I commented in real time that I thought President Obama made a mistake in his press conference the other night in taking on Gates-Gate. His objective for that press conference was to drive the narrative on health care reform. He stepped on his own message. President Obama acted stupidly there imo. Of course, being a good friend of Gates may have influenced his actions. But that does not make it not stupid.

President Obama of course is not stupid. In fact, he appears to be quite a brilliant man. But even brilliant people do stupid things sometimes. (Even me . . .) But because discussing the Gates matter may have been stupid (we all have opinions, maybe it was brilliant. Who knows?), that does not mean he was wrong in characterizing the behavior of Officer Crowley and the Cambridge Police Department as stupid. In my view, he is right on that. And Officer Crowley continues to act stupidly. As does the brilliant Media critic Bob Somerby. Somerby writes:

We’ve read the accounts by Officer Crowley and the other policeman. We don’t know how accurate these accounts are. Nor do we know if Crowley’s “actions at the scene of this matter were consistent with his training, with the informed policies and practices of the department and with applicable legal standards,” as the Cambridge police have asserted (just click here). We don’t know what those “informed policies and practices” are. And alone among American observers, we don’t know what actually happened.

We do know perfect crap when we read it, and we know a bit of American history. We don’t know what happened at Professor Gates’ house. But we know a famous old tale when we read it. Imagined in one unflattering way, this tale has been told many times.

This seems a stupid observation to me. Of course none of us were actually there. But we do know what Officer Crowley wrote in his report and if Officer Crowley's behavior comports with the "informed policies and practices" of the Cambridge Police Department, then it should be obvious to any sentient being that in fact those policies and practices are damn stupid. From a different link than Bob's:

Cambridge police commissioner Robert Haas said Sergeant James Crowley "acted in a way that is consistent with his training at the department and consistent with national standards of law enforcement protocol. . . ."

President Barack Obama, the country's first black president, accused the police of acting "stupidly" when they arrested and handcuffed Gates at his own front door in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

. . . "This is an opportunity for us to reexamine our policies and procedures and I am confident that good will come out of this unfortunate situation that we deeply regret occurred," Haas said. Asked about Obama's criticism, Haas said: "This department is deeply pained and takes its professional pride seriously."

Indeed. Time to take the opportunity to do something about a policy that is obviously stupid to most observers. From beginning to end, this entire affair has been marred by stupidity.

At least Haas wants to try and avoid it in the future. Some people, Officer Crowley, his union, Bob Somerby, seem unwilling to learn.

Speaking for me only

< The Media And Policy | Gates-Gate Officer Crowley Considering Defamation Suit >
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  • And Gates (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:22:34 AM EST
    is above reproach in this whole mess?

    Maybe not (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:27:16 AM EST
    But do you think he is acting stupidly?

    After all, he was the guy who got arrested on his porch.


    Yes (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:27:59 AM EST
    I think anyone whose first reaction to someone who has come to your house looking for a burglar is to scream "racism", is in fact, acting stupidly.

    Easy for you to say (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:28:53 AM EST
    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:31:12 AM EST
    But I think it's irrational as a first response when someone is there to protect your property.

    Easy for you to say (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:32:39 AM EST
    That's helpful- (none / 0) (#42)
    by talesoftwokitties on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:42:39 AM EST
    Who are you PeeWee Herman?

    That;s helpful (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:43:17 AM EST
    Obviously you missed my point.

    Apparently. (none / 0) (#52)
    by talesoftwokitties on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:49:03 AM EST
    Obviously (none / 0) (#59)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:53:18 AM EST
    AH HA! (none / 0) (#97)
    by talesoftwokitties on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:20:44 AM EST
    You've made my point!

    I made my point (none / 0) (#133)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:40:37 AM EST
    long ago.

    Some people... (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:37:14 AM EST
    don't want this kind of "protection"...its no protection at all.

    It's easy for anyone to say (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by Slado on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:37:18 AM EST
    Gates acted like a jacka$$.  No other way to put it.  His actions "might" be understandable but they are not excusable.

    All that being said I think Crowley should have walked away from what obviously to me was an attempt by Gates to take it up a level.   Crowley foolishly took the bait and here we are.

    Worse case this is 50/50 on both parties.

    Just because Gates is from a race that has suffered through the years does not justify his actions.  He acted "stupidly" as well.  

    If Obama was going to comment he should have known the facts and stated the obvious, that the "stupid" consequence of these actions took "stupid" behaivor from multiple parties.


    Anyone not black (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:37:55 AM EST
    Arrest... (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:49:53 AM EST
    is a consequence of talking back and expressing your opinion now?  When did that law pass?

    It's an old law, spanning generations (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Rojas on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:56:05 AM EST
    Contempt of cop.
    My father had this discussion, how to show proper deference to the cops, with me over thirty years ago. It was a coming of age thing and he spoke from the position of experience.

    An old law? (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:57:08 AM EST
    Is it on the books somewhere?

    its not just cops (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:01:59 AM EST
    that any sane person would not say such a thing to.

    try saying "do you know who I am" at the DMV, or the post office.
    people simple do not respond well to petty intimidation.  it rather basic psychology.  which is why I suspect Gates knew exactly what button he was pushing.


    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:02:59 AM EST
    Who gets arrested for acting stupidly?

    Come on.


    White chick on the subway with dog (5.00 / 4) (#77)
    by nycstray on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:06:44 AM EST
    in my 'hood. She also went off on the cops and went from getting a ticket to arrested.

    "Who gets arrested for acting stupidly?" (5.00 / 4) (#85)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:15:02 AM EST
    unfortunately I think it happens all the time.
    with the difference being most of us would not have had the charges dropped.
    as far as I am concerned this is also about why the rich and famous are constantly allowed to get away with stuff the rest of us are not.

    probably the cops thinking as well.  


    I've dealt with dozens of these cases (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by Bemused on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:25:08 AM EST
      over the years. My experience (limited to a few jurisdictions albeit) is that the charge is almost always dropped eventually but most people do not get rapid intercession from the cop's superiors and a quasi-apology. Typically, the person is charged and has to wait for his misdemeanor hearing date (often months in the future) and then usually the cop who made the bogus arrest fails to appear and the charge is dismissed.

       On the infrequent occasions when the cop has shown and insisted on pursuing the charge, the prosecutor will often talk him out of it. On the few occasions these cases proceeded to adjudicatory hearing, I have never had acourt find a client guilty and  magistrates and other misdemeanot court judges are usually highly deferential to cops but even they all have their limits and recognize BS when it's this bad.

       the thing to remember though is in most jurisdictions the record of the arrest remains on the books and the vindicated defendant has to go back to court to seek an expungement of the arrest records --- and some place will not expunge even dismissed or acquitted misdemeanors for people with other criminal charges resulting in conviction.


    And (5.00 / 3) (#108)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:26:43 AM EST
    In most cases, the arresstee doens't have lots of well-placed connections, including the president.

    Back in the day... (none / 0) (#79)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:07:57 AM EST
    a king or tyrant would say "this subject is stupid, arrest him!"...apparently some people wanna take it back to the old school pre-Enlightenment era.

    There is no Enlightenment (none / 0) (#87)
    by Rojas on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:15:46 AM EST
    just petty reactionaries struggleing for the keys to power.

    The books are filled with petty infractions (none / 0) (#75)
    by Rojas on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:06:27 AM EST
    and a cop who is intent on raping you doesn't need much imagination to find a reason.

    You kid I hope (none / 0) (#131)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:38:41 AM EST
    Serious as a heart attack (none / 0) (#141)
    by Rojas on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:48:19 AM EST
    I hear that Rojas... (none / 0) (#142)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:48:30 AM EST
    my old man taught me the same, from the experience of being chained to a chair and beaten to be "taught a lesson".

    Say nothing, do nothing, and get out of custody as fast as you can.


