Civil Liberties

Is Criticizing Police a Crime Now?

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Last night President Obama said he didn't know "what role race played" in last week's arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates at his home in Cambridge. But it's clear that race played an important role, if only because Gates was convinced that Sgt. James Crowley, who came to his house in response to an erroneous burglary report, would have treated a white man less suspiciously and more respectfully. By Gates' account, what really angered him is that Crowley continued to question him even after he explained that he had been forcing open a jammed door to his own house and showed identification confirming that he lived there. The main difference between the two men's versions of events is that Crowley, who ended up handcuffing Gates and arresting him for disorderly conduct (a charge that was dropped on Tuesday), portrays Gates as more belligerent and louder than Gates portrays himself. But even if we accept the facts as presented by Crowley, it's clear he abused his authority, whether or not the color of Gates' skin had anything to do with it.

Let's say Gates did initially refuse to show his ID (an unsurprising response from an innocent man confronted by police in his own home). Let's say he immediately accused Crowley of racism, raised his voice, and behaved in a "tumultuous" fashion. Let's say he overreacted. So what? By Crowley's own account, he arrested Gates for dissing him. That's not a crime, or at least it shouldn't be. Instead of admitting that he "acted stupidly" (as Obama put it) in the heat of the moment by deciding to punish Gates for hurting his feelings, Crowley continues to defend his conduct, refusing to apologize.

Over at National Review's blog, Jonah Goldberg reports that his reader email on this subject has been about evenly divided between those who "think Gates is hilariously in the wrong" and those who "think that the cop was transparently to blame for the whole mess." He says this split reflects a more general divide among Americans; some are "deferential to police" and "give cops the benefit of the doubt," while others are "inclined to distrust them" and "see them as potential abusers of authority." Goldberg puts himself in the first camp, while I fall into the second. But it seems to me you'd have to be awfully authoritarian to think that Gates owes Crowley an apology, as opposed to the other way around.  

Yesterday Michael Moynihan reviewed some of the reaction to Gates' arrest.

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  1. Fuck “Jack Dunphy” in the ear. Coward.

  2. Fucking-a-right! Screaming at a cop on your own private property should be a national pastime.

  3. There hasn’t been a rush of reports countering Officer Crowley’s account. If his report is even close to accurate, I believe that it is Gates that was the the antagonizer.
    If true that the officer gave his name multiple times and only moved to arrest Gates after he continued the altercation outside the home when the officer was leaving…so be it.
    I don’t think that it is or should be an arrestable offense but this does not appear to be a matter of simple ‘dissing’ a cop.

  4. As long as the beers aren’t 8 bucks a pop, kilroy.

  5. It’s hard to believe that *any* cop could *ever* be thin-skinned.

  6. Is a mutual apology in order? Seems like the officer crossed the line, and Gates tried milking it for all it was worth.

    Rooting for one side or the other seems pretty weak when neither side has all that many redeeming qualities in the kerfluffle.

  7. Indeed. In any event, the police officer admitted in his own report that he realized that Gates was the resident of the house long before he called backup and long before Gates walked on to the porch. At that point, what reason did the police officer have to remain on the premises? Breaking and entering could not have happened, and even “disorderly conduct” was impossible prior to the point at which Gates walked on to the porch. It’s pretty clear — even if you give the cop 100% credence — that he remained on the property to address a perceived slight, which he ultimately did by arresting Mr. Gates. If that’s not an abuse of power, I don’t know what is. And if we can’t criticize the cops without fear of arrest, we’re all screwed.

  8. Also, cries of “This is what happens to a black man in America!” rings rather hollow from a tenured professor at Harvard.

  9. madmikefisk,

    No, no mutual apology is in order. Gates may have been a jerk (it sounds like he probably was a race baiting jerk), but that was his right. The cop had no right to arrest him under false pretenses. The end.

  10. It continues to amaze and depress me the lengths people go in supporting their team. I can understand a “deferential to police” attitude. It’s an attitude I’ve had myself, though time and experience has moved me into the “potential abusers of authority” camp. What I can’t understand is how someone can be so wedded to giving deference to police that they still support them even when they’ve confessed to abusing authority.

  11. I’m sick to death of all the cop-fellators. Their answer of “well, just be nice to the cop and you won’t have problems” is the worst authority-loving bullshit ever. I don’t care if Gates told the cop that he fucked his mom in the ass last night; he was on his property. I’m honestly surprised the pig didn’t taser him.

    The pigs grow increasingly thin-skinned. Normally I would say that this is a result of them feeling that their authority is being questioned more and more, but honestly it just seems like arrogance at this point.

  12. He should have been appreciative that the cop stopped by and checked on making sure that his house was not being broken into. If someone had called and the police did not show up you know he would have been screaming racism that the police don’t respond to calls on homes owned by Afri-Amer’s. You are a college professor..learn some manners. Hey btw, how did you get that job? Was it by your high scores in school? Or something else?

  13. Mr. Sullum,

    I’d recommend you read Radley’s blog regularly. If you did you’d know that not bowing and scraping obsequiously enough is the one sure way to get yourself arrested or more likely assaulted and tasered, then arrested.

    It’s as if the vast majority of our cops are oversized Eric Cartmans spouting the “Respect my authoritah!” catch phrase.

  14. God DAMN I am great at this! I’m even in Reason!

  15. WTF, yup if the cop had commented on Mr. Gates’ manners we would have a completely different story. But that’s not what happened. It’s not news that some people lack appropriate manners — leave that crap for Emily Post. This story is about an official abuse of power. It’s minor compared to other abuses, but it’s still saddening that so many people think that Gates deserved an arrest for being impolite to a polic officer.

  16. And here they come. “Gates would scream racism if they didn’t hassle him on his own property”. You people are fucking pathetic. What chaps your ass more, the fact that he gave a pig some shit, or that he did it and is black?

  17. Fuck the police!

    (as a propositioned SWAT team breaks down my door in anticipation of such a comment)

  18. Peter Moskos, who sides with the cop, has a great post on this matter over at his blog, Cop in the Hood. Long story short, if a police officer ever asks you to talk about something “outside,” it’s a trick to nab you on a disorderly conduct charge. Stay right where you are and ask him to leave.

  19. Shoot his dog!
    Tase his grandmother!
    A citizen is getting upitty!

  20. Chris S., my point is he should of acted appreciative and civilized. If he was acting rude it is natural for people to get upset when they are insulted. Let me demonstrate: You stupid fucking brainless dumbshit. Don’t you know how the world works? You fucking crybaby, this isn’t Oprah..go fill you diapers somewhere else.
    A Harvard professor should be smart enough to know that the cop was just responding to a call and was actually doing him a favor

  21. Don’t worry, folks, when Internal Affairs reviews this incident, Mr. Crowley will be given a stiff reprimand and suspended.

  22. With apologies to John Zerzan, cops these days are little Cartmans.

  23. The cop did behave inappropriately, but it shows a lack of class on Gates part to play the race card, and be such a whiny cry baby about the whole thing. Obamas piling on is equally cheesy.

    After reading the huge litany of police abuse cases in Radley Balko’s pieces over the last few years, this one is relatively minor. The cop didn’t kill a dog, frighten children or elderly people, or really rough the guy up.

  24. A Harvard professor should be smart enough to know that the cop was just responding to a call and was actually doing him a favor

    Pathetic. It’s a favor to be hassled in your own home? Could you be any more of an asskisser? And it doesn’t even matter–you have the right to be a dick in your own home. But OH NOES, he dissed a pig, and you just can’t have that.

  25. Crowley said he’s grateful he has the support of his police force. He said he’s not worried about any possible disciplinary action.
    “There will be no apology,” he said outside his home Wednesday.

    “Fuckin’ little people.”

  26. In the future, the police should ignore calls to Gate’s house.

  27. Eric Cartman meets Geico Caveman

  28. “A Harvard professor should be smart enough to know that the cop was just responding to a call and was actually doing him a favor”

    A cop ought to be professional enough to rise above an angry billigerent home owner. Ultimately, Gates may have been wrong. But he was within his rights. It is a free country. There is nothing that says I can’t call a cop who is in my house an asshole and be a complete dick to him. As long as I am not threatening him or assaulting him, the cop can either take it or get out of my house.

    To say that Gates was not within his rights and deserved to be arrested is to say that cops deserve some kind of special reverence not reserved for anyone else in society and that exists in spite of the 1st Amendment. I am sorry but I can’t buy that.

  29. Eric Cartman meets Geico Caveman

    That is funny.

  30. Can someone explain to me why stepping outside my door while remaining on my own private property makes any difference?

    This was a private residence with a front yard owned byt the same party that owned the house. Stepping onto the side walk/road or stepping out of an apartment/public housing into a common public area might make some sense.

    Why does it matter if it’s in my house or in my yard? I really don’t get this.

  31. if a police officer ever asks you to talk about something “outside,” it’s a trick to nab you on a disorderly conduct charge

    Isn’t that entrapment?

  32. insisted he followed proper procedures in arresting Gates last week on a charge of disorderly conduct. The charge was dropped Tuesday.

    Is the officer saying this on the advice of counsel to avoid being sued? Because if an officer charges someone with disorderly conduct, and the charge is subsequently dropped, that is an indication that the officer should have considered walking away from the provocation rather than making an arrest.

  33. Viva la revolucion!

  34. “What chaps your ass more, the fact that he gave a pig some shit, or that he did it and is black?”

    The latter. It sets back progress in race relations when folks like gates pull this shit. And of course, that’s exactly why he does it. Racial harmony threatens his life’s work.

  35. I agree with Epi’s righteous anger here. This was not late at night, this was not some breach of the peace or disturbing the peace, there was not physical threat here, this was, being most deferential to the government official here (and might this non-libertarian note how strange it is to see so many libertarians being so deferential to the government rep here?) this was a man being angry with a cop ON HIS PORCH! It’s crazy egregious to side with the cop here. Gates’ motivation is frankly irrelevant. As John’s well said comments above put it: Ultimately, Gates may have been wrong. But he was within his rights.

  36. I have to say, all I know of Gates is that I saw two PBS specials he hosted where he used DNA and geneaology to look up his roots and a CSPAN even on his book on Lincoln, and the guy did not strike me as Al Sharpton with PhD…

    I just saw him on headline news about five minutes ago and he said nothing about race, he said “If this could happen to me it could happen to anyone in America.”

  37. Can someone explain to me why stepping outside my door while remaining on my own private property makes any difference?

    A lot of the time, people forget that they own far less property than they actually do. About half of my front yard actually belongs to the City and County of Honolulu, but the city owned part looks just like the private part.

    In any event, a proper respect for the First Amendment should make it irrelevant whether you verbally dress down an officer on your own property versus on the adjoining public property. If you haven’t committed a crime, you’re supposed to have the right to call police officers all the names you want, so long as you don’t touch them, but that part of the Bill of Rights got unconstitutionally eviscerated long ago, thanks to Marbury versus Madison and a slew of politicians pushing the envelope of what powers the government is actually entitled to.

  38. “In the future, the police should ignore calls to Gate’s house.”

    Why? Because it is more important that they not get their feelings hurt than for them to actually do their job? Ass.

  39. Isn’t that entrapment?

    All cops do these days is entrapment: fake hookers asking if you want a good time, fake johns asking if they can have a good time, fake drug dealers asking if you want a good time, fake drug buyers asking if they can have a good time, fake hitmen asking if your wife is having too good a time, fake postings for hitmen confirming your wife is having too good a time, fake little girls online asking if you want a good time.

    Point is, cops hate good times.

    Unrelated, but I don’t understand how making a fake posting asking for a hitman on craigslist and then arresting anyone who responds is not the definition of entrapment.

  40. It sets back progress in race relations when folks like gates pull this shit. And of course, that’s exactly why he does it. Racial harmony threatens his life’s work.

    What colossal bullshit. It’s telling how you completely skip over the right to be a dick in one’s own home and focus completely on race.

  41. For the umteenth time. Who gives a shit if the guy is brown, green, or blue. Who care what time it was. This all occurred on the man’s property. The most basic of rights, his fucking property. Where can say any goddamn thing he wants. The officer was in the wrong the minute he identified the man as the owner, he was no longer there to protect and was there to serve. Serve himself right the fuck off the mans property, regardless of what bad name the man called him.

    Gates was never wrong. He had every right to be angry if for nothing more than the state’s proxies were standing on his property. I hope he was smart enough to tell them to leave as soon as they identified him. Not that it matters.

