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Obama: ‘Cambridge Police Acted Stupidly’ in Gates Matter

In last night’s press conference, President Obama weighed in on the disorderly conduct arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates.

“The police are doing what they should,” he said. “There’s a call. They go investigate. What happens?

“My understanding is that Professor Gates then shows his I.D. to show that this is his house, and at that point he gets arrested for disorderly conduct.”

“I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that,” Mr. Obama continued. “But I think it’s fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry; No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and No. 3, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by police disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”

I’m surprised and a bit disappointed that the president would weigh in so strongly against a local police officer on such sketchy evidence.  He concedes that Gates is a friend but, still, president’s traditionally stay out of such matters until they develop.  This isn’t a Rodney King situation where we have video.  Further, Obama is eliding some steps in the incident; I guarantee Gates wasn’t charged with disorderly conduct for simply showing ID.

Dave Schuler and I discussed the incident toward the end of last night’s episode of OTB Radio.  We agreed that 1)  the specific facts of the case are fuzzy, with Gates and the arresting officer releasing accounts that put themselves in the best light and 2) Cambridge is a small community and police should know who its most prominent citizens are.

I think it’s probable that Gates went into outrage mode quickly and that the officer felt disrespected and wanted to assert his authority and basically goaded Gates into a situation where an arrest was possible.  Henry Farrell‘s explanation on that score strikes me as quite plausible.

As I’ve written numerous times before, police, especially in urban areas, have adopted a militaristic attitude toward their jobs, viewing the citizenry as hostiles to be pacified rather than as the community they’ve pledged to serve.   It’s a dangerous and lamentable development.

This is by no means universal.  Dave, who lives in a suburban-style community within the city limits of Chicago, has a much more pleasant experience with the police.  The police and citizens have a cordial, cooperative relationship.

UPDATEJules Crittenden has some interesting background on Officer James Crowley that will likely reinforce whatever view you already have on the matter.

AP Photo

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Benedict says:

    Obama has now spoken more harshly and more plainly about the depredations of the Cambridge police than he has about the mullahs in Iran. In Obama’s warped victimology calculus, Skip Gates > Neda.

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  2. Derrick says:

    I’m not sure how you would consider Cambridge, Mass., at least where he lived, an “urban area”. This was a typical suburban area where people like Dave are used to a non-hostile police force. Yet here, we have an arrest where there seems to be no good explanation for it. It was in fact “stupid” that this easy case was turned into a fiasco by the police officer. The lack of any type of restraint is outrageous.

    The fact is that Dave layed out the problem in his relations with the police. Middle-class, non-threatening appearing white-men typically have good relations with the police. Even wealthy, non-threatening appearing black-men don’t. Class, as superficial as that is, usually trumps in these situations except for black males. I know black lawyers who make mid-six figures who have been treated in about the same manner by police as you would expect for some typical thug on the street. I’m glad that someone is willing to speak out against such disparate treatment.

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  3. Herb says:

    Gates was clearly wronged, but he’s also wrong if he tries to make this about race.

    Yesterday, I heard him tell Soledad O’Brien, “This is not about me; this is about the vulnerability of black men in America.”

    Um, no, actually it’s about jerkwad cops throwing their weight around. The more Gates tries to make it about race, the less the cop issue will resonate.

    The vulnerability of black men in America, my eye. How about the vulnerability of unarmed citizens in the face of unprofessional cops?

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  4. odograph says:

    My guess is that Obama’s saying it was stupid does more to erase racial tensions than it incites them.

    Your Chappelle video set up the expectations black men have, perfectly. For police not to be aware of that expectation, and play it correctly, would be at a minimum, stupid.

    We should understand that Chappelle-scenarios happen, that they shouldn’t happen, and more forward.

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  5. odograph says:

    (BTW, the picture of handcuffed Gates coming out of the house seems to contradict the claim that he followed them outside in order to be arrested. What did they do, take him by force in again?)

