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Obama Regrets His Stupid (But Accurate) Description Of Gates Arrest As Stupid

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Obama bows out of Gates-gate:

President Obama said Friday that he “could have calibrated” his words more carefully in the racially-charged controversy over the arrest of a Harvard professor, making a surprise appearance at the daily White House briefing to try and cool the tensions surrounding the case. . . . The president conveyed his sentiment to the police sergeant in a telephone call earlier Friday. Mr. Obama said he disagreed that he should not have stepped into the issue, saying it is the job of the president “black or white” to contribute to improving relations.

At the end of the call, Mr. Obama said, there was a discussion about the police sergeant, Professor Gates and him having a beer at the White House. . . . The controversy, Mr. Obama acknowledged, overshadowed his attempt to explain the effort to overhaul the nation’s health care system. By speaking about the matter again on Friday, the president hoped to turn the page.

Now will Crowley and/or Gates go away quietly? I bet not. But at least Obama is out of it.

Speaking for me only

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  • Display: Sort:
    A beer at the White House? (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:21:17 PM EST
    Sure hope everyone remembers to bring their I.D.

    And their house keys (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:16:07 PM EST
    Oh wouldn't you love to be there when (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:21:37 PM EST
    Sgt. Crowley, Prof. Gates, and Obama have that beer at the White House?  No attorneys allowed though.  

    It may be the President's job to help improve race relations.  But does Pres. Obama sincerely fell his initial comment contributed to that effort?  

    Really! (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:26:57 PM EST
    Bravo to him for calling Crowley and then making his statement, but flapping his mouth about something he didn't have the facts on and then seguing into a discussion of racial profiling was, um, stupid and made the situation worse, not better.

    Parent
    Flapping His Mouth (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:31:21 PM EST
    Wow.

    Parent
    Is "flapping his mouth" racist now? (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by tigercourse on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:34:16 PM EST
    Not the most artful phrase (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:40:26 PM EST
    Not the most artful phrase!!!! (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by ChiTownMike on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:57:54 PM EST
    Wow that is pretty much what Obama said about himself.

    And yes, through telepathy I did help him craft the apology that Crowley was seeking and that Obama gave Crowley. Apology predicted. apology delivered as predicted. Damage control predicted. Damage control delivered as predicted.

    So in the end Gates made his own bed according to Obama. And Obama admitted he was the catalyst of the entire circus - just like I have been posting today. Had Gates not mouthed off, had Obama not mouthed off none of this would have happened. And it was all the cops fault according to some here - ha ha - not according to Obama (foot in mouth).

    Biased mother henning loses out again.

    Parent

    Umm (none / 0) (#112)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:08:57 PM EST
    Ok. If you say so.

    Parent
    Heh! (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by ChiTownMike on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:14:51 PM EST
    I thought it was funny ... (none / 0) (#74)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:52:52 PM EST
    that in his comments the President almost put the words "get off my lawn" into Crowley's mouth.

    ;)

    Parent

    based on history (none / 0) (#39)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:38:22 PM EST
    what do you think?

    Parent
    I wish Obama.. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:24:46 PM EST
    would forget the racial element and focus on the tyranny element...though that is probably asking too much of the tyrant-in-chief.

    Moral of the story...if your a victim of tyranny and want Uncle Sam to have your back, ya gotta be a personal friend of the president.

    Though I must say I do like the "lets have a beer" idea, lets all learn something.  Though with these two hotheads maybe they should all share a spliff instead, alcohol can fuel violence:)

    Just how good a friend is the President (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:42:37 PM EST
    to Professor Gates?  Must not have been on the latter's speed dial or perhaps the good Prof. wouldn't have been arrested.

    Parent
    I'd bet... (none / 0) (#59)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:46:44 PM EST
    by the time would even think to call in a favor he was already in chains and unable to dial.

    Parent
    He doesn't want to go there. (none / 0) (#142)
    by Cream City on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:33:24 PM EST
    <Guantanamo>

    Parent
    Bingo.... (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:56:27 PM EST
    Guantanamo, FISA, War on Drugs...I guess I should be grateful we got a bone.

    Parent
    carefully calibrated (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Turkana on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:25:07 PM EST
    pretty much defines his presidency, thus far. and i don't mean that as a compliment. the man has brains and talent and popularity. he ought to try using them, more often..

    I said last fall (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:26:16 PM EST
    that they ought to have bundled their entire legislative agenda into one big package and push it right immediately.

    I still think I was right.

    Parent

    some think (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Turkana on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:28:24 PM EST
    a more aggressive reaction to the financial meltdown would have set the right tone, both on policy and with the public. i'm still waiting for him to frighten or offend david broder. just once.

    Parent
    The blew the stimulus (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:33:22 PM EST
    Personally, I would have tacked on healthcare.

    Parent
    and he did make a compelling case (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Turkana on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:35:21 PM EST
    that they're related. would have been the perfect time to force it through.

    Parent
    Yup (none / 0) (#37)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:38:15 PM EST
    Seemed like Obama got what (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by dk on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:43:42 PM EST
    was looking to get with the Stimulus.  IMO it was wholly inadequate, but he got what he wanted.

    Parent
    Agree with ya on (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:38:20 PM EST
    the insufficient response to the economic situation.  That one still scares me (and someone remind me not to listen to Ravi Bahtra anymore!).

    Not sure if tacking on healthcare would have been feasible back then though, or merely delayed by months the stimulus.

    I'm not even sure we have 50 Dems in the senate or a majority in the House for anything substantive on health.

    Whatever, it's nervous time for the economy and this presidency ...

    Parent

    A VIEW FROM AFAR (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by American Cop on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:25:48 PM EST
    It is an unfortunate situation whenever a law enforcement officer (LEO) has to force an arrest on a vocal individual just to prove a point. After reading the report, there is no doubt in my mind that this was an 'attitude arrest'. This is how law enforcement officers (LEOs) refer to arrests made because the accused was being disrespectful to them. But LEOs in America (especially Sgt Crowley) need to grow thick skin if they want to be a LEO in America. The public has no constitutional duty or legal obligation to respect the government even those that wear a uniform (which the police are a part of). The police in turn do have an obligation to be impartial and fair in their contact with the public. The nonsensical explanation of 'tumultuous' behavior is hardly an excuse for arresting someone. There is no evidence (witness affidavits) that explain how their sense of public decency was violated or disturbed by Mr. Gates conduct or vocal volume. The complainant was at the scene at the request of the police and so was the campus police. In his report Sgt Crowley did not provide the name of any individual who came out of their residence due to Mr. Gates behavior. The allegation that people passed by and looked in the direction of Mr. Gates' house is more than likely the result of curiosity due to several police cars congregated in front of his house. Sgt Crowley obviously failed to make or articulate a case of disorderly conduct, not to mention that Mr. Gates was in the porch of his house where he can exercise his constitutional right to be a jerk. From the onset of the police presence we can tell there was no serious belief in Sgt Crowley's mind that a burglary occurred. Had Crowley (a Sgt with some years of experience) honestly believed that a burglary was in progress he would not have approached the front door without having back up. That is basic LEO officer safety. He even stated in his report that he believed the person inside was the homeowner. Clearly another officer safety issue was when he stepped inside without back up even though Mr. Gates was allegedly belligerent by this time. After believing that the person inside may more than likely be the homeowner, what he (Sgt Crowley) should have done was have the dispatcher do a reverse directory look up and telephone the person inside the house and ask him to step outside and meet with the officer. More proof that Crowley continued to aggravate the situation is the fact that after his fear of a break-in was dispelled he decided to hold Mr. Gates identification while he summoned the campus police. The need for having to contact the campus police was never explained or justified by Crowley in his report. Crowley should have beat feet after his fear was dispelled, plain and simple. His actions from that point on served no legitimate law enforcement or investigatory purpose. The only purpose it served was to aggravate an already volatile situation. This unprofessional conduct and the fact that Crowley knowingly disregarded his officer safety twice just to confront Mr. Gates, raises the valid issue as to whether or not Mr. Gates' race may have played a part in Crowley's handling of the situation.

