Civil Liberties

Sir, You're Becoming Disorderly

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Indiana lawyer Joshua Claybourn notes that the Henry Louis Gates affair (Gatesgate?) highlights the threat to civil liberties posed by laws prohibiting "disorderly conduct," the offense for which Gates was arrested. In Massachusetts, a person is deemed "disorderly," and therefore subject to a jail term of up to six months, if he

1) "engages in fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior," or

2) "creates a hazard or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose"

3) "with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm," or

4) "recklessly creates a risk thereof."

Claybourn (who, for what it's worth, is skeptical of Gates' charges of racism) says:

This sort of definition is…similar to that found in most states, and in almost [every]instance it is fraught with vagaries, giving far too much discretion to police officers. In short, "disorderly conduct" can easily become a euphemism for whatever a particular police officer doesn't like. That kind of environment runs counter to fundamental ideals of the American system.

The danger of such discretion is clear from the report on Gates' arrest. Sgt. James Crowley, the Cambridge police officer who arrested Gates at his home after responding to an erroneous burglary report, claims the Harvard professor's complaints and charges of racism amounted to "tumultuous behavior" that recklessly created a risk of "public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm." How so? Crowley reports that Gates followed him from the house onto the front porch, where he continued haranguing the sergeant (emphasis added):

As I descended the stairs to the sidewalk, Gates continued to yell at me, accusing me of racial bias and continued to tell me that I had not heard the last of him. Due to the tumultuous manner Gates had exhibited in his residence as well as his continued tumultuous behavior outside the residence, in view of the public, I warned Gates that he was becoming disorderly. Gates ignored my warning and continued to yell, which drew the attention of both the police officers and citizens, who appeared surprised and alarmed by Gates's outburst.

Notably, Crowley invited Gates to follow him, thereby setting him up for a disorderly conduct charge. "I told Gates that I was leaving his residence and that if he had any other questions regarding the matter I would speak with him outside the residence," Crowley writes. He claims "my reason for wanting to leave the residence was that Gates was yelling very loud and the acoustics of the kitchen and foyer were making it difficult for me to transmit pertinent information to ECC or other responding units." But instead of simply leaving, Crowley lured Gates outside, the better to create a public spectacle and "alarm" passers-by. The subtext of Crowley's report is that he was angered and embarrassed by Gates' "outburst" and therefore sought to create a pretext for arresting him.

The charge against Gates was dropped. But what are the odds that it would have been if Gates had not been a nationally famous scholar with many friends in high places, including the president of the United States? Instead of showing what happens to "a black man in America," the case illustrates what can happen to anyone who makes the mistake of annoying a cop.

Yesterday Damon Root discussed what Gatesgate tells us about the relationship between African Americans and the police. I argued that, questions of race aside, Crowley clearly abused his power. The other day Michael Moynihan sampled reactions to the arrest.

NEXT: If You Can't Stand the Politics, Get Out of Washington

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  1. I think that you are both misusing the word “vagary”.

  2. Radley’s site had links on it yesterday to Massachusetts case laws showing that all conduct communicating political content is exempt from the disorderly conduct statute in the Commonwealth.

    So even by Massachusetts’ vague statute, Gates’ behavior was protected.

    Crowley would have to show that a riot was imminent to support his charge.

    I can’t get the Agitator to open right now but I assume you guys can get the links in question from Radley directly.

  3. But instead of simply leaving, Crowley lured Gates outside, the better to create a public spectacle and “alarm” passers-by.

    Jacob, you don’t know what the officer’s motivation for moving the discussion outside was. Please don’t pretend that you do.

    Yes, this arrest is ridiculous, and the officer should simply have left the property entirely and let Gates file a complaint if he wanted to pursue the matter. But there’s no evidence that the officer was “entrapping” Gates into making a grade-A ass of himself in public.

  4. Jacob, you don’t know what the officer’s motivation for moving the discussion outside was. Please don’t pretend that you do.

    Juries are allowed to draw conclusions about motive all the time.

    If I read the police report, and conclude that Crowley concocted a ruse to lure Gates outside in order to trump up an arrestable charge, I am absolutely entitled to draw that conclusion from the facts presented.

  5. Tulpa,

    It’s hard to imagine why the officer was so insistent on getting Gates out of his house even after his residency was established if not for the purpose of creating “alarm” from the “public.”

    Jacob,

    Nicely written post.

  6. Fluffy,

    I really don’t see how accusing an individual person of racism and vaguely threatening them with retribution constitutes “political content”.

    Do you seriously believe that a drunk running around on the sidewalk, getting in people’s faces and shouting at them is exempt from arrest for disorderly conduct as long as the things he shouts are political in nature?

  7. (Gatesgate?)

    NO! NO! Go to your cage! BAD Jacob!

  8. Do you seriously believe that a drunk running around on the sidewalk, getting in people’s faces and shouting at them is exempt from arrest for disorderly conduct as long as the things he shouts are political in nature?

    Actually, yes. And would that be better or worse than a world in which police could imprison you for criticizing them or generally engaging in political speech (obnoxious as it may be).

    I do happen to think that many of Gates’ race comments were protected political speech. But in any event, he wasn’t inciting violence or threatening to do so in a way that would permit a DC charge against him to survive Mass or federal constitutional or statutory scrutiny.

  9. Do you seriously believe that a drunk running around on the sidewalk, getting in people’s faces and shouting at them is exempt from arrest for disorderly conduct as long as the things he shouts are political in nature?

    Sure, why not? At worst it is a minor inconvenience. Why should someone go to jail over that?

  10. This case boils down to a dick-size war between a couple of pricks, each one out to prove himself a bigger dick than the other.

  11. I am absolutely entitled to draw that conclusion from the facts presented.

    And I’m entitled to tell you why drawing that conclusion is unwarranted. Put yourself in the cop’s shoes (a terrible place to be for some here on H&R, but give it a shot). If you’re going to have an argument with someone you don’t want to do it on their home ground. Also being loudly yelled at inside a closed space is extremely unpleasant. There are a million reasons to move outside besides setting somebody up for a DC charge.

    Furthermore, these facts would be irrelevant in a jury trial, since even if the officer did “lure” Gates outside, that doesn’t constitute entrapment.

  12. Fluffy – I would have to see those laws to believe that the content of the speech renders any “misbehavior” protected. I don’t believe in disorderly conduct charges, but I cannot believe what you’re saying could possibly be correct.

    That being said, I think that the officer should report the facts, not merely recite the elements of the statutory offense. In other words, it is incumbent on the officer to say “Gates was doing X, Y and Z” and for the trier-of-fact to say “this was tumultuous behavior”. I hate when cops play lawyer.

  13. Tulpa,

    You’re omitting a crucial detail. As far as I know, there are ZERO legitimate reasons for getting Gates to step outside after his residency was established. Maybe I’m not being creative enough here, but I literally can’t think of a single non-entrapping motive for this.

    Jacob rightly concluded from known facts that this was the officer’s likely motive.

  14. This police work is just like the TSA.

    No criminals were taken off the street. No one is safer because of this arrest. Messages were sent… but they’re more that “all y’all are subjects” rather than “you’re safer because of our presence”.

    If Gates was a criminal, it might be easier for me to put myself in the cop’s shoes. As it is, I identify with Gates.

  15. ‘It’s hard to imagine why the officer was so insistent on getting Gates out of his house even after his residency was established if not for the purpose of creating “alarm” from the “public.”‘

    I think that’s a little too conspiritorial (sp?) for my taste. I’d imagine that asking people to step outside is just standard procedure for cops. It’s just what you do. Get whoever you’re dealing with out in the open, making it harder for them to hide weapons/other contraband/whatever.

  16. Put yourself in the cop’s shoes (a terrible place to be for some here on H&R, but give it a shot).

    It is because I am putting myself in the cop’s shoes that I conclude that he was in the wrong.

    Empathy is the ability to understand the emotions of another person and to realize what they would be feeling in a given situation.

    It is often assumed that having empathy will always lead to having greater sympathy for the subject, but that’s not really true. Often, understanding the emotions of another will make you like them less. As it does in this case.

    I put myself in this cop’s shoes, and I can quite easily understand his emotional state: This asshole is giving me a hard time for no reason. I don’t have to put up with this, I’m a cop. I am going to arrest this SOB to teach him a little respect.

    You will never convince me that this is not what he was feeling and thinking at the time. Ever. It’s useless to try.

  17. The thin blue line is running a press conference for Gates right now. Like I’ve said here before it’s always an us v. them with police.

  18. It’s hard to imagine why the officer was so insistent on getting Gates out of his house even after his residency was established if not for the purpose of creating “alarm” from the “public.”

    Insistent? He told Gates that he was going outside and that if he wanted to continue talking he would have to go outside too. Gates was completely free to remain inside and file a complaint with the department later on if he wanted — or better yet, go outside and behave like a civilized human being!

    Actually, yes. And would that be better or worse than a world in which police could imprison you for criticizing them or generally engaging in political speech (obnoxious as it may be).

    Talk about false dichotomies! This is a good example of why libertarians are so unsuccessful electorally. It’s always black and white, no shades of gray. Either we accept that we’re going to be harrassed by homeless drunks whenever we step out our doors with no legal recourse, or we live in a totalitarian society.

  19. This is a good example of why libertarians are so unsuccessful electorally.

    DRINK!

    That being said, I’m marginally in agreement with Tulpa: on the facts before us, there is no “luring”, there is “Sir, if you want to keep yelling at me, I’ll be outside. you’re free to continue the discussion there.”

    Sorry, guys, but much as I think cops lie, this passes the smell test to me. DC arrest = bullshit, but luring probably wasn’t involved. Ego? sure, but no set-up necessary for that.

  20. Do you seriously believe that a drunk running around on the sidewalk, getting in people’s faces and shouting at them is exempt from arrest for disorderly conduct as long as the things he shouts are political in nature?

    Yes. Especially if he was saying, “fuck the cops, fuck to cops.”

  21. You will never convince me that this is not what he was feeling and thinking at the time. Ever. It’s useless to try.

    Then it’s pointless to even discuss this with you. Once you knew that it was a dispute between a cop and a non-cop, you had already made up your mind who was in the wrong. Your opinion is worthless.

  22. Gates, a second class subject/citizen, should not have abused his protector.

  23. Billy!,

    As others have noted, the police report literally reads like a recitation of statutory language. It’s pretty clear that he was aware of the elements of DC — who else vaguely states in a report that a person’s “tumultuous behavior” caused “alarm” among the “public.” And no one arrested Gates until — bam! — he’s on the porch. Yes, they obviously recognized that him getting on the porch would help them establish the “public” element. Is this really the stuff of conspiracies?

    “Sir, please step outside! Step outside!”

    “No, you [racist or whatever]”

    “Step outside!”

    Gates steps outside…

    “You’re under arrest!”

    A conspiracy that this was a gotcha moment set up by the police? Really? And all of the above is according to the police’s own construction of the facts.

  24. Gates ignored my warning and continued to yell, which drew the attention of both the police officers and citizens, who appeared surprised and alarmed by Gates’s outburst.

    Just exactly who are these pussies, and especially these pussies in uniform, that are so ALARMED by a ranting old black man? This where the continued pussification of our culture leads us. Pricks like Crowley.

  25. “”Notably, Crowley invited Gates to follow him, thereby setting him up for a disorderly conduct charge.”

    A conditional is not an invitation.

    “I told Gates that I was leaving his residence and that if he had any other questions regarding the matter I would speak with him outside the residence,” Crowley writes”

    He did not “invite” him outside. He provided a conditional (Gates was yelling very loud and the acoustics of the kitchen and foyer were making it difficult for me to transmit pertinent information to ECC or other responding units): “if he had any other questions regarding the matter (then) I would speak with him outside the residence”

    FTR I believe both parties to be at fault.

  26. As far as I know, there are ZERO legitimate reasons for getting Gates to step outside after his residency was established. Maybe I’m not being creative enough here, but I literally can’t think of a single non-entrapping motive for this.

    Then obviously you didn’t read the officer’s report, where he gives one legitimate motive, or my post above where I conjecture two of them. Now you’re free to give reasons why those motives are not plausible, but I don’t see any reason why the “entrapment” motive is more plausible.

  27. TAO,

    Fluffy considers that yelling at a cop and at the public at large how the cop is not doing is job properly and that the cop is racially motivated is an act of political speech. I respectfully disagree.

    Chris S.,

    Sargent Crowley did not lure Gates outside. He did not ask Gates outside. He went outside so that he could hear the radio better. Ever try to listen to a radio in a hallway with a man screaming at you? Neither have I, but I can easily imagine that it’s very difficult. Gates made the choice to follow and continue his rant.

    This “lured him into a DC trap” line of reasoning is absolutely ridiculous.

    As for Jacob’s abuse of power argument, yes, cops have broad discretion when it comes to DC. Abuse is in the eye of the beholder. I’m not seeing abuse in this case, because I don’t see this DC arrest as differing substantially from the norm. If it did, then you could make a case for DC abuse. Otherwise, you’re just claiming that almost all DC arrests are tainted by abuse of authority, leading you to question DC in general. That questioning can in no way lead to a conclusion that Sargent Crowley “clearly abused his power”. Clearly? CLEARLY?!? On what basis, relative to all other DC arrests, is this clearly an outlier?

  28. wait a minute, people are confusing the facts. The first time that Gates was asked to step outside, it’s because the police officer was alone and was investigating a burglary. The second time (according to the po-po) that there was any “stepping outside” it was Gates following the officer outside when he basically said “we’re done here”.

    So, no, Chris S. that’s not a correct recitation of any of the facts. According the officer, he never asked Gates to step outside after the officer entered the home.

  29. I really don’t see how accusing an individual person of racism and vaguely threatening them with retribution constitutes “political content”.

    Too lazy to link, but I seem to recall there is case law that any dispute with an officer regarding race or arrest is deemed outside the scope of “disorderly conduct” laws. Not relevant here, of course, but it might have something to do with the cops abusing those laws.

    I thought I read, as well, that the good Sergeant repeatedly tried to get Gates to leave his house. Again, I can think of no purpose for that in this situation other than setting up an arrest. I find the officer’s concerns about bad acoustics on the porch to be laughable.

    And he needed him outside to arrest him. Its virtually impossible to be disorderly inside your own house.

    Yeah, the cop set him up, when all he had to do was say “Mr. Gates, here is my name and badge. I’m glad your house is safe, and I’m sorry to have inconvenienced you. Please contact my superiors if you have a problem.” You know, act like a “new professional.”

  30. A conspiracy that this was a gotcha moment set up by the police? Really? And all of the above is according to the police’s own construction of the facts.

    No, it’s not. The police didn’t order Gates outside. Keep trying to change the facts so they support your conclusion, though.

  31. Chris S. said:

    And no one arrested Gates until — bam! — he’s on the porch.

    There was no “Bam!” moment. That’s utter bollocks, a complete fabrication in your own mind to justify your position.

  32. I thought I read, as well, that the good Sergeant repeatedly tried to get Gates to leave his house.

    Where? Where did you read that? I mean, for the love of god, people look at us as if we’re crazy already about police abuses. Let’s not just make stuff up.

  33. Put yourself in the cop’s shoes (a terrible place to be for some here on H&R, but give it a shot). If you’re going to have an argument with someone you don’t want to do it on their home ground.

    If I’m a cop — and allegedly responsible forpreserving the peace — what legitimate reason is there for me to wantto have an argument with someone who’s already proven he has committed no crime? What legitimate excuse have I to refuse to give my name and badge number to a member of the public whom I presumably serve?

    Cops are supposed to work for us, not the other way around. And uniformed on-duty cops damned sure don’t have some “right to anonymity.”

  34. Something that bothers me is that I have heard over and over again from police and people supporting this is that if Gates just cooperated none of this would have happened. Which is a short hop from do what we say or go to jail. I’m not saying the statement is false, just that it is a little draconian and insightful into how police collectively think.

  35. Fluffy – I would have to see those laws to believe that the content of the speech renders any “misbehavior” protected. I don’t believe in disorderly conduct charges, but I cannot believe what you’re saying could possibly be correct.

    http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/404/404mass471.html

    In Commonwealth v. Feigenbaum, the defendant had intentionally blocked a street to prevent the police from towing cars at a protest and repeatedly refused police orders. The court overturned his conviction for disorderly conduct because the Mass statute requires that the defendant have no legitimate purpose, and the court had separately held that the “legitimate purpose” section of the statute protected any exercise of a first amendment right.

  36. On re-read, I confess that the invitation to come outside appears to be prior to when the cop had the ID. So for that, I’m wrong.

    But the question still remains: what was the cop doing at Gates’ house after he established residency? No crime could have been committed at that point. The DC charge only arose later (in fact, it never legitimately arose).

  37. What legitimate excuse have I to refuse to give my name and badge number to a member of the public whom I presumably serve?

    Again, where are you getting that this refusal occurred?

  38. “I thought I read, as well, that the good Sergeant repeatedly tried to get Gates to leave his house. ”

    You were mistaken.

  39. One question in my head is, of all the police abuses that occur in this country, how come Obama chose to highlight this relatively minor one from his bully pulpit? What about the guy who was shot for telling apparent drug dealers (who were really undercover cops) to get off his property?

  40. If I’m a cop — and allegedly responsible forpreserving the peace — what legitimate reason is there for me to wantto have an argument with someone who’s already proven he has committed no crime?

    The cop didn’t start the argument. More making up facts.

    If he refused to identify himself that is a separate matter from the disorderly conduct charge.

  41. MP,

    Regarding the timing of the arrest, I actually don’t see your point. He was arrested shortly after stepping out on the porch. According to the police report, this was proceeded by a short amount of dialogue. According to Gates, this was proceeded by “thank you for complying with our request.” He was not arrested while indoors, and no alleges that he was outside for any significant time before he was arrested.