    If the officer refused to ID himself then feel free to add another turd to the sandwich.

  42. IN a radio interview, the officer says that the ID shown by Gates was his Harvard faculty ID (no address).

    Would it make any difference if there was a restraining order out on an estranged spouse for domestic violence, and he was breaking into a home he had the address of on his license because his wife had change the locks?

    If the police just leave when they see the matching address and the guy lies in wait and later kills the spouse, are the police guilty of negligence?

  43. If he was acting rude it is natural for people to get upset when they are insulted. Let me demonstrate: You stupid fucking brainless dumbshit. Don’t you know how the world works? You fucking crybaby, this isn’t Oprah..go fill you diapers somewhere else.

    I wouldn’t dispute for a moment that Crowley should have felt insulted.

    It’s the fact that he thinks he should be able to arrest people when he feels insulted that makes me think he should be fired from his 170k a year job.

  44. kilroy,

    As I understand it, “disorderly conduct” in Massachusetts requires some form of “public” disruption. It’s probably not possible to satisfy this requirement for comments made from the inside of a house (exceptionally loud music or disruptive noises from inside a house may violate a different law or laws, but that isn’t relevant to this case). Comments made from a porch, while visible to members of the public, may satisfy the public requirement to the extent that you are seriously agitating members of the public, but even this is a stretch. The reason why a police officer might lure you out onto a porch is that it gives him an arguable (but extremely weak) basis for stating that you were disturbing the public. Even on the porch, the notion that a 58 year-old limping professor could have been agitating the public by requesting that the cop produce ID or by calling the cop a racist is laughable. Gates’ conduct would have had to been so egregious that it literally threatened violence, a riot, etc., for the disorderly conduct charge to stick. Of course, this is why the charge was dropped: it was a joke – an excuse to annoy and harass a citizen who dared to talk back to a cop.

  45. “What colossal bullshit. It’s telling how you completely skip over the right to be a dick in one’s own home and focus completely on race.”

    Of colurse he has a right to be a dick in his own home. So do I. But if I stand in my yard railing against black folk, Hispanics and gays, well, that’s not really helping anything or anyone.

  46. Hmmm…I think “acted stupidly” is a pretty good way to frame it.

    Police officer doing his job is verbally abused by homeowner (homeowner is in the wrong, but within his rights as mentioned above).

    Police officer stops doing his job and decides to “win” an argument = acted stupidly.

    Unless Gates was creating a risk of harm to the police officer or another citizen, he should have walked away as soon as he established that no crime was being committed.

    I seriously doubt there is anything additional to know about the case that would place the police officer’s actions outside of the range of “stupid.”

  47. “What colossal bullshit. It’s telling how you completely skip over the right to be a dick in one’s own home and focus completely on race.”

    Gates didn’t say the cop was an asshole. He said he was a racist. The police officer didn’t mention race at all to Gates. Gates made this about race by screaming at the cop trying to protect Gates house.

  48. tim,

    Yes, that would make a difference, because then the cop might have probable cause for believing that a crime was being committed. But he didn’t, so your hypothetical is meaningless.

    If would have also made a difference if the house were on fire, if Gates fired shots at the police, or if Gates fit the description of a known murderer believed to be in the area. But then again, so what?

  49. “Gates didn’t say the cop was an asshole. He said he was a racist. The police officer didn’t mention race at all to Gates. Gates made this about race by screaming at the cop trying to protect Gates house.”

    Thank you, nebby.

  50. “Gates made this about race by screaming at the cop trying to protect Gates house.”

    Because that’s exactly what race-baiters do. It has a very Saul Alinsky smell aboiut it.

  51. “Gates didn’t say the cop was an asshole. He said he was a racist.”

    Gates does not have that power over us. Only we can make it about race. You see, making it about race obscures the real abuse of power.

    Little Cartmans.

  52. I look at this case and others like the one Hit and Run blogged about the other day where the undercover drug cop shot the guy trying to push him off his porch, and I see a trend. The trend is that cops have this attitude that they are above everyone else and have no obligation to take any shit off of anyone. If they don’t like you or your attitude they will just arrest you on trumped up “disorderly conduct” or “disobeying and officer” charges. Yeah, the charges will be dropped. But your day and perhaps reputation will be ruined. You will have to go through the humiliation of being arrested. And you will learn the lessen that no one can do anything but kiss a cop’s ass. The cop will suffer no consiquences for falsly arresting you.

    I am sorry, but I don’t play that way. Cops are not above the law. They are public servents. They get paid to take shit from the public once in a while.

  53. “By Gates’ account, what really angered him is that Crowley continued to question him even after he explained that he had been forcing open a jammed door to his own house and showed identification confirming that he lived there.”

    Cops always run a check on IDs during threshold inquiries, even if the inquiry relates to a very minor civil motor vehicle infraction. That check will always seek to verify the ID’s authenticity.

    No race is exempt from this practice, nor is it inconsistent with constitutional standards governing threshold inquiries.

  54. It might matter what time of day it is, as the only justification I can think of for criminalizing disorderly conduct is that it basically is a nuisance.

    “the cop trying to protect Gates house.”
    If this were a story about a cop who came to Gates house to protect it, found out he was mistaken, got berated by Gates, and left, then you’d have a point, Gates would be the jerk. But in this story the cop used his authority to use force over his fellow citizens to arrest Gates. That wasn’t about protecting Gates’ house at all, it was about protecting his authority and thin skin.

  55. A professional and appropriate way to diffuse the situation – walk off the man’s property…go ask a neighbor to confirm that the yelling man does indeed live there.

    Another: use your fancy police data-base to match the name you got off the ID with records of who lives there.

    The list could go on and on.

  56. Gates made this about race by screaming at the cop trying to protect Gates house.

    Is it fucking illegal to “make something about race”? My god, you are so blinded by your hatred for Gates that you’ll excuse any violation of rights. Absolutely, pig-fellatingly pathetic.

  57. The cop did not arrest Gates because he was black. The cop arrested Gates because Gates dared to get angry at him and go after him. The charges were dropped. Gates was innocent of the charges. The cop arrested him because the cop was an authoritarian dickhead who didn’t like the way Gates talked to him.

  58. Gates was an asshole, but that’s not a crime. The cop arrested him for a non-crime, which is a false arrest, which is a crime.

    -jcr

  59. “Is it fucking illegal to “make something about race”? My god, you are so blinded by your hatred for Gates that you’ll excuse any violation of rights. Absolutely, pig-fellatingly pathetic.”

    Calm down, honey.

    You’re use of strawsmen is amazing.

    I never said it was “illeagal to make something about race”.

    But I think it immoral to suck the racist victim teat in order to make a living, because it perpetuates mendacity at the expense of social progress.

  60. Space Fiend, you forgot about fake terrorist plots. I think Gates saw it as an opportunity to beef up his daily oppression lecture.

  61. “Space Fiend, you forgot about fake terrorist plots. I think Gates saw it as an opportunity to beef up his daily oppression lecture.”

    Yup. His bread and butter.

  62. nebby,

    Honestly, who cares? Yeah, Gates was probably being a dick by racebaiting. The cop felt slighted and decided to abuse his official powers by arresting this guy who — again — was probably acting like a dick.

    Some people are apparently so sooo soooo upset about somebody saying the word “racist” that they seem to think that false arrests and abuses of police power are no big deal. If Gates had just called the cop a “jerk off,” “asshole,” “dipshit,” or whatever, I get the feeling that a lot of people would wake up and smell the abuse of power. But no, he said “race.” Ooooh – race! Boogety, boogety, boo! He deserves what he gets after that, right?

  63. But I think it immoral to suck the racist victim teat in order to make a living, because it perpetuates mendacity at the expense of social progress.

    And what does that have to do with being arrested for merely being rude?

    Are you sure you’re not joe? Because you sure argue like him. That’s not a compliment.

  64. I’m no expert on Gates, so I don’t know if he is in general a race-baiter (what little I do know, as I said upthread, suggests to me he is not), and his appearnces on tv over this did not seem to be focused on race baiting (again, I don’t claim comprehensive knowledge here).

    But even if he did start in with race-baiting that’s irrelevant to the point we who are upset about the arrest are making here that the arrest itself was unwarranted and an abuse of authority.

    I don’t blame him much if he did race-bait. It’s such low hanging fruit when you are mad. I’m a feminist oriented guy, and my wife works at a prestigous job and I am proud of her. But sometimes, when we are arguing about things like who watches the kid more, I will blurt out “oh, what kind of mom works 50 hours a week away from her kids” I know it’s bullshit, but it’s like society has hung that club up easily within reach and when you are mad and in a moment it’s so tempting to grab it. Gates was mad, and so it was probably natural to say “oh, because I’m a black man?” It’s lamentable but understandable. But again, irrelevant to the fact that those who are given the authority of a cop should be held to a higher standard than the rest of us, and when they abuse that authority we must all be on guard.

  65. Race-baiting is a dick move, not a crime. That is all. What JCR said then follows.

  66. Neu-

    You is talkin’ some sense today.

  67. So, a cop arrives at the scene, mentally preparing himself for what might be a desperate struggle with two men thought to be burglars. He’s amped up, can’t know if he’ll have to defend himself.

    Instead, he finds two men, one the resident, who explain their presence. As the tension releases, does the resident offer thanks that the officer arrived promptly, to protect his property and, possibly, his person?

    No! Instead, the resident unleashes a tirade upon the officer, with accusations and opprobrium. Along with a “Do you know who I am?” threat and pursuit as the officer was leaving, I’m sure this went a long ways in determining officer’s reaction. The citizen offered no gratitude to the man who had, willingly, entered what might have been a life-ending situation for him. It is more likely that what the officer was feeling was not his ‘racism’, but, his disgust that he hung it all out for such ingrate.

    A normal reaction would have been gratitude to the officer and the system that provided protection for the citizen. An abnormal response is that it’s ALL about skin color.

  68. “But I think it immoral to suck the racist victim teat in order to make a living, because it perpetuates mendacity at the expense of social progress.”

    Crying wolf also encourages people to dismiss allegations of racism out of hand, thus victimizing those who are actually victims of racism.

    The cop went too far in arresting him, but the arrest had nothing to do with racism. Gates acted like an arrogant and abusive asshole, and instead of walking away, the cop let his emotions trump good judgment. Contempt of cop is not racism.

  69. I just read the headline and thought,”Since when wasn’t it?”

  70. “If Gates had just called the cop a “jerk off,” “asshole,” “dipshit,” or whatever, I get the feeling that a lot of people would wake up and smell the abuse of power. But no, he said “race.” Ooooh – race! Boogety, boogety, boo!

    And you know full well that if he hadn’t have framed this as a ricist incident, he wouldn’t get splashed all over the media and Obama wouldn’t be making comments about it.

    Gates is a mendacious race-whore.

  71. Had it been Cornell West the cop wouldn’t have been able to understand anyhting he was saying and thus no arrest.

  72. OK, OK, I’m going to have to ask you guys who keep calling Gates a “race-baiter” for whom race-huckstering is “his bread and butter” to prove that shit. It’s irrelevant to what those of us opposed to the arrest are angry about, but again, it doesn’t jibe with my experience of the man.

    When i saw him talk about Lincoln he was very nuanced about race; he could have been all “hey Lincoln was a racist who said things opposing social and legal equality for blacks and supported shipping blacks back to Africa” but he did not, he said the man had some racist ideas, quite normal for folks in his day, but that he also grew and became more nuanced in his racial thinking. That did not strike me as race-baiting…

  73. “And what does that have to do with being arrested for merely being rude?”

    I do not condone the arrest. I do not condone Gate’s racist behavior.

    I have never claimed anything else.

  74. “does the resident offer thanks that the officer”

    “A normal reaction would have been gratitude to the officer and the system that provided protection for the citizen”

    I don’t want to steal Epi’s justified thunder, but why stop there Thomas, why not suggest that he should have offered to suck the cop’s dick in gratitude for his service?

    sheesh

  75. They are both a couple of naggers in my book.

  76. I do not condone Gate’s racist behavior.

    I’m still waiting for an explanation of how this has anything to do with the right to be a dick.

  77. “Crying wolf also encourages people to dismiss allegations of racism out of hand, thus victimizing those who are actually victims of racism.