    What is fairly amazing is that a Sgt., (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:29:48 PM EST
    as opposed to a patrol officer, was the initial responder to the dispatch.  Wonder how long it's been since Sgt. Crowley handled any dispatch as a first responder?

    Parent
    Bravo! (none / 0) (#22)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:31:24 PM EST
    I've posted here and elsewhere my concurring belief that this arrest had more to do with "attitude" than race. You sir, are spot on.

    Parent
    of course (none / 0) (#27)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:34:02 PM EST
    rich influential black people are like rich influential gay people, the standard rules do not apply.  in both cases the operative word is "rich".

    Parent
    As opposed to all white people (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:39:59 PM EST
    Sheesh. WTF is wrong with you?

    Parent
    of course with white people (none / 0) (#54)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:44:10 PM EST
    the rich and famous always get a better deal and better treatment.  
    it makes no difference if they are black white gay straight or other.  this IMO was about a rich influential Harvard Professor who got a brief encounter outside the ivory tower.
     

    Parent
    You WANT it to be about that (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:45:43 PM EST
    We want it to be about the normalcy of police abuse of their authority.

    Parent
    "Normalcy." That's the part to which (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:54:42 PM EST
    I object.  Too long representing law enforcement I guess. Sometimes jerks, often without formal education beyond high school diploma, but, in my experience, not usually racist.

    Parent
    oh (none / 0) (#66)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:49:48 PM EST
    its about that to.  that doesnt mean its about race.

    Parent
    It may not have been (none / 0) (#158)
    by jondee on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:58:22 PM EST
    "about race" -- but it has been, in the past, many, many times. Yet somehow Gates, in a stress-filled encounter with the police, is supposed to completely forget all that and be a perfect gentleman at all times while being under suspicion for trying to enter his own home. Please.

    Parent
    I'm with you (5.00 / 5) (#82)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:54:38 PM EST
    The "don't you know who I am" was quite insightful.  It is typical for Harvard professors to get treated better than we mere lowly citizens.  The fact that Gates wasn't treated so, was outrageous.  Therefore he was outraged.

    If there was any racism involved, there was also classism.  Heavy, duty, simulcast over major networks, and still simulcast, classism.  Presiential, I'm better than you lowly little people, classism

    And yes, Crowley had himself some handcuffs, however Gates had himself a presidential BFF.  Who wins in this case? The rich and powerful. Always, always, always.  Cry me a river over race when you're talking about two Harvard guys who attended or worked at a school I would never have dreamed of attending -- I could never have afforded it. Could even be why the charges were dropped -- May have not been so in an ordinary case, but a HAWVAAAD prof shouldn't be treated so badly.

    Please, please, please, Cambridge police, release the radio communications.  Please, Mr. Gates, sue, so we can see what the witnesses have to say.

    Parent

    Oh Lordy, Gates went to jail. (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by MKS on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:22:07 PM EST
    Being Harvard Prof didn't prevent that--and perhaps was part of the reason he was arrested for contempt of cop.

    Being arrested and taken to jail.  Some gloss right over that.  But THAT is the issue.

    Parent

    he then (5.00 / 2) (#139)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:30:17 PM EST
    had all charges promptly dropped.  do you think that would have been the case it if was you or me or anyone who was not a rich influential celebrity?

    Parent
    I hope so (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by MKS on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:07:44 PM EST
    But if you are saying that an offended cop could make an unjust charge stick against a non-celebrity, I don't think I would be that surprised.

    A lot of people do not like Gates--which does surprise me.  The most he can do is say things that others find offensive.  He is just an academic.  Conservatives have their own academics to challenge him.

    The cop can put you in jail.....

    I'd say that is a big difference.

    Parent

    I think he just said in the final (none / 0) (#40)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:38:33 PM EST
    sentence race had something to do with it.


    Parent
    And he is right (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:39:38 PM EST
    And you live in a world apart from the rest of us.

    Parent
    I'm with you BTD. I'm not usually (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by Teresa on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:44:14 PM EST
    in a minority view here but I think race was an issue. I don't see anything wrong with what Obama said originally when asked about it. It was stupid to arrest the man.

    Parent
    I totally support Gates and Obama's (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by Coral on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:45:46 PM EST
    original statement. I have seen police in their dealings with African-Americans. Many white people simply have no idea the humiliation blacks & Latinos are forced to put up with.

    The behavior of the Cambridge police was shameful. If the same thing had happened to a white professor of the same stature of Gates, who is one of the most prominent academics in the country, the reaction of whites would be much different.

    Parent

    i was willing to agree with all that (none / 0) (#34)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:37:40 PM EST
    Until you brought race into it.

    Do you have any other data to support your conclusion?

    Parent

    I will follow you throughout my site (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:39:17 PM EST
    reminding you that race has "been in it" always.

    Parent
    we simply are not (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:48:27 PM EST
    convinced you are correct.  you may be correct but I dont really see it.  if he were younger, less well dressed, not using a cane, maybe.
    why would a police man "profile" a past middle aged, well dressed man?  I really dont get that.
    as I understand profiling that just isnt how it works.


    Parent
    Race is in everything (5.00 / 5) (#71)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:51:35 PM EST
    And I really do not care if you are convinced or need to be convinced of that obvious fact.

    I will combat the line "race brought into it" every time it is uttered. It is in everything all the time.

    Only the foolish or the dishonest deny that obvious fact.

    I do not bother to try to convince anyone who "needs" convincing of this.

    I've wasted years of my life at various blogs on this with people like that and I won't anymore.

    I just rebut the silly premise and move on.

    Parent

    Very true ... (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:00:10 PM EST
    I also think when a police officer is acting under color of the law he must be held to higher standard than a private citizen.

    Police misconduct isn't a minor problem.

    Parent

    its a huge problem (none / 0) (#108)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:06:29 PM EST
    all Im saying is that race is not necessarily at the root.


    Parent
    race may be in everything (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:05:09 PM EST
    but IMO in our country today class is just as much as maybe more.
    and class has more to do with this case than race.


    Parent
    i agree (none / 0) (#80)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:53:54 PM EST
    that race is in everything.


    Parent
    i have already responded to that (none / 0) (#76)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:53:05 PM EST
    elsewhere.

    and i agree.  but i still won't call you a racist because you are a part of that system and history.


    Parent

    But you seem to believe (none / 0) (#85)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:55:43 PM EST
    "the system" is not made up of people. And that it does not infect us all.

    Silly.

    Parent

    then i must ask you (none / 0) (#89)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:57:13 PM EST
    do you consider yourself infected too?

    would you call yourself a racist?


    Parent

    Sure (5.00 / 5) (#105)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:05:18 PM EST
    There is a racist and a sexist in me. I fight those tendencies and try to resist them. I do not always succeed.