    And even if there wasn’t entrapment, per se, I have yet to hear any coherent argument for why this was a legitimate arrest, or why the officer remained on the premises after establishing Gates’ residency.

  42. Yeah, all this stuff about “luring” is just plain stupid.

    One plainly proper thing the cop did was leave the house.

    Further, if Gates was getting so aggressive, the best thing to do was to get out and make sure that there were witnesses that could corroborate any events disputed after the facts.

  43. As an example of a case where a disorderly conduct charge could be sustained, we have Commonwealth v. Richards, where some drunk youths being arrested loudly complained about their treatment by police, calling them “fucking pigs” and the like – but, most importantly, a crowd of a couple hundred people gathered and started pelting the police with debris. The charges were upheld because the defendants physically resisted arrest, and this “tumultuous behavior”, and not their speech, inspired the crowd to riot against the officers. So Gates could have been guilty of disorderly conduct if Crowley could prove that the “crowd” of seven people that had gathered had begun to riot in response to some act of “tumultuous” physical resistance on Gates’ part.

    http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/369/369mass443.html

  44. Chris S.-

    I had actually not read the report. Informed commentary is soooo bourgeois. I had gotten the impression from news reports that the conversation had taken place with Gates inside his doorway and the policeman right outside. So saying, “Why don’t you step out here on the porch with me?” makes sense (to me). But I guess the cop entered the home since when he was leaving he says “I walked through the foyer towards the door.” (Weirdly, I couldn’t find where he says he entered the home. I would of thought that would be noted. Did I miss it? I’m a little hung over.)
    Anywhoo, if he was inside and asked Gates to come outside, I agree that’s a little more sketchy.

  45. One question in my head is, of all the police abuses that occur in this country, how come Obama chose to highlight this relatively minor one from his bully pulpit? What about the guy who was shot for telling apparent drug dealers (who were really undercover cops) to get off his property?

    He was asked about it in a press conference. It wasn’t spontaneous. That said, he likely made a political mistake. In any event, his health care proposal is more dead than ever thanks to this.

  46. You have two ears and one month so you can listen twice as much as you speak. Prof Gates should have remembered that.

  47. Chris S. – according to the officer, this is the timeline you should get straight:

    – Call about a possible burglar
    – Officer responds alone
    – Asks Gates to step outside; Gates gets irate
    – Officer follows Gates inside to get ID and determine what’s going on about the burglary
    – Officer establishes residency; answers inquiry of name twice
    – Officer states that he’s going outside, because he’s answered the question twice and doesn’t want to be yelled at anymore (presumably)
    – Gates keeps yelling on the porch, and is arrested.

    Now, if you want to have an argument about that, or the likelihood that the officer is lying, wrong, or something doesn’t make sense, that’s fine, but please, no more inventing stuff.

  48. No, Billy! I didn’t mean to imply that the cop was indoors, only that Gates was indoors.

  49. One question in my head is, of all the police abuses that occur in this country, how come Obama chose to highlight this relatively minor one from his bully pulpit? What about the guy who was shot for telling apparent drug dealers (who were really undercover cops) to get off his property?

    Well, the press asked him about this one. And no one in the press other than Radley and some writers at the Daily News give a shit about Shem Walker, unfortunately. I would rather a Shem Walker question had been the first one Obama received, but that’s not the media we’ve got.

  50. A cop in Minnesota (in an unmarked car, not in uniform, and never identifying himself as a police officer) shoots and kills an unarmed man.

    I am amazed that this gets no attention.

    KASOTA, MINN. – An unmarked Dodge Durango tailed best friends Tyler Heilman and Kris Hoehn as they pulled into an apartment complex Monday afternoon after a day of swimming in the Minnesota River, the SUV having shadowed them through the streets of Kasota.

    The Durango pulled up behind their car, blocking it in its parking space, and a man in a yellow polo shirt and blue jeans stepped out.

    Minutes later, Heilman, 24, was bleeding on the ground, shot twice in the chest by the man who confronted him, Todd Waldron, a 10-year veteran of the Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Office.

    “We didn’t know who he was,” said Hoehn, 24, adding that the man didn’t identify himself as a law officer.

    http://www.startribune.com/local/51320642.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU

  51. Chris S. said:

    what was the cop doing at Gates’ house after he established residency?

    He hadn’t yet established residency. Gates had only showed him his Harvard ID which doesn’t have an address (I know Gates claimed to have showed Sargent Crowley his license, but the Sargent denies that took place). Sargent Crowley then called in the Harvard Police to help verify.

    I posted this link yesterday, but if you haven’t listened, you should listen to Sargent Crowley’s own words (while ignoring the blowhard interviewers).

  52. That report doesn’t read as the details of an incident it reads to me as someone trying to justify their actions and the charges they brought.

  53. I wonder how Thomas Sowell would have reacted in a similar situation…

  54. Maybe — just maybe — the legs on this story will get the networks salivating for more like it.

    It’s no kidnapped blond white girl, but it’s been the lead for two days. That’s a win.

  55. One question in my head is, of all the police abuses that occur in this country, how come Obama chose to highlight this relatively minor one from his bully pulpit? What about the guy who was shot for telling apparent drug dealers (who were really undercover cops) to get off his property?

    Good point. Given how willing the majority of the populace is willing to lick the boots of cops, this is not the best case to hang your hat on. This case might just cement that deference.

  56. The Angry Optimist,

    You’ve reduced the time between which the officer admits that he believed that Gates was the lawful resident (page 2, first paragraph), and the time in which he finally leaves. And that’s according to the police report (Gates’ version is, of course, more damning for the police).

  57. You have two ears and one month so you can listen twice as much as you speak. Prof Gates should have remembered that.

    Please stop pretending that quirks of human biology are equivalent to legal arguments. I have two eyes as well as two nasal openings; do you posit that means I should sniff things as much as I see them? Maybe Gates could’ve tried sniffing out the guy’s badge numer?

  58. Maybe Gates could’ve tried sniffing out the guy’s badge numer?

    I note that you changed that from asserting that the police officer failed to give his “NAME and badge number”.

  59. I have as many assholes as I have mouths. Luckily, I fart exactly as much as I talk.

  60. Chris S. said:

    that he believed that Gates was the lawful resident (page 2, first paragraph)

    Belief is not verification. He believed that Gates was probably telling the truth, but since he was there on a B&E call, he was obligated to follow through and verify.

    And Gates’s version was filtered through his lawyer.

  61. If he refused to identify himself that is a separate matter from the disorderly conduct charge.

    It is, but it is also against Mass. law for a cop to decline to provide his name and badge number.

    It is unfortunately not uncommon for the police to use DC charges to disparage individuals whom they are afraid will file a formal complaint. I suspect that when Prof. Gates started to accuse the officer of racial bias and asked for his badge number, the officer realized that the professor would likely file a formal complaint of racial prejudice, which would hurt his chances in the next round of promotions. So he defended himself in an all to typical way – by arresting Prof. Gates, and changing his complaint from that of a law abiding citizen to just another whiney arrestee. It’s a career defense move on the part of the officer. However, it’s also a violation of civil rights, and unfortunately for the Sgt., Prof. Gates is not just another man off the street.

    The fact that DC charges can be used in this manner is a good reason to revise the statutes. Police shouldn’t be free to use them to squelch complaints from the citizenry, which may very well be legitimate.

  62. Look, the bottom line is that the versions of events offered by the police and by Dr. Gates are wildly disparate, almost to the point that they are like a couple on the sides of a break-up or divorce: both sides are probably exaggerating to make the other side look bad. That said:

    1. I don’t believe in DC charges, and I do think that the police officer’s charges would not have withstood the law (h/t to Fluffy for that).
    2. I don’t think race had anything to do with it, and I think that people are way too eager to launch the racist-weapon.
    3. Some of us need to stop just inventing facts that are not in evidence just to make the police look bad, and yes, that’s what some of you are doing.

  63. Your opinion is worthless.

    All opinions are worthless.

  64. Gatesgate?

    Win.

  65. No MP,

    The officer was pretty clear that he believed that Gates was the resident after receiving the ID and before the radio call and the porch dialogue (he “appeared to be the resident,” etc.). Moreover, if he had to wait for a radio, the normal thing would have been to wait in his vehicle. The fact of the matter is that after he saw Mr. Gates, spoke to him, and saw the ID, he had no reasonable belief that a crime had been committed. But he still hung out on the porch. That’s an uncontroverted fact.

    And by the way, your deference to the police report is charming, and I’m accepting it for the purpose of argument. However, don’t think for a second that I give full 100% credence to a police report written after the fact by a man who know that he’s facing complaint. Even if he wasn’t “lying,” he has every reason to try to fit every fact in the story to a (thin) DC charge. And the fact that his report reads like a recitation of precise statutory language doesn’t exactly give me confidence that this was a neutral account.

  66. oh, and:

    4. Supposed political-master President Obama absolutely marginalized an entire agenda through answering one question, and basically gave a gift to the Law&Order Right. If I didn’t have to hear people claiming that Gates should have been more sycophantic to the almighty Police Officer, it would be hilarious (and is still pretty good, because healthcare nationalization is a huge threat)

  67. So was the cop in or out of the house? If I don’t find this out I will never get closure on this soon-to-be-forgotten newsbite.

    (Suffice to say my general feeling are:
    Cops are assholes, but dealing with creeps constantly lying to you or hurt you day in and day out will do that to a man. As such talking back to them is about as smart as poking an abused and angry Rottweiler in the ribs. Maybe that sucks, but that’s how it is.)

  68. well, Chris, go the other way on it, too, then: I don’t think that all of the yelling about “your momma”, “black man in america” and my all-time favorite “do you know who I am?” is entirely manufactured either.

  69. And Gates’s version was filtered through his lawyer.

    You don’t think a police report that uses the words “tumultuous behavior… in view of the public” (without specifically detailing the behavior) is filtered? Besides, my quote from p.2 of the report was from the police report.

  70. Please stop pretending that quirks of human biology are equivalent to legal arguments. I have two eyes as well as two nasal openings; do you posit that means I should sniff things as much as I see them?

    Yeah. If that argument held water we’d all be bisexual.

  71. I am amazed by how polarizing this whole issue is. Well, really, I’m amazed at the “libertarians” who line up to suck cop cock in this particular situation just because the victim, in their minds, just may have been an uppity nigger.

    I’m with Fluffy on this one. Some people have become so inured to prostrating themselves before the police that to see someone resist causes them no shortage of angst.

  72. TAO,

    Your views and mine are very similar. I’m curious…do you believe that this DC arrest was substantively different from your normal DC arrest? It seems to me that this is how it typically happens…someone is agitated to the point where they start calling attention to themselves and causing a scene. The police try to calm the situation by asking the subject to calm down and then warning the subject that they might be arrested for DC. When the subject persists, the arrest is made, as much to cool off the situation as anything. The goal is not necessarily to prosecute but to diffuse. Since the Gates DC arrest followed this prototypical pattern, I don’t get how anyone can claim that this is an atypical abuse of power. This is a typical use of the police power. If you disagree with how the police utilize the DC power in general, that’s fine. But it’s not fine to then state (as Jacob did) that the Sargent was abusing his power if he was using it in a manner consistent with how the police generally use it.

  73. If it was typical, then yes, I would say that’s a problem with DC laws in general, and not per se problematic in this case.

    Even bad laws should be applied equally, guys.

  74. Oh god! Not this thread again . . .

    *sigh*

  75. How many times are we gonna have this thread?

    I think both events occurred: Gates immediately started screaming “ZOMG I’M BEIN’ OPPRESSED” and the cop took issue with somebody not respecting his authoritah.

    You armchair philosophers and Monday morning quarterbacks can parse this all you want, but sometimes the simplest explanation really does work.

    The subtext of Crowley’s report is that he was angered and embarrassed by Gates’ “outburst” and therefore sought to create a pretext for arresting him.

    Bingo. That’s it, right there.

  76. [i]Which is a short hop from do what we say or go to jail.[/i]

    I don’t understand how this is necessarily a bad thing. I’m no fan of cops, but if an officer of the law gives you a lawful order, you should obey it. This is completely necessary for any type of law enforcement- eg, a cop flashes his lights, you pull over, a cop tells you to stop, you stop, etc. As the state’s only power lies in the deprivation of liberty, they don’t have a lot of recourse to ensure cooperation besides the threat of prison, so I’m not sure where you’re going with this.

  77. well, Chris, go the other way on it, too, then: I don’t think that all of the yelling about “your momma”, “black man in america” and my all-time favorite “do you know who I am?” is entirely manufactured either.

    Oh, I don’t doubt that Gates was being a dick. He’s probably a nice guy for the most part, but it wouldn’t surprise me that a Harvard professor would take great umbrage and seriously overact in this situation. The same goes for the cop, and this would be a non-story if it ended there – two adrenaline addled dicks yapping away at each other. Instead, this looks like a trumped up arrest and an abuse of power.

    The part about “your mamma” is interesting, however, in that it establishes that Gates really did think we was being invited onto the porch. You don’t say “yeah, I’ll speak to your mama outside” when no one has asked of invited you outside.

  78. Instead of showing what happens to “a black man in America,” the case illustrates what can happen to anyone who makes the mistake of annoying a cop.

    Again, bingo…except for the legions of assholes who want this to be forever and only about a black man and a white cop.

  79. Crap. I’ve been coding in different languages all day. Just pretend I know its < > here.

  80. The part about “your mamma” is interesting, however, in that it establishes that Gates really did think we was being invited onto the porch. You don’t say “yeah, I’ll speak to your mama outside” when no one has asked of invited you outside.

    Uh, what? No, that doesn’t necessarily follow at all.

  81. And by the way, your deference to the police report is charming

    Your deference to Gates’s view is just as charming. You have no more reason to believe Gates than I have to believe Sargent Crowley.

    I’ve said this before, up until there are witnesses, this is a He Said/She Said event. What is verifiable is the ranting on the porch that led to multiple warnings and then an arrest. And I continue to submit that that sequence was not atypical for a DC arrest.

  82. Well, really, I’m amazed at the “libertarians” who line up to suck cop cock in this particular situation just because the victim, in their minds, just may have been an uppity nigger.

    Fuck you. In every sense of the word.

    Failing to indulge the knee jerk “omg police oppression” response so prevalent here does not constitute “sucking cop cock”.

  83. Maybe it’s just GA but around here the cops carry business card with their name, precinct, badge number, phone number, etc.

    If they do the same in MA, seems like leaving your card and walking away would have ended this whole thing.

  84. MP,

    I really don’t understand the leap from “This is a typical use of the police power” to “it’s not fine to then state (as Jacob did) that the Sargent was abusing his power if he was using it in a manner consistent with how the police generally use it.” Typical uses of power can’t be abuses? This would be news to probably 90% percent of America and just about anyone who cares a whit about civil liberties.

    Your premise that the situation needed to be defused is also proposterous. A diminutive, 58 year old, unarmed man (apparently with bronchitis) was being rude to a cop. This wasn’t exactly the start of a riot or incitement to violence. Nope — not DC and not “fighting words.” Not under any statutory or constutional construction. If cops typically use DC charges for whatever reason when they know full well that such charges won’t stand up in court, then yes, that’s a textbook abuse of power.

  85. MP,

    Are you reading my comments? Almost everything I say is directly from the police report, and I’ve admitted otherwise and recanted when I’ve deviated. As I’ve noted, I’m accepting that as true for the purpose of argument, and even if it were true, the DC charge is thoroughly bogus.

    If we were accepting Gates’ version of the story (including comments about “boy” and other such things), this would be a very very different conversation. But that’s not what were doing.

  86. Tulpa,

    This is a good example of why libertarians are so unsuccessful electorally.

    Libertarians are not particularly successful electorally due in large part to the general ignorance of most voters. The greater one’s education the more they become like a libertarian. The less they support (on average) things like barriers to trade and such.

  87. This whole “luring” outside thing is an enormous red herring (though I don’t doubt for a minute that was one of the police officer’s motives).

    The real issue is that you can be arrested for causing “alarm” in public? Why does this law exist at all? Where are these individuals with sensibilities constructed entirely of saltines and creme wafers, who can’t hear even the slightest challenging thought or passionate speech without bursting into tears?

    Its obvious really. They are figments of the police’s imagination, used to arrest us whenever we do something they don’t want. Does anyone really think these guys are on our side anymore? Who are these “exemplars” who are entrusted with a monopoly on violence and given absolute moral authority over us? They are told not to abuse our rights, beat, or murder us, and threatened with 2 weeks paid vacation if they ever “slip up”. Its time to get rid of the police.

  88. MP,

    The burden of proof should be on the police, not vice versa. That goes along (IMHO) with the common law tradition of what is not illegal is permitted.

  89. Haven’t read the thread yet, but clocking in at a little over two hours and already 85 post in — juicy!!

  90. I don’t understand how this is necessarily a bad thing. I’m no fan of cops, but if an officer of the law gives you a lawful order, you should obey it.

    Is, “stop calling me names” while I standing on my property a lawful order? When asked I stop long enough to ask if I’m free to go when on foot. Being in a vehicle is a different matter. The officer needs reasonable cause to stop you, I am free to not stop if I feel he doesn’t have reasonable cause. Of course the the circular logic used by police is that my refusal to stop generates reasonable cause, which isn’t true.

    As the state’s only power lies in the monopoly on legal violence, they don’t have a lot of recourse to ensure coercion besides the threat of prison or death, so I’m not sure where you’re going with this.

