Skip to main content

It's about abuse of power.

Don't get me wrong; race may very well have played a role in Crowley's decision to arrest Gates. Race certainly played a role in Gate's reaction to Crowley. The color of Gates' skin may have made the decision to arrest easier. However, issues of racial bias are deep and complex, and not easy to discern. It is clear that the police acted stupidly for two reasons.

First, being belligerent, obnoxious, rude, or impolite in your own home is not a crime. It is rarely a crime under any circumstances, but it is a clear abuse of power to arrest someone in their home for what amounts to being angry or upset. Abuse of arrest powers under these circumstances is far too common and, unfortunately, far too accepted. Many people even are so lacking in Constitutional sensibilities that they defend police when they make arrests for 'offense of cop.'

We should be clear about this. Arresting someone is very serious. Depriving someone of liberty is an act that should never be capricious or unwarranted. The founders of this country placed liberty right behind life itself when they enumerated the basic rights given by God to everyone. If you arrest someone for rude behavior, you are one step from finding it acceptable to kill someone for the same reasons.

Secondly, the arrest was stupid because of who Gates is. A well-known professor and historian. A friend of the President. It was completely predictable that this would become a public relations debacle. The reason, I am sure, that the prosecutors wasted no time in dropping the charges. As some have said, this situation was the 'perfect storm' of circumstances. Even without the perfect storm, arrests of this type will receive more and more scrutiny, and will more frequently result in bad press and damaged careers. There are simply too many records being made in the form of video and audio recordings, and the dispersal of these records is quick and easy. The police are being scrutinized like never before. Who would deny the stupidity of abusing your power while the world is watching? Sarah Palin might have a few words for you.

Yes, race was likely a factor in the arrest of Gates, but for who and how much is something that will be debated endlessly. The real problem with the arrest is that it was a clear abuse of police power, depriving a citizen of his liberty and removing him from his home when his only infraction was being upset in the presence of a police officer.

Originally posted to James Andre on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:31 AM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

    •  While I somewhat agree, (6+ / 0-)

      I think race is far more important in this than you suggest.
      Just imagine this:

      Since the 911 caller mentioned that the men she saw might be the residents of the house, if the officer had knocked on the door and seen a white, middle-aged, decently dressed man, his first reaction would probably have been to apologize profusely for bothering the man and then ask for ID.

      Once identified, I doubt that anything short of a direct threat or physical attack would have led the officer to arrest the legitimate, respectable, white resident of the house.

      I think race made all the difference in the officer's initial view of the situation.  I'm not saying the cop is some horrible racist, just that he's got inbred racism, the sort that many of us have, that "colors" (not to be funny) our perception of a situation.  

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:50:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not that race is unimportant (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, drewfromct, Tamar

        and I agree that Crowley was likely biased. I think race was clearly a factor. However I also think that race is an issue that is difficult albeit common, and not easy to discern its full impact on any given situation.

        What is clear and alarming in this case is that, regardless of his motivations, Crowley abused his power.

        •  After thinking this over a lot, (0+ / 0-)

          ...I believe race was less a factor than humiliation. Crowley being spoken down to (by a black man) in front of his peers couldn't stand....something had to be done to save face!

          "Nuts are not included on anything...nuts are always .50 cents"..Dairy Queen

          by suspiciousmind on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 10:13:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I hear you, but I don't think it needs saying. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, Richard Lyon, mallyroyal

          Racism in America is an amalgam of incidents such as this, wherein an African American or a minority is mistreated in typical fashion by a store clerk, a police officer, a waiter, a secretary, or some other person in a position of authority that robs the African American of their dignity.

          In any of these individual situations, it is always possible that race is not the motivator, that the person treating them poorly is having a bad day, is socially inept, or is confused about the situation.

          However, once you have witnessed enough of these situations, you stop giving the benefit of the doubt.  In Gates' case, it's possible that he was wrong about the initial call to the police being racially motivated.  Certainly the 911 call doesn't indicate any racial bias, and the caller doesn't seem to be accusing, just wanting to check up on some suspicious behavior.  On the other hand, it's possible that the call would never have been made had Gates been white and the caller is simply sensitive of the racial implications her 911 call.

