Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston




"Trump has, thus far, made casual phone calls to the leaders of Taiwan and Pakistan, two significant countries on the world stage involved in fraught issues.

He has also casually suggested that flag burners be not merely tried as criminals, but deprived of their citizenship. He has done these things, and others, without the slightest introspection, consultation with others, knowledge of the issues, or even acknowledgment of institutional structure or constraint. And all this as president-elect, before he is even inaugurated.

These, my friends, are not the actions of a president, but those of a caudillo, asserting his power to actuate major policies on his whim, and his alone, without constraint or consideration. This is the man whose most famous line prior to his political campaign was, 'You're fired!' Or, worse than a caudillo. He is demonstrating, over and over again, that in his mind he conflates the state, and the country, with himself, and himself alone. He then hosts victory rallies and claims an overwhelming electoral victory in a country which voted by more than 2.5 million votes for his opponent over himself.

Do not trivialize this." -- Michael K.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

HENRY LOUIS GATES--Returning to his home in Cambridge, Mass., while being black

This never should have happened. But, because we are most definitely NOT post-racial, it did.

Associated Press Writer –
Tue Jul 21, 7:52 pm ET

BOSTON – Prosecutors dropped a disorderly conduct charge Tuesday against prominent black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., who was arrested after forcing his way into his own house in what he and other blacks say was an outrageous but all-too-common example of how police treat them.

The city of Cambridge called the arrest "regrettable and unfortunate," and police and Gates agreed that dropping the charge was a just resolution — though not one that quelled the anger of one of America's top academics.

"I'm outraged," Gates said in extensive comments made to, a Web site he oversees. "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.

"There are 1 million black men in the prison system, and on Thursday I became one of them," he said. "I would sooner have believed the sky was going to fall from the heavens than I would have believed this could happen to me. It shouldn't have happened to me, and it shouldn't happen to anyone."

Yvonne Abraham, writing in today's Boston Globe, nails it:

Conduct unbecoming
By Yvonne Abraham
July 22, 2009

Imagine you spent most of the day flying home from China. You’re exhausted and probably irritable. You’re at your Cambridge house, trying to open your front door, but it won’t budge. The thing needs a shoulder put to it. So you ask the guy who drove you home from the airport - a middle-aged guy like you, a guy in a suit and tie - to help you. He kindly obliges.

A woman is walking by. She sees you on the porch, a 58-year-old African-American man with a gray beard and glasses and cane, your striped polo shirt tucked neatly into your pants. Even though you are Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the most prominent academics in the country, and possibly Harvard’s most famous face, she does not recognize you, even though she works for

Harvard Magazine, even though her office is right down the street.

What she sees are a couple of guys trying to break into a house. She calls the police.

By this time, you are on the phone in your own entry hall, asking Harvard’s property managers to come and fix your front door. When you see the police officer on your porch, you assume it’s someone arriving to help you. When he sees you at ease, chatting on a cordless phone, does the Cambridge police officer conclude things look OK? Does he take note of the fact that you make no attempt to run, as a robber might? Does he say anything like this? “We got a call, sir. We’re just making sure everything’s OK. Have a lovely day, sir.’’

Most certainly not. Instead, he goes into your home with his radio and his gun in the middle of the day and acts as if he’s dealing with some perp in a back alley at 3 a.m. He wants your identification. The police officer says you get upset right away, yelling, “Is this because I am a black man in America?’’

The way you remember it, you hand over your ID, and not until he insists you go outside with him do you get upset and accuse him of treating you this way because you are black.
You’ve given him your driver’s license. You’ve given him your Harvard ID. Instead of leaving, he has called the campus police.

What would you do in Gates’s situation? Would you stand for this kind of treatment, in your own home, by a police officer who by now clearly has no right to be there? Most people might not be bold enough to say the things Gates was accused of. (Alas, the classic “I’ll speak with your mama outside’’ attributed to him in the police report was never uttered, his attorney says). But any normal person would have trouble keeping his cool. So Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct.

The whole thing became huge news, because this immensely famous expert on race was charging racism.

Yesterday, trying to avert a public relations disaster over the dunderheaded moves by Cambridge police, the Middlesex district attorney announced the charges would be dropped. A wise move, but too late to stop the damage. Gates, whose great success has allowed him to transcend the racial divide, is now one very high-profile argument for its persistence.

And this:

Carol Rose, writing about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, says we're a long way from a post-racial society and that:

A review of the police report suggests that the police officer arrested Gates not because he mistook Gates for a robber but because Gates condemned the behavior of the officer as racist. His offending remark reportedly was, “This is what happens to black men in America.’’
That’s not disorderly conduct; that’s speaking truth to power - which still isn’t a crime in America.


Ruth said...

The reaction of any law-abiding citizen to atrocities by the police and justice system is one of astonishment and indignation. We who think we have a Rule of Law act as if it in force and that often upsets the unruly arresting officers. I was threatened with arrest when I reached out with the intention of moving aside a patch that an officer had over his i.d. while hassling a group of neighbors who happened to be in a small group in a parking lot in my community once. I had that experience while watching DOJ prosecutors use unconstitutional tactics and inform jurors that defendants did not have a right to freedom of speech, in the Holy Land Foundation trial here.

It's not something we experience often, but an everyday experience with the less fortunate. Professor Gates has an important job to do, making us aware that we are usually on the right side of the law, until it arbitrarily decides it's time to exercise powers it should not have, and has no right to have.

James' Muse said...

I read some articles on this and have personal experience with police (I've grown up with them and I am testing to be one)...

Gates was in the wrong when he refused to identify himself. When a Police Officer asks you to identify yourself, it is the law to do so. Gates refused to identify himself, and instead played the race card. Many criminals will say "its my house though!" but not be able to prove it.

