Drug Policy

Black Harvard Prof Collared by White Cop!

Henry Louis Gates and the dysfunctional relationship between law enforcement and black America

|

Should black Americans trust the police? That long-simmering question reappeared last week with the news that Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University's famous professor of African-American studies, had been arrested outside of his Cambridge, Massachusetts home. "Why, because I'm a black man in America?" Gates asked the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, who had responded to a report of two black men breaking into Gates' house. As it turned out, Gates and his driver were just trying to dislodge a jammed front door.

According to the police report, Gates exhibited "loud and tumultuous behavior" in a public place and was therefore arrested for disorderly conduct. According to Gates, Sgt. Crowley repeatedly refused to provide his name or badge number, and arrested Gates after the professor's identity—and his right to be inside his own home—had been clearly established. Sgt. Crowley maintains that he's "done nothing wrong," though the fact that the Cambridge police dropped all charges lends significant weight to Gates' version of the story.

But does that make it a racial story, rather than an example of a bullying cop versus a rude or outspoken civilian? Not according to some conservative writers. As The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto put it: "Is this what happens to black men in America? We'd say it's what happens to men in America who are mistaken for burglars." That's a persuasive interpretation. National Review's pseudonymous blogger Jack Dunphy (an LAPD officer writing under a "nom de cyber") went a little further. "The claim that Gates has been 'profiled' is ludicrous," Dunphy wrote. "If there's an apology that's owed, it's not from the police."

It's certainly possible that both Gates and Crowley were acting like jerks, though that hardly entitles the officer to arrest Gates (or receive an apology from him). But also consider the interpretation offered by the conservative black journalist John McWhorter, a writer who is perhaps best known for criticizing the racial politics of American liberals and arguing that "hip-hop holds blacks back." As McWhorter argued at The New Republic, "the relationship between black men and police forces is, in fact, the main thing keeping America from becoming 'post-racial' in any sense."

What he means is that despite the vast and self-evident progress America has made on race, black men—including successful Harvard professors—still have some very legitimate reasons for distrusting the police. Is that so far-fetched?

Consider the historical backdrop. Counting just the years since the abolition of slavery, black Americans endured roughly a century of Jim Crow rule, where state and local officials (North and South, and most obviously including the police) systematically deprived them of their rights. That included the right to vote, the right to acquire and use property, and the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. Yes, those events happened in the past. But there are black men and women alive today with a clear memory of that state-sanctioned abuse.

More to the point, over the past three decades, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have waged a costly and disastrous war on drugs that has savaged America's black neighborhoods and imprisoned a staggering number of black men. As Reason's Radley Balko has documented, the drug war has produced hyper-militarized police departments and thuggishly violent police officers. And while this destructive behavior certainly hasn't been limited to the inner city, African American communities have arguably borne the brunt of it. The drug war is also directly to blame for the fact that America now incarcerates a record 2.3 million people, with roughly one in five state prisoners and over half of all federal prisoners serving time for drug offenses.

In a post-arrest interview, Gates said that he now "wants to do what I can so that every police officer will think twice before engaging in this kind of behavior." While we may never know if Gates was actually the victim of racial profiling (rather than just aggressive and inappropriate policing), his outrage can still help those who have been—and will be—racially profiled. The best way to get law enforcement to "think twice" is by exposing the drug war's pernicious effects on America's criminal justice system and working to end the war itself.

To that end, Gates should consider a very potent remark made by David Simon, co-creator of HBO's acclaimed television series The Wire. In response to a questioner who demanded to know what Simon's solution to the drug problem would be outside of prohibition, Simon shot back:

Look. For 35 years, you've…marginalized a certain percentage of your population, most of them minority, and placed them in a situation where the only viable economic engine in their hypersegregated neighborhoods is the drug trade. Then you've alienated them further by fighting this draconian war in their neighborhoods, and not being able to distinguish between friend or foe and between that which is truly dangerous or that which is just illegal. And you want to sit across the table from me and say 'What's the solution?' and get it in a paragraph? The solution is to undo the last 35 years, brick by brick. How long is that going to take? I don't know, but until you start it's only going to get worse.

To put it another way, McWhorter, Balko, and Simon have begun a conversation about race, drug prohibition, and criminal justice that the country desperately needs to have. Hopefully Gates will join them.

Damon W. Root is an associate editor at Reason magazine.

NEXT: Cronkite on the Drug War

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “While we may never know if Gates was actually the victim of racial profiling, writes Associate Editor Damon W. Root, Gates’ outrage can still help those who have been-and will be-racially profiled.”

    Bullshit. Crying wolf undercuts credibility — it does not enhance it. Charges of racism must be made only when grounds for it exist. False charges only encourage reflexive skepticism when real racism occurs.

  2. I hate profiling as much as anyone. I’ve called my local newspaper to complain about it here in Loiusiana. However this episode is no way to start the debate.

  3. WTF guys? Regardless of whether this was a case of racial profiling, it’s clearly an gross injustice. Gates was essentially arrested for being rude to a cop. He was hauled out of his home in handcuffs because some asshole cop didn’t like his attitude, and now refuses to even apologize.

  4. Oh boy, this thread again!

  5. Actually, he was not hauled out of his own home. He left of his own accord to follow the police.

  6. Xeones, don’t you know that endlessly talking about the same thing pushes up reason’s page hits? DUH.

  7. Is there anyway they could have a thread that somehow works in Sarah Palin and Skip Gates? That thread might pass 1000 posts.

  8. I think Gates is a smartass but that shouldn’t necessarily be grounds for arrest.

  9. “Look. For 35 years, you’ve…marginalized a certain percentage of your population, most of them minority, and placed them in a situation where the only viable economic engine in their hypersegregated neighborhoods is the drug trade. Then you’ve alienated them further by fighting this draconian war in their neighborhoods, and not being able to distinguish between friend or foe and between that which is truly dangerous or that which is just illegal. And you want to sit across the table from me and say ‘What’s the solution?’ and get it in a paragraph? The solution is to undo the last 35 years, brick by brick. How long is that going to take? I don’t know, but until you start it’s only going to get worse.”

    I would love to be a Presidential Candidate and go before the NFOP and tell them that. And tell the NAACP that while I was at it. And point out to the NAACP that we even had a black President who refused to face reality.

  10. Racial profiling is indeed a problem that still exists within our justice system today. With that being said, this was not racial profiling. The police officer followed procedure. He has a duty to respond to calls within his jurisdiction. Had Gates simply explained the situation this would have never happened. Had it been a white man instead of Gates who reacted the same way, they too would have been arrested for disorderly conduct. The only way this would have been racial profiling is if he didn’t have a complaint and took it upon himself to investigate. Last, Gates himself has stated his home was broken into before. Wouldn’t he be happy that his fellow citizens were keeping a watchful eye over there city?

  11. Uh…uh… and what about those white men and women who are handcuffed and arrested because they refused to comply and started mouthing off to the cop(s)?

    OMG, it’s racial profiling, ALL cops are pigs, and ALL cops pick on blacks.

    At this point, I roll my eyes.

  12. For clarification, Gates actually said he was glad that his neighbor called the police, so that particular talking point in this silly front of the Kulturkampf is a nonstarter.

  13. This is not racial profiling. I would challenge any guilty white liberal who thinks it is, to go out and start mouthing off to the first cop they see and see what happens. Only black people get the shit kicked out of them and arrested right?

  14. Ironically, Sgt. Crowley is the cop who teaches avoidance of racial profiling to the other cops in Cambridge. Who, except Crowley and Gates knows what really happened? Maybe all cops on duty should be wired for sound.

  15. over the past three decades, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have waged a costly and disastrous war on drugs that has savaged America’s black neighborhoods and imprisoned a staggering number of black men.

    People, people, people…. the racial profiling is not the issue with the state of black male america. What makes the above fact so mind numbingly frustrating is that liberals, black or white, fail to acknowledge this. Liberals are just as willing to play the my-dick-is-bigger-than-your-dick game of one upsmanship to see who can be tougher on crime that culminates with these racists results. The fact that these fucking cowards subscribe to a policy that puts more blacks in prison than college tells me their philosophy is completely vapid in regards to the goal of destroying racism.

  16. If Gates had behaved like an rational adult instead of a racist prick, none of this would have ever happened. He could have always complained later.

    I don’t understand people that say you get to mouth off however you want to a cop, and they are supposed to just stand there and take it. Yeah, you go ahead and try that.

    I hope Gates does take this to court. That would be good comedy. The smart move for him is to STFU and let this all go away

  17. I think people need to step back a second.

    Everything Damon Root wrote about this was perfectly reasonable. I have no idea whether racial profiling played a part here. I doubt it, and expect (some) cops to power trip no matter the race of the victim. But yes, race is a serious issue in our justice system. This is also a fine point to start thinking about the impact of the drug war on minorities.

    Keep in mind that Gates hasn’t been quite as fiery about “race! race! race!” as some critics allege. He has been careful to say that this could happen to anyone, and his comments about the role of race in the justice system have been relatively reasonable, even if he’s a bit more self-righteous than some would like.

  18. Have to defend the cop here. Is it really hard to believe that a Harvard professor can be an obnoxious bully? Who hasn’t met intelligent asshole before?

    Anyhow, everyone should listen to this interview with the Sargent in question, including Damon.

  19. I don’t understand people that say you get to mouth off however you want to a cop, and they are supposed to just stand there and take it. Yeah, you go ahead and try that.

    It’s this cute, quaint little notion we call “freedom of speech”. Outdated in Empire America (that’s for you, LM), I know.

  20. “I don’t understand people that say you get to mouth off however you want to a cop, and they are supposed to just stand there and take it. Yeah, you go ahead and try that.”

    If I come and mouth off to you and don’t threaten you or assault you, what are you going to do about it? Nothing. Why should a cop be any different? Last I looked it was a free country and I was free to say whatever I wanted. And the 1st Amendment doesn’t say ‘freedom of speech except when talking to cops’.

  21. Reality,

    Awesome. So I’m not allowed to talk back to state power without getting arrested? That’s wonderful. I guess the entire Bill of Rights was comedic fiction, or a cometragedy, or something like that.

  22. For clarification, Gates actually said he was glad that his neighbor called the police, so that particular talking point in this silly front of the Kulturkampf is a nonstarter.

    But he was enraged when a cop did what his neigbor’s call requires (showed up), so there’s still plenty Kulturkampf material there, e.g., “He’s glad his neighbor is a rich white lady from Harvard. He lives to serve them, not mick trash cops.”

    Don’t give up so easily.

  23. There is still a lot of racism in this country maybe the right questions are whether “racial profiling classes” for the police and Gates’s scholarship have actually moved us in the right direction.

  24. FWIW, the Kulturkampf battle from yesterday was me basically taking issue with black commentators who said victim-oriented things like “Malcom X was right: white people still think of black PhDs as niggers”, which is just absolutely asinine.

  25. This is an awful case to talk about racial profiling. The only profiling that comes out of this case is people learning that whenever a bad thing happens to a black person they are likely going to cry ‘racism!’

    A lady called the cops about two guys breaking into a house. Ends with race-fixated guy screaming at cops for being racists and he gets arrested. Not right, but not a big surprise either; all sorts of people get arrested for screaming in public and screaming at the cops in public.

  26. And BTW Damon, they most likely dropped all charges because they want the story to go away. It doesn’t give any credence to Gates’s version.

    And as far as the argument that black men have legitimate reasons for mistrusting police, that doesn’t give black men the right to be uncooperative and abusive.

  27. Every libertarian argument eventually comes around to free drugs, doesn’t it?

  28. I firmly believe that any lingering race issues in this country are due to people on both sides of the divide who like to inflame the issue. Gates is inflaming the issue by making it a race issue in the first place, based on nothing but his own perception. Is there any basis for the race card being played other than the color of the actors?

  29. Where is the evidence of racial profiling.

    Black people aren’t the only ones arrested on trumped-up charges. White honky oppressors get their share as well. Although there is a problem with relations between cops and black people, I don’t think this particular incident illustrates that proposition.

    I would suspect that the cop would have been happy to arrest a white or Asian professor who talked back.

    Since they dropped the charge, this suggests to me that Gates is not guilty. Think about it – if you had arrested a guilty person, someone who seems to be a just a wee bit litigious, wouldn’t you want to process the case and get a conviction, so as to be in a better position to defend against a lawsuit?

  30. I’m with the cop on this particular episode.

  31. I don’t understand people that say you get to mouth off however you want to a cop, and they are supposed to just stand there and take it.

    Why not? If I mouth off to any other citizen, they just have to stand there and take it, don’t they? I mean, they can argue back, but they aren’t allowed to hit me or handcuff me, are they?

    Yeah, you go ahead and try that.

    This is more of an admission that too many cops are power-tripping assholes, and that we as a nation have been cowed into thinking this is normal, even desirable, than you may realize, Reality.

    Its a shame that this country is so race-obsessed that this is being treated as a racial issue, rather than a broader cultural issue.

  32. Law enforcement sources have told ABC News that the conversation between Gates and the police officer was transmitted over Crowley’s open police radio and that Gates can be heard yelling. Yelling at police officers who are trying to do their job is a low percentage move, and it’s likely that the more Gates presses this matter, the worse he will look.

    Gates, though, refuses to let the matter rest. In a phone interview from Martha’s Vineyard, he stated: “I believe the police officer should apologize to me for what he knows he did that was wrong,” Gates added that if the officer “admits his error,” then “I am willing to forgive him” and “to educate him about the history of racism in America and the issue of racial profiling; that’s what I do for a living.”

  33. What an asshole.

  34. Gates was essentially arrested for being rude to a cop. He was hauled out of his home in handcuffs because some asshole cop didn’t like his attitude,

    That’s called police protocol. If you mouth off to a cop, he’s going to do everything in his power to make your life miserable. The problem I see in this case is, that as soon as Gates established his residency, the cop should have turned and left. But once a cop is in your house, he likes to make himself comfortable. It’s more difficult to get rid of a cop than a nest of cockroaches.

  35. Since they dropped the charge, this suggests to me that Gates is not guilty. Think about it – if you had arrested a guilty person, someone who seems to be a just a wee bit litigious, wouldn’t you want to process the case and get a conviction, so as to be in a better position to defend against a lawsuit?

    I don’t know the numbers, but I don’t think many DC charges get prosecuted. People either plead out to a tiny fine, or the person sits the night/few hours in jail and then is released and charges are dropped. When used by itself (as opposed to a combination of charges), DC is generally used as a catch-all to diffuse a situation which could get worse (and lead to assault, riots, etc.).

    It generally isn’t worth the state’s time to prosecute DC charges.

  36. New at Reason: Damon Root on Henry Louis Gates and the Dysfunctional Relationship Between Law Enforcement and Black America

    fixed

  37. (cont) but try to find one when you actually need one.

  38. It seems apparent to me that the only place where racism was involved here was in Gates’ head. His career is based on the idea of the overwhelming existence of racism, so he’s determined to see it everywhere.

    He shouldn’t have been arrested, but he also shouldn’t be shaping young minds. The world is passing these race baiters by.