    The cop went too far in arresting him, but the arrest had nothing to do with racism. Gates acted like an arrogant and abusive asshole, and instead of walking away, the cop let his emotions trump good judgment. Contempt of cop is not racism.”

    This.

  78. The pigs grow increasingly thin-skinned.

    No kidding. And this seems to be an obvious case of a respect-my-authorataaaa type of pig. But I’ve seen worse on Radley’s blog that never get the coverage that this has.

    As mentioned above the “This is what happens to a black man in America!” is getting old. Like Wanda Sykes said, “It is hard to complain about the man when you are the man.” So to all you black liberals out there, “fuck you.” When you start questioning the evil drug war, the one policy that fucks up more lives of black men than any other and that the drug war gives bigot cops legal cover to do as they please, then I will start giving a shit what you have to say about race.

  79. “A lot of the time, people forget that they own far less property than they actually do. About half of my front yard actually belongs to the City and County of Honolulu, but the city owned part looks just like the private part.”

    I’m aware that there is an easement that bounds public roadways, etc. Here in GA at least that means you still own it (I pay property taxes on it and it’s deeded to me at the courthouse) but you can’t build on it and the government can fuck it up without notice. Gates was on his porch when arrested and by the photos it looks like there was a large area 30-40′ in front of the home. I can’t imagine anyone believing that his porch wasn’t his property.

    “As I understand it, “disorderly conduct” in Massachusetts requires some form of “public” disruption.”

    I would hope that the disruption would have to be accompanied by someone complaining about the disruption. I know that even though I have a right to put a siren on my property and blare it 27/7, if it negatively impacts the private property of my neighbours they have a right to call the cops and make me stop. This is because my property rights don’t trump theirs. I’d suggest that some complaint would also be required from someone in the public for my conduct to be publicly disorderly.

  80. “I do not condone the arrest. I do not condone Gate’s racist behavior.”

    The two are just not comparable on the outrage meter.

    “mac acts like jerk” is not as outrageous as “cop falsely arrests man”

  81. “OK, OK, I’m going to have to ask you guys who keep calling Gates a “race-baiter” for whom race-huckstering is “his bread and butter” to prove that shit.”

    RTFA

  82. A normal reaction would have been gratitude to the officer and the system that provided protection for the citizen. An abnormal response is that it’s ALL about skin color.

    Maybe Gates’ response was “abnormal.” However, it was not ILLEGAL. The cop, therefore, had no justification to arrest him. End of story.

  83. “Gates acted like an arrogant and abusive asshole”

    Way to take the police report as Gospel there, fed dog! Get your nose out of the police ass for a second…

  84. RTFA

    which one?

  85. OK, pig-suckers: do you have any other evidence besides the cop’s statement that Gates was being race-obsessed?

  86. “Maybe Gates’ response was “abnormal.” However, it was not ILLEGAL. The cop, therefore, had no justification to arrest him. End of story.”

    Does anyone here dispute Xeone’s logic here? It seems to me to perfectly sum up the whole point of the thread.

    If you dispute it, please say so and why so we can skip all of this irrelevant bullshit.

  87. Wait, so the cop arrested him after ID was shown? Why was showing ID such a central point of contention in last nights argument on this same subject?

    This new story is much more damning than the old story.

  88. Cops always run a check on IDs during threshold inquiries,

    How do you run an ID check while you are standing on someone’s porch arguing with them?

    The citizen offered no gratitude to the man who had, willingly, entered what might have been a life-ending situation for him.

    The cop was doing his job. Gratitude might be nice, but it isn’t required.

    The cop ran out of any claim on gratitude when he didn’t act professionally when Gates got irate with him.

  89. @ tim

    if you read the police report it says the id provided was a drivers license.

  90. Civil Discourse,

    No, I don’t know that. This guy is an extremely famous professor in his field. Even if he had said absolutely nothing about race, you can bet that this would be all over the news. Yes, someone would subsequently say something about race, but so what?

    As to the “he’s a race baiter” point, I’ve been giving the cop the benefits of the doubt and assuming that Mr. Gates brought up race unfairly, but I honestly don’t know the pertinent facts. Did the officer actually address Gates as “boy,” as has been alleged? Is there pattern of unfair questioning of black professors in Caimbridge, as has been alleged? I don’t know the answer to any of this. Maybe it’s all b.s. Maybe not.

    The point is that this was an abuse of police power. The real story is that some cops expect you to kiss their ass, and they’ll arrest you for challenging them or failing to thoroughly kiss and lick their colon clean. And more importantly, about 60% of America thinks this is the natural order, and that Gates “should have known better” than to say mean thinks to the men in blue. That’s pretty sad.

  91. “OK, pig-suckers: do you have any other evidence besides the cop’s statement that Gates was being race-obsessed?”

    “which one?”

    Pick one:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22Henry+Louis+Gates%22+%22a+black+man+in+america%22&btnG=Search&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

  92. “they’ll arrest you for challenging them or failing to thoroughly kiss and lick their colon clean”

    This is an offense for which some of the more pro-cop posters here need not fear.

    A strong tongue makes for a free man is seemingly their motto…

  93. This seems to have been a symmetrical battle of assholes. Asshole cop can arrest Gates to show momentary dominance, and asshole Gates has the status to get the charge dropped. Draw.

    Long story short, if a police officer ever asks you to talk about something “outside,” it’s a trick to nab you on a disorderly conduct charge.

    If Gates lived in the world out here where people actually do get fucked with by racist cops all the time, he’d know that. But he’s lived a life completely isolated from it, so he didn’t know how to deal.

    Even on the most charitable reading of his own account, he hammed it up ridiculously. That’s a show of ignorance about the world he makes his living talking about, and he should be mocked for that.

  94. “if you read the police report it says the id provided was a drivers license.”

    Harvard ID was produced first prompting the call to Harvard police.

    I’d like to hear the transmissions from SGT. Crowley’s radio to hear the professors words.

  95. If Gates was white and Bush commented, MSM would be storming the White House, brandishing torches and axes.

  96. A strong tongue makes for a free man…

    My wife also says this. Sorry — low hanging fuit.

  97. Pick one:

    Every single link states that the police report claims he said that, you mendacious twit. Try again.

  98. A normal reaction would have been gratitude to the officer and the system that provided protection for the citizen.

    Thank you, sir! May I have another?

  99. Even on the most charitable reading of his own account, he hammed it up ridiculously. That’s a show of ignorance about the world he makes his living talking about, and he should be mocked for that.

    Perhaps he should be mocked, but he should never have been arrested.

  100. Kate,

    I really love all the “if he were xyz,” or wouldn’t this be different if “xyz happened instead.” Blah. Blah. Blah.

    How about this hypothetical: If Gates were arrested, and Obama commented, somebody named Kate would probably want to talk about something completely imaginary.

  101. “A normal reaction would have been gratitude to the officer and the system that provided protection for the citizen”

    So it’s not OK to have an unusual POV? Is being a unique individual an arrestable offense?

    And, frankly, a more normal response would have been fear of being arrested, and feigned respect accompanied by a falsely polite demeanor. Gratitude would not be something I would be feeling at that point, unless the police officer was incredibly pleasant and courteous and professional, saying something like, “Thank you for providing ID establishing you reside here. I’ll be leaving now. Have a nice day.”

    I seriously doubt that was the vibe here.

  102. The citizen offered no gratitude to the man who had, willingly, entered what might have been a life-ending situation for him.

    Awwwww. Fuck that shit. If this pig wanted gratitude, then he should got the fuck outta Gate’s house once he learned it was his house. Fuck pig gratitude. It called doing your job. Millions of people go about there business doing their jobs and no fucking displays of gratitude. When I worked at Taco Bell, no one ever came up to me and said, “hey man, you fried the hell out of those nachos. Good job.” Why? Cuz it was my fucking job, that’s why. This cop get paid, and likely paid well, good insurance, and can shoot dogs with impunity. That’s enough fucking gratitude.

    And the “it might have been life threatening.” STFU. Whaaaa!!!! If the pig can’t handle the risk, go work for a florist.

  103. Some of the comments on this thread are way over the top. People you are attacking as “pig fellators” and “pig suckers” regularly comment here in the most critical terms about police overreaching.

    Cops use radio to check IDs. In this case, they sought to verify the Harvard ID by contacting the Harvard cops.

  104. Goddamn it, I wrote this long thing, and then the server squirrels ate it. Shorter version: Incidents rarely involve an angel and a devil, but usually involve at least one pigheaded jerk, often two, because jerks are more likely to come into conflict. This sounds like what happened here.

    The cop was being a typical thin-skinned pig who decided to arrest somebody for “disrespect of cop”. Gates, rather than handle things calmly and with a minimum of fuss, decided to be a loud-mouthed, abusive asshole for little apparent reason, then act shocked, shocked, when that didn’t work out so well for him. Conclusion: screw both of those idiots. We should be more concerned with the actions of the cop, though, since he is an agent of the state.

    John C. Randolph: You’re not going to get a charge of “false arrest” to stick. Cops have pretty wide latitude in who they arrest.

  105. “I am sorry, but I don’t play that way. Cops are not above the law. They are public servents. They get paid to take shit from the public once in a while.”

    Agreed. Things like (the seemingly now defunct) copswritingcops.com and the “get out of jail free for me and my kin” thin blue line bumper stickers raise my dander.

  106. A normal reaction would have been gratitude to the officer and the system that provided protection for the citizen.

    Color me Abby Normal. My first reaction is to ask the officer to walk to the edge of my property with me and ask, “Am I free to go.” If I want his protection I will call. I don’t see me calling for police protection anytime soon, maybe for the report and loopholes required for various things. But protection? No thanks. I got that covered in spades.

  107. I am sorry, but I don’t play that way. Cops are not above the law.
    They have more restrictions than I do. Of course this isn’t in practice, just theory.

  108. Wow – so much ignorance in one place. Fact 1 – it’s not his home – it’s university housing. Secondly criticizing the police isn’t a crime but disorderly conduct is. Screaming at them that they’re racists and refusing to identify yourself in the course of an investigation is disorderly conduct. Read the report including the witness corroboration.

  109. Gates did initially refuse to show his ID (an unsurprising response from an innocent man confronted by police in his own home)

    Unsurprising? I would have shown the cop proof of my residence if it would have gotten him out of my house. Why make things even more difficult for yourself? Was Gates guilty of his own kind of “profiling” in refusing to cooperate with a white cop?

    Gates was pissed off that he couldn’t get into his own house, then he took out his rage and frustration on a cop trying to do his job. It wasn’t a lynching. Nobody burned a cross on his lawn. Liberals and libertarians alike are all too ready to scream “racist”, especially when law enforcement is involved. Grow up.

  110. The cop was an idiot for letting Gates sucker him in to the arrest. The incedent boosts Gates black cred. The only other reason I can think of for Gates reacting that way is that it is fun cussing at cops.

  111. “There hasn’t been a rush of reports countering Officer Crowley’s account. If his report is even close to accurate, I believe that it is Gates that was the the antagonizer.”

    You can antagonize anyone you wish in your own home, as long as the exit is unimpeded. The cop was just a blowhard jackboot wannbe, with an attitude and absolute immunity. Dangerous combination.

  112. And here they come. “Gates would scream racism if they didn’t hassle him on his own property”. You people are fucking pathetic. What chaps your ass more, the fact that he gave a pig some shit, or that he did it and is black?

    This here is what is bothering me the most about the response, especially in these here parts. If the victim was white and all other facts remain the same, there would be not one normally-libertarian voice here sticking up for the pigs. Not one.

    But it’s a black liberal Harvard professor, so fuck him, right? His assertion that race was the but-for in the situation may or may not be correct (but considering how many black intellectuals consider Henry Louis Gates an accomodationalist wuss, it is not likely that he would just scream racism out of nowhere), but it doesn’t even matter. As Epi expertly pointed out, he could have said anything short of a direct threat to violence, and it being his house (which he had already proved via ID) he can say pretty much whatever comes into his head. Where the fuck is the other side of this? It’s somehow more OK to fuck with a guy in his home if he’s black/liberal/ivory tower moss?

  113. For the record –

    I’m not screaming racist cop.

    I’m screaming asshole cop illegally abusing his authority because some citizen* didn’t treat hem deferentially enough. Cops do it to all regardlerss of race creed, national origin, or gender.

    * Remember when that word used to mean something to gov’t officials? If your under 40, probably not.

  114. I just have to use that word. Maybe it is because his peers think he’s an accomodationalist wuss that he escalated the confrontation to get himself arrested.

