July 21, 2009

Was Henry Louis Gates Jr. the victim of race discrimination, persecuted by the police...

... or a "Don't you know who I am?" celebrity with a sense of entitlement, who wouldn't let a police officer perform his entirely just and appropriate duty?

UPDATE: Gates will not be charged:
The incident... “was regrettable and unfortunate,” said a statement released Tuesday by Professor Gates, the Cambridge police and the Middlesex County district attorney’s office.

“This incident should not be viewed as one that demeans the character and reputation of Professor Gates or the character of the Cambridge Police Department,” the statement said. “All parties agree that this is a just resolution to an unfortunate set of circumstances.”...

Professor Gates’s front door was stuck shut, and his taxi driver helped the professor pry it open. According to the police report, a woman called to report two black men on the porch of the home trying to wedge the door open.

Police and Professor Gates offered differing accounts of what happened when officers arrived. According to Professor Ogletree, Professor Gates said he showed the responding officer, Sgt. James Crowley, photo identification, but the sergeant did not believe Professor Gates lived at the home. Frustrated, Professor Gates asked for Sergeant Crowley’s name and badge number, which he refused to give. Professor Gates was arrested on his front porch, where several other officers were standing.

The police said Professor Gates refused to show identification. When told that Sergeant Crowley was investigating a robbery, the police said, Professor Gates yelled, “Why because I’m a black man in America?” and accused the sergeant of racism. The police report said Professor Gates followed the officer outside, yelled at him and was arrested for disorderly conduct.

92 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

I think this is a case of this.

Knowing Gates' past, he is almost certainly a pompass jerk, but once he proved he was the resident of the house the cop should have let this one go. If I was sick and returning from a long trip and getting crap in my house, I would be cranky too.

Was race a factor? Well probably more from the call in from the neighbor than anything else, but Boston is notoriously heavy handed on issues of race. Gates has a chip on his shoulder? Yeah, but again he was likely cranky and it was in his house.

MadisonMan said...

It's odd that the neighbor who called it in didn't recognize him. Don't people in Cambridge know their neighbors?

I would *like* to see the police at my house if my neighbor thought someone was breaking and entering. And I'd just give the officer my ID, that shows my address, and that would be that.

LonewackoDotCom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LonewackoDotCom said...

I don't know about Gates, but his lawyer Ogletree is/was a BHO advisor, in addition to having some very interesting ideas. He's also yet another example of the incredible incompetence of BHO's opposition for failing to use that in the campaign.

tim maguire said...

Gates...found the lock to his house had been tampered with. The Moroccan driver who had driven him home from the airport helped him push the door in.

Yeah, I'm going to go with that second one. He should have shown the ID and thanked the police officer for looking out for his house.

Fred4Pres said...

Turn out the cops are recommending the prosecutor drop the charges too.


Well there is some of this too.

Move along, nothing to see here...

Fred4Pres said...

I have seen similar things from the TSA. Mouth off to one when you have a plane to catch and see how that works in getting you through the line faster.

rhhardin said...

Do all neighborhoods get such quick police action, is the racism question.

NKVD said...

Said by a scion of an upperclass family "Do you know who my father is?"

Cop "Why, didn't your mother tell you?"

I could go on, but HLG is an arrogant asshole who should be profiled for excessive pompousness. Cuff 'im, Dano...

traditionalguy said...

Sad but true. The most favored dudes are often the biggest jerks when people don't bow to who they are. Give me the middleclass any day. The New Aristocrats have no sense of everyday jobs to do, and spend their time demanding that the whole world be one big awards banquet with them at the honoree's table.

Fred4Pres said...

It's odd that the neighbor who called it in didn't recognize him. Don't people in Cambridge know their neighbors?

No. And blacks all look the same. I mean, come on, it's Boston. The only difference between Southie and Cambridge is they are slightly better at hiding their racism in Cambridge.

Okay, that comment is over the top. And like I said on the first post, I get the feeling this is less about race and more about a cop feeling he was not getting proper respect to his authority (trust me Professor Gates, things like this happen all the time to white folks too). But when it is night, in a doorway that may or maynot have been lighted, you have to be pretty close to recognize someone definitively.

The Crack Emcee said...

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.?

Come on, give me a break,...he's the very definition of Mr. "Do you know who I am?" (Yea, yea: you're that black guy.)

I say hit him with The Macho Response

Jennifer said...

What I really can't comprehend about this story is that if his lock had been tampered with to the point that he had to break into his own house, how could his reaction have possibly been anything other than oh thank God you're here, Mr. Policeman, I need to report a crime!? Something really doesn't add up here.

former law student said...