    If an officer is on my property and no longer has a reason to be there he needs to leave. I have every right to ask him to go, or insist that he go. Once he established there was no crime the officer doesn’t decided when he leaves, I do. If the officer stops and tells me to shut up, I have no legal obligation to comply on my property. Disorderly person is a broad bullshit charge used by officers to exact revenge on those that piss them off. The officer was wrong for the arrest. The race bullshit is bullshit with respect to the officer, the neighbor calling has some legs on race.

  91. Typical uses of power can’t be abuses?

    No they can’t. If you’re using your power consistent in the way it is typically used by all others in your position of authority, you’re not abusing it relative to the norm. If you consider the vast majority of DC arrests to be abuses of police power, that’s fine. But then you’re implicating the system, not Sargent Crowley. If the Sargent was acting withing the job parameters as defined be the system, why should his actions be singled out as “abusive”?

    Your premise that the situation needed to be defused is also proposterous.

    Your premise that it didn’t is also preposterous because you weren’t there and you’re not a cop and you don’t deal with these situations on a regular basis.

  92. Matt,

    As best as I can tell the man was arrested for arguing with a police officer; which is just a very stupid waste of resources if nothing else.

  93. The burden of proof should be on the police, not vice versa. That goes along (IMHO) with the common law tradition of what is not illegal is permitted.

    Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. “Oh, so that B&E report was false and you’re not robbing the place? Ok, I’ll take you at your word and just move along.” Yeah, there’s some responsible police work.

  94. By the way, can anyone help me find the witness statement? I have the police report, but I have no idea what the witnesses allegedly said or didn’t say or confirm.

  95. Jacob, you don’t know what the officer’s motivation for moving the discussion outside was. Please don’t pretend that you do.

    Given his disingenuous remarks about his own personal safety and he had a wife and four kids he wanted to go home to as the motivation for asking Gates to step outside, I take that as very good reasons to question the cops motivation.

  96. I forgot to go off on Obama.

    Way to run to defend your buddy in a national speech by playing his race card charge and completely ignore the real issue you cum chugging assclown. At least he didn’t use the ghetto accent.

  97. Failing to indulge the knee jerk “omg police oppression” response so prevalent here does not constitute “sucking cop cock”.

    Yes. Yes it does.

  98. Epsiarch — I’m amazed by how your opinion on this matter seems so over-the-top, given that I think you’re generally one of the most thoughtful and intelligent commenters on this forum. I haven’t read about anyone eager to “suck cop cock,” and I certainly don’t detect any racism on the part of the commenters who aren’t ready simply to say “fuck tha police!”

    The way I read it is that most people are saying (a) Gates’s charges of racism are pretty flimsy; (b) the cop had no basis to arrest Gates, but (c) nonetheless Gates’s argumentative behavior probably explain the way the cop reacted. That doesn’t mean that the cop was right to arrest Gates, but it’s a recognition that human beings (even police officers) don’t like being yelled at while they’re simply trying to do their jobs, and the cop retaliated (wrongfully) because he had the power to do so.

    Why the inability to understand that cops are just people doing a job that they’ve been hired to do? Sometimes they’re assholes, and because of that sometimes people die or injustices are done. But shouldn’t you take each situation on its own, instead of immediately opposing the police?

  99. Given his disingenuous remarks about his own personal safety and he had a wife and four kids he wanted to go home to as the motivation for asking Gates to step outside

    Huh? How is it disingenuous, when responding to a burglary, to ask someone you see in the house to step outside, for your own safety?

  100. Instead of showing what happens to “a black man in America,” the case illustrates what can happen to anyone who makes the mistake of annoying a cop.

    DUH.

    That is why Gates and Obama come across as such morons. There is a real issue here, but they both ignore it so they can shout ‘Skin color, skin color, yeah, skin color!’

    As I’ve said on another thread:

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

  101. This case boils down to a dick-size war between a couple of pricks, each one out to prove himself a bigger dick than the other.
    Yes. And then Obama steps in to make it a threesome.

  102. Yes. Yes it does.

    look who’s being a chest-beating assclown now.

  103. Hey MP,

    Are you referring to Dick Sargent? If not, the correct spelling is sergeant.

  104. Episiarch … you’re generally one of the most thoughtful and intelligent commenters on this forum

    And the only one to ever successfully participate in a three-way Cleveland spacedock.

  105. MP,

    You do realize that I am talking about the conversation that ensued directly after Gates presented his ID, right?

  106. and the cop retaliated (wrongfully) because he had the power to do so

    How was it “wrongfully” if it didn’t deviate from police protocol? Again, criticize police protocol all you want, but if the Sargent’s actions didn’t deviate from the protocol, then I find it hard to accept that he acted “wrongfully”.

  107. Your premise that the situation needed to be defused is also proposterous.

    Your premise that it didn’t is also preposterous because you weren’t there and you’re not a cop and you don’t deal with these situations on a regular basis.

    Nonsense. We rely on the common sense of ordinary, non-witness, citizens every day in our justice system to determine, among other things, factual questions of justification and motive. According to the facts as alleged by Crowley, this is not a legitimate DC charge, and Gates was not a legitimate threat. I don’t need to be a cop to know that, and it appears that Caimbridge’s own police department and/or prosecutors agree with me.

    Furthermore, I am quite familiar with First Amendment law, and I can tell you exactly what the Cambridge public prosecutor likely told the police department: any DC charge based on facts alleged by Crowley would be dismissed as a matter of law (no interpretation of the facts necessary) either under Mass caselaw, or if nothing else, federal constititional law. A frivolous unprosecutable arrest = an abuse of power.

  108. I think they both were assholes, and usually when two people are being assholes and one of them has a badge the other guy is going to get cuffed. Not that it is right, many cops are just assholes. But I also think that for an ivy league guy like Gates, this was his opportunity to be “oppressed” like normal black people. Its the same thing with rich whites trying to relate to working class folks.

  109. And the only one to ever successfully participate in a three-way Cleveland spacedock.

    You only know that because you were one of the other participants.

    look who’s being a chest-beating assclown now.

    Oh, spare me, TAO. I can’t indulge in a little smartassery now and then?

  110. Are you referring to Dick Sargent? If not, the correct spelling is sergeant.

    D’oh!

    You do realize that I am talking about the conversation that ensued directly after Gates presented his ID, right?

    His Harvard ID. Which didn’t have his address. It only verified his identity.

  111. I’m amazed at the “libertarians” who line up to suck cop cock in this particular situation just because the victim, in their minds, just may have been an uppity nigger.

    You position here is so far out in left field, and offensive as to justify being completely ignored from here on out. I’m not even a “libertarian”.

    Being reasonable about the variety of factors that contributed to the lamentable outcome, understanding that according to the law, the cop was within his rights in the arrest, and that he and the rest of us would have likely been better off if he had ignored Gates and walked away, does not constitute sucking up to the police. Admitting that if Gates hadn’t acted like a jerk, had complied with the cops reasonable requests, would have avoided this whole ridiculous episode, likewise doesn’t make me into a racist. However, in my opinion, your willingness to accuse others of being racist (in their minds, just may have been an uppity nigger), makes you racist in that you inject race into situations where it isn’t warranted.

    Here’s to hoping that you’ll go away.

  112. MP,

    How was it “wrongfully” if it didn’t deviate from police protocol? Again, criticize police protocol all you want, but if the Sargent’s actions didn’t deviate from the protocol, then I find it hard to accept that he acted “wrongfully”.

    Accepting for the moment that Caimbridge protocol is to arrest on false DC charges, this wouldn’t be a defense for Crowley. Moreover, I, and many other here, are criticizing the entire system. Crowley is nothing more than a gear the broken machine, but that doesn’t make him blameless.

  113. FrBunny,

    Episiarch … you’re generally one of the most thoughtful and intelligent commenters on this forum

    And the only one to ever successfully participate in a three-way Cleveland spacedock.

    Okay. After spewing my soda all over the coffee table, am I really prepared to know what a “Cleveland spacedock” turns out to be?

  114. But shouldn’t you take each situation on its own, instead of immediately opposing the police?

    When you combine the knowledge of police abuses so regularly exposed by Balko with the fact that the cop had no right to arrest Gates, period, I am taking it on its own. All I see is a bunch of people who so hate the idea of African-American race-baiters (which Gates IS NOT) that they’re willing to overlook police overreach. It’s disappointing, frankly.

  115. and I can tell you exactly what the Cambridge public prosecutor likely told the police department

    And I submit that it’s more likely that the prosecutor said “I have no interest in dealing with the media attention that’s going to come with prosecuting this case. Make it go away.”

  116. Jonny Scrum-half,

    Epi hates cops. He hates them. With a passion that seems unwarranted. Just remember. It doesn’t make him “over the top”. Merely consistent.

    I got your back, bro! Speaking of which, where has SugarFree been lately? The gym?

  117. Ok, based on anothers comment that Episiarch is normally reasonable, I’ll assume this was out of character. However I’ll stand by my position that the comment was completely over the top, and without basis.

  118. Episiarch,

    Do you remember the death of de Menezes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Charles_de_Menezes

    A lot of libertarians were giving the police the benefit of the doubt, etc. back then – right after the shooting – because, you know, he was supposed to be a “terrorist.” Turns out that it the man was a innocent. IMHO, one should never, ever give the state in any of its forms the benefit of the doubt.

  119. the DC charge is thoroughly bogus

    As are most or many of them.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of DC charges prosecuted was under 1%. Often, the charges are dropped and the night/few hours in jail are seen as enough punishment. Other times people may pay a small fine ($50) and it doesn’t go on their record.

    I would say it’s very, very, very rare for a DC charge to make it to prosecution unless it is coupled with other charges (resisting arrest, etc.)

    Anyone who thinks a DC charge in this situation is unusual probably does not know what they are talking about.

    Right? No.
    Lawful? Possibly.
    Stand up in court? Not likely.
    Unusual? Hell no.

  120. Accepting for the moment that Caimbridge protocol is to arrest on false DC charges, this wouldn’t be a defense for Crowley.

    I simply don’t think the charges are as obviously false as you believe. I think there’s a case whereby they could be shown to be false, but I think it’s gray enough that the sergeant was not obviously abusing his discretion, particularly when in the midst of dealing with the situation vs. reflecting back on it.

    Moreover, I, and many other here, are criticizing the entire system. Crowley is nothing more than a gear the broken machine, but that doesn’t make him blameless.

    I disagree. Gears that function as specified are blameless.

  121. MP,

    On a slightly different note, I wasn’t being facetious or argumentative when I asked if anyone had a link to the witness statements (a post several posts above). I would appreciate it if you or someone else knows where I could find this. My Google skills (or lack thereof) aren’t producing anything of value here.

  122. How was it “wrongfully” if it didn’t deviate from police protocol?

    Protocol does not dictate right or wrong. It dictates legal and illegal. It is currently illegal, against protocol, to screw my wife doggy style in this state. Is that wrong or right?

  123. I got your back, bro! Speaking of which, where has SugarFree been lately? The gym?

    He’s busy for the next hour or two. Then he should be around.

  124. There are multiple arguments going on here, but I am glad to see that, for the most part, the patently ridiculous notions about race in this case have been dropped.

  125. “How many times are we gonna have this thread?”

    Forever, I guess. Because some guy being charged with DC and then having the charge dropped is a much bigger story than a ununiformed cop in an unmarked car who fails to identify himself befor shooting a man with nothing on his person but a swimsuit.

    The man is dead for cryin’ out loud. Shot dead by a cop.

  126. I disagree. Gears that function as specified are blameless.

    That’s not really true. Setting aside the machinary analogies, we typically don’t excuse abuses of power just because those abuses followed “protocol.” The question would be whether Crowley himself had reason to beleive that the DC charge was frivolous. I think he did. But on the broader point, I really am vastly more concerned with the system than Crowley specifically.

  127. I disagree. Gears that function as specified are blameless.

    You have to be an officer. I’ve heard this exact argument from every officer I know. “I do what the law says, nothing more.” is not a defense for wrongful action. I guess you think torture was ok because the DOJ said it was? Or it was ok for doctors to sterilize people because the law said it was ok and the doctors were just cogs?

    This has to be a troll, no one is that thick.

  128. The officer needs reasonable cause to stop you, I am free to not stop if I feel he doesn’t have reasonable cause.

    Yeah try that some time. You are not the judge of whether the cop has cause to stop you. If it turns out he doesn’t, you can get any evidence found during the stop thrown out in court.

    While I’m sympathetic to the idea that police often abuse their powers, if some of these libertarian opinions on the interaction between cops and other citizens were put into law, our society would be essentially unpoliceable. I doubt you want to live in such a situation, and I (and the majority of people in this country) definitely don’t.

  129. Being reasonable about the variety of factors that contributed to the lamentable outcome, understanding that according to the law, the cop was within his rights in the arrest, and that he and the rest of us would have likely been better off if he had ignored Gates and walked away, does not constitute sucking up to the police.

    It has been demonstrated over and over that under Massachusetts law Crowley was simply NOT within his rights in this arrest. Sorry. So we can strike that part of your post right there.

    What you fail to understand is that many people on these threads have offered differently-worded variations on one basic premise: that it’s OK for the police to arrest people who are rude to them, because it’s tough being a cop. And that this actually DOES constitute “sucking up to the police”.

  130. Huh? How is it disingenuous, when responding to a burglary, to ask someone you see in the house to step outside, for your own safety?

    It was a boldfaced move to use rhetoric for manipulation. You could not have been more obvious in your intention if you added the smoldering remains of the twin towers and the bodies of first responders lying in the back ground to enhance the effect.

  131. The subtext of Crowley’s report is that he was angered and embarrassed by Gates’ “outburst” and therefore sought to create a pretext for arresting him.

    I’m going to have to disagree here. I don’t think Sgt. Crowley was angered or embaressed at all; as I discussed above, I think he was proactively trying to discredit a man he thought had a high probability of filing a complaint of racial discrimination against him. I suspect the arrest was a calculated move on his part, not an act of irrational anger.

  132. I disagree. Gears that function as specified are blameless.

    This would make sense if a police officer was an inanimate object, like a gear.

    Using this reasoning, no cop could be blamed for citing or arresting citizens for violating any of the laws found here:

    http://www.dumblaws.com/

  133. Forever, I guess. Because some guy being charged with DC and then having the charge dropped is a much bigger story than a ununiformed cop in an unmarked car who fails to identify himself befor shooting a man with nothing on his person but a swimsuit.

    The man is dead for cryin’ out loud. Shot dead by a cop.

    I noted that too on the first post. That because of the race angle, this story has legs, and the threat to civil liberties that modern policing represents will be obscured.

  134. Thank you alan.

  135. I find it highly amusing that some people take umbrage with my accusation of sucking cop dick.

    YOU ARE. There is no–NO–possible way to spin this arrest as justifiable without saying “he deserved to be arrested for hassling the cop”.

    How else can I possibly interpret this?

  136. The way I see it, Gates failed on two fronts. Instead of simply saying “thank you for looking out for my property..Im the owner..heres my ID” he CHOSE to act like an ass. After acting like an ass he CHOSE to exit his home to continue his tirade. Nobody MAKES you behave badly. Could the cop have CHOSE to ignore it? Sure. Was he obligated too? No.

  137. “Epi hates cops. He hates them. With a passion that seems unwarranted.”

    When Episiarch was a young altar-boy, the parrish priest enjoyed engaging in a game of make believe with him. Sort of a cops and robbers thing. The priest, wearing a police uniform, would cuff little Epi and pump him for information. This resulted in a severe hatred of cops and a lifelong habit of genuflecting while ‘batin.

  138. Episiarch – maybe open your goddamned eyes and see that many of us here are saying that the problem is with DC laws, not this particular DC arrest, and it damn sure wasn’t about race.

  139. that it’s OK for the police to arrest people who are rude to them, because it’s tough being a cop.

    Fluffy, just don’t conflate that with all the people saying that it happens all the time to all sorts of people by all sorts of cops.

    There is the normative argument (I don’t see many people here making that).

    Then there is the descriptive argument (many more people arguing this).

    The commonness of cases like this (person yelling at cops gets arrested) belies that this was not a racial incident. The commonness doesn’t make the incident any less wrong (legally and morally), but it does make those claiming this is all about race look stupid and ignorant.

  140. Tom, have you read anything above? Dou you really think that cops can arrest you for “behav[ing] badly,” as you put it? You realize that Gates actually has to violate (or reasonably beleived to be violating) the law before he can be arrested, right?

  141. While I’m sympathetic to the idea that police often abuse their powers, if some of these libertarian opinions on the interaction between cops and other citizens were put into law, our society would be essentially unpoliceable.

    Hey, I don’t think Gates should have been entitled to refuse to identify himself when Crowley possessed probable cause to inquire.

    And I don’t think people should be allowed to not pull over if they don’t think they were speeding.

    I simply think this: Once Crowley conceded that Gates was the rightful resident of the property [and he did so, it’s in the police report], all power in the situation should have belonged to Gates and none to Crowley. So if Gates wanted to be a dick and rant and rave about police racism, that was entirely acceptable. If he wanted to do it on his porch, that was also acceptable. If that means that the police don’t get the last word, and have to walk back to their cars while being insulted, tough.

    How would that in any way, shape or form make the country “unpoliceable”?

  142. I suspect the arrest was a calculated move on his part

    It was calculated to get him to shut the hell up and stop causing a scene.

    On a slightly different note, I wasn’t being facetious or argumentative when I asked if anyone had a link to the witness statements (a post several posts above).

    The only witness report that I’ve seen is the one written by a fellow officer that was included in the police report.

    Setting aside the machinary analogies, we typically don’t excuse abuses of power just because those abuses followed “protocol.”