  115. Black guy who is having all kinds of professional problems locks himself out of his house and has to break his own door down. At that point, he was obviously looking for a fight [saying yo momma to a cop? seriously?]. Of course, the cop, being a pig, was more then happy to give him one. Both parties got what they wanted here.

  116. “Fact 1 – it’s not his home – it’s university housing.”

    It’s private property. Gates pays the rent and has ownership authority there. Even if Harvard were a public university I don’t think it would matter. He pays the rent, it’s his house.

  117. “Fact 1 – it’s not his home – it’s university housing.”

    Do you mean that he didn’t own the house? That he did not have a lease? That he did not actually live there? At a minimum he probably had a lease, which renders “Fact 1” completely irrelevant. And you have a point about “disorderly conduct”. It’s what the police use to arrest somebody for pissing them off.

  118. “But it’s a black liberal Harvard professor, so fuck him, right?”

    Wrong. He’s resorting to reflexive charges of racism where none existed, thereby damaging people who have actually been/will be victimized by racism.

    On that score, yes: Fuck him. Definitely. Getting judges and jurors to acknowledge real racism is hard enough without this fraud crying wolf and encouraging automatic disbelief.

  119. strange it is to see so many libertarians being so deferential to the government rep here

    What libertarians? The names I recognize are all on the douchenozzle’s (Gates) side.

  120. Gates did nothing to be arrested for and the cop clearly got him out on the porch in order to have a thin excuse to arrest him.

    But I’d still like to see how it all went down, just from a purely puerile perspective. Mutual antagonism is a failing of mine, I rubberneck it in other people.

    I have a suspicion that Gates waved his Harvard ID (which would not have his home address on it) and when the cop asked for a driver’s license (what he actually needed to verify that Gates was who he said he was and was in his own home), Gates flipped out. Gates expected a Harvard ID to be a magic wand and when it wasn’t, a petulancy was born.

    Of course, all this is also dependent on the cop’s demeanor as well. The aggressive asshole routine is a common tactic to “rattle” people. (A prime example of this was when my friend Ethan had minor car accident in the middle of the day with an extremely pregnant woman and the first thing out of the cop’s mouth was “OK, how much have the two of you had to drink?”)

    Again, for the cheap seats… the cop is to blame, he’s the one that had the duty to defuse the situation and not be a thin-skinned little prick, but I’d like to see how it came to the result it did.

  121. “Screaming at them that they’re racists and refusing to identify yourself in the course of an investigation is disorderly conduct. Read the report including the witness corroboration.”

    Top someone like Epi, the winess corroboration doesn’t count because it’s in the police report.

  122. Wow – so much ignorance in one place. Fact 1 – it’s not his home – it’s university housing.

    This is true, but irrelevant to the question at hand. A leasee or tenant is equally entitled to berate cops on their leased premises as a homeowner is, unless there is a specific clause in his lease saying he’s not.

    Secondly criticizing the police isn’t a crime but disorderly conduct is. Screaming at them that they’re racists and refusing to identify yourself in the course of an investigation is disorderly conduct.

    No, it’s not.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2223379/

    The arresting officer alleges that Gates shouted at him and threatened to speak to his “mama.” He then arrested Gates for disorderly conduct. What, exactly, is disorderly conduct?

    Behavior that might cause a riot. Massachusetts courts have limited the definition of disorderly conduct to: fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior, or creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition for no legitimate purpose other than to cause public annoyance or alarm. (The statute, however, just says “idle and disorderly persons,” a formulation that is, on its own, patently unconstitutional.) Violators may be imprisoned for up to six months, fined a maximum of $200, or both.

    The stilted language in the Gates police report is intended to mirror the courts’ awkward phrasing, but the state could never make the charge stick. The law is aimed not at mere irascibility but rather at unruly behavior likely to set off wider unrest. Accordingly, the behavior must take place in public or on private property where people tend to gather. While the police allege that a crowd had formed outside Gates’ property, it is rare to see a disorderly conduct conviction for behavior on the suspect’s own front porch. In addition, political speech is excluded from the statute because of the First Amendment. Alleging racial bias, as Gates was doing, and protesting arrest both represent core political speech.

    Thank you, please come again.

  123. Wow – so much ignorance in one place. Fact 1 – it’s not his home – it’s university housing. Secondly criticizing the police isn’t a crime but disorderly conduct is. Screaming at them that they’re racists and refusing to identify yourself in the course of an investigation is disorderly conduct. Read the report including the witness corroboration.

    I read the report for the Kathryn Johnston raid. I no longer give a lot of credence to what police report or swear to. What witnesses were in the house? None but the professor and the jerkoff cop. Who cares who owns it? The professor was the legal resident and that’s all that matters.

    How’s cop sperm taste anyway?

  124. “Wow – so much ignorance in one place. Fact 1 – it’s not his home – it’s university housing. Secondly criticizing the police isn’t a crime but disorderly conduct is. Screaming at them that they’re racists and refusing to identify yourself in the course of an investigation is disorderly conduct. Read the report including the witness corroboration.”

    Wow, what marvelously ironic ignorance. All accounts state that he did identify himself. And the fact that he rents from Harvard is irrelevant, it is still his home. This is a private house, not a dorm. You don’t need to hold the deed to a property for it to be your private residence.

    If he had been reasonably and appropriately charged with disorderly conduct then the charges would not have been immediately dropped.

  125. Top = To

  126. I read Radley Balko’s articles regularly, and it’s very clear that too many police officers regularly abuse their authority, and often commit crimes themselves against the citizens they’re supposed to protect. And, of course, the incidence of abuse is much greater than we know, because only a fraction of such occurrences are discovered and publicized.

    But there’s almost no other topic that’s guaranteed to get a stream of unhinged commentary on this site than a story about a police officer.

    I get it — you all own multiple guns, hate authority, and can kick ass by yourselves if anyone tries to mess with you or your property. But the fact is that the police serve a very important role in society, and it probably would be better to have a more nuanced opinion of that role than is regularly spewed in these comments.

  127. By the way, I’d just like to point out one odd thing:

    Eight months ago Jonah Goldberg would not have acknowledged that it was possible for a “conservative” to be against the cop here – let alone say there was some kind of conservative “divide”. Eight months ago Goldberg would have considered backing the cop a litmus test of conservatism and anyone who failed to do so would have been just some kind of commie bastard.

  128. “What libertarians? The names I recognize are all on the douchenozzle’s (Gates) side.”

    A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally:

    (1) engages in fighting or in tumultuous conduct;
    (2) makes unreasonable noise and continues to do so after being asked to stop; or
    (3) disrupts a lawful assembly of persons;

    is guilty of disorderly conduct douchenozzelry and shall be taught a lesson about not respecting the cops.

  129. OK, OK, I’m going to have to ask you guys who keep calling Gates a “race-baiter” for whom race-huckstering is “his bread and butter” to prove that shit.

    They can’t. They haven’t read a word of Gates’ work. They have no idea what his politics are. They are completely unaware that, as Elemenope just put it, “many black intellectuals consider Henry Louis Gates an accomodationalist wuss.” They just assume any professor of black studies must be Al Sharpton.

    I don’t know if the cop was a racist. But some of the commenters here clearly are.

  130. Well, one thing’s for sure: If somebody really does try to break into his house, they’ll have plenty of time to do whatever they want before the cops arrive.

  131. But the fact is that the police serve a very important role in society, and it probably would be better to have a more nuanced opinion of that role than is regularly spewed in these comments.

    You know who else plays an important role in our society? Example: The President. But if the President starts breaking laws, even minor laws, and starts abusing his power to punish people who insult him, CRUCIFY THE MOTHERFUCKER.

    It is precisely because the police play an important role in society that they must not be allowed to step outside of their proper defined powers for even a moment without the hammer coming down on them like a motherfucking asteroid strike. The guy’s not mopping floors somewhere, he’s been entrusted to use violence in the name of the public.

  132. lmnop,

    there would be not one normally-libertarian voice here sticking up for the pigs. Not one.

    You too. Show me one. I dont see a libt voice I recognize sticking up for the pigs. Not one.

  133. If you want to know how some cops feel abot this, go here.

  134. I have a suspicion that Gates waved his Harvard ID

    I use my concealed carry permit in situations like that (and in bars, which is much more common).

  135. If you favor freedom, you favor it for everyone, even people with stupid collectivist ideas who would like to limit freedom. That is the tricky part of being libertarianish.

    Penn Jillette said it very well, something to the effect of “I care about freedom so much that I don’t even want to tell other people what they should think or how I think they should vote.” That is why libertarianism is both the best political philosophy and the least likely to actually succeed in politics.

  136. On that score, yes: Fuck him. Definitely. Getting judges and jurors to acknowledge real racism is hard enough without this fraud crying wolf and encouraging automatic disbelief.

    So because a person may have been being an asshole, throw his rights in the garbage. Unbelievable. Really, you people are just stunning.

  137. But it seems to me you’d have to be awfully authoritarian to think that Gates owes Crowley an apology, as opposed to the other way around.

    False dichotomy. Whether or not Crowley owes Gates an apology for arresting him, Gates owes Crowley an apology for calling him a racist.

  138. I dont think Crowley owes Gates an apology. I think Crowley owes the rest of us his badge.

  139. Jesse, yesterday I defended Gates against an even more racist friend. But jumping our shit because we stereotype the Chair of Harvard’s African Studies program is a little harsh. Had he been a professor of economics or anthropology I would be much less likely to assume the worst.

  140. FUCK!

    I hate it when Obama is right.

  141. As an aside, something I’ve noticed in these internet wankfests is that everyone feels that they explain their side calmly and rationally, and that all of their opponents are “screaming”.

  142. I dont think Crowley owes Gates an apology. I think Crowley owes the rest of us his badge.

    Because he didn’t hand it to the guy who was yelling at him.

  143. manmooth,

    Its easy to know when Im screaming internally. Count the “fucks” in my posts.

  144. Because he didn’t hand it to the guy who was yelling at him.

    No, because he not only didnt walk away from the guy yelling at him, he then arrested him falsely.

    If I was sure he knew it was a false arrest, I would be in favor of him going to jail for a while too.

  145. From J sub D’s link:

    Sooner or later we won’t be able to conduct a traffic stop on a black occupied vehicle, or arrest a black person for anything. I think the right way to approach this is to conduct as much racial profiling as I can, stop , abuse and tazer every fucking black citizen I can before the laws change and we wind up in shoot outs daily.

    The site seems to be aggressive about banning and deleting posts it doesn’t like, so it must be assumed that they agree with this comment…

  146. This is as I’ve said in previous posts on the same subject, The officer responding to a reported break-in\burglary had the right to request ID from the person in the house WHETHER OR NOT the person in the home was the legal occupant. The officer had Probable Cause to request the ID. All Gates had to do was be polite, show his ID, and answer two or three routine follow-up questions and the incident would have been over. Gates brought his arrest on himself and anyone who finds him or her self in a similar situation wpuld do well to realize the officer likely DOES NOT KNOW who lives in the house, so please people a little patients please.

  147. “So because a person may have been being an asshole, throw his rights in the garbage. Unbelievable. Really, you people are just stunning.”

    I expressly stated that the arrest was wrongful and resulted from overreaching.

    Ratchet down the emotion already. I have never claimed that because Gates is making fraudulent claims of racism here that his — anyone’s — rights should be thrown in the garbage.

    On the contrary: I am angry because his fraud is actively damaging people whom I help defend against actual police racism. As criminal defense counsel, I deal with this crap every day, and there are real racists out there who will get away with abuse because of Gates and reflexive disbelief that his fraud in this matter is bound to encourage.

  148. No, because he not only didnt walk away from the guy yelling at him, he then arrested him falsely.

    Glad you’re not a cop in my neighborhood. Or at all.

  149. A professor of African American Studies escalated an ambiguous police encounter into a racial incident.

    Go figure.

  150. FWIW, the white cop in question is apparently “a police academy expert on racial profiling,” according to this AP article.

  151. Well, one thing’s for sure: If somebody really does try to break into his house, they’ll have plenty of time to do whatever they want before the cops arrive.

