Vang (Wilcoxen, 2007).
References:
Halsted, G. (2005, November 7). Wisconsin Hunting Season Opens Amid Racial Tension. NPR.
Wilcoxen, W. (2007, January 17). Wisconsin authorities reveal details of Hmong hunter’s death. MPR News.

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