I was watching COPS the other day, and one guy (who was a drug dealer) was sitting on the steps of this house, pretending it was his. When the officers asked him his address, he could not answer. He just kept saying "this house, man, right here!" they had to arrest him, and oh! he had cocaine with him!

Gates could have ended it immediately by saying, "I'm Gates. Here's my ID. This is my house."

But instead, he starts shouting and refusing to identify himself. That is breaking the law.

James' Muse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James' Muse said...

The police report said Gates was arrested after he yelled at the investigating officer repeatedly inside the residence then followed the officer outside, where Gates continued to upbraid him. "It was at that time that I informed Professor Gates that he was under arrest,'' the officer wrote in the report.

James' Muse said...

UPDATE: I read a few articles on this. Capt. Fogg has a good take on this, and I wrote on it as well.

Turns out he did identify himself, but afterwards, followed the cop outside to the street to harass him about being racist and asking for Gate's ID. He was warned twice by the officer that he was becoming disorderly, and when he just got louder, was arrested. I think the Officer was right in arresting him to preserve the peace, which is the Police's job, and then it was also good that he was let go by the department after he calmed down.

I'd do the same. Playing the race card, and being indignant because you are famous and not recognized does not excuse yelling at a cop.

dmarks said...

Gates should count himself lucky he wasn't a white guy in swim trunks. He might have been shot dead if he were, like in Minnesota's recent famous "swimming while white" incident.

James' Muse said...

I read the article. Looks like the officer failed to identify himself as such, and he used excessive force in shooting an unarmed man. It's sad, because bad officers like that give the rest a bad name.

Carl L. said...

Why do people who were not at the scene assume the police report is accurate and not written up to cover the police's ass?

Police have been known to plant evidence, lie, and even commit crimes to cover up wrong doing.

I don't blame Gates for being upset. It was up to the cop to take control of the situation. The cop was on private property. Gates was doing nothing wrong

It's really telling how many people on the internet blame Gates because he bacame indignant.

Who wouldn't if a cop were belligerant?

The reason we have poor race relations in this country is because too many people believe cops always do the right thing.

James' Muse said...

Most cops do the right thing, Carl.

You could switch it around:

Why do people who were not at the scene assume the lawyer's statement is accurate and not made up to cover Gate's ass?

Lawyers have been known to plant evidence, lie, and even commit crimes to cover up wrong doing.

I don't blame the Cop for arresting him. It was up to the cop to take control of the situation, and he did warn Gates twice. The cop was investigating a complaint call. He was doing his job, and Gates followed him, screaming and turning this into a racial thing.

Carl, it is never a good idea to scream at cops when they ask you a question. That will pretty much always get you arrested.

Arthurstone said...


First, let's eliminate the phrase 'play the race card' from any discussion about race. It is a completely useless string of words always uttered by people who, for whatever reason, seek to reduce episodes, such as this Gates business, to a bite-sized not particularly nutritious serving of 'information'. It is an excuse not to have to think. It is an excuse not to have to take each situation on its own merits. It is an unfair characterization of events as frivolous when, actually the overwhelming percentage are completely legititimate.

Secondly, don't drowse through the lectures at the police academy which focus on defusing potentially volatile situations. It will come back to haunt you.

dmarks said...

Arthur: It is often accurate to use the phrase "playing the race card" to describe situations where someone injects race into something. Usually a discussion of an issue that does not involve race. It is so often used regularly for incidents where there is no racial dimension, and someone wants to score political points.

It is not too far-fetched to point out that Gates "plays the race card" here. In his own account of the incident, Gates relays no evidence that he was singled out for his skin color.

Those who play the "race card" are the ones who oversimplify matters and don't want us to think. The attempt at "reduction" is done by those who play it, not those who point out that it is being played.

Perhaps there is something Gates forgot to say. Evidence that the cop was acting racist. Maybe it will come out later. But this is how it is now, with no indication that the cop was being any more racist than the Minnesota swimmer-shooting cop.

James' Muse said...

Arthurstone: It is not inappropriate to use the phrase "using the race card."

It is an accepted phrase in our society. From wikipedia:

Playing the race card is an idiomatic phrase that refers to the act of bringing the issue of race or racism into a debate, perhaps to obfuscate the matter. It is a metaphorical reference to card games in which a trump card may be used to gain an advantage.

Much like people said the Police were after OJ because of his skin color, when in reality, he murdered his wife (allegedly) and later was put in prison for armed robbery.

The Police were called because two men, one black and one white, were seen trying to force open a front door. The police investigate. And Gates tries to turn it into a racial thing.

Should we let black people get away with harassing police?

Let's turn this around, shall we?

A white professor forces his way into his own house. The police are called. An African-American police officer investigates, and then the white homeowner follows the officer to his car, screaming at him about reverse-racism. The officer asks him to calm down twice, and the white professor gets angrier and more confrontational.

So the black police officer arrests him for disturbing the peace.

Its perfectly legitimate. Gates injected race where it wasn't present, thereby trying to gain an advantage. That's "playing the race card" Arthur.

Shaw Kenawe said...

dmarks wrote:

"It is not too far-fetched to point out that Gates "plays the race card" here. In his own account of the incident, Gates relays no evidence that he was singled out for his skin color."

Maybe the onus should be on the policeman, not Gates. When Gates answered his door after gaining entrance to his own house, didn't the policeman, who has training behind him, notice that Gates didn't try to run out the back door, that there wasn't any ransacking of the premises, and that upon producing two proper IDs, the whole matter should have been over, no matter what Gates said. It was the cop, IMO, who prolonged this incident by not difusing a volatile situation. He is TRAINED to handle these sorts of situations, not Prof Gates. --SK

dmarks said: "Perhaps there is something Gates forgot to say. Evidence that the cop was acting racist. Maybe it will come out later. But this is how it is now, with no indication that the cop was being any more racist than the Minnesota swimmer-shooting cop."