          But as for the arrest, I simply cannot imagine a white harvard professor being arrested in that situation.  Yes, police often abuse authority.  Yes, Jim Crowley might have arrested anybody who mouthed off to him.  

          But the simple fact is that professor Gates was arrested for being uppity, and there is too much history of white people oppressing black people for being uppity for that to be defended or mitigated.

          Snarka Snarka Snarka!

          by Hunter Huxley on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 10:16:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  actually, the 911 caller (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Darmok

            could not identify the race of the men when asked and said that one might be Hispanic.  It doesn't seem like her call was racially motivated at all.

            If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

            by Tamar on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 12:07:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  She lives in Cambridge, works in Harvard (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tamar

              she could easily have been aware of the implications of saying they were two black men.  

              Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting some sinister motive.  Obviously she had no way of knowing this call was going to become part of the number one national news story.

              What I'm suggesting is, she saw the men forcing the doors open, and part of her brain immediately said "BREAK IN!"  But then the more rational part of her brain said "No, just because those men aren't white, doesn't mean they don't live in that house."  And then she thought about it some more and decided that the safe thing to do would be call the police and report suspicious behavior but make it clear that the men could be in their own house.

              Which is all very rational and should have been harmless.  The police should have done their job and been on their way.

              Nevertheless, even after hearing the 911 call, I can't help but wonder if she would have seen anything suspicious if the men forcing open the door had been clean cut white men in expensive clothes.  And I can't help but wonder if the caller would have avoided answering the dispatcher's race question if the men had been white.

              Either way, it's not at all important, but thanks for reading.

              Snarka Snarka Snarka!

              by Hunter Huxley on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 12:22:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  interesting analysis (0+ / 0-)

                I don't blame her at all for this.  Whether or not race played a part in her deciding to call, I think it's a good idea to be on top of what's happening in your neighborhood and to watch out for suspicious incidents.  
                I also don't blame the police for responding to that call or for asking Dr. Gates for identification.   I have no idea whether that was handled politely (on either side), but if the officer was polite and respectful, then I have no criticism of him for that part of the incident.
                However, arresting someone on their own doorstep for being rude and unpleasant, even if they were, goes beyond what is legal and right.

                If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

                by Tamar on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 08:45:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  one more thing (0+ / 0-)

                she mentioned that she saw suitcases, so she was questioning her own suspicion.
                I have to say that if I saw 2 people breaking a door in I would be suspicious, no matter what their race.
                I will admit that if the people (black or white) were well-dressed, I would be less suspicious (which is funny since I don't dress well at all, myself), and that I'm more likely to be suspicious of men than women.
                So I guess I'm just snobby and sexist.  

                If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

                by Tamar on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 08:49:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  And I do agree w/ you on this & on yr main point (0+ / 0-)

          that this was abuse of power.  It is a violation of basic rights for a police officer to arrest someone because that person is rude, irritating, or even infuriating.
          I mentioned in a comment a week or so ago how well someone I know was handled by a black county police officer after the person made a somewhat racist comment.  That officer was courteous to a fault in a situation that I'm sure made him very angry.  Exactly the kind of police we need.

          If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

          by Tamar on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 12:10:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well said. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      houyhnhnm, Tonedevil, corvo, Niniane

      Sgt. Crowley may be a very nice and possibly even enlightened man personally, but a police officer is an agent of the state, and needs to exercise restraint in deciding to put someone--anyone--into custody.

    •  Caller told police person looked hispanic, (0+ / 0-)

      and had 2 suitcases.Police report states 2 black men,with back packs.Check out ABC NEWS THEY HAVE THE ACTUAL VOICE RECORDING RELEASED BY THE POLICE.
      EXPLAIN Hispanic/Black,and Suitcases/Backpacks

      The police went looking for 2 black men period.

  •  thin skinned (12+ / 0-)

    thin skinned people with self esteem issues should not be cops.

    People in this country have the right to tell a cop he believes he is a douchebag. Sounds funny, but if we lose that ability, all other freedoms soon follow.

    (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

    by dark daze on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:35:36 AM PDT

    •  Gates had the think skin in this case (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DigDug

      Colin Powell called him on that yesterday. He was an asshole, and he didn't need to be.

      •  An accusatorial cop in one's own home... (5+ / 0-)

        ...will needle even a very thick skin, of any color.