Jennifer is right. Gates probably locked himself out, then decided just to force his door, and lied out of embarrassment.

My mom was always losing her house keys. A trip to the store often ended with me climbing through the kitchen window. Once she had locked the window, so I got to climb through the much higher bathroom window.

The Drill SGT said...

1. I was struck by this part
He spoke to The Post in an hour-long phone interview while resting on Martha's Vineyard. Gates is a founder of the Root.com,


2.
tim maguire said... He should have shown the ID and thanked the police officer for looking out for his house.


The cop looked at the ID and left. Gates followed him outside here there were 4 cops and started talking shit. one of them said "cuff 'em Franky".

3. Fred4Pres said...
But when it is night, in a doorway that may or maynot have been lighted, you have to be pretty close to recognize someone definitively.


It was 1 PM in the afternoon.

4. I was struck by the fact that the front door would not open so he went to the back, entered the house, walked to the front, could not open the door, walked back out to the front, then broke the door down.... :)

William said...

Cops are paid to be blunt instruments. Being a bully is part of their skill set. Harvard professors are paid to win arguments with soft words and reasoned discourse....Gates is in the right, but he was probably being right in the wrong way. I get the sense that a different professor or a different cop could have resolved this better. When assholes collide they create a force field that attracts all the other assholes in the zeitgeist....It's possible that the cop acted like a jerk, but that doesn't eliminate the possibility that Gates was being not so much righteous as self righteous.

dick said...

Gates is well known to be of the "Don't you know who I am" school. I imagine he mouthed off to the cops and they booked him. I agree that he should be happy that the cops investigated that someone might have broken into his home. What a creep@!

Lem said...

Professor Gates asked for Sergeant Crowley’s name and badge number, which he refused to give.

The professor just wanted to look up the sergeant's possible KKK ancestry, that's all ;)

I'm going to cry, I cant believe it ;)

Adrian said...

Two things:

1. This same story happened to my dad. My sister accidentally locked him out and then went to sleep. He tried climbing a tree to get to the balcony and an open window, but the cops got to him first. My dad is white, by the way, and this was in Canada.

2. I met Prof. Gates once, and he went straight to the race card, it was sad and offensive. I was wearing a nametag, my last name is very similar to his, and he told me, "Maybe your grandparents owned my grandparents." You know, because that's such a nice thing to say. My family are Jewish immigrants from Europe and I can assure you that my grandparents had a harder time of it than anything Prof Gates' poor ancestors could ever imagine, but you don't see me still complaining and obsessing about it and rubbing it in the face of every person of German ancestry I meet. Anyway, it was very sad to meet a man so twisted and obsessed by race that slavery guilt is the first card he plays meeting a young white student, but then I suppose that's his ticket to a successful career in a place like Harvard.

traditionalguy said...

One only hopes that the God Gates has a special line at airport security checks. The TSA is not going to take abuse like that jerk gives all white people he meets.

Baron Zemo said...

Did the officer misplace his plunger?

ricpic said...

From what I read Gates immediately started screaming racist at the cop and went on screaming so loudly that after the cop told Gates his name Gates screamed at him "Why won't you tell me your name?" An impossible race hustler to deal with.

scinfinity said...

Of course, if somebody HAD broken into his house, claimed they were him, and the cops took his word for it...I bet he'd be fine with it.

David said...

Does anyone here actually know anything about Gates? He certainly is not a race hustler.

Gates is a first rate historian who talks more honestly and interestingly about race than most, certainly more than most African-American studies types. I have never met him but I have read a number of his books and watched his popular history shows on TV, most recently the remarkable "African American Lives." I know people who have met him and they say he is likable and decent.

A statement like: "Maybe your grandparents owned my grandparents" is pure Gates. No pussyfooting, a recognition of a historical reality and a step right into a taboo topic. This could have been the start of a pretty interesting conversation, rather than an opportunity to jump to conclusions and be pissed off.

Is Gates pompous? Well, he's a Harvard professor, so unless he's a real saint he probably can be.

Was he out of line with the cops? Sounds like he might have been, and the public statement of bygones being bygones may be a recognition of that. But we don't really know how the cops acted, or whether Gates was just having a Really Bad Day. (He certainly did after the cops arrived but maybe that was not the start of it.)

Most of us have acted like assholes once in a while and said things we regret. Most have probably looked like assholes to others, even when things were not as they seemed.

Gates has a long history of insightful reflection on one of our country's most difficult issues. He can see things from more than one point of view and tries to be balanced and reflective. He deserves to be cut some major slack here.