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  6. just me says:

    I think it’s probable that Gates went into outrage mode quickly and that the officer felt disrespected and wanted to assert his authority and basically goaded Gates into a situation where an arrest was possible. Henry Farrell’s explanation on that score strikes me as quite plausible.

    I think this is probably what happened.

    I am pretty certain Gates was uncooperative and argumentative.

    I am pretty certain the officer did little to diffuse the situation and was using his power advantage to ramp up the confrontation.

    I am pretty certain that neither the police report or Gates’ statements give the full picture, and am willing to bet the truth is somewhere in the middle.

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  7. Is Cambridge really that small a community? It’s over 100,000 people and a University town. Should police be expected to know who all the professors are in town?

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  8. Furhead says:

    I’m surprised and a bit disappointed that the president would weigh in so strongly against a local police officer on such sketchy evidence.

    Agreed. JJ and ‘just me’ and I all agree, none of us including the President know exactly what happened.

    The best guess is that both acted fairly human. Gates comes home from a trip (and may be tired), is probably irritated that he couldn’t get in the front door, and then the neighbor calls the cops on him. The officer is just doing his job and possibly gets irritated at unfounded accusations of racism, and wants to assert his authority rather than “serve and protect”.

    Based on what I envision the scenario was, both acted ‘stupidly’ but it’s not the President’s duty to call only one of them out on it. Usually he is much more aware that there are two sides to every story.

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  9. Crust says:

    I’m surprised and a bit disappointed that the president would weigh in so strongly against a local police officer on such sketchy evidence.

    You omitted a rather key bit of the story. The Cambridge police apologized for the incident. If the police think it was a mistake is it really such a leap to conclude they were mistaken? Maybe Obama weighed in too strongly, but do you really think the evidence was so sketchy?

    I guarantee Gates wasn’t charged with disorderly conduct for simply showing ID.

    I doubt Obama disagrees with you.

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  10. Derrick says:

    Is Cambridge really that small a community? It’s over 100,000 people and a University town. Should police be expected to know who all the professors are in town?

    No, but James’s original point hinged on the differences between the policing of differenct socio-economic communities. Here you have an upper income neighborhood where I’m sure that the police are aware is mostly comprised of professors and businessmen/women. It seems that many, at least on the Right, are ok with some kind of profiling, but it seems silly that you only remove benefit of the doubt and not give it. If they are willing to take in account someone wearing a hoodie, on the corner in the dregs of Boston during night time hours, you would expect that they might also take into account a man in wealthy golf attire, in a professor’s community with a limo driver. It seems like you have to either put everything in context to the situation or nothing, and not just pick and choose when using common sense.

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  11. just me says:

    Derrick I could go for that argument if the cop was just driving by.

    A woman saw two men breaking into a home (and they were breaking in, but had the authority to do so). She called 911 and they dispatched an officer.

    The officer wasn’t racial profiling-he was answering a call of a possible burglary.

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  12. JKB says:

    Cambridge is a small community and police should know who its most prominent citizens are.

    Or one could assert that Cambridge is a small community and shouldn’t people know a black man lives on their block. At least enough to know that it might not be unreasonable for an older black man to be dealing with a stuck door in the middle of the day? You know so you don’t call the cops at the sight of a black man entering his home.

    The police report provides a sequence of events that is both reasonable and expected. Obviously, it will be polished but it indicates that there were non-police witnesses to the final events that led to the arrest. Along with other Cambridge officers and officers from the Harvard University police. That gives it credence to the incident report in that those witnesses could, if needed, be located and interviewed. Would you really expect the police to swear to events in a legal document that could so easily be checked?

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  13. just me says:

    Or one could assert that Cambridge is a small community and shouldn’t people know a black man lives on their block. At least enough to know that it might not be unreasonable for an older black man to be dealing with a stuck door in the middle of the day? You know so you don’t call the cops at the sight of a black man entering his home.