    He did know the facts (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by samtaylor2 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:54:15 AM EST
    This is what he said- "I don't know what if any racial component there was", BUT "arresting someone in their house after they know he lives there is STUPID".  What is objectionable to you?  

    This comment (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:43:19 AM EST
    Well, I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts.

    I Prefer That Disclosure (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by daring grace on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:22:28 AM EST
    to the president commenting without mentioning a personal connection and the possibility that he may be biased.

    The President was right to acknowledge the (5.00 / 3) (#207)
    by esmense on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 12:04:24 PM EST
    friendship but he should have made it clear that he would not comment -- not only for that reason, but also because this wasn't the appropriate forum. He should have kept his eye on the health care ball rather than creating an opportunity for the media to indulge in a distracting issue and diminish the effectiveness of his main message.

    What's objectionable (5.00 / 3) (#203)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:49:22 AM EST
    is that Obama clearly had only a vague idea of what had happened and didn't even have the facts of what happened right, but felt himself qualified to pronounce judgment anyway.  Gates was not "in his house" when he was arrested, and he was not arrested for anything to do with the legitimacy of his presence in the house.

    I was shocked by his statement, which was more akin to that of a talk show host than a president, skilled politician, and guy with considerable legal training.


    He got arrested (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Slado on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:40:52 AM EST
    for his "stupid" actions.

    "Do you know who I am?"

    The question is was the arrest justified.

    I don't think it was but I'm not a cop.

    Easy for us to judge cops never having walked in their shoes.


    He got arrested (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:42:44 AM EST
    for a charge that was dropped and rather ridiculous.

    The Cambridge police has the problem now. Not Gates.


    So does the President (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:43:49 AM EST
    and that's a bigger problem.

    Not much of a problem (none / 0) (#58)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:52:55 AM EST
    Hinders other efforts.

    Well, the hindering is a problem (5.00 / 3) (#61)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:54:13 AM EST
    healthcare is the highest stakes item on his agenda.

    True that (none / 0) (#65)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:55:54 AM EST
    Well, given how bad (none / 0) (#78)
    by dk on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:06:57 AM EST
    the health care bill looks to be, the fact that this makes it harder for Obama to cram it through is probably one of the more fortunate by-products of all of this, IMHO.

    Totally insane (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:13:14 AM EST
    I think cramming (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by dk on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:17:28 AM EST
    through a bad health care bill is insane.  

    Having no bill is worse (5.00 / 3) (#93)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:18:33 AM EST
    And I am totally unconvinced that this bill is "bad."

    I agree but see it another way ... (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by zaladonis on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:18:46 AM EST
    ... that this is a distraction from being able to discuss the shortcomings of the Obama/Democratic Congress health care proposals.  

    I think they're really failing on this so far and if they don't get it together it's going to be another severe blow to the United States.


    Well, I see that too. (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by dk on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:22:27 AM EST
    Unfortunately, Obama and Congressional Democrats have cut off all chance that the bill could become better.  They drew a line in the sand with the awful House committee plan.

    So, while I definitely agree that it helps to keep on using every opportunity to explain how awful the bill is, I don't think that, this year at least, there is any opportunity to move leftward enough to get a sufficiently acceptable bill through Congress.


    this has (5.00 / 3) (#109)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:27:31 AM EST
    worked so brilliantly to derail health care discussion I think more by the day that it was intentional.  that they do not want us talking about their failure on health care.

    one thing is sure.   its working.


    That is so cynical ... (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by zaladonis on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:32:16 AM EST
    ... and I hate that a little voice in my head is saying it makes sense.  Especially since Obama has said he's surprised at the reaction to his comment, which in retrospect seems a little too perfectly timed and worded, and today it's reported he's not bothered that his deadline won't be met by Congress.

    Seems to think he is (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:25:58 AM EST
    Stupid correlation (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:28:50 AM EST
    I already posted this but thought it worth another:

    "It's unfortunate because there are so many other police cases where an elected official has made a comment that wasn't correct, comments that could have been better worded," he said. "Look at Rodney King. It's a high-profile case, and everyone is entitled to an opinion."

    I don't know if throwing up Rodney King is a good example here......

    From msnbc a police officer taking exception to BHO comment.

    Herein lies the problem.  Everyone does have an opinion on the RK case and overwhelmingly the black opinion is "what else is new?"

    The white opinion divided.

    So when we have such an enormous gap as to what was right in RK and how blacks are treated by some police officers how can we not expect there to be a major divide in Gates?

    Good point (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:30:15 AM EST
    The Major Divde (5.00 / 1) (#146)
    by ChiTownMike on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:52:42 AM EST
    was created by Obama.

    Obama's bif sin was not so much weighing in on the
    Gates issue...

    It was injecting RACE into the issue on National TV when Obama had no clue if race was an issue. Not many want to recognize that fact here. It would have been bad enough for a White President to suggest race when to their own admission before doing so they admitted they didn't know the details, but to have a Black President do so is just an act of stupidity in it's highest form. And then to do this on the heels of cries 'racial preferences' that came up in the Sotomayor hearings and one just has to laugh at Obama's ineptness.

    Again - Obama's outrageous comment on RACE is the elephant in the room here. To not recognize the elephant does not mean the elephant does not exist.


    here is a peanut (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:59:45 AM EST
    my troll friend

    I suggest (none / 0) (#185)
    by ChiTownMike on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:24:17 AM EST
    you read the transcript of his presser.

    FYI posting verifiable facts of what Obama said is not trolling. But I think you know that already.


    and a wafer (none / 0) (#187)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:27:42 AM EST
    Nuts (none / 0) (#164)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:05:30 AM EST
    This is a ridiculous comment.

    What's ridiculous ? (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by ChiTownMike on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:20:23 AM EST
    Are you denying that Obama injected race into the issue voluntarily AFTER prefacing the comment with he didn't even know the details, and then went on to embellish his comment with the history of White vs Black regarding arrests?

    Facts are not ridiculous, they are facts. What is ridiculous though is what Obama said. If you have a good defense on how what he said was good politics or even a smart thing to say I'm all ears.

    You have been bringing up that him stepping on his health care message by giving Gates 30 seconds was stupid. I am just bringing up some more details of his stupid move. And he did it on the heals of Sotomayor. What a gigantic blunder.


    I think (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Bemused on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:36:10 AM EST
     it is refreshing that Obama would say something impolitic and heartfelt rather than resort to evasion, deflection or weasel words. This isn't international diplomacy where a blunt public statement might have negative security ramifications.  If Obama angered some cop union officials and gave a litte ammunition to his political opponents then he'll have to live with that but what's wrong with a President speaking his mind about a specific incident such as this?

       I thought he was careful enough to make clear HE wasn't accusing anyone of racism but merely acting stupidly by arresting a man who did not deserve to be arrested. i would hope everyone would agree that is wrong regardless of the racial or ethnic background of any of the participants or the motivation for the arrest.

       I like that the president is willing to say that, rather than kowtowing to cop unions and avoiding controversy. Using TR's "bully pulpit" to criticize police misconduct is fimne with me.

    Really? (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:37:41 AM EST
    You think it's appropriate for the President to be commenting on what is now an on-going investigation and probable lawsuit by his good friend?

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Bemused on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:51:45 AM EST
      Obama is not representing a party so even if there was pending litigation I see nothing wrong with his commenting. I don't think the President should be muzzled just because a subject involves actual or potential litigation. Were that the case there would not be a whole heck of a lot a President could ever say.  

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:17:21 AM EST
    I agree. Often current topic questions are asked at the very end of a presser on a particular subject.

    Great question, and great answer, imo. Also I do not believe that it matters, or interferes one iota with the health care debate.

    On the other hand emptywheel, who also thinks Obama was stupid for not dodging the question, but correct in his answer, brings up a point where Obama's answer may have consequences.