Sorry, but we don't know all the facts. The only facts we know is that there is a history in this country of law enforcement people singling out black Americans more than white Americans on suspicion of crime and of being less than fair in establishing what the situation and the facts are.

James' Muse said...

A history, yes. But there is also a history of black men in predominently white neighborhoods up to no good. Does that mean they don't belong there? Not at all.

You are judging one cop by a minority of law enforcement. The majority of law enforcement isn't racist, and there are less every day.

And the cop DID diffuse the situation. When Gates followed him, screaming, to his squad car (according to the police report) he warned Gates. Gates didn't comply, but got more irate. The Officer then did what he was trained to do: arrest someone disturbing the peace.

Sorry, but Gates was in the wrong here. He shouldn't be able to get off scot free by injecting race into this.

James' Muse said...

What I think is sad is that while the young officer probably could have let Gates go, everyone is turning this into a racial thing.

Get in a cop's face, anywhere, even your own front yard and you could get arrested.

The Officer just did what he was trained to do.

Unless you can show evidence of past racism on the officer's part, then you shouldn't lump him with those that have abused the badge just because Gates felt offended.

TAO said...

We do not know when "the race card" was played in this might not have been played at all until the event was reported.

All in all I do not believe the story is even worth the media attention it is getting...

Old guy forgets keys and breaks into his own home, someone calls the police (most likely a neighbor that did not recognize their own neighbor?) and they respond and then old guy gets all intimadated (which is what cops like to do) and reacts incorrectly and the cop is puffing up his chest and being forceful and not all that observant.

So, stupidity all over for everyone...

I would say that the professor does not operate all that well under pressure and the cop, reacts according to the book regardless of whether the situation fits the book...

So let this one die and lets move on to bigger things.

dmarks said...

Shaw said: "Sorry, but we don't know all the facts"

I said earlier that we did not know everything.

"The only facts we know is that there is a history in this country of law enforcement people singling out black Americans...."

And so far there is no evidence that this situation had anything to do with this "history".

The cop should not be judged for what other cops did. Not every white cop bears the weight of Bull Conner behind his badge, after all.

Arthurstone said...

The fact a phrase is in Wikipedia as an example of idiomatic speech doesn't preclude the point I was making that it's use suggests laziness. Motherf**ker is listed in Wikipedia as well.

As far as 'race card' goes with OJ I believe the original use was in response to the OJ defense team going after the odious Mark Fuhrman.

One other thing. Police reports are often fanciful concoctions of the real, the imaginary, the was, the might have been and the couldn't possibly.

And one other thing. If the officer 'just did what he was trained to do' there likely wouldn't have been an arrest at all.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

"Get in a cop's face, anywhere, even your own front yard and you could get arrested."

I don't think so. In your own house, on your own property, one would think the Constitutional requirement to be indemnified against unreasonable search and seizure would apply. In other words, if I am on my own property, and an officer wants to arrest we, get a proper arrest warrant ... or be gone!

And yes, I have had encounters with immature, authoritarian officers who overstepped boundaries and pushed buttons. They should be properly trained so as not to abuse law-abiding citizens.

libhom said...

I think it is utterly amazing that there are people here defending the conduct of the police in this case. It shows that racism is still endemic in our society.

James' Muse said...

Libholm's comment is the perfect example of using the race card, Arthur.

So did Gates, by saying "this is because I'm black!"

He didn't address the issue of getting in an officer's face.

He didn't address the issue of the officer overstepping.

He made it about race.

You're right; that's lazy. I doubt it was out of racism, and labelling a white cop arresting a black man as racism is lazy and contributive to the problem of a racial society.

Octopus: Not so. If an officer was investigating a possible break in, and you are in your yard, but you threaten the officer, the officer does not need a warrant to arrest you, and they have witnessed a crime (threatening an officer).

James' Muse said...

Basically, it comes down to this:

Could the officer have handled it better? Yes.

Could Gates have handled it better? Yes.

It had nothing to do with race, and injecting race into this is "playing the race card."

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

JM: "Octopus: Not so. If an officer was investigating a possible break in, and you are in your yard, but you threaten the officer, the officer does not need a warrant to arrest you, and they have witnessed a crime (threatening an officer)."

The events of this story do not support this perspective. Gates had already produced his ID, had already proved he was the legal owner and resident thereof, and the officer had exited the front door and was walking away when Gates came out the door and confronted him.

The officer arrested Gates for disorderly conduct, not suspicion, and certainly not for failing to produce ID. What the officer demonstrated was an inappropriate anger management issue after Gates expressed annoyance over the incident.

There is no excuse for a retaliatory bad attitude just because a law abiding citizen loses his cool. The officer should have left the scene at that point and not provoke another incident.

James' Muse said...

Depends on how confrontational Gates became. If he kept following the officer, which the report says he did, and the officer said to calm down twice, and Gates did not (which the report also said), the officer would be right to arrest him for doing what he was doing: disorderly conduct.

Now, if I were the officer, I'd probably have handled it differently. But the officer didn't do anything "wrong", he just could have handled it better.

dmarks said...

Libhom: There's not much defense of the cop here. Other than the "racism" accusation which no-one has shown any evidence for.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

JM: "he just could have handled it better."