    I think those who have positions of authority sure ESPECIALLY be aware of these tendencies and to be extremely careful how they behave.

    There was a great TV character named Andy Sipowicz, played wonderfully by Dennis Frantz, on the show NYPD Blue. He played a sympathetic character imbued with racism.

    You think of "racist" as a bunch of white men in white hoods. David Duke.

    There is more to it than that.

    In that sense, Sharpton's approach damages a real discussion of racism and how it effects us all. I doubt he cares about it - he wants results - for himself and yes, for his causes.

    But it makes it difficult for a thoughtful discussion on race.

    And you really can't expect it from pols. They can not tell the truth about anything, especially race.

    Parent

    that's exactly what I'm saying about (5.00 / 2) (#193)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:52:10 PM EST
    gates accusing crowely of being a racist.  it damages a real discussion of race in america.

    i should just speak for myself.  if someone said i struggle with race issues like everyone else, i would say "that's true."

    if someone called me a racist, i would disagree.

    i don't think the distinction is that hard to understande, but i'll try again.

    if i was relgious (i am not), i might believe that i am infected with original sin, but i would not accept a direct accusation of adultery unless i had actually committed adultery.

    of course race issues are complex.  but my distinction.  i think it's important.


    Parent

    Perfect example...Franz/Sipowicz. (none / 0) (#171)
    by oldpro on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:16:49 PM EST
    Then, too, we had All in the Family.  

    Both shows and both characters (as played by Franz and O'Connor) made a great contribution to the racism discussion in many families, many social groups.

    Both shows, extremely well-written and well-acted.  When I happen across a rerun I find I usually watch it.  Nostalgia...

    Parent

    He says what he thinks raises the racial question (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:47:04 PM EST
    This unprofessional conduct and the fact that Crowley knowingly disregarded his officer safety twice just to confront Mr. Gates, raises the valid issue as to whether or not Mr. Gates' race may have played a part in Crowley's handling of the situation.

    The best spelled out reasoning I have seen...for those of us like me that sometimes need it spelled out.

    Parent

    Personally, (none / 0) (#77)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:53:35 PM EST
    I think Gates' race did play a part, but not the way American Cop seems to imply.

    Crowley didn't exit stage left as he should have because his ego was being severely battered, basically from the word go.

    Parent

    With all due respect: (none / 0) (#179)
    by prittfumes on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:24:16 PM EST
    is it fair to assume that your "view from afar" indicates that you have not seen the video? (Disclosure: I didn't read your post word for word but skimmed over it)

    Parent
    I actually really don't like what the President (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by tigercourse on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:27:16 PM EST
    said here - it's his job "black or white"? Is he trying to say that anyone who thinks he shouldn't have commented has racial motivations?

    based on history (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:31:51 PM EST
    what do you think?

    Parent
    I took it to mean (none / 0) (#42)
    by indy in sc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:39:21 PM EST
    that people shouldn't think that he only spoke up about it because he is black and that if he were white, he would have felt similarly obligated to speak.

    Parent
    I think he's saying that it would have (none / 0) (#48)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:42:18 PM EST
    been his job regardless of his own race.  His opinion of course.  

    Parent
    "By speaking about the matter . . (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:30:53 PM EST
    . . again on Friday, the president hoped to turn the page"

    after another couple of news cycles digest his "new comments" maybe. and probably not even then.
    sort of like closing the barn door after the horses are long gong.  what a ham handed armature hour episode this has been

    can't we all just get along? (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:56:35 PM EST


    Accoding to Obama (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by ChiTownMike on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:05:37 PM EST
    the arrest was not racially motivated. The reason for the arrest was Gates mouthing off according to Obama.

    No Rodney King here.

    It's kind of funny how so many here jumped on the racism bandwagon and that is not what this was about at all - except for Obama of course who brought out his inner Al Sharpton and spoke out of his a**.

    What got into Obama anyway to make such a blunder? One too many Rev. Wright sermons?

    Parent

    Good grief (5.00 / 3) (#117)
    by Teresa on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:12:29 PM EST
    I guess it brought out my inner Al Sharpton too, then. And I'm pretty fair skinned.

    Parent
    I like to think... (5.00 / 2) (#128)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:17:00 PM EST
    we've all got a little Rev. Al Rabble Rouser in us, its just a question of what level of injustice will unleash our inner Al:)

    Parent
    what was at the core? (none / 0) (#159)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:58:27 PM EST
    In examining this situation in its entirety, I look for something iridescent or reflective, unfortunately the substance I find at the core is irony......

    Parent
    heh (none / 0) (#93)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:58:05 PM EST
    I'd love to get along... (none / 0) (#123)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:15:02 PM EST
    once the other side chills out with their arms and chains and unjust laws we'll get along just fine...until then, as Robert Nesta would say, its a War.

    Parent
    Should have never "bowed in" (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by DaveCal on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:58:11 PM EST
    Let's see:

    He admitted he wasn't there and didn't know all the facts.

    He admitted he is biased because Professor Gates is a friend.

    Then he prejudges the situation and concludes the police acted stupidly.

    And he finishes with some comment that separate and apart from this incident we all know that there is a long history of african americans and latinos being stopped by cops disproportionately.  

    Isn't that a classic example of prejudging or profiling in a way?  He has a "general" history, and no "specific" facts of this incident, but he concludes that the cop acted stupidly.  

    Things that make you go "hmmmmmmmmmmm"...

    Sgt. Crowley should not have arrested (5.00 / 3) (#97)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:59:19 PM EST
    Prof. Gates.  

    Parent
    why not? (none / 0) (#101)
    by DaveCal on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:03:50 PM EST
    Why is Professor Gates so special that he can be belligerent to a cop and not expect he might be arrested?  

    Average people doing this get arrested all the time.

    Why not simply cooperate with the police and get it resolved quickly and quietly?

    Parent

    That would have been the better course (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:06:22 PM EST
    of conduct for Prof. Gates to take to avoid an attitude arrest, for sure.  But, he didn't have to.  Chose to take his chances and lost.

    Parent
    Then ... (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by DaveCal on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:12:27 PM EST
    he has no one to blame but himself.  

    Instead, he blames a "racist cop".  

    By all accounts I've read, it was Professor Gates who chose to inject race into the situation, and apparently he did it immediately and without provocation.

    Like I said, things that make you go "hmmmmmm"...    

    Parent

    Doesn't matter. Sgt. is not supposed to (none / 0) (#118)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:13:51 PM EST
    react to bating by person contacted by arresting person for pure speech.  

    Parent
    Whoa (none / 0) (#121)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:14:45 PM EST
    Maybe NOT a teaching moment after all.

    Parent
    Did you really think minds would (none / 0) (#135)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:24:17 PM EST
    be changed?

    Parent
    Average people shouldn't (5.00 / 6) (#114)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:10:25 PM EST
    get arrested for it either if they are not physically threatening the cop.

    If the 'teaching moment' that comes out of this is that people need to bow down to authority and not that authority needs to control its impulses, this whole thing will have been a complete waste of energy.

    Parent

    Agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:14:33 PM EST
    I wish I could rate this comment a 10. (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by indy in sc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:15:32 PM EST
    who said "bow down"? (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by DaveCal on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:20:07 PM EST
    He should have shown some common courtesy.  Much more likely to get it back.  

    I'm sorry, but I was raised to be polite both to authority figures and my fellow man.  