    Yes, as a matter of retaliation, that’s likely. But in any event, I happen to know from personal experience that in many jurisdictions, the police won’t arrive for over an hour anyway. I understand that they have a lot on their plates and some jurisdictions are seriously overworked, so this is partially justifiable, but it burns my ass to hear that at least some of their workload is devoted to harassing and falsely arresting citizens who have slighted them. I also know this from personal experience. Years ago, the police gave me an (improper) parking ticket when I called them to stop my father from attacking my mother (the beating was in progress when I called). I was 16 at the time, and perhaps a bit annoyed that it took them so long to respond (an hour and a half), when my mother could have died or been seriously injured in the meantime. But I guess my improper attitude didn’t fly with them. Anyway, I’m glad they spent the time to issue the parking ticket to a frightened and traumatized 16 year old instead of responding to the next call. Turns out my car was legally parked anyway, but whatever. Ah, good memories. Don’t worry – it could never happen to you.

  152. Glad you’re not a cop in my neighborhood. Or at all.

    Me too, I would probably act like Crowley did. That is how I know it is wrong.

    I personally want personality profiles done as part of the admission to the police academies and exclude anyone with an above average appetite for power.


  153. If somebody really does try to break into his house, they’ll have plenty of time to do whatever they want before the cops arrive.

    Is that part of the new professionalism?

  154. I hate it when Obama is right.

    Stopped clocks, etc.

    By the way, mantooth, quit screaming.

  155. I wonder how many of the new faces around here are spillover from that piece of shit white power site Moose linked to yesterday.

  156. I personally want personality profiles done as part of the admission to the police academies and exclude anyone with an above average appetite for power.

    But then there would be, like, four cops. Bug, or feature?

  157. Yes, as a matter of retaliation, that’s likely.

    More as a matter of CYA. What, they show up and it’s him locked out of his house again? Take the scenic route.

    Me too, I would probably act like Crowley did. That is how I know it is wrong.

    Like I said.

    Is that part of the new professionalism?

    It’s part of the old Cry Wolf.

  158. What a shock, Jim Treacher wants to deep throat a cop.

  159. You too. Show me one. I dont see a libt voice I recognize sticking up for the pigs. Not one.

    Not so much on this thread (as far as “names I recognize”) but the first thread on this issue had a whole lot of hedging and hawing from TAO, madmikefisk, and others about how mutual apologies are in order and that it is unlikely there was any racism involved (so quick after the event and before we even had much information).

    It struck me how quickly and without evidence several people were looking to throw aspersions on the claim of racism and mitigate the cops responsibility in the situation. That’s what I’m talking about re: “sticking up for the cop”. There would be none of that hemming and hawing if the magical r-word never became part of the story, and seeing as how it is ultimately utterly irrelevant when attempting to divine whether the officer did something wrong, it smacks of red herring.

  160. Treach, you used to be funny, man. What happened?

  161. But then there would be, like, four cops. Bug, or feature?

    They’d have to round up posses of probably even less well-balanced people in order to enforce the law, so I’m going with bug.

    Not that having lots of cops is any sort of a feature.

  162. How about this: two grown men behaving like 10 year old boys in a school yard, complete with “yo mama” references and i-ain’t-got-nuthin-to-apolgize-for assertions.

    If just one had acted like an adult the whole thing would have defused, if it happened at all. The cop could have just left the screaming looney Prof once he confirmed who he was; the Prof could have just thanked the cop for showing up to check, etc, etc.

  163. Jim,

    The “Cry Wolf” analogy isnt correct. The person who called in wasnt lying.

    Now, if there was a story called “the Douchy Shepherd”, you might have a point.

    Is it really so wrong to expect a cop to do his fucking job without abusing anyone’s rights?

  164. lmnop,

    I distinguish the racism from the cop misbehavior issues. I dont see the racism. It might be there, it might not, no clue. Doesnt change the fact that the cop misbehaved.

  165. lmnop,

    It struck me how quickly and without evidence several people were looking to throw aspersions on the claim of racism and mitigate the cops responsibility in the situation.

    Following up, I saw the first but not the 2nd in that thread. At least from the names I recognized.

    You and MNG seem to often jump to the conclusion that anyone posting here is a libertarian, which is funny, considering.

  166. Calling a cop that was obviously there to protect his property a racist screams of ulterior motive.

  167. They’d have to round up posses of probably even less well-balanced people in order to enforce the law, so I’m going with bug.

    I was with you until the last word. 🙂

    How about going back to the olde English system of catching/hiring someone to catch the damn criminal yourself.

    Yes, the thief catchers were often worse than the people they were catching, but thats why they were good at it.

  168. What a shock, Fluffy’s got a limited bag of tricks.

    Treach, you used to be funny, man.

    Liar.

  169. steve,

    If just one had acted like an adult the whole thing would have defused, if it happened at all.

    This is true. However, only one was getting paid by the state to act like an adult.

  170. The “Cry Wolf” analogy isnt correct. The person who called in wasnt lying.

    If you really think the cops are going to rush back to the scene of an national incident…

  171. If you really think the cops are going to rush back to the scene of an national incident…

    I dont think they will. I think they should.

  172. Is it really so wrong to expect a cop to do his fucking job without abusing anyone’s rights?

    Is it really so wrong to expect a cop not to put up with somebody screaming at him for doing his, as you put it, fucking job? You make it sound like Rodney King: The Next Generation. They cuffed the guy and took him away. Happens every day.

  173. Let me lay out my standard here, someone tell me if it is wrong.

    I expect ALL government employees to be above reproach at all times while on duty.

    Is that a ridiculously high standard? Maybe. Is it the right one? I think so.

  174. I think they should.

    Lotta “should” in the world. Keep “should” alive.

  175. Is it really so wrong to expect a cop not to put up with somebody screaming at him for doing his, as you put it, fucking job?

    Yes, I expect the cop to put up with it. That is, unfortunately, part of the job.

  176. 1. Read the police reports:
    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723092gates1.html

    2. For those who think this is all about race (including douche Obama and douche Gates), you are full of shit. Here is more background on the officer who teaches a class in racial profiling and gave CPR to Reggie Lewis:
    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D99KBEAO1&show_article=1

    3. The officer overstepped his bounds with the disorderly conduct charge, BUT that is typical for DC charges.

    I think most DC charges are a bunch of crap, but this was not that unusual from most of them. So if you don’t like this one, then you should be bitching about the rest of them too. This has little to do with race and more to due with cops having a thin-skin and abusing the bullshit charge of DC. Gates was being a douche and is himself very thin-skinned, but the officer should have just left.

    I’ve had friends on multiple occasions facing DC charges and been threatened with them myself for bullshit reasons. I’ve been threatened with DC for a lot less than Gates did.

  177. Yes, I expect the cop to put up with it.

    Maybe you’ll get to try it yourself someday.

  178. Is Criticizing Police a Crime Now?

    Repeatedly verbally insulting a policeman — or anyone else — has been illegal for 67 years. Look up the original “fighting words” case, in which a street preacher was arrested for offensive conduct for calling a cop “a racketeer” and “a fascist”. The courts have since clarified the decision to exclude punishing people for viewpoint advocacy, but repeated insults remain illegal.

  179. “How about going back to the olde English system of catching/hiring someone to catch the damn criminal yourself.

    Yes, the thief catchers were often worse than the people they were catching, but thats why they were good at it.”

    It makes for great reading though:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Wild

  180. Honestly, I would give Crowley a complete pass on the racism accusation.

    But it’s very possible that this Lucia chick who called in was unconsciously racist.

    Gates is an elderly man with a cane. A cab was parked in front of the house. Gates was carrying luggage, and the cabbie was carrying luggage. If all of that stuff is invisible to you and all you can see are two black guys trying to get into a house, and you think to yourself, “Break-in!”, then you probably are not exactly color blind.

    So Crowley may have been in the unfortunate position of being on a call that only existed because of the caller’s racism. [And I’m just saying “may have been”, OK?] But if you’re Gates, to you it wouldn’t matter if it’s the cop’s personal racism or some witness’ racism. The cop is the sharp end of the spear of an incident that smacks of racism to you, and he’s also the only one in front of you to receive your indignation.

    If some cop comes to my door and wants to search it because the electric company told the police I use too much power, the cop is likely to bear the brunt of my resentment about our unjust drug laws and search laws. He wasn’t the guy who passed those laws, but he’s there.

  181. Jim,

    This isnt at all like Rodney King.

    I have a scale to these things.

    This was less bad than RK which was less bad than Kathryn Johnston.

    But all were still police abusing their power.

  182. Yeah, nice unintentonal humor in the headline. Like Gates was arrested for penning a sternly worded op-ed. First Amendment!

  183. This isnt at all like Rodney King.

    What are you, some kinda racist?

  184. Lotta “should” in the world. Keep “should” alive.

    “All we have is is.”

    Was that your point?

  185. Yes, I expect the cop to put up with it.

    Maybe you’ll get to try it yourself someday.

    No, I won’t. Because I’ll never be in Gates’ house demanding his ID. Ever.

    And Jim, if you were in my house, I would tell you to get the fuck out, and I would walk next to you telling you that you’re a douchebag every step of the way until you hit the property line. And you know what? I would not be breaking the law. And as soon as Gates demonstrated his identity and Crowley accepted it [and the police report indicates Crowley accepted it], Crowley deserved no more rights at Gates’ house than you would have at mine.

  186. Yeah, nice unintentonal humor in the headline. Like Gates was arrested for penning a sternly worded op-ed. First Amendment!

    A distinction without a difference.

  187. Yes, I expect the cop to put up with it. That is, unfortunately, part of the job.

    Maybe the cop should put up with it, but he is under no legal or (so far as I know) contractual obligation to do so. There is no “unless the victim is a cop” exception to most disorderly conduct or fighting words laws.

  188. Was that your point?

    How could it not be what you think it is?

    And Jim, if you were in my house, I would tell you to get the fuck out, and I would walk next to you telling you that you’re a douchebag every step of the way until you hit the property line.

    Your neighbors must love you.

  189. Look up the original “fighting words” case…

    “Fighting words” is a bunch of crap. And awful case law. I find the word ‘the’ to be a fighting word. Anyone who says that to me repeatedly, I can bludgeon with impunity. Such crap.

    I’m still waiting for the day when I tell someone they should have been aborted from their mother’s rancid cunt, they take a swing at me, and I beat the crap out of them. I will claim political speech and I really want to see them claim “fighting words” and throw me in jail for being a proponent of abortion.

  190. As some others have said, it is bizarre that anyone without a stake in this can defend the cop’s behavior. Arresting someone because they’re yelling at you? Even worse, apparently tricking them into going outside in order to escalate the situation (in a legal sense)?

    If I am in my house, and a policeman comes into for whatever reason, there is nothing I can say short of threatening violence or admitting a crime that lets him do anything to me. Whether or not Gates is a dick in this is entirely irrelevant.

  191. A distinction without a difference.

    Between writing an op-ed and screaming in a cop’s face? Wow, you’re just about the toughest guy I’ve ever even heard of.

  192. “This is true. However, only one was getting paid by the state to act like an adult.”

    As much as I hate being so agreeable I must be so in response to this comment. If we can say one individual was under a greater burden to keep his cool and act like an adult then clearly that falls to the cop. Not only is he paid to act this way, he is, purportedly, trained to do so.

    He should apologize and once having done so the good professor should abandon his offer to instruct the cop on the realities of race in America and, instead, offer a similar apology. Something along the lines of a (mutual): I lost my head and my cool, said and did some things I regret, and apologize.

    I lay odds at 50:1 against however.

  193. As some others have said, it is bizarre that anyone without a stake in this can defend the cop’s behavior.

    Whereas anyone without a stake in it defending Gates’ behavior is in no way bizarre, and nobody had better say it is.

  194. The Telescreens are for your safety and protection.

  195. Surprise, surprise. Gates is starting a new project based on the incedent. It is sounding more and more like this was an attempt to gather more fodder for his premise about cops being racists. Which is probably true in many cases, but doesn’t excuse this kind of behavior.

  196. I havent seen anyone defend Gates’s behavior. Heck, I called him a douchenozzle. His behavior doesnt have to be defended, he has the fundamental right to be a douchenozzle.

  197. Bellowing at cops is no different that harboring subversive thoughts against the state.

  198. . For those who think this is all about race (including douche Obama and douche Gates), you are full of shit. Here is more background on the officer who teaches a class in racial profiling and gave CPR to Reggie Lewis:
    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D99KBEAO1&show_article=1

    AHAHAHAHAHA!!

    I loved this when I read it. The cop going with the “I’m not racist — I gave CPR to a famous black basketball player 16 years ago”

    If CPR was necessary and this cop was there could he even have refused to administer it if he didn’t want to?

