Student wearing rosary, gets arrested


Students should be allowed to wear a rosary even if Gangs want to wear one as well.


Yeah let’s put that ahead of making matters difficult for local police due to throwing what sounds like a tantrum. He could have put the rosary inside his clothes as it’s not a form of decoration and no-one needs to see it for it be effective. If local gangs are indeed using it in this area of your nation (I presume you are American) as a means of identification it is rather unfair to expect the policemen to be able to read minds and distinguish for which purpose it is been worn.


The rosary isn’t jewelery. He didn’t need to be showing it.

If he was asked to take it off at a football game he should done so, or placed it under his clothing where it couldn’t be seen.


Absolutely, it is not jewellery and I tend to think the scent of ‘victim card’ is strong with this story. The young man involved must surely have known it is been misused by local gangs and that he was liable to arouse suspicion by wearing it openly in such an environment.


If the rosary has become a gang-related item there, I can understand why the officers would ask him to slip it under his shirt.
It might be something that can cause a fight…or maybe the gangs are using it as a signal that violence is going to happen.
Surely the kid knew this? Or at least, the cops would have told him this?
If they did ask him repeatedly to put it under his shirt so that it is not visible, he should have.
This is not a matter of hiding one’s religion in this case, it’s a matter of keeping people safe for an entirely different reason.
For all the officers know, this kid could be in the gang that is causing trouble and is about to cause some sort of trouble that could be dangerous.

His refusal several times after officers warning him, and his refusal to comply to putting his arms around his back, etc…would lead to an arrest.
I’m sure the kid’s brother who died would rather his brother put the rosary under his shirt than be arrested.

You’re not a martyr for your religion if…you are not being arrested for religious reasons.



According to the article, anything the police identify as a gang symbol can be cause for arrest.

Would that include any of the following. And how many of us wear them?

plaid shirts
baggy pants
particular brands of shoes
leather coats
the color blue
the color red
the color black
white tee shirts

As for wearing a rosary as jewelry, I admit I have a problem with that. I realize that may be hypocritical, as I do have a rosary bracelet. However, what is next? You can’t wear a crucifix? Do they arrest nuns that wear the rosary on their belt?


You’re not supposed to wear a rosary anyway, just like you’re not supposed to wear a flag. That’s not proper use for those items and I was always taught that it was disrespectful to do so.


I’d say – there is a difference between the rosary worn as part of the attire of a religious order – and a regular lay person wearing it around the neck.

If we want to wear a religious symbol around the neck – a chain with the Crucifix and/or a religious medal is what has been/is worn.


Who considers the above items as gang-symbols? And where? And have the police notified people in the area of it?
In this one area in question, the rosary worn a certain way is considered a symbol for a local gang.
Is the same true for your above list?
Please post info on this.



:twocents: Certain colors such as red are gang affiliated as are the obnoxious baggy pants. But if the young man in question didn’t care to remove his rosary or hide it under his clothes he should have left.

I am aware of the rosary being part of gang insignia and I try to convince the children in my care not to wear one like a necklace. It seems to be the first thing they want to do. The children have tried to put my rosary around my neck. It doesn’t fit. I guess it is a natural thing to do.


Around here, rosary-around-the-neck-wearing gangs are a plague and associated with one specific ethnicity. When nuns start street fights, stealing cars, and shooting innocent bystanders as a gang initiation, then we can start talking about arresting nuns. Until then, your statement is what I would consider a reductio ad absurdum.


A lot of schools have a dress code and indeed uniforms, this may have been an extracurricular activity. Still, one can reflect on this. I doubt if baggy pants and bandanas would be welcome. This doesn’t seem like a real big deal.


What would have happened if it had been a burka? Would that have been acceptable as gangs don’t wear it? Or would that also be banned?

It does really sound like a genuine misunderstanding on the cop’s part. I wonder why the kid didn’t just verbally clarify the purpose of the rosary, i.e., say to the officer it was a demonstration of faith, not gang affiliated. He must have known what the cop was thinking. I actually think it’s good for Catholics to show their faith, but they should do it sincerely and respectfully - leave a good impression, not a bad one.


Gang members get tattoos of Rosaries around their necks as well. You can look that up and see images of it. If I were a young Hispanic, I probably would shy away from wearing the Rosary outside of my clothes because I would be afraid it would look like gang-wear however I don’t deny various people wear rosaries outside of their clothes, I believe I saw a Mexican professional soccer player do so. If I were a young anglo person, I would generally not wear a rosary on the outside.


I think people ARE allowed to wear a rosary, but this gang seemed to use it as a symbol of the gang, which is a common thing in modern times. They probably do this, because the rosary is protected under “freedom of religion”, but they are deliberately perverting religion.

Personally, I wish we could make street gangs illegal, but in the meantime, officers are trying to protect us, and we need to cooperate with them.

I don´t think this particular individual was wearing it to be devout, but as a sign of a dangerous street gang that was causing problems.

I wish the officers were allowed to do more, but often, we tie their hands, will allow all street gangs to do all kinds of things we shouldn´t tolerate. So, officers try to be creative, look for ways to detain suspects, risking life and limb to protect US.


I do know some faithful who wear rosaries inside. I tried it for a period of time about 5 or 6 years ago, but they break really easily when you do that. So I switched to carrying it in my purse or backpack. I carry one everywhere I go. (And use it for prayer.) A lot of Catholics hang rosaries in their car. I just hung one I got for free up for the first time in the car like 3 weeks ago. (This is ok, right? Is that not good?)


Sounds like excuse making, I mean come on - which gangs to you know of that associate themselves with the Rosary? Only the mean green Catholic team! Really.



Maybe it’s a Hispanic gang-related phenomenon. Despite their…lifestyle…they probably would have had at least some exposure to Catholicism, at least culturally.

Regardless, it’s a shame that the Rosary is now used for gang identification.


I love this topic … I have actully been waiting for the subject to come ‘up’ …I travel with work…I am currently working in a town that is over 50pct Hispanic…disclaimer…this is not in any way remotely intended to disparage, disrespect, impugn the dignity of, or otherwise criticize this ethnic grp…and…I am not going to insult anyone reading this by stating that some of my best friends or Hispanic…this is just an observation on my part…the majority of the people I encounter either wear rosaries or have them dangling from the rear view mirror of their car/truck…I have always had a great Marian devotion and pray the Holy Rosary sometimes several times a day…so…my question is…and I hve asked a dear friend co-worker who does this…if he actually prays the Rosary…he told me no…so…I suppose people like myself will have to learn to tolerate this trend/practice in people of all cultures that have no respect for sacramentals of our faith. I feel better now…tks…oh yeh…and also wearing one sock higher than the other is a gang marker in this town…not to mention pants hanging down…


When Corporal Wilson first became a police officer, I have to assume that he took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The First Amendment of that that same constitution gives 14 year-old boys the right to wear a Rosary around their necks if they so choose. An American police officer has no right telling someone in America that they cannot wear a Rosary around their neck while on public property. If Corporal Wilson told a boy to remove a Rosary that he was wearing, he should be fired.

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