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The arrest of Skip Gates, legitimate application of law?

Defenders of Crowley seem to want to fall in line with an assumption that police authority is legitimate (or at least insurmountable) irrespective of law;

Defenders of Gates seem to want to see the practical application of police authority be bound by the relevant law.

-Hmmm.

What's your take?

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is that's not a legitimate question and that you are taking sides.

first of all - post the applicable law - then we can have a two sided discussion.

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CHAPTER 272. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY, DECENCY AND GOOD ORDER

Chapter 272: Section 53. Penalty for certain offenses

Section 53. Common night walkers, common street walkers, both male and female, common railers and brawlers, persons who with offensive and disorderly acts or language accost or annoy persons of the opposite sex, lewd, wanton and lascivious persons in speech or behavior, idle and disorderly persons, disturbers of the peace, keepers of noisy and disorderly houses, and persons guilty of indecent exposure may be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than six months, or by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

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"keepers of noisy and disorderly houses"

There you go. This happens all the time. Quick example. I was at a friends pool party last summer. We were loud and the cops came around 11PM. Everyone quieted down except and the cops were seemingly on their way. Except as they were leaving my friend told one to "F Off." He was arrested for disturbing the peace on his own property.

I personally beleive that it is wrong but it is the law. Normally I would take the side of the homeowner but Prof Gates is just in this to make a name for himself. He is dragging the cop through the mud and labeling him a racist without any proof. I mean most cops I know are equal oppurtunit aholes.

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Section 53. Common night walkers, common street walkers, both male and female, common railers and brawlers, persons who with offensive and disorderly acts or language accost or annoy persons of the opposite sex, lewd, wanton and lascivious persons in speech or behavior, idle and disorderly persons, disturbers of the peace, keepers of noisy and disorderly houses, and persons guilty of indecent exposure may be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than six months, or by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Rail[er]: To express objections or criticisms in bitter, harsh, or abusive language.

Brawl[er]: to quarrel angrily and noisily;

Guilty!

But seriously, I did just notice the "opposite sex" part. Is this one of the oldest anti-gay bashing law on the books?

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My problem, with the whole thing is that it is being presented as an 'either or situation': Either it's OK for the police to abuse their authority, or it isn't. Except that no one knows what really happened! Even President Obama, who I normally respect, got this one wrong. In the same breath as saying "I don't know all the facts," he also says the police acted "stupidly." How does he know?

The question of police authority may be completely irrelevant. It may be more a question of selective enforcement of such laws as 'disturbing the peace.' It's impossible to have the debate without the facts, but of course we'll do it anyway.

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Let's start with the Officer Crowley's arrest of Mr Gates on his front porch for public disorderly conduct.

Let's stipulate that Mr Gates was yelling at Officer Crowley and that Mr Gates is considered to be in public under the law as he stood on his front steps (,as opposed to when he was in his house.)

Lets further stipulate that Officer Crowley's judgment is correct when he says Mr. Gates yelling and tumultuous behaviour was drawing a crowd (as opposed to the five CPD officers and police cars drawing the crowd.)

Is Mr. Gates being publicly disorderly by yelling at Officer Crowley or is that charge a stretch?

Does Mr. Gates temper-fueled and loudly spoken exclamations amount to public disorderly conduct or is Officer Crowley using the law in a way it was not intended?

Given that Officer Crowley was called to the address to investigate breaking and entering, and that Mr Gates was cleared of this suspicion, should Officer Crowley and the other five police officers left Mr Gates on his porch?

I'm reminded of David Woodman and police telling his friends to leave or be arrested in a public place. We've talked about the authority the police have to clear a public square like Kenmore, even when there is no crowd, even when a friend is arrested and we want to stay with the friend to make sure they're ok. The police threaten to make arrests in order to get citizens to leave even if the citizens have the right to remain.

In this case the officer arrested Gates but not for B&E, instead for public disturbance. Was Gates disturbing the public or was Gates disturbing Officer Crowley? I assert Gates was disturbing Officer Crowley.

Back to the beginning:

Defenders of Crowley seem to want to fall in line with an assumption that police authority is legitimate (or at least insurmountable) irrespective of law;

Defenders of Gates seem to want to see the practical application of police authority be bound by the relevant law.

I take a middle road. I defend both Growley and Gates and I disagree with both. I think Gates is wrong about racial profiling in this case. I think Crowley was wrong to arrest him for public disturbance because Gates crime was Contempt of Cop, not Disturbing the Peace, and contempt of cop is not a crime.

If we could only keep Contempt of Cop from being standard operating procedure in Cambridge and everywhere else we would have accomplished something.