TRO said...

"Maybe your grandparents owned my grandparents."

So many comebacks, so little time.

David said...

TRO, you have all the time in the world here. Let's hear some of your comebacks.

traditionalguy said...

David...You are right about Gates acting like he has a shared grandfather with me. He acted a whole lot like many emotionally retarded white guys of his age. The slack is his, the moment he stops playing the stupid race card as trumps like it is still 1970.

David said...

Where is the race card history on Gates? He is not a race card kind of guy, which is why this incident is puzzling. I agree that he seems to have reacted badly, but his life doesn't reflect someone who cries "Oppression!" to settle every argument. I'm not defending his conduct here but this is a guy who is an independent, creative thinker--not some racebot who only has one response to everything.

mccullough said...

Maybe Gates is just frustrated because now that we have a black president, Black Studies just seems kind of dated.

The cop over-reacted and so did Gates. But Gates is recuperating on Martha's Vineyard.

David said...

Now, reading some more of the accounts, it's not clear to me that Gates acted badly. His version and the police version are very different. If his version is correct, he had a right to be upset, and the police moved way too fast in arresting him.

Sassin' an officer should not be a crime.

John said...

Gates is a proud man, not used to being talked down to. He's an important person. He's a real smart guy. He commands authority. He tells people what to do. He's got three fucking names!

He's supposed to be restrained about being harassed by the police? By a white asshole cop?


Why is this a surprising response? I'd want to sue the city too. I'd want that cop fired. I'd be pissed off. Anyone would be pissed off, unless you thought it was an innocent mistake. Being racially profiled and treated like shit is not an innocent mistake. You can understand an innocent mistake, because you can see yourself making it too. You can't see yourself harassing a minority.

John said...

Does anyone really think this would happen to a white college professor? I don't.

rhhardin said...

I was training my first Doberman Susie in a college town, which involved various off-leash formal exercises under such distractions as were available in a busy town.

A professor walked up and asked, ``How long are you going to continue to flout the leash laws in this town?''

``First Oration against Cataline in the Senate,'' I replied, and heeled off with Susie.

So many categories for thuggery, outrage and effeteness are lined up here.

traditionalguy said...

David I was not there. The report included Gates accusations to the Police Officer that he was being racially targeted, often known as playing the race card. The report says the police left the house they were risking their safety to protect for Gates and Gates followed them outside to loudly repeat his race card accusations. That is protected speech, but Gates' loud yelling at Police officers outside the house may have gone over a line. Without a video no one will ever know for sure. Dropping charges on both sides seems a solution and a lesson learned by both men.

rhhardin said...

Does anyone really think this would happen to a white college professor? I don't.

Bayes' theorem at work.

Blacks ought to work to get their crime rate down a little.

mccullough said...

Does anyone think a 60-year-old white professor would yell at a 30-year-old white cop "This is what happens to a black man in America."

It's time for Skip to retire. He got arrested for being an asshole, which isn't right. But accusing a cop of being a racist isn't right either. It's stale.

Seven Machos said...

When assholes collide

This is obviously what happened here and I only wish I could have said it so perfectly. Cops are often assholes. Harvard professors are often assholes.

Case closed.

John said...

This is how people act when they are deeply, profoundly affronted. So yeah. 60 year old white guy professor. Let's say the cop spit on a picture of the beatles, or some shit like that.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
junyo said...

"Blacks ought to work to get their crime rate down a little."

Nothing says "colorblind society" like advocating collective punishment for individual actions.

Why oh why do those darn black people not understand that conservatives just want to love them?

On the topic of 'mouthing off'; here's the thing. There's no law against being an asshole. If you don't like people being an asshole towards you, you probably shouldn't be in a line of work were you carry a gun and deal with people that are under a fair amount of stress. We are far too accepting of the fact that a police officer can lay hands on someone, and/or throw the power of the state at them (or worse) just because you made his life a little difficult. When the telecom weasels gaffled up my firewall last week I couldn't just walk over and start tazing and cuffing folks. Why do we fetishize law enforcement? There's no question of the fact that Mr. Gates broke no law, or did anything wrong other than failing to properly genuflect. Sure, today it's an uppity black guy, but tomorrow it's someone getting their dog shot or their kid.

David said...

Trad. Guy, Like you I do not (and can not) know all that actually happened between Gates and the police.

Here is what we do know.

Gates is in his own home, on the phone, when police arrive. He has been there for some time.

The cop tells him to come out. He refuses. The cop enters the home.