Indeed. I believe officers are taught, or at least should be taught, to defuse volatile situations so they don't escalate. For instance, a man who forgets his keys and is having a "bad day" is obviously flustered. Why provoke the situation further? In this case, the officer could have said:

"Calm down, Mr. Gates. We received a report that a stranger was trying gain entry to your house, and I was merely checking out the report to protect your property. No offense intended. Would you prefer I NOT check your house the next time I get such a report?"

Thereupon, Gates would have stewed for awhile but eventually would have felt ashamed for over reacting.

Why must police officers turn every bad day into an excuse to arrest and book decent, law-abiding citizens? This default condition to arrest under ANY provocation is unacceptable.

TAO said...


I just LOVE your Sarah 'Joan of Arc' piece at the bottom of your blog...

Coyote said...

Hello! Sounds to me, by the statements being made by some persons here on this blog that you were eye witnesses to this incident, including being inside the house yourself when the officer[s]were and later outside the house near the other officers, Dr. Gates and Sgt. James Crowley.

Would each and everyone obviously having been there and witnessed this arrest, please report to the Cambridge City District Attorney's as soon as possible to submit for download your photo's, videos and voice recordings from your cell phones that you each dutifully captured and also for providing us with your most truthful statements for the record of this incident.

We appreciate your cooperation in this serious public matter as good and cooperating citizens. Thank you.

Spokesperson for the City of Cambridge, District Attorney's Office, Cambridge,MA, E. Denise Simmons, Mayor.

Coyote said...

Never ever, ever touch a police (LE of any type)officer who is questioning you whether you are a person of interest or not to the officer[s] conducting their official duties. This includes shooing the fly that's annoying him/her off their uniform sleeve. If you do, even as harmless as the touch may be or as a innocuous gesture to start a handshake you will subject to arrest for battery immediately.

Never ever, ever raise you voice whether in anger or otherwise or wave your arms and/or hands or point your finger demanding to see his badge number and/or name. You will be subject to arrest for assault. (You do not physically have to touch a victim for an assault charge. Unless you are the victim of a crime they are investigating, stay has calm as you possibly can, and at least two feet away in front of the officer and try to see the name tag on the officer's uniform and if you can see it, memorize before you say another word to the officer.

Then the next time you answer one of her/his questions, you say "yes, Officer Smith, I was..........."

If you can't see his name tag, ask her/him as politely as you can by saying to her/his next request, " Yes, Officer, uh...excuse I didn't get your full name when you identified yourself to me.......98 % of the time you'll get the name,(since you are demonstrating submission and cooperation and you should continue to address her/him by Officer "name"

Memorize this technique. I am sure I do not need to explain to you why it works almost always. Of course, this technique does not apply to persons who who either have committed or are attempting to commit an illegal act.

Now my best guess in this matter to which I was "not" a witness, but which I often am a witness to similar incidents, is that Gates got a bit huffy and angry, when Crowly did not treat with immediate respect (and believe me an LE Officer doesn't necessary have to show respect but I suggest strongly that any and everyone does treat the officer with respect,) and then Crowly lost it.

In most all cases you will be fine not arrested. Just remember the cop has "the" gun is trained to use it, thus he has the power and is always correct in these kind of situations (but not including situations where the officer is truly acting unlawfully in performing her/his duties.

Later you can always file a really nasty lawsuit and enjoy the fun of spending quite a bit of your money, harassing the "AH" officer legally with your attorneys.

Your job is not to get arrested for anything.

It is not that field Police Officers aren't human and shouldn't have to treat non-threating persons with respect, they are. But that is not the problem. Fully 75 - 80% of any community's Field Police Officers have some level of narcissistic personality disorder. And that disorder makes them potentially very dangerous persons.

Again, my guess, Gates blew the (my) rules (or maybe he set the officer up), but charges were dropped/not formalized, because it is a very embarrassing incident and situation for both Cambridge's Mayor, City Council, Police Department and DA. Gates and his attorneys and Harvard are going to have a field day taking this officer downtown, at least until there is a very formal and public apology with Officer Crowly standing, with his head bowed next to his superiors and the Mayor and COP make apologies while the Nat'l press suck it up.

But please don't forget a Nat'l Crimes Statistic (From FBI findings), that Police Officer's accidentally kill more civilians with their firearms than civilians (mostly criminals) kill officers.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Coyote: "Fully 75 - 80% of any community's Field Police Officers have some level of narcissistic personality disorder."

Oh? Proper citation or attribution, please. To quote myself: "Let us avoid the temptation to characterize persons in diagnostic terms, which are best left to qualified and licensed mental health practitioners. The inherent dangers of popularizing psycho-speak is simply this: Diagnostic terms are very often misunderstood by laypersons and misused by others whose purpose may be to engage in character assassination."

In any event, for a job as sensitive as law enforcement, one would think recruits would be screened for emotional stability and trained in conflict resolution techniques. Failing those, anger management counseling would certainly be in order, and if that doesn't work ... dismissal.

Whenever, a blogger or commenter says: "Never, never, never ..." it make me highly suspicious of the super-authoritarian, social-controllers within our midst.

TAO said...

I don't know Octy I think the advice of Coyote was very practial and very logical.

Of course it also shows that we have to defuse the situation and I have always found that to be true whenever dealing with police.

I have dealt with the police in quite a few situations and I have yet to find ONE that actually attempted conflict/dispute resolution and or issue resolution.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

TAO, I would still like to see attributions and citations. One occupational hazard of policing is the problem of switching on and switching off adrenalin rushes between emergencies when an officer is forced to draw a gun and then climb down from this cycle of fight/flight repeatedly. It messes up one's body chemistry and leads to many kinds of personal disturbances ... yes ... especially an ability to control anger. That is why I am skeptical of anyone who wields labels like narcissistic personality disorder. Their knowledge is incomplete.