        "When those windmills start to chop people up, tilting at them may not only be rational, but may become a necessity." -arodb

        by JR on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:57:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, but (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dark daze, mallyroyal

          if I'd been having trouble with my lock, and had to break into my own home, I should not be surprised, upset, or offended should a concerned neighbor call police. On the contrary, I'd want the neighbors and cops to err on the side of caution, and when the cops arrived, I'd be sure to be very polite and compliant in the act of identifying myself and showing proof of residence.

          I don't care to pass judgment on either Gates or Crowley as I was not present at the scene and all I have to go on are third and fourth hand accounts of the incident, but, from what I've heard, it sounds like they were both jerks. I still can't figure out who was a jerk first, but it does'nt matter--it is not and should not be an arrestable offense to act pissy at a cop (no matter how right or wrong you may be for getting pissed) and Crowley overstepped and abused his authority in arresting Gates. Once he confirmed Gates' identity and residence, it was up to him to leave. Period.

          Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

          by drewfromct on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 10:13:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  General "We have photos of (6+ / 0-)

        tractor trailers that prove Iraq's nuclear missile program" is not exactly my idea of a moral compass.

        Oh, and while one may regret that Gates's skin was not suitably thick for the occasion, that wasn't part of his job.  It was, however, part of Crowley's.

      •  Not thin-skinned to realize (5+ / 0-)

        that a request that he step out of his house is a predictable first step to arrest. That's not necessarily a fact that a white homeowner would know, or need to know.

        •  In point of fact: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, Kokomo for Obama

          As a homeowner myself, I would expect that any business with the police would be conducted on my doorstep or at the edge of the curtilage, but certainly no further into my home than the doorway without the presence of a warrant.  So a request to step out of my home is something I would fully expect NOT to end in an arrest.

          "When those windmills start to chop people up, tilting at them may not only be rational, but may become a necessity." -arodb

          by JR on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 10:11:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  you are allowed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tonedevil, corvo, James Andre

        you are allowed to be an asshole in your own home.

        The cop was so think skiined and so sensitive to another man yelling at him, he had to swing out his.... badge and arrest him, instead of just walking away.

        Was Gates an asshole? sure, so what, makes no difference.

        (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

        by dark daze on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:58:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  B.S. (0+ / 0-)

        Tape Of 911 Call In Gates Case Raises Questions

        The woman who called 911 to report a possible break-in at the home of Henry Louis Gates Jr. told the dispatcher that she had "no idea" if the two men she saw were breaking in, and said that, in fact, they might live there. ...

        The dispatcher asked Whalen whether the two men were black, white or Hispanic. "There were two larger men," she said. "One looked kind of Hispanic, but I'm not really sure." ...  A report filed by the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, said she told him she had seen "what appeared to be two black males with backpacks" on the porch of the home. ...  "She didn't speak to Sergeant Crowley at the scene except to say, 'I'm the one who called,'" said the lawyer, Wendy Murphy. ...

        . . . When the sergeant asked if the dispatcher knew the race of the suspects, she answered, "Unknown on the race," adding that "one may be Hispanic, I'm not sure."

        After Crowley arrived at the home, according to the tape, he radioed that he was with a man who "says he resides here," but described him as "uncooperative" and asked for backup, saying, "Keep the cars coming."

        "Habeas Corpus: The most stringent curb that ever legislation imposed on tyranny." (T.B. Macaulay, 1848)

        by PBen on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 10:34:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Perfect pitch. This diary nails the issue in (9+ / 0-)

    question.

    "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come." Victor Hugo

    by lordcopper on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:36:34 AM PDT

    •  Haven't you said that on EVERY diary that (0+ / 0-)

      makes the absurd "There was no racism except maybe Gates' racism" argument?

      Not that any of those diarists  has backed it up in any way, or presented even the dimmest understanding of the dynamics of race, but they have certainly told you what you want to hear.

      •  Evidently your reading skills are not very good. (0+ / 0-)

        Please show mew where I stated "There was no racism except maybe Gates' racism".

        "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come." Victor Hugo

        by lordcopper on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 01:43:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Apparently mine are better than mew's (0+ / 0-)

          Please show where I quoted you saying, "There was no racism except maybe Gates' racism" or where I claimed you had said it.  