Gates identifies himself (perhaps having first refused to do so), with Massachusetts and Harvard ID's that show without doubt that he is Gates, and that the house is his address. Gates and one of the police officers are in a shouting match, and Gates wants the officer's badge number and name. The officer may or may not have given this information.

The officer goes outside. Gates follows and is shouting and angry. He makes no physical threats. He may or may not have threatened some other consequence. He says that his treatment is because of his race. Once outside, on his own porch, Gates is arrested immediately for disorderly conduct.

Putting race aside, is this a basis for a disorderly conduct arrest? If you lost it when the police entered your home, and shouted and yelled without otherwise threatening anyone, would you think it fair to be arrested?


Maybe you would. I would not.

Joe said...

I don't this is race as much as just an asshole cop with a much too high opinion of himself. We have a few in my town. The solution is to act really nice so they go away as fast as possible. Whatever you do, you don't do what Gates did--he's lucky he didn't get shot by a Mr. Trigger Happy.)

UWS guy said...

Gates was once questioned by police walking across harvard yard was was asked to show identification in the middle of the afternoon once.

UWS guy said...

And...since Ms. Althouse reads Ta-Nehisi Coates blog I would think that when she read his post on this subject earlier yesterday before commenting on it today she would have included this information...

Or is it that lawyers are trained to keep out information in their statements they don't want the jury to bother their pretty heads with?

Pogo said...

Gates should not be playing the race card, but the property card. This seems more about 'a man's home is his castle' and how the cops should have been waaaaay more careful and conciliatory.

But most police forces have become almost paramilitary in practice; some feel this is needed because of the violence of the citizens they are meant to serve.

Over time this has hardened them against those very citizens, treating them like subjects to the the realm. As a result, they have become unduly harsh, as here.

Race is beside the point.

rhhardin said...

"Blacks ought to work to get their crime rate down a little."

Nothing says "colorblind society" like advocating collective punishment for individual actions.

Bayes' theorem works, however. If blacks have a higher crime rate, you'll take it into account when figuring that something looks wrong.

Even blacks do that.

It's not racism.

Pogo said...

By 'beside the point' I mean they have begun to hate us all equally.

rcocean said...

Love the reactions to this pompous professors arrest - straight out of "Stuff White People Like".

Read the police report. Perfect example of a Harvard professor pulling rank. In fact, he was such a pompous jerk, the Police officer trapped him into going outside so he could arrest him for disorderly conduct.

Mickey mouse, but Gates probably pissed him off with his "I'm a Harvard Professor bow down to me" attitude.

Maguro said...

What's the fun of being a cop if you can't hassle some dickhead college professor?

Richard Fagin said...

For those of you who never heard it, there's an old saying, "You can beat the rap, but you can't beat the ride." Yelling back at the cops will get you nowhere good.

Cops can be buttheads. They deal with scum and really nasty bad guys all day long and that makes 'em cranky as hell. Sometimes plain old citzens get the raw end of it for no more than mouthing off, even if justifiably. Not excusable, but it is understandable. Just remember who has the badge; and if you're really resourceful, see if you can figure out a way to get the conversation recorded. For traffic cops, dash cams are the best thing ever. It's incredible how well the cops follow procedure when it's all on tape.

Did the cops go overboard because Prof. Gates is black? Of course. Prof. Gates should just face the fact that a crook actually breaking into his house would, unfortunately, statistically likely be black. Ask a black cop that gets pulled over for a traffic violation what happens before he gets to show his badge.

(.....covers his head for the inevtiable rock throwing and spittle-laced screams of racism for reciting actual crime statistics)

Penny said...

I don't know if Gates was a victim of race discrimination. All I know is that the more attention this gets, the less likely people will be to call the police about a possible break-in at their neighbor's house.

** Over here, minding my own business. **

RLB_IV said...

The neighbor called the police when she saw two black men breaking in the front door. The police responded to the scene with the information that the suspects were black. If the neighbor neglected to mention the color of the suspects then one might argue a case for racial profiling.

It seems to me that he is an arrogant professor who,of coarse, believes that he is entitled by his "station" in life and by the "skin he is in".

He was a jerk as so many people are today. He is an example of how we have digressed as a society.

UWS guy said...

We really have regressed RLB IV, you're absolutely right. Black men used to be much better behaved when cops confront them.

Why, I'd go so far as to call them quite uppity nowadays.

rhhardin said...

Being uppity is assuming to appear above your station in life.

That's not the case here.

It's a case of a dickhead trying for an easy score.

former law student said...