    The obvious outlet for Gates is a civil rights false arrest claim, likely under state law, Constitutional protections and 42 USC §1983. That means the real possibility of a jury trial. But, thanks to President Obama declaring the actions of the Cambridge Police Department "stupid" and wrong, the attorney defending the Police Department now has a lever in his favor should the case go to a jury. You can expect said defense attorney to move the court for a jury questionnaire to survey the jury pool as to who saw or heard said comment by the President of the United States, and in that local pool, the people who saw and/or heard of it are going to be the jurors Plaintiff Gates wants in the jury box the most.

    Not good wording by Obama (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by sallywally on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:06:29 AM EST
    I guess I feel that when he used the word "stupidly," either his glibness took over or maybe he was moved to speak as a black man, not the postracial man he generally is.

    Not the same as calling Iraq a "stupid" war, this was a personal comment. Even if the cops were acting stupidly, not a good thing for him to say, especially with worldwide coverage of his comments.

    The administration worries a lot about not offending the right wing, to the point of watering down health care reform; it would have been simple enough not to offend them in this situation, particularly in conjunction with his big health care push.


    A reasonable opinion (none / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:37:28 AM EST
    Given the purpose of the press conference, I do not share it.

    Well, whether that was the best forum (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by Bemused on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:48:33 AM EST
     is a somewhat different question and there are rumors that the WH invited the question about Gates. If true, I would agree  that was counter-productive with regard to making the case for health care legislation because of the overshadowing effect. I have not seen, though, any attributed statement that the WH caused the question to be asked.

    Get involved with my adversary? (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:48:12 AM EST
    Never.  If the police want cooperation and to sing kumbaya with the communities they "serve", they should lobby Congress to start repealing some laws.

    the police should lobby congress? (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by Fabian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:31:21 AM EST
    That's special interest talk.  Why not the voters?

    If the police... (none / 0) (#132)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:38:55 AM EST
    want a better relationship with the community and increased cooperation...yeah, they need to talk to Congress before the community.

    No sense talking to the community unless laws are repealed, or police make a commitment to stop enforcing unjust laws.


    Begging A-A communities (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:53:55 AM EST
    and this helps them in that how?

    Ugh, right... (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by JoeCHI on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:55:33 AM EST
    When and if I'm pulled over by the police and they ask me for my drivers license and registration, I'm going to refuse their request.

    Then I'm going to scream at them and accuse them of being homophobic.  Then I'm going to insult their mother with numerous derogatory comments.

    When the police eventually arrest me for refusing to comply with their directives, I hope that the president (and TalkLeft) goes on television and calls the police stupid.

    There is a HUGE (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Bemused on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:59:43 AM EST
     difference between being pulled over for a traffic violation and being required to prove one is licensed to drive and being arrested in one's own home for getting angry about the police demanding one act in a certain manner.

      The issue is not whether Gates behaved badly. the issue is the cop's response to non-criminal bad behavior.


    Of course (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:59:46 AM EST
    That is not what happened. but you go with that if it makes you feel better.

    Nonsense... (none / 0) (#168)
    by JoeCHI on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:08:08 AM EST
    Indeed, Gate's tirade included charges of racism as well as derogatory comments about the cop's mother.

    if the name on the badge is Burge (none / 0) (#72)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:00:02 AM EST
    you might reconsider.

    Joe... (none / 0) (#86)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:15:04 AM EST
    if you change "getting pulled over" to "walking down the street", I'd be right there to call your arrest the stupidest thing since the last stupid arrest.  Just point me to the camera.

    To get Obama do defend your inalienable rights, you probably have to know him personally....but if I was in his cabinet I'd urge him to make a critique of stupid arrests daily.


    This is a case where (5.00 / 8) (#81)
    by Anne on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:11:46 AM EST
    there is plenty of stupid to go around, and it doesn't all land on Crowley.

    Actions have consequences.  Every move, every word, the tone and volume with which they are said, the body language - it all matters, and it all determines what happens next and how things end.  If, in fact, they ever do, but instead serve to fill the void the lack of Michael Jackson news has created.

    I do not believe anyone showed up at Gates' door with the intention of harassing a black man for sport; that Gates appears to have made that assumption means that he bears some responsibility for what happened next.

    I'm sure every person involved in this can think of at least one thing he could have done differently, and they should all admit that - including Gates, including Crowley, including Obama - who wasn't involved but who inserted himself into it - learn something from it and move on.

    I agree (none / 0) (#124)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:34:24 AM EST
    But the guy who has no institutional responsibilities and who, oh BTW, GOT ARRESTED, was Gates.

    Again, (none / 0) (#147)
    by MyLeftMind on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:53:25 AM EST
    if the police approach a potential burglar and he refuses to verify his identity, they have to arrest him. If they don't, they're not doing their jobs.

    Go back and (5.00 / 1) (#206)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:59:33 AM EST
    read up on this because you're all wet.  Gates was not arrested for refusing to verify his identity, largely because after some initial snippiness about it, he DID go get his ID.

    perhaps you should read the accounts (none / 0) (#152)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:58:38 AM EST
    in their entirety and get back to us as to why Gates is a complete liar and the officer is GW.  If the truth lies somewhere in between, the arrest was stupid.

    The arrest was stupid (2.00 / 1) (#172)
    by MyLeftMind on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:10:17 AM EST
    in that the cops should have diffused the situation and convinced Gates to show his ID. If he still refused, Officer Crowley should have taped the conversation with him respectfully explaining that he's sorry he doesn't recognize him, but policies require that he verify Gates' identity to ensure he's not a burglar lying about who he is. If it's all recorded, Gates' stubbornness would have been exposed, if that's how he continued to respond to the reasonable request to show ID.

    Surely you don't think cops should take the word of someone in the house with a reported burglary and just walk away? Much as I despise abusive police, I absolutely don't want them intimidated by abusive elitist rich men.


    Actually (none / 0) (#159)
    by Bemused on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:03:13 AM EST
      even if Crowley's version is taken at face value, there is no justification for the arrest. That, as much as Gates' stature. might explain why the charges were so quickly dropped and Crowley's conduct labeled "regrettable" by his boss.

       There is no question as to whether Crowley had any reasonable suspicion that Gates was an intruder. His own words make it clear he harbored no such suspicion and that his actions were entirely response to Gates' uncoopertaive demeanor and harsh words.


    Charges were dropped (3.50 / 2) (#188)
    by MyLeftMind on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:28:14 AM EST
    because Gates was really Gates. Showing his ID would have prevented the arrest, plain and simple.

    I don't like the power cops wield, especially abusive cops. But the reason they're allowed to arrest you for being a jerk is because potential escalation is an incentive for people to cooperate. If you steal something and get arrested, the cops are likely to just go through the motions of processing you through the system. If you steal something and then run away from the cops, you're likely to have two large men tackle you, slam you into the ground and painfully wrench your arms behind your back while they handcuff you. Take home message: Don't run from the cops. Cops are trained to tell suspects precisely what to do.  (Drop your weapon, get on the ground, etc.) If you don't do what they say, they will escalate, in fact they have to escalate the situation.

    I don't know exactly what happened, nor do any of you. But if Gates was verbally abusive and uncooperative, he caused the arrest. That's the way it works, because if they wimped out whenever criminals verbally abused them and played the elitist card, they'd fail. (Rich people don't steal, do they?)

    If you don't like police procedures, set about getting them changed.


    Precisely (none / 0) (#162)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:03:55 AM EST
    thanks (none / 0) (#170)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:10:16 AM EST
    i was trying to give some concession here but I do agree 100% with you Bemused.  the arrest was stupid even if the officers account was 100% valid which is even a larger concession.

    You do not know the facts (none / 0) (#160)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:03:28 AM EST
    read the police report for the most sympathetic account for Crowley.

    you are wrong on the facts.


    I knew it was bad Mile... (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:18:58 AM EST
    I didn't know it was this bad...stunning indeed.

    Imagine what the comments on a right-wing blog look like...on second thought don't, too depressing.

    I don't have to... (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:23:55 AM EST
    ...I can come to a "progressive" site like TL and see the same thing.  