          Ask a grown up to read my post with you. Circle any new vocabulary words.

          Finished now? You now realize the reading problem is all yours and you've made a fool of yourself?

          You have supported, rec'ed and praised all sorts of idiotic diaries and comments that minimize the role of racism while carefully assigning racism to Gates.

          For example, in this "perfect pitch" diary, which is attempting to claim the cops acted stupidly but "It's Not About Race" the diarist insists -- or "nails" according to you:

          Race certainly played a role in Gate's reaction to Crowley.

          Cops racist? Oh, mercy! No!It's not about race. But it's "certainly" about race on Gates'part.

          •  Race definitely played a role (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lordcopper

            But people are always going to their bias. We can't control that. We can certainly control how police use their powers.

            It's impossible to know how much race influenced this incident, even if Crowley admitted to being a staunch racist. Since he hasn't admitted anything of the sort, we can only guess.

            Gates, on the other hand, definitely mentioned race. So yes, it certainly played a role on his part.

          •  For some reason, you've singled me out to argue (0+ / 0-)

            a strawman.  

            While I feel that race played a role in the incident, it is impossible to quantify the significance of race on the incident.  Even more importantly, race is one of those issues that people rarely change their mind on.  You see it the way you see it, and that's the end of the discussion.  My point has been, and continues to be, why arguie about race when the case for arrest was never made (even in Crowley's own report).  Furthermore, I am a man of color that has had numerous acrimonious run ins with the local gendarmerie.  I am the last person to argue that race is not in these matters, however it's my exsperience that once race is involved that's the end of the conversation, especially by the people that most need to be involved.

            "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come." Victor Hugo

            by lordcopper on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 04:06:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  They call it "contempt of cop" (10+ / 0-)

    in NYC.



    Practicing Law without a License is my 3d favorite Crime.

    by ben masel on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:42:05 AM PDT

  •  being up set in the presence of a police officer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teachme2night

    needs to be amended to inclue, "who intruded into your home illegally."

  •  Thing Is, You Expect Cops to Defer to Professionl (4+ / 0-)

    people precisely because their high-up connections could make life miserable for them. That's been my experience among a number of cases I've known. I also have known quite a few cops socially, and I'm familiar with griping about having to treat highly placed people with kid gloves.

    Why the flaunting of power in this case?

    Even if the officer is not even prejudiced personally, there is a reasonable presumption that a black professional person in this incident would not have the kinds or amounts of social connections that would spell trouble for an officer who pushed the boundaries a little.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:44:21 AM PDT

  •  Your title confused me (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hprof, revsue, houyhnhnm, Darmok, miss SPED

    I thought you were saying that Gates had made a statement to this effect.

    All the news coverage I've read of this event has left me feeling like I don't have the foggiest clue what happened in that house. It has been well established that race does often play a role in police deciding to arrest someone; but I can't say the MSM has provided us with enough info to say that it was or was not a factor this time.

  •  The boneheaded Gates caused all this alone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DigDug

    Why do people (including the President) bend over backwards for Gates, when we all know he pulled that "don't know who I am...I'll destroy your career" asshole attack that all powerful celebrities do. And that's what he is...a celebrity. Now the spotlight is being focused upon his very questionable non-profit, which appears to exist as a personal tipping service for Gates and his minions. He should have just kept his mouth shut, helped the cop do his job, and it would have been over in a few minutes.

  •  Stupid was absolutely the word... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1040SU, Tonedevil, PBen, Vtdblue

    that came to my mind when I first heard about this.

    The second thing that came to mind was "oh boy, I see where this is headed."

    Having not been witness to the events, I'll pull my punches and hunches--but my guess is what we have here is an overreaction followed by an absolute abuse of power.

    Sometimes you have to choke back the pride and ponder for just a moment whether their is some kind of crazy misunderstanding at play.

    As for the cop, I have little but contempt. Diplomacy is part of the job.

    As for Hannity, O'Reilly, Beck, Limbaugh, et al--you have to wonder how they would have reacted being pulled out of their own homes under similar circumstances.

    As for Gates, if you indeed went crazy and started screaming "racism" moments after you'd had to force open your stuck door, it is worth noting that your neighbors had your back.