  39. If I mouth off to any other citizen, they just have to stand there and take it, don’t they?

    Actually, no. Disorderly Conduct is one of those catch-all crimes that’s used (and abused) to arrest people for all sorts of reasons. Like calling someone a Sissy.

    The Sargent in the Gates case (according to the Sargent, and probably corroborated by the surrounding witnesses) gave multiple warnings before deciding to arrest Gates. Which is typical for any Disorderly Conduct case I’ve ever read about (not that I claim to be an expert on misdemeanor charges).

  40. I mean, they can argue back, but they aren’t allowed to hit me or handcuff me, are they?

    According to the ‘fighting words’ case law, actually they may have a legal defense if they do hit you. I think that case law is BS, but it exists.

    For the record, I submit that I find the word ‘the’ to be a fighting word. Anytime someone utters the word ‘the’ in my presence, I am entitled to hit them.

  41. I don’t understand people that say you get to mouth off however you want to a cop, and they are supposed to just stand there and take it. Yeah, you go ahead and try that.

    What I have noticed is that there are lots of people so beaten down by police arrogance that they are actually angry at anyone else who is less beaten down.

    “I know I would get arrested if I failed to be polite enough to a cop, and rather than fight this I have decided to lay down and take it because discretion is the better part of valor. So now I am hugely pissed off at anyone else who doesn’t lay down, because if I have to abase myself before the police then god damn it EVERYONE should have to abase themselves, including Mr. Hoity-Toity Harvard Professor!”

    That is the translation of 90% of the anti-Gates posts at the Boston Herald site now. It’s the translation of any post anywhere, including here, that includes any variant of, “Well, Gates should have known that…” etc etc etc.

  42. So now you cannot even stand on your property and scream. Did everyone miss the point that it had been already verified it was his house? So what exactly was the cop still doing there? And yes, unless cops have special powers not to be yelled at, he is a citizen like any other. They already have too much power as it is.

  43. The Sargent in the Gates case (according to the Sargent, and probably corroborated by the surrounding witnesses) gave multiple warnings before deciding to arrest Gates.

    I’m unimpressed by this. I don’t care how many times the cop said, “I will illegally arrest you if you continue to address a complaint to me,” in cop-speak. He didn’t have the right to tell Gates to stop complaining once, and he didn’t grow that right by telling him multiple times.

  44. The dropped charges do not in any way support Gates. The charges were dropped most likely because Gates is a well know personality with political connections and he made ridiculous charges of racism. To a liberal DA in a liberal town, that is the end of the arguement. But in any event, disturbing the peace charges are almost always dropped, as the arrest is viewed by the DA’s office as sufficient punishment. This is a case of those in power getting better treatment than others. White people are here again the victim, just like in the Duke case, but this time the officer is the victim of a racist and moronic press, and a powerfully connected buffoon, who, is, by the way, allegedly a friend of the President. Local DAs don’t prosecute friends of President, especially if they are of the same party.

  45. “So now you cannot even stand on your property and scream.”

    Tell you what, dipshit, tonight at 3:00 am, go stand in your yard (assuming you don’t live in rural America) and start screaming at the top of your lungs. Let us know how that works out.

    Idealism precedes experience.

    And you can bet your ass Gates knows this, which is why he did it. He is a dirt-bag race baiter.

  46. You can take a nigger out of the ghetto…

  47. He didn’t have the right to tell Gates to stop complaining once, and he didn’t grow that right by telling him multiple times.

    Disorderly Conduct and Disturbing the Peace charges arise from that type of conduct all the time. What makes you believe the Sargent conducted an act beyond his authority?

  48. Tell you what, dipshit, tonight at 3:00 am, go stand in your yard (assuming you don’t live in rural America) and start screaming at the top of your lungs. Let us know how that works out.

    It wasn’t 3 AM, shit for brains.

    I had this argument with Abdul yesterday. Cambridge noise ordinances would have permitted Gates to operate construction equipment on his porch at that time of day. That to me makes it UTTERLY ABSURD to claim that Gates was somehow disturbing the peace by talking loudly and complaining. He’d have to be one loud dude to be louder than construction equipment.

  49. ‘It generally isn’t worth the state’s time to prosecute DC charges.’

    So I would imagine, but I also imagine that they would *find* the time to prosecute a guilty person who has been shouting his innocence all over the media in a highly-publicized case which even got attention from the Pres of the US.

    If I were a cop who had arrested a guilty person, and he was claiming innocence in every public forum, not to mention raising (all so subtly) the possibility of a lawsuit, I would want nothing more than to take the matter to court so that all the second-guessers who had criticized my behavior could see that I had been right.

    Of course, I don’t know who ordered the charges dropped. Was it the arresting officer himself? Did he object to the dropped charges?

  50. And, by the way, black neighborhoods are hyper segregated because blacks are violent and dangerous. Selling drugs is not the crime that drives out employers, it is the violent crime like burglary, robbery and murder. Neither segregation, the police, or lack of opportunity causes that behavior. You should not go to ignorant actors to get the truth about black ghettos. Just why is it that other minorities, like illegal Mexicans can get jobs but blacks don’t? First, black culture discourages study and work, holding high rappers and athletes. Asians come here and work, why can’t blacks? Even blacks from outside of American come here and work. There is a problem with black culture. And you can’t blame it on the police, because as of today, there is alot less police violence directed at blacks. Things have gotten alot better in that area since Jim Crow. The real change is the growth of the welfare entitlement mentality among blacks. They don’t want to work and they live off welfare. They are told by their betters, like Gates, that the white man is to blame for the situation, which is not true. Gates is just an experienced mau mauer, perfectly described 40 years ago by Tom Wolfe.

  51. Disorderly Conduct and Disturbing the Peace charges arise from that type of conduct all the time. What makes you believe the Sargent conducted an act beyond his authority?

    Because the charges are false on those other occasions, too.

    I can see a disorderly conduct charge being valid in certain limited circumstances: if the police are trying to contain a drunk outside a bar, and the drunk tries to rally the crowd of bar patrons to help him resist arrest, or tries to start a larger fight so he can disappear and evade the police in the melee, I can understand a disorderly conduct charge.

    But handing out disorderly conduct charges when someone is yelling “False arrest!” and asking for witnesses to note what’s going on? Absolutely bogus.

  52. And if it was higher-ups or politically-correct superiors who ordered the charges dropped, then I suppose the word will get out to the media and the police unions that the brass rolled over to do favors for a Harvard professor at the expense of an honest beat cop doing his job.

    I will be waiting for these claims to come out – if they don’t, maybe the charge was bogus to begin with.

  53. Mad Max, again it’s a DC charge. They aren’t pursued against people that can afford a good attorney.

  54. So I would imagine, but I also imagine that they would *find* the time to prosecute a guilty person who has been shouting his innocence all over the media in a highly-publicized case which even got attention from the Pres of the US.

    And keep the story alive? Over a DC charge? I doubt it.

  55. The way I see it, Gates never intended for the police the show up, but once they did, he saw a golden opportunity to get on his soap box, by goading the officer into arresting him. I am seldom one to take a police officer’s side, but considering Sgt. Crowley’s background, I would think he would actually know better than to get caught doing anything resembling profiling, and am therefore willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in this case.

    There is no doubt that there is a problem with the current relationship between black men and law enforcement, however this case isn’t an example of that. But being that it is a high profile black man who is friends with the president, there becomes a national stage for the debate as soon as Gates gets arrested. He’s a smart man, he saw the opportunity and jumped on it.

  56. On the whole, I’m glad Gates isn’t letting this rest. While the racial subtext is probably unfortunate for society as a whole, this at least has people realizing and discussing that too many cops have gotten way too big for their britches and way too thin-skinned. And that’s a plus.

  57. They aren’t pursued against people that can afford a good attorney.

    You go to court (with the attorney), plead not guilty, get rescheduled, the cop “mysteriously” doesn’t show up for court (even though he gets OT pay) and the charge gets dismissed.

  58. But handing out disorderly conduct charges when someone is yelling “False arrest!” and asking for witnesses to note what’s going on? Absolutely bogus.

    I think, without a video, everyone (including you and I) are going to perceive the circumstances of this event the way they want to perceive it. I think it’s extremely difficult to define with clarity who was in the right/wrong here without having full access to all reported information.

    Your claim is that the circumstances here didn’t warrant a DC charge. My claim is that you don’t know enough to make that determination. Neither do I. I can, however, conceive of circumstances, based on my limited knowledge of the case, where a DC charge would be a suitable response to the actions of the one being charged. If you can conceive that too, then why choose to give Gates the benefit of the doubt vs. Sargent Crowley?

    I think where a person falls on this issue reveals something about their biases. Because for the most part, it’s a He Said, She Said issue.

    What I’m shocked at is that this is a national story. I’m further appalled by the comments made by the President, on what is certainly very limited knowledge. It shows to me how much the race issue still eats at him, and that’s very disappointing to me.

  59. R C, It looks like win, win to me. Race baiters look bad as do thin skinned power trippers.

  60. “Disorderly Conduct and Disturbing the Peace charges arise from that type of conduct all the time. What makes you believe the Sargent conducted an act beyond his authority?”

    You don’t get it. This is Reason, where cops, unlike citizens, are guilty untilproven innocent. See, when you take the cop oath, you forfit your civil rights.


  61. What I’m shocked at is that this is a national story. ”

    With ObamaCare and Cap & Theft tanking? Nhe media is running a distraction. Reason too.

  62. ‘They aren’t pursued against people that can afford a good attorney.’

    Well, if the guy has an attorney and he’s a professor in a college community and a friend of the Pres, that would probably be extra reason to drop the charge even if he’s guilty.

    So perhaps the good professor is truly, indeed, guilty legally (of disturbing the peace) as well as morally (of jerkitude). But I still wonder why the govt would back down so publicly if they actually had a good case, when it would be seen as an admission they were wrong. Who wants to make that kind of admission?

  63. “I had this argument with Abdul yesterday”

    Well I don’t spendmy days reading your work.

  64. OK, *I* admit I was wrong – it’s plausible that they could dismiss charges against a guilty person who has a pipeline to the Pres of the U.S., who can use the forum of a press conference to denounce the arrest.

    The true power relations here are starting to hit home to me.

  65. I have a really simple philosophy on this type of situation – Always be polite to people carrying automatic pistols, nightsticks and handcuffs, especially if they have the legal right to arrest you. (If they’re not cops, be VERY polite) One doesn’t have to scream and throw a tantrum to assert one’s rights. Of course, you don’t get on national news shows by being reasonable, either.

  66. Your claim is that the circumstances here didn’t warrant a DC charge. My claim is that you don’t know enough to make that determination. Neither do I.

    The things that might be revealed by a video wouldn’t matter to me.

    Here’s what I wouldn’t care about:

    1. The volume level attained by Gates, unless it was truly of heroic proportions.

    2. Whether Gates used profanity.

    3. Whether Gates waved his arms.

    4. Whether Gates was visibly angry or appeared distressed.

    So what is a video supposed to show me to change my mind, exactly? If Gates had struck an officer we’d be talking about entirely different charges.

    Crowley had the opportunity to present Gates’ conduct in the worst possible light in the police report. And he included things that make Gates look like a jerk: The “yo mamma” thing, the “Do you know who I am?” thing. But I don’t care about those things. So what else is supposed to be there to change my mind?

  67. “”I am willing to forgive him” and “to educate him about the history of racism in America and the issue of racial profiling; that’s what I do for a living.”

    Fuck you, skippy. I am completely unimpressed by your affirmative action job.

  68. The President can use a press conference.

    In one of the stories, the cop prefaced his self-defense by a protestation that he is an Obama supporter. So Obama’s remarks at a televised press conference may actually have had some influence on local law-enforcement (when did the dismissal take place, before or after the press conference)?

  69. Fluffy-

    Permit me to engage in some “narcissisim of minor differneces.” I do not think the facts you set forth justify a disorderly conduct charge.

    Why shouldn’t a drunk patron be able to attempt to rally his fellow patron to his defense? An arrest is usually an act of violence. One has a natural right to resist such uncivilized, barbaric, thuggish, blue collar, puublic sector life acts of coercion.

  70. “Law enforcement sources have told ABC News that the conversation between Gates and the police officer was transmitted over Crowley’s open police radio and that Gates can be heard yelling. ”

    We need to hear this tape.

  71. I’m lovin’ it!

  72. Fluffy, he could have calmly and quietly inspired his fellow Harvard professors to riot.

  73. RC, in this case, Gates is coming off as the “power-tripping asshole”.

  74. Fluffy said:

    But I don’t care about those things.

    Except that cops do. And they use those things to justify DC charges. And those charges can stick. I’m not sure what you believe is a prosecutable DC charge, but they certainly can involve any combination of the things you list as ignorable items.

    How do you think the circumstances of this particular DC charge differ significantly from the typical DC charge?

  75. Today, Obama said that with all that’s going on in the country with health care and the economy and the wars abroad, “it doesn’t make sense to arrest a guy in his own home if he’s not causing a serious disturbance.”

    Translation: never pass up an opportunity to exploit a good crisis. Especially when I need take people’s eyes off of my tanking support.

  76. “I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power, as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yestereday at the voting booth.”

  77. Ah, here it is:

    ‘”I support the president of the United States 110-percent,” [the arresting officer] told WBZ Radio.

    ‘”I think he’s way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts, as he himself stated before he made that comment. I don’t know what to say about that. I guess a friend of mine would support my position, too.”‘

    So here the Pres of the U.S. is meddling in a local law-enforcement matter because a friend of his got arrested, and the cop who did the arrest has to preface his criticism by a protestation of loyalty to the Leader.

    Perhaps I have been a sap – this cop might well be more vulnerable than Gates – in the middle of a blue state, a university town, arresting a friend of the Pres, who immediately race-baits the issue . . .

    It doesn’t mean Gates is guilty, but wow . . .

  78. Couldn’t we judge the merits of each side by the actions, not race. I mean, if the cops randomly pic 10 addresses in town and decide to be jerks to the residents at those addresses, is that OK?

  79. This issue only confirms how well the state’s propaganda has worked-on people who call themselves conservatives, limited government advocates and libertarians.

    Who in their right mind is going to take the word of a cop-particularly a public sector lifer. A parasite. An anti-intellectual, blue collar loser. A guy who has played on the wrong side of the drug war and got paid to do so. A guy who has refused to defy the drug war and his paymasters. Typical cop cowardice.

    So, having said the above, why should one extend the benefit of the doubt to the public sector actor? The parasite? The guy who has participated in the arrests of others who were not harming anybody? The guy who does not pay even a third of his health insurance premiums. A guy who has refused to speak out on his state being the only state in the country for which a monopoly exists for the police regarding traffic details.

    The guy is a member of a public employee union. That, in and of itself, is a reflection of one’s values; for Crowley, that is scumminess. A real man does not belong to a public employee union.