Over time this has hardened them against those very citizens

Agree 100%. It's "us vs. them" and we civilians just happen to be them. Not that their attitude is unjustified:

Years ago I went to a Halloween party largely comprising wotkmates and their spouses. As guests continued to arrive, one workmate left abruptly. Come to find out Monday that the spouse had had to arrest a guest in the line of duty. Cops and perps aren't supposed to socialize, I guess.

buster said...

rhhardin @ 8:08:

Funniest comment I've read in months. Smartest repartee I've heard in a long time. Wish I could be that witty.

jdeeripper said...

The police said Professor Gates refused to show identification. When told that Sergeant Crowley was investigating a robbery, the police said, Professor Gates yelled, “Why because I’m a black man in America?” and accused the sergeant of racism.

Paradoxically Gates should be glad that the officer wanted more clarification.

The officer had no definitive proof that Gates was the property owner.

Since Gates didn't give the officer objective evidence Gates should be glad that the officer wanted to make sure a criminal was not trying to get inside his home.

The officer was trying to protect Gates' home and property.

Instead Gates went PMS and acted like the little nerdy bitch that he is.

John said...Gates is a proud man,

All black males are "proud". They also have quite a bit of "rage", "dignity" and "moral authority".

That's what it means to be a black male in America.

Does anyone really think this would happen to a white college professor? I don't.

Worse things have happened to professors and students in America.

Google Eve Carson.

That's also a story about being "A black male in America?"

Not that there will ever be much concern and outrage about it.

When we discuss "Race in America" or "Being a black male in America" we never seem to get around to the Eve Carsons of this country.

Instead it's the black kids kicked out of the pool, somebody said nigger, black celeb falsely assumed to be a criminal that gets to be the focus of attention.

Americans thrive on this need not to know about certain things.

Which is why Americans call something "Reality TV" which has little is anything to do with reality.

UWS guy said...

Oh I get it. So if someone calls the police station saying that there is a black man in the house next door, the police don't need a warrant to search that house?

Or, knowing that they, the police, do not have a warrant to enter the house they trick the owner of the home to step out onto his porch and then arrest him for disorderly conduct?

Because it's against the law to call a cop a pig don't you know...

rcocean said...

Why is "UWS Guy" such a racist?

"UWS Gates" called black people "uppity" - a wrong and clearly racist remark.

UWS guy said...

I see what you did there rcocean...

jdeeripper said...

UWS guy said...Oh I get it. So if someone calls the police station saying that there is a black man in the house next door,

The neighbor referenced a break in. In fact the person trying to get into the home was not simply using a key.

the police don't need a warrant to search that house?

They don't need a warrant if they believe a crime is in progress.

Or, knowing that they, the police, do not have a warrant to enter the house they trick the owner of the home

"Trick"? I thought Gates was some kind of great thinker. Now you relegate him to stereotypical low IQ black guy.

to step out onto his porch and then arrest him for disorderly conduct?

The cops didn't force Gates to act like a PMSing little bitch.

Gates could have been a man about it. Instead as a short, little, glasses wearing nerd he got all intimidated by the Big Bag Cops and over reacted. Throw in a little bit of classist arrogance and this is what you get.

Because it's against the law to call a cop a pig don't you know...

Call the cops pigs all day and night. I don't care.

I don't care if you want to call Gates a porch monkey either.

Gates acted like a little bitch. I'm not going to deny it just because in this case the little bitch is black.

Jeremy said...

The racists assholes are out in force on this one.

Nothing new.

John Lynch said...

There's a pattern in our society of people who cannot be convicted of an underlying offense being charged with another offense relating to the investigation. Usually this is lying to investigators. In this case it's objecting too loudly to being questioned in one's own home.

The thing is that Gates didn't do anything wrong in the first place, so the problem was the police investigating nothing. As soon as that was clear the police should have left.

After watching so many people being charged with lying about something that never happened (or cannot be proven), this gets really old. Law enforcement seems to do this more and more often, or I'm just noticing it more.

The police are supposed to work for us. If they have no business being in our home or on our property, they should leave. I think the professor didn't do the smart thing, but it wasn't the wrong thing.

Cedarford said...

John said...
Does anyone really think this would happen to a white college professor? I don't.


It happens. A lot. White professionals with the same "Don't You Know Who I Am!!!" act getting slapped down hard when they become so habituated to people in the sway of their power bowing to them that they are shocked when people outside their power come down hard on just another prick swinging dick.
It just doesn't make the progressive Jewish MSM because it isn't about Race/Class/Gender.