Police departments know of this hormone switching disorder and do little to prevent or treat it ... which is why regrettable incidents take place.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Here is an abstract of what I am talking about. It is a condition related to PTSD.

James' Muse said...

Octopus, that's why they are trained to arrest someone who just won't calm down, to avoid violence.

Tao: I have seen some do conflict resolution. I have been doing some ride-alongs, and we had to go to a domestic dispute, then a suicide call, and then an assault. For the first one, the officer was kind, but firm, and suggested counselling for the couple. The suicide call he was also gentle, but firm, in that he had to take her to the hospital for medical help, and she didn't really have a choice in it. The third he was just backup, but the other officer was cautious.

I have known many cops, and the majority are kind, respectful, and try to do conflict resolution whenever possible.

James' Muse said...


I got a copy of the police report. Go to my blog and click on the pictures at the bottom of the post.

As far as I can see, Gates was COMPLETELY in the wrong, as there were police and other (neighbor) witnesses to Gates' harassment.

He's lucky they don't press charges and that the charges were dropped.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

JM, I would like to see more emphasis on conflict resolution and stress management and less emphasis on taking citizens having a "bad hair day" to the pokey in handcuffs.

I am not necessary blaming field officers as much as those in authority who are aware of the need for better training and mental health counseling and yet do nothing ... allowing those conditions to fester and escalate.

dmarks said...

Gates himself has offered no evidence of racism from the cop. He himself made an accusation against the cop, based on the cop's skin color and nothing else. Now who is looking like the racist in this.

James' Muse said...

Octo: From the reports from both officers at the scene, he did try to calm Gates down twice. And, as I've said before, I have seen cops try conflict resolution techniques. But when those don't work, the Officer needs to be able to fall back on somethign to keep the peace. And that is arrest, because the cop probably knew they weren't going to charge him afterwards and spend the money prosecuting something.

Police officers are to preserve safety first, the peace second, and the law third. Gates continued, even after warnings, to disrupt the peace, and then turn it into something racial.

Arthurstone said...

Case closed.

We've seen the police report. And as we know, they are gospel. Still, I have a hard time with the "I'll speak to your Mama outside' passage from the officer's report but I suppose it could have happened that way. I was touched the officer switched Gate's arm position from back to in front of his body because of discomfort from the handcuffs and went to search for Gates's cane before leaving the house.

Interestingly enough there are two very different views on the episode.


Gordon said...

"Disturbing the peace" and "disorderly conduct" are catch-all charges police use when they need to get someone away from a scene (troublemaker) or stop a confrontation from escalating. As near as I can tell, Gates was guilty of being an asshole, but that's not chargeable.

And when police respond to a call of a burglary in progress, they aren't going to take anyone's unverified word about their identity. They shouldn't.

The whole idea of a police force only works because we accept the idea that they have power and authority. The police officers know this in their bones. Hence, when a situation is threatening that authority, the officer will reassert his power, and thus the charge in this case.

Police officers are trained intimidators. It's the only way they can do their work in a situation where they are greatly outnumbered.

TRUTH 101 said...

Right or wrong, the cop has the badge and the gun. Let him be in charge. As I always told my Union members. Just do as your told and we'll grieve it later.

Mr. Mxyzptlk said...

..Were you born this stupid or did u learn it in a crackhouse?
Give me a break! Officer Crowley was doing his job. The professor needed to give him his ID and shut his mouth. The town of Cambridge needs to back him and not give in to this nonsense, even if it's coming from the White House. I just heard on the news Cambridge's Police Chief is forming a task force and their doing an investigation of the matter so they could learn from this. What are they going to learn? not to arrest a black friend of President Obamas because he'll cry "racial profiling. Is the professor looking to find fame from all of this? Where is the respect of the men and women protect us everyday! It's nothing new about President Obama rushing in before the facts are heard from all sides. He needs to focus more on NOT bankrupting our great country then giving this a minute of air time.
And Obama had NO business to even get involved in this. SHAME ON YOU President Obama.....i thought you were for all the people and not just a chosen few.

I ain't got no blog. said...

Arthurstone said...

Case closed.

We've seen the police report. And as we know, they are gospel. Still, I have a hard time with the "I'll speak to your Mama outside' passage from the officer's report but I suppose it could have happened that way. I was touched the officer switched Gate's arm position from back to in front of his body because of discomfort from the handcuffs and went to search for Gates's cane before leaving the house.

Interestingly enough there are two very different views on the episode.

NO the case is NOT closed and not twovery different views on the episode ...

Obama acted out of line. The officer was clearly correct in how he acted. The Dumb Prof should have produced his ID and shut his big fat mouth. Did he think because he was a friend of Obama's he was above the law?
Maybe The officer should have just shot the Nutty Professor and saved us all all this BS.
Pres Dumbama just showed the entire country how stupid and racist HE is. ON NATIONAL TV HE ADMITTED TO NOT KNOWING ALL THE FACTS, YET HE CALLS A WHITE OFFICER STUPID AND SIDES WITH THE BLACK MAN BEFORE EVER EVEN READING THE POLICE REPORT.......Let's see, the assisting officer, SGT. CARLOS FIGUERA, sounds hispanic to me but I could be wrong,and another assisting offer who is in the picture is BLACK. But the "fail" to mention that. HELLO!!The black man had SHARPTON on SPEED DIAL. LMAO!!!!!Racism. WHAT? WHO IS RACIST. MAYBE THE BLACK PRESIDENT SIDING WITH THE BLACK MAN CALLING THE WHITE OFFICER STUPID 20 SECONDS AFTER ADMITTING ON NATIONAL TV THAT HE DOESN'T KNOW ALL THE FACTS. WHEN ARE YOU PEOPLE GONNA GET IT? OBAMA IS A MORON!!!!!!!!!!!If you can't see what's going on here than you're a moron!!!!!!!!Period. Sad, he played the race card during the economic doom and gloom campaign. Now he is playing the race card during his health care doom and gloom. Blame others, present a failed system and a need for change. Then he plays the race card in a matter he clearly should have stayed out of. Obama should be ashamed of himself for shooting his mouth off when he didn't have all the facts...should have just kept his mouth SHUT. When will this racism against whites end? I am about sick and tired of it.