    In spite of all this, I remain optimistic that some good can come of this.

  •  Did you mean to make this kind of a leap? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rockhound

    If you arrest someone for rude behavior, you are one step from finding it acceptable to kill someone for the same reasons.

    Huh?  Where do you go from an arrest to killing someone?

    •  There are few places to go (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, corvo, Vtdblue

      after depriving someone of their freedom. Torture and murder are the last two stops. That is why this case and abuse of police power in general is so serious.

      •  Even under that framework (0+ / 0-)

        It's a mighty big step.  Yes, deprivation of liberty is a serious issue, but when you talk about a 4 hour wait in a jail cell, it is absolutely inconsequential compared to taking a life.  

        And, it's not like there aren't constitutional safeguards that are already in place.  There is nothing unusual or unique about Gates's arrest that merits this kind of alarm.  

        •  That it isn't unusual is exactly the problem (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, corvo, teachme2night

          And we aren't talking about the impact on the victim, we are talking about the steps taken by the perpetrator.

          Yes, in this case abuse only cost Gates four hours of freedom. In other cases it has cost lives.

          It is a big step from simple abuse to murder, but spouse abusers make that step every day.

        •  The danger (0+ / 0-)

          The danger with Gates-gate is that it's suddenly become debatable that a cop arresting you in your own home for pissing him off is stupid.  It's gone from "well obviously it's wrong for a cop to arrest someone who pisses him off" to suddenly that exact position being defensible and being widely defended on national TV.

          If we make it even slightly acceptable for cops to arrest people out of anger, we're moving into a realm we really don't want to get into.  Suddenly "Well, he pissed me off, and I was gonna arrest him for it, and I had to taser him to get him into handcuffs" becomes the debatable front.

          You can keep someone locked up for 24-72 hours without arraigning them.  If it becomes OK to do that for pissing a cop off, we're in trouble.  Sure, you can't actually charge the guy, but you can make him miss work for 2-3 days, and really screw up his week and friendships.

          •  I don't think it's that bad (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rockhound

            And by that, I don't see any widespread defense of the arrest.  Instead, what people are saying is that if you mess with a cop, you may be cuffed and taken to the station house - not because it's legal, but because we're dealing with human beings.  There are already laws on the books dealing with false arrest situations, and no one is talking about changing those laws or making it easier for police to arrest you for talking back.

            I think most people (excluding the "cops are pigs!" crowd) realize that there is an unspoken agreement between the public and police that we don't interfere or make their job more difficult, and a breach of that agreement may come with some price.

            •  I don't understand what you're saying. (0+ / 0-)

              I don't see any widespread defense of the arrest.  Instead, what people are saying is that if you mess with a cop, you may be cuffed and taken to the station house - not because it's legal, but because we're dealing with human beings.

              How are these different?

              Snarka Snarka Snarka!

              by Hunter Huxley on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 10:46:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Legal vs. real world (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rockhound

                It's up to lawyers to figure out whether there was a section 1983 wrongful arrest/deprivation of liberty claim.  

                But most people know that common sense is at play here, as well; Gen. Powell's comments pretty much summarize it:

                But, he said, "when you are faced with an officer trying to do his job and get to the bottom of something, this is not the time to get in an argument with him. I was taught that as a child.

                "You don't argue with a police officer," Powell said.

                In a different context, I may have a legal right to say something offensive to my neighbor, but if he then punches me in the nose, people might say that I deserved it, even if I may have legal grounds to sue.

                •  To me, that sounds like a defense. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  IndyReader

                  I was very angered by Powell's defense of the arrest.  Powell comes from military culture, where respect of authority is hammered into everybody.  In a free country, disrespecting authority should be everyone's right.

                  Yes, saying something really offensive can excuse getting punched in the nose.  But the really offensive thing that Gates said was calling the cop a racist.  In  my view, crying racism can never be considered offensive.

                  Snarka Snarka Snarka!

                  by Hunter Huxley on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 11:11:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Maybe it was the allegation of racism (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rockhound

                    Or maybe Crowley didn't think that Gates was cooperating with his investigation of whether there had been a burglary; that's what he reported, anyway.

                    And yes, I like that this is a free country, but I'm not particularly interested in anyone's right to "disrepect authority" by needlessly interfering with a police investigation.  Antagonizing another person - just because they're in uniform - has unintended costs for me, and I don't approve of that.