Example: 2-star General forgot to get the proper security credential badge - tried pushing past the Marine Corporal sentry, then began threatening the sentry with all sorts of "You Are Messing With A Man of Power Beyond Your Imagination, Son!!" dire consequences ....all in eye and earsight of the Chairman, JCS - arriving for the same meeting.

The Chair had MPs arrest the General. When the meeting was over, the 2-star was informed his career was over and he was busted to Colonel and requested to resign immediately for interfering with a Sentry on Duty. Or he could demand court-martial and face jailtime.

jdeeripper - "When we discuss "Race in America" or "Being a black male in America" we never seem to get around to the Eve Carsons of this country."

That is not on the NYC media & intelligensia's agenda as it is "counter-narrative" - of the noble morally superior black man being persecuted as possible criminals by Evil Racist Pigs. Eve Carson and a thousand like her are "inconvenient" and best left swept under the rug lest they "inflame non-PC feelings".

----------------
Pogo said...
Gates should not be playing the race card, but the property card. This seems more about 'a man's home is his castle' and how the cops should have been waaaaay more careful and conciliatory.


Sorry, Pogo, but people are routinely placed in legal trouble for threatening officials with consequences or abusing them while on "their" property on official business.
Not just cops investigating a possible crime in progress...who routinely arrest parties in domestic disputes for disorderly conduct if they mouth off to oficers too much. Try the "My property, get off!! You don't know who I am!! I will destroy your career and Yo Momma's career!" to a fire safety inspector, a health inspector, or building inspector..

You just might not get your permit, and may find yourself written up for chickenshit beyond your ken for being a power-tripping prick.

Seven Machos said...

John Lynch is right.

Duscany said...

A lot of people seem to think Gates was arrested in his house. He wasn't. After he and the cop had talked inside Gate's house, the officer was satisfied that Gates was the owner and the officer was leaving. At this point Gates followed him outside and began to call him a racist in front of half a dozen officers, including some from Harvard, a Harvard maintenance man, a neighbor woman. At this point the officer was tired of the abuse and the assault on his ego and manliness. So he over reacted and arrested Gates in front of a small crowd, all of whom will no doubt testify that Gates was screaming at the cop that he was a racist.

The arrest report also says that Gates said the cuffs were too tight, so the officer e switched them from rear to front and also provided Gates with his cane.

My opinion: Gates flew off the handle and played the race card when the officer asked him to identify himself in his own house. Once the officer left he never should have looked back. When you get in a pissing match with a skunk the skunk enjoys it and you just look bad. I know the officer felt that his honor was at stake with all the observers looking on. But when you're a cop you have to learn to take a little abuse from senior citizens on their own property. What's the point of being a senior citizen if you can't abuse the cops when they show up on your property?

All that said, the cop was responding to a call from a citizen alleging possible burglary at his house (as Gates and his taxi driver tried to push in the jammed front door). How does Gates jump from that to the conclusion that the cop is racist because he shows up to investigate what the dispatcher told him was a possible home burglary/break-in? I think both the cop and Gates have a little too much testosterone between their ears.

Seven Machos said...

Shorter Duscany: Hey you honky, get off my lawn!

A lot of great posts in this thread, including Duscany's...and some shitty ones. You have to admire Cedarford's ability to get in jabs at the goddamn Jews under these circumstances. Though I personally believe he could do it under any circumstances.

The Drill SGT said...

UWS guy said...
We really have regressed RLB IV, you're absolutely right. Black men used to be much better behaved when cops confront them.

Why, I'd go so far as to call them quite uppity nowadays.


I guess it's all about how you were raised. I'm a bald middle aged white veteran professional man, however:

Whenever I interact with the police, like I was recently, I always take some common sense steps. Being a Cop is stressful. Cops have guns. Mistakes can happen. Reduce those odds.

1. I keep my hands on the steering wheel.
2. I say yes Sir.
3. I provide ID and answer questions.
4. I dont get shot reaching into the glove box for what the cop thinks is a gun.

common sense

and I get a warning, not a ticket

LarsPorsena said...

Sounds like a real-life replay of "Amos and Andrew" 1993.

Roger J. said...

Seems to me Gates is a first class asshole--but there is no law against being an asshole--esp on your own property. Gates had every right to be an asshole.

The Cop, who has all the power in the transaction, should have had the good judgment to walk away.

Now I am ordinarily a law and order kind of guy, but I sense in the law enforcement community an increasing sense of militarism--If you havent read about the SWAT team abuses in Maryland where these fucking idiots appear to best at shooting family pets, then you need to make yourself aware.