  199. Maybe the cop should put up with it, but he is under no legal or (so far as I know) contractual obligation to do so. There is no “unless the victim is a cop” exception to most disorderly conduct or fighting words laws.

    In Massachusetts there is.

    http://masscases.com/cases/app/46/46massappct471.html#back3

    MA courts have held that the disorderly conduct statute can’t be applied to someone engaged in political speech.

    “The police are treating me poorly because of my race” or whatever agitated variant thereof that Gates came up with absolutely qualifies.

    Whereas anyone without a stake in it defending Gates’ behavior is in no way bizarre, and nobody had better say it is.

    To defend the cop’s behavior, you have to defend the arrest as a lawful exercise of authority.

    To defend Gates’ behavior, you only have to believe that he should be allowed to speak freely in his own home in the middle of the day.

    Gates was all of the things he has been accused of being: arrogant, classist, elitist, unfair, unreasonable, too easily agitated. But none of that matters. It just doesn’t matter to the question of whether he should have been arrested.

  200. The report indicated that a crowd was gathering as Mr. Gates continued to be tumultuous. As I understand it, the police are trained to arrest the tumultuous one quickly to diffuse the tension so that the crowd, which can easily outnumber police in a neighborhood setting, does not get involved. Gives the hothead time to think about it and cool off too, and charges are rarely pursued unless injury or damage has occurred. I don’t consider this a case of police overreaction, racism, or abuse of power. Just stupidity by Gates.

  201. “Whereas anyone without a stake in it defending Gates’ behavior is in no way bizarre, and nobody had better say it is.”

    As I said, it’s probable that Gates is being a dick about this. But that’s not what is important about this situation. After all, isn’t one of the points of libertarianism that you can do whatever you want on your own property, so long as you don’t harm me? Although I don’t know if hurt feelings counts as harm to some.

    Lots of bad people and criminals and okay people and good people get falsely arrested in an atrocious display of how power can be abused. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also criticize the police in those cases, too.

    I have a cousin, Don, who had something of a wild youth. He got arrested by or into fights with cops almost every weekend. Getting arrested, for him, was part of having a good time.

    But most people don’t see arrest like that. It’s embarrassing and humiliating and expensive. We shouldn’t let it happen without a very good reason (like, say, committing or being suspected of committing an actual crime, not just mouthing off to a police officer).

  202. If CPR was necessary and this cop was there could he even have refused to administer it if he didn’t want to?

    It actually proves he’s even more racist, if you don’t think about it.

  203. To defend Gates’ behavior, you only have to believe that he should be allowed to speak freely in his own home in the middle of the day.

    At the top of his lungs. To a cop. I’m sure you’re speaking from a rich vein of personal experience.

  204. Look up the original “fighting words” case…

    Ha! Yeah, look up the original fighting words case, but whatever you do, don’t look up subsequent precedent, which would make clear that this line of cases is limited to words (1) likely to promote violence, AND (2) that don’t express a particular political view. In this case, questioning the motives of the police regarding race (rightly or wrongly) would be the very essence of political speech, and there was nothing in Gates’ comments even remotely violent, suggestive of violence, or likely to actually incite violence.

    Dan, you get a D- for relying on a case in the 1940s without reading the last half a century of precedent or analyzing the facts at issue. And that D- unfortunately has to be downgraded to an F because you also failed to look at the Massachusetts statute in question, which has a “public” requirement that also wasn’t fulfilled. Sorry, no dice.

  205. Gates is an elderly man with a cane.

    58 is “elderly” now?

    If all of that stuff is invisible to you and all you can see are two black guys trying to get into a house, and you think to yourself, “Break-in!”, then you probably are not exactly color blind.

    Replace the word “black” in that sentence with “white”. Notice how it no longer makes any sense at all? If a neighbor called the cops because she saw an “elderly” white guy and a white cabbie breaking into a house, it would never cross your mind to cry “racism” — even if the caller was black. But in this case you don’t hesitate at all to suggest the caller is a racist. Why is that?

    And even if she WAS more likely to suspect two black men of being burglars than she would two white men that wouldn’t automatically suggest racism. It isn’t sexist to worry more that a man might be a rapist than we would for a woman, because men are far more likely to commit rape than women are. Black men are far more likely to commit burglarly than white men are. That’s an objective fact; recognizing it isn’t racist. Blaming the criminal behavior ON their race would be racist.

  206. After all, isn’t one of the points of libertarianism that you can do whatever you want on your own property, so long as you don’t harm me?

    Now I’m supposed to defend libertarianism? The guy was a serious asshole to a cop and got cuffed. This might be a more common occurence than you suspect, and it might not be the sign of fascist takeover you dread.

  207. At the top of his lungs. To a cop. I’m sure you’re speaking from a rich vein of personal experience.

    Jim, I’ve been giving you a hard time, but I want to dial it back a little bit to try to understand your point here.

    Are you trying to be normative or descriptive?

    Are you trying to argue that getting arrested for yelling at police is normal and to be expected, or are you trying to argue that it’s good and the appropriate way for things to be?

  208. MA courts have held that the disorderly conduct statute can’t be applied to someone engaged in political speech.

    Correct but irrelevant, as this was not political speech.

    “The police are treating me poorly because of my race” or whatever agitated variant thereof that Gates came up with absolutely qualifies.

    Saying that the police as an organization are treating him poorly because of his race would be protected speech because it doesn’t target an individual. But calling the specific policeman in question a racist — as Gates did — absolutely does NOT qualify, because it is an insult to that specific individual.

    The street preacher arrested in the original fighting words case was accusing the government and organized religion of all manner of wrongdoing. That was legal. What was not legal was specifically insulting the policeman who confronted him about it.

    Gates could have stood on his porch ranting about how the system discriminates against blacks and that would have been fine. But once he got personal, it ceased being legally protected speech.

  209. Replace the word “black” in that sentence with “white”. Notice how it no longer makes any sense at all? If a neighbor called the cops because she saw an “elderly” white guy and a white cabbie breaking into a house, it would never cross your mind to cry “racism” — even if the caller was black.

    Right, it wouldn’t make sense. Because the point is that I don’t think she would have called at all if they were white. She would have looked at the other factors in the scene and deduced that it wasn’t a criminal break in.

    And always remember, I’m one of the people around here who proudly would advocate the repeal of the Civil Rights Act. So I’m farther to the right on race issues than 99% of the American public. But even I can see how some middle-aged white cow might, just might, be predisposed to overreact to what she sees as soon as she sees a couple of black faces.

  210. “At the top of his lungs. To a cop. I’m sure you’re speaking from a rich vein of personal experience.”

    Whoa, so it’s okay for cops to arrest people for yelling at them, in their own homes? Seriously?

    I’m not saying this is something that happens a lot so it’s acceptable — maybe that’s what you mean. But you know what else also happens a lot? Lots of terrible stuff, that’s what. Date rape, prison rape, spousal abuse. What happened to Gates isn’t that bad, but it’s still bad. And it’s even more our (at least, if we lived in Massachusetts) business than those other examples of people being terrible to each other, because it’s our government doing it.

  211. Jim, I’ve been giving you a hard time, but I want to dial it back a little bit to try to understand your point here.

    Oh, goodie.

    Are you trying to argue that getting arrested for yelling at police is normal and to be expected, or are you trying to argue that it’s good and the appropriate way for things to be?

    I’m trying to argue that if you scream at a cop long enough, even if you’re standing in your very own house, the cop might just arrest you. Not tase you or beat you, but put you in handcuffs and take you for a squad-car ride. It’s terrible and it’s awful, and it’s also quite preventable if you’re not a complete jackass.

    Whoops, gotta go. Got me a couple live ones trussed up in the basement, and I hear Zed’s motorsikkle pullin’ up. Yeee-HAWWW!!

  212. “Now I’m supposed to defend libertarianism? The guy was a serious asshole to a cop and got cuffed. This might be a more common occurence than you suspect, and it might not be the sign of fascist takeover you dread.”

    Okay, so we’re way past each other. I think being an asshole to a cop isn’t an arrestable offense. Do you?

  213. Doesn’t everyone pretty much agree that (1) the cop was wrong to arrest Gates, and (2) Gates was probably acting like an asshole?

    From what I can tell, the only disputed point is whether the incident was racially motivated, and I haven’t read any evidence of that, at least as far as the cop goes.

    Other than that, many of the commenters here simply are saying that the police piss them off. Fine. But just because many police abuse their authority, and further because the law gives them too much authority to begin with, doesn’t mean that it’s okay to “call them douchbags” and the like, particularly if they’re not acting like douchebags.

    (I’m saying that it’s not okay to call them douchebags; I understand that the First Amendment gives me the right to call them douchebags whether or not they’re acting that way.)

  214. But calling the specific policeman in question a racist — as Gates did — absolutely does NOT qualify, because it is an insult to that specific individual.

    He’s a specific individual drawing a government paycheck, which makes it political speech to accuse him of racism.

    If I stand on my porch saying that Obama is a racist, he’s a specific named individual and it’s definitely an insult, but it’s also political speech.

  215. I’m trying to argue that if you scream at a cop long enough, even if you’re standing in your very own house, the cop might just arrest you. Not tase you or beat you, but put you in handcuffs and take you for a squad-car ride. It’s terrible and it’s awful, and it’s also quite preventable if you’re not a complete jackass.

    Right, this is another variant of what you’ve already said.

    I asked you if you thought this was good.

    I guess I would also ask you if you think this is a legitimate use of the laws as they currently stand.

    I’m not asking you if you think it’s inevitable or if you think I should expect it. I’m asking if you think it’s legally correct, and I’m asking if you think it’s good and desirable.

  216. To defend Gates’ behavior, you only have to believe that he should be allowed to speak freely in his own home in the middle of the day.

    No. To defend Gates against the charge of disorderly conduct you have to believe that people have a legal right to say whatever they want within their own homes. You also need to ignore the fact that he left his house and followed the cop outside, of course, but I’ll overlook that.

    But to defend Gates’ behavior you need to believe not only that people have the right to say anything that they want within their house, but that anything they say within their house is above reproach. But I suspect that if a black cop came into my house because he thought I was a burglar and I said “who let this goddamned nigger into my living room” and kept screaming “get out of my house, nigger” at him you wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea that I owed him an apology — even IF he “wrongly” arrested me for saying it.

  217. Not tase you or beat you, but put you in handcuffs and take you for a squad-car ride. It’s terrible and it’s awful, and it’s also quite preventable if you’re not a complete jackass.

    “You know that girl that got raped after walking down the street in provocative clothes? It was terrible and awful, and she could have prevented it by wearing a sweatsuit.”

  218. Saying that the police as an organization are treating him poorly because of his race would be protected speech because it doesn’t target an individual. But calling the specific policeman in question a racist — as Gates did — absolutely does NOT qualify, because it is an insult to that specific individual.

    What are you referring to here? The police report says that Gates responded to the request to step out on the porch with “Why? Because I’m a black man in America?” Wow, fighting words indeed, eh? This is exactly the same as modern fighting words cases in which a defendant is arrested for cursing, spitting, and violently threatening police officers in a public square. Yeah, completely analogous.

    Dan, seriously, what exact words do you think count as “fightin words,” and how could the police officer have reasonably thought that this old guy with a cane who refused to step out on the porch was actually inciting violence — among the “public,” no les? It’s preposterous, which is exactly why the police dropped the charges the next day.

    No, you can’t arrested (legally) for criticizing the police. And making a comment about being discriminated against for being “black in America” is the essence of protected speech. This shouldn’t even be a question.


  219. Other than that, many of the commenters here simply are saying that the police piss them off. Fine. But just because many police abuse their authority, and further because the law gives them too much authority to begin with, doesn’t mean that it’s okay to “call them douchbags” and the like, particularly if they’re not acting like douchebags.

    (I’m saying that it’s not okay to call them douchebags; I understand that the First Amendment gives me the right to call them douchebags whether or not they’re acting that way.)

    The problem here is that I can call somebody a douchebag all day (in fact, I have done that in college). But when the police (who work for the people! It’s not like they are aliens, or a foreign occupier, or spirits of the Righteous Lord) do something illegal and improper, we should all be upset.

    Okay, to change the direction a little bit. Everyone understands that businesses commit fraud. But unless it’s particularly egregious or you’ve got some personal stake, you shouldn’t be as upset about corruption in business as you should be about corruption in government.