    A notation I read in one of the news articles this morning indicated the woman who called was not a neighbor, but was driving through the neighborhood. She saw what looked like to men breaking in (and what she saw was in fact to men breaking in-even though the two men had a legitimate purpose) and she called the police. I would hope if a passer by thought somebody was breaking into my home they would call the police.

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  14. s in severn says:

    I live in a “racially mixed” neighborhood. If I am outside and notice something suspicious, like someone trying to enter a home through a window, I would call it in too.

    What if, what if someone WAS actually trying to break-in and commit a crime and the cops saw the address and “remembered” oh, it’s a BLACK scholar from the college and DID NOT RESPOND????

    Then the cops are not doing their job!!!

    Sorry, Dr. Gates’ has a chip bigger than Manhattan on his shoulder. He was in the wrong, he took his frustration out on the nearest object or person… It would have been a “non-story” if he showed his ID when asked and then asked their help to get in, you know like NORMAL people do.

    BTW, I’m married to a cop and silly crap like this by the public over when the police do respond might be why at other times, the cops “take so long” to respond to other calls.

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  15. anjin-san says:

    there are two sides to every story

    Yep. And one side is that the police serve up shit to black men every day and expect them to take it.

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  16. Steve Plunk says:

    Rather than being about race let’s consider the fact that both the professor and policeman are in professions not used to being challenged by others. In fact both professions take pleasure in knowing those who challenge them can be dealt with harshly. It was basically a battle of the jackasses. The younger, stronger, and armed jackass won the day but the older, wiser, and connected jackass will keep fighting longer. I have no sympathy for either.

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  17. Ugh says:

    There is an interesting take at Kleiman’s place on what the cop may have been up to:

    samefacts.com/archives/crime_control_/2009/07/nightmare_on_ware_street.php

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  18. Anderson says:

    I agree with Obama, based on what we know, including the admissions in the police report, but I do confess to feeling uneasy that the president is speaking out on a matter where Gates and the CPD have issued a joint statement pretty much exonerating each other.

    (And Ugh is correct, Kleiman’s post is must-reading for anyone who thinks that the police acted correctly.)

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  19. Gustopher says:

    Even if Professor Gates was being belligerent, the police were still in the wrong for letting this escalate.

    Part of their job is to encounter the public in tense, confrontational situations, and they should have the training and skills to deal with a crotchety angry old man and calm him down without having to arrest him.

    Whether they didn’t do their job well because of their deep-seated racial prejudices, or their lack of training, or just a bad day all around, I have no idea. But they didn’t do their job well.

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  20. pylon says:

    I think it’s probable that Gates went into outrage mode quickly and that the officer felt disrespected and wanted to assert his authority and basically goaded Gates into a situation where an arrest was possible.

    To me that would be “acting stupidly”.

    Oh, and Obama made it clear that responding to the call, etc. was “so far so good”.

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  21. [...] James Joyner [...]

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  22. Furhead says:

    “Now, I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that,” Obama went on. “But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; …”

    I can 100% agree with this part. I cut it off right before the ‘stupidly’ quote. He also said he was biased because he knew Gates personally.

    This is the problem with headlines and soundbites. With one word change, from ‘stupidly’ to ‘inappropriately’, his entire comments are perfectly reasonable.

    So my new judgment is: one stupid word choice for Obama. And as he knows, words mean things.

    Thankfully for everybody involved, the sergeant was too polite to take a swipe at Obama when asked for a response.

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  23. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I don’t have a PH.D, however I know enough not to yell at cops. No mattet what your educational level, I think you will find on the books of most communities laws that have to do with disrepecting police. I was not there and Dr. Joyner seem to be able to fill in blanks about the behavior of the police goading this angry man into some actions he was prone to take anyway. My suggestion for Dr. Joyner, in the interest of research, is go find a cop and start yelling at him. Don’t let him back away, just get in his face. Be sure to tell him who you are. That really impresses them. What good is an education if you remain stupid?