    Why doesn't Professor Gates have to "control his impulses"?  

    You appear to be saying that Professor Gates has an absolute right to spew venom, hatred and whatever else, as long as he's not physically threatening, but that the cop has to "control his impulses".  

    Hmmmmmmmm....


    Parent

    Heck ya! (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by indy in sc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:26:34 PM EST
    You appear to be saying that Professor Gates has an absolute right to spew venom, hatred and whatever else, as long as he's not physically threatening, but that the cop has to "control his impulses".

    Only one of the persons in this scenario has the ability to deprive the other of his liberty.  The one with that right bears the greater responsibility.

    Parent

    Hmmmmm (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by DaveCal on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:48:55 PM EST
    Well I for one appreciate having a police force that can use (not abuse, use) the arrest tool to keep the peace.  

    Professor Gates has been released, the charges were dropped, and he was not physically mistreated during his detention.  I don't see any overreaching abuse of authority here that we need to be worried about.

    Frankly, IMHO he acted like an child.  I think he deserved a little parental smack on the tush.  

    Parent

    I think your view is probably the majority one (none / 0) (#188)
    by MKS on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:38:17 PM EST
    in this country.  Unfortunately so.

    Gates mouthed off to a cop, so he deserved to be arrested.  Yes, I think most people believe that.  It is totally wrong under the law but the support for cops is so strong that the Bill of Rights amounts to just a "g-d d*mn piece of paper" in most people's minds.

    "Physically mistreated during his detention."  Being handcuffed and jailed is being physically mistreated.  It is a huge shock--terrifying and humiliating to most.  But, yes, the public tends to just brush it off--shouldn't have backtalked the cop.  Don't be so uppity.

    Don't underestimate the trauma and fear that is induced by being arrested....

    Parent

    That's the law. (none / 0) (#134)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:22:40 PM EST
    Well said ruffian... (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:54:49 PM EST
    well said.  I'm afraid its been a waste of energy...bow down everybody, bow down to your king...all hail authority.

    Liberty?  The Bill of Rights?  Nobody cares.

    It's been a wonderful debate, the case of the arrest of Prof. Gates reminded me of classic Talkleft and this blogs greatness.  Though I am much sadder for having had this debate...not to get too cheesy but this debate broke a piece of my heart.  I'm left with a very bleak view of the future of the grand experiment...much bleaker than normal.

    I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone.

    Parent

    When Lynn Sweet asked that (5.00 / 2) (#131)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:21:57 PM EST
    last question about the arrest of Professor Gates, I was sure that President Obama would handle it as adroitly as all the other questions sent his way that night.  That, of course, was not the case-- as he now acknowledges, he did so without "calibrating his words more carefully".   And, the biggest worry was that this response would erase health care from the rest of the week's calendar. Let us hope that the president's beer party will ameliorate the problem and re-establish the health care focus. I do wish, however, that his statement of today that the professor should not have been 'pulled out of his house' had also been calibrated better.

    smart v. stupid (5.00 / 3) (#146)
    by rsmatesic on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:42:08 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?


    Probably.... (5.00 / 2) (#174)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:18:30 PM EST
    I think we're all missing something...like a full, honest account of exactly what happened. It's been coming out in bits and pieces spun so many ways based on who is passing judgment on whom.

    Parent
    Spin? (5.00 / 2) (#198)
    by rsmatesic on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 05:09:06 PM EST
    The absence in the police reports of efforts to defuse the situation is not spin; it's a substantial omission, i.e., a substantial fact (as opposed to mere rhetoric), and one that could be used to impeach Crowley and Figueroa on the witness stand.  

    The police report filed by Figueroa said that Crowley tried to "calm down" Gates, and that someone tried to tell Gates why the police had responded to the call.  For its part, Crowley's report mentions no de-escalation efforts by either officer.  (This disparity alone can be used to attack the reliability of the reports.)

    If Crowley is truly a racial sensitivity trainer, he has to know that a white police sergeant, who orders a legitimately distressed AA citizen to calm down, followed with an assertion that the white sergeant has every right to be in the AA's house, is barely past the first step in an effective de-escalation effort.  

    By comparison, what did Crowley say or do to empathize with Gates?  Did he say or do anything to affirm Gates' understandable humiliation, or the legitimacy of Gates' perspective, that, to an outsider this could easily be construed as an incident of racial profiling? If so, why isn't this evidence in the reports?

    Parent

    Through the Looking Glass! (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:55:42 PM EST
    What's happening here?  I'm finding myself agreeing with Squeaky AND Kdog on the same issue!

    Is this a sign of the apocalypse?

    ;)

    be afraid (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:06:55 PM EST
    be very afraid

    Parent
    Petrified..... (5.00 / 2) (#196)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:59:42 PM EST
    Comsult a mental health practitioner or self-medicate immediately:)

    Parent
    stupid v. smart (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by rsmatesic on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:00:18 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?


    Duplicate post (see #146) (none / 0) (#169)
    by rsmatesic on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:10:57 PM EST
    Sorry.  My bad.  Or Microsoft's, I mean.

    Parent
    "Stupid (But Accurate)" - can't agree (5.00 / 0) (#203)
    by Trickster on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 06:48:04 PM EST
    The reason it was stupid was because neither Obama, you, I, nor any of the other commenters in this thread KNOWS whether it was accurate.  We simply don't have enough information on the incident.

    You don't really say the, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I get the impression your message is that waht Obama said was stupid because it stomped on the health care message.  That's putting the cart before the course: it stomped on the health care message because it was stupid.

    Public figures should never comment on pending controversies unless it's NECESSARY to do so, e.g., to send a diplomatic signal.  Obama went way way past his knowledge of the facts in making his comments.  He should not have, and neither should you or I.

    I'm not so sure he's done with it, either, and I'm not so sure that inviting the parties to the White House was a good move: to me, it kind of smacks as a desperate maneuver to get out of trouble.

    The real trouble could come if and when the actual facts get out, as they are now almost certain to do.  If they don't support Obama's statement, then he probably hasn't walked back far enough yet, and a complete retraction and apology will likely be necessary.

    I thought this was very interesting (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:20:47 PM EST
    There are some who say that as President I shouldn't have stepped into this at all because it's a local issue.  I have to tell you that that part of it I disagree with.  The fact that this has become such a big issue I think is indicative of the fact that race is still a troubling aspect of our society.  Whether I were black or white, I think that me commenting on this and hopefully contributing to constructive -- as opposed to negative -- understandings about the issue, is part of my portfolio.

    I'm going to have to sit on this, but I'd be surprised if Rahm isn't ripping his hair out over it.

    If Obama had failed to (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:28:51 PM EST
    directly answer the question, he would have been slammed by the left and by many in the black community for dodging the matter and not standing up for a friend.  

    And the MSM would have run wild with that angle.

    It would be interesting to know what went on in the Oval during the pregame warmup as O and the advisers, including Rahm, went over possible Qs and how to answer them.

    Parent

    How many times have we heard (5.00 / 4) (#52)
    by Anne on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:43:06 PM EST
    presidents - and others in positions of influence and power - demur from answering a question because of a lack of sufficient information?

    All he had to do was say, "I appreciate the question, Lynn, but let me say that I really do not have all the information about the incident.  As much as I would like to weigh in - and Skip Gates is a friend of mine, so I do have a personal interest - I don't want to do a disservice to anyone involved by speaking before I have the facts.  This is a local matter that is being handled locally, and putting a national spotlight on it before all the facts are in just would not be the smart thing to do.  Besides, I'm really here tonight because the American people are anxious to know what is happening with the reform of the health care system, and I'd like to stick with that."