  220. It’s terrible and it’s awful

    Now that I read your post again, maybe I’m not getting you here. Are you saying riding in a squad car is a terrible and awful experience, or are you saying that arresting me is a terrible and awful thing for the cop to do?

    Because if you were trying to say the latter, then I guess you answered my question. Thanks.

  221. I agree, the cop is a Cartman like mega-asshole and Gates is probably also a mini-asshole, but since being an asshole isn’t illegal he should not have been arrested.

    But, – But, I say – why hasn’t anyone commented on this:

    Last night President Obama said he didn’t know “what role race played” in last week’s arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates at his home in Cambridge.

    If Obama doesn’t know, then why the fuck is he even talking about it on national TV. He is the fucking president of the United States. Nothing he says is trivial, even when it really is trivial. The POTUS’s farts are news. If Obama doesn’t know about something he need to STFU! Of course, if he took this advice we’d start to think Obama was mute, but that is a different matter altogether.

    I probably should not complain about Obama blathering on about Cop vs Gates-gate cause the issue has wiped Obama’s Health Care speech off the news.

  222. But I suspect that if a black cop came into my house because he thought I was a burglar and I said “who let this goddamned nigger into my living room” and kept screaming “get out of my house, nigger” at him you wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea that I owed him an apology — even IF he “wrongly” arrested me for saying it.

    You suspect wrongly.

  223. Right, it wouldn’t make sense. Because the point is that I don’t think she would have called at all if they were white.

    So your position is that it is reasonable to assume that a white person is racist if she assumes two black guys are burglars, it “wouldn’t make sense” to suspect a black person of racism for assuming two *white* guys were burglars.

    Interesting that you can’t seem to see past the race of the accuser.

  224. The latter. It sets back progress in race relations when folks like gates pull this shit. And of course, that’s exactly why he does it. Racial harmony threatens his life’s work.

    Gates is not Al Sharpton. Dr. Gates has built is career on literary deconstruction and academic studies of African American culture, as well as his formidable talents as a lecturer. If we all started holding hands and singing Kumbaya tomorrow, he would still hold a job.

    That being said, if you automatically assume every black public figure is a race-baiter, he probably has a good point.

  225. You suspect wrongly.

    If you don’t think the described behavior requires an apology then your parents failed to teach you how to behave properly. That’s a problem commonly found in libertarian circles, alas; too many people lack the ability to distinguish “you have the right to do that” from “it is right for you to do that”.

  226. But to defend Gates’ behavior you need to believe not only that people have the right to say anything that they want within their house, but that anything they say within their house is above reproach. But I suspect that if a black cop came into my house because he thought I was a burglar and I said “who let this goddamned nigger into my living room” and kept screaming “get out of my house, nigger” at him you wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea that I owed him an apology — even IF he “wrongly” arrested me for saying it.

    No one has alleged that Gates made any racial slurs. Again, bad analogy.

  227. Dan,

    I have, on this site, defended Lester Maddox, who is a racist fuck. He was absolutely within his rights to have a white-only restaurant. And to defend it against trespassers with axe handles. Still a racist fuck though.


  228. too many people lack the ability to distinguish “you have the right to do that” from “it is right for you to do that”.

    You clearly havent read many of my posts. 🙂

  229. “Because the point is that I don’t think she would have called at all if they were white.”

    Has it been established that the caller was white? Just asking or is this something else everyone is assuming and talking about even though they do not know?

  230. it “wouldn’t make sense” to suspect a black person of racism for assuming two *white* guys were burglars.

    When did I say that? Actually, I don’t think a black person would have assumed that two white guys were burglars, when all the other factors are held constant. Or, at least, if we tested people randomly using the same house, same cab, same luggage, but merely switched the race of the people involved, white people would mistake black people for burglars a lot more often than black people would mistake white people for burglars.

    Interesting that you can’t seem to see past the race of the accuser.

    Well, the accuser was white. And she WAS incorrect. She looked at a situation and drew the wrong conclusion. So we are entitled to ask ourselves, “Why did she draw the wrong conclusion?” and “Would she have been as likely to draw the wrong conclusion if the two men she saw were white?” And if the answers are: “Because she’s afraid of black people” and “No” then her call to the police was motivated at least in part by racism.

  231. Right, it wouldn’t make sense. Because the point is that I don’t think she would have called at all if they were white. She would have looked at the other factors in the scene and deduced that it wasn’t a criminal break in.

    Fluffy, you are making some huge assumptions there. It’s not likely the lady in question saw them getting out of the limo, etc. She probably was walking by and all she saw was two guys breaking a door down. Who cares what race they are? That’s suspicious no matter what race they are.

  232. Dan,

    I think I kinda missed your point but you missed mine. Yeah, you called a cop a “nigger” probably requires an apology. But, I think the arrest more than offsets that. Im not fucking apologizing to anyone who falsely arrests me. Fuck that shit.

  233. Just asking or is this something else everyone is assuming and talking about even though they do not know?

    Her name was released early [and then the police attempted to redact it from subsequent releases of the police report] and she was identified as a white female employee of Harvard. But my only sources on that are commenters at the Boston Globe and [I think] the Crimson, so it’s admittedly flimsy.

  234. Dan,

    My point, that you missed, is that Im not even considering what the right thing to do is, Im only concerned with Gates’s rights. His behavior is between him and God.

  235. Im not fucking apologizing to anyone who falsely arrests me. Fuck that shit.

    No wait, that isnt true. I would apologize after they resign from the force.

  236. That being said, if you automatically assume every black public figure is a race-baiter, he probably has a good point.

    Tacos, it’s fairly obvious this guy is a race-baiter (or race masturbater as I put it) because of his comments on this incident. Instead of making it about police power and abuse, he made it all about race from the time of incident until today. How many people get threatened or charged with disorderly conduct for yelling and screaming in public? A lot. He isn’t special.

  237. Fluffy, you are making some huge assumptions there. It’s not likely the lady in question saw them getting out of the limo, etc

    OK, that’s fair. I’m assuming the cab was visible in the vicinity. You’re pointing out that we don’t know that.

  238. Dan, seriously, what exact words do you think count as “fightin words,”

    Sure. Right after you provide an exact list of what objects can constitute deadly weapons.

    Or, alternatively, you could read what I’ve written above and do a little research into the fighting words doctrine. One thing you should keep in mind is that a big reason for the doctrine is that “fighting words” run the risk of inciting violence in their *target*. The reason why it is, for example, illegal for me to follow black men up and down the street saying “go back to Africa you effin’ niggers” is that I’m inciting THEM to attack ME. The law recognizes — even though Libertarians don’t — that human beings are not mindless automatons, and that you can make almost anybody physically violent if you verbally provoke them enough.

    and how could the police officer have reasonably thought that this old guy with a cane who refused to step out on the porch was actually inciting violence

    I’ll ignore the fact that 58 is not “old” and simply ask you to explain why you think there is any correlation at all between physical fitness and the ability to *incite* violent behavior in others.

  239. Im not fucking apologizing to anyone who falsely arrests me. Fuck that shit.

    So apparently two wrongs DID make a right in your household.

    Anyway, it is only a false arrest if the police report falsely reports Gates’ behavior during the encounter. That does not appear to be the case, based on the other witnesses who have come forward.

  240. I still don’t see what race had to do with this from the stand point of wrongful arrest. There is more than likely a race issue with who ever called the police. But from what I read of the incident there is no overt or even hinted racism on behalf of the cop. The guy was pissed someone called, the cop got mad the guy was mad and taking it out on him. The cop is a fuck tard, the guy that got mad had at least some reason to do so if nothing more than some assclown called the cops. (I would be, but I get pissy when cops are within 100 feet of me) The fact the cop acted the way he did is a violation of a mans rights, the fact Gates acted the way he did is simple a pissed off guy venting.

    I’d think an officer was racist long before I thought one wasn’t. (regardless of race of the officer) The more important issue of a cop acting out is being glossed over by a race issue. It’s almost as bad as hate crimes, who cares why the cop did it. He did it.

  241. No one has alleged that Gates made any racial slurs. Again, bad analogy.

    If you can point to a Supreme Court case holding that personal slurs fall outside the fighting words doctrine so long as they aren’t racial, I’ll accept your claim that the analogy is a bad one.

    But your belief that we should distinguish between slurs that target a person’s race (e.g., “nigger”) and slurs that target their character (e.g., “racist”) isn’t reflected in American law. Nor should it be, in my opinion; insults to my race wouldn’t bother me nearly as much as insults to my character. I could not care less about my race, but my character matters to me.

  242. One thing you should keep in mind is that a big reason for the doctrine is that “fighting words” run the risk of inciting violence in their *target*.

    Well, then, I would automatically reject the entire concept of fighting words out of hand, but do so doubly if the “target” is a law enforcement officer drawing a government paycheck.

    It’s really simple: there are no words, none, of any kind, in any combination, that make it reasonable for a law enforcement officer to become violent. Other than words that indicate that I’m committing some other crime, like “I have a lady’s decapitated head here in my bag”.

    You’re right, LEO’s aren’t mindless automatons. They’re people who should be thinking, at literally every second, about the limits of their powers as LEO’s.

  243. Anyway, it is only a false arrest if the police report falsely reports Gates’ behavior during the encounter.

    Or if the behavior described in the police report could not reasonably be interpreted to fall under the statute.

    If a police report reads, “I saw the suspect sitting in a park reading a book, so I arrested him for murder,” it wouldn’t really matter if the report was accurately describing the suspect’s behavior.

  244. No, Dan, I mean identify which words Gates spoke that constitute “fighting words.” As I’ve said above, Gates didn’t make any racial slurs, and nothing he said fits into existing precedent. You can’t just bring up the “fighting words” doctine and then argue, without facts or any reference to analogous precedent, that Gates’ conduct would trigger this exceptionally narrow carve-out to the 1st Amendment. The charges that have been upheld under the “fighting words” doctrine are quite extreme, and so my challenge to you remains: what did Gates say that constitutes “fighting words”? And do Gates’ words and conduct really fit into this doctrine?

    Also, regarding your comment that “fighting words” need only have likelihood of inciting violence in their target, this is only partially true. It’s true with respect to public comments that tend to incite members of the public at which they’re directed. However, the notion that a police officer himself might be incited to violence, is not, as far as I know, a part of the law. I think it’s reasonable to assume that police will not become violent due to personal slights.

  245. Or if the behavior described in the police report could not reasonably be interpreted to fall under the statute.

    And we know it didnt, becuase they dropped the charges.

  246. Tacos, it’s fairly obvious this guy is a race-baiter (or race masturbater as I put it) because of his comments on this incident. Instead of making it about police power and abuse, he made it all about race from the time of incident until today. How many people get threatened or charged with disorderly conduct for yelling and screaming in public? A lot. He isn’t special.

    I was responding to the comment that stated Dr. Gate’s career depended on race-baiting, which is far from the case.

    I think that he is over-inflating the racial aspects of what happened to him, but he’s not doing it with the two-faced manner that the Sharptons and Jacksons of the world have – I think that he’s genuinely upset, and geniunely believes he was the victim of discrimination. Whether he’s correct or not is arguable, but I don’t believe he’s a huckster.

  247. One more thing, Dan. The political prong of the Chaplinsky test has been expanded considerably since the 1940s. Even vaguely political language (including racially charged language) has been found to express protected political views. I doubt that Chaplinsky is good law for anything besides obscenity or outright calls to violence at this point.

  248. So apparently two wrongs DID make a right in your household.

    Who said anything about anything being right?

  249. You’re right, LEO’s aren’t mindless automatons. They’re people who should be thinking, at literally every second, about the limits of their powers as LEO’s.

    They do. But unfortunately, they only view those limits as things they have to use tricks to get around.

    Like “this guy isn’t being respectful enough to me, but I can’t arrest him for anything in his house… maybe if I can lure him outside…”

  250. OK, that’s fair. I’m assuming the cab was visible in the vicinity. You’re pointing out that we don’t know that.

    It’s a reasonable assumption, though, since if you look at Gate’s house in Google street view, the curb is about ten feet from the front door. The woman reported that two people were trying to get into the house, ergo the driver (and the vehicle at the curb) were still there.

  251. Ouch! Them Jap swords is sharp. Okay, lessee here…

    Thanks.