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  24. Steve Verdon says:

    I’m quite happy Gates was arrested. I am quite happy that Gates and Obama are friends. I can only hope (and its a small hope given how Left and Right politicians seem to love out “law and ordering” each other) that this will open up Obama’s eyes to the power and authority police have and how they abuse it.

    Do I think there was race involved in this? Probably not, maybe 20 years ago, but unlikely today. What I do think it was was a civilian deigning to tell an LEO what he can and can’t do. To show this peasant who’s who he was arrested. Happens all the time.

    Yes the police acted stupidly, yes the President commented in a strong manner. Finally. Goddamned finally.

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  25. Billy says:

    Yes the police acted stupidly, yes the President commented in a strong manner. Finally. Goddamned finally.

    This. The race issue, whether or not a factor, is irrelevant. This is about an abuse of power, and it goes on every day.

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  26. DavidL says:

    The arrest of Professor Gates was questionable, and indeed the charges were dropped.

    Howver, Professor Gates’s, and later this supposed professor of constitutional law, charge of racial profiling was absurd. The police did not question Professor Gates because he was black, but rather because he seen breaking into a house, albeit his.

    You’d like to think that a Havard professor and a Havard graduate would know the definition of racial profiling. Evidently not. Doesn’t say much for Havard.

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  27. Steve Verdon says:

    I’ll add that this kind of treatment needs to happen far far more often to our elites, and even better our elected officials. I’m a bit disappointed a SWAT unit was not deployed. As James has noted, our police departments are becoming more and more militarized, and it isn’t just urban police departments, even small towns are getting machine guns, tanks, and flash bang grenades.

    References:

    Radley Balko on police shooting dogs.

    Massachussetts Stops Taking Military Surplus Equipment.

    Police in Wellfleet, a community known for stunning beaches and succulent oysters, scored three military assault rifles. At Salem State College, where recent police calls have included false fire alarms and a goat roaming the campus, school police got two M-16s. In West Springfield, police acquired even more powerful weaponry: two military-issue M-79 grenade launchers.

    Some 82 local police departments in Massachusetts have obtained more than 1,000 weapons over the last 15 years under a federal program that distributes surplus guns from the US military, the Globe reported earlier this month. Now, new information identifies which communities received the weapons: They range from small towns like Hamilton, Marblehead, and Wayland to more populous communities like Worcester, Framingham, and Revere.

    Overkill

    A retired police chief in New Haven, Connecticut, told the Times in the 1999 article, “I was offered tanks, bazookas, anything
    I wanted.”43

    Small Farm Town’s SWAT Team Leaves Costly Legacy

    Back in 1997, with scarcely a dissenting voice, Dinuba created a special paramilitary police unit complete with submachine guns and head-to-toe combat gear. It was a choice that this San Joaquin Valley town, population 15,269, would almost immediately regret.

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  28. Mike says:

    “Crowley, however, has refused to apologize, and he told the radio station he did nothing wrong. He added he was surprised that a man as educated as Gates would start yelling epithets about Crowley’s mom, part of the incident that never made it into the police report.”

    This is from an interview of Crowley – after calling crowley a racist, he insults his mother? – stay classy Harvard Professor

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  29. Mike says:

    Odograph – your right – and look at the really racist African American standing in the forefront of the picture.

    ANd just watch as the usual race profiteers fill their coffers – where’s Al and Jesse in all of this?

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  30. Furhead says:

    No mattet what your educational level, I think you will find on the books of most communities laws that have to do with disrepecting police.

    There are laws that you can’t disrespect police? I call total bullshit on that one, unless the government has already started monitoring our thought processes.

    Regardless, if a policeman is in your house with no further cause, and you ask him to leave, he should leave, period. Or do you suddenly not believe in property rights? The cop admits he didn’t leave when asked to after being shown identification. This is *in* the police report, and is an admission of wrongdoing on the officer’s part. Do you agree or not?

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  31. Furhead says:

    This is from an interview of Crowley – after calling crowley a racist, he insults his mother? – stay classy Harvard Professor

    So you’re telling me that everything that Crowley says in his own defense is an unquestionable fact?