    Indicative of interest, acknowledgment that health care is the topic du jour, doesn't rule out talking about it at another time.  Smart, presidential.  Doesn't mean the spotlight would not have shifted to Cambridge anyway, but it would have done so without the imprint of presidential opinion.

    Parent

    To me, the President never needed to (5.00 / 5) (#63)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:48:54 PM EST
    speak publicly about the disorderly conduct arrest of Prof. Gates by Sgt. Crowley in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

    BTW, Rezko was also a friend of Obamas but candidate Obama didn't really want to talk about Rezko for the longest time.  

    Parent

    But You Certainly Did (none / 0) (#73)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:52:35 PM EST
    Do you think that Obama was as close a friend to Rezko as he is to Gates?

    As far as I remember associate was the word used for Rezko, as many here were hoping his 'association' with Rezko would end Obama's bid for POTUS.

    Parent

    I have no idea. Did Prof. Gates (5.00 / 5) (#100)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:02:19 PM EST
    host fundraisers for candidate Obama.  Did Prof. Gates's wife buy a piece of property to assist candidate Obama's purchase of adjoining property?  Did Prof. Gates bundle campaign contributions for candidate Obama?  

    Parent
    Surprised (none / 0) (#111)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:07:19 PM EST
    I am surprised that you have not brought up Ayers.

    Parent
    No need. I knew you would weave it (5.00 / 5) (#113)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:09:19 PM EST
    into your reply.

    Parent
    Not to mention Ayers of course (none / 0) (#153)
    by jerry on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:53:58 PM EST
    Wow. What has this got to do (none / 0) (#119)
    by MKS on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:14:21 PM EST
    with anything?

    Maybe it was all about the primaries here...

    Parent

    Nothing. Good point. (none / 0) (#126)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:16:00 PM EST
    Not The Primaries So Much (none / 0) (#133)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:22:31 PM EST
    But different sides of the criminal justice system. Defense position v Prosecutor position.

    Ayers, Rezko, and now another friend of Obama's getting arrested. And that he would call the police stupid.

    Basically a nonsequitur but there is a thread here about positions regarding law enforcement.

    Parent

    No Comment (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:49:14 PM EST
    Due to an ongoing investigation..

    Yes how many times have we heard that phrase in the last eight years.

    Obama answering an off topic subject at the very end of the presser seemed entirely appropriate to me. The only thing I would have changed is word stupid, but then again I really appreciated some straight talk from a sitting president.

    Quite a change, imo, and quite refreshing.

    Parent

    I'd have recommended (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:53:00 PM EST
    he say something similar.  

    But since it's a friend involved, plus both being AA, and on an issue about which he'd worked as a state legislator, etc, I think he could have said something less than what he did but something a little more in terms of expressing his personal reaction -- e.g., "I was troubled to read ...  However, until the facts become clearer, it would be fairer to both sides ... etc etc"

    Usually a hot button item like that would be gone over carefully, perhaps scripted even, with advisers.

    Well, the guy made a mistake in the use of one somewhat excessive word.

    He's human.

    But he's still better than most to talk about the racial divide.

    Unless someone here has a better idea ...  

    Parent

    Circular reasoning (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Cream City on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:32:08 PM EST
    on Obama's part:  Now it's okay that I commented on it because it's a big issue.  Uh, POTUS, because you commented on it is a big part of it being a big issue.

    And circular reasoning is not typical of him (I watch for it from pols -- while also watching to see if anyone in the media sees it; usually not).  This whole episode is looking so atypical of the master media manipulator that I begin to agree with those here who see it as countermanipulation -- as creating a distraction from the issue he's losing.

    That, or his media handlers who were the brilliant manipulators of truth in his campaign are on vacation from the White House this week!


    Parent

    With a nationally prominent (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:42:57 PM EST
    AA scholar from the nation's most prestigious institution of higher learning being arrested improperly and perhaps on racial grounds by a white officer, well that was bound to continue to be a story whether or not Obama commented the way he did.  Especially given the personalities involved and the don't-give-an-inch attitudes of both officer and Gates.

    Like I say, it would have been difficult for Obama to dodge the Q, so it's was largely a matter of damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.

    Though it's also true that his remarks should have been more carefully thought through -- scripted practically, given the incendiary nature of this matter ...

    Parent

    I've never quite understood (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by indy in sc on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:58:46 PM EST
    those who believe that this would have been a local story but for Obama's response to Lynn Sweet's question.  As you point out, this was always a national story--if it wasn't, she wouldn't have even asked the question (though at a press conference re health care, I'm not sure why she chose to aak it).

    His clumsy foray into it certainly ratcheted the story up to another level, but it was always a national story.

    Parent

    Sorry, I meant it would not have (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:05:18 PM EST
    been a story about Obama's response. It would still have been a story - no one showed signs of letting it go.

    As for Lynn Sweet - real policy questions are so boring, and require some knowledge of the policy in question. Hence Todd's political process question and her off-topic question. Gotta get a better media.

    Parent

    Not her job to only ask official on topic question (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by jerry on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:56:26 PM EST
    It's not Sweet's job to only ask official on topic questions, and we would probably be upset with the media if they stuck to the agenda at the moment.

    Parent
    The point is how he handled it (5.00 / 3) (#145)
    by Cream City on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:40:26 PM EST
    not that he would probably have to handle it, as the White House knew, so he was prepped for it -- and said an entire city's force of cops acted stupidly.  There are, as other commenters here point out quite well, so many better ways for him to have parsed it.  So that is my point.

    And allow me also to point out that if there's any reporter in the entire nation that Obama also has long experience in handling her, as she asked some of the best/toughest questions in the primaries, and she has reported on him for years before, it's Lynn Sweet -- from the leading media outlet in his hometown, after all.

    Parent

    I think without the word 'stupid' (none / 0) (#81)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:54:18 PM EST
    it would not have been a story. I didn't hear him say 'stupid' in real time, and thought what I was hearing was a good answer to the question at the time.

    I don't think a 'no comment' would have worked - he and Gibbs would have been asked about it until he responded - but a more diplomatic word not have fanned the flames.

    Parent

    This was not constructive (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:23:12 PM EST
    Frankly, he can't lead on this issue.

    It's unfortunate but true imo.

    Parent

    I agree (none / 0) (#9)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:25:14 PM EST
    But I don't think that ought to foreclose on the President ever discussing sensitive issues.

    Save it for the SOTU, I think.

    Parent

    certainly not (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:35:20 PM EST
    not sticking your big nose in before you know what the hell is going on.  yes.

    Parent
    Nonsense (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:37:45 PM EST
    What Obama said was right and we all know what Crowley put in his report.

    Crowley's actions were clearly stupid and wrong. Are you backing out of that position now?

    But Obama was stupid to get embroiled in it.

    Parent

    I think (none / 0) (#72)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:52:06 PM EST
    pretty much everyone in this episode was stupid and wrong.

    Parent
    I think I wrote a post about that (none / 0) (#110)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:07:08 PM EST
    Titled it "Stupid."