    So, all of that against an alleged race baiter. Though I do not cotton to race baiters and groupthink and affirmative action (you get a guy like Obama who can not complete a sentence without ummmmmmming and aaaaaaaaahhhhhhing) and “African American Studies” as an academic discipline, I just am not prepared to credit an anti-intellectual, drug warrior bully who belongs to a public employee union.

  80. Perhaps I have been a sap – this cop might well be more vulnerable than Gates – in the middle of a blue state, a university town, arresting a friend of the Pres, who immediately race-baits the issue . . .

    Well, it was a question asked OF Obama at a press conference.

    In any event, my big objection is the reverse of yours. You’re scared for poor little 170k a year police man because now he has to worry because he arrested a friend of the President. I, on the other hand, am pissed off because basically to not be terrorized by the police you pretty much have to be a friend of the President.

    So I don’t feel bad for Crowley because he has to be afraid of the consequences of fucking with Gates. I feel bad for the rest of us that Crowley does NOT have to be just as afraid of the consequences of fucking with one of US.

    Except that cops do. And they use those things to justify DC charges. And those charges can stick. I’m not sure what you believe is a prosecutable DC charge, but they certainly can involve any combination of the things you list as ignorable items.

    How do you think the circumstances of this particular DC charge differ significantly from the typical DC charge?

    Massachusetts specifically exempts political speech from the DC statute, so pretty much any complaint about police conduct whatsoever, no matter how phrased, would not be DC in my book.

    Maybe if Gates had been arguing with his cabbie about his fare on the porch, it could have been DC. But since he’s arguing with the cops about whether or not their intrusion upon him was racially motivated, it pretty much can’t be.

  81. Everyone is missing the point. If you read the police report . . .

    http://petermoskos.com/copinthehood/gates.pdf

    . . . it seems that Officer Crowley did not ask Gates for his id until after he went uninvited into Gates’ house. Officer Crowley did not have probable cause to do this, which means that his entry was unConstitutional and he was trespassing.

    You have every right to create a disturbance while expelling a trespasser. You have every right to call a trespasser a racist (even if he is not). Because of the trespassing.

  82. occam’s razor needs stropping. what’s more likely, the cop is an asshole (as is skippy) or the cop is a bigot?

  83. libertymike, in this instance, I’d believe just about anyone over a hate-filled racism-peddler like Gates.

    IMO, Gates escalated the issue so he could get Bullhorn Sharpton and others of his ilk to point their fingers and say “lookit, the white man put his foot on our necks again!”.

    Utter bullshit on Gates’ part. He played the press like the saps they are.

  84. “Utter bullshit on OBAMA’S part. He played the press like the saps they are.

  85. It should have read “Obama and Gates played the press”. My bad.

  86. Fluffy,

    Even assuming that the question to Obama was spontaneous and not planted, he replied by criticizing the arrest and going on a riff about The Black Experience in America.

    Assuming the arrest was illegal – which is quite plausible – you are right that the lesson won’t be ‘cops shouldn’t abuse their power,’ but ‘be careful in arresting influential people’ and ‘let’s use an incident without evidence of profiling to start another National Discussion of Race.’

  87. He was arrested for disorderly conduct

  88. Mad Max —

    In what way is the president, after having been asked, saying (paraphrased) “I don’t know if this was a race thing or not, but arresting a guy on his property after he’s shown it to be his property is really fucking stupid” objectionable?

    I mean, it’s not like he’s directing the AG to investigate, and he did preface the remarks with “I don’t know the facts” and “I might be biased on account of the guy is a friend of mine”. He offered an opinion, and an eminently reasonable one, as far as I can tell.

  89. The Libertarian Guy-

    Crowley did not have to arrest him. He could have walked away. He chose otherwise. Not an effective use of the the money of Cantabridgians. Not the best of judgment. A better man walks away.

    Non-agression principle. Libertarians should not except a cop from its applicability.

  90. libertymike, if this were anyone but a professional racism-monger like Gates, I’d likely be against the cop. But in this instance, there has to be at least a 50/50 culpability in the escalation department.

    However, given Gates’ past, I’d say it was heavier on his side.

    I’m all for BAD cops getting the light shone in their eyes. In this case, though, the cop doesn’t sound like a bad man.

  91. in this instance, I’d believe just about anyone over a hate-filled racism-peddler like Gates

    What exactly do you know about Gates that brings you to the conclusion that he’s a hate-filled racism-peddler”? I’ll bet $100 you don’t know shit about the man other than what you’ve seen in the news and blogs. Have you even read the Wikipedia page on him? It’s stunning how many people here just assume something about the man without even a single attempt to verify it.

  92. IMO, Gates escalated the issue so he could get Bullhorn Sharpton and others of his ilk to point their fingers and say “lookit, the white man put his foot on our necks again!”.

    And you think this is worthy of an arrest? Speech you find personally offensive? Sure thing, “Libertarian guy.”

  93. Wikipedia?

    Are you going to say Louis Farrakhan is a decent, level-headed, lovable guy, as well?

    I’m with Bill Cosby on this issue.

  94. I didn’t say it was “worthy of an arrest”, max hats.

    I *am* saying, there has to be something that Gates did beyond yelling at a cop.

    I don’t automatically blame cops in every situation, nor do I automatically side with them. In this case, I’m siding with the cop, his arrest of Gates notwithstanding.

    BTW, I’m the chairman of my local LP, and I’ll thank you to not cast aspersions on my bonafides.

  95. libertymike, if this were anyone but a professional racism-monger like Gates, I’d likely be against the cop. But in this instance, there has to be at least a 50/50 culpability in the escalation department.

    It doesn’t matter one whit even if Gates IS a professional racism-monger.

    Let’s say Crowley is perfectly non-racist. Let’s say it’s completely false and totally unfair for Gates to accuse him of racism. Let’s say that Gates stood there and said, “You damn cop crackas, always trying to hold the black man down, always arrestin’ da black man for no reason, cracka cracka cracka cracka!”

    Tough shit, Crowley. Go have another donut. Nothing there is ARRESTABLE. You don’t get to arrest someone because he hurt your feelings by calling you a racist.

  96. LMNOP,

    Here are the key parts of the Pres’s remarks
    :

    ‘”I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”‘

    Naturally, the Pres took care to rhetorically disclaim any accusation of profiling, but he made sure to discuss the profiling issue in the context of the arrest of Prof. Gates.

    This gives him an escape route if it turns out that there was no profiling involved, but he still gets points from his buddy Gates and that crowd for using the incident to segue into a discussion of Racism in America.

    It’s really a win-win from his standpoint.

    Imagine if he had said:

    “You know, I’m biased because Prof. Gates is a good friend of mine, and I would no more repudiate him than I would repudiate my racist grandmother, but there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos engaging in disorderly conduct. That’s just a fact.”

    That would be a prejudicial remark, despite the disclaimers.

    Likewise, the statement he actually made was prejudicial despite the disclaimers.

  97. Gates past is irrevelent, Epi. Dude is in need of a new bag and Crowley gave it to him.

  98. I’m all for BAD cops getting the light shone in their eyes. In this case, though, the cop doesn’t sound like a bad man.

    I’m all for BAD cops getting the light shone in their eyes. But this guy, see, I looked into his eyes, saw his caring soul, and I said to myself “there’s a man who is righteous and honorable!”

    You can’t be serious.

    And BTW, as Epi pointed out, there is basically nothing in Gates’ past which would justify anything like “a hate-filled racism-peddler”. The guy makes Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X.

    Or was that Wayne Brady? Shit, I can never keep it straight.

    I’m just curious where the nickname “Skip” comes from.

  99. I didn’t say it was “worthy of an arrest”, max hats.

    I *am* saying, there has to be something that Gates did beyond yelling at a cop.

    I don’t automatically blame cops in every situation, nor do I automatically side with them. In this case, I’m siding with the cop, his arrest of Gates notwithstanding.

    Anyone who weighs these two things:

    [[Unfair accusation of racism]] vs. [[abuse of the police power via unfair arrest]] and sides with the cop is not going to impress me with his bona fides, sorry.

  100. “Why, because I’m a black man in America?”

    Typical of the Sharpton/Jackson/Farrakhan style of race relations.

    Sorry, but IMO this just makes racism worse, like false rape or child-abuse charges denigrate the REAL instances of abuse.

  101. Naturally, the Pres took care to rhetorically disclaim any accusation of profiling, but he made sure to discuss the profiling issue in the context of the arrest of Prof. Gates.

    This gives him an escape route if it turns out that there was no profiling involved, but he still gets points from his buddy Gates and that crowd for using the incident to segue into a discussion of Racism in America.

    Umm, Mad Max, the reason he addressed it was because it was directly part of the reporter’s question. He didn’t get a question along the lines of “talk about the thing with Gates” and take it upon himself to wax poetic about race relations. The reporter asked point-blank “what does this incident indicate about race relations?”

  102. “and sides with the cop”

    I didn’t side with the cop on the arrest. The jury (pun alert) is still out as to which one of these men put the final straw on the camel’s back.

    Thanks for calling me a liar, by the way.

  103. Wikipedia?

    Are you going to say Louis Farrakhan is a decent, level-headed, lovable guy, as well?

    Seeing as your only response is to mock Wikipedia, I can safely assume you don’t know jack shit about the man. While Fluffy is 100% right that it doesn’t matter at all whether he’s a race-baiter or not, it’s very telling how you’re perfectly comfortable with cop abuses if they’re abusing someone you dislike. And to top it off, you dislike the guy without even determining whether your preconception is at all correct.

    You really ought to change your handle to “The Libertarian Guy in the same way that Donderoooo is libertarian”.

  104. Cambridge PD would be wise to send a black cop next time.

  105. “you’re perfectly comfortable with cop abuses”

    Lie.

  106. Lie.

    Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.

  107. Aaaand the purists come out to cast aspersions on the libertarians who DON’T sound like whiny Democrats.

  108. “you’re perfectly comfortable with cop abuses”

    Lie.

    Considering that your reasons so far for hedging has to do with the inaccurate and still irrelevant notion that Gates is a serial race-bater, it seems like not a lie, but a very unfortunate, uncomfortable truth.

  109. I’m still waiting to hear how much research you did into Gates’ career history and works. Maybe you can list the right-wing blogs you visited; that would be a start.

  110. What perplexes me is that Gates claimes the door was unsecurable because of a previous break in. Then why the crowbar? It smells even fishier to me now.

  111. Aaaand the purists come out to cast aspersions on the libertarians who DON’T sound like whiny Democrats.

    Well, if you can come up with a reason why it is ever OK for a police officer to arrest someone in their own home who has neither committed a crime nor threatened to commit one, then by all means share it. But I think around here, the only “libertarians” that get shat upon are the ones who think that libertarianism is compatible with fellating power, authority, and the long arm of the state.

  112. In what way is the president, after having been asked, saying (paraphrased) “I don’t know if this was a race thing or not, but arresting a guy on his property after he’s shown it to be his property is really fucking stupid” objectionable?

    Yes, of course. The President of the United States, offering an opinion on a sensitive race related issue, an opinion on which he himself admitted that he had very limited knowledge of the facts at hand, is not irresponsible in the slightest. Nope, not at all.

    Officer Crowley did not have probable cause to do this

    Yeah Dave, that’s right, investigating a possible break-in, where suspects might be hiding in the house, is clearly not probable cause for stepping into the foyer when the door was opened by a possible suspect. Clearly.

    Thanks though for supplying the police report. In particular, the corroborating report of Officer Figueroa. All of this documented, BTW, before this became a national shitstorm.

  113. El, I fucking hate cops. But black actors that make it harder for blacks to be generally accepted in society? I hate even worse.

  114. Nothing there is ARRESTABLE.

    We’re simply going to have to disagree on this point of contention. It doesn’t appear to me that this DC arrest differs substantially from the norm.

  115. Well, if you can come up with a reason why it is ever OK for a police officer to arrest someone in their own home who has neither committed a crime nor threatened to commit one, then by all means share it.

    He wasn’t arrested in his home. He was arrested on the sidewalk. It didn’t become a DC issue until Gates entered the public sphere.

  116. I would think Gates “black in America” comment betrays his super-moderate record of work.

  117. El, I fucking hate cops. But black actors that make it harder for blacks to be generally accepted in society? I hate even worse.

    Are we talking here about Wayne Brady?

    Yes, of course. The President of the United States, offering an opinion on a sensitive race related issue, an opinion on which he himself admitted that he had very limited knowledge of the facts at hand, is not irresponsible in the slightest. Nope, not at all.

    No, it isn’t. It was quite responsible. He had all the necessary disclaimers, and stuck to what was known about the facts. His opinion seemed pretty reasonable (because, *ahem*, regardless of why, it is fucking stupid for officers to arrest someone on their property when no crime has been committed). Nothing he said about the brute facts of racial profiling was factually incorrect, and the rest was his opinion, which was solicited. What about it in particular did you object?

  118. He wasn’t arrested in his home. He was arrested on the sidewalk. It didn’t become a DC issue until Gates entered the public sphere.

    The photo shows him being arrested on his own porch.

  119. James, why don’t you read his version of events and then rethink your opinion of the man.

  120. Yeah Dave, that’s right, investigating a possible break-in, where suspects might be hiding in the house, is clearly not probable cause for stepping into the foyer when the door was opened by a possible suspect. Clearly.

    Investigating a break in is not automatic probable cause. This is especially true when someone claiming to be the homeowner meets you at the door.

    See, See, Reardon v. Wroan, 811 F.2d 1025 (7th Cir. 1987); In re Sealed Case, 153 F.3d 759 (DC Cir 1998).

    Depending on how the homeowner reacts to a request for id, the LEO may get probable cause and then (and only then) be allowed in uninvited.

    In this case there was apparently no such request.

  121. The photo shows him being arrested on his own porch.

    My bad. Still, he was in the public sphere once he began the shouting tirade outside on his porch. A publicly observable ruckus, regardless of if your standing within the bounds of your property, is not atypical grounds for a DC arrest.

  122. Epi, that story makes it even more suspicious. He unlashed it but it was still jammed? Yet it was unsecurable? right.

  123. I helped keep a bona-fide white supremacist from hijacking OUR party ticket in the Missouri 7th Congressional race, a few years back.

    Keeping an actual racist from running under our banner? I’ll take that any day.

    I don’t “frequent right-wing blogs”, nor do I understand why supposed libertarians have to sound like DemocraticUnderground posters or staff writers for Media Matters.

    Until we know who threw the first meaphysical punch, I’ll stand with “Gates found an opening to fan the race-war flames, and Obama did not so much as take a piss on those flames when he had the chance on live television”.

  124. Wow, James, you’re very focused on the door, instead of on his version of what went down with the police as opposed to what the police said.

    Don’t you think that’s more important than little details about the door?

  125. And once again, Libertarian Guy posts without informing us of any investigation he’s done, whatsoever, to determine if “race-baiter” is a sensible thing to accuse Gates of.

  126. The door is the key. Focus on the door and you’ll realize this was a put on.

  127. If you say so, James. I have to go buy some prosciutto, so have fun without me.

  128. Episarch,

    Gates is perpetuating the idea that racism is THAT bad a problem in America. If it were, Obama wouldn’t be in office, leading us down a path to ruin started way before his predecesor.