I want cops who wear uniforms, have badges and nametags. I dont want hooded black clad assholes whose main expertise seems to be breaking into the wrong houses and shooting dogs. That seems to be the way some law enforcement is going these days. And that isnt a good thing.

somecamerunning said...

Shorter jadeeripper and Cedarford: "Because of what happened to Eve Carson, Henry Louis Gates should have been shot."

Also: "Progressive Jewish MSM." Very nice!

Maguro said...

I know the officer felt that his honor was at stake with all the observers looking on. But when you're a cop you have to learn to take a little abuse from senior citizens on their own property.

No, you've got it all wrong. It's not about the cop's "honor", but rather about his authority and position of dominance. Being psychologically dominant is how cops maintain control of chaotic situations and keep themselves safe. No cop is going put up with being screamed at and threatened because that means they've lost control of the situation. Try what Gates did yourself if you doubt it.

Cedarford - A friend of mine who was an Air Force cop had a great line for senior officers who thought they could pull rank on him:

Sir, don't confuse your rank with my authority.

Worked every time.

hdhouse said...

this will forever be a "he said, he said" thing so one should look long past that.

The whole thing isn't good on a number of levels but I'm stuck on if Gates was a suspect from the getgo and once demonstrating that this indeed was his home was Gates asked to come outside so the officer could search the house for a real potential tresspasser or did the focus go to Gates for no other reason that he was an "uppity black man" in a white neighborhood.

NKVD said...

Wow, hdhouse is back - and his comments are as good as ever - no capitalization to begin sentences, made up words - classic hdhouse.

Now get back to work, you liberal buffoon, you need to figure out some more tax dodges - your president is coming for your money.

The Drill SGT said...

HD, as I read it, the initial interaction was inside the house. ID requested and presented.

Cop is satisfied and exits out the front. Back-up cops have arrived.

Gates proceeds to follow the officer out into the front yard and talks shit.

police do what police do in that situation. black or white cop, black or white perp.

Up against the wall and spread'em. etc

It's not good, but it's pretty consistent behavior, and as Maguro said, its about control.

Cops are almost always out numbered and need to keep that edge of control.

Pissed Off Hillbilly said...

Gates was a tenant here.
Harvard owns the house.
That's why the maintenance man was there. Gates called him after breaking in the door.
Wouldn't it have been easier for all involved if he had called maintenance in the first place?

And, I'm no fan of cops, but things go a lot easier when you shut your mouth and not give them shit over a minor matter.

Franco said...

I've seen too many belligerent, authoritarian cops to just dismiss Gates' account, but was it because he is a black man?

This stuff happens to white folks too and too many blacks are completely unaware that everything isn't racism. There are other things wrong in the world, other stereotypes and grudges police act out on.

Was Gates a jerk? No doubt. But to be forced to grovel to police to prevent them from assaulting you or arresting you is NOT the answer either.

Those who say police officers have such difficult jobs don't convince me.

Many cops become arrogant after they see how scared ordinary citizens are of them and they get used to being obeyed, with the citizenry demurely complying with every demand. Then any counter-argument or protestation is treated as a threat to the officer's authority and not seen as an ordinary person who has rights as an innocent individual.

Another thing about police they aren't to be trusted. They lie, mislead and are actually after arrests, not really trying to "protect" us. They know crime is everywhere so they will arrest whoever they wish - it's just a matter of discovering which crime YOU are committing.

One big indicator police forces are arrogant and have too much power - they often don't even apologize for proven mistakes on their part. Dogs and people are shot by mistake and they don't find it necessary to issue an apology.

LarsPorsena said...

Gates will be the hero of the faculty lounge. He's probably going to get a herniated disc from all the backslapping he will endure from his
colleagues. He'll be able to squeeze another widely cited never read tome out of this incident. TV interviews are already being booked.

traditionalguy said...

The policeman's job has low pay and a work environment that hardens the men by continual encounters with the worst that human's have to offer, and that is some amazingly bad stuff. Gates is the spoiled brat in this encounter. He expected deference and awe for his heroic black savior role. In that role Gates points out enemies of black men in White Man's culture for a living. Their contrasting roles in life are confusing here because in the end the police officer is the one who refused to be racially profiled by Gates who was loudly and publicly accusing him of being just another another bad white man for simply doing his job. Gates was too easily confused here, perhaps by his jet lag. The police cannot afford to be confused on duty or let a confused and hostile human take over and disturb peace in the neighborhood.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hey if Alford can speak truth to power to Senator Boxer, Gates is well within his rights to call out that honkey pig.

Don't they fucking know who's President now?

jayne_cobb said...