    Parent
    excellent (none / 0) (#141)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:32:17 PM EST
    then we agree on everything
    :-)

    Parent
    Okay defense attorneys.... (none / 0) (#152)
    by jerry on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:52:57 PM EST
    How often DO people get arrested for disturbing the peace in their homes for merely shouting at the cops?

    I think Crowley was wrong for arresting Gates, but I can't say he was stupid if it turns out he was following common practice.

    I can think Gates was right to be upset and annoyed, and I can say he was pretty stupid in how he acted in regards to the cops.

    I am still of the impression this whole thing was a hoax that never occurred, my proof being that there is no YouTube video of it.

    Parent

    Mebbe (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:29:32 PM EST
    Mainly saying this is not the week for it (none / 0) (#148)
    by jerry on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:47:40 PM EST
    Became a race issue (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:22:43 PM EST
    I think that ought to be clear to everyone.

    Who made it a race issue? (none / 0) (#32)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:36:01 PM EST
    ?

    Parent
    The people (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:41:27 PM EST
    who brought the slaves in the 1600s.

    Parent
    hmm (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:46:53 PM EST
    so can i be a jerk to a british cop cause i'm irish and my people were starved a brutalized by oliver cromwell?

    rhetorical quesion, obviously.

    let's pretend i agree with you.  can i ask when it ends?

    Parent

    In this country (none / 0) (#64)
    by CST on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:49:13 PM EST
    Yes, you can be a jerk without getting arrested.  

    It's called freedom of speech.

    It ends when it becomes non-verbal.

    Parent

    i asked a question about that yesterday (none / 0) (#69)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:51:00 PM EST
    the one response i got is that it would be a really really really bad idea.

    do the courts just ignore the law in this case?

    Parent

    The courts? (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by CST on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:53:35 PM EST
    I doubt any charge based on "being a jerk" would hold up in court.

    That doesn't mean it's a good idea.  The cop (as shown here) may ignore the law.  And it can get ugly when that happens.  That doesn't mean the cop is in the right.

    Parent

    this appears theoretical (none / 0) (#86)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:55:53 PM EST
    i was in a real situation.

    do i get to be a jerk to cops and then expect the courts to punish the cop if they arrest me for being a jerk to them?

    Parent

    my feeling is that this (the jerk question) (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by sancho on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:35:09 PM EST
    is not a question one wants to ask. gates did. in theory, you can be a jerk to an active, on the case, cop. in practice, what happened to gates is probably more typical than we want to admit. for my own view, i'd rather avoid the (jerk) situation (stupid arrest) and then not have to yell about how right i was later.

    Parent
    It all depends (none / 0) (#99)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:01:40 PM EST
    on your ability to convince the court that you are telling the truth and the cop is lying.  Because clearly, the cop is going to go into court with some story other than "yeah, I arrested him just for yelling at me."  Video or audio tape is helpful!

    Parent
    I agree. Reading the police reports (5.00 / 2) (#137)
    by Cream City on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:27:46 PM EST
    by Crowley and other officers, there could be a construal of justification under guidelines I have seen for how police are to interpret and adjudge the potential for problems and arrest for disorderly.

    So I want to see and hear tapes.

    Parent

    I agree. Reading police reports (none / 0) (#138)
    by Cream City on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:28:23 PM EST
    by Crowley and other officers, there could be a construal of justification under guidelines I have seen for how police are to interpret and adjudge the potential for problems and arrest for disorderly.

    So I want to see and hear tapes before I know what and whom to believe.

    Parent

    That's actually not true of course (none / 0) (#162)
    by jerry on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:00:43 PM EST
    fire in a theater
    hate crime speech
    certain political speech
    public disturbances


    Parent
    Not true (none / 0) (#199)
    by Andy08 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 05:11:16 PM EST
    disorderly conduct in public will get you arrested: start yelling and gesticulating to a cup and handcuffs come out. I live on a condo which is next to a lodge for low income and temporary residents. Often some of its occupants get drunk, gather downstairs where loud arguments break. They start yelling to each other using fowl language on the porch of their dwelling in the middle of the night. Neighbors must complain fairly often because the police usually come, asks for ID, question them separately and takes away some of them more often than not in handcuffs in their police cars....  

    Parent
    excellent (none / 0) (#36)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:37:50 PM EST
    question

    Parent
    obviously (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:42:38 PM EST
    white cop arresting any african american is a loaded situation so race would have come up -- at least locally -- but i see a lot of people conceding that gates acted like a jerk but that that is not the issue.

    why is that not an issue?

    Parent

    Because the man with the handcuffs (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:44:35 PM EST
    was the other guy.

    We worry about the guys with guns and the handcuffs a lot.

    Parent

    Morally and legally "acting like a (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by tigercourse on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:44:52 PM EST
    jerk" is not a justification for getting arrested

    Parent
    i know (none / 0) (#67)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:49:57 PM EST
    but i asked yesterday about how i was pulled over for speeding and got really angry cause everyone else was going the exact same speed, and it was clear to me the cop was getting a visceral thrill out of humiliating me.

    but i still restrained myself from telling him what i really thought?

    a legal question on a legal blog?  if i said what i really thought can he arrested me could i have sued and expect to win?

    Parent

    Can't give a legal answer but I can give (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by tigercourse on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:53:37 PM EST
    a realistic one. Don't ever talk back to cops. Only an idiot does that.

    Parent
    Even if a cop needs to be talked back to? (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:17:52 PM EST
    Of course I was born with a problem when it comes to respecting authority.  Authority serves a purpose and when it ceases to serve that purpose it does not deserve to be respected.

    Parent
    I don't particularly respect authority either. (5.00 / 4) (#195)
    by tigercourse on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:56:03 PM EST
    But I do understand someone's ability to f me over. I rarely poke bears either.

    Parent
    As someone who has made that mistake (5.00 / 3) (#201)
    by esmense on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 05:40:18 PM EST
    in a situation I think you could probably relate to, I'd say the answer is "yes" even if a cop "needs to be talked back to."

    I also have a little problem respecting authority, and tend to react very badly (and with an extremely sharp tongue) to being bullied -- even when the bully might outweigh me by more than a 100 lbs or carry a gun. I've learned the hard way that the reason for holding back when confronted by a bully, with or without a badge, has nothing to do with "respecting authority." It's about realisticly acknowledging the limits to your own power and the extent of your own vulnerability, and even more important that of others who are dependent on you.

    When my son was about 8 years old he was riding his bike on our street when a man started yelling at him and chasing him with his car. He chased my son all the way into our yard. I heard my son crying and looked out the window to see a car on our lawn, my son and his bike crumpled on the ground in front of it, and a large angry man towering over him. I don't think I need to tell you how I reacted to that scenario. This guy's son had had his bike stolen -- a bike that was exactly the same kind of cheapest-model-in-the-nearby-discount-store as my son's. Somehow this idiot assumed that a proper way to deal with that situation was to chase down 8 year old boys with his automobile. I not only assured him that this was my son's bike, I very angrily and certainly "justifiably" upbraided him for his behavior. (What I didn't do and should have done was immediately reported the incident to the police). He left, but 10 minutes later I heard my son crying again. This time there were two bullying men accousting my son on our lawn. One of them in uniform. The police officer, who it turned out was a personal friend of the man who had assaulted my son earlier, had ordered my son off his bike and was handing it over to his a**hole friend right before my eyes. He never knocked on my door, he never told me that a complaint was being made or attempted to investigate the situation, he just assumed that he could use the power of his uniform to help out his friend -- and neither the single mother or her child (I presume his pal had noted the fact that there was no angry father on hand) would have any recourse but to allow it to happen. I don't think Professor Gates' outrage at being mistaken for someone breaking into his own home could possibly exceed my rage at seeing my small child being mistreated by these two huge macho idiots. I said a LOT of ill-advised things. And the officer threatened to and had every intention of arresting me. What saved me from arrest wasn't how justified my critique of his actions was, or how white my skin is, but rather the fact that, after being told I was going to be arrested, it occurred to me to say in response that if that was the case I was lodging a complaint against his friend for assaulting my son with his vehicle. It was only at that point that the light of reason came on in this jerk's eyes and he realized that he had seriously over-stepped his authority. A friend who arrived in time to hear me upbraid the officer later upbraided me in the most severe manner for doing so. And she was right. My mouthiness, no matter how justified, put myself, and worst of all, my son, in real danger.