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  32. An Interested Party says:

    I wonder if any of the commenters who think that race was not a factor or is irrelevant are themselves black and have ever been subjected to this kind of treatment by the police…funny how so many seem to think that Gates had no right to get as angry as he did…how would any of you feel if you were trying to get into your house and someone called the police on you…I’ll bet their would be a few Manhattan-sized chips growing on a few people’s shoulders…

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  33. just me says:

    So you’re telling me that everything that Crowley says in his own defense is an unquestionable fact?

    So are you telling me that everything Gates says happened the way it did?

    Personally I don’t think either man is telling the whole truth-both have created their reports and statements to put themselves in the best light.

    I have absolutely no doubts that Gates was crying racist at the officer, and I have no doubt the officer was throwing his weight around.

    I think on this one the truth is in the middle-I suspect Gates was copping an attitude with the officer and the officer chose to ramp up the situation rather than diffuse it.

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  34. PD Shaw says:

    I’m white.
    I’ve talked back to the police before.
    I’m not surprised by these events.

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  35. Steve Verdon says:

    There are laws that you can’t disrespect police? I call total bullshit on that one, unless the government has already started monitoring our thought processes.

    No bet, you’re right. This is Bravo Sierra, although the cops act like there are such laws. Cops are not above inventing laws or engaging in creative interpretation of the laws. Just look at any instant where a photographer has been arrested by cops.

    Regardless, if a policeman is in your house with no further cause, and you ask him to leave, he should leave, period. Or do you suddenly not believe in property rights?

    Heh, this is where many “conservatives” trip up in their adoration for Law & Order. They want to support the cops so much that in the end they undermine one of their supposed core values.

    AIP,

    I wonder if any of the commenters who think that race was not a factor or is irrelevant are themselves black…

    Ahhh nice variant on the ad-hominem fallacy.

    Its irrelevant AIP because if police are engaging in racial profiling–i.e. going after blacks or any other racial group based on nothing other than membership in that racial group it is still and abuse of power. It all falls under the same umbrella concept and is bad and should be stopped and punished harshly.

    And another thing, when someone is on your side don’t be a moron to your allies and cast aspersions on them. You risk losing the support of said allies in a just cause. Even if “our” reasoning is not “right” by your reckoning, but since we’ve still arrived at the just outcome is it really worth it to be a nit picking dingbat?

    just me,

    I think on this one the truth is in the middle-I suspect Gates was copping an attitude with the officer and the officer chose to ramp up the situation rather than diffuse it.

    Probably. My first thought was that is went like this:

    *Gates was pissed he had to break down his own front door.
    *Cop shows up.
    *Gates lets his anger get the better of him.
    *Cop decides that he needs to teach this “civilian” a lesson on who is really in charge.
    [Note: this could be due to race, or just the current attitude that is becoming more common with police--you must control the situation and the easiest way to do that is to use force and intimidation. Force protection and all that rot.]
    *Gates doesn’t back down and things go downhill from there.

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  36. floyd says:

    This happened to Louis Gates, and not to every partially black man in America. Whether justified or not, this is simply the fact of the matter.

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  37. Ugh says:

    Its irrelevant AIP because if police are engaging in racial profiling–i.e. going after blacks or any other racial group based on nothing other than membership in that racial group it is still and abuse of power.

    A friend of mine who is a cop explained that it was stupid for anyone police force to do this, and that it was usually a combination of three or four things, one of which was race and the others were not, that would go into the “profiling.” He also said that the profiling would go both ways, such that, e.g., if you saw a white guy in his 30s riding his bike at 10 o’clock at night it was probably because he’d gotten his car impounded for drugs, and likely had some on him so you stop him. A hispanic in the same situation is probably just going home from work, so you don’t.

    Anyway, cop probably doesn’t like Harvard professors much either.