    I mean, I expect it from the likes of PPJ and Slado--that's what they're all about.  But at least they're up front about it.  It the others that give me pause.  


    How could this give you pause...... (none / 0) (#119)
    by Rojas on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:32:13 AM EST
    We didn't arive out of a vaccum into the Bush administation. This is an evolution. A brave new world.

    Like I always say... (none / 0) (#123)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:34:01 AM EST
    Lady Liberty doesn't have many friends...when I'm driving on the BQE I can almost see the tears rolling down her cheeks.

    Shrooms? (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:42:18 AM EST
    Personally, I can't drive while on them. Maybe with a super light dose, though... lol

    LOL...nah man (none / 0) (#145)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:51:46 AM EST
    just my imagination running away with me.

    Shrooms make me see the trees breathe....I try not to think about tyranny at times like that, gotta keep it positive:)


    Years ago, (none / 0) (#192)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:36:37 AM EST
    just back from two tours in Nam, a buddy and I visited Las Vegas. Because it was a big weekend (all the big stars were in town: Elvis, Carson, Martin, etc) all the hotels were booked. So we got a roll of quarters and started calling, alphabetically from the phone book, to see if maybe we could find a room.  Pretty soon we found a hotel that had vacancies, and the price was cheap, so we booked in. Upon arriving, we found out why it had rooms available; it was in the "bad" part of town, on the "other side of the tracks." Since we came from the Bronx, this didn't bother us, and the place was decent enough, so we checked in.

    After showering and changing, we headed out for the bright lights of "the Strip." No sooner did we leave the hotel when a police car, with two officers in it, stopped us. The cops told us to get out of the car, one to one side, and the other to the other side. The cop who had me told me to turn around and face away; then Crack! I got a baton across the back of my knees.

    Simultaneously, my buddy had a baton butt rammed into the small of his back. This happened before they asked any questions, or for identification.
    Eventually, we were able to show them our licenses, and military I.D's. Upon seeing who we were, they started screaming, "what the H*ll are you doing here?" (Meaning in the black part of town.) "What are we supposed to think, two white guys with NY plates, hanging out with the Nig*ers?" If you don't want this to happen again you better find yourself another hotel." Then, without so much as an apology, they drove off.

    No, none of us were at Gates' house the night of the incident. But I do know that most cops feel that disrespect is an arrestible offense. I have enough cops in my family (including my son) to know what correct protocol in a situation like this is supposed to be. The cop, after sizing up the situation, should have said (and in a sincere, believable manner) "I'm terribly sorry, Sir. We were acting on a complaint, and we had to respond. If we could just confirm the facts we'll be out of your hair in a moment. We thank you for your cooperation, and apologize for any inconvenience."

    No, it usually doesn't happen that way, but in a free country, it should.


    Crowley seems like a decent cop, (5.00 / 3) (#102)
    by zaladonis on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:22:36 AM EST
    and that's one of the unfortunate things about this.

    And so typical.

    There are bad cops all over the place who just go on being bad cops but because Crowley happened upon the jagged shards of the chip on Gates' shoulder, he gets dumped on.

    I doubt it now (none / 0) (#158)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:02:32 AM EST
    First... (none / 0) (#177)
    by Bemused on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:13:33 AM EST
      being a "decent cop" does not give one a free pass to make a false arrest even if it is the first one and not racially motivated.  It might properly  be a factor in mitigation of punishment with regard to departmental discipline and relevant to a defense in a civil action with regard to intent, pattern and practice etc.,  but just as it's not a defense to a crime to say: I'm a good person and this is my first offense it's not a defense here to stand on a prior record.

      Second, why does he seem like a decent cop? Because he taught a racial profiling class? I think peope misunderstand the purpose of such training. The purpose is to prevent departments from being accused of profiling. It's not necessary even to think profiling is wrong to teach others ways to cover their behinds when dealing with minorities.



    "authoritative minded" (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:24:53 AM EST
    cant speak for anyone else here, tho I suspect I do, when I say that is the very first time in my entire life I have been accused of that.

    many things,  not that.  funny.

    You are self-identifying... (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:30:38 AM EST
    ...here Capt as I didn't call anyone in particular out.  

    lol (none / 0) (#117)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:31:36 AM EST
    Prof Gates should have shown his ID (5.00 / 3) (#137)
    by MyLeftMind on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:44:47 AM EST
    and said thanks for your good work protecting me and my property. Officer Crowley should have diffused the situation by respectfully convincing Gates to show his ID. Crowley should have taped the conversation with him patiently and politely explaining to Gates that he's sorry he doesn't keep up with important university professors, but since he doesn't recognize him face to face his ID is needed to prove he's not a burglar lying about who he is. Simple solution. Gates would either show his damn ID or look like a self important fool willing to undermine police protection of the public.

    Obama shouldn't have weighed in on a local issue like this. A single incident in which we'll never know what really happened is beneath the office of President to comment decisively on. Right wing racists already hate Obama and fire off emails every few days showing how stupid they think he is. They make up stuff (no birth certificate) and they ignore history (Obama caused the economic mess) to make their point. This nonsense from Obama gives them more fodder, but their audience is already convinced he'll act on behalf of people of color over white Americans.

    But for those who think both sides acted like jerks, seeing the president decisively criticize the cops while fully supporting the prof who likely refused to cooperate just to raise the issue of racism, does our party and our causes harm.  If Obama's viewed as automatically taking the side of blacks because of he's the same race, lukewarm Obama supporters will be much less supportive. Since we can never know what really happened, Obama's little speech is an unfortunate mistake on his part.  

    At the pain of being arrested (none / 0) (#157)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:02:13 AM EST

    Lack of judgement (5.00 / 3) (#139)
    by Andy08 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:46:08 AM EST
    You are missing the point that ignited the "firestorm".

    You and I can say the police office acted stupidly. POTUS definitely not and least without knowng the whole facts as he himself admitted it. He was imho instigating by undermining in a very public way the police  vs the public (or worse a racial tint).
    I am saying that despite the merits this is POTUS should have never said publicly.

    I don't know what happened. Sure I think it's absurd the police arresting you at your home. BUT go and try to start yelling at the police or insulting them and that will can you immediately anywhere no matter who you are.

    I had a humiliating experience at an airport (before 9/11). I was with my Mom who was flying overseas and she needed help. So I went to the counter and sought it the AA employee there who was not only unhelpful but quite rude. So I said to him. Excuse me sir, what is your name? Maybe if you won't try to help my Mom you could call someone who might? .

    He picked up the phone alright. But call the state patrol/police at the airport who escorted me in front of everyone.  I had never raised my voice; my Mom didn't open it. I couldn't even say goodbye to my Mom and was incredibly humiliated. The two state patrols asked politely for my ID, which I did without a single word although I was literally trembling of anger, humiliation and anguish. Using another phone the verified I guess I was no criminal or sth. gave me back my ID and at that point asked me what happened. I explained. They were embarrassed abuot what the employee had done and told me they were sorry and to file a complain with AA.

    My point? What do you think would have happened if I started yelling to the state patrol at that point that I hadn't done anything and that the employee had abused his power and was
    out of line calling them and expressing aloud all what I felt...

    All of us are in situations like this. I am hispanic. Did the AA employee was being particularly rude because I had an accent?
    it cross my mind ( in Dallas  they can particularly prejudiced ) I will never know.  But I do know that f I had not stayed calm
    things would have turn out disastrous.

    And by the way, I am a respectable academic.

    I think most will agree (none / 0) (#154)
    by Bemused on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:59:18 AM EST
      that Gates behaved badly -- and showed poor judgment because his behavior increased the likelihood he would be arrested.

      But, yet again, are we of the opinion if a person shows poor judgment and acts in a manner a reasonable person should know might cause another person to do something wrong that the other person is therefore allowed to do something wrong?