    Of course, there ARE racists in America, though I refuse to buy the idea that “only whites can be racist because they have all the power”. I’ve seen plenty of racists of ALL races, and they ALL turn my stomach. There’s no real difference between Louis Farrakhan and David Duke – hey, they both hate Jews, that should tell you something.

    Calling me a liar isn’t solving anything.

  129. Episiarch,

    Gates version of the event clearly doesn’t match up with the official police report. Which makes this a He Said/She Said thing.

    Now consider this. The police report is very clear in accusing Gates of making race an issue from the very outset of the encounter. The police report was also not the result of a national media onslaught, but the result of an officer doing his regular daily job.

    Which is more trustworthy, a report written on the date of the incident, or a media interview given after a national uproar and a coaching by a lawyer?

    Do I think Gates is clearly untrustworthy? Not at all…I have no basis to have that belief. But I have no basis to disbelieve Sargent Crowley either.

    So now, once we move past the sequence of events that started the shouting tirade (which has multiple witnesses), the question becomes was the shouting tirade grounds for DC? The answer is…it has been before, and it’s the discretion of the officer to thus treat any particular event as a DC event. In this particular case, the officer felt that the charge was warranted given the prior warnings that were issued.

  130. Yes, Reginald Denny, the O.J. jury and the bitch that nearly killed me and her three red light witnesses has made me a racist. I’m sorry. But you cosmotarian fucks that deny that there’s anything fishy about this whole ordeal are the worst kind of fools.

  131. I’ll take Walter E. Williams, Herman Cain, or Ken Hamblin over the likes of Gates.

    Yes, I looked up some of his stuff, Episcarch. I’m not impressed.

    No, it wasn’t on right-wing blogs.

  132. Oh, had Cain beat Isackson the world would be a much better place!

  133. There is quite a distance between being not impressed and calling someone a hate-filled race baiter. And since you still haven’t backed that up with anything, it is not unreasonable for people to simply accuse you of throwing blind elbows.

  134. Even if every single thing in the policeman’s report was absolutely true, the arrest would still be right out. That’s why I find it silly in the extreme to come to any sort of defense of the police officer in this incident.

  135. Admittedly, I’d only heard the name “Henry Louis Gates”, up till now.

    However, after the past half-hour of reading his work… I’m still not impressed.

    You can split hairs, but it takes a LOT to impress me. I’m a skeptic. So sue me.

  136. I’m not defending the ARREST, Episarch, unless Gates did something to make that arrest valid.

    And, until we know what all happened, I’m not convinced he didn’t do something.

    When cops are wrong, I’m on board with the derision. IF the cop is wrong in this case, I’ll go with that.

  137. they’re both assholes and being assholes, they shat all over each other. it’s all fun and games until it becomes a headline and assholes all over the world get to shit all over each other in joy.

    since these assholes hit the public sphere it is our obligation to “throw blind elbows” at them. asshole.

  138. And, until we know what all happened, I’m not convinced he didn’t do something.

    When cops are wrong, I’m on board with the derision. IF the cop is wrong in this case, I’ll go with that.

    Well, we’ll see when the videos are released.

    Oh wait.

    As elemenope pointed out, the cop’s story is self-condemning. There was no justification for the arrest, no matter whose side you believe in this.

  139. And again, I’m not siding with the cop ON THE ARREST, unless – and this is still not clear – Gates definitively did not do something to warrant arrest, pardon the pun.

    I am saying, I don’t think the cop is guilty of using racism as his excuse. Not every white guy is a racist, despite what Jesse Jackson thinks.

  140. My bad. Still, he was in the public sphere once he began the shouting tirade outside on his porch. A publicly observable ruckus, regardless of if your standing within the bounds of your property, is not atypical grounds for a DC arrest.

    You’re not going to find much support for DC arrests in general around here, since they’re frequently capricious abuses of police authority.

  141. I am saying, I don’t think the cop is guilty of using racism as his excuse. Not every white guy is a racist, despite what Jesse Jackson thinks.

    I would argue the opposite. That all of us carry biases, of which our racial biases are only a subset. We vary in the degree to which we recognize and act on these biases, but they’re always there.

  142. There’s no doubt that there was racial profiling in this case:

    Gates encountered a white cop, and immediately profiled him as a racist oppressor.

  143. Tacos…

    Look, if you’ve heard “you didn’t vote for Obama just because he’s black!” as many times as I have, and you had a dime for every time you’ve heard it… you’d have – as Slim Pickens said in Blazing Saddles – a shitload of dimes.

    I’m sick of it. It demeans the ACTUAL instances of racism, to call every stubbed toe a racially-tinged incident.

    THIS incident, IMO, was more about tempers than racism, though Gates is showing much more I-hate-Whiteyism than the cop is showing damn-porch-monkeyitis.

    And I don’t wanna hear from the PC Police about using those terms. “You people” should also be removed from the verboten-word list.
    This is the 21st goddamned century, not 1950.

  144. We have two abuses of power here, and quite frankly one is a whole lot bigger than the other. I’m gonna focus on the bigger.

  145. What perplexes me is that Gates claimes the door was unsecurable because of a previous break in. Then why the crowbar? It smells even fishier to me now.

    Christ, lets not treat this like the fucking Zapruder film. It IS possible to break a door in ways that make it both hard to open, and then afterwards, hard to shut again. In fact, pretty much anything messing with the alignment of the bolt(s) is going to do that.

  146. Gates encountered a white cop, and immediately profiled him as a racist oppressor.

    Bingo.

    But it is nice when a professor of race relations (or whatever the fuck) gets some real world experience in his academic discipline. A conspiracy theorist might suggest Gates actually saw an opportunity and ran after it.

  147. Two things I hate came into play here: Race baiting and misuse of authority.

    The only glee I get from the incident is that Obama derailed his whole night’s agenda by coming to the blind defense of his bud. (I have to smile to myself, thinking of Barry’s handlers slapping their foreheads in unison as he starts to answer that question.)

  148. But it is nice when a professor of race relations (or whatever the fuck) gets some real world experience in his academic discipline. A conspiracy theorist might suggest Gates actually saw an opportunity and ran after it.

    Gates is not a professor of race relations, whatever that is. He’s a literary critic and scholar. Literature. Specifically African American literature and it’s roots, but literature nonetheless.

    And conspiracy theorists are nutcases almost to a man.

  149. Tacos, every blue moon, or maybe solar eclipse, a conspiracy theory is right. One of these days I’m going to nail it.

  150. THIS incident, IMO, was more about tempers than racism, though Gates is showing much more I-hate-Whiteyism than the cop is showing damn-porch-monkeyitis.

    Well, Gates was jetlagged after just getting off the plane from China, had a bronchial infection, and then found his door was jammed and house possibly broken into. Then the cops show up and start treating him like the robber. Yeah, he might have assumed something. I think he assumed incorrectly, but I can’t say I would have done differently in his shoes.

    Gates doesn’t have a corpus of work built around fueling racial tensions, so I think that the comments calling him a race-baiter are overboard. I think he genuinely feels that race played a roll in the police being called on him, and for all I know, he may be right to some degree – as I wasn’t there – but I doubt it was the reason he was arrested.

    Unfortunately, the real reason I suspect he was arrested – not being obsequious enough to the police – doesn’t get media attention.

  151. Are you going to say Louis Farrakhan is a decent, level-headed, lovable guy, as well?

    Farrakhan is an overt anti-semite and leader of a radical black activist group. Gates is a literary critic who focuses on the origins and interpretation of African-American literature. I mean, I know that white people have trouble telling black people apart, but this is ridiculous.

  152. “You don’t understand because your you.”

  153. Gates ordeal of flying that long from China absolves him of any guilt, My bad.

  154. “I mean, I know that white people have trouble telling black people apart, but this is ridiculous.”

    Why don’t you just accuse me of being a Klansman, while you’re at it?

    Jesus tapdancing Christ.

  155. Why don’t you just accuse me of being a Klansman, while you’re at it?

    That was a joke. I just think your bringing up Farrakhan is irrelevant and ridiculous.

  156. I don’t understand people that say you get to mouth off however you want to a cop, and they are supposed to just stand there and take it. Yeah, you go ahead and try that.

    What are you, some kind of God damned Communist? Cop better learn to step back when an American walks by.

  157. Well, some things don’t warrant that kind of joking.

  158. “That’s why I find it silly in the extreme to come to any sort of defense of the police officer in this incident”-What if I find the officer wrong, but just because he’s wrong, and having nothing to do with racism. Do I still have to go to the reeducation camps?

  159. If you were a cop on his porch, you could have him arrested.

  160. Why don’t you just accuse me of being a Klansman, while you’re at it?

    It is not necessary to be a racist in order to be thick-headed.

  161. I’m working on the assumption that the police officer (i.e., the one who was not yelling) had the better recollection.

    It sounds to me like Gates is a reasonable person who had a bad day. And yes, yelling at a cop for a sustained period of time is evidence of out-of-control behavior in a way that yelling at a non-cop isn’t.

    The fact is, cops both deal with the worst people and they deal with regular people who are at their worst. And if there was a crowd gathering and Gates was yelling at the Crowley, well, Crowley certainly doesn’t know who’s surrounding him at this point and what Gates is going to do next. The arrest may have been a quite reasonable way of avoiding a potentially bad situation. So Crowley arrests him, Gates finally shuts his pie hole, and later the charges are dropped.

    Again, the previous commenters had it right: if you think the cop was out of line, try imagining yourself actually yelling at a cop. How different from your normal self would you have to be to go there? And wouldn’t the cop be right in thinking that there was something very off about the situation?

  162. The Cambridge PD dropped the charges against Mr. Gates. This leads me to believe one of the following:

    -They realize how ridiculous it is to arrest a man for breaking into his house and hurting a police officer’s feelings.

    -Gates is a raving lunatic, and the Cambridge PD is too incompetent or too spineless to keep this raving lunatic from yelling at cops and endangering its own community.

    Either way, I have a hard time siding with the cop. however, in all fairness, the cop isn’t necessarily a racist.

  163. What bugs about this is that O’Blama has an vociferous opinion about it yet he stood silent while Charlie Lynch is hung out to dry by O’Blama’s own Justice Dept, even after the judge specifically allowed a recess for the purpose of the feds weighing in given the ‘new’ fed policies on MMJ.

  164. “Uh…uh… and what about those white men and women who are handcuffed and arrested because they refused to comply and started mouthing off to the cop(s)?”

    True, a lot of cops are blue supremacists.

  165. I’m working on the assumption that the police officer (i.e., the one who was not yelling) had the better recollection.

    How do you know he wasn’t yelling? He said so?

    It sounds to me like Gates is a reasonable person who had a bad day.

    I imagine it would ruin your day too if a police officer accused you of robbing your own house.

  166. Hey, Commonsewer, this is the same country whose Justice Department dropped charges against Black Panther thugs who threatened voters and intimidated poll and campaign workers. Surprising? Not really.

  167. The title of this article is beneath Damon. Right or wrong, Gates didn’t get arrested because he was black. He got arrested because he was a dick. While I totally support his right to be a dick, it really didn’t matter what color his skin was. I personally know that if you talk shit to cops you are depending upon their charity to not get your ass kicked.

    Is this Just? No. Is it the reality of our world? Yep. But did it happen to the poor Harvard professor because he was black? Bullshit.

  168. You’re not going to find much support for DC arrests in general around here, since they’re frequently capricious abuses of police authority.

    I’m not seeking support for DC. Neither am I agreeing with DC. However, the question remains, did Sargent Crowley act outside of the bounds of typical DC protocol? Did he abuse his authority outside of the normal way by which any police officer may elect to utilize his/her DC authority?

    A lot of people seem to be jumping all over Sargent Crowley for exercising his DC authority while failing to appreciate that cops do this all the time. It’s SOP. It’s not atypical whatsoever.

    And that’s why the race argument is baseless. It’s hard to make a case that Sargent Crowley was racially motivated when:

    A) He was responding to a B&E call.
    B) His DC arrest was in no way outside of bounds of your typical DC arrest.

    Gates made an assumption regarding racial motivation. Maybe that assumption is accurate. But there’s nothing that occurred that corroborates that assumption.

  169. The idea that only blacks have problems with cops is inane. I am a white male and I’ve had drugs planted on my by the US Secret Service.

    In a lesser anecdotal incident, my lily-white, fifty-something, taxpaying, middle class, American-car-driving sister missed a play that my daughter, The House Blond, was starring in last fall because she expressed irritation at being detained at an illegal and unconstitutional police checkpoint.

    Soon as she mouthed off she was directed to a parking lot nearby where she was threatened with arrest. Her car was put through an equipment violation test, they ran her plates, searched her trunk, and generally screwed with her.

    It really pissed them off when she called her husband and told him about the checkpoint, suggesting he take an alternate road home from work.

  170. I imagine it would ruin your day too if a police officer accused you of robbing your own house.

    See, now you’re just making stuff up. There was no accusation. An officer was investigating a reported B&E. The homeowner (according to the officer) acted quite unusually, which didn’t make it a no brainer to take the homeowner at is word. The officer sought to verify identity, and the situation continued to escalate.

  171. Ask yourself a simple question: Who had everything to gain from causing a scene, and who had everything to lose?

    That pretty much sorts out the he-said he-said between the cop on the professor, now doesn’t it?

  172. Yes LG, I think it is the same country.

  173. Not to get too far off-track, but WTF cause did they have to arrest your sister for “mouthing off”?

    I had to go through a DWI checkpoint a while back, and that Cato-issued pocket Constitution on the dash brought a nod and a “go ahead on” from the cop with the flashlight. He didn’t even flinch when I told him what I thought of checkpoints, except chuckle a bit.

    Must’ve been different-mooded cops. Who can say.

  174. Epi, that story makes it even more suspicious. He unlashed it but it was still jammed? Yet it was unsecurable? right.

    Hahaha

    Right James. It’s all a giant fucking conspiracy. Those radical black activists* will stop at NOTHING to make society look racist.

    *see he’s black and you know how those people are.

  175. Most of the comments (without reading all of them) seem par for the course for Hit and Run.

    But I’m a little surprised at how many people think it’s fine that a distinguished academic was hassled because a cop saw him as a nigger and then arrested him because he was an uppity one.

  176. Ask yourself a simple question: Who had everything to gain from causing a scene, and who had everything to lose?

    That pretty much sorts out the he-said he-said between the cop on the professor, now doesn’t it?

    oh man this really is the new meme isn’t it? It’s all his fault! Uppity motherfucker, them’s always causing problems.

  177. “hassled because a cop saw him as a nigger and then arrested him because he was an uppity one”

    And you KNOW the cop did this with 100% certainty?

    Not every cop is a bad person, and not every white person is racist in nature.

  178. And you KNOW the cop did this with 100% certainty?

    According to him, he was scared he would never see his lovely whife and precious children again. He might have never made it out alive if he didn’t invite the professor outside. A minute longer the HLG would have splashed chamomile tea on the officer’s face, and then dragged him down to the basement where he would have never seen the light of day ever again.