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  38. An Interested Party says:

    And another thing, when someone is on your side don’t be a moron to your allies and cast aspersions on them. You risk losing the support of said allies in a just cause. Even if “our” reasoning is not “right” by your reckoning, but since we’ve still arrived at the just outcome is it really worth it to be a nit picking dingbat?

    Awww, thank you so much for the terms of endearment, I’m touched! I’m not casting aspersions on anyone…did race play a role in this? You yourself admit that it’s possible, which is far more logical than simply dismissing it as a factor…

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  39. Matt says:

    Steve Plunk and steve berdon pretty much summed up my thoughts on this..

    think you will find on the books of most communities laws that have to do with disrepecting police.

    I’m sure there are places that exist with those laws but I don’t know of any. It seems that LEOs just prefer to arrest you for resisting arrest or “eluding” police.

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  40. PD Shaw says:

    It’s seems like a lot of people here don’t understand what the police officer was doing here. Gates probably didn’t either, which was a large part of the problem.

    The police were called to investigate a forced entry. In particular, forced entry by two black men (where is the other guy? the policeman asks himself) Gates feels that the police are investigating a criminal trespass and that the investigation is completed once his identity is resolved. My house; ergo it’s impossible to commit the crime of trespass.

    That’s not the only potential crime here. For example, a forced entry into one’s own home is a good way to cover-up insurance fraud (theft/arson) or a murder. The police officer doesn’t just want the i.d., he wants a statement. The professor thinks the crime being investigated has been proven impossible, so he won’t give it. And who was the second guy, the police officer is thinking.

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  41. Billy says:

    That’s not the only potential crime here. For example, a forced entry into one’s own home is a good way to cover-up insurance fraud (theft/arson) or a murder. The police officer doesn’t just want the i.d., he wants a statement. The professor thinks the crime being investigated has been proven impossible, so he won’t give it. And who was the second guy, the police officer is thinking.

    What the police officer wants is irrelevant. If he wants to search the house, he can convince a judge that he has probable cause and seek a warrant. There were no exigent circumstances permitting him to detain Gates and/or search the premises, and a “hunch” by the LEO does not serve to obviate Gates’ fourth amendment rights in this circumstance. Neither does a little (or a lot) of backtalk.

    All that said, when I get pulled over, I’m all smiles and “yes sir”, “no sir”, “thank you sir.” But that doesn’t change the fact that we should all be free to tell the police to go pound sand.

    Whether he should have weighed in or not (and I think not), Obama is right – the cops were stupid and should be reprimanded.

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  42. Steve Verdon says:

    AIP,

    Awww, thank you so much for the terms of endearment, I’m touched! I’m not casting aspersions on anyone…did race play a role in this? You yourself admit that it’s possible, which is far more logical than simply dismissing it as a factor…

    Its not really relevant because the problem is abuse of power. That is always bad whether race is involved or not. To get all bent out of shape over possible racism glosses over the fact that police are simply arresting people who are rude to them more and more, or making up laws and arresting people (e.g. arresting people for photographing them doing their job). To focus on incidents like this with a racial component means you likely miss many more such incidents of abuse (white suspect/white police officer).

    PD,

    I’m sure those are all good things to wonder about. However, the police officer, in his written report, doesn’t indicate that these were concerns. Maybe he was thinking them, but without any other evidence its just speculation. My beef isn’t that the police showed up, questioned Gates, or the like. My beef is instead of trying to diffuse the situation the officer in question escalated the hostility to the point of physical violence/coercion.

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  43. An Interested Party says:

    The police were called to investigate a forced entry. In particular, forced entry by two black men

    So the fact that they are black should hold some special significance to the officer?

    To get all bent out of shape over possible racism glosses over the fact that police are simply arresting people who are rude to them more and more, or making up laws and arresting people (e.g. arresting people for photographing them doing their job). To focus on incidents like this with a racial component means you likely miss many more such incidents of abuse (white suspect/white police officer).

