The Lawrence police chief called it a moment of "cultural insensitivity." An advocate for refugees called it an ugly example of a far too common problem -- law enforcement's failure to interact effectively with those who have come to America to escape persecution.
What prompted such reactions was a decision by a Lawrence police officer to call an unidentified Asian male Jackie Chan instead of John Doe. That decision was "racially insensitive," Lawrence Police Chief Paul Whitehead acknowledged Monday.
Because Yu Dongyue smelled of alcohol and wouldn't speak to officers, he was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication. Lawrence officer Ralph Bridgeforth filled out a list of Yu Dongyue's property at the jail processing center, noting he had no ID. Usually in such cases, a suspect would be called John Doe, but Bridgeforth entered another name: Jackie Chan. Yu Dongyue was booked under that name as well.
It this really a big deal? Doesn't calling someone Jackie Chan make the search easier since we're looking for an Asian guy? I've called people Jackie Chan before! Have you ever been called Jackie Chan?
We need better names than John Doe.