                    •  Not cooperating in investigation of his own home? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      teachme2night

                      By the time he was arrested, it was already established that Gates was the owner of the house.  Gates absolutely has a constitutional right to interfere with a police investigation of his own house at that point.

                      Snarka Snarka Snarka!

                      by Hunter Huxley on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 11:23:21 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes, this may have been a bad arrest (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Hunter Huxley

                        Sorry if I wasn't clear; I was going from this specific arrest to the general.  Again, I haven't seen many people saying that Crowley was right to arrest Gates, and instead, people have focused on whether Gates unnecessarily escalated what should have been a routine couple of questions and Crowley would have left.

                    •  Antagonizing Random Minority Persons -- (0+ / 0-)

                      just because you've got a  uniform and a gun - has unintended costs for me, and I don't approve of that.

                  •  Powell = Good Ni&&er, Gates = Bad Ni&&er (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Hunter Huxley

                    I get it. Colin once again takes on all comers in a contest to establish Most White-Authority Lovin' Negro -- and remains UNDEFEATED!!!

              •  Yeah, that was stupid. This was more stupid: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Hunter Huxley

                there is an unspoken agreement between the public and police that we don't interfere or make their job more difficult, and a breach of that agreement may come with some price.

                Gates did not interfere with Sgt. Crowley saying,

                "Excuse me, sir, someone called in a report of a couple of gentleman entering this house about _ minutes ago? Is everything all right? Okay, I'm glad you're you're safe. I'll head out to my next call. If there are any problems, give us a call."

                That's not really much a job on that sunny afternoon. We can all stop talking as if he were Captain America, standing between Cambridge and the Red Skull.

    •  well, how about "tasering" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, LostInTexas, Vtdblue

      as an intermediate step?

      Of course, sometimes you don't even have to be rude.  Just ask Ahamadou Diallo.  Oh, wait, you can't.

    •  With a stop at the taser along the way. (0+ / 0-)

      I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

      by labradog on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 11:57:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's hard to say exactly where... (0+ / 0-)

      Where do you go from an arrest to killing someone?

      There are a lot of people who could answer that question.

      Unfortunately, they were killed.

      •  Cute (0+ / 0-)

        But that doesn't answer the question of how - even if we assume that we now say it's ok to arrest someone for rude behavior - that would mean that we're "just one step" from saying it's ok to kill them.  In fact, it's already legal to arrest people for "rude behavior," - in certain circumstances.  And, in either case, there isn't any indication whatsoever that we'd be "ok" with killing.

        Nice strawman, though.

        •  You have never had any grasp of this issue. (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, cops have killed people for getting lippy with them. Nobody you know know, certainly,and no one whose point of view and life experiences and history occupy a place on your list of valid concerns.

          But that space between a cop leaning on somebody and that somebody laying dead is not a system of established and carefully defined steps. It's a messy mashup of shoves and beatings and tasering and cuffing and and crippling. It can involve any or all or none of those.

          You don't see it, you don't live with it, you don't understand it and, frankly, I don't think you give a fuck.

          Now if you're going to start crying about Strawmen unless everything is broken down to you and all the connections made with a red crayon, say so. We can slow it way down for you.

          •  Charming (0+ / 0-)

            If that was your idea of a persuasive argument, consider it as not very effective.  If you have a point to make, make it and leave your assumptions of what I grasp or not out of it.

            •  I don't see you as someone anyone needs or cares (0+ / 0-)

              to persuade,much less charm. You've made yourself clear. You've uprated and applauded some of the nastiest racist crap I've seen since this incident occurred while contributing no insight into the dynamics of this issue or the broader issue it exemplifies.

              The fact that you don't know much or grasp much or understand what so many people have written about so well is not beside my point. It is precisely my point. You have nothing but a tiresome opinion, and that opinion seems to have spontaneously generated out of a complete cultural vacuum.

              You want to be taken seriously on this subject? Read a fucking book. Learn something. Listen to all the people who know so much more than you do. But don't think anyone owes you the respect that "persuading" you would require. If there's something you know about, go enrich a thread on that topic. This isn't the one.