  179. whife? the HLG?

  180. According to him, he was scared he would never see his lovely whife and precious children again. He might have never made it out alive if he didn’t invite the professor outside. A minute longer the HLG would have splashed chamomile tea on the officer’s face, and then dragged him down to the basement where he would have never seen the light of day ever again.

    not only that, but the Professor could have actually been the burglar! Assuming that he isn’t a burglar just because he happens to be an old guy screaming for the cop’s badge number would be stereotyping – basically racism. But of course as we are learning now, Gates basically engineered the whole indecent for nefarious purposes. And because he is a black radical. So the cop was being perfectly prudent a/o falling into Gate’s cunning trap by arresting him for disorderly conduct.

    These are all arguments I have seen here in the past 24 hours.

  181. This has some eerie parallels with the Cynthia McKinney case, in that both of these folks use the “Don’t you know who I am???” card.

  182. Oh shit, I just got this gem from one of the links above:

    [I]… went to my home arriving at about 12:30 in the afternoon.

    12:30 in the [motherfucking] afternoon?

    What kind of motherfucking neighbor can’t recognize a neighbor at his motherfucking house at 12:30 in the [motherfucking] afternoon?

  183. This has some eerie parallels with the Cynthia McKinney case, in that both of these folks use the “Don’t you know who I am???” card.

    omg, and they’re both black too!

    PING

  184. “And you KNOW the cop did this with 100% certainty?”

    Knowing lying cops as I do, yep, I’m certain.

    Defense attorneys don’t call it “perjury in blue” for nothing.

  185. I’m a white libertarian male. I’m sure the cop was a jerk and this irritated Mr Gates. The key to understanding this is the fact that the majority of cops are complete AH’s regardless of color. If you happen to be black, they are less afraid of the repercussions. But that is changing. Ultimately, they will treat African Americans better (yes better) than white males becuase of potential racism charges (handle with kid gloves).Don’t normally support the marxist obama but he’s right to raise hell on this issue but it should be over cops general bullyness and stupidity.
    And for all you conservatives, the fng brits were acting the samne way our cops routinely act now and Thonas Jefferson and the boys wipped their a%%ses

    TIME TO WHIP”EM AGAIN

    The Libertarian.

  186. “omg, and they’re both black too!”

    Uppity too.

  187. “omg, and they’re both black too!”

    Uppity too. Think they’re as good as white people.

  188. This has some eerie parallels with the Cynthia McKinney case, in that both of these folks use the “Don’t you know who I am???” card.
    omg, and they’re both black too!

    PING

    That was a very obtuse conclusion.

    Hey, I didn’t vote for Obama. Was the ONLY reason for that decision based on:

    1. Party affiliation
    2. Personal preferences based on ideology
    3. Racism

    If you picked #3, you’re a fool.

  189. What the fuck are you on about? Besides being completely bugfuck insane, I mean. Do you think I am persecuting you, Libertarian Guy? Am I out of line? Maybe you should call the cops on me.

  190. Seriously, psyco, what does your vote or nonvote for Obama have to do with anything?

    Oh wait, I get it. He’s black too. You’re one of those “white males have it so hard” types, finding new oppressions in every shadow. Where did you come from? I have never seen you post here before.

  191. Talk about being bugfuck insane… you’ve got nothing on me, max.

  192. Uppity too. Think they’re as good as white people.

    One day at school, at the tender age of fifteen, I ask my mom about this new word I had never heard before:

    ‘Mom, what’s a ‘wetback’.

    My southern, white as a lily, hippie mum says, ‘why, you are son.’

    I’m like, ‘huh’, what does that even mean?’

    ‘It means you swam across the Rio Grande to get here.’

    I protested, ‘But, I’m as White as you are?’

    ‘You keep telling yourself that, son.’

    Mom can be an a-hole sometimes but I owe my thick skin to her as much as I do my complexion.

  193. One day, after school . . .

  194. What the fuck are you talking about? 20 posts in this thread and no content except some vague animosity to various black public figures and the ever shadowy “intellectual elite.”

    Really I’m just responding to your little “GO AHEAD CALL ME A RACIST FOR NOT VOTING FOR OBAMA!” meltdown a couple posts up. That was craaaaaazzyy.

  195. “omg, and they’re both black too!”

    You’re the one who started in on the racism shit, max. Not me.

    I was just defending myself, as you seemed to have this impression that I was some kind of racist for bringing up Cynthia McFuckingKinney, that little communist thug who – thankfully – isn’t in politics at the moment.

    And it has NOTHING to do with her being black.
    Or Obama. They could be as snow-goddamned white as Dick Gephardt or Carrot Top, and it wouldn’t make a fuck’s difference… it’s their POLICIES that are going to fuck this nation, not their skin color.

    Get it now?

    And I’ve been here before. It’s not my fault if you haven’t seen me in the past. I don’t spend every day on here.

  196. Really I’m just responding to your little “GO AHEAD CALL ME A RACIST FOR NOT VOTING FOR OBAMA!” meltdown a couple posts up. That was craaaaaazzyy.

    ***

    If YOU had ever been called a racist for the “crime” of not voting for Benito Obama, you’d understand how infuckingcredibly insane THAT line of reasoning is.

    If you’d ever been called a racist for the “crime” of being against affirmative action… ditto.

    I hope I’ve made myself clear.

  197. Racism? I was making an innocent observation. Actually relaying an innocent observation someone else made, because I am colorblind – as I am sure are you. I just found it an amazing coincidence that all the people you seem to be angry about are black, which again is just a tremendous coincidence because if there’s anything I’ve learned from Reason commentators the past couple days, it’s that this country is way over the whole “not treating black people equally thing.”

    I see enough coincidences, I make a note of it to remind myself to buy a lotto ticket. That’s it. Just trying to hook myself up with a big payout. Making a little cash. What’s wrong with that? Who said anything about racism? Racism, like Santa Claus, died a long time ago.

    Geez.

  198. max, you’re assuming that I’m NOT angry at OTHER people.

    I already mentioned Dick Gephardt. I live in Missouri, and the damage he did to my state when he was a senator, is still lingering.

    I also hate, in no particular order:

    Michael Savage
    Harry Reid
    Carrot Top
    Barbara Boxer
    Crispin Glover
    Nancy Pelosi
    Rick Santorum
    Roy Blunt (another blight in Missouri politics)
    James Carville (though he may not be human, let alone white OR black)
    Rush Limbaugh
    and his alter-ego, Ed Schultz

    I do hope that helps.

  199. I already mentioned Dick Gephardt. I live in Missouri, and the damage he did to my state when he was a senator, is still lingering.

    I have never lived anywhere near your shithole state, and even I know Dick Gephardt was never a senator.

  200. you did spell his name right though which is actually kind of impressive.

  201. Okay, so I got mixed up, and forgot Gephardt was a fuckwad in the Missouri HOUSE, not in the Senate. He was still a fuckwad.

    Which shithole state do you live in, max? And why are we enemies all of a sudden?

  202. I live in Washington state, and I don’t like you because a guy got arrested for bullshit charges on his front porch for mouthing off to a cop, and you think that’s just fine.

  203. “a guy got arrested for bullshit charges on his front porch for mouthing off to a cop, and you think that’s just fine.”

    No, I don’t think it’s just fine. Don’t put words in my goddamned mouth.

  204. Washington state, huh.

    Isn’t that some kind of liberal candyass enclave or something?

  205. Jesus Christ, it’s spelled “sergeant.”

  206. No, I don’t think it’s just fine. Don’t put words in my goddamned mouth.

    The Libertarian Guy | July 23, 2009, 5:28pm | #
    I’m with the cop on this particular episode.

    Let the tapdancing begin.

  207. Look, the guy is in his own home, already shown his identification, and he’s upset about the cops hasseling him. Isn’t that about the time for the dumb cop to say, ‘Sorry for the problem. Hope the rest of your day gets better.’ and leave. So what if the guy mouthed off a little? Wouldn’t you?

    I once had a D.C. charge added to loitering. The cops were taking our belts before locking us up and my friend said, “What? You think I’m gonna hang myself for criminal trespass?” I laughed. Apparently that constituted disorderly conduct.

    Yeah, this may not have been racial. But I’ve always been glad not to be black when confronted by a cop. I could always cut my hair or scrape the bumper stickers off my car – but sometimes I can’t help but laugh.

  208. I think it more likely that the cop would have arrested anyone who dared to not bow and scrape before his sacred personage.

  209. I’ll leave the interpretation of the relevant laws to the lawyers. But from a karmic perspective, it looks to me like a guy who was acting like a total dick got exactly what he deserved.

    Color me unimpressed with the legal minutiae.

  210. I am colorblind

    “Chromatic vision challenged”, not “colorblind”, you insensitive clod!

  211. I’m not seeking support for DC. Neither am I agreeing with DC. However, the question remains, did Sargent Crowley act outside of the bounds of typical DC protocol? Did he abuse his authority outside of the normal way by which any police officer may elect to utilize his/her DC authority?

    A lot of people seem to be jumping all over Sargent Crowley for exercising his DC authority while failing to appreciate that cops do this all the time. It’s SOP. It’s not atypical whatsoever.

    And that’s why the race argument is baseless. It’s hard to make a case that Sargent Crowley was racially motivated when:

    A) He was responding to a B&E call.
    B) His DC arrest was in no way outside of bounds of your typical DC arrest.

    Gates made an assumption regarding racial motivation. Maybe that assumption is accurate. But there’s nothing that occurred that corroborates that assumption.

    This.

    1. Cop is a douche for the arrest.
    2. Arrest is not unusual for the circumstances (man yelling in public).
    3. Gates and others are douches for making this about race when it really wasn’t (see #2).

  212. max hats,

    I should have made it clear that, while I am on the cop’s side, I’m not necessarily on his side over the arrest itself. Nor am I the type to hate all cops, though I can think of a few that deserve it.

    This wasn’t a “gotcha” moment, so don’t get the swelled noggin over it.

    I want to know, did Gates do something that DID warrant an arrest? THEN, let the chips fall where they may.

  213. Gates actually showed the cop his Harvard ID, which would not immediately establish proof residence (The officer would make a call to Harvard for verification). And that was only after initially refusing to provide him with any information, accusing him of being a “Racist Cop” and mouthing off about persecution. We’ve all heard the “Just because I’m a black man in America” rant.

    If you believe the police report, then Gates essentially acted like some miscreant in the TV show “Cops”. Loud, incessantly obnoxious, and repeating “Why are you doing to me” rants to no end.

    “I’ll talk to your mama outside”

  214. All Americans have reasons to distrust the police. The police are unruly, indecent, dishonorable, violent, hateful bullies. They are the whip hand of the establishment, the overseers on the plantation.

    It is true that in this case a black man was attacked by a vile and evil white police officer. But other Americans have been attacked while being white or hispanic or of foreign descent. All Americans should hate the pigs for being arrogant, violent, criminal, malicious, and for covering up for each other’s crimes.

    The police are not part of decent society, they are an impediment to decency. The idea of the police started in London as a way of attacking prostitutes and drug users. It is just another bad British tradition we should live without.

  215. Isn’t that some kind of liberal candyass enclave or something?

    HA! I knew it!

  216. Knew what? That there’s a bunch of liberal handwringers in the American Northwest?

  217. Disorderly conduct is pig speak for “individual in possession of freedom acting in accordance with his own preferences instead of cowering in fear of the statist and towing the line.”

    If you don’t bend over when the cops shove it in, and say, “Thank you sir, may I have another,” you are guilty of disorderly conduct.

    And so-called “libertarian guy” will say bad things about your part of the country. lol

  218. “All Americans have reasons to distrust the police”

    They came in handy when some thug attempted to break into my car a while back…

    Tell us, how do we keep people from doing crimes, if there’s nobody to arrest them? Do you think most Americans today are capable of keeping criminals at bay? Hell, most of ’em are trained not to resist when attacked or robbed. We’re seeing a whole new crop of kids being taught not to stand up for themselves against school bullies, and we’re likely to have a SC member who thinks self-defense is un-Constitutional.

    The BAD cops, definitely belong in the dumper. But they can’t all be bad.

  219. “And so-called “libertarian guy” will say bad things about your part of the country”

    In response to someone who calls my state a “shithole”. Though, politically, it is.

    I see I’m insufficiently anarchistic enough for Jim. Not into that, sorry.

  220. Yes, handy. When seconds count the pigs are just minutes away.

    The police don’t prevent crimes. The police commit crimes, and occasionally show up to take down some information about someone committing a crime, and very rarely catch anyone.

    Do I have to be responsible for “most Americans today”? If you don’t want to take responsibility for your life, too bad. If you want to put hundreds of thousands of pigs on the street to smash faces, push dope, pretend to be prostitutes, lie, entrap, steal, rape, murder, and call that justice, I say you can go straight to perdition.

    All cops are evil. All cops are pigs. They all lie for each other. They all cover up their crimes. They are the boots smashing human faces, forever.

    And the worst part is you claim to be a libertarian while advocating for initiatory force, delegating initiation of force by police for supposed “crimes” like “talking back” and “disorderly conduct” and “being gay” and “possession of narcotics.” What’s next? Is the LP of Southwest Missouri officially on record as calling the entire state of Washington a “liberal candyass enclave” or is that just you?

    Should I forward your comments to Rachel Hawkridge and the other Libertarian Party national committee representatives from the state of Washington? Maybe you’d like to explain to them why you hate their part of the country.

    You are a disgrace to the Libertarian Party, and that takes some doing these days. lol

  221. There are Libertarians in Washington, and that is a good thing.

    There are Republicans and Democrats in Washington. That is a bad thing.

    And THAT is what makes Washington a miserable state… the presence of Republicans and Democrats.

    HOWever… you have a lot of damned gall, Jim, questioning my libertarian beliefs. If, however, being an anarchist is required to be a member of the LP – and I don’t recall that being in the bylaws – then count me out. I’m a MINarchist, and damned proud of it.

    For the record, it’s “just me” saying it. And I have a right to say it, about a states’ government. Are you going to tell me I don’t have that right? Are you now going to play Language Cop, forbidding me to use words?

    Some libertarian YOU are, Jim.

  222. A minarchist wants a boot smashing a human face, forever. But he wants it to be a clean boot. lol

    You were required to sign a non-aggression pledge when you joined the Libertarian Party. A libertarian is a person who believes that no one has the right to initiate force against anyone else, ever, for any reason, nor to advocate nor to delegate the initiation of force. Anyone who behaves consistently with that principle of zero aggression is a libertarian, whether they know it or not. Anyone who does not behave consistently with the zero aggression principle is not a libertarian, no matter what lies they tell. See L. Neil Smith’s original words at ncc-1776.org. Or don’t.

    So, yes, you were required to be bound to the principle of non-aggression when joining the LP. I think, from your comments here and from your blog that you’d be more at home as a Log Cabin Republican or something.