    While I am hardly bent out of shape, I would agree that the larger problem is police abuse towards anyone, regardless of who he/she might be…the notion that no one has the right to be rude to the police simply because of who they are is ridiculous, especially in a supposedly free society…

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  44. Adriane says:

    Forced entry into one’s own home depends not only on proof of ‘own’, it also depends on proof of ‘one’.

    e.g. If P. Gates’ wife had a restraining order on him, and that was reason P. Gates was breaking into the family home, taking P. Gates’ word (that everything was OK) might have left Mrs. Gates in a domestic violence situation.

    That would have been lawsuit-able mistake, and something any police officer would try to avoid.

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  45. PD Shaw says:

    In particular, forced entry by two black men…

    As I understand it, that was how it was called in by the neighbors. That is rather odd if true. It seems like the neighbors don’t know each other.

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  46. PD Shaw says:

    I withdraw my previous understanding of the events (05:19 pm). I’ve now read the incident report.

    What strikes me about the report is that most of the operative events from the officer’s p.o.v. occurred in the presence of at least one, and often several witnesses. In the future racial profiling lawsuit, these witnesses are going to be asked whether all of these things were said. Keeping in mind that the incident report casts events in a sympathetic light, it strikes me the officer got extremely pissed that he was called a racist.

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  47. Anderson says:

    it strikes me the officer got extremely pissed that he was called a racist

    Then instead of arresting Gates, the officer should’ve called the waaaaahmbulance to take his wittle self to the crying chair.

    If you’re a cop, carrying a freakin’ GUN, then you need not to give a damn what anyone calls you, or you need to turn in the gun and the badge and start making a living as a professional crybaby.

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  48. tom p says:

    Wish I had time to read all the comments, only have time to say this:

    There is a “black America” and there is a “white America”. We whites have no idea what it means to be black in America. To think otherwise is truly naive.

    I have a friend who is a lawyer for one of the 3 largest law firms in St. Louis. She is intelligent, well paid (6 figures plus), and black.

    She would never call the cops if she was in trouble.

    I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around that fact, and we have discussed it many times.

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  49. just me says:

    So the fact that they are black should hold some special significance to the officer?

    I don’t think the black part should, but the number two should-especially since after he arrived at the home there was only one man present.

    As for the neighbor, I read a notation somewhere today that the person who called wasn’t a neighbor, but somebody who was working in the area that day. The police report never called her a neighbor, it makes me think the initial media reports screwed that one up.

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  50. Mike says:

    Tom P – probably b/c your friend who works for “one of the 3 largest law firms” needs to say things like that to feel successful and to prolong the “struggle” – the same way the president needs to feed the racism “fire” as much as possible – she and he have to stay relevant and need to refuel the dying fire.

    W/o racism claims after all these years, what other excuse can a minority have to explain complete lack of any progress on any front. We need to get Al and jesse on this now!

    maybe the “black america” and “white america” is the new john edwards “two americas” or just another good slogan since he has some baby issues

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  51. Eric Florack says:

    So the fact that they are black should hold some special significance to the officer?

    Well, it would tend to narrow the search parameters somewhat. You see, whereas the TSA, driven by the political correctness of it, will strip search 68 year old grandmothers looking for explosives, street cops tend to limit their searches to people who actually match the operational description.

    And of course the politically correct would have us consider that limitation ‘profiling’.

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  52. anjin-san says:

    TSA, driven by the political correctness of it,

    So you are bitching about the political correctness handed down by Cheney?

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  53. anjin-san says:

    W/o racism claims after all these years, what other excuse can a minority have to explain complete lack of any progress on any front

    Yep. Complete lack of progress, like say, having a black President or black professionals with six figure incomes.

    I think we have a winner for the “moron de jour” award…

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  54. Eric Florack says:

    So you are bitching about the political correctness handed down by Cheney?

    No. Rather, the conditions which forced such an order. Tell us, Anjin.. do you really suppose that had Cehney not made such arrangements, that the thing wouldn’t have ended up in a criminal court somewhere, driven by outraged screams of ‘racism’ from such as yourself? Hmmm?