      •  Your approach to blogging is unfortunate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Darmok

        I understand the impulse towards being totally outrageous and provocative. However, it's not a positive contribution when others are trying to have serious, sober discussion. It's just glibness with the veneer of seriousness. It looks good, but when you peel back the veneer, there's no solid wood. Frankly, you owe me a response to my replies -- you called me racist, based on outrageous fabrications and exaggerations. Frankly, you owe me an apology.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

        by FischFry on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 03:31:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your approach to blogging is of no interest (0+ / 0-)

          to me.

          This is not a "serious, sober discussion." Not at all. This is the umpteenth ideologically driven bunch of crap where the same old WATB's moan about   "nobody can say  there was racism in the pure,pure heart of a noble Hero in Uniform, but we can, by-God, tell you what that uppity nigger was a-thinkin!"

          There is no seriousness in that and no discussion. It is pulled out of nowhere -- as this rigorously sourced diary demonstrates -- and asserted with no authority beyond a common allegiance to White Authoritarianism and blue uniforms.

          So don't pull that "serious, sober discussion" shit in a thread full of nonsense. I will treat nonsense as nonsense. If that interferes with your plan, sorry all to hell.

          As for

          Frankly, you owe me a response to my replies -- you called me racist, based on outrageous fabrications and exaggerations. Frankly, you owe me an apology.

          I've seen so many idiotic racist posts in the last week you'll have to tell me which one was yours. I have noidea who you are.

          •  Actually, I didn't even look at the thread (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Darmok

            I thought I'd call your attention to my earlier responses, so I left you that comment in reply. I won't comment on the diary or the content of the discussion in comments there, since I didn't look at any of it. I was making a general observation about your comments.

            If you don't have any idea who I am, I guess you've left a long trail of comments calling other Kossacks racist. Too many to even remember. Well done.

            Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

            by FischFry on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:15:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You wasted my time (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Darmok

            I spent time writing thoughtful responses to you, and you couldn't care enough to make an effort to read them. Thanks. Remind me, if you ever reply to one of my comments again, that I'd be wasting my time trying to engage in a discussion by writing my own reply. Thanks for your consideration in the future..

            Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

            by FischFry on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 09:33:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Colons in diary titles (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil

    While I was researching the correct usage of colons online and in my Plain English Handbook, I see you changed the title of your diary. Good  

    Smith: Blah, blah blah. I see this usage a lot here and it always confuses me.  I always expect the diary to be about something Smith has said.

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 10:13:39 AM PDT

  •  just reverse the race of every person (0+ / 0-)

    in the case, and think what would have happened.

    A black cop enters a white person's home without permission in Alabama?  The white man yells to get off my property.

    The black man gets a butt-load of buck-shot, and there's not a jury in the state that would convict the home-owner from protecting his/her property.

    "Speak out, judge fairly, and defend the rights of oppressed and needy people." Proverbs 31:9

    by zdefender on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 10:52:28 AM PDT

  •  I doubt a prosecutor ever knew of this arrest. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paulitics, miss SPED

    The arrest was, of course, on the police officer's own authority and it doesn't seem that a complaint, which would be the charging document, was ever filled out by Crowely.

    So it wasn't like some prosecutor told some cops that they should just let Gates go.  They never too any steps to charge him formally, because that's not the point.  The point of the arrest was to deprive him of liberty and to humiliate him for the few hours it took for the booking.  

    Definition of bad police work: when you are called to investigate a break-in and end up arresting the homeowner.

    by Inland on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 11:13:44 AM PDT

    •  You'd be surprised how often (0+ / 0-)

      It happens.  Hell, I got pulled over by a MA Statie in the early 90's not far from Cambridge and he was the nastiest s.o.b.  Screaming at me, spitting in my face, all for a speeding ticket for going 65 in a 55 zone.  And this was 7:30am commute time.  

      I went to the courthouse a few weeks later to pay the $50.00 fine and the officer had never filed the complaint.

      "Pull My Finger" -- Confucius

      by paulitics on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 11:22:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I can't source it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darmok

      because I have read so much - but afaik Professor Gates told the police he was claustrophobic, so the four hours he spent at the police station, being processed, were spent in a full sized room talking with his legal representative and a fellow professor from Harvard.

      He did not spend those hours communally killing time in the tank.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site