    Sure we do, because if they’re following protocol, then according to the system, they’re not abuses. The system does not consider what the sergeant did to be an abuse. libertarians may believe that a majority of exercised DC cases are abusive (I’d probably agree) but that’s a different argument.

  143. Assuming that Gates was yelling at Sergeant Crowley, I think the arrest was appropriate, contrary to what some have suggesed here. Since it would be a bad thing for people to be in the habit of yelling at cops, and since people would be more likely to do so if it were not illegal to do so, it is reasonable that one can be arrested for yelling at a cop.

    You shouldn’t yell at anyone, of course. And I would think that certain yelling behavior directed at non-cops should be illegal, too.

  144. TAO, all I see is a bunch of people who would most likely be on Gates’ side if they didn’t think (incorrectly) that he was a race-baiter.

    I draw certain conclusions from that. Sorry if you don’t like it.

  145. You could not have been more obvious in your intention if you added the smoldering

    I mean Crowley, of course. The multiple party ‘you’ seemed appropriate, as I was writing it, but unclear in intent now.

  146. “but it does make those claiming this is all about race look stupid and ignorant.”

    Up yours!

  147. Using this reasoning, no cop could be blamed for citing or arresting citizens for violating any of the laws found here:

    That’s correct. Cops are not acting irresponsibly when they enforce dumb laws. Legislators are acting irresponsibly when they fail to repeal them.

  148. Then there is the descriptive argument (many more people arguing this).

    The commonness of cases like this (person yelling at cops gets arrested) belies that this was not a racial incident. The commonness doesn’t make the incident any less wrong (legally and morally), but it does make those claiming this is all about race look stupid and ignorant.

    This is true. I agree with this completely.

    I think you will find, however, that the line between the descriptive and normative arguments is less clear than you might think.

    A great many people all over the internet seem to think that since “it happens all the time to all sorts of people by all sorts of cops” [the descriptive argument], Gates is not justified in complaining about it [the normative argument].

  149. There is the normative argument (I don’t see many people here making that).

    Of course as I write that more people come in to do exactly that.

    Whose law is that? More troll-bell?

  150. I find it highly amusing that some people take umbrage with my accusation of sucking cop dick.

    Assuming you’re like this in real life, I find it surprising you haven’t been murdered yet.

  151. ununiformed cop in an unmarked car who fails to identify himself befor shooting a man with nothing on his person but a swimsuit.

    The man is dead for cryin’ out loud. Shot dead by a cop.

    I agree completely that this should be a much bigger issue. However I wouldn’t freak about it unless I felt that there wouldn’t be an investigation, which we know there will be. The underlying question in both of these cases is are these isolated cases of individual actions, or law supported systemic problems. In the case with Gates, there really wasn’t much of an atrocity to have fits about, the cop did what seems to be at least somewhat lawful, but there is a question of whether DC laws are too vague. In the Heilman case, there are a lot of unknowns. If the cop failed to identify himself, and Heilman backed off from the brawl when he saw the badge, and then was shot, then the cop should be charged, possibly with first degree murder. However we don’t know either, or other pertinent facts with any certainty, at this point.

  152. A lot of libertarians were giving the police the benefit of the doubt, etc. back then – right after the shooting – because, you know, he was supposed to be a “terrorist.”

    Not me. Not for a second. From the first moment I heard about it, I wondered whether the cops had been trigger-happy, and I mistrusted every word that came out of their lying mouths. And of course it turned out that Menzies wasn’t wearing a suspiciously heavy coat and didn’t run from police. What’s more, he didn’t yell “SO THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO A BLACK MAN IN ENGLAND,” he didn’t ask for a cop’s badge number so he could file a complaint, he didn’t make comments about any cop’s “mama,” and he didn’t follow a cop to the porch and yell at him. But he got killed dead as a doornail, by a cop who stuck a gun into him and kept pulling the trigger until he was sure Menzies was dead. Because Menzies has committed the capital offense of living in the same apartment building as a suspected terrorist.

    As you can imagine, I get a lot more worked up over that than over the crap that Gates pulled down upon his own head and could easily have avoided by not trying to see if he could be a bigger asshole than the cop.

  153. Hmm, I don’t disagree with you, I just feel like you are very close to a militia-like interpretation of “all cops are scum and I’ll kill any who step on my grass.” Clearly, the cop had the legal authority to establish that Gates was a lawful resident of the home, and while maybe the fact that he had to drag Gates kicking and screaming in order to simply provide ID doesn’t constitute a crime, it does point to the idea that if he cooperated like a normal, sane person, this huge blowup wouldn’t have happened.

  154. Sure we do, because if they’re following protocol, then according to the system, they’re not abuses. The system does not consider what the sergeant did to be an abuse. libertarians may believe that a majority of exercised DC cases are abusive (I’d probably agree) but that’s a different argument.

    MP, police protocol is not the same as the law. The police may very well follow protocol or “common practice” (I doubt there is official protocol on this) that ends up violating the law. If an officer follows that protocol or common practice, then he’s not blameless. Whether he’ll be found guilty of personally violating the law or whether he has a cognizable defense will likely depend on whether he had reason to believe that his actions violated the law. He can’t just say “oh no, it’s protocol,” (weak defense), and certainly he can’t cling to “it’s common practice” (no defense at all). If you think this is the way the law (the “system” as you say) works, you’re just wrong. As I’ve argued, I don’t think he was even following the “system,” even if abuses such as his are commong.

  155. Episiarch and Fluffy (IMHO, usually 2 of the best commenters here) — Stating that Gates could have avoided the problem by responding reasonably isn’t the same as justifying Gates’s arrest. It’s just stating a fact.

  156. Damn typos! (commong, etc.)

  157. Sure we do, because if they’re following protocol, then according to the system, they’re not abuses. The system does not consider what the sergeant did to be an abuse.

    The police don’t get to upset our constitutional order by establishing a habitual way of dealing with a given situation.

    The Mass courts have through their rulings set out guidelines for what constitutes a permissible disorderly conduct arrest.

    If the police routinely ignore those guidelines and arrest people for mere rudeness, whether they’re doing so out of ego or out of a misguided goal of “defusing situations”, it’s an abuse. They may routinely get away with it by lying in their statements to courts, or because the charges are routinely dropped later, or because the people who are subjected to such charges just pay the misdemeanor fine or what have you, but it’s still an abuse.

    If common abuses aren’t abuses, then lynchings in the old south weren’t an abuse. Is that what you’re arguing?

  158. I find it highly amusing that some people take umbrage with my accusation of sucking cop dick.

    This was referring to the other poster’s assertion that you shouldn’t pull over unless you think the cop has probable cause. That would obviously make it essentially impossible to stop suspects for questioning.

  159. TAO, all I see is a bunch of people who would most likely be on Gates’ side if they didn’t think (incorrectly) that he was a race-baiter.

    Maybe you missed the original Moynihan post where he pointed out Black Victimhood Pimps spinning this hard as “Selma, 1965”. That’s what offends me more than anything else.

    And I’ve said plenty of times I don’t think the arrest was right. What do I need to do, don sackcloth and ashes before you’re willing to move past the “I’M BEING OPPRESSED” BS?

  160. Forever, I guess. Because some guy being charged with DC and then having the charge dropped is a much bigger story than a ununiformed cop in an unmarked car who fails to identify himself befor shooting a man with nothing on his person but a swimsuit.

    Was the guy in a swimsuit a famous black Harvard professor? No? Then there’s nothing to see here. Everybody move on. (Or you’ll be arrested for disorderly conduct.)

  161. Gates is not justified in complaining about it…

    …as a racial matter. If he said after the fact (I’m less concerned about what he said in the heat of the moment), this was an abuse of power and I shouldn’t have been arrested for yelling at a cop and these abuses should be stopped against all people, I would be much more supportive of him. Even if he said, “it probably didn’t help much that I was a black man” or something like that, it wouldn’t have been an issue.

    But going on and on and making this exclusively about race, he comes across as a fool. He is going to make a documentary about racial profiling? He may not be a race-baiter, but he is race-obsessed.

  162. oops, that was an old cut and paste. I meant to quote Fluffy’s question about how his comment would make our society unpoliceable.

  163. Could the cop have CHOSE to ignore it? Sure. Was he obligated too? No.

    Was Gates obligated to not yell at the cop?

    Again, you’re saying that cops who enforce the laws described here:

    http://www.dumblaws.com/

    are blameless for doing so.

  164. I simply think this: Once Crowley conceded that Gates was the rightful resident of the property [and he did so, it’s in the police report], all power in the situation should have belonged to Gates and none to Crowley

    Exactly right. Even when a cop is doing his job, or a civilian is responding to an emergency, to enter the property of someone else is to engage in a trespass. It is permissible to do so as long as the reason for that trespass is legitimate, but once that is no longer the case, you need to get the hell out.

    It seems that some of you are not comprehending the fact there is not two sets of laws for law enforcement and for civilians. In practice there is two sets of laws, but correct behavior from a libertarian standpoint means we should not be engaging in any behavior that promotes the actual disparity, like giving a cop a break when he sure as hell doesn’t deserve it.

  165. Assuming you’re like this in real life, I find it surprising you haven’t been murdered yet.

    Some libertarian you are, advocating aggression.

    (that’s a joke, just in case you didn’t get it)

    Stating that Gates could have avoided the problem by responding reasonably isn’t the same as justifying Gates’s arrest. It’s just stating a fact.

    It is also irrelevant. It is not incumbent on Gates to be reasonable. You are, with that statement, saying that it is ok for cops to arrest people for being “unreasonable”. I disagree, vehemently.

  166. The police get no benefit of the doubt from me, not one crumb, smidgen or iota. The vast majority of them I have ever dealt with have been, at a bare minimum, drunk on their own power and adopt a condescending attitude to all “civilians.” Even the ones that I’ve liked or known socially have either been massive unexamined hypocrites (like a drug control officer that got high on his days off) or so blinkered and robotic about “the rules” as to be barely human.

    I don’t know what happened here. And I don’t know what part race played. But if someone reacts with hostility when confronted by the police, it’s the police’s own goddamn fault. Every smug grunt and unsmothered smirk has caused people to hate the police. The only people who don’t feel a little chill down their spine when they see a cop have either lead a completely charmed life or think that they have.

  167. It is also irrelevant. It is not incumbent on Gates to be reasonable. You are, with that statement, saying that it is ok for cops to arrest people for being “unreasonable”. I disagree, vehemently.

    No, he isn’t passing moral judgment one way or the other. When I say that avoiding certain neighborhoods can lead to a decreased risk of getting mugged, that doesn’t mean I think mugging is OK.

    you need to learn the difference between descriptive statements and normative ones.

  168. TAO, all I see is a bunch of people who would most likely be on Gates’ side if they didn’t think (incorrectly) that he was a race-baiter.

    The beef I have is the argument that the sergeant was out of line in his application of DC law. I have no issue arguing against DC law in general and the very broad discretion it gives to the police. But I have a very hard time jumping all over a guy who was doing his job in a manner consistent with policing nationwide.

    The only unusual attributes of this particular DC arrest are:

    1) The racially charged nature due to the comments of the defendant.
    2) The political connectedness of the defendant which led to the grossly inappropriate comment of the commander-in-chief.

    Both those things unfairly corner a guy who was doing his job consistent with his training and with police protocol. And that annoys the heck out of me.

  169. And I’ve said plenty of times I don’t think the arrest was right. What do I need to do, don sackcloth and ashes before you’re willing to move past the “I’M BEING OPPRESSED” BS?

    Actually, I think you have been singled out a bit too much. For what it is worth, I did go after a few of those who were being too high and mighty and making it personal in that original thread.

  170. A lot of libertarians were giving the police the benefit of the doubt, etc. back then – right after the shooting – because, you know, he was supposed to be a “terrorist.”

    And then when it became clear in the following days that the London police were lying through their teeth, repeatedly, nearly all those libertarians switched sides and called for the officers to be punished both for their careless actions towardes Meneses and their subsequent lies.

    I don’t see how immediately jumping to conclusions (either way) before the facts are known is a good thing.

  171. What do I need to do, don sackcloth and ashes before you’re willing to move past the “I’M BEING OPPRESSED” BS?

    You’re not getting me, dude. A tremendous number of people are reacting to Gates as if he were an Al Sharpton type, track suit and all. He isn’t, and I don’t think it’s unwarranted for the dude to get pissed when he might reasonably assume that the cop is hassling him because of his skin color. Was the cop doing that? We don’t know. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

    But it’s all irrelevant. The cop was out of bounds, and THAT’S THE POINT. Whether Gates was a dick just does. Not. Matter.

  172. TAO, all I see is a bunch of people who would most likely be on Gates’ side if they didn’t think (incorrectly) that he was a race-baiter.

    I draw certain conclusions from that. Sorry if you don’t like it.

    Epi,

    1. Do you think Gates comes across as race-obsessed?

    2. Do you think he looks at all foolish for making this all about race when it’s more clearly about a standard abuse of police power? Granted, he may not know that, but he has had time to clear up any ignorance.

    My short version of this:
    -Cop stupid and wrong for arresting him
    -Gates stupid and wrong for making it about race
    -Obama stupid, wrong, and retarded for even opening his mouth about this

  173. the underlying question in both of these cases is are these isolated cases of individual actions, or law supported systemic problems.

    You might try searching this site for the phrase “just another isolated incident”, aelhus.

    Mad props to Fluffy for writing my comments for me, BTW. Good work.

    Both those things unfairly corner a guy who was doing his job consistent with his training and with police protocol.

    Boo-hoo.

  174. Do you think Gates comes across as race-obsessed?

    Do you know a fucking thing about Gates? Let’s try a Gates quote talking about whether only blacks can study black literature:

    “It can’t be real as a subject if you have to look like the subject to be an expert in the subject. It’s as ridiculous as if someone said I couldn’t appreciate Shakespeare because I’m not Anglo-Saxon. I think it’s vulgar and racist whether it comes out of a black mouth or a white mouth.”

  175. Charlie: Cannibalism? Racism? Dude that’s not for us…those decisions are better left to the suits in Washington. We’re just here to eat some dude

  176. Like I said before, daring to have disbelief and failing to genuflect at the “fuck the police” church that’s cropped up around here gets you branded a heretic.

    This is what happens you try to outleft the Left: you wind up airheads just like them.

  177. Exactly right. Even when a cop is doing his job, or a civilian is responding to an emergency, to enter the property of someone else is to engage in a trespass. It is permissible to do so as long as the reason for that trespass is legitimate, but once that is no longer the case, you need to get the hell out.

    Gates engaged the cop in conversation after he showed the ID. At no point did he ask the cop to leave. No way this is trespassing.

    I’m curious as to what you guys think police procedure for direct citizen complaints should be. As soon as a citizen accuses you of being racist, you flee the scene, zoom back to the station and hide?

  178. Both those things unfairly corner a guy who was doing his job consistent with his training and with police protocol.

    >Boo-hoo.

    I agree on the boo-hoo. The officer could also have done his job by walking away. It wasn’t unusual for the officer to arrest him in this situation (descriptive), but he definitely didn’t have to and really shouldn’t have.

  179. But going on and on and making this exclusively about race, he comes across as a fool. He is going to make a documentary about racial profiling? He may not be a race-baiter, but he is race-obsessed.

    I agree. And if Gates and the race-obsessed lefties are seriously going to try and portray modern Cambridge, Massachussetts as though it’s the virtual equivalent of 1960s Philadelphia, Mississippi or Montgomery, Alabama, I think they’re going to have a really tough time convincing most normal Americans that this is the case.

    The truth is that guys like Gates are a big part of the reason why it’s increasingly becoming standard procedure everywhere for the cops to videotape and record everything that they do while on duty. A modern big city cop in the field is one credible accusation of racism and I.A. investigation away from losing his job.

  180. The beef I have is the argument that the sergeant was out of line in his application of DC law. I have no issue arguing against DC law in general and the very broad discretion it gives to the police. But I have a very hard time jumping all over a guy who was doing his job in a manner consistent with policing nationwide.

    MP,

    This isn’t a case of a cop legitimately applying DC law, assuming the validity of that law. He very clearly knows the elements of DC (he practically cited them word for word in his report). But he’s provided no factual indication that Gates’ conduct was actually creating a sufficient disturbance. He must realize that such a disturbance must incite or threaten to incite some form of violence or unlawful activity to pass muster under Mass law (not to mention federal constititutional law). That’s why Crowley is personally guilty. Maybe other cops also do this all the time; I really don’t know, but I also don’t care.

    Nothing in the police report or any account of the incident justifies a DC charge. Repeatedly asking for the officer’s name? Not DC. Making comments about talking to his momma on the porch? Not DC. Making comments about “this is how you treat a black man in America”? Not DC, and probably specifically protected political speach.

    All accounts state that there was a handful of people hanging out and watching this, but nobody was riled up. Nobody was incited to violence, on the brink of violence, threatening violence, etc. If you wouldn’t mind, please state in specific terms what you think contstitutes DC here?

  181. Both those things unfairly corner a guy who was doing his job consistent with his training and with police protocol. And that annoys the heck out of me.

    Hey – any time there’s a pattern of police abuse, eventually the wrong guy will be abused, or the abuse will happen on tape, or the victim will pursue the matter through the courts, etc., and then ONE cop get singled out of all the cops and is the one who gets strung up first.

    In order for all citizens to escape abuse in general, one citizen must first find a way to escape the abuse in particular. Somebody’s got to go first, and sometimes that somebody might be a race baiter with a sharp tongue. Oh well.

    Crowley might find it surprising that his routine abuse blew up in his face, and might think it’s unfair that he lost the lottery here. But that’s a lot like getting caught for shoplifting and whining, “All my friends shoplift here all the time, it’s not fair that you caught ME!”