Sad, Sad, Sad.

RepublicanGirl said...

Liberals always attack whenever they can't think of anything contributory to say. Actually, as far as this story goes, it is exemplary of the Obama's and the amount of thought they give towards anything meaningful.
Gates sounds like a rev Wright follower! All the interview bites I've heard of him today seem to say the same thing: "It's the white man and his oppressive white pig racist police state that's oppressin' me!" Ha ha ha ha. What a whiner. All he had to do was step out on the porch and identify himself.
I can understand the Professor's anger.. however, reading these articles... I see a Police Office who responded to a report of a break in. The officer was doing his job. Someone reported a break in by two black men at that home. The officer didn't just happen by and pick that house because it was inhabited by a black man. How would the professor feel if there actually were two men (black or otherwise) who were actually robbing the home? Would he be grateful that the officer stopped them, or would he be angry because they were racially profiled? This is all nuts and the President has no business being involved. Is he going to come to the defense of everyone who is his friend? Would he do the same for me if I am unjustly accused of a crime? This is not a story that should have made such headlines... nor, a statement by the President. I don't blame the officer for not apologizing. He was doing his job... let him do his job. If a police officer has to think before he reacts every time he is trying to do his job... we will see a lot more dead officers. If the professor had acted in a professional manner and had let the man just do his job, this would have all been blown over without headlines. But, instead he acted out and acted like a wise-ass and was arrested, not for breaking in, but for acting disorderly. Maybe he should blame his nosy neighbors for calling in the report in the first place, and let the police officer alone.

Instead, he acted like a jerk. Now he hides behind the race thing. Coward. Idiot. Racist.

Sarge said...

I can't believe that you are siding with this Nuttie Professor! ..
Another fine example of the ignorance and race-baiting tendencies of our President. Of course, it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that minorities commit the vast majority of crimes in this nation….nah that couldn’t be it….it must be due to “inherent racism”. Damn, we are such a racist country. A minority has no chance of ever succeeding in this racist nation… no attention to our minority President, congressman, successful athletes and businessmen.

What happened in Cambridge between a black man (professor or not) and a white police officer can be sorted out over time. My suspicion is the black man may be the one who's a racist, but I won't get on national television to make that claim. Unfortunately, our astute president, openly and admittedly ignorant of the facts, nevertheless took the opportunity to comment on what happened. Nice job, Mr. President. This once again illustrates what kind of i.d.i.o.t we have elected as leader of the most powerful nation on Earth. Here is a man who is tremendously impressed with himself and especially with the sound of his own voice. He must keep his mug in front of either a mirror or a camera constantly. He is also someone who clearly deals with very broad brush strokes and not too concerned about what he paints over in his haste. He has demonstrated in this latest ill-advised escapade that if a "brother" and a white man disagree, he'll side with the "brother" every time, no matter what the facts. But of course that cannot possibly be called racist, because racism is only when a white man does it.
I am so sick of hearing this stupid debate about race. if this had been a white man that resisted the request of an office, he too would have been arrested. This is not a race issue, it is a respect issue. If a police officer, no matter how mad you are or it makes you, asks you for your ID, you better hand it over. Respect the law and those who uphold it and stop screaming racism.

Arthurstone said...

Stop shouting Ain't Got Whatever...

'Case closed' was intended to be ironic. Guess that missed a sizable chunk of the audience here. At least the Caps Lock crowd.

All the facts aren't in. In fact, it's my experience that occasionally a police report is, gasp, untrue. And that, shudder, a politician will jump on an issue a little too soon.

Let's stay tuned and see what happens.

Of course it's gratifying for some to shout 'moron' at the drop of a key.

But that's their problem.

Arthurstone said...

And speaking of political opportunists, I give you the Cambridge Police Union President:

'Stephen Killion told the Huffington Post that he was shocked when he heard the president make the remarks during Wednesday night's press conference.

"That was totally inappropriate. I am disgraced that he is our commander-in-chief. He smeared the good reputation of the hard-working men and women of the Cambridge Police Department. It was wrong to do. It was disgraceful."

Boy oh boy those union agitators...

Shaw Kenawe said...

IAGNB screams in CAPS that the president is a moron then proceeds to write this:

Maybe The officer should have just shot the Nutty Professor and saved us all all this BS.



Your listening skills are lacking. Mr. Obama did not call the officer stupid. He said the Cambridge police acted stupidly.

There is a difference--but subtlety is not your long suit.

SmartyPants said...

Well Shaw, maybe the president is a moron. I wonder how many policemen out there who drank the Kool Aid and voted for the flap-eared flim-flam man known as 0bama are feeling just a little bit stupid right now that their Messiah just served them a crap sandwich?
This man lacks the maturity to be the Commander in Chief, let alone our country's president. Without sufficient facts he jumps to the worst of conclusions and on national TV makes a fool of himself using a childish "ad homimen" (name calling) attack on the police who, as it turns out were only doing their job. Sad, so sad.

Shaw Kenawe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaw Kenawe said...

Smarty Pants,

Your hysteria has made you and IAGNB lose all sense of proportionality--and this happens quite often to people who are suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome. LOL!