    All I know is that not one person at work (5.00 / 4) (#148)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:53:41 AM EST
    is talking about health care, but many are talking about Obama and Gates and Crowley.

    Good thing Obama can call the press together and talk about health care again whenever he wants, because he sure undid any good he did in the previous hour by that one statement at the end the other night.

    On the other hand, would the media be having an intelligent discussion about health care today even if the Gates things had not come up? Probably not.

    Nobody is talking about either... (none / 0) (#161)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:03:37 AM EST
    ...where I am--and I'm at an HMO.  

    I also noticed no mention of the Gates story on the local news last night or this morning.  


    Our local stations covered both (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by sallywally on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:20:31 AM EST
    but they have not been careful and their coverage has thus tended to the right...

    At lunch yesterday with coworkers and fellow retirees from the university, both were discussed also.

    A huge shame to have the discussion waylaid like this, imo.


    I'm probably in the minority... (none / 0) (#178)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:15:08 AM EST
    but I think the arresting of America is just as big an issue as healthcare, if not bigger.

    In 2007, the FBI estimated that 14,209,365 arrests occurred nationwide for all offenses (except traffic violations), of which 597,447 were for violent crimes, and 1,610,088 were for property crimes.

    That leaves approx. 12 million arrests per year that very well could be stupid...this is a monster issue in my book.


    The city that is our county seat (none / 0) (#190)
    by Rojas on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:29:14 AM EST
    had an arrest ratio of 1 in 10 of the population last year.

    I just wish both men (5.00 / 4) (#175)
    by Jjc2008 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:12:59 AM EST
    would take the opportunity to model how to resolve this without their egos involved.

    The arrest was STUPID.
    The arrogance was UNCALLED for.

    Both were right. Both were wrong.  Each has an opportunity.  So does Obama.

    Let's be honest.  Talk about WHY being accused of racism pushes a hot button for many, especially if it is someone who prides himself on ending racism (which is apparently what Crowley thinks he is doing).  
    Talk about WHY being invaded in one's home for any reason (even if the call was legitimate) pushed some buttons.

    TALK ABOUT the miscommunications.....

    I wish I could give you a 10 for (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by vml68 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:21:43 AM EST
    this comment.

    What are Crowley and the Department defending? (5.00 / 2) (#179)
    by esmense on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:16:37 AM EST
    The right to arrest citizens for displaying anger and verbally challenging police authority?

    If so, are they correct in defending that?

    On the one hand, I absolutely think arresting Gates was ill-considered, wrong and stupid. The officer reacted emotionally and inappropriately to Gate's verbal abuse. He used his power to bully. On the other hand, I wonder if now, after the fact, the Department isn't reluctant to appear to PUBLICLY endorse the notion that there isn't something serious and inappropriate about abusively challenging the authority of a police officer in the legitimate performance of his or her duty -- responding to a citizen complaint.

    I am someone who, frankly I think, based on his reported behavior in this situation, has probably had a lot more opportunity to observe, and personal experience of, police abuse of power than Professor Gates (if he had really felt threatened and vulnerable he would never have challenged and insulted the officer the way he did). I saw a close friend, guilty only of being a blond and busty (and shy and naive in the extreme) 19 year old in the wrong place at the wrong time, arrested with planted evidence and convicted on the basis of bizarre sexual innuendo. Another friend, a peace activist guilty of nothing more than printing handbills for peace marches, was harassed with one trumped up charge after another and threats from authorities local and federal for well over a decade.

    I don't take the issue of abuse of police power lightly.

    But I do think that Gates was taking it lightly -- and doing people with less power and privilege than himself a disservice in the process.

    Wow (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:23:58 AM EST
    I am on Free Republic now.

    No you do not get to arrest somebody for that.


    I didn't suggest that you do (5.00 / 3) (#202)
    by esmense on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:46:47 AM EST
    I absolutely don't believe that you do. As I clearly stated I believe the arrest was wrong. It accomplished nothing in terms of securing the public welfare. It was an indulgence of the officer's personal pique.

    But, I raised the issue of a probable reason WHY the Police Department was publicly defending the arrest. Is it a good reason? I frankly am torn between my emotional outrage at any kind of abuse of power and bullying, and my more objective observation of how the issue might appear to police officers who have to deal with, appropriate or inappropriate, citizen anger on a daily basis.

    The reality is that Gates wasn't arrested, as many are, because his race, class, or political and social attitudes made him vulnerable to abuses of power. He was arrested because he verbally abused and angered the police officer. I don't believe that was a legitimate reason for arresting him. But I also don't believe Gates' case should be confused with real cases of police harassment based on race, class and politics -- doing so only weakens the ability to defend genuinely vulnerable people from real abuse.  


    afaiac (4.50 / 6) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:21:26 AM EST
    if all comes down to one comment on Gates part.

    "do you know who I am"

    first, I think anyone who says that or any variation of it in anything but a joking way is not only asking for it but very likely deserves it.

    second, what an incredibly stupid thing to say to a cop.  it is absolutely the most provocative thing you could say to a police man.  you are putting them in a position of either arresting you are looking like a fool.  Gates is not stupid so it occures to me that it was intentional on his part to take it to the next level.  he pushed the buttons and he got what he wanted.

    Especially (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:23:27 AM EST
    when, at the same time, you are refusing to give your ID to someone who obviously DOESN'T know who you are!

    so you counsel (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:28:21 AM EST
    Crowley et al to continue behaving as they are? Well, that is stupid advice imo.

    Crowely should stfu (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:29:44 AM EST
    if he doesnt he will only become the hero of the race hating right and I doubt that is what he wants.

    He is already their hero (3.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:32:14 AM EST
    That ship sailed.

    He is the new Joe the Plumber.


    Only if the hyperbole extends to (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by CoralGables on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:56:58 AM EST
    Gates headed towards being another Al Sharpton. Both should shut up, get together privately and discuss how they each screwed up, shake hands, and walk away.

    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:58:39 AM EST
    Crowley does not much seem interested in that.

    I said the other day, if I was his superior, he would not be speaking publically on the matter.


    the man (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:17:35 AM EST
    is being relentlessly slimed.  I understand why he wants to give his account.

    If I was his superior (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by Fabian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:30:12 AM EST
    I'd make it clear his career depended on his ability to shut up and let someone else do the talking.

    Is Gates interested in this? n/t. (none / 0) (#115)
    by sallywally on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:31:07 AM EST
    Ugh (none / 0) (#40)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:41:16 AM EST
    Or the new.... (none / 0) (#48)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:46:06 AM EST
    Campeon and Ramos...poor victimized mercenaries.

    So (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:30:22 AM EST
    Someone breaks into your home.  The police show up and that person is still there.  They ask for ID to prove that the intruder lives there and he says he lives there and refuses to show them ID.  Are you ok with the police saying, "Okay" and leaving it at that?

    Now (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:31:49 AM EST
    You know that is not the issue. It is the arrest.

    Stop acting stupid. You know better.


    Gates ain't an authority figure... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:27:19 AM EST
    Gates was not issued a gun, badge, and chains by the state...Gates has no power over any other entity.  Being a pompous pr*ck ain't an arrestable offense...which in my eyes means Obama made a statement of fact, this was a stupid arrest in a country full of stupid arrests.  

    Not the right time or place is of less importance than this statement of fact being made...it maybe the best thing he has said as president imo.


    you simply (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:28:27 AM EST
    do not say "do you know who I am" to a cop in any situation but a bad tv drama unless you want to get arrested.

    That is a stupid policy (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:31:09 AM EST
    The Cambridge Police will need to change that.

    not just them (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:32:59 AM EST
    try it anywhere

    Stupid everywhere (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:36:15 AM EST
    I know... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:35:56 AM EST
    which is why we've got to reign in this police state madness...I appreciate Obama bringing it up and calling a spade a spade.

    We should all be able to say "do you know who I am?"  And who are we all? Free Americans.