  182. The officer could also have done his job by walking away.

    He did walk away, and Rosa Parks wannabe followed him!

  183. Gates engaged the cop in conversation after he showed the ID. At no point did he ask the cop to leave. No way this is trespassing.

    I know it is subtle, but ‘a trespass’, and ‘trespassing’ have different meanings.

  184. Crowley might find it surprising that his routine abuse blew up in his face

    you are absolutely, one-hundred-percent, making shit up. Entirely.

    you have zero evidence that said officer engages in “routine abuse”.

  185. Do you know a fucking thing about Gates? Let’s try a Gates quote talking about whether only blacks can study black literature:

    Epi, you are really being a complete shithead today. Your time of the month?

    I don’t care what Gates wrote a month ago or a year ago. It has no bearing for me. I am reacting to his statements and words after this event. He comes across as race-obsessed to me:
    “But really it’s not about me-it’s that anybody black can be treated this way, just arbitrarily arrested out of spite.”

    “He just presumed that I was guilty, and he presumed that I was guilty because I was black. There was no doubt about that.”

    http://www.theroot.com/views/skip-gates-speaks?page=0,0

    Maybe you don’t see that as being race-obsessed, but to me it is when I know plenty of people (white and other skin tones) that have been arrested for yelling at the police.

  186. Yeah try that some time. You are not the judge of whether the cop has cause to stop you. If it turns out he doesn’t, you can get any evidence found during the stop thrown out in court.

    Actually I do have a say in the cause and if the cop is willing to accept custody. That’s why I ask if I can go if I am stopped. Precisely to elevate the stop from a friendly encounter to investigative custody, which requires reasonable cause. I don’t believe your assertion about evidence is even remotely correct. I know that evidence can be used to impune character and not prove guilt if its acquisition is dubious or violates evidence laws.

    While I’m sympathetic to the idea that police often abuse their powers, if some of these libertarian opinions on the interaction between cops and other citizens were put into law, our society would be essentially unpoliceable. I doubt you want to live in such a situation, and I (and the majority of people in this country) definitely don’t.

    It’s amazing that the police ever managed to get their job done without the ability to infringe on civil liberties. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need policing, or controlling, or organizing. If I find myself needing the states assistance in securing my civil liberties I will let them know. You seem to think that society needs controlling and policing at an intrusive level degree and that forgoing civil liberties to ensure this conformity or control is okay.

    The majority comment is pure conjecture and silly.

  187. Episiarch – it’s Gates’ current race-baiting that annoys me, not his past.


  188. Do you know a fucking thing about Gates?

    For the record, I’m very familiar with him, and would have recognized him instantly. The fact I don’t like him, has nothing to do with whether I believe he should be defended or not. Even if this happened to Al Sharpton, the facts of the case would jive his way.

  189. TAO,

    Epi’s point is that this is an altercation with no witnessess between a cop and another citizen. In such a scenario, he is automatically on the side of Gates, the citizen. Burden of proof for the arrest is on the state and what not. The fact that Gates has already been labeled a “race baiter” is disturbing. Epi is simply more vocal in characterizing his disgust for people who automatically side with the cop til they know more.

  190. For the record, I’m very familiar with him, and would have recognized him instantly. The fact I don’t like him, has nothing to do with whether I believe he should be defended or not. Even if this happened to Al Sharpton, the facts of the case would jive his way.

    Ha ha! I think you mean “jibe,” not “jive.” Using the latter word tends to undermine your case 🙂

  191. This is not about race. It’s about power and control by the police. This cop didn’t care if Gates was white, black etc. Crowley insulted by Gates accusations and decided to use his fail safe blanket charge of disorderly conduct to teach Gates who has the real power. Crowley didn’t care if the charge stuck. He knows the humiliation of being arrested is in and of it self a form of punishment. Police use it as a threat all the time. They bark,”You want to go to jail?!” to anybody they want to control. We need to take this lame blanket charge off the books. It gives the police too much power.
    Help fight for police reform. Please check out http://www.youtube.com/user/CopsOutofControl Here are the most shocking police brutality videos on the Internet. WARNING! They are very graphic. Please rate, comment and more importantly SUBSCRIBE.

  192. But strangely, African-Americans support racially profiling Muslims.. they tend to be more racist than the average white person.

  193. Naga –

    So, because of current police misbehavior, I am supposed to automatically believe the absolute worst charges against the police every single time they are made?

    Uhhh, that would mean that I would have to be a 9/11 Truther, because hasn’t government done terrible things in the past?

  194. The Cambridge cop prominent Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. claims is a racist gave a dying Reggie Lewis mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in a desperate bid to save the Celtics [team stats] superstar’s life 16 years ago Monday.

    “I wasn’t working on Reggie Lewis the basketball star. I wasn’t working on a black man. I was working on another human being,” Sgt. James Crowley, in an exclusive interview with the Herald, said of the forward’s fatal heart attack July 27, 1993, at age 27 during an off-season practice at Brandeis University, where Crowley was a campus police officer.

    It’s a date Crowley still can recite by rote – and he still recalls the pain he suffered when people back then questioned whether he had done enough to save the black athlete.

    “Some people were saying ‘There’s the guy who killed Reggie Lewis’ afterward. I was broken-hearted. I cried for many nights,” he said.

    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20090722cop_who_arrested_henry_gates_im_not_apologizing/srvc=home&position=0

  195. Like I said before, daring to have disbelief and failing to genuflect at the “fuck the police” church that’s cropped up around here gets you branded a heretic.

    TAO, you have made your position on this clear and explicit, and I think we are generally in agreement. So I am not accusing you of racism or anything else.

    I think what Epi is saying is this: Reason routinely posts articles about alleged police abuses [mainly Radley, but not only Radley].

    When those posts go up, opinion in the comments section is usually pretty uniform. “Arrggh, damn police!”

    That did not happen this time. This time, it’s been a multiple-day slugfest covering thousands of posts involving hurt feelings all around.

    Epi is concluding that the reason it’s different this time is because a prominent black liberal who is friends with the President was the target of the abuse, and that there are people here who will happily chuck out their libertarian principles rather than side with such a person in any dispute.

    I personally don’t think that’s what is happening, but it’s not an insane viewpoint and I also don’t see it as declaring anyone a heretic.

  196. Epi, you are really being a complete shithead today. Your time of the month?

    I’m very bloated, so I think it’s coming.

    Maybe you don’t see that as being race-obsessed, but to me it is when I know plenty of people (white and other skin tones) that have been arrested for yelling at the police.

    Are you really saying that you don’t think there’s some validity to the assertion that cops profile minorities? I have been in direct conversations with NYPD officers who blatantly joked about profiling blacks. It happens, dude, and wishing it weren’t so won’t change that.

  197. Do you know a fucking thing about Gates?

    That’s mighty cheeky, considering the guys on your side who claim to know exactly what Crowley was thinking at every moment.

  198. You’re the only one here who hates cops even nearly as much as I do, Epi, so I’m fine with all that, but you’re completely nuts about this:

    race-baiters (which Gates IS NOT)

    Black cock or just Harvard black cock?

    He’s precisely that. It’s his career, his life, his very being. There’s nothing other than race-baiting that could have goaded the cop into pulling the “step outside” move on him. Cops do not fuck with rich people, of any color, except in defense.

    What offense was Gates running? “Harvard professor with the juice to get payback” had failed, because he was being too much of a douche about it. There’s only one left.

  199. He did walk away, and Rosa Parks wannabe followed him!

    Obviously, he didn’t walk far enough away.

  200. you are absolutely, one-hundred-percent, making shit up. Entirely.

    you have zero evidence that said officer engages in “routine abuse”.

    Jesus motherfucking Christ, try following the line of argument in the sub-threads, dude.

    We have someone arguing that what Crowley did couldn’t possibly be an abuse because it was routine. That means that for the purpose of arguing about his point we are assuming that it was in fact routine.

  201. Ep, it must be the race thing for me, because I don’t prostrate myself to no freaking cops. At this point I must thank the two Glenview IL LEOs that kindly let me go back to sleep after my irate drunken tantrum two summers ago.

  202. TAO,

    Look. Cops word for a DC charge over a citizens. Charges were dropped almost a once. I’m with the citizen on shit like this. I’ve been arrested before for shit like this. Cops word in a court of law is greater than a citizens word in a court of law. The least we can do is acknowledge that rudeness to a cop on your own property is NOT an arrestable offense. No need to try to use hyperbole concerning the truthers comment.

  203. Looks like BO is tossing out a soft apology.

    Even he is scared of the popo.

  204. I think what Epi is saying is this: Reason routinely posts articles about alleged police abuses [mainly Radley, but not only Radley].

    When those posts go up, opinion in the comments section is usually pretty uniform. “Arrggh, damn police!”

    As the majority of Balko posts involve (a) black victims and (b) people actually being harmed by the cops, that renders Episiarch’s claims of racism moot and provides the reason for the difference in thread climate.

  205. Cops do not fuck with rich people, of any color, except in defense.

    Really? Like the cop who arrested Larry Craig?

    So, because of current police misbehavior, I am supposed to automatically believe the absolute worst charges against the police every single time they are made?

    Uh…yes, when time and time again it turns out that such charges turn out to be true. Were you so detached in the Calvo case?

  206. All cops absolutely MUST be held to a much higher standard. Once he had ascertained that Gates was the legitimate owner he should have left immediately. This is not gray, it is black and white. By staying and then assaulting and falsely imprisoning Gates (who, yes, is an idiot and a race baiter) he is now a dangerous criminal. He should serve several months in a state penitentiary for his violent actions against Gates. The argument that “I was within protocol” holds no water.

    I hope everyone is ready for this:

    Nuremburg defense is not valid.

    I just Godwined this thread

  207. Bo says African Americans are sensitive. He’s going to spin this into a kumbaya moment for race in America.

  208. Ha ha! I think you mean “jibe,” not “jive.” Using the latter word tends to undermine your case 🙂

    Pun was intended. It is about Sharpton afterall 😉

  209. MP,

    Cops are not acting irresponsibly when they enforce dumb laws.

    This is basically the Nuremberg defense. The cop (bureaucrat) still remains an actor with agency.

    Tulpa,

    Putting the burden of proof on the bureaucrat for his or her actions is not jumping to a conclusion. Particularly since it is the bureaucrat which has, you know, the coercive power of the state behind them.

  210. This stuff’ll go much more smoothly when we have robotic officers (a la THX 1138) and legal wrangling over their programming.

  211. Are you really saying that you don’t think there’s some validity to the assertion that cops profile minorities? I have been in direct conversations with NYPD officers who blatantly joked about profiling blacks. It happens, dude, and wishing it weren’t so won’t change that.

    I’m not saying that at all, and nothing I’ve said implies that. I just think this might be the worst case to back-up that claim. I think Gates and Obama are doing a great disservice to black people and all Americans by trying to make this case about race, instead of about police routinely acting like jerks and abusing their power.

    I have met plenty of blatantly racists cops and I would rather focus on cases that involve profiling and racism. This case just isn’t one of those. Maybe Gates wouldn’t have been arrested if he was white, but I wouldn’t put money on that. From all my many interactions with police (in various capacities), you stand a good chance of getting arrested by screaming at them (again descriptive).

    Instead of saying this is what happens to black men in America, Gates should have said this is what happens to people who mouth off to the police.

  212. As the majority of Balko posts involve (a) black victims and (b) people actually being harmed by the cops, that renders Episiarch’s claims of racism moot and provides the reason for the difference in thread climate.

    Being arrested is an actual harm.

    Or does the fact that no one got sodomized or murdered mean that no one was harmed, in your eyes?

    I agree with you though that claims of racism are moot, because even if Epi is correct, it’s not the fact that Gates is black that has turned ordinarily-staunch libertarians into cop supporters – it’s the fact that they believe he holds quasi-black-nationalist views of some kind. So it would be a political animus and not a racial one.

    I think it’s entirely something else at play, though. But that’s the best I can do at untangling the other argument here.

  213. I find it funny people are still arguing a race card. From the president to the ditch digger. From that stand point it seems like Gates playing the race card has a lot of power.

  214. A lot of people have a lot of romantic notions about the police, firefighters and teachers – which is why politicians often feature them prominently in their campaign commercials.

  215. Cops do not fuck with rich people, of any color, except in defense.

    That is not the case. Try making it to the beach on a three hour drive while being young, rich and owning a Maserati without getting pulled over. Most of my friends growing up were much better off in comparison, and they got harassed by cops more than I did as well. I also have crazy eyes, so that may be a contributing factor to why the generally leave me alone.

  216. Sorry, Epi, but Tulpa has your number here. Corey Maye. Kathryn Johnston. Cheye Calvo. These are not white-people names, so take your racism nonsense and put it in your pocket.

  217. Instead of saying this is what happens to black men in America, Gates should have said this is what happens to people who mouth off to the police.

    He has:

    “I am astonished that this happened to me; and more importantly I’m astonished that it could happen to any citizen of the United States, no matter what their race.”

  218. Look, folks, let’s get this straight. Day in, day out, Mr. Balko posts outrageous cop-abuse stories. All of us chime with something sounding like Ice-T. no harm, no foul.

    Now, a few of us have the audacity to go beyond the 24/7 CopHate Fest and talk about the common topic of the day (i.e. racism) and it’s “QUIT SUCKING COP COCK”

    I mean, fuck. that. shit.

  219. Thanks, Fluffy for the political animus defense. That racist label didn’t fit as nicely. Just say the word Harvard and I break out in hives.

  220. TAO, Cheye Calvo isn’t white? Whaaaaa? Kathryn Johnston couldn’t be a “white-people name”? WTF?

  221. After watching BO’s conference I wonder if he speaks for two groups from his office. He seemed pretty willing to be the head of African Americans as a whole and lay out their thoughts. Such an approach wouldn’t be interesting if he wasn’t the President, who in theory speaks for all of us, and no single portion of us separately.

    Dear god don’t turn that into a racist rant, it’s just an observation. He has an interesting line to walk on several levels.

  222. What I take from this whole ordeal is that we have come to a point in this country where we can’t believe the black guy because he could very well be another Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson looking to stir the race baiting issue for some attention. Then on the other hand we have the cops who are also not exactly to be believed just because they are cops.

    So what we have is two groups of people that see themselves as something other than just citizens of the USA. Two groups that by their own doings and allowing of things to be done over the years has now polarized them both so much that no one really knows what to believe and either side could very well be telling the truth or lying. The main point is that those we look at involved in all this brought it upon themselves over the years. Good cops not cleaning out the bad had continued and Race baiting IE Duke LaCrosse Team are still the SOP of both parties and yet we wonder why nothing changes. Obama was simply a fool for saying what he said. Just shows why he has a teleprompter for everything. Sad the best we could come up with to lead us is someone that can’t connect a few thoughts of their own without reading it off a screen in the most mundane of places no less. Or maybe it is just when it is allowed to “freestyle” his real thoughts and beliefs start to slip out and his handlers can’t have that happening.

    By virtue of both parties pasts in this Harvard ordeal they have reaped what they sowed over the years. Oh and just because you went to or teach at Harvard hardly makes you intelligent and all knowing. Just watch any news show that has a Ivy League Prof on talking they are mainly pin headed fools. Just because you overpay for your education doesn’t mean your smart. Look how many of our leaders are Ivy League grads then look at the sad state of affairs we are in, the two don’t make for a lot of confidence they know anything at all. It would be nice to see Obama’s grades, I had to show mine for my job and if I am not mistaken he is OUR Employee not the other way around.

  223. Byron York (?) called it “contempt of cop.”

    If true that Gates started yelling “Racist” and generally being a prick as soon as the cops showed up, then I don’t care in the slightest that he was arrested and hauled downtown. He deserved it.

    And, I’m not offended that this is proving to be a PITA for the cop who did it.

    Can’t they BOTH be wrong?

    Wom’t this circus diminish future efforts to punish actual racist cops?

  224. As the majority of Balko posts involve (a) black victims and (b) people actually being harmed by the cops, that renders Episiarch’s claims of racism moot and provides the reason for the difference in thread climate.

    I agree with Tupla on that. This incident is quite different and it mostly stems from Gates’ after-the-fact lamenting that this is all about him being a black man. The facts don’t show that.

    When I first saw the story covered on NBC news (absolute shit, but lots of people watch that crap), it was completely spun as this is what black people in America face. What a crock. They may face it more often and in worse situations than white people, but it’s not like white people aren’t arrested all the time on DC charges.

  225. TAO, Cheye Calvo isn’t white? Whaaaaa? Kathryn Johnston couldn’t be a “white-people name”?

    Er, Cheye Calvo always sounds vaguely Latino to me.

    And yes, Kathryn johnston could be a white person name. can you catch a context once in a while?

  226. I still haven’t heard a satisfactory response to my argument that a pissed off professor, whose entire career is built around examining racial incidents, intentionally created a giant racial blowup. Meanwhile, the cop, having no idea what he wandered into or why this mild mannered old guy was suddenly screaming about racism as the cop asked for his ID, a routine procedure, was taken aback, felt he didn’t deserve the blowup, and “won” by taking the guy in in handcuffs. BOTH parties got what they wanted here, IMO.

  227. Don’t smart me, TAO! See, I wanna watch you squirm; I wanna see you sweat a little, and when you smart me…it ruins it.

    Look, if Gates wasn’t a prof of black lit, most of the people on this thread decrying him would be supporting him. Again, I draw conclusions from that.

  228. Epi, it’s telling that you leave out the first part of that quote:

    “I can’t believe that an individual policeman on the Cambridge police force would treat any African-American male this way, and I am astonished that this happened to me; and more importantly I’m astonished that it could happen to any citizen of the United States, no matter what their race.”