    I think we have a winner for the “moron de jour” award…

    You got the mirror fixed, I see.

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  55. Mike says:

    Anjin – my point is that the african american community as a whole is sliding backwards on many fronts such as crime, education, etc… I don’t wish this on them but I think guys like Bill Cosby who was berated for his views will tell you to stop making excuses and get to work. There is no doubt there are very successful people of every race with the president included. I think a lot of people will agree that focusing on race and making race an issue in every situation gets us a country no where.

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  56. Steve Verdon says:

    The discussion of racism has had its intended effect, all discussion of abuse of authority has been swept under the rug.

    Good job.

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  57. tom p says:

    Tom P – probably b/c your friend who works for “one of the 3 largest law firms” needs to say things like that to feel successful…

    I hate to break it to you Mike, but the only thing she has to do to feel succesful is look at her paycheck (6 times mine).

    W/o racism claims after all these years, what other excuse can a minority have to explain complete lack of any progress on any front

    Wow… you truly are delusional. (reread the previous)

    The discussion of racism has had its intended effect, all discussion of abuse of authority has been swept under the rug.

    Good job.

    Steve, your point is well taken… but my point was that the “abuse of power” is usually directed at those perceived to be “less than”.

    In what world can any of us imagine a white man being pulled over for DWW? But a black man in his own home? Must be his fault.

    And for the record, I have been pulled over for DWB. I am very dark complected with very curly hair. Once had a cop pull me over in my late model Ford pickup, walk up to my door, and say (after seeing my very caucasian features), “Oh, I’m sorry. Never mind.”

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  58. anjin-san says:

    Ummm bit? You do realize that you are pretty much babbling, yes?

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  59. anjin-san says:

    Bill Cosby who was berated for his views will tell you to stop making excuses and get to work

    Well Mike, I am white and I have a job, and I am not quite sure how Bill Cosby figures into this. I can also talk about all sorts of issues without brining race into the discussion. I bring it into this one because it is valid. If you don’t think cops treat blacks differently than whites, you really need to get out more.

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  60. anjin-san says:

    the african american community as a whole is sliding backwards on many fronts such as crime, education, etc

    You might have slept through the last 8 years, but while you were dozing the whole country slid backwards on crime, education, etc.

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  61. An Interested Party says:

    So it is apparently too much for most people to have a discussion about abuse of authority by the police and also talk about race without obscuring the first point? Who knew it was that difficult for people to be able to talk about both things…

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  62. Eric Florack says:

    Ummm bit? You do realize that you are pretty much babbling, yes?

    Well, I know you’d like it perceived that way. After all, it does tend to be more convenient than actually addressing the issues that I’ve raised. A horrible inconvenience, I’m sure, when you’re near a little worldview gets challenged.

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  63. anjin-san says:

    Well bit, perhaps what you are doing constitutes “raising issues” amongst the mental midgets that actually read your blog, but you need to consider the possibility that being a big fish in a very small pond (more of a mud puddle really) has affected your perception. Out here in the real world you are babbling.

    Its interesting that you consider my world view to be so narrow. I frequently praise republicans, and frequently condemn democrats. Do try and move beyond warmed over attempts at blogland gotchas.

    And try and form a coherent argument. You rip the TSA for acting paranoid and abusing its authority, and then defend Cheney for being the driver behind the paranoia and abuse of authority. Put you thinking cap on, take a time out, and get back to us when you have something interesting and/or perceptive to say. We are early in the century, so there is yet time…

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  64. G.A.Phillips says:

    Ya it’s fun to blame every one but yourselves for racism, the cops, the bloggers, white people,.

    It’s to bad that most can not see what they truly do and support, very sad…

    Maybe those who do not react automatically with feigned outrage for blames sake would like to study what has really been going on,and there is actually a worthy rap video on the front Page….

    http://www.blackgenocide.org/black.html

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  65. G.A.Phillips says:

    Here is a new full length movie that you can purchase so that you might learn about and contribute to ending this horror….. http://www.maafa21.com/

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