    Then on this issue (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:27:41 AM EST
    you are acting stupidly too.

    look (5.00 / 5) (#23)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:32:31 AM EST
    I do not like defending a cop.  but most of all, probably because as I mentioned before I lived in Boston for a while and I have dealt with the Ivy League crowd myself, I agree with this comment on salon by "a Phantom Negro"

    So before we heed the call of racism, let's be mindful of the tower from which that call came. This has something to do with race. But it has a lot more to do with messing with Skip Gates.

    The Ivy League Effect, people. The Ivy League Effect.

    You are defening stupidity (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:35:48 AM EST
    It happens to be a cop's stupidity.

    I think Obama was right in what he said but I do not defend him saying it. It was stupid of him to say it imo.


    I think what I am saying (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:38:06 AM EST
    is that no one is blameless in this.
    as far as Obama being stupid to do this.
    oh baby, do I agree with that.

    Of course no one is blameless (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:40:43 AM EST
    But the authorities have the responsibility here.

    They did the arresting.

    Let me give you a counter narrative. Instead of arresting Gates, Crowley simply leaves after doing his work.

    Then leaks the story to the Herald.

    Who looks bad then? Why Gates don't you think?


    Why would he leak the story? (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by nycstray on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:42:58 AM EST
    If you're going to walk away, you walk away. You don't start playing pay back.

    Suppose you wanted to play pay back though (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:43:55 AM EST
    My way is the SMART way.

    heh, I guess I wouldn't have seen it (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by nycstray on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:49:26 AM EST
    as worth it. Seems rather petty to me and a waste of time after the fact.

    I do wonder what Gates response would be though . . .


    The entire episode was petty (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:55:01 AM EST
    Easy for me to say, I was not the one arrested.

    this is speculation (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:12:11 AM EST
    but from what I read about the cop and what others say about him I doubt he would do that because he sees himself as a "by the book" kind of guy.
    I think he probably did what he would have done if Gates were white yellow or green.

    When would a good time to talk about race be? (none / 0) (#50)
    by samtaylor2 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:48:23 AM EST
    I will definitly bow to the obivous that during a healthcare debate is not the right time.  

    Separately I wonder if a natioanl discussion on race would be better lead in our environment by a white man like Bill Clinton.  I know he wanted to do it, but the same stupid stuff got in the way. Reading the NY op-ed piece made me wonder if having a sitting Black president talk about race would make those on the right have a seizure.  


    They would have a seizure no matter who (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by nycstray on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:52:11 AM EST
    led the discussion . . . .

    actually (none / 0) (#99)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:21:56 AM EST
    I think Obama is exactly the person to do that.  ou are correct, clinton tried.  
    but it has to be done by a person of color.  I just wish, as important as the issue is, it would not have hijacked the health care discussion.

    Obama's the wrong person to do it, (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by zaladonis on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:26:09 AM EST
    which is clear by him using the word "stupidly."

    When he referred to his mistake with Rezko, it was the friendly, "boneheaded," but with this it's the diminishing and charged "stupidly."

    The kind of person to lead a conversation about race is someone who is even handed and uses words that foster understanding, not the sort of words that make people defensive and dig in their heels.


    I am not sure how much more even handed (1.66 / 3) (#128)
    by samtaylor2 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:37:47 AM EST
    You can get Masta.  Is that the tone you would like to have him use?

    No (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by zaladonis on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:44:25 AM EST
    good point (none / 0) (#112)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:29:27 AM EST
    still.  hes what we have.

    sorry (none / 0) (#26)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:35:29 AM EST
    new link

    so, if i read this correctly, (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by cpinva on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:59:14 AM EST
    second, what an incredibly stupid thing to say to a cop.

    police in this country are so poorly trained, so personally and professionally insecure, that one must be carefull to not bruise their sensitive egos, lest one find oneself in handcuffs?

    if that's the case, the situation is far worse than merely one cop doing an inordinately stupid thing and (the stupid gift that keeps on giving), not shutting up about it in public.

    what we have are several divisions worth of extremely dangerous people, licensed to carry weapons and make arrests, spread all over the country, who are essentially ticking mental time bombs, set to explode at the least provocation.

    i do not draw great comfort from this characterization.

    were pres. obama's comments on the situation inappropriate, given the setting? perhaps so. as to the substance of his response, i'd have to agree with him.

    i read that officer crowley is considering filing suit against prof. gates, for defamation. given the illusory nature of his arrest, he should consider the distinct possibility that he may find himself on the wrong end of a civil rights/wrongful arrest suit.

    doesn't this guy have a lawyer, to tell him to STFU?


    If the cop had walked away (4.20 / 5) (#80)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:08:42 AM EST
    I think Gates would still have slimed him.  He would have had his day in the press to tell the world what a racist Crowley was for even suspecting any wrong-doing, for even coming to his house.  I hope like anything that police don't ever again respond while Gates is living at that residence...of course they'd be called racist if they didn't respond....d*mned if you do or if you don't.

    Other thoughts:

    "Do you know who I am" is not a plea to be treated decently as an equal American regardless of race, but a plea to be treated superiorally as a Harvard professor.  I'm learning every day more and more about "liberal elitism" and despising it more and more.  I see why the Republicans hate it.  Gates is a liberal elite.

    Calling a person a racist (who is not), making sh*tty personal statements about their mother, chasing screaming after them (cane or none).  Find me someone who would keep their cool completely in that situation. It would be a saint.  

    Who knows what Gates would have done if Crowley had walked away.  Would he have thrown rocks at his car?  He was acting verbally violent.  No reason to believe he wouldn't act on that verbal violence.

    Disorderly conduct charges are very often charged and dropped.  (See "protest" and "paddy wagon".)  Dropping the charges proves nothing.

    If the Cambridge police has regulations in this matter, is it Crowley's fault that he acted on them?  Would he have been fired for not acting on them?  Are you shooting the messenger?

    The president of the United States uses the bully pulpit to bully a police officer who just felt he was doing his job.  The police officer is supposed to be quiet while his name is smeared?  If he'd remained silent, wouldn't that feel like "an admission of guilt" to you?

    I think Mr. Obama lost the police unions on Wednesday night, if he ever had them.  And rightfully so.  

    I don't actually like police (sorry to police officers).  However, I hate that people think Gates acted properly in this matter.  Gates did not.  Gates was at least as wrong as the police officer.

    I have broken into my house before and wondered if the neighbors would call the cops.  It's a natural thing to do.  Most people would have thanked the officer for responding and asking for ID. Gates simply lost his mind.

    Pardon me for rolling my eyes about the racism.  After all, that Obama hating racist Hillary Clinton is now working for Obama.  We all know very well how people like Obama (and probably Gates) throw the racist term around when it suits them.

    We'll never know will we? (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:35:05 AM EST
    Since Crowley DID NOT walk away.

    So many seem to miss the point (none / 0) (#84)
    by Bemused on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:14:15 AM EST
      The question is not whether Mr. Harvard Professor copped an attitude and made a jakass of himself. I tend to agree with that characterization but I will never condone or rationalize a police officer arresting a person for the crime of being a pompous jackass (and, no, it's not jusyt my interest in self-preservation speaking).

      It is simply unacceptable for police to abuse the authority vested in them by the citizenry to settle scores with citizens by arresting the ones who commit no crimes but aclt like jerks.


    People (3.00 / 2) (#100)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:22:15 AM EST
    are arrested at protests all the time for acting verbally violent to police. They are also tasered and pepper sprayed.  (see my paddy wagon comment).

    Would you have preferred the taser and pepper spray?

    The bottom line is if you act nasty to a cop there will very often be consequences...and that is completely separate from your race.  Using racism as a weapon in this case is defiling what real racial issues are.  Gates is muting the isue of racism by using it every time it comes in handy for him (just as Obama did during his campaign).  I'm sorry if I roll my eyes when privileged guys throw the racist term around.  That's what the priviledged guy Obama did to me.  I honestly don't take racism as seriously anymore because of Obama (and Axelrod).