    That’s really the only time he talks about this happening to anyone in the article. The rest of the time he is talking about it being because he was black.

    He didn’t talk about making a documentary about racial profiling because this happens to all sorts of people. This case has little to do with race, and lots to do with yelling at the police and how they respond. It’s sad that a Harvard professor can’t see that.

  229. If true that Gates started yelling “Racist” and generally being a prick as soon as the cops showed up, then I don’t care in the slightest that he was arrested and hauled downtown. He deserved it.

    Would you enjoy such arbitrary abuse of power visited upon you? There are no ideas, or any situation where you would not find yourself yelling at the injustice of it?

    Speaking of the Lacrosse matter. I am in Durham quite a lot. Every time I see a cop car, I wonder, ‘is that the motherfucker who harassed and arrested the taxi driver for being a potential witness to the defense.’

    Cops bring it on themselves that they are hated and vilified.

  230. Cops do not fuck with rich people, of any color, except in defense.

    In my experience, tenured Harvard professors are pretty goddam well off.

  231. Obama looked into Crowely’s soul, talked to him for 5 minutes, and he is a “good man” and an “outstanding police officer.”

    That sounds familiar.

  232. There are no ideas worth defending, or any situation where you would not find yourself yelling at the injustice of it?

  233. In my experience, tenured Harvard professors are pretty goddam well off.

    Highest paid professors in the US if not the world at one point.

  234. So, bubba, you think that anyone who acts like a jerk deserves to be arrested?

    The Founding Fathers would be so proud.

  235. Look, if Gates wasn’t a prof of black lit, most of the people on this thread decrying him would be supporting him. Again, I draw conclusions from that.

    That’s not true in my case and probably applies to a few others. I was upset with his statements since the arrest and the way the story was spun by the MSM and friendly media outlets (including one reason article). It was spun by all of them as ‘this is what happens to even an educated black man in America’ as opposed to ‘this is what happens to people who dare yell at the police’.

  236. He did walk away, and Rosa Parks wannabe followed him!

    The nerve of that guy! He followed a cop who was on his property and had the nerve to yell at him! What choice did the cop have but to then arrest him? Since the cop is not a human being, unable to use discretion, this is obviously Gates’ fault for treating him like one.

    Look, I don’t think it was a racist arrest. It was a stupid, unlawful one. On what rational basis can one argue otherwise?

  237. I think this might all be a Republican ploy to get the White House off message on health care.

    I give it 2 days until someone says that is what this is.

  238. Er, Cheye Calvo always sounds vaguely Latino to me.

    Sounds Italian to my ears.

  239. MP,

    Let me repeat that again:

    To me that’s a strange response for somebody that has nothing to hide,” Crowley said.

  240. This case has little to do with race, and lots to do with yelling at the police and how they respond. It’s sad that a Harvard professor can’t see that.

    And if that is the case, how does that justify him being arrested? You’re just reinforcing my “if he hadn’t been a prof of black lit, everyone would be on his side” theory. It’s pretty appalling the degree to which people’s hatred of certain subjects causes them to excuse police overreach.

  241. It is strange how a supposedly smart person could declare this incedent racial profiling. I believe this attempt to demonstrate the plight of a black man in America is backfiring, as I think the cop is winning the PR battle. Anything that makes people trust cops more will only result in more profiling.

  242. Obama looked into Crowely’s soul, talked to him for 5 minutes, and he is a “good man” and an “outstanding police officer.”

    That sounds familiar.

    He saw his rating drop to below fifty for the first time is more like it.

    Hasn’t been said yet today, yo, fuck Obama.

  243. I got your back, bro! Speaking of which, where has SugarFree been lately? The gym?

    Spreading assdrizzle on some porr passed out soul.

  244. Seward,

    If you’re suggesting that Crowley’s quote is far more relevant, and far more damning than anything Gates’ has said, because, unlike Gates, Crowley is an agent of the state and has actual power over citizens, then I agree 100%.

  245. “Obama looked into Crowely’s soul, talked to him for 5 minutes, and he is a “good man” and an “outstanding police officer.”

    You think maybe the police union calling on [President] Obama might have something to do with that?

  246. I really don’t understand why anyone is talking about race. Racism exists, get over it. Racism should NOT be illegal, get over it. Acting with the authority of the state behind you in a manner inconsitent with the protection of individual rights is a BIG FUCKING PROBLEM! The motivation is irrelevant in this particular situation. The cop had zero legal authority to do what he did.
    End of story.
    Page 10.
    Game over.
    Final destination.
    Check please.

    I don’t rightly give a damn one way or the other about the race issue. If someone racially slurs me while I am doing my job I will just say “STFU” and move on.

    Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

  247. There is no PR battle to win. The cop has the background to back up his assertion that he isn’t racist. Gates couldn’t have picked a worse target for a race argument.

    That said the cop is still wrong for the disorderly person arrest on his own property for calling him a racist.

    Again, not a race issue at all. Even Obama moved away from the race card in his un-birthday appology.

  248. And if that is the case, how does that justify him being arrested?

    Holy cow. Have you been reading any of my comments? On this thread and others plenty of people (probably the majority) said that the arrest was not justified, but neither were Gates’ claims of racism. That makes both of them wrong (not in the same legal sense however).

    Again,
    My short version of this:
    -Cop stupid and wrong for arresting him
    -Gates stupid and wrong for making it about race
    -Obama stupid, wrong, and retarded for even opening his mouth about this

  249. Look, if Gates wasn’t a prof of black lit, most of the people on this thread decrying him would be supporting him. Again, I draw conclusions from that.

    Is this supposed to be another “joke”, Episiarch? If so, one of us has a really shitty sense of humor.

  250. -Cop stupid and wrong for arresting him
    -Gates stupid and wrong for making it about race
    -Obama stupid, wrong, and retarded for even opening his mouth about this

    All Obama said was that the police acted stupidly in arresting Gates. He specifically did not accuse Crowley of racism.

    So basically you’re saying that Obama is stupid and wrong for…agreeing with your first point almost word for word.

  251. If there is no PR battle, then why have we commented on the case a thousand times? And why in hell is Obama crashing a press briefing?

  252. Damn power outage…good thing the laptop battery was charged…

    Chris S. said:

    He must realize that such a disturbance must incite or threaten to incite some form of violence or unlawful activity to pass muster under Mass law

    I don’t think that “must” is accurate. I’m not familiar at all at how cops are trained in regards to caselaw, but I suspect they work with much broader definitions than what might pass muster at trial.

    Seward said:

    I’m really not quite sure what to think of this; can you explain it to me?

    I’m not sure what your issue is. The B&E reported two people. When Gates was asked about a second person in regards to a B&E report, he was non-cooperative. Why wouldn’t that make a cop say “huh?”?

  253. Is this supposed to be another “joke”, Episiarch? If so, one of us has a really shitty sense of humor.

    It’s good that you’ve finally realized this about yourself.

  254. All I see is a bunch of people who so hate the idea of African-American race-baiters (which Gates IS NOT)

    But OF COURSE HE IS! Instead of being pissed off because of police abuse of power, all I hear him saying is that it was because he was a “black man”. How in the fuck is this NOT race baiting? The cop was in the wrong so that turns obvious, after the fact, race baiting into something appropriate? Huh?

    Also, if you had read the man’s Wiki, like you directed others to do yesterday, you would see that his entire career has been nothing but racial politics. I would bet that if the cop had acted as a Saint, Gates would have accused him of not doing his job because he was a black man! Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  255. If there is no PR battle, then why have we commented on the case a thousand times? And why in hell is Obama crashing a press briefing?

    I was speaking between Gates and Crowly. Crowly has the background to support his claim of not being racist. Gates won’t win the PR battle with Crowly in general.

    The president is putting out a fire to get back to health care and look like the person fixing not causing problems.

    People comment here because they are bored, opinionated blowhards with better things to do, but can’t pull themselves away from the interwebs. Many people are probably stealing time from their employer as well!!

    That and people like arguing on the internet.

  256. All Obama said was that the police acted stupidly in arresting Gates. He specifically did not accuse Crowley of racism.

    So basically you’re saying that Obama is stupid and wrong for…agreeing with your first point almost word for word.

    Nope. I’m criticizing him for opening his mouth about a local matter, involving a friend of his, in which he admitted he didn’t have all the facts (I doubt he even read the police report), and then talking about racial profiling which had little or nothing to do with this case.

    At best, “this case involves a friend of mine so I won’t comment.”

    At second best, “the officer was stupid for arresting Gates, Gates was stupid for making this about race, disorderly conduct laws are stupid and applied stupidly.”

  257. I’m not familiar at all at how cops are trained in regards to caselaw, but I suspect they work with much broader definitions than what might pass muster at trial.

    Whoa…hold up a second.

    Are you saying that you suspect that Massachusetts police are taught to arrest people whose actions will not result in convictions at trial?

    Because in that case, we have an even bigger problem there than I thought and we pretty much need to fire all the police in Massachusetts and start over with a blank piece of paper and all new hirees.

  258. If he was identified as the proper owner then after that moment the cop needs to leave immediately, regardless of any accusations thrown at him.

    A favorite of mine:
    William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (1708-78)

    “The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail-its roof may shake-the wind may blow through it-the storm may enter-the rain may enter-but the King of England cannot enter!-all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!”

  259. Heck, I was just minding my own business when Jacob Sullum spun his bizarre conspiracy theory and forced me to comment.

  260. Cops are statute monkeys. They can generally tell you exactly what they can and can’t do, but have little to no idea of what supports or affects that action.

  261. MP,

    The point of course is that isn’t “strange” to tell someone it is none of their business who is and who is not in their home. It isn’t strange at all. It is part of the tradition of property rights in the U.S.

  262. hmm-

    I may be an opinionated blowhard, but I am not bored!

  263. I am not “stealing” I am salary.

    Don’t run around the pool with scissors.

  264. Seward,

    Gates didn’t ask the cops to leave. At the point where their independent reason for being in his house expired (ie, when he showed that he was the owner), he then engaged them in conversation — and followed them outside when they were in the process of leaving.

    There is no property rights dimension to this incident. You guys are grasping at straws.

  265. What’s the problem with Obama sticking up for his pal? Anytime you have a cop arresting a man, on his property, for disorderly conduct, you know enough to procliam the cop stupid.

    A sincere libertarian NEVER supports an arrest of a person for disorderly conduct on his own property where the alleged factual basis of the arrest is the person’s screaming at the cop who is the arresting officer. That is an absolute.

  266. hmm, for some reason this one seems to be a tad different than our usual arguments. I think our repressed racial nerves have been tweeked and we are trying to vent a little. Unfortunately it will be a long long time before America gets over Rodney King and O.J.. OT, Zelaya is at the Honduras border. I pray Obama stays out of it.

  267. Fluffy said:

    Are you saying that you suspect that Massachusetts police are taught to arrest people whose actions will not result in convictions at trial?

    No. They’re not taught specifically to expand case law. I’m saying that I suspect they’re taught with a broad brush. They’re not versed on all precedents of all case law of all the laws they enforce. They probably gather that knowledge over time, but I suspect that in general, it’s up to the DA’s office to act as the caselaw filter.

    Seward said:

    The point of course is that isn’t “strange” to tell someone it is none of their business who is and who is not in their home.

    FFS, he was investigating a B&E report where there were TWO reported perps. And he told Gates that. And Gates, instead of being your normal “Another break-in officer? No, I’m here alone and there’s no one with me now.” decided to be obstructionist. And yes, behind obstructionist is not the norm, and thus justifiably made the sergeant go “WTF?”.

  268. What’s the problem with Obama sticking up for his pal?

    The fact that he was speaking in an official capacity at the time. Obama might have pals, but the presidency doesn’t.

  269. FWIW – Obama called Sergeant Crowley today for a little heart to heart, and then re”calibrated” his earlier statements. I’m glad he and his staff had the sense to try and put a stop to the shitstorm they helped create.

  270. MP,

    Actually, I would have told the guy the same thing. It really is the normal thing to do in a free society.

    Now, what is strange to me is the idea that if you tell someone from the government that something is none of their business and that is somehow cause for suspicion. Now, that is strange.

  271. MP,

    How much of the Bush administration surveillance program did you support, BTW?

  272. I’m not sure what your issue is. The B&E reported two people. When Gates was asked about a second person in regards to a B&E report, he was non-cooperative. Why wouldn’t that make a cop say “huh?”?

    That’s a good point. And by the way, I’d really like to hear the audio of the original 911 call from the neighbor that got this whole thing started in the first place, because this whole “second person” thing is rather odd to say the least.

  273. Gates didn’t ask the cops to leave. At the point where their independent reason for being in his house expired (ie, when he showed that he was the owner), he then engaged them in conversation — and followed them outside when they were in the process of leaving.

    There is no property rights dimension to this incident. You guys are grasping at straws.

    The property rights dimension of this is that on his own property [or his leased property] Gates can say pretty much whatever he wants and deliver whatever maniacal lectures he wants, and once Crowley conceded that Gates was the resident of the property in question his choices were to listen to Gates rant about racism or go have another donut.

    What the hell do you think we have been talking about for three days?

  274. Now, what is strange to me is the idea that if you tell someone from the government that something is none of their business and that is somehow cause for suspicion. Now, that is strange.

    When it is the police responding to a B&E? I will remember that tonight.

    “Sir, what are you doing with that crowbar?”

    “Fuck you pig, how dare you question me”?

  275. None has asked this question, and it is worth asking. What exactly happens here if the cop (bureaucrat) gets in his car and drives away? Like any just regular old person would do.

  276. What’s the problem with Obama sticking up for his pal? Anytime you have a cop arresting a man, on his property, for disorderly conduct, you know enough to procliam the cop stupid.

    He stuck up for his friends race assertion. Just recently qualified his support as being for his friends getting arrested after showing ID in his own house.

  277. Marshall Gill,

    Well, that would of course require that the police regularly respond to B&E I guess complaints.

    Your best defense of course to a B&E is not the police; even your second and third and fourth best defenses to such are not likely going to be the police. Your best defense is a security light.

  278. He stuck up for his friends race assertion.

    I hate Obama, but no, he didn’t.

    He specifically said he didn’t know if race played a part in this incident, and when he made a general statement about race in America he said that statement was being made separately and distinctly from this incident.

  279. TAO, all I see is a bunch of people who would most likely be on Gates’ side if they didn’t think (incorrectly) that he was a race-baiter.

    I’m on Gates’s side. I think that he did a bit of race-baiting in this situation.

    But it’s nothing compared to the unbelievable fuckton of race-baiting that has since ensued.

  280. The property rights dimension of this is that on his own property [or his leased property] Gates can say pretty much whatever he wants and deliver whatever maniacal lectures he wants

    This is not so. If you are in public view, there are a whole host of laws that apply to you even if you’re on your own property.

    And note that the officer DID try to leave, but Gates followed him out the door to continue his rant.

    Still waiting for you guys to go on the record saying that the official police policy regarding citizen complaints should be to flee the scene.

  281. There is no property rights dimension to this incident. You guys are grasping at straws.

    Uh, no. If the facts of the case were not solidly in his favor, I sure as hell would not be making an argument for Gates.

  282. Can we all at least agree that Obama isn’t quite as smart as we’ve been led to believe? Even though the cop WAS stupid, saying so was even stupider.

  283. Which is worse: a race baiting or a ‘bating race?

  284. This is not so. If you are in public view, there are a whole host of laws that apply to you even if you’re on your own property.

    Fluffy has already pointed out the relevant case law.

  285. He specifically said he didn’t know if race played a part in this incident, and when he made a general statement about race in America he said that statement was being made separately and distinctly from this incident.

    How about he implicitly stuck up for his friends race assertion? Why go into a statement about race if you don’t think your friend was right or at least justified in making his statements.

  286. Fluffy said:

    and once Crowley conceded that Gates was the resident of the property in question

    Again, that’s not what happened. There was no “concession”. Crowley thought (and I know this because he said as much during the interview he gave) that Gates was most likely the resident from the first time that Gates said so. But he still needed to verify that. Which never happened, because Gates never gave Sgt. Crowley an ID with an address on it.

  287. To clarify: I think Gates mouthed off because he was tired, cranky, and felt harassed, not because he’s a racist.

  288. This is not so. If you are in public view, there are a whole host of laws that apply to you even if you’re on your own property.

    In Massachusetts, in the day time? Actually, there aren’t.

    Still waiting for you guys to go on the record saying that the official police policy regarding citizen complaints should be to flee the scene.

    The moment Crowley conceded that Gates was the resident of the property, yeah – absolutely. Police policy should be to flee the scene, in the absence of probable cause to believe that Gates was acting under duress or a reasonable belief that some superterrorist was hidden on the property using mind control on Gates.

    Why shouldn’t that be police policy? Because it would “look bad” if the police left while a citizen was hectoring them – would make it looks like the police were backing down? So what? Who cares?

  289. Fluffy has already pointed out the relevant case law.

    The case law he pointed out is not necessarily relevant. In any case you’ll forgive me for being skeptical of the analysis of a guy so reflexively anti-cop that he says he knows the cop was wrong and no evidence can convince him otherwise.

  290. He specifically said he didn’t know if race played a part in this incident, and when he made a general statement about race in America he said that statement was being made separately and distinctly from this incident.

    Oh wow, that’s terribly parsimonious. If I said “I don’t know all the facts here, but I will say that black people are disproportionately involved in B&Es”…uhh, I would get absolutely shellacked, for good reason. That’s because of what I am implying.

  291. Way too much to wade through here right now, but I saw this that I had to respond to from tulpa:

    One question in my head is, of all the police abuses that occur in this country, how come Obama chose to highlight this relatively minor one from his bully pulpit?

    He did not choose to highlight it. Reporter Michael Sneed asked him about it and he answered.
    Go hier for her story.