You know upon reading this story this video immediately came to mind.

I can't be sure what happened, but I get the feeling that it was in the same vein; except in this case the officer proved less patient.

Shanna said...

Sassin' an officer should not be a crime.

Truth.

On the topic of 'mouthing off'; here's the thing. There's no law against being an asshole.

Truth, but white or black, try it with a cop and see what happens. I had a cop (who pulled me over for NOT breaking any laws in a parking lot because he “thought” I wasn’t going to stop – this after I had stopped) tell me I should “be nicer to cops” because I wasn’t deferential enough. Meaning, I didn’t say I’m so sorry for NOT breaking any laws. So yeah.

I agree with you on your larger point, but this may be more a problem of cops than racism. Who knows.

Sounds like a real-life replay of "Amos and Andrew" 1993.

Heh. I'm not the only one who saw that movie, huh?

Kirk Parker said...

William at 6:02pm perfectly summarizes it IMO.

I would only add that, though none of us were there and this is really a "he said, he said" kind of thing, I will stick my neck out and say that (based on numerous accounts from gun-rights activists around the country) that the following sort of unprofessional behavior on the part of the police is sadly credible:

"Professor Gates asked for Sergeant Crowley’s name and badge number, which he refused to give."

Sergeant Crowley, if this characterizes you unfairly, perhaps you could work a bit with the thuggish contingent among your fellow-officers, and then maybe people wouldn't profile you so.

rcocean,

"the Police officer trapped him into going outside so he could arrest him for disorderly conduct."

Please, please, PLEASE tell you you aren't approving of this sort of nonsense.

FLS,

"we civilians"

Sorry, police officers are civilians too. Just sayin'...

Hoosier Daddy said...

"Professor Gates asked for Sergeant Crowley’s name and badge number, which he refused to give."


Maybe the cops out east are different but here in Hoosierland I don't need to ask the cop his name and badge number because it's shown in plain sight on the badge he's wearing and on his name plate over his shirt pocket.

Ben (The Tiger in DC) said...

Re Althouse's original question -- I think the answer is "both".

Well, maybe not "race discrimination", but the cop should've just walked away once he knew that it was Gates' home, even if Gates was being a jerk to him.

Charges should never have been filed, and dropping them is the right thing to do.

Ann Althouse said...

UWS guy said..."And...since Ms. Althouse reads Ta-Nehisi Coates blog I would think that when she read his post on this subject earlier yesterday before commenting on it today she would have included this information... Or is it that lawyers are trained to keep out information in their statements they don't want the jury to bother their pretty heads with?"

The assumption that I read everything Ta-Nehisi Coates puts up and that I read it immediately is totally absurd. And the fact is that I did not read that. I haven't read his blog in a couple weeks, in fact.

Ann Althouse said...

If you have to break into your own house to get in and the police happen to show up, you should be respectful and actually apologetic for troubling them and the neighbor who called in. It's pretty obvious.

Danny said...

I have met Prof Gates, and he is a pompous ass who always plays the race-card. Well, I bet this incident will lead to a new book, full of his "hate-whitey rage",and fame and fortune. Lots of books sold, paid lecture tours etc. So, eventually the greviance-mongering will turn a tidy profit, and he will win.

Maguro said...

Don't forget the obligatory lawsuit. Cambridge taxpayers, get ready to pay up!

Jennifer said...

Gates was once questioned by police walking across harvard yard was was asked to show identification in the middle of the afternoon once.

And...since Ms. Althouse reads Ta-Nehisi Coates blog I would think that when she read his post on this subject earlier yesterday before commenting on it today she would have included this information...

Or is it that lawyers are trained to keep out information in their statements they don't want the jury to bother their pretty heads with?


I don't normally take it upon myself to correct ignorance on the Internet, but this was delivered so smugly I find it hilarious.

Ta-Nehisi Coates quoted a different black Harvard professor who was stopped by police while walking across the yard. NOT Gates. One S. Allen Counter, to be precise.

Richard Fagin said...

I hereby retract my somewhat even handed comment from yesterday and substitue the following:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/21/AR2009072102782.html

Now that I've seen a picture of the arrest with a black Cambridge cop in the foreground, only one conclusion is possible: Gates is a race mongering asshole and should have spent the evening in jail. Maybe he should have "tripped" and cut his face on the way to the station, too. That and thanks, Mr. Tucker for confirming that "don't mess with the cops" is wise.

Seven Machos said...

I think this is really a class issue: Who are these uppity police officers to question a Harvard professor?

Isn't that the real subtext? Race is a canard.