    You’re welcome, Fluffy. It’s the least I can do after all the consideration and good faith you’ve shown me. A pleasant day and happy deep-throating to you as well.

    I think being an asshole to a cop isn’t an arrestable offense.

    That is one fine theory, Charles. I strongly encourage you give it try at your earliest convenience and report back your findings.

    P.S. I done heerd thet gettin’ arrested for hollerin’ in a cop’s face is jest like gettin’ raped for walkin’ down the street lookin’ purty, hyuck, hyuck.

    P.P.S. Typical Asshole Pig (Whose Face I’d Totally Fucking Get Into If He Tried That Shit with Me) Teaches Course on How to Avoid Racial Profiling, Like the Sneaky Fascist Thug He Is

  252. I think that he is over-inflating the racial aspects of what happened to him…

    I agree on that, and that he isn’t nearly as bad as Sharpton and Jackson. But I think he has already made things worse for black people with his actions and statements.

  253. It’s a reasonable assumption, though, since if you look at Gate’s house in Google street view, the curb is about ten feet from the front door. The woman reported that two people were trying to get into the house, ergo the driver (and the vehicle at the curb) were still there.

    Not really. From what I read, the driver was described as a ‘limo driver’ so what that likely translates to was a sedan car that was most likely parked near-by. Most people when seeing two men breaking down a door aren’t going to think, “hmmm, let me see if there is car that could conceivably be a cab nearby and that will explain everything.”

    People casting aspersions on the caller are being goofy. If it was one of Gate’s immediate neighbors, then I could see the caller being questioned for not recognizing her neighbor, but apart from that she did what any citizen should do.

  254. I think being an asshole to a cop isn’t an arrestable offense.

    That is one fine theory, Charles. I strongly encourage you give it try at your earliest convenience and report back your findings.

    Jim, you’re missing the point. We all know that being an asshole to a cop is likely to get you arrested. The point is that its not illegal to be an asshole to a cop, and so you shouldn’t get arrested for doing it.

  255. Now I’m seeing reports that Gates refused to show ID when requested.

    Does that change things any? I was under the impression that refusing the reasonable request of a police officer was kind of a no-no. And asking you to prove that you do indeed live in the house you just broke into would seem to be a reasonable request.

  256. The point is that its not illegal to be an asshole to a cop, and so you shouldn’t get arrested for doing it.

    Is it illegal to refuse to show identification, and then yell at the cop who asks for it?

  257. I’m just trying to put myself in the fascist pig’s jackboots: I get a report of a break-in. I get there and confront the guy, he says he lives there but he won’t show me ID, he says I’m a chickenshit racist and get the fuck off his property and whatnot, etc. It might very well be that he’s very loud and hostile. What, I should just call it a day?

    Why even have cops?

  258. It is illegal to act in contempt of cop. You will be arrested and detained. Sure, maybe charges will be dropped… but, hey.

    Let’s give the government enough power and maybe, when the right people are in charge, we’ll finally have improved ourselves to perfection.

  259. “Is it illegal to refuse to show identification, and then yell at the cop who asks for it?”

    When the authorities say “papers, please”, you have a responsibility to give them your papers.

    Only the guilty need fear!

  260. Why even have cops?

    Good point. Although not the point I think you were aiming for.

  261. When the authorities say “papers, please”, you have a responsibility to give them your papers.

    So if somebody broke into your house and told the cops he lived there, you wouldn’t want them to double-check.

  262. Good point. Although not the point I think you were aiming for.

    I know, dude, Anarchy in the USA!

  263. I was under the impression that refusing the reasonable request of a police officer was kind of a no-no.

    On my own property? Bullshit. Police officer can ask anything he wants when standing on my porch and I will gladly tell him to piss off unless he is willing to take custody of me. First ask, “Am I free to go.” until he says yes. Then tell him to leave and buh bye.

    There are states with self identification laws on the books. I do not think any require production of a state ID. Here there is no law concerning self identification.

  264. I know, dude, Anarchy in the USA!

    Far from it. I’d say recent actions by police are a close second to anarchy. Not accountable to anyone for anything.

  265. For the record after he takes investigative custody I’ll feed him 5th lines all day. Oddly most cops freak as soon as you ask, “Am I free to go.” It’s pounded into their head in academy that a no reply means they have custody.

  266. On my own property? Bullshit.

    You know it’s your own property. They don’t. They’re trying to protect your property. The neighbor saw somebody break in. Now the cops are Der Geshhhhtapo for verifying your identity before they apologize for the trouble and wish you a good day?

    Far from it. I’d say recent actions by police are a close second to anarchy. Not accountable to anyone for anything.

    Very dramatic. I can almost hear the clack of the jackboots.

  267. Sure, I’d want them to double check.

    After it begins to sink in on them that they just asked for the papers of a citizen in his or her own home, I’d want them to apologize for the inconvenience and GTFO.

    I’d also want them to have thick enough skin to deal with uppity folk who are upset that they got asked to provide their papers.

    I’d also want to live in a country where Joe Blow was seen as a fellow citizen by the Security Forces rather than as a subject of the government.

    Barring that, I’d like to live in one where my fellow citizens see Joe Blow as one rather than as a subject.

  268. 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 use a good crisis. Especially when I need take people’s eyes off of my tanking support.

  269. After it begins to sink in on them that they just asked for the papers of a citizen in his or her own home, I’d want them to apologize for the inconvenience and GTFO.

    Which may or may not be what happened here.

    I’d also want them to have thick enough skin to deal with uppity folk who are upset that they got asked to provide their papers.

    It’s good to want things.

    I’d also want to live in a country where Joe Blow was seen as a fellow citizen by the Security Forces rather than as a subject of the government.

    Wait. You didn’t remove your tracking chip, did you? They always put in a backup! And you’re really not gonna wanna dig it out of there.

  270. Listen to the interview on Imus for “the rest of the story”. There had been numerous daytime breakins in that neighborhood. Person calling in the report was being a GOOD nosy neighbor……cop was responding. all gates had to do was act respectfully to a law enforcement officer and asnwer the questions to clear up the matter. But he WANTED a controversy for this very reason…..people are talking about it still…me included.

  271. I don’t need or want their protection. The trade off has gotten too high, hell it’s been too high.

    As soon as the man named identified himself it takes the officer less than 5 minutes to know his height, weight, eye color, residence, and warrants. At that point the officer had a duty to get off his property, unless the man invited him to stay. Regardless of what the guy called him. I don’t care about his race or the race issue. The issue is a man was arrested on his own property, after identifying himself, for saying mean things. That is bullshit and indefensible. Probably why the charges were dropped.

    I heard the officer was unwilling to provide secondary ID and self identify. Is he in the right or is it just officers that need to know who they are dealing with?

  272. You know Chuck Schumer wants to fingerprint every worker in America.

    And all you people can do is worry about some race baiting nigger.

    Schumer Details Fingerprint Plan to Verify US Workers’ Identity:

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/schumer_details_fingerprint_plan_to_verify_us_workers_identity/

  273. Bring back the 2nd Amendment. It’ll sort itself out.

  274. Now I’m seeing reports that Gates refused to show ID when requested.

    Does that change things any? I was under the impression that refusing the reasonable request of a police officer was kind of a no-no. And asking you to prove that you do indeed live in the house you just broke into would seem to be a reasonable request.

    Read the police report. Crowley does not dispute that Gates showed him ID [grudgingly]. Crowley also admits that he had already concluded Gates resided in the house.

    The ID issue was long-settled by the time this incident escalated. Crowley makes no claim that Gates did anything other than be rude to him and demand his name. Crowley simply asserts that as soon as Gates did these things on the porch instead of inside the house, he was fair game for arrest.

  275. Gates was clearly in the wrong and should have given the info to the authority figure. I have to side with the cops on this one and it was backed up by his partner. Just trying to place the race card….cops are damned if they show up and damned if they don’t.

  276. By the meaning of “disorderly conduct,” he clearly should have been arrested.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disorderly_conduct

    A typical statutory definition of disorderly conduct, in this case Indiana’s, defines the offense in this way:

    A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally:
    (1) engages in fighting or in tumultuous conduct;
    (2) makes unreasonable noise and continues to do so after being asked to stop; or
    (3) disrupts a lawful assembly of persons;

    If you scream at someone, cop or not, on your front porch in a suburban neighborhood, you are disturbing the peace, because it’s an unreasonable noise. You will be warned, and then arrested if you are too stupid to stop when the police tell you to.

    People living in the neighborhood have a right not to be disturbed by screaming lunatics.

  277. But the 4 or 5 police cars that showed up weren’t disturbing the peace?

  278. TallDave,

    First of all, that’s not the language of the Mass statute. Second, because this type of law runs up against the First Amendment (incorporated into the 14th Amendment) and analogous state constitutions, courts typically construe these statutes extremely narrowly.

    The Mass law targets:

    “Common night walkers, common street walkers, both male and female, common railers and brawlers, persons who with offensive and disorderly acts or language accost or annoy persons of the opposite sex, lewd, wanton and lascivious persons in speech or behavior, idle and disorderly persons, disturbers of the peace, keepers of noisy and disorderly houses, and persons guilty of indecent exposure.”

    This is mostly an obscenity law, and in fact, relevant modern First Amendment law protects almost every type of speech besides obscenity and words that incite violence (“fighting words.” The latter category is extremely narrow.

    Courts in Mass have reduced the scope of the above provisions such that they only really pertain to speech likely to incite violence by the public (riots, etc.). So yes, you have every right to say mean things to the cops.

    Sorry to bust up your authoritarian fantasy.

  279. Well, then, I would automatically reject the entire concept of fighting words out of hand, but do so doubly if the “target” is a law enforcement officer drawing a government paycheck.

    And when this becomes a Fluffyocracy, that will matter. But since police enforce the law and the fighting words doctrine is a long-established part of that law, you cannot claim that a policeman was derelict in his duty in arresting a verbally abusive man for disturbing the peace.

  280. “Anyway, it is only a false arrest if the police report falsely reports Gates’ behavior during the encounter.”

    Or if the behavior described in the police report could not reasonably be interpreted to fall under the statute.

    Well, certainly. But since it is obvious that the described behavior does fall under the statute, I didn’t bother mentioned that.

  281. From the NY Times:

    ”What we don’t need is public safety officials across the country second-guessing themselves,” said David Holway, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, which represents 15,000 public safety officials around the country.

    And prithee, Mr. Holway, why ever not?

  282. I was under the impression that refusing the reasonable request of a police officer was kind of a no-no.

    On my own property? Bullshit.

    And how, exactly, is the cop supposed to know it is “your own property”? They get a burglary call, they find a guy in the house, he refuses to identify himself. You’re saying the appropriate police response at that point is to shrug and walk away?

    How would anyone EVER get arrested for burglary in a world that worked that way?

  283. >>>>Let’s say Gates did initially refuse to show his ID (an unsurprising response from an innocent man confronted by police in his own home).

  284. Worst thread ever.

    Gates owes no man an apology. I can’t imagine why any black man in America – especially a Harvard professor – would not have an attitude about the police.

    “The government … wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no. Not ‘God Bless America.’ God Damn America! That’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating her citizen as less than human. God Damn America as long as she keeps trying to act like she is God and she is supreme!”

  285. Gates owes no man an apology. I can’t imagine why any black man in America – especially a Harvard professor – would not have an attitude about the police.

    If black men in America acted like Gates, the old racist stereotype of blacks as foolish and impulsive would actually be true.

  286. STUPID is a good word for the behavior of the Cambridge Police and their Union.

    Is it BRILLIANT to defend policies that lead to a police state:

    “In the USA we can be arrested for EXPRESSION in your own place” – tired American >:|

  287. I totally agree with the #2

    “Screaming at a cop on your own private property should be a national pastime.” – kilroy

  288. 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

  289. If someone is forcing their way into your house with a crowbar, would you want the police to come? If the intruder told them he lived there, would you want the cops to say “Oh, okay!” and leave? If the intruder showed them an ID which didn’t give an address, would you want the cops to leave?

    And the president was an idiot for butting in when he didn’t have the facts, regardless of whether the cop was following procedure or not. The cop was chosen by the black department head to teach a racial profiling class, so I doubt if he’s the redneck racist that you people are claiming.

  290. Let’s say Gates did initially refuse to show his ID (an unsurprising response from an innocent man confronted by police in his own home).

    Who were there to protect his property.

  291. The government, and agents thereof, should never get the benefit of the doubt.

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