You imply wrongly that Mr. Obama has called ALL policemen stupid, therefore they're eating a "crap" sandwich.

I have to point out again to people like you and IAGNB, that your lack of reading comprehension skills or the inability to listen carefully make you and others like you vulnerable to making dumb mistakes (acting stupidly?) in understanding what really happened in these situations.


He did not say all policemen are stupid.

Smart people can act stupidly.

Do you believe all policemen are stupid? Because that's what you imply by suggesting they're all eating a distasteful sandwich because of what Mr. Obama said.

You really need to calm down and understand that your hysteria has taken you to Crazy Town.

And it's getting crowded there.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Here is an example of some policemen acting stupidly--and this happened before the Cambridge/Gates incident.

Arthurstone said...

President Obama apologized to Crowley.

That's a refreshing change coming from the White House.

James' Muse said...

Shaw: Yes, some police act stupidly. But you have taken Gate's word over Crowley's because of what other officers have done. That is discrimination. The more that comes out about Crowley, the more he is vindicated. For five years, he taught about NOT racially profiling.

Yet you, and Arthurstone, are attacking him ad hominem by lumping him with other police that have acted unjustly. That is discrimination.

Just as it is wrong to assume the Gates is up to no good because he's black (plenty of black people are criminals), it is wrong to assume that Crowley's (and Off. Figeroa's) reports were wrong.

Gates was arrested, but not prosecuted. Gates needs to get over himself. He's acting like a spoiled celebrity ("Do you know who I am!?") and injecting race into this.

Gates is looking like the racist one, here.

dmarks said...

Gates playing the race card in such a silly fashion does not help it when there are real racial incident with cops. The "cry wolf" problem.

I wonder if Gates was drunk or something. So his inner racist came out and he vented at the cop.... sort of like Mel Gibson did.

Obams shot off his mouth... and then apologized. So the subject is closed on the Obama end, as far as I am concerned. Good for him. Now, how long before Gates apologizes? Or will he keep digging himself a deeper hole and look more and more out-of-touch with everything.

Dr. Gates needs to follow the President's cue on this. Time for a "refreshing change" from Dr. Gates. Time for him to act sober instead of like a raging drunken idiot who let his temper get out of control and can't back down and admit that.

Bob said...

Why is the President of this Country getting involved in a situation that he knows nothing about? I thought he was the President of all Americans, not just Black Professors ranting and yelling about Race profiling.

Well at least the police officer knows how to do HIS job unlike Obama trying to run this country into the ground which he was elected to protect. Let me see, the officer is supposed to protect the public and property. someone calls and says two men are breaking into a house, which from a distance it looked like they were, door was stuck and they are trying to force it open?, and this supposedly intelligent Professor isn't happy that his neighboors are watching out for his property, not flipping out when the officer is trying to determine what is going on? Trying to work with the police to get the misunderstanding corrected, not assuming theat there is bias in the officers motive? What is stupid is the President of the United States sticking his nose where it doesn't belong, what is stupid is a book smart common sence stupid liberal professor preventing a police officer from doing his job. Obama, nothing here, get back to ruining our country you only have 3 1/2 years left and only 8 months to becomming a lame duck president.

Arthurstone said...

James typed:

'Yet you, and Arthurstone, are attacking him ad hominem by lumping him with other police that have acted unjustly. That is discrimination.

Just as it is wrong to assume the Gates is up to no good because he's black (plenty of black people are criminals), it is wrong to assume that Crowley's (and Off. Figeroa's) reports were wrong. '

I don't assume the report is wrong. I'm prepared for the possibility that it is. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. And, as I said, I have a difficult time with the 'Mama' bit.

That said, however you want to spin it Gates was arrested, cuffed (& thoughtfully given his walking stick) and booked AFTER proving his identity and bona fides in his own home.

And I don't apologize for having a problem with that. I haven't suggested Crowley is a racist. I do assert he acted inappropriately. That the info (still incomplete) has come out in dribs and drabs and endless folks are lined up on either side to make political hay of the matter doesn't help either.

James' Muse said...

And I assert that Gates acted inappopriately by getting in the officer's face and screaming at him.

In a confrontation where an enraged citizen directs said rage against an officer, the officer is the one whose word is believed by the courts. And I'll stand by that.

Arthurstone said...


If this thing were to go to court I assure you Gates would win and win big. The days law enforcement gets every benefit of the doubt because of the misbegotten notion their word is always sterling are gone forever. Too many instances of police misconduct in a vast array of cases over the years have, quite rightly, changed the lay of the land just a little.

Every American has the right to shout and be rude in their own home and any jury would agree.

So let's sit back and see how it plays out. there is undoubtedly more to be revealed.

For what it's worth this episode had a profound effect on me when I was just a bit younger:

Shaw Kenawe said...

Bob asked: "Why is the President of this Country getting involved in a situation that he knows nothing about?"

Did you ask that same question when Mr. Bush interrupted his vacation to fly back to Washington DC from Crawford TX, to sign a bill to interfere in the Schiavo case, which had nothing to do with the president of the US?

Shaw Kenawe said...

James typed:

"Yet you, and Arthurstone, are attacking him ad hominem by lumping him with other police that have acted unjustly. That is discrimination."

I invite you to find anywhere in my post and in my comments where I attack, ad hominem, Officer Crowley in any way.

I have not. That is your characterization, and, I must add, unjustified.

I have very clearly shown that the post is a copy of what other people have written.

A lot of people come here and either misread, or read into my comments things I have never said.

I'm just putting the record straight in this instance.

I have not attacked Officer Crowley.

dmarks said...