  292. I hate Obama, but no, he didn’t.

    He specifically said he didn’t know if race played a part in this incident, and when he made a general statement about race in America he said that statement was being made separately and distinctly from this incident.

    Oh, cmon. I don’t know if race was involved, but then I’m going to talk about race? Sheesh.

  293. Tulpa,

    And note that the officer DID try to leave, but Gates followed him out the door to continue his rant.

    Actually, he didn’t. He was just exiting the interior of the home. Nothing in the news reports said he was headed toward the car or otherwise leaving the premises. And since has someone left your property when they merely exited the interior of the home?

    This is not so. If you are in public view, there are a whole host of laws that apply to you even if you’re on your own property.

    fluffy already addressed this issue.

  294. Again, that’s not what happened. There was no “concession”. Crowley thought (and I know this because he said as much during the interview he gave) that Gates was most likely the resident from the first time that Gates said so. But he still needed to verify that. Which never happened, because Gates never gave Sgt. Crowley an ID with an address on it.

    The police report says that Crowley concluded Gates was the resident of the property prior to leaving the building. Period.

  295. I would assume the cop new Gates wasn’t a burglar immediately, based on the quality of his threads.

  296. Now, what is strange to me is the idea that if you tell someone from the government that something is none of their business and that is somehow cause for suspicion. Now, that is strange.

    When it is the police responding to a B&E? I will remember that tonight.

    “Sir, what are you doing with that crowbar?”

    “Fuck you pig, how dare you question me”?

    My wife did just that,“Fuck you pig, how dare you question me” when police showed up at our door at 5:30 am for a noise complaint.

    The cop wanted in she said no. The cop said he had a right to enter, she said no. The cop said he had to come in to see if I (the one the complaint was about, oddly enough) in the home, she said no. The cop asked why, she said because she didn’t want to let him in. The cop pulled the if you had nothing to hide line, she said that’s nice. You know what happened next? The cop left.

    Moral of the story? If you know your rights and the extent of their authority and are willing to assert both you will most likely come out ahead. That and don’t fuck with a 5’2″ Irish woman you just woke up at 5:30am for some bullshit reason. Especially when her husband isn’t there to keep her from trying to rip your throat out for being a douchebag.

  297. The case law he pointed out is not necessarily relevant. In any case you’ll forgive me for being skeptical of the analysis of a guy so reflexively anti-cop that he says he knows the cop was wrong and no evidence can convince him otherwise.

    Then find case law supporting your position, cunt.

  298. Considering the fact that he dodged every other question in that conference, the fact that he actually made a definitive statement in response counts as “highlighting” in my book.

    And I’ll put on Episiarch’s and Fluffy’s mind-reading cap for a moment and express my doubt that he would answer a question about the Kathryn Johnston or Shem Walker cases in so forthright a manner.

  299. None has asked this question, and it is worth asking. What exactly happens here if the cop (bureaucrat) gets in his car and drives away? Like any just regular old person would do.

    Obviously Gates would have gone on a racially charged murder spree, and would have gathered crowds to his aid to burn the town of Cambridge down. We have no appreciation for what Crowely spared us.

  300. “Sorry, Epi, but Tulpa has your number here. Corey Maye. Kathryn Johnston. Cheye Calvo. These are not white-people names, so take your racism nonsense and put it in your pocket.”

    Kathryn Johnson is a very scandinavian name.

  301. In any case you’ll forgive me for being skeptical of the analysis of a guy so reflexively anti-cop that he says he knows the cop was wrong and no evidence can convince him otherwise.

    Someone asked me to put myself in the cop’s shoes.

    I read the police report, put myself in the cop’s shoes, and then drew conclusions about what the cop was thinking.

    I then stated that no one could convince me that my conclusions about Crowley’s state of mind based on this experiment in empathy were wrong. And that’s perfectly true, because the only way to get better information would be for us to literally be able to read Crowley’s mind, which isn’t possible.

  302. Wow, Fluffy and Epi are really out to make friends today.

  303. The case law he pointed out is not necessarily relevant.

    That case law he pointed out means that the charge could not have stuck, and there is not a DA in Mass who could have gotten around the exceptions to DC in that case law which is relevant to whether or not an officer should arrest someone in the first place.

  304. hmm,

    Yeah. People have the right to their privacy, to be free of state interference, for the sake of it alone.

  305. I don’t think that “must” is accurate. I’m not familiar at all at how cops are trained in regards to caselaw, but I suspect they work with much broader definitions than what might pass muster at trial.

    MP,

    For what it’s worth, I believe the factors listed by Jacob and the language essentially cited by Crowley in his report are actually derived from case law — not the statute. While you’re right that Crowley may not have spent much time delving into this case law, he apparently knows enough to mirror the language of controlling precedent. It seems reasonable to surmise then that he also knew that the “tumultuous” and “public” requirements, which he parroted, served some meaningful purpose (to avoid the incitement of violence, etc.). This may seem like a lot of assumptions, but I think Crowley is a fairly smart man with at least a reasonable understanding of the law. The way he carefully phrased his police reports supports this presumption, although even careful phrasing of the report wasn’t enough to establish facts necessary to uphold a DC charge.

    Finally, I’ll again point to Crowley’s attempts to move the situation outside. We don’t agree on this point, and I fully understand that there could be legitimate reasons for this , but I think Crowley’s hewing to language from controlling precedent at least shows that he knew that he needed to get Gates outside to assert a DC charge. Ex post facto justifications for Crowley’s invitations/requests/encouragement (or whatever we want to call it) simply don’t ring true to me. Yes, police face danger all of the time, and I can understand wanting to deal with someone in the open. But this isn’t Compton; it’s Cambridge. And Gates looks less like a ragin’ killa than, well, a diminutive Harvard professor. I suppose we can call this profiling on my part, but I think it’s relevant in trying to figure out what was going on here: was Crowley trying to teach this haughty Harvard prof a lesson for calling him names, or was he seriously concerned about his safety and public safety?

    My wife also lived in Cambridge for a few years, and while I’ve never had a horrible experience myself (I’ve had worse experiences in other jurisdictions, as noted in another thread), I know that they absolutely delight in flaunting their power, particularly their power over Harvard and MIT people. Thus, it’s not hard for me to see this as an abuse of power. And I’m guessing that seeing the Harvard ID made Crowley want to do whatever he could to “put this guy in his place” (I don’t mean that racially). Many people can probably sympathize with this sentiment, but that doesn’t make it legal or normatively right.

    I guess that’s my whole argument summarized in one long-winded post, for better or worse.

  306. Fluffy said:

    The police report says that Crowley concluded Gates was the resident of the property prior to leaving the building. Period.

    Read it again. Sgt. Crowley never says that he verified residency. He only said that he “was led to believe”. There was never a verification of residency because Gates never provided a photo ID with an address.

  307. Have I been more hostile to people here than has been warranted?

    Maybe. That’s definitely possible. I post angry in the best of times.

    And I’ve been posting on this subject at the Globe and Herald sites, too – and on those boards, there literally are people who are happy to argue “uppity darkies need to get smacked down once in a while” and/or “the police should take a billyclub to anyone who gives them any backtalk” and dealing with that kind of assholery probably makes me less tolerant of any hedging in favor of Crowley that otherwise-kosher libertarians are doing here.

  308. What exactly happens here if the cop (bureaucrat) gets in his car and drives away? Like any just regular old person would do.

    You’re stealing a couple of bases here. I’m not convinced that every non-cop — or even most of us — walks away from that situation. If Gates engages you in conversation and doesn’t ask you to leave then you have every right to remain on his property.

    And secondly, it’s not really relevant here. In retrospect a wise cop would probably have just left the premises and driven away. But I’m not going to fault a cop for not being wise when confronted with this extremely bizarre situation.

  309. “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

    What if it’s a fuckbook?

  310. Considering the fact that he dodged every other question in that conference, the fact that he actually made a definitive statement in response counts as “highlighting” in my book.

    For what is worth, seeing Obama’s answer made me feel a little cynical, hoping the law and order types who I usually oppose pound him in the dust over it and cause him to lose political points big time, but I really can’t honestly do that because the facts of the case are not aligned to my wishes even though I hate him so very, very much. I hate him much more than I despise cops. On a personal level, despite the disingenuous answers fit for public consumption, I find Crowely more likable than Gates, however, the facts are what they are. He should not have arrested Gates in this incident.

  311. Fluffy,

    I agree that people don’t always act in the perfect and wisest way when confronted with screaming assholes. How’s that empathy coming along?

  312. Tulpa-

    This is supposeldy a free society where the individual is king-not one of the king’s men. Hence, when one of the king’s men is on the property of an individual, wihtout the permission of the individual, the king’s man must vacate. What is so hard to understand about that?

    Keep in mind that the Mass constitution does not specifically authorize any of the king’s men to enter an individual’s property and arrest him there because he yelled at the king’s man.

    The 911 call is just a pretext-it does not trump the owner’s absolute right to exclude scummy public sector parasites therefrom, public safety/just doing my job claptrap notwithstanding.

  313. If Gates engages you in conversation and doesn’t ask you to leave then you have every right to remain on his property.

    You don’t have the right to stay. You have the implicit permission to stay since you have not been explicitly or implicitly asked to leave. One could argue that yelling at someone and calling them names is pretty good grounds for implicitly asking them to leave. As a proxy for the state you should be aware of property rights and differ to the obviously less controversial action, leaving the property. I’m assuming the question of whether he was asked to leave or not is an assumption I’ve seen nothing either way.

    And secondly, it’s not really relevant here. In retrospect a wise cop would probably have just left the premises and driven away. But I’m not going to fault a cop for not being wise when confronted with this extremely bizarre situation.

    I will. He is in the position of power and being informed which in every situation, legal or otherwise carries the burden of being the more rational or more culpable of the two.

  314. I should say that I think this arrest was probably not warranted. But I’m not going to cry into my pillow over it tonight as it’s at worst a very minor police abuse.

  315. LM – so lay out, exactly, what the police officer should have done. Do it step by step and make sure it’s consistent with your professed ideology.

  316. I agree that people don’t always act in the perfect and wisest way when confronted with screaming assholes. How’s that empathy coming along?

    Good thing I haven’t strapped on a gun and started collecting a salary of taxpayer dollars to enforce the laws of my state. That would end up turning my personal failing of freaking out on people into the abuse of the rights of those around me, instead of just the general low-level meanness and unsociability it is now.

  317. oops, tag fail

  318. I should say that I think this arrest was probably not warranted. But I’m not going to cry into my pillow over it tonight as it’s at worst a very minor police abuse.

    An abuse of state power, no matter how small, is a significant abuse. Since our legal system and so much of our life is based on precedent it only takes the acceptance of a few seeming innocuous incidents to create a precedent for a greater action. Is this the end of the world, no. Should this be something of concern, the incident alone not all the baggage, yes. Should it be thoroughly discussed, yes.

    I still think the presidents intervention and comments leads to a much more interesting dialogue. I don’t mean that solely from a right-wing or attack Obama position either.

  319. One could argue that yelling at someone and calling them names is pretty good grounds for implicitly asking them to leave.

    Huh? In all honesty I don’t see how that could be argued coherently. If that’s the case my old boss asked me to leave in the middle of my shift basically every work day.

  320. Your boss was not his property. Gates was. If Gates was irrate and yelling at a proxy for the state who had no other reason to be there it isn’t a big step to assert that Gates wanted him gone.

    Gates fucked up if he didn’t ask him to leave.

  321. My boss was an authorized agent of the owner. If he had explicitly told me to leave and I refused I could have been arrested for trespassing.

    Gates hasn’t said that he asked the officer to leave, so I’m assuming he didn’t, as that would make his side of the story much stronger.

  322. My boss was an authorized agent of the owner. If he had explicitly told me to leave and I refused I could have been arrested for trespassing.
    I get that, the point is that a pissed off person in his own home is not the same as an agent in his bosses office.

    It’s a moot argument anyway since like I said and you point out there is no assertion that Crowley was asked to leave and the question of trespass is just a side issue to arresting a man for calling you names.

  323. Tulpa,

    Sure. Agents of the state commit human rights abuses on a daily basis in the U.S.

  324. My boss was an authorized agent of the owner. If he had explicitly told me to leave and I refused I could have been arrested for trespassing.

    Gates hasn’t said that he asked the officer to leave, so I’m assuming he didn’t, as that would make his side of the story much stronger.

    As I pointed out in one of the other threads, the police should NOT leave the instant a suspect shows ID with matching address. If I’m caught at the address on my ID I could be up to no good, as I don’t live there any more. People move. They get evicted. They get hit with orders of protection. Not everyone runs right over to the DMV to get their ID updated, and some people called criminals will actually rob rob the place they used to live.

    I’m in the process of teaching my son how not to look suspicious in front of popo. Him and his friend’s are really bad at it right now, but I’m trying to help. This case would provide some good examples of how not to avoid the policeman’s evil eye.

  325. much more interesting dialogue

    Not really. It’s fairly obvious Obama was out of line and that’s why he is back-tracking.

    As I said earlier:

    I’m criticizing him for opening his mouth about a local matter, involving a friend of his, in which he admitted he didn’t have all the facts (I doubt he even read the police report), and then talking about racial profiling which had little or nothing to do with this case.

    It’s like someone flings poo at you. Not the brightest move to try to catch it and make origami out of it.

  326. Funny how things work out sometimes. The cop most sensitive to being called racist is the one responding to the call. Most cops would have left Gates ranting in the yard, but since Crowley has made race relations part of his career, he was personally offended.

  327. bigbigslacker, good point. I hadn’t thought of the ex-tenant angle.

    Of course, another lesson to learn from this is don’t lose your keys or lock yourself out of your house…

  328. Speaking of Obama…

    WASHINGTON – Trying to tamp down an uproar over race, President Barack Obama said Friday he used an unfortunate choice of words in commenting on the arrest of black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and could have “calibrated those words differently.”

    “Calibrated”? Seriously, who is writing these things for him?


  329. Not really. It’s fairly obvious Obama was out of line and that’s why he is back-tracking.

    I’m speaking more to his feeling a need to and then doing so. Being out of line is one thing. His reasoning and stance is another.

    Like I said earlier. He’s in a pretty unique position. I just wonder where he plans to take it and what he plans to do with it. He speaks for everyone in the US, but when he makes comments about African Americans he speaks for them and not everyone. Interesting position, that I can’t think of any other president being in.

  330. Of course, another lesson to learn from this is don’t lose your keys or lock yourself out of your house…

    Not fun. My wife’s friend did that once and broke in by cutting through a window screen with a butcher’s knife (don’t ask). And she lived in a townhouse in CT. I’m sure there would’ve been a swarm of cops had someone noticed and called in that particular B&E.

  331. Funny how things work out sometimes. The cop most sensitive to being called racist is the one responding to the call. Most cops would have left Gates ranting in the yard, but since Crowley has made race relations part of his career, he was personally offended.

    I completely agree with this. I can’t put thoughts in the man’s head, but this is the most plausible reasoning for the disorderly charge I can come up with. That and his body language has seemed a little smug and defensive from the start, although you can’t blame a man for being defensive when the pres calls your actions stupid.

  332. TAO-

    Please, at least give me the benefit of the doubt about being ideologically consistent-even if I stray too far towards Anarchia-Libertopia.

    Your question deserves a serious response. Ultimately, imo, Crowley had the opportunity to just walk away and be the bigger man. He failed.

    What Crowley should have done/step-by-step

    1. Studied Rothbard.

    2 Refer to step 1.

  333. It seems reasonable to surmise then that he also knew that the “tumultuous” and “public” requirements, which he parroted, served some meaningful purpose (to avoid the incitement of violence, etc.). This may seem like a lot of assumptions, but I think Crowley is a fairly smart man with at least a reasonable understanding of the law.

    Or, this simply isn’t his first time hitting someone with DC charges. As I’ve stated before, Gates made is pretty clear that he was going to file a formal complaint about Crowley, and arresting someone is a tactic police use to mitigate complaints. I don’t think Crowley lost his head at all; his was abusing his authority to avoid a (admitedly undeserved) reprimand.

  334. LM – you said that the 911 call was just “pretext”, meaning that you think that the second that Gates asked the officer to leave, he should have left, even without establishing whether the B&E occurred at all?

  335. Your question deserves a serious response. Ultimately, imo, Crowley had the opportunity to just walk away and be the bigger man. He failed.

    I think it’s more complex than that. Gates made it clear that he was going to file a formal complaint, by accusing Crowley of racism, asking for his badge number, and then stating that the officer would hear from him later.

    At that point, Sgt. Crowley was facing an unjust accusation that could seriously hurt his career. This was most certainly unfair.

    However, he chose to mitigate this accusation by arresting Prof. Gates; this (under normal circumstances) would have reduced the impact of any complaints the professor would have had, since arrestees are expected to complain, and their concerns are taken less seriously than those of “lawabiding” citizens.

    So, in a sense, they’re both victims of themselves, and of each other.

  336. Like I said earlier. He’s in a pretty unique position. I just wonder where he plans to take it and what he plans to do with it. He speaks for everyone in the US, but when he makes comments about African Americans he speaks for them and not everyone. Interesting position, that I can’t think of any other president being in.

    What? You don’t remember GWB the evangelical?

  337. TAO-

    Sometimes, it takes me a minute to get it-you are clever, my friend. You want me to answer your question keeping in mind my “professed ideology.” A trap for the unwary.

    Step-by-step? First, as he said in response to a question from WEEI’s John Dennis of WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan in the Morning, Crowley “should have taken the fire test.” (I’ll give some credit for the attempt at humor)(Of course, by my standards, a fireman is better than a cop, but, not so much as a public employee is a public employee).