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I dont know if I agree that we should disregard contempt of the police when it happens. These people have stressful jobs, the last thing I want is for some guy to be screaming at them when they are doing their job. After all these cops are human and if they have to be degraded by every person they interact with then they will not be pleasant people later on.

Do I think many cops are overpaid? Yes
Do I believe we should decrease details? Yes
Do I get annoyed with police that feel contempt for their local citizens and express this to others off hours? Yes

My main catching point is for this government thing we have going to work people need to approach each other with respect. I believe Mr Gates obviously thought he was better then the officer. When the officer did not kneel down to him and kiss his feet he freaked out. We hear if this were a white professor it never would have happened. The key word here is Professor, somewhere along the line someone told these professors they were better then other people. Gates was upset that the officer did not cower in his presence and felt he deserved deference because of his statute. This is not race this is town Vs gown with someone who happens to be black and happens to have many important black friends.

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I tend to agree with the above.

Although it is excessive, it's useful in that it keeps the officers and public safe in unknown circumstances, possibly escalating circumstances. It provides a tool for cops to use to force a person to cool down, and get them under control. And quite frequently, the courts will then drop the charge, or if the offense was major, keep the charges.

I wouldn't like to see this law changed, because it is a useful tool when used correctly. That said, there is room for abuse, and this situation is probably where judgment should have overruled policy.

How would we both keep this law, but ensure it's used wisely, especially when it comes down to a judgment call from officers?

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I thought that wasn't allowed.

I defend neither.

I suppose I tend against Gates, since he seemingly (again, I wasn't there) reacted poorly first, but his response was prejudiced by his world view.

Then again, Crowley reacted to a greater degree, since he could have just walked away (note yet again, I wasn't there).

Academics tend to have big heads. Police tend to have big heads. 2 egos clashing is bad. Gates and Crowley need some couples counseling, then they can explain why they both were wrong.

The charges were dropped, but then again how many times to disorderly conduct cases go to trial?

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The Professor was pissed at being asked for his ID in his own house, and called the Cop a racist.

The Cop was pissed at being called a racist and arrested the Professor.

*I* think everyone over-reacted. *I* think everyone owes everyone else an apology. (Professor, Cop, President, and just about every radio and blog commentator out there.)

I also think the best thing I've heard said about the situation is that one's skin color colors one's view of the situation. This is what we need to focus on. Not who needs to sue who, but what can we learn about ourselves from our *reaction* to this situation.

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is the next time someone sees something in Cambridge, will they call it in? Will the police hesitate for fear of igniting a firestorm?

I do believe this is a cultural thing. As a white woman, I was raised that when the police stop you, you cooperate because if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Dr. Gates was raised that if the police stop you, you have everything to fear. I have been in situations where I have come home and found my front door open and called the police. The first thing they did was ask for my ID, which I provided. Made sense to me, how do they know it's my home?

Given that there have been people who have cleaned out homes because they show up with a moving truck and people assume they're supposed to be there, yeah, I'd be suspicious of two business casual level dressed men forcing their way into the home.

But what seems to be lost here at the root of everything, had Dr. Gates simply said, "Thank you for being so prompt. I just got in from China and Harvard services need to fix the door," while handing him an ID - it would have been done. Pure and simple. That's what most people do.

I don't know what transpired in that house to escalate things, but I do know that my first response... and again, given the way I view police vs how others do... is to cooperate and it's more often than not done. Even in Cambridge when they are doing something as petty as pulling me over because someone just stepped into the crosswalk as I turned the corner.

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I think The Boondocks provided a partial explanation for what happened.

What a precious resource for understanding cultural differences that show is. I wonder if Professor Gates has seen it.

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I don't think that behavior was involved. And the suggestion sounds like you're applying a negative racial stereotype. Would you have made the same suggestion, had Gates been white?

Incidentally, the only part of that series that I recall being more harsh than the "N-word moment" bit was the episode when they dropped MLK Jr. into contemporary US to get his reaction.

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The idea that Gates somehow orchestrated this to create a huge teaching moment or something is absurd. I think his reaction to the cops is completely legitimate, given the state of race relations in this country. And the cops should know this. They were wrong, wrong, wrong to arrest them. RB

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One factor that may have intensified this episode for Gates as it was unfolding was his likely awareness of the frequency of these incidents for African Americans, as reported in today's NY Times:

In interviews here and in Atlanta, in Web postings and on television talk shows, blacks and others said that what happened to Professor Gates was a common, if unacknowledged, reality for many people of color. They also said that beyond race, the ego of the police officer probably played a role.

The "now it's happening to me" phenomenon can rev up the anger and anxieties immediately.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/24/us/24blacks.html

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If you boil the guy's argument down, it's basically: Gates is outraged for the wrong reason.