    Um (none / 0) (#126)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:36:06 AM EST
    and your point is?

    Gate's (none / 0) (#129)
    by Bemused on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:37:53 AM EST
     accusations of racism are distinct from the issue of whether the cop abused his authority by arresting him. Racially motivated abuse might not be present but the abuse is abuse even if the only motivation was anger at being treated rudely and subjected to unfair accusations.

       If the cop had not arrested Gates then Gates would have no leg to stand on in pursuing a civil action. People do not have to defend Gates' behavior to condemn the cop's behavior.

       As for the police using force at protests, if cops use force only to quell verbal outbursts then they too are abusing their power. That other cops beside this one commit worse unlawful acts is not a defense of this cop.


    Prefer tasers and pepper spray?... (none / 0) (#138)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:45:42 AM EST
    hell no, I prefer liberty and justice for all.

    Is that where this debate is now?  Gates is lucky he wasn't stung with a tyranny gadget like our even more tyrannized brethren?

    Forgive them lord they know not what they say.


    F&F (none / 0) (#104)
    by Fabian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:24:42 AM EST
    That's what comes to mind with the whole Gates incident.  Two people, both certain they are in the right, refusing to back down.  This time, it was a cop and a Havahd professor.  The cop used his authority to arrest the professor.

    Some other time, it would an argument about who said what, who did what, unpaid debts, whatever.  There might be angry confrontation, blows exchanged, weapons used, even lives lost.

    And in the end, it is all stupid and all avoidable.

    Perhaps we should ask Miss Manners what the correct, socially appropriate response is when you feel you are being rudely confronted with unreasonable demands.  I somehow doubt the answer is to respond in kind.


    For pete's sake, the cop can't (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by MyLeftMind on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:49:02 AM EST
    back down. If the guy was a burglar who knew who lived in the house and said that's who he was, should the cop just say, "Oh, OK, sorry to have bothered you?" Get real. Their job is to protect us, not wimp out because some elitist jerk criticizes them for not knowing they're a big man at the local campus.

    Yes, cops can be jerks. This cop seems to have just done his job.


    Not "back down" (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by Fabian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:55:44 AM EST
    hmmm...I think the phrasing is "I can see you are upset.  It might be a good idea to take a minute to calm down."

    It may not work, but at least you can say you tried.  You state your case "I am investigating a call, this is the procedure I have to follow, I am sorry that you feel this way, blah blah blah."  "And I'm not leaving until I have done all of this."  


    Do we know what was said? (5.00 / 1) (#204)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:57:14 AM EST
    Do we know what was said? (5.00 / 1) (#205)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:57:34 AM EST
    or not said?

    You simply do not know the facts (none / 0) (#163)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:04:33 AM EST
    But (none / 0) (#110)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:27:54 AM EST
    Perhaps we should ask Miss Manners...

    Gates was arrested. The police acted unlawfully, in a really gross and obvious way.

    This has nothing to do with manners. To even suggest that, seems at best naive or at worst rhetoric to hide another agenda.


    It has to do with (5.00 / 4) (#144)
    by Fabian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:49:27 AM EST
    the predictable outcome of a situation.

    Actually, I thought of it more like Prof BTD versus Officer BTD - two people standing there yelling "No ONE disrespects ME!"


    Thanks for the laugh! (5.00 / 1) (#169)
    by vml68 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:08:50 AM EST

    OK (none / 0) (#171)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:10:16 AM EST
    Except, your predictable outcome is unreasonable and quite a danger to society, imo. That is if I am reading you correctly..

    My predictable outcome would be this:

    Officer enters Gates house because of reported burglary.

    Gates upset and ranting about being accused of breaking into his own house.

    Officer realizes it is Gates house, and apologizes, and leaves.  Understands that whatever Gates said was to be expected, doesn't take it personally in the slightest. That is a what the expected outcome should be. And that is what Obama was talking about when he said:

    And that's why the more we are working with local law enforcement to improve policing techniques so that we are eliminating potential bias, the safer everyone is going to be.

    I think that in the mix is training for professionalism.

    In a way, I think the perfect analogy would be a nurse who is dealing with an upset patient. The patient hurls abuse. A well trained nurse does not take it personally, and is able to perform his or her duty and administer care for the patient.

    The police are in the service business, and Crowley needs some more training, or should not be dealing with the public.


    If I was running a police dept (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by Fabian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:41:22 AM EST
    I'd recruit social workers.  A huge chunk of police work IS social work - the average call an officer is going to respond will involve upset people.  I don't think most people intend to be hysterical or uncooperative, but when you are stressed out and your mind is going in different directions at once, simply carrying on a conversation is difficult.  

    I'd want someone who thinks their badge is just a tool they can use, not who they are.


    Yeah (1.00 / 1) (#98)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:21:38 AM EST
    A lot of that crowd came durning the primary, at least most of them left. From my point of view many of them replaced our old winger friend... funny that..

    Who were those people and (5.00 / 2) (#127)
    by sallywally on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:37:07 AM EST
    why did they leave?

    I would think an apology (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:25:29 AM EST
    of some kind would be the only thing worth talking about if Officer Crowley wants to keep on takling.  "I'm sorry for the grievances this situation has created".....something along those lines.  Police departments and those who get to work for them spend most of their time though these days making sure we all understand that when they eff up that's just too effing bad on our part.

    Has he kept talking? (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:27:17 AM EST
    All I heard about was his interview yesterday to the radio station.  What else has he said that is apparently making him look bad?

    You wanted more? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:29:30 AM EST
    But of course you think he was wise to do it.

    Your thinking on this issue is stupid imo.


    You said (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:42:34 AM EST
    he "continues to act stupidly" and I was asking doing what?  He's not the one keeping this alive....

    Excuse me (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:52:27 AM EST
    He commented on it. Of course he is keeping it alive.

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:06:33 AM EST
    yesterday he commented on it - is he doing something else to keep this alive?  

    The reason this has taken off is because of Obama's ill-timed comments.


    Crowley commented AFTER (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:32:24 AM EST
    Obama. Stop this game please.

    YES (5.00 / 2) (#130)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:38:12 AM EST
    When the president calls you out, it is natural to want to rebut.  But the story has been that OBAMA commented on it without knowing the facts during a press conference about health care.

    Please - you know this and how the media works.


    so what are the facts? (none / 0) (#151)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:55:53 AM EST
    I have read both accounts (the officers report) and Gates' account.  If we assume the truth lies in the middle of both, I still find the arrest unwarranted and unacceptable.  I think once you ask for a name and badge number which is completely within your rights (in mass anyway) the officer gets ticked and decides to show you who is boss.  Even in the middle of both I can only come to this conclusion.  


    Here we are two reasonable people in my estimation, and JBinDC and I are at polar opposites.  Why?

    Obama knew the facts as his friend relayed them, the cop has a different set of facts.  So which "facts" are the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

    I guess to me it doesn't matter what the "whole truth" is because the arrest for disorderly conduct was a contrived charge.  Again, unwarranted and unneccesary which is really what the "stupidly" comment is all about.  

    I assume you have read both accounts (i hadn't until this morning) but if you haven't, I would love to see your take on whether or not the arrest was stupidly....


    So Obama (5.00 / 3) (#88)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:16:21 AM EST
    slimed the cop, simulcast on three national networks, three "news" networks, CSpan and who knows where else, and the cop isn't supposed to defend himself at all?  He's supposed to sit there and take it?

    Wouldn't many consider silence an admission of guilt?


    yes (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:20:12 AM EST
    the man has a right to defend himself.  he has a record and its not a match for the image of him being painted by the media and the blogs.

    Listen to you (none / 0) (#118)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:31:40 AM EST
    All of a sudden, all concerned with "rights."

    Gates has to follow the "unwritten law" of not talking back to cops, but Crowley has no institutional responsibilities.