    You didn’t say that Washington state was a candy ass liberal enclave about the state’s government. You said that to someone you disagree with right here on this blog, and you applied it to everyone in the state, like the bigot you are.

    I have a right to express an opinion about your cranky anti-individualism, yes. I have no power to forbid you from making an ass of yourself, nor any desire to do so. It is much funnier watching you squirm.

  223. What about “supposed ‘crimes'” like:

    Murder
    Rape
    Fraud
    Theft
    Abuse

    Jim?

    What’s your answer when THOSE rights are violated? Who will make the perpetrators pay for their misdeeds?

    You?

  224. Some libertarian I am. Yes.

    My philosophy is a libertarian one. The alternative, which you embrace, is to have a philosophy which is authoritarian.

    But, contrary to your mistaken impression, I do not favor at once no government. Rather, I am for, at once, a better government. Like Henry David Thoreau said in 1848, during an aggressive foreign war in Mexican territory, I do not favor no government.

    I favor self government. Rather than anarchy, which means no rulers, I prefer billions of rulers, each ruling himself or herself. I rule myself, and do not consent to be governed by you, nor your ilk. I also don’t consent to govern anyone else. I wouldn’t want the troubles.

    Instead of an absence of rulers, I see a better world in the proliferation of rulers, each one ruling himself. But if you insist on calling me an anarcho-capitalist, I’ll return the favor by calling you an authoritarian.

  225. “You said that to someone you disagree with right here on this blog”

    In response to his firing shot. I have a right to self-defense, unlike liberal snot-bag Sonia Sotomayor’s beliefs on that subject.

    The comments on my blog are in response to a local fuckhead who wants an ordinance to stay in place in my home city, that specifically targets gays, and gays only.

    I am opposed to the ordinance, and so is one of my colleagues on the city council, an LP member in good standing who is working to REPEAL this ordinance.

    So don’t talk to me about what’s on my blog, because we’re trying to get something done for the gay community down here.

    Of which I am not a member, though it’s fine by me if someone is.

    Sorry, but I just can’t play your anarchist prick-waving match, as I don’t wave my prick at or with anarchists.

    I save the prick-waving for my girlfriend.

  226. And, once again, the self-appointed Purity Police show up, demanding fealty to The One True Path of Jim.

    I have helped many candidates – and I was one once, as well – run against the Rs and Ds in my state, and for every LP prez candidate for the last twelve years.

    But I guess that’s not sufficient, is it?

  227. In a marvelous essay, “The Law,” Frederic Bastiat wrote about the actual natural law against things like murder, rape, fraud, and theft, and the idiotic legislative law you cling to which includes mala prohibitum against every conceivable behavior (like, being gay, possessing drugs, gambling, prostitution, etc.)

    Now, “abuse” could mean any number of things. Self-abuse? Not a crime. Abuse of power – that’s what cops do.

    Simply put, there is no defense against these things except being prepared to defend yourself. The cops certainly can’t prevent murder. An armed victim is a deterrent to murder, but a determined killer can sometimes also kill an armed woman.

    Guns, dogs, and alarm systems are deterrents to most vandals and thieves. Why? Because there is a house down the block, or on the next street over, which doesn’t have a dog or an alarm system or any sign of guns.

    You want a system of overseers to smash in doors, search for contraband, rape, murder, demand obedience, and arrest for “disorderly conduct” anyone the pigs don’t like. I want a system of free individuals defending their own lives, liberty, and property, governing themselves, and being left alone to choose what to put into their bodies, how to interact in trade and commerce with others, etc.

    What you want is an orderly society, but what your system produces is a boot smashing a human face forever. Your approach generates surplus order, which is exactly what the Harvard professor experienced. Surplus order, as Alvin and Heidi Toffler identify the term in their excellent 1990 book “Powershift” is that excess order characterised by kicking in doors at 4 a.m., hauling people out of their homes for failing to produce identity papers, and canceling passports. Or killing eighty year old women in their homes on botched drug raids.

    My system may not deter and prevent every conceivable crime by every determined criminal, but neither has yours. But my system does eliminate a lot of taxpayer funded worthless parasite jobs, aka cops and bureau-rats, and my system has the added advantage of no boots smashing a human face forever. You should try reading the book “1984” by George Orwell. Or “Homage to Catalonia.”

    Open your eyes. Free your mind.

  228. “Instead of an absence of rulers, I see a better world in the proliferation of rulers, each one ruling himself.”

    That would be nice, but we have to work at it piece by piece. I’m working on it on the local level. Stop griping that I’m not digging fast enough.

    I hate efficiency experts.

  229. (like, being gay, possessing drugs, gambling, prostitution, etc.)

    Not in favor of these laws. “Abuse”, in my example, is a catch-all for child abuse, elderly abuse, and abuse of those who cannot stand up for themselves; e.g., retarded or handicapped people, for instance.

    I’ve read the books you mentioned, Jim, except for the Catalonia one, and it’s on my list.

    I’m not new to this. I’ve gone through the “communism is cool” phase… grew out of that. I – very briefly – voted Republican, twenty years ago, though I voted for Ron Paul in last years’ primary, and it was a VERY thin ballot as he was the only candidate I underlined.

    What you want would, indeed, be a wonderful world. But it ain’t gonna happen with the likes of Obama, Bush, or whatever other God-awful candidates are foisted on the gullible voters every two years by the Brand X Parties.

    And it won’t happen if we in the LP keep up this purist/pragmatist/fusionist feud. There are LIBERTARIAN SOCIALISTS, for Chrissake, and IMO that’s like mixing axle grease and vinegar and calling the end result “Italian dressing”.

    Do we kick them out?

    A few years ago, my then-14-yr-old son was attacked by a carful of drunk asshats. Without the cops showing up, he might be dead.

    They were VERY helpful, by the way. My son ID’ed the thugs, and one of them went to prison on child-porn charges.

    Who would do those things in your world?

  230. I don’t agree that you are working on it. You are working on a state with cleaner boots that smash human faces forever. You are painting racing stripes on the hull of the RMS Titanic.

    It is not a matter of how fast you dig, but whether you are digging mass graves to hide the evidence, or a tunnel under the fence of the concentration camp to help with escapes. Having looked at your work, and weighed it in the balance, I find it wanting.

    Happily, you are far from where I live, and unable to stop me in the work that I do. Sadly, you are perverting the term libertarian, and working to hold back future generations.

  231. I’m hanging it up for tonight, Jim. In the interim, consider that not everyone has attained your level – and, in the spirit of your more-reasoned posts of late, I’m saying that in a like, kindly manner.

    Have a government-approved day. I’m for bed.

  232. “…and unable to stop me in the work that I do.”

    Wouldn’t dream of it. Don’t stand in MY way, either.

  233. …and you go RIGHT back into the ditch, hurling “you’re not pure enough to meet MY standards” insults.

    You had a bright moment of clarity, there, and then… not so much.

    Sad. But it’s your life, dude.

  234. I think Kevin Carson is enamored of the term “socialism” in the sense of “social justice,” and has been pushing this idea of Libertarian Socialist. I find it bizarre and unwieldy. Given the horror show of state socialism in every country on Earth, especially the USA, I cannot condone the term socialism.

    But this business of kicking people out seems strange. The party is whoever shows up. The discussion is whatever gets said. Once you nominate yourself dictator for life and start purging the anarchists, or the liberals, or the socialists, or the prostitutes, or the gays, or whatever, you end up with a mess.

    Just in case you don’t follow LP national politics, it is a mess. The party is in disarray. Guys like chairman Bill Redpath have taken to pretending that members of the national committee haven’t renewed their dues in order to attempt to purge them from the party. Ridiculous.

    But, look, I don’t blame you for registering Republican to vote for Ron Paul. I sent him money in 2007 for his presidential campaign. I like Ron’s monetary and foreign policy views more than enough to overlook his statist views in certain areas. He is at least willing to challenge the establishment.

    In my world, a parent with a fourteen year old child would have spent the last four or five years making sure he or she knew how to use a gun. Going out in public without a gun is like wearing a kilt on a windy day. Mr. Colt invented equality in self-defense capability.

  235. Jim, knowing how to use a gun may be helpful and life-saving. On the other hand, it may not help at all.

    We have an interesting example in Iraq, where basically every male knows how to use a gun, and has some guns at home. “Thanks” to the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, many people have some understanding of military tactics etc.

    Yet, in the absence of law enforcement, the society in 2005-2006 disintegrated into several sectarian militias and a handful of overtly criminal gangs (with no clear distinction between these two types of entities), and casualties started to pile. Individuals caught in the “wrong” territory were soon “taken care of”, and cities were fragmented into closed, defendable, “ethnically cleansed” neighborhoods.

    I believe that automatic weapons + huge concentration of people in one place have changed the strategic equations more than a bit since Samuel Colt. Mr. Kalashnikov and many others (say, mortar producers) gave you the ability to kill a lot of people at once, which was hard to do with a Colt.

  236. “All cops are evil. All cops are pigs. They all lie for each other. ”

    I thought the hallmark of libertarianism was the belief in individuals, not collectivism?

  237. Cop vs. Afro-American History professor? HAH! Now that’s got potential for some big laffs! As all cases of “asshole vs. asshole,” the result in this case is unfortunate for the assholes involved, and very amusing for the rest of us.

  238. Boo!

    What a poorly researched, and terribly thought out article.

    Ok, Gates wasn’t arrested for breaking in entering, he was arrested for disorderly conduct. Why? Because after the police had verified his identity, *they were leaving*. Gates chased them down and gave them the business in his front yard as they were exiting the premises.

    And anyone who says this was a profiling case is an idiot. The cops were called by neighbors to a reported break in, in progress. They didn’t know the race of the men breaking into the home, they just responded to a 911 call, WHICH IS THEIR JOB!

    Profiling is pulling over a black person for no reason, then drumming up some excuse to search them. These cops recieved a call from a witness to a crime in progress. They’re supposed to show up if someone sees a burglary and calls it in. That’s how the CJ system works!

    For the love of Pete Reason.com, why are you posting this ignorant drivel?

  239. While we may never know if Gates was actually the victim of racial profiling (rather than just aggressive and inappropriate policing)

    Sure we will. We know it right now. Racial Profiling occurs when a cop stops you on suspicion of wrong-doing, based solely on your race, or when considering you race in the context of the surrounding area.
    This did not happen in this instance. This cop received a report of two black men attempting to break into a house, he arrived on scene and found a black man. How is this profiling?

    I’m not siding with this stupid fucking cop, because he then decided to make a bullshit arrest because the citizen, in his own home, was an asshole, which is legal. But it isn’t even remotely a case of racial profiling.

  240. Has is never occurred to anyone that the neigbor who called in this “break-in” was of course aware the owner of the home – Gates – is black? This is not about some white suburban housewife living in an all white neighborhood crying “rape” because a black man stolls by her house on a sunny day. Also, the reason the door was jammed is the house had been broken into. Doesn’t that inform anybody that the caller and the cop had good reason to suspect a crime was in progress, since break-in’s obviously occur in the neigborhood?

    Most reasonable people would be thankful the cops had come by; have been glad to identify themselves. Cops don’t need a warrant when crime is suspected to be in progess.

    This is a story about a neighbor doing the right thing, a cop doing his job, and a homeowner with an overly active idea of his “rights”.

    Finally, mouthing off to a cop is not mouthing off to a single human being; it is demonstrating contempt for the law enforcement representative of the community. It’s just one step below contempt of court.

  241. http://www.time.com/time/politics
    10 Questions for Henry Louis Gates Jr.
    By Henry Louis Gates Jr.
    Thursday, Feb. 05, 2009
    Henry Louis Gates Jr.

    Is it right for African Americans to use the N word? Pitufo Geiger BAGUIO CITY, PHILIPPINES

    “I was raised hearing black people using the N word, and I don’t find it offensive at all. I do find it offensive when a nonblack person uses it.” Gates

    Who’s racist?

  242. I think the President acted “stupidly”

    speaking in his normal calm & intelectual tone, Pres Obama exposed how stupid he realy is. He tried to define facts of something he was realy uninformed about.

    My question is, does he know anything about any of the hot agendas he’s pushing? This is the same tone when he talks about economy, climate, nukes, how dumb americans are,and on and on. He is a phony….

  243. If Gates tries to sue the Cambridge police, which he’s threatened to do, then the officer should immediately countersue Gates for slander. Here’s a guy who has the national stage (and President’s ear) falsely trashing the officer’s name of being a racist thug. As a police officer, this could ruin his career, let alone his reputation. It’s the very definition of slander.

  244. however, in all fairness, the cop isn’t necessarily a racist.

    Are you fucking kidding me? He asked a black man to show some ID! That fucking cop prolly has his fucking Imperial Grand Wizard ID!

  245. oh man this really is the new meme isn’t it? It’s all his fault! Uppity motherfucker, them’s always causing problems.

    You are officially a race-baiting sack of shit. How heavy is that chip on your shoulder?

  246. Most reasonable people would be thankful the cops had come by; have been glad to identify themselves. Cops don’t need a warrant when crime is suspected to be in progess.

    This is a story about a neighbor doing the right thing, a cop doing his job, and a homeowner with an overly active idea of his “rights”.

  247. Racism? I was making an innocent observation. Actually relaying an innocent observation someone else made, because I am colorblind – as I am sure are you.

    The fuck you are. You are a racist, race-baiting asshole who has no problem using this episode to score cheap political points.. In not one fucking comment have you said “Maybe Gates was being a bit of a dick.” Is it really that fucking hard for you to accept?

  248. We’re simply going to have to disagree on this point of contention. It doesn’t appear to me that this DC arrest differs substantially from the norm.

    And thus MP moves beyond merely supporting Crowley, to supporting every bullshit arrest made by a cop to punish someone for being rude to them, ever.

    Congratulations, MP.

    Once again, we have a poster who takes the fact that other police abuse their power routinely to support this abuse of power in particular.

    If you’re offering this statement to argue that Crowley is not a racist, because he would have abused anyone in this situation, black or white, that’s one thing.

    If you’re offering this statement to argue that the arrest was justified, and to argue that anyone of any color who complains to the police about their conduct while standing on their porch should be arrested, that’s another thing – the thing that makes you a supporter of police abuses and a supporter of petty authoritarianism on the local level.

    My first post in this thread still stands: there are people who are so intimidated by the police that they resent people who aren’t, and want to see them broken, so that everyone will be equally intimidated by the police. Me personally, I’m also intimidated by the police, but I have the opposite reaction to my condition: I love to see people stand up to the police when the law is on their side, and even if Gates is a race-baiter I will be delighted if he manages to use the legal system to smack Crowley around. Because even if the rest of us have to cower around the police [for the moment at least] it’s damn nice to see that at least someone can fuck them up when they cross the line.

  249. hi friends ,All cops are evil. All cops are pigs. They all lie for each other. They all cover up their crimes. They are the boots smashing human faces, forever.

    And the worst part is you claim to be a libertarian while advocating for initiatory force, delegating initiation of force by police for supposed “crimes” like “talking back” and “disorderly conduct” and “being gay” and “possession of narcotics.” What’s next? Is the LP of Southwest Missouri officially on record as calling the entire state of Washington a “liberal candyass enclave” or is that just you?