Shaw: That was actually legislation sent by Congress to President Bush to sign or veto. Taking care of Congressional legislation sent to his/her desk has everything (not "nothing") to do with a President of the United States doing his or her duty.

dmarks said...

Arthur: "I haven't suggested Crowley is a racist."

Well, you aren't a hot-headed bigot like Dr. Gates was that night.

James' Muse said...


The only facts we know is that there is a history in this country of law enforcement people singling out black Americans more than white Americans on suspicion of crime and of being less than fair in establishing what the situation and the facts are.

While not ad hominem per se, you did stereotype the police officer by a minority of their group. Bad cops are a minority that shrinks.

That would be like someone saying that "The only facts we know is that there is a history in this country of black americans per capita more than white americans per capita of committing crimes and of being less than honest when arrested..."

Both statements are discriminatory and unjustly stereotype.

Shaw Kenawe said...

But James, what I stated is a fact, not an ad hominem attack. And I do not know what the statistics are vis-a-vis crime within the black community versus crime within the white community.

IIRC, during the Bush administration a study was done on racial profiling: white, black, and Hispanic. The Bush administration tried to suppress some of the uncomfortable results of the study.

"Times reporter Eric Lichtblau broke the story of Greenfeld's firing in a front-page piece on August 24. According to Lichtblau--whose account, to the best of my knowledge, has not been disputed by any of the parties involved--Greenfeld and acting Assistant Attorney General Tracy A. Henke had clashed over the contents of a press release to announce the publication of a major BJS study on traffic stops by police. While the study (which was mandated by Congress) showed that white, black, and Hispanic drivers were stopped at almost identical rates in 2002 (8.7 percent of whites, 9.1 percent of blacks, and 8.6 percent of Hispanics), once stopped, black and Hispanic drivers were two to three times more likely to suffer a negative consequence, such as being searched, handcuffed, or arrested. Henke had insisted that the information on the racial/ethnic disparities be removed from the draft press release, writing "Do we need this?" and "Make the changes" on the copy. Greenfeld refused and the press release was withdrawn. The study itself, however, was released unchanged and can be viewed in its entirety on the BJS website (Contacts between Police and the Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey, April 2005, at Shortly thereafter, Greenfeld was brought in for questioning by the third highest ranking official in the Justice Department and then called to the White House and asked to resign."


Matt Rose said...

I am an Obama fan and I believe he made a mistake in maligning the police as stupid when he had just finished remarking that he didn't have all the facts. I would have respected more--an admission that I jumped the gun and misspoke.

James' Muse said...

Yes, but by assuming that is what happened in this case, that this police officer, who is known as not racist, was racially profiling (which is racist), you are arguing that the police officer was wrong in doing his job because it stems from racism, and so his report is invalid, which is an ad hominem attack; because he is racist, therefore he cannot be trusted.

But since he isn't racist, and actually taught against racial profiling for FIVE YEARS, then one cannot discount what his report said Gates did.

Arthurstone said...

There are good instructors and there are bad instructors. Curricula vary. Regardless, sounds like some remedial training is called for.

James' Muse said...

Actually, Arthur, I beg to differ. I think the article at New Majority by Thomas Gibbon said it best (

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested, not for being a “black man in America,” but for being a belligerent jackass. It doesn’t matter if you’re an esteemed professor or a college kid hammered off of keg beer – talking back to an officer is stupid and will eventually get you arrested. This is called equal application of the law.

Arthurstone said...

The Gibbon piece is not very useful. The days of 'sit down and shut up, I'm the cop' are finished. It is particularly out of date in a private residence in a non-threatening situation.

This is interesting. From a Libertarian perspective:

'It's not about race'

This is interesting. From a Liberal perspective:

James' Muse said...

Arthur: If Gates really thought the officer was doing something wrong, he should have let the officer leave instead of following him out and screaming at him disorderly. That isn't the mark of a stable person. He should have then phoned in and written in complaints. Believe me, those do affect police when a prominent person remains calm and then later talks to the mayor, police chief, etc.

But by following him out and being a belligerent a-hole, he dropped down to the level of a third-rate punk who lost all credibility.

Cops are paid by us, yes. But we aren't their bosses; legislatures are. If you think a law needs to be changed, take it up with them. Until then, Law Enforcement does have the authority to arrest you when you cause a disturbance.

James' Muse said...

The days of 'sit down and shut up, I'm the cop' are finished. It is particularly out of date in a private residence in a non-threatening situation.

Not so. Equal application of the law. Had this been some drunken punk screaming at the officer and refusing to quiet down, no one would be enraged that he got arrested. Yet because this professor is "dignified" and "using a cane" his belligerent behavior, on the level of a drunken frat boy, is supposed to be excusable?

I don't think so.

kelley62 said...

How dare the President comment on something like this. He sure wouldn't be commenting if it were a white man arrested. Talk about double standards. I detest this man. With the blacks it is always about racism - get over it people. You are not nor ever have been slaves yet you are mired in that mindset of your ancestors. If this professor had simply acted as the gentleman he is supposed to be and answered the officer's questions none of this would have transpired. The officer was completely in the right to question this man. The caller did the right thing by reporting a possible break-in - you'd better believe Gates would have been screaming if there were a real break-in - what a horses a** that man is.

Shaw Kenawe said...

kelly62: "How dare the President comment on something like this."

What? He gave up his ability to comment when he became president?

"He sure wouldn't be commenting if it were a white man arrested. Talk about double standards."

You can't be serious about that statement. Right? You're joking of course.

"I detest this man."

Then why should I believe anything further that you have to say if you admit that your are in the throes of hatred against him. Anything you have to say is tainted and will be understood through a prism of your unreasonable admission of prejudice.