    Parent

    what about free speech? (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by coigue on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:31:59 PM EST
    Where are we living, N Korea?

    Parent
    How Reactionary Of YOu (none / 0) (#102)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:04:48 PM EST
    Do you think that Claudette Colvin should have just shut up and behaved when she was arrested. Was she stupid? Evidentially her role model was Rosa Parks, also stupid?

    What about Jackie Robinson:

    In event in July 1944 derailed Robinson's military career. While awaiting results of hospital tests on the ankle he had injured in junior college, Robinson boarded an Army bus with a fellow officer's wife; although the Army had commissioned its own unsegregated bus line, the bus driver ordered Robinson to move to the back of the bus.[56][57][58] Robinson refused. The driver backed down, but after reaching the end of the line, summoned the Military Police, who took Robinson into custody.[56][59] When Robinson later confronted the investigating duty officer about racist questioning by the officer and his assistant, the officer recommended Robinson be court-martialed.[56][60] After Robinson's commander in the 761st, Paul L. Bates, refused to authorize the legal action, Robinson was summarily transferred to the 758th Battalion - where the commander quickly consented to charge Robinson with multiple offenses, including, among other charges, public drunkenness - even though Robinson neither drank nor smoked.[56][61]

    Was he stupid too?


    Parent

    No you can't sue and no (none / 0) (#115)
    by MKS on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:11:52 PM EST
    you wouldn't win.....

    Too much support for the cops.  If you do not cooperate, the cop will find probable cause for your arrest.  No one will want to hear your story.

    Gates was in his own home, so that gives him a better shot at a false arrest and 1983 (Civil Rights) case.  While in a car, however, the cops can come up with all kinds of excuses to arrest you.  DUI will work--and in California you can be arrested for DUI for less than .08% if you are impaired--which is in the eye of the cop.  Or, any number of other things....

    Parent

    If you provided valid id on request, (none / 0) (#168)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:07:59 PM EST
    cop issued you a citation, you mouthed off, and then the officer arrested you for disorderly conduct.  You've got a pretty good civil lawsuit.

    Parent
    I would love to believe that (none / 0) (#170)
    by MKS on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:11:24 PM EST
    Not really true, I 'm afraid, in the real world...

    Parent
    If you're arrested, you're a (none / 0) (#172)
    by MKS on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:16:53 PM EST
    troublemaker who deserved it.  That is how it would go down....

    Just look at Gates's arrest--he played the race card, so he deserved it.

    It all depends on where you bring your case.  If you are in white suburbia, no one will believe you and everyone will believe the cop over you--you were resisting a lawful direction of an officer.

    Now, if you can sue in downtown LA, you got a shot.

    Parent

    Except for the little (none / 0) (#176)
    by jondee on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:19:42 PM EST
    his word against yours part, assuming there were no other witnesses.

    Parent
    Talk Left: The Politics of Crime (none / 0) (#180)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:25:39 PM EST
    Because the sgt. was not entitled to (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:50:31 PM EST
    arrest anyone for yelling stuff, even accusations of racisim, at the Sgt.  

    Parent
    A person should not be arrested (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Coral on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:38:11 PM EST
    for being in his own house. It is abuse of power. When it is done by a white cop to a black man, it is a race issue.

    Parent
    well (5.00 / 2) (#149)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:48:47 PM EST
    that settles that.

    Parent
    and i believe (5.00 / 1) (#197)
    by The Last Whimzy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 05:01:50 PM EST
    that people should not be called racist based only on context and/or history.

    more data is required before that should be considered acceptable.

    Parent

    Thank you (none / 0) (#13)
    by CoralGables on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:27:07 PM EST
    Mr. President. I can go back to being a full time defender again ;)

    And in my experience sometimes (none / 0) (#19)
    by Jjc2008 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:30:24 PM EST
    professors are a*holes.

    I don't know either guy.  Maybe they are both a*holes.  Maybe neither is.  Maybe the communication of all parties was not enough, misconstrued, overreaction laden.  I don't know.

    I do wish the two men would put their egos aside and agree to have a beer together without lawyers, without press.  Just talk and MOST important LISTEN to each other.   Sometimes human beings just need to understand we don't all have the same information; thus our reactions can be clouded.  

    One of the a-holes ARRESTED the other one (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:41:02 PM EST
    You folks are ridiculous.

    Parent
    Why? (5.00 / 2) (#109)
    by Jjc2008 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:06:43 PM EST
    Because I think too human beings are capable of maybe reaching some kind of understanding without a lawyer present?

    I never said the "arrest" was acceptable, legal or anything else.  That part is outside what I am talking about.  But there are things that can be resolved without lawyers.  Sorry you disagree but I don't appreciate being insulted for having my own thoughts on how two people can resolve their issues with each other.  

    Parent

    But if (big if) police reports (5.00 / 2) (#140)
    by Cream City on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:32:16 PM EST
    (available for all to read), one of the a*holes figured it was best to leave to defuse the situation, but the other one of the aholes followed him out his door to keep it going.  And then a crowd gathered to hear one of the a*holes keep yelling that the other was a racist cop, and those are fighting words in my city, too. . . .

    And those fighting words could get the cop off by claiming justification to deter an uprising, blah blah blah.  So if (big if) the police report is to be believed, and the cop was leaving (as you and others of us have said was the thing to do), why didn't Gates just stay inside.  So sad.  

    Parent

    Not Equals (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:50:20 PM EST
    One person had a badge and a gun, and clearly abused that authority.

    The report states that Officer Crowley asked Gates to step outside. Every lawyer and even a stray prosecutor commenting at TL has said that this was a strategy to arrest. Gates could not be arrested in his own home.

    It is painfully obvious that Crowley decided to arrest Gates for obstruction. If you need a blow by blow legal analysis here courtesy of Peter G.

    Parent

    Well, YOU have certainly said this: (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:58:33 PM EST
    The report states that Officer Crowley asked Gates to step outside. Every lawyer and even a stray prosecutor commenting at TL has said that this was a strategy to arrest.
    But I'm not certain "Every lawyer and even a stray prosecutor commenting at TL has said that this was a strategy to arrest."

    Parent
    Painfully Obvious (none / 0) (#163)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:01:00 PM EST
    Shall we take a poll?

    Parent
    Go for it. (none / 0) (#164)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:02:09 PM EST
    And Your Analysis (5.00 / 1) (#167)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:07:53 PM EST
    Given your police experience, why do you think Crowley asked Gates to step outside? Do you really think that the acoustics were getting the way of Crowley hearing Gates?