    But that is not my point anyway. It is STUPID for Crowley to get involved. He does not help himself in his job by doing so.


    rights (5.00 / 1) (#194)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:37:48 AM EST
    Gates had a right to do what he did.  it looks like the cop may have as well.
    justifying that its a stupid mistake to ask a cop if he "knows who you are" is not my point.

    I am simply acknowledging it is a fact of life.  it sucks as do many things in the world but its a fact and fact that Gates surely knew.  you dont ask a cop if he knows who you are unless you have diplomatic immunity.


    Yep (none / 0) (#111)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:28:30 AM EST
    That's the way it goes.

    It was stupid of Crowley to get into it and if he worked for me it would not have been allowed.


    I can't imagine... (none / 0) (#122)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:33:04 AM EST
    ...any City Attorney worth their salt that would allow the subject of possible litigation to be out running their mouth.  

    Hmmm... (none / 0) (#140)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:46:28 AM EST
    Not sure why his post is so bad.  Somerby is just saying that he doesn't know what really happened.  Which he doesn't.  And criticizing someone who "imagines" how the scenario went down.  He's done similiar when Maureen Dowd has put on her "what if" cap.

    I think where he goes off track (none / 0) (#149)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:55:19 AM EST
    is casting it as a 'Dems vs working man' incident. but maybe he is right - I did hear someone talking about it that way this morning.

    But (none / 0) (#156)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:00:19 AM EST
    That doesn't seem to be what BTD is criticizing.  Could be wrong.

    Or if I remember from yesterday, BTD (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:12:04 AM EST
    thinks even the agreed upon facts that Gates got arrested at his house at all are enough to to go on to say the cop acted stupidly, even if you were not there to see exactly how it went down.

    True (none / 0) (#167)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:08:04 AM EST
    maybe BTD will clarify his problem with Somerby.

    Reread my post (none / 0) (#176)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:13:19 AM EST
    I think it is quite clear.

    I think I see what you mean now (none / 0) (#189)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:28:20 AM EST
    Yes, Somerby could have said something like 'if those indeed are the policies, they are wrong policies'. But I don't think he is stupid for omitting that if that was not the overall point he was trying to make.

    Overall I don't think this is one of his better efforts. A main point is the 'Dems vs the working man' aspect, which I think is a stretch.

    Probably the point you would have had him make would have been better than the point he did make.


    It was a stupid post (none / 0) (#191)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:29:50 AM EST
    But Bob has long been stupid on racially sensitive issues.

    He simply has no clue about them imo.


    I interpreted (none / 0) (#174)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:12:09 AM EST
    That remark at being part of the assumption that since Gates is relatively more privileged, his account must be more credible.

    I've been dismayed to see quite a bit of commentary on this case from folks who acknowledge they are friends of Gates.  Inevitably, they include a line where "they can't imagine he would have..." whatever.  That might be so and the police report might be a distortion.  But having commertariat friends defend someone and give him all the benefit of the doubt, is still not exactly right.  We hated it when people gave Libby a pass (or Russert for that matter) because they knew them from the Washington dinner circuit.

    There are mixed reports on what happened here - clearly.  But the rallying on behalf of one's friends (as opposed to facts) shouldn't be a part of journalism.


    a question: (none / 0) (#186)
    by cpinva on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:27:16 AM EST
    per the police report, prof. gates was basically making a scene in his own home at first, being uncooperative, loud, etc. per the officer's own statement in the official report. so much so that he (the officer) was unable to hear what was being said, and asked that prof. gates step outside. it was at this point prof. gates was arrested.

    my question:

    if prof. gates was being as uncooperative as officer crowley indicates, however did he convince him to willingly step out of the inside of his home? this would seem, to me, a sign of cooperation, or am i missing something here?

    According to Gates... (5.00 / 1) (#193)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:37:13 AM EST
    he followed the police officer outside.

    He then followed the officer outside, saying repeatedly, "Is this how you treat a black man in America?"

    Link? (5.00 / 1) (#195)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:38:44 AM EST
    there is a picture of Gates walking out his front door handcuffed.

    I thought it did (none / 0) (#200)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:42:19 AM EST
    the officer could have stepped outside (5.00 / 1) (#197)
    by nycstray on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:41:00 AM EST
    and Gates could have followed him out to continue to argue with him

    Obama was human... (none / 0) (#208)
    by Dadler on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 12:33:35 PM EST
    ...in a manner every other president has been, and in a manner entirely first-of-its-kind in this nation's history.

    were hillary president, we'd just as likely to have seen something similar with a gender issue in the big news.

    and with any other white guy as before, we'd have gotten similar behavior, only it would've gone largely unnoticed and unreported since it fit into the paradigm most of us have had since our birth into reason.

    do i wish obama would've just punted and said no comment until the case is resolved?  yep.  am i surprised, with the brief history of seeing obama's personality, that he didn't?  nope.

    when paradigms clash.

    The President owes Sgt. Crowley and apology... (none / 0) (#209)
    by JohnRJ08 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 12:54:11 PM EST
    armed thug invades home (none / 0) (#210)
    by thornnnn on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 01:29:02 PM EST
    1. the man was in his home
    2. it is reasonable to be upset to find uninvited people with guns in your home assaulting you.
    3. the ones with the cool heads here should have been the cops
    4. the cops did not stay removed emotionally from the situation.. the cops did not handle this professionally. the cops did not care.
    5 the cops were bullys and thugs and abused a 58 year old man IN HIS OWN HOME.
    6. the man committed no crime

    if we allow this police behavior.. someday the boots will come marching for YOU .. and ME..

    the man was in his HOME.. the man was INNOCENT..

    i think the cop should be FIRED.. to remind all bullies and thugs on every police force.. that we are their EMPLOYERS.. we are NOT the enemy.. they are here to SERVE AND PROTECT US.. not to assault and persecute and harass us.

    i'm outraged at the media.. and the typical side with the cop propaganda.. the cops behaviours as the professionals should be held to a higher standard.. than some innocent old man who just had his house invaded by armed THUGS.. in uniform.

    smart v. stupid (none / 0) (#211)
    by rsmatesic on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 01:38:11 PM EST
    I am a civil rights attorney, and over the years I've represented and sued lots of cops. As pertains to this discussion, my experience has been that cops fall into one of two categories:  those who look for opportunities to escalate a situation, i.e., provoke an act constituting DC, or worse, and those who try to defuse a situation before it escalates.  Because escalation always carries with it the possibility of injury to one or more cops, you tend to find the smart cops in the second category, and the less smart ones in the first.

    It appears that Crowley did not decide to arrest Gates until after learning that the man before him was in fact the owner of the house in which the two were then standing.  In which case, Gates was perfectly within his rights to demand that Crowley leave, immediately, before the situation escalated any further.  

    Surely, Crowley, the sensitive white guy, who apparently revels in his reputation as the sensitizer of other white guys, had to know that suspecting (accusing, really) a black man of burglarizing his own home would not result in a cascade of warm and fuzzy feelings, and he should have sensed the urgent need to defuse the situation.  

    Well . . . did he?

    I didn't see any mention of any defusing efforts by Crowley or his partner Figueroa in the police reports, or in any of the media reports, for that matter.  
    Am I missing something?

    Obama owes Crowley an apology (none / 0) (#212)
    by JohnRJ08 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 01:55:18 PM EST
    Even after Sgt. Crowley saw Professor Gates' ID, he still did not know if the situation was resolved. Gates immediately began hurling insults at the officer, behaving in a way that caught Crowley by surprise. The situation escalated when Crowley asked Gates to step outside, into broad daylight for all to see, so that they discuss the problem. That's when Gates lost it and became guilty of disorderly conduct. Crowley still didn't know who Gates was, nor could he be sure of Gates' state of mind. You can't get in the face of an officer investigating a possible crime without risking arrest. Even bystanders at crime scenes are often arrested for belligerent behavior. A doctoral degree and skin color do not excuse this individual for losing any semblance self control.