  250. speaking in his normal calm & intelectual tone, Pres Obama exposed how stupid he realy is. He tried to define facts of something he was realy uninformed about.

    Pres. Obama said that:
    1) The police officer acted innapropriately in arresting Dr. Gates.
    2) He didn’t know whether or not racism was involved.

    Both statements are true, as far as I can tell.

    Arrests for disorderly conduct are frequently used by police as “complaint insurance” – if they’re faced with an angry citizen whom they think may file a complaint about them, they arrest the person and charge them with DC so that the complaint, when it comes, will be interpreted as a complaint from a bitter arrestee, not a law-abiding citizen.

    I suspect that when Dr. Gates started talking race and asking for a badge number, Sgt. Crowley realized that he was likely to end up with a complaint of racial discrimination on his record, and took proactive steps to protect his career by innapropriately arresting Dr. Gates. I say “innapropriately” because there is nothing to justify the arrest in either the police report or Mr. Gates’ story.

    This use of DC charges by police in this manner is an unequivocal violation of civil rights. The accusation of racism is an unfortunate distraction from this fact, and an assertion that will never be proven either way. I think the president pretty much nailed this one.

  251. > Pres. Obama said that:
    1) The police officer acted innapropriately in arresting Dr. Gates.
    2) He didn’t know whether or not racism was involved.

    3) Then immediately and conveniently segued into how it’s “just a fact that African-Americans and Latinos are disproportionately stopped by police” and “race remains a factor in society.”

    Not hard to connect those dots into the POTUS implying that Crowley behaved differently because of the color of Gates’ skin.

  252. This is a story about a neighbor doing the right thing, a cop doing his job, and a homeowner with an overly active idea of his “rights”.

    Dr. Gates was actually correct about his “rights” in this situation, and in my opinion, more people need to stand up for their “rights” when confronted by the police. After establishing to the police that he occupied the residence, the officer had no further justification for his presence. If Dr. Gates is correct that the officer refused to provide his name and badge number, then the officer was violating Massachusetts state law by doing so (Mass. is a states that legally requires officers to present this information when requested).

    I don’t know if Dr. Gates was the victim of racial discrimination, but if he asked for the officer’s badge number, he was correct to do so, and it was illegal of the officer to refuse to provide it. Dr. Gates is also correct to protest his arrest, as I outline in my post above, although he should be doing so for different reasons.

    This country needs more people who will stand up to the police when their civil rights are violated, not fewer.

  253. > “This country needs more people who will stand up to the police when their civil rights are violated, not fewer.”

    I agree with this. Although people should probably stick to the topic on hand (“you are violating my civil rights”, “you are on my property”, etc.) and avoid hot button topics (racial attacks, “yo mama” cuts, pompous “do you know who are dealing with?” elitism, etc.).

    Gates saw a golden opportunity to really nail this guy by bringing the officer’s ‘whiteness’ into the situation. If Crowley did step out of proper protocol at his home, it would’ve eventually resulted in some disciplinary action with some local Boston media coverage. But no, it couldn’t stop there. That wouldn’t have been enough for Gates. He needed his 15 Minutes. Gates wanted to paint Crowley to be the next Mark KKK Fuhrman and ruin his entire career/reputation in front of a national audience, to which he should be sued for slander.

  254. Jim, I didn’t have to “register Republican” to vote for Ron Paul – I had to swallow my pride and take a Republican ballot, and make that one, solitary mark with the ink pen.

    But, I have to ask… knowing that Paul isn’t perfect (and I’m not saying that with disrespect), how do you square supporting him? I would think NO candidate would meet your high standards enough to support them.

    Just an observation, not a slam. I’m genuinely curious.

    Can’t agree with you on “whoever shows up”, as we had to kick out a white supremacist who tried to infiltrate our ranks, years ago… and just a FEW years ago, another white supremacist tried to sneak in and run against “congressman” Roy Blunt, under our banner. We have the right to refuse service, I truly believe that.

    By the way, that colleague of mine on our city council, is the highest Libertarian officeholder in our state. We’re hoping for more like him.

  255. I’m sorry, but you can’t just dismiss a cop – even if you are an Ivy League professor. To me, this episode smells more like classism than racism. Gates: “How dare this little low-life cop person invade my upper-class home? I insist that he leave immediately!” Gates could have dealt with the cop politely and civilly – like most of us do. Instead, he got an attitude and paid the price – like most of us would if we behaved the same way.

    Gates believes his own racial narrative: Black = oppressed. Therefore, any white person who attempts to exercise authority on Gates (and face it, cops do have a legal right to exercise authority) is guilty of racism. It’s built into the system. Try carrying that load of bs around in your brain 24/7 AND living like a civilized person. It won’t work.

    Gates = damaged goods.

  256. > “I love to see people stand up to the police when the law is on their side, and even if Gates is a race-baiter I will be delighted if he manages to use the legal system to smack Crowley around.”

    So far, Gates seems content on using the race card to smack Crowley around. Hey, why not? It’s cheaper, takes less effort, gives Gates an adoring media spotlight, and has a higher potential of destroying Crowley’s career than would submitting a formal complaint with the local police department about a possible civil rights infraction.

  257. Gates believes his own racial narrative: Black = oppressed. Therefore, any white person who attempts to exercise authority on Gates (and face it, cops do have a legal right to exercise authority) is guilty of racism.

    We’ll never know, but one wonders how Gates might have reacted if the first cop on the scene had been black instead of white. Methinks quite differently.

  258. I’m sorry, but you can’t just dismiss a cop – even if you are an Ivy League professor. To me, this episode smells more like classism than racism. Gates: “How dare this little low-life cop person invade my upper-class home? I insist that he leave immediately!” Gates could have dealt with the cop politely and civilly – like most of us do. Instead, he got an attitude and paid the price – like most of us would if we behaved the same way.

    And Bugs shows up to act out my point.

    Translated Bugs:

    “I’m a fucking slave, and cower before the police like a whipped dog, and that means that this Gates guy should too. I bet he didn’t cower because he thinks being some high-class Harvard professor means he doesn’t have to lick cock scrotum on command like the rest of us! That asshole! I’m really glad he was humiliated by being arrested, because that will teach him not to think he’s any better than the rest of us peons who know our place!”

    Fuck you, Bugs.

  259. That’s charming, Fluffy. You should write children’s books.

  260. Gates could have dealt with the cop politely and civilly – like most of us do. Instead, he got an attitude and paid the price – like most of us would if we behaved the same way.

    Ughh. When will this “you paid the price for being rude to an officer” stuff stop?

    I really don’t care the racial angle, but the notion that talking back to the police warrants an arrest is getting pretty tiring. And the disorderly conduct cheerleaders in this thread are remarkable. No, even if you think that DC laws are justified, this wasn’t a legitimate DC charge. Gates wasn’t a threat to the public peace. Period. First Amendment law has reduced the scope of DC laws to such threats and obscenity, both of which are narrowly construed. And this is exactly the way it should be: you absolutely have the right to talk back to an officer when you think he or she is doing the wrong thing, even if you’re rude or your criticism is ultimately unwarranted. I’m disappointed but not shocked that so many people would willingly cede this right.

    To be clear, I’m not an anarchist, and I don’t want to destroy the police. I just want some accountability and I’d like to see a society where private citizens have certain inviolable rights. But some people just can’t be moved on this. To hell with the Bill of Rights, I guess.

  261. FBI crime stats have pointed to the fact that if you are white you are eleven times more likely to be a victim of a violent crime at the hands of a black person than vice-versa. Using the “logic” on display in this article it sounds like I should mistrust and be fearful of black people…

  262. So how many of us witnessed this event…

    how many of us complain about a liberal bias in most sources of the news media…

    How many news media sources love stories of abuse scandal and of course racial issues…’

    im not saying the police officer was right, but he was responding to a 911 call of two black men forcing their way in the door. when the police got there gates did not refused to show id so he did not clearly establish his residency, instead he claimed race war.

    unless 99.9% of Reason readers hail from massachusetts its a bit difficult to understand how readily any minority jumps to the conclusion of racial profiling in that state. after living there for 11 years it gets incredibly tiring to hear people whine and complain because some authority figure deals with them for being a dick.

    the general attitude in mass is not to think logically or rationally, it is to immediately jump on the i have been abused band wagon.

    a great example of this behavior can actually come from some of my high school classes. in one of my english classes there was a kid in one class talked to his friends, played a handheld video game (when that was taken away he picked up his calculator instead) and actively trying to disrupt everything the teacher was trying to talk about. when she asked him to go to the principals office he stood up made a scene and accused of being a bigot towards him being a skateboarder. this is normal acceptable behavior for massachusetts citizens.

    so when the police show up at a residence in which there was a report that two black men broke in, and when that officer asks for proof of residency and is refuted and called a racist (oh ya the cop in question actually taught courses on racial profiling), this is not police abuse.

    if the police showed up at my door and said hey there was a report of two white guys breaking in, may i see some ID. it would take me 5 seconds to take out my wallet and hand him my license. this would easily have avoided the entire incident.

    there are a lot of police haters here and i know that the LP thought process does attract these folks, however if a police officer asks for identification because your house had a reported burglary, this does not violate any of your civil liberties at all. gates wasn’t standing up for anything, he wasn’t defending any rights, he was causing a scene.

  263. After hearing Matt Welch interviewed on radio this morning I enthusiastically went to the Reason website for the first time and read this piece. If this is a typical representation of the writing found here I am now less than enthused. The flaccid reasoning and pc strewn conclusions serve everyone poorly…

  264. hmmmm…,

    The police report clearly shows that Gates produced his ID well before he stepped out on to the porch and allegedly engaged in “disorderly conduct.” This did not “avoid the whole incident.” Instead, the police officer remained on the premises and called backup after he acknowledged that he had reviewed Gates’ ID and determined that Gates properly resided in the house.

    Tell me again: between the two of us, who is jumping to conclusions without knowing the facts? Read the police report. Come back. Try again.

  265. hrmmmmmmm, you stupid cunt, it is beyond dispute even by Crowley that Gates provided ID and that Crowley was satisfied that he was the resident of the house.

    Gates was arrested because, AFTER Crowley himself admits he was satisfied that Gates was the resident, Gates was abusive and yelled at him and insulted him.

    So you obviously share Bugs’ love of the taste of police scrotum, and hate anyone who does not like it as much as you do.

  266. your right someone showed the id at some point. but it sure as hell wasnt right away. there is no love of scrotum you paranoid prick. gates flew off the handle first then showed the ID.

    should police be abusive absolutely not, but instead of pontificating on how everyone who thinks that gates is a retard race baiter who only did this to try to provoke a media sanctioned race war, loves police dick, maybe you should read the goddamne police report http://www.amnation.com/vfr/Police%20report%20on%20Gates%20arrest.PDF. now when your head is firmly dislodged from your anus please scrape the shit off your face.

  267. They came in handy when some thug attempted to break into my car a while back…

    Rent Seeker!

  268. The thing to remember here is:

    Don’t arrest famous people.

    Remember what happened to Patrick Kennedy? How much did he have to serve for his crime?

    Ditto Ted, that bloated, dying bastard who killed Mary Jo Kopechne. Not ONE day in jail for taking the ultimate liberty – the right to not be drowned to death due to the negligence of American Royalty.

    A friend of mine got a DWI for sitting in his car, drinking beer, in his driveway, because the keys were in the ignition. HE did more penance than EITHER of the wretched Kennedys – or, for that matter, any of them.

    A little perspective here, folks. If Gates was in the wrong, fine. If he wasn’t, he should get his day in court. But in the end, he’s Connected. You don’t fuck with people who are Connected. Especially to the guy who took over for Bush, because Democrats are almost worse at making your life miserable, revenge-wise, than Republicans, though IMO it’s more likely a dead-heat tie.

  269. After hearing Matt Welch interviewed on radio this morning I enthusiastically went to the Reason website for the first time and read this piece. If this is a typical representation of the writing found here I am now less than enthused. The flaccid reasoning and pc strewn conclusions serve everyone poorly…

    Thank you for that. I was wondering if the drinking game would get off to an early start or not.

  270. “They came in handy when some thug attempted to break into my car a while back…

    Rent Seeker!”

    Um… what? Do I not have the right to not have my car broken into? That’s PROPERTY, dude. MY stuff. Not property of the thugs who tried to steal my stereo.

  271. If you’re offering this statement to argue that Crowley is not a racist, because he would have abused anyone in this situation, black or white, that’s one thing.

    Fluffy, it’s fairly obvious that was what MP has been arguing. The same for me. Honestly, do you know that much about disorderly conduct charges? I do, because I have had friends facing them, been threatened with them myself, and done research on them.

    Those making this about race are clueless (that includes Gates and Obama). White people dealing with white cops get arrested for yelling and screaming at them all the time. It happens over all sorts of stuff where the people are in the right.

    The cop shouldn’t have arrested him, but it’s not ‘OMGz he was arrested because he was a black man!11!!’

    It’s calling wolf and really does damage to the actual cases of racism and profiling. People should be pissed about this case, not because of race, but because this is a normal thing that happens to all sorts of people every day.


  272. Um… what? Do I not have the right to not have my car broken into? That’s PROPERTY, dude. MY stuff. Not property of the thugs who tried to steal my stereo.

    Use the Yellow Pages. Pay for your own damn detective. Your problem not mine until I have to pay taxes for louts who expect everything to be handed to them.

  273. If I were a burglar operating near Harvard I would make a beeline to Gates’ house.
    First because no one would ever call the police if they saw some one forcing their way into his house again and secondly no police would respond to the call if they did get a call.

    The fact that the charges against Gates were dropped means nothing. Arrests like these are often done strictly so the arrest and inconvenience that follows are the punishment. They never wanted a conviction in the first place, they just intended to have him sit in the slammer for a few hours, go through the humiliation of getting a mugshot and fingerprinted and then released.

    I think the cops are in the right here, Gates is a loudmouthed asshole.

  274. If Gates was arrested on his front lawn for disturbing the peace (or what have you) just like many other Americans of different stripes, shouldn’t we be debating whether or not the police can arrest an American in their front yard for disturbing the peace instead of caving to Gates’ claims which don’t seem to have a reasonable amount of supporting evidence?

  275. Crowley is correct – he was just following procedure, but that is the problem. The procedure for cops is to take complete control of every situation. They are taught they are endangered otherwise. There are no exceptions, it is irrelevant whether there is a real problem. Presume Gates was difficult and rude – so what. He was on his own property and in his own home. there were no exigent circumstances allowing Ofc. Crowley onto Gates property much less inside his home. Ofc. Crowley was trespassing. He needed to leave.
    Race may have increased the likelihood of this confrontation, but the fundamental cause was an institutional attitude that a police officer should ALWAYS be in control, and should NEVER back down from any confrontation. Gates’s behavior is not the issue. If Gates was inside his own home drunk, naked while cleaning his guns, it would still be Ofc. Crowley’s responsibility to respect Gates privacy on his own property and within his own home.

