Saturday, February 04, 2006

Is this racial profiling? Second Circuit Court of Appeals rules Hartford Connecticut police officers do not have first amendment right to wear exposed spider web tattoos while on dutyFirst Amendment Center.Org. While on duty Hartford police officers may not have exposed tattoos the department deemed “offensive and/or presenting an unprofessional appearance.” In particular the officers objected to having to cover spider web tattoos on their elbows. Apparently a disgruntled officer complained that wearers of the elbow spider web tattoo represent white power or neo-nazi sympathies. Inturri, et al v. City of Hartford (2nd Circuit unpublished opinion). The plaintiffs contended that the symbol represented military service, especially from the Vietnam War, although white supremacist groups have adopted the symbol, especially those who had served time in prison. Funny, a tattoo that might represent rascist opinions may be banned but beards may not if they represent a third world fundamentalist religion, such as Islam or Sikh. More likely suspects complained about the officers'tattoos. If the tattoos' significance comes from prison life, minority suspects who had gone to prison likely were the only ones who knew what the tattoos really meant. Thats probably more than Justice Alito knew when he was on the 3rd circuit.

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