    Second, as he himself acknowledged in the same Dennis and Callahan WEEI interview, he radioed that the situation appeared to be in order and that it appeared that Gates was the owner. He stated that one of the purposes of the intitial radio contact was to inform other officers en route to “slow down” as, in his view, the situation appeared to be in order.

    He also stated that he had observed that Gates was a diminutive man with a cane. Thus, by his own admission, Gates did not appear to be an existential threat and that he appeared to be the owner of the property.

    Third, armed with the aforesaid knowledge, Crowley should have been satisfied and left. You may counter that while he may have asked for Gates’ identification and may have recieved Gates’ Hahvud ID, Crowley should have demanded Gates’ drivers license. No, he should have left once Gates provided him with the Harvard ID and in consideration of his initial observations and radio call.

  338. 335 comments? And this isn’t even the first Gates-related thread. It’s a gold mine.

    Let’s keep the streak alive:

    What do you think of those atheistic Communists?

  339. DBN-

    The second part of my 5:29 post was just a little something to lighten things up-

  340. Lefty MSNBC demagogue Chris Matthews actually posited this hypothetical a few minutes ago: what if Gates had been Henry Kissinger and Crowley had been black! Wow. Reports of the left’s intellectual death are greatly under-reported.

  341. OK, so the black officer says that Gates acted angry and strange.

    That would be nice, if that didn’t fall ludicrously short of the standard needed to support a disorderly conduct conviction in Massachusetts according to existing case law.

    In addition to the cases I posted, over at Volokh they found the following additional ruling:

    Defendant who did not physically resist his arrest arising out of a domestic violence incident could not be convicted of disorderly conduct based solely on his loud and angry tirade, which included profanities, directed at police officers as he was being escorted to police cruiser, even if spectators gathered to watch defendant; defendant did not make any threats or engage in violence, and his speech did not constitute fighting words. Com. v. Mallahan (2008) 72 Mass.App.Ct. 1103, 889 N.E.2d 77, 2008 WL 2404550.

    I guess these fucking pigs are willing to stick together. This does pretty much prove that this isn’t a black vs. white issue, though: it’s a Cop Army vs. Terrorized Occupied Civilians issue.

  342. Gates was a jerk. All the cop had to do was act like a professional, and nothing else was going to happen.

    But Crowley couldn’t resist the chance to cuff a man for insulting speech.

    That is, Crowley couldn’t manage professional behavior.

  343. Careful hmm. The last person to admit he agreed with me was joe, when I said the Iraq war was for oil, which I like and joe doesn’t. Holy jesus, why is this thing so fucking addicting?

  344. “Calibrated”? Seriously, who is writing these things for him?

    My guess would be Rham Emanuel or Hillary Clinton. Also: gotta love how stepping in a big pile of shit is now a “teachable moment.”

    I guess these fucking pigs are willing to stick together. This does pretty much prove that this isn’t a black vs. white issue, though: it’s a Cop Army vs. Terrorized Occupied Civilians issue.

    Congratulations, Fluffy. You’ve finally become a caricature of yourself.

  345. “Given how willing the majority of the populace is willing to lick the boots of cops”

    Hey — maybe you should take some solace in the fact that they are not COP FELLATING PIGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or looking to SUCK COP COCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Geez. Who knew posters at a site like this were so freaking fixated on police penis?

  346. I’ve gone from defending Gates to him trying to use the opportunity to highlight a cause, to actually creating that opportunity, to thinking a flight from China would do that to anybody and finally,to the cop being an overly sensitive turd. Interesting times, indeed.

  347. /shrug

    The thought that he took the comments personally and overreacted because of his work with race and past is completely plausible and the best answer for his actions that I could come up with.

    But it doesn’t forgive or mitigate his action in any way. So the reasoning for his action outside the legal parameters is moot. He fucked up.

  348. In addition to the cases I posted, over at Volokh they found the following additional ruling

    It’s nice to find all of this caselaw information. But I guess I’m still not sure what point your trying to make. Is it that:

    1) Cops often elect to willfully ignore case law in order to flex their muscles.
    or
    2) Cops need to be better educated as case law is built (remember, the case you just cited was 2008) in order to avoid making arrests that would get dropped by the DAs office or thrown out of court.

  349. If someone was yelling and screaming at me, from his fornt porch, that I was a Lincoln lover, how would I react……?

  350. MP-

    Both.

  351. Mad Max-

    what’s the record?

  352. Proof that Crowley is an anti-intellectual:

    He had not heard of Dr. Gates.

  353. Wonder what ever happened to the “protect and serve” motto?

  354. It’s nice to find all of this caselaw information. But I guess I’m still not sure what point your trying to make. Is it that:

    1) Cops often elect to willfully ignore case law in order to flex their muscles.
    or
    2) Cops need to be better educated as case law is built (remember, the case you just cited was 2008) in order to avoid making arrests that would get dropped by the DAs office or thrown out of court.

    In the specific case of a disorderly conduct charge, my point would be that the statute has been so limited by the SJC in MA that it basically does not exist any more except in the fairly rare circumstances where a defendant’s behavior imminently threatens to inspire a hostile crowd to riot. And that it’s just not reasonable to think that the police don’t know this.

    My secondary point would be that adding additional data points reinforcing that Gates was hostile, angry or strange doesn’t add anything to the Crowley side of the argument. That means that all of this “Well the black cop said Gates was belligerent too” or “Wait ’til the 911 tapes show how loud Gates was yelling! You’re see how wrong you are then!” stuff can be discarded as irrelevant.

  355. libertymike said:

    Both

    Well 1) is probably true but tells us nothing about this case. And 2) would be nice but it’s unrealistic to expect all cops to be full versed on everything all the time.

    And I don’t think either point puts one in a position to jump all over Sgt. Crowley. Any belief that he was on a power trip is based on sheer speculation. And any objection to an “illegal” arrest is simply a trivial, albeit likely technically correct point, that doesn’t in any way make this case worthy of anything more than a one paragraph blurb in the Harvard Crimson.

    When you start having to quote case law, you’re already in the realm of technicalities. Particularly when you’re quoting MA state case law. Which means there’s no reason to believe that an arrest of this nature wouldn’t be held up in a majority of the country.

    I’ve said all I intend to (but will respond to any further direct comments). I think Gates should be ashamed for making this a race issue. I think police departments in general are too quick to use DC to silence agitated citizens, and maybe they could’ve taken a lesson from this incident to tighten up their policies. But that opportunity was lost the moment Gates flew into a race infused tirade.

  356. New bumper sticker idea:
    “Sass is protected speech, Officer”

  357. Fluffy said:

    In the specific case of a disorderly conduct charge, my point would be that the statute has been so limited by the SJC in MA that it basically does not exist any more except in the fairly rare circumstances where a defendant’s behavior imminently threatens to inspire a hostile crowd to riot.

    Here are the FBI statistics. If you believe that the statute’s legitimate applications are “fairly rare”, it’s pretty clear that, with 700K disorderly arrests/year, that the police use it quite frequently. Which again begs my question as to how this arrest differs from the norm.

    FWIW – I also Googled this paper (PDF) which also has some additional useful data as well as a plan for how to reduce DC incidents.

    Also, FWIW, this site reports 20K convictions for DC in MN alone. The stats aren’t well sourced or dated, so they’re of limited value. But I’m sure that convictions for DC aren’t as hard or as infrequent as you apparently think they are. In fact, I bet DC is in the top 10 of convictable offenses.

    This is why you’ll find cops up and down defending Sgt. Crowley. Not because of some brotherhood crap. But because this is how they do their job all the time. You may not like it, but that’s the way the system functions right now.

  358. MP-

    Crowley could and should have just walked away. The better man does that. Even if Gates flew into a race infused tirade, Crowley could have walked away. His life and/or safety were not threatened.

    You claim that “any belief that he was on a power trip is based on sheer speculation.” The arrest is proof that he did not handle himself well. It is proof that he could not take being criticized. If you are a cop and are being criticized by a homeowner while the homeowner is on his property, it is far more than just sheer speculation to conclude that the cop was on a power trip if he arrests the homeowner.

    There just was not a legitimate basis for Gates’ arrest. Having said that, what other logical inferences do the facts yield?

    Cops tend to be anti-intellectual. They are not nuanced thinkers. By definition, they are not the best and the brightest-they would not be cops otherwise. They do not make and produce wealth. They are not inventors. They are not captains of industry. They are not great ideas people. Hey, they are in the public sector. They belong to public employee unions.

    Thus, in a way, you are right-one should not expect too much from the cops-how can they keep up with their state supreme court’s decisions affecting how they are to conduct their jobs?

  359. MP-

    IMO, in your last paragraph, you are half right. You can’t really think that there are no “brotherhood” motivations, on the part of any cop, in being pissed off?

  360. libertymike said:

    Crowley could and should have just walked away. The better man does that. Even if Gates flew into a race infused tirade, Crowley could have walked away.

    Is this because this is what you think should happen, or this is because this is how cops are trained to handle the situation? I’m guessing it’s the former. That’s well and good. But the reality is that cops don’t handle these situations the way you want them to. They handle it the way in which Sgt. Crowley did. So you can’t specifically criticize his actions beyond saying “Man, I hate the fact that cops are trained to diffuse a situation by using a DC arrest instead of simply walking away.”

    Again. This incident is not an outlier. This incident is not abnormal. This type of incident happens hundreds of thousands of times a year all over the country. That’s why it doesn’t make any sense to single it out. If you want to use it’s national exposure to rally a cause against DC persecution, fine. Good luck with that. That opportunity was lost the moment Gates cried “racist!”. But Sgt. Crowley, should not, by any means, be treated as some sort of statistical outlier. He’s a cop, doing what cops do, doing what cops are trained to do. Attack the system, not the man.

  361. The most important phrase you can use with a cop when he says something like “Why don’t you step outside with me?” is: “Officer, am I under arrest?”

    If he answers, “no,” then you say, “I assume then that I am free to go” and tell him goodbye.

    By the way, very few people seem to be noting that there were TWO guys observed breaking in, and the whereabouts of the second guy were unknown to the officer.

    From his point of view he could have been shot at any moment. This surely increased his pucker factor.

    One thing’s for sure; Gates better hope like hell no one ACTUALLY breaks into his house henceforth. No bystander with a particle of sense will call the cops on his behalf now and no cop is going to bust his ass getting there in a timely way.

  362. MP-

    Good points. Agree with much of your last paragraph. No question you are right as far as what is.

    One final point. I have personally witnessed and have been involved in a few minor brushes/verbal clashes with cops. In two of the cases I could have, conceivably been arrested for disorderly conduct/distrubing the peace (both times I was vehemently making a point, once in behalf of myself after a cop pulled me over and once in behalf of a friend upon whom a battery was perpetrated by a cop in a courthouse). In those two instances, the cops ultimately walked away. To be sure, in the first instance, while somewhat heated, I was not disresptful to the cop and he ultimately understood my pov. In the second case, well, to be fair, I was screaming at the cop who had assaulted my friend-right in the middle of the courthouse hallway. A court officer separated us and a superior of the cop and my friend’s lawyer impoed a kind of “let cooler heads prevail” cease fire and that was the end of it.

  363. libertymike, right now I’m watching the History Channel and they’re talking about Lincoln’s creation of the Secret Service to keep the currency from being debased by counterfeiters. thoughts?

  364. “Notably, Crowley invited Gates to follow him, thereby setting him up for a disorderly conduct charge. “I told Gates that I was leaving his residence and that if he had any other questions regarding the matter I would speak with him outside the residence,”

    Oh for Christ’s sakes. Now I’ve heard everything.

    Look, if you are a cop and you are being accused of untoward behavior you would be a complete idiot to want to stay alone with the guy. Nor do you just want to ignore him and walk away. You just want witness and other folks for the guy to bounce his behavior off of. From a psychological point of view generally if somebody feels violated and is extremely agitated they calm down when there are more people around and they feel safer. Gates, unfortunately, escalated instead.

  365. 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

  366. Still hate it when Obama is right…

    But i am hating it more that now he is back tracking.

    His one chance to do something “good” and he is screwing that up also.

  367. Hmm…was going to make a point about Gates acting irrationally but a couple of instances back in college come to mind.

    – Walked up to the time clock at the plant I worked in, there was a black woman standing about 5′ away looking at her time card. I punched out and she punched me. Started screaming that I had “jumped in front of me in the line” (there was no line) and I had no right not to let her punch out first. After awhile she stormed off, still bubbling mad at how I had “disrespected her”.

    – At a gas station I worked out, I was jiving with a black customer, passing the time and the other white employee trotted up and began smack-talking to show he was “hip”, too. I just about had to pull the black guy off him, he was so mad. When I did it I wasn’t making fun of him; when the other guy did it he was, apparently. I’ve never figured out how I can do it *right* and others get knives in their throats.

    It’s a cultural thing where blacks assume any interaction with “the man” demeans them. It’s why Wright gets a pass on his racist diatribes with his parishioners but a white racist wouldn’t: they’d either agree or walk out indignantly. Gates is a product of his culture and he acted as he was taught to: complain, act aggressive, call for moral support against “The Man” from his friends and neighbors. Unfortunately that tends to get you handcuffed and have time spent with Leroy in the next cell, complaining about the injustice done you while your relatives make bail. The purpose of a peace officer is to keep the peace, even if it means handcuffing the noisy ones and letting them cool off in a cell for a few hours. Could have been worse. In the old days, pre-“post-racial”, Dr. Gates might also have discovered how slippery the steps down to the cell block can be.

  368. Gates fucked up if he didn’t ask him to leave.

    and

    Cops tend to be anti-intellectual. They are not nuanced thinkers. By definition, they are not the best and the brightest-they would not be cops otherwise.

    This is all bullshit….a cop is at work and none of this prevents him or her from being a professional. At the very least a cop should be able to understand how to defuse a situation. Walking away from a loud mouth should not take a huge intellectual jump or should require citizens to live in fear of them going on power trips.

  369. I agree with you completely. Several years back, I was pulled over by a Ct. State trooper because the motor vehicle registration sticker on my license plate had expired. The trooper had me waiting for a long time in my car and I was afraid I would be very late for work. I opened up the car door and the speaker from his car told me to shut the door. When he finally came over to my car, he was yelling at me saying “Who do I think I was? Did I think I was better than everyone?” He continued to yell at me. I was VERY angry, but I knew to keep my mouth shut. I am a middle-aged white woman with no criminal record and had never been even issued a ticket ever in Connecticut for the past 25 years. Had I not kept my mouth shut, I really believe he was only too happy to arrest me. My crime: I showed any annoyance for being pulled over and delayed!

  370. Gates should be grateful that someone in his neighborhood had the decency to report a perceived break-in, and that the police even bothered to respond. (They don’t in my neighborhood). Instead he acted high and mighty as if not to be bothered by something that wasn’t his problem, and threw in the race card to justify his acting like a self-absorbed, blustering jackass. Crowley made the right call, and if Gates wasn’t friends with the president the charges would not have been dropped. I’m a die-hard Obama supporter but this is blatant cronyism, and the executive office should have concerns more pressing than a misdemeanor by some belligerent loud-mouth.

  371. Gates conducted himself like a total buffoon, but acting like an ass on one’s own property should not be a crime. I don’t think Crowley was a racist or a fascist or anything of the sort; I think he was a regular cop trying to do his job and interpret a badly-conceived and poorly-written law to the best of his ability. That’s the really chilling thing about this story…

  372. Chester White:
    By the way, very few people seem to be noting that there were TWO guys observed breaking in, and the whereabouts of the second guy were unknown to the officer.

    From his point of view he could have been shot at any moment. This surely increased his pucker factor.

    Due to the fact that a second suspect was reported to be there, Crowley probably should have called for back-up before entering the house. For all he knew Gates could have been luring him into a trap.

    But once having entered the house he was wise to stay as short a time as possible. Even after seeing Gates’ Harvard ID, which should have severely reduced Crowley’s anxiety provided he was certain it was real, there still remained the possibility that the other person was controlling Gates with some threat or other.

    Once outside, and in plain view of the other officers and bystanders, Crowley acted appropriately, as can be determined since the other officers did not intervene or advise Crowley to back off.

    I would welcome this type of police behavior in my neighborhood. Let’s not forget that police are human beings, not perfect angels. And to expect them to behave perfectly is unrealistic. Thus, the best thing to say to a cop is: “Yes, sir (or ma’am)”. Don’t forget that they have a government authorized monopoly on the use of force.

  373. That crazy, paranoid nigger is lucky he didn’t get sodomized with a billy club. Probably would have done the coddled, arrogant nigger some good.

  374. This case is quite simple. Mr. Gates was spotted breaking into a house. A motorist spotted an apparent burglary in progress. Officer Crowley and a black officer were dispatched. Crowley ordered Gates to identify himself which he initially refused to do. Gates became arrogant and made racist comments. The white and the black officers arrested Gates for disorderly conduct.

    Gates made predictable accusations that the arrest was racist. Gates, who claims to have a “king” in his lineage said how important and well-known he was and insisted the police should have known he was an important, famous person.

    President Obama indicated the arrest was “stupid” although he admitted he knew nothing about it except that the man arrested was black and a friend of his.

    The media tried, unsuccessfully, to portray the officer as a racist. However, the events were too obvious to convince the public that the President’s views were valid.

    This comes on the heels of President Obama nominating Sonia Sotomayer to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ms. Sotomayer is an active member of La Raza. La Raza is Spanish for “The Race.”

    White Americans, including many Democrat supporters of the President, are deeply concerned with the emerging pattern of racism in this administration.

    Jack Costaine

  375. It all comes to the end about the past and you. For the future, about me, to be continued…

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