    Evidentially Crowley heard Gates loud and clear, in fact everyone on the force was able to hear Gates loud and clear from the police radio.

    Are you really suggesting that Crowley was interested in what Gates had to say???

    Certainly Crowley knew that in order to arrest Gates he would have to ask him to step outside.

    Hard for me to believe that you are this naive Sarc, really.

    Parent

    Why do you think (none / 0) (#175)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:19:20 PM EST
    Crowley stepped outside because he couldn't hear Gates?

    His police report says he stepped outside because Gates was yelling loudly and the acoustics were making it difficult for Crowley to transmit pertinent info to the ECC and other responding units.

    Parent

    He Asked Gates TO Step Outside (none / 0) (#177)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:20:58 PM EST
    When he was handcuffed the officer thanked Gates for complying with a police request, which was to step outside.

    Parent
    The question is, why did Prof. Gates (5.00 / 2) (#178)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:23:50 PM EST
    respond to Sgt. Crowley's request by stepping outside?  Wasn't the Prof. savvy enough to know he didn't have to do that?  

    Parent
    I suspect (5.00 / 3) (#189)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:47:50 PM EST
    two things: (1) regardless of what set of facts you believe, it's very likely Gates was angry at that moment and not thinking entirely clearly, and (2) the legal nuance which says you can only be arrested for disorderly conduct if you're being tumultuous in front of members of the public isn't something most people, even most smart people, would have any idea about.  Heck, everything I know about the criminal laws of Massachusetts I learned from the final episode of "Seinfeld."

    Parent
    OH, Inspector, I didn't mean that is the (none / 0) (#183)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:28:54 PM EST
    only question or that Prof. Gates was obligated to know he didn't have to step outside on request.  

    Parent
    SORRY, OCULUS (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:32:39 PM EST
    I hate when that happens!!!  I hit a 5, but then moved down the thread with my arrow key....that changes the ratings, you know!!

    I fixed it :)

    Parent

    Yes (none / 0) (#185)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:32:37 PM EST
    Gates did not believe that he would get arrested. Naive on Gates part, upstanding citizen and all...

    Parent
    I'm not the sharpest banana in the bunch (none / 0) (#190)
    by jerry on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:47:56 PM EST
    This is the absolute first time I've ever heard of the step outside thing, and I still don't understand it.  

    Where is that coming from and what is it all about?

    Parent

    Public Space aka Step Outside (none / 0) (#192)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:52:02 PM EST
    The statute authorizing prosecutions for disorderly conduct, G.L. c. 272, § 53, has been saved from constitutional infirmity by incorporating the definition of "disorderly" contained in § 250.2(1)(a) and (c) of the Model Penal Code. The resulting definition of "disorderly" includes only those individuals who, "with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof ... (a) engage in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; or ... (c) create a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor.' "Public" is defined as affecting or likely to affect persons in a place to which the public or a substantial group has access.

    link

    Parent

    Thank you. (none / 0) (#200)
    by jerry on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 05:37:56 PM EST
    So I gather this is a Massachusetts thing and not necessarily some fundamental US Civil Rights thing.

    Parent
    Non-responsive. (none / 0) (#181)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:27:17 PM EST
    Crowley stepped outside the house because he couldn't communicate with the other cops over his walkie-talkie (or whatever you call it) in the house becuase Gates was yelling so loud and the acoustics in the house, according to the report.

    That he stepped outside because he couldn't hear Gates is some fantasy of yours.

    Parent

    This lawyer (5.00 / 2) (#182)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:28:34 PM EST
    believes it was absolutely a strategy to arrest.

    Parent
    There's one. (none / 0) (#187)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:35:53 PM EST
    If all lawyers here agree, I'll gladly concede the point.

    Parent
    But but (5.00 / 1) (#191)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:48:16 PM EST
    The thread is going to close at 200 comments, you sneaky guy!

    Parent
    Only 8 more and I'm home free! (5.00 / 2) (#194)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:52:16 PM EST
    Police Report Reposted (none / 0) (#23)
    by JayHub on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:31:35 PM EST
    I posted the police report on the arrest in the last thread, but just before it was closed.  Here it is again if you're interested:

    http://www1.whdh.com/pdf/police_report.pdf

    Stupid or not ... (none / 0) (#29)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:35:01 PM EST
    Obama's comments on Gates saved him from the mediocre reaction to his healthcare presser being the main story.  

    Even today Gibbs would not say whether or not the President would support a bill which excluded the public option.

    And it appears they're no longer pushing for any resolution before the August recess.

    bingo (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:36:42 PM EST
    I cant believe this was not planned.  Obama is smarter than that.

    btw
    I did not know about Sam Rami until you mentioned it but woo hoo.


    Parent

    OT Breaking News In Honduras (none / 0) (#70)
    by Saul on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:51:10 PM EST
    Live news report of Zelays trying to walk in to Honduras from Nicaragua.  Possible show down.  On CNN now

    Good luck with that Zelaya (none / 0) (#83)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:54:40 PM EST
    I'm baffled by this story from all sides.

    Parent
    Shades of Roland Burris trying to walk into (none / 0) (#91)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:57:53 PM EST
    U.S. Capitol!

    Parent
    Crap, I've been washing dogs that needed (none / 0) (#88)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:56:54 PM EST
    washed and missed Crowing Crowley?

    And a defamation suit? (none / 0) (#90)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:57:47 PM EST
    My God, the litigation opportunities I've overlooked in this lifetime.

    This one is a non-starter. (none / 0) (#95)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 02:58:25 PM EST
    The tone and some of the "stupids" (none / 0) (#125)
    by iceblinkjm on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 03:15:48 PM EST
    being thrown around is beneath the caliber of this blog. Usually it's so levelheaded and balanced. I must ask if BTD is okay today or did he not get coffee or something.

    It's Over (none / 0) (#173)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 04:17:58 PM EST
    Steve Killion, president of the Cambridge patrol officers association, praised the president for calling Crowley only a couple of hours after the news conference where union leaders demanded an apology from Obama.

    "I'm sure, knowing Sergeant Crowley, it's mended the fence with him,'' said Killion, who had not spoken with Crowley but heard a transcript of the president's remarks. "It's gone some way toward mending the fence with the patrol officers, even though I haven't spoken with any of them yet.''

    link

    I can't help and feel tha both sides are wrong (none / 0) (#202)
    by nyjets on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 06:25:44 PM EST
    WHile I do feel that we will never know what exactly happened but I get the sense that both sides acted in a dumb manner.
    THe cops were present because someone thought a neighbor's house was being broken into. I know I would not want to confront someone who may be commiting a criminal act so I might do the same thing.
    Once the cops arrived they had the right to act for the gentleman's id. FOr all they knew, the real owners could have a gun to there head.
    The gentleman who was probable tired may not acted in an approiate manner. The cops, on the other hand, should of just walked away and let it dropped. We now have the current situation with both sides acting like children. Therefore, I blame both sides.


    I doubt Rahm or the rest of the WH (none / 0) (#204)
    by coast on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 07:40:11 PM EST
    cares if it was "accurate".  Two days after holding a presser that was specifically meant to advance the health refom debate, all that is being discussed is this comment.

    Rookie Pres, rookie mistake.  He'll learn.

    Let's hope (none / 0) (#205)
    by abdiel on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 01:24:44 AM EST
    Crowley doesn't try to arrest Obama in front of HIS house, lolol.