  276. OMG WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU FASCISTS!? COPS DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO ARREST YOU JUST FOR BEING RUDE!!11!! THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO SEE THE SITUATION!!!1 YOU’RE ALL SHEEP!!! YOU’RE NOT REALLY LIBERTARIAN!! I DON’T CARE IF YOU CALL YOURSELF LIBERTARIAN AND BELIEVE 99% OF LIBERTARIAN POLICY AND THEORY, IF YOU DISAGREE WITH ME ON THIS YOU’RE NOT A LIBERTARIAN AND JUST AS BAD AS ANY SOCIALIST!!!11 YOU PEOPLE ARE ALL SO STUPID AND HORRIBLE AND I’M SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU!!!11

    NOOPOOOOO!!!1 THERE SHOULDN’T BE ANY DISTURBING THE PEACE STATUTES! OVERREACHING POLICE POWER!!!
    FLIBBIDY-FLABBITY-FLOOP!!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!! LKJZHDVKJHZD KJHSDFIKJUSEDH FJSHD OJU

  277. As soon as the officer saw that it was Gates house, he should have gotten out of there. A bit of cussing or yelling should not be enough to be arrested. And the cop was still on his property, that’s not public. So unless Gates physcially attacked him, he should have just gotten out of there.

    Why didn’t he? Because he’s a cop that thinks he can do whatever the fuck he wants and get away with it. He didn’t this time because he was dumb enough to arrest someone who was connected AFTER that someone reapeatly warned him that he was conntected.

    So yes Obama was right, the police officer did act stupdily. Don’t fuck with connected people on their own property based on bullshit reasons.

  278. “And the best way to get law enforcement to “think twice” about racial profiling is by exposing the drug war’s disastrous impact on America’s criminal justice system and by working to end the drug war itself.”

    Huh?
    How about we just work to end the drug war and try not to bind racial profiling to a “war” that affects people of all backgrounds.

  279. “The problem I see in this case is, that as soon as Gates established his residency, the cop should have turned and left.”

    In everything I’ve read about this Gates established his IDENTITY which is not the same as establishing residency. Did the ID he showed have his home address on it? If not then the officer would be justified in continuing the questioning which was apparently what drove Gates off the deep end. Sounds to me like Gates was offended the officer did not know who he was.

  280. “So yes Obama was right, the police officer did act stupdily.”

    I don’t think so.

    Gates was stubbornly uncooperative from the very beginning. He was a victim of racial profiling in his own mind the minute he saw the officer. He refused to show him any ID at first, all the while accusing him of being a racist. (“Because I’m a black man in America?”)

    At some point he produced his harvard ID, which probably did not establish proof of residence. Remember, the cop arrived after a neighbor’s tipoff about a potential break in. The officer had to call the school for verification. The ensuing drama, where Gates repeatedly asked for the cop’s name, badgering him while he was talking on the radio, and refusing to allow him to leave quietly, all looks like it merited decisive response.

    Libertarians have a legitimite complaint against police involvement, notably the insane amount of tickets they write and unjustified raids. But this was really about an officer doing his job to maitain public safety, that being one of the few true responsibility of the government.

  281. Actually Gates had both his Harvard ID (it was a Harvard residence) AND his drivers license which had his address on it.

    Also, badgering a cop does not equal the right to arrest someone.

  282. Gates ID did show his residence as the address reported as being broken into.

    The cop should’ve left once he realized he was talking to the resident. He didn’t because cops love to flex muscle on citizen’s.

    We live in a police state. They can arrest you any time, anywhere, no matter who you or your friends are.

    When the time comes it won’t be the army you have to fear. It will be your local officer and his SWAT team.

  283. A reasonable man likely would not have hassled the cop. A reasonable cop would definitely not have arrested Gates for hassling him. Only one of these people used the power of the state to temporarily deprive the other of his liberty.

    The Gates incident is useful if only because people’s reactions to it are so inadvertently revealing. These revelations serve to confirm that much of the hysteria about Obama the Kenyan Kommunist has little to do with his policies and much to do with his skin color. Having turned the President into a Great White Father many of us are reacting badly to the first Great Black Father.

    (I have no dog in the political fight. I last voted for Gus Hall for President in 1984 because it amused me to do so.)

  284. a wise man once told me…

    when you’re in a “police contact” which is to say, a potentially hazardous situation, here’s a stock line which may save your life…

    “officer, may i please give you a blow job?”

    practical effect: this offer will very rarely be accepted, in which case you still retain the option of biting off his penis, otherwise, it demonstrates the proper submission due from a citizen to an officer of corporate america.

  285. What a wonderful discussion! An illiterate Member of Parliament who can’t spell “sergeant.” A bunch of “libertarians” who think “disorderly conduct” and “contempt” (whether of court or of police) should legitimately be regarded as “crimes.” And a bunch of cowards too scared to post their stupid opinions under their actual names.

    I really should stop by here more often.

    JR

  286. This has nothing to do with the drug war. It’s about leftist fascism and what happens when politically correct thugs decide to ruin a good man’s career just for doing his job. If Obama has his way, it will be a crime to report a black man for breaking and entering.

    So far “federale” is the only one who gets it.

  287. Wow!! I never thought that this will be such a big news. It went from Gates arrest to Obama apalogy. This has become more interesting than what I thought. So, I collected all the sites or articles (more than 250 sites or articles) related to this hot topic “Cambridge Police Unit Demands Apology from Obama”. If you are interested take a look at news, video coverage, people views and reviews on this topic at the below link.
    http://markthispage.blogspot.com/2009/07/all-about-cambridge-police-unit-demands.html

  288. I don’t know the facts, but Obama acted stupidly and is a racist! I denounce him, the ACLU, MSNBC, and the Democrat party for the their Racism.
    runescape money

  289. “Use the Yellow Pages. Pay for your own damn detective. Your problem not mine until I have to pay taxes for louts who expect everything to be handed to them.”

    Your taxes don’t pay for the cops in my town.

    Sorry, but until we can reach that state of being where we DON’T need cops or courts to sort out crimes, we’re stuck.

    I’d like that kind of world, too. I do my part by not voting for RepubliCrats, or at least very sparingly – as in maybe five over the last twenty years, and I know three of them personally, so I can trust them. But fuck the rest of the Brand Xers, with a big piece of steel pipe.

    “I’m all for BAD cops getting the light shone in their eyes. But this guy, see, I looked into his eyes, saw his caring soul, and I said to myself “there’s a man who is righteous and honorable!”

    Hey, President Benito gave the cop his official okey-dokey, no doubt pissing off the likes of Leo Tyrell, for instance. Don’t you trust the president?? What kind of heretic are you, anyway? [sarcasm switch off]

    “who think ‘disorderly conduct’ and ‘contempt’ (whether of court or of police) should legitimately be regarded as ‘crimes.'”

    They shouldn’t be crimes, true.

  290. This case isn’t about racial profiling. It’s about the right to be an asshole in one’s own home.

  291. “Sgt. Crowley repeatedly refused to provide his name or badge number, and arrested Gates after the professor’s identity-and his right to be inside his own home-had been clearly established.”

    Only problem is Gates wasn’t arrested inside his home. You can’t arrest someone for disorderly conduct inside their own home. Crowley used an old cop trick with his “let’s talk outside” game. After luring an angry gates outside, all gates had to do was raise his voice to the point where someone else noticed and he’s considered “disorderly”.

    If gates had let Crowley leave then called in a complaint everything would have been fine.

  292. I am white and I would expect to be arrested if I acted like an ahole to a cop. It is obvious that Gates had an agenda here by everything he has done. He just wants to use the threat of a lawsuit without actually doing it because if he moved forward he knows he would look like more of a jack.ss than he does already. The cops are always made out to look like the bad guys (easy tagets)and in this caseit was when they are looking out for Gates property. Meanwhile every white person in America has to feel like a racist anytime they do or say the slightest thing out of line. I am so sick of this crap.

  293. Acting like an ahole is not a crime, Ken. The race angle is a distraction. The cop is a thug. That’s more important to worry about than whether or not he’s a racist.

  294. If Gates had acted like any other reasonable person when asked to produce identification after being seen breaking into a residence. They were called to the scene and needed to investigate. I don’t care what color you are you would have been arrested in that situation. It will only be a learning experience if Gates turns around and admits he acted improperly and this whole thing wouldn’t have been an issue if he had just produced ID. I’m not an officer of the law but anyone who thinks it’s easy should walk a mile in there shoes

  295. “I’m not an officer of the law but anyone who thinks it’s easy should walk a mile in there shoes.”

    Gee, another illiterate who thinks jackbooted thugs are a persecuted minority. I’m so glad I stopped back by.

    JR

  296. Two men acted unreasonably, but only one of them used violence to deprive (temporarily) the other of his liberty.

    If only one of them is a racist, then I’s say it’s the professor, but that doesn’t make him a criminal. This was a case of false arrest and a petty abuse of power by the cop. That’s why the charges were dropped.

  297. This case isn’t about racial profiling. It’s about the right to be an asshole in one’s own home.

    Well… that’s what it should be about, but as Gates, Root, et al are framing this story, it is about Race.

  298. We are being given a false choice here. We are being asked to decide if this event was a)racial profiling, or b) not a problem. I don’t believe this was racial profiling becasue it cuold have happened to anyone but it certainly still is a problem. Gates was not yelling at a cop in public, he was doing it in his own home. The last time I checked, we still have a First Amendment and yes it does protect your right to be an asshole. The cop ordered him to step out on the porch so he would be yelling in public so he would have a bullshit excuse to arrest him. This is called entrapmet and is as far as I’m concerned the reason the charges were dropped. But it also seems to be standard operating procedure for the nihilistic bullies that spend their day writing tickets for seat belt violations and then whine about how hard their job is. Bo-fucking-hoo. I deal with dangerous people on my job and I don’t even get to use force, much less carry a gun. Cops need to get over themselves.

  299. The cop ordered him to step out on the porch

    Really?

    I thought he suggested that Gates step out if he had anymore questions.

    If he had ordered Gates out of his home, then agreed, there is a serious problem with Crowley (without even going into arguments concerning “disturbing the peace”).

  300. As a libertarian, I get where a lot of you are coming from in saying this is an abuse of power and there shouldn’t even be “conduct” laws, but over the years I’ve thought about it and become more reasonabl;y and realized that such laws do make sense and that cops are behaving appropraitely in situations like these.

    It’s SOUNDS nice to say that a cop should no more be able to use force against you for being an a-hole than should your neighbor, but this wouldn’t be a realistic policy. A cop on duty is trying to do a JOB, he’s trying to assess facts and situations. If people are screaming and yelling and freaking out, this makes it very difficult. If you can’t even get a word in edgewise, you won’t even be able to ask suspects questions in the first place. And unfortunately these are the kinds of people cops have to deal with – drunks, drug addicts, and criminals. How do you think they wrote these “appropriate conduct” laws? They weren’t just written for the hell of it.

    If cops were as restricted as the libertarians on this board say they should be, policing would be a LOT harder, if next to impossible. People would take advantage of these restrictions and just make a big hoopla every time they were being questioned by officers. It would be like herding cats.

    Just read the laws one of the above posters posted – none of the stuff in there is that unreasonable. Nobody’s asking that cops have some kind of special place above the law, but BASIC COMPLIANCE while the cops are DOING their JOB is a necessary prerequisite to effective policing. Again, in the world the libertarians here are building, every tom, dick or harry who was in danger of being arrested could just be so loud and obnoxious as to make a cop’s investigations impossible. This would most definitely be the outcome if some of the posters on this board had their way.

    Indeed, these laws really aren’t unique to cops. You CAN get arrested by being belligerent to your neighbor. It’s called “harassment”. It’s one thing to tell a guy off during once quick encounter, it’s another thing to do it for 5 minutes straight, or every time you end up seeing the guy. In such situations you most certainly do have a case for a lawyer. And frankly, you’d better HOPE that it becomes a legal thing, because most of the time you’ll just get your lights punched out. I mean seriously, I’ve never understood why some people in nice areas act in a way they NEVER would on the NEW YORK SUBWAY. That’s a good rule of thumb – if your being too loud and obnoxious to NOT have your ass kicked on the subway, you’re just being too loud and obnoxious.

    And in this specific case the cop acted appropriately within the boundaries of said appropriate-behavior laws. All the cop wanted was some ID and maybe a deed, and Gates dragged it out screaming and yelling like a banshee for who knows how many minutes. Can you imagine that? You’re JUST trying to do your job then some a-hole with a chip on his shoulder decides to make your job as difficult for you as possible. Of course Crowley arrested him.

    And by the way, why can’t you sue for slander if you’re accused of racism? I mean half the left’s/socialists’ arguments are just calling capitalists/libertarians racists, while it’s a serious accusation. Being called a racist could potentially really screw things up for a person. I mean on the other hand really only idiots will immediately believe such accusations – but then again I’ve found that kind of idiot is extremely common in the northeast – some kind of weird cynicism that leads them to believe ANY accusation of racism immediately.

  301. Okay yeah, you know what, everybody? Read the police report. Gates was clearly being disorderly. If the cops aren’t allowed to arrest you for acting the way the officer describes Gates was in the report when they’re doing an investigation, then there is no effective policing.

    The only way the officer was in the wrong here is if he made the whole thing up, in which case, prove that he did. And yes, a cop’s report is generally believed over a suspect’s – that is how the law works and it is how it SHOULD work. Cops are ENTRUSTED with their slight power and so being trusted to be truthful is part of their job – there really isn’t any other way – unless you want cops to solely be immediate responders with no investigative or event-recording powers, which would just be silly.

    Crowley just crossed with a guy who had a nasty mix of a chip on his shoulder and an inflamed sense of importance.

  302. “If the cops aren’t allowed to arrest you for acting the way the officer describes Gates was in the report when they’re doing an investigation, then there is no effective policing.”

    For a guy who starts out with “read the police report”, it seems a bit base to claim that the police were “doing an investigation” at the end of your post. You know as well as the rest of us (because you read the police report, remember?) that the disorderly conduct (as opposed to speech) occurred after Gates was determined to be innocent, i.e., after the investigation was concluded. So nice try, guy.

  303. “As always, whitey now sits in judgment of me, preparing to cast my fate. It is your decision either to let me blow with the wind as a nonentity or to encourage the development of self. Allow me to prove myself.”

    Racism score card so far:

    Gates 1
    Cop 0

  304. “[dropping the charges] lends significant weight to Gates’ version of the story”

    lol come on!
    Which is it, the police arrest whoever they want, and thus stick invalid charges to black people, or they don’t, and drop charges for a variety of reasons, including loudmothed personal friends of the president that will cause a ****storm if they try to prosecute.

    More likely, you have 2 guys unwilling to back down, resulting in an arrest. When they find out the guy is a friend of the President, they drop the charges.

    Either way the cop will be hung out to dry, and Gates will continue to go around spreading hate and screaming in public

  305. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke

  306. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp.

  307. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.