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Let's stop using Gatesgate as an example of racial profiling by a cop. It was by a neighbor (or whoever that lady was who called). The cop is innocent of being a racist. Maybe guilty of having thing skin.

Gates is guilty of directing his anger at the wrong person and now has tarnished a good man's reputation.

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Gates won't admit who was racial profiling him. He even says he hopes she would call 911 again if she thought someone was breaking into his home.

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Let's assume Gates wrongly accused Crowley of racial profiling and did so angrily. Is the angry accusation a legitimate and just reason to charge Gates with disorderly conduct?

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Of course not. But Gates isn't planning on making documentaries on the legitimacy of the disorderly conduct law in Cambridge, Mass. He's talking about racial profiling BY THE POLICE OFFICERS. Rather, he's screaming it in your face, if you're a Cambridge PD.

Obama didn't talk about the legitimacy of the disorderly conduct charge. He talked about racial profiling.

I think that that is the main point why people are backlashing against the professor and the President. Most see it as a case of the officer abusing his powers on the issue Anonymous mentioned, but they don't like the fact that the professor was the one who unnecessarily created a shitstorm about race.

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I agree. Gates played the race card and I don't see it in this situation but I'll listen.

Obama called Offer Crowley this afternoon and apologized because his statement ratcheted up the tension. Says he's going to call Gates too.

I hope the debate goes through race and beyond to legitimate application of law. If you get a chance, watch the full press conference that the police unions held today in Cambridge. An attorney for the unions basically said the cops and even attorneys don't know and are not well trained in the nuance of how to apply disorderly conduct charges and yet everyone speaking at the presser supported Crowley's handling of the situation (with no sense of irony whatsoever). Their postures is: We are insulted and Obama, Patrick, Gates, Etc. owes us an apology. Crowley was present but did not speak.

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An attorney for the unions basically said the cops and even attorneys don't know and are not well trained in the nuance of how to apply disorderly conduct charges and yet everyone speaking at the presser supported Crowley's handling of the situation (with no sense of irony whatsoever).

Can you show me where this attorney says they are "not well trained" in the nuance of how to apply disorderly conduct charges?

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"not well trained" was my inference. he said the disorderly conduct law was complex and nuanced and even attorneys with years of experience don't always agree on its application. It was a slippery answer to a direct question about whether Crowley was well grounded charging Gates with it. He also implied that its SOP to use it and let the DA and the courts sort it out, which I think is shortsighted and prone to charges of wrongful arrest. The other really surprising statement during the presser was that Crowley wanted to get back to his office and work on the things he needed to do. I'll see if I can dig up some video.

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Its just about the 5th or 6th time you have presented something as fact that wasn't really fact. You stated that he "basically said" which could be further from the truth.

You should stop sugar coating your points and simply come out and state what you really think. You feel that police abuse their powers when it comes to the disorderly conduct law, and they abused their power here.

Stop wasting your time typing about the other side of the issue. Its clearly something you dont care about which is fine.

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I don’t know the elements of the crime Disorderly Conduct. I assume Gates was arrested for his speech and tone rather than being a physical threat or a danger to himself.

Police Departments readily acknowledge the practice of charging people with Disorderly Conduct in situations like this one as, “by the book”. The police make the arrest and the DA and courts sort it out. Regrettably, we are used to it and accept it as reasonable.

I was surprised to learn people who have been jackasses to officers of the law (limited to words spoken) have had their arrests thrown out on 1st amendment right violations. An arrest for disorderly conduct may not hold up if the reason the officer made the arrest was because the ’suspect’ was yelling at the cop, challenging the cop verbally, or insulting the officer. Duran v. City of Douglas:

Duran’s conduct is not totally irrelevant, however, as it suggests a possible motive for his detention, one upon which law enforcement officers may not legitimately rely. The Durans contend, and the district court held, that Aguilar stopped their car at least partly in retaliation for the insult he received from Duran. If true, this would constitute a serious First Amendment violation. “[T]he First Amendment protects a significant amount of verbal criticism and challenge directed at police officers.” Hill, 482 U.S. at 461, 107 S.Ct. at 2509. The freedom of individuals to oppose or challenge police action verbally without thereby risking arrest is one important characteristic by which we distinguish ourselves from a police state.

Gates has a temper and a sharp tongue. I believe he lost his temper and he used his sharp tongue. He was in his own home for most of the interaction although that fact would not necessarily shield him from a disorderly conduct charge but nonetheless he was in his own home.

I don’t think Crowley was bent on arresting Gates. While Crowley thinks it was a good arrest and that he gave Gates the control to make the choice between shutting up or at least quieting down and being arrested, Gates was arrested for what came out of his mouth and nothing more as far as I can tell.

The DA dropped the charges without comment, as I understand it.

In my opinion, Gates was arrested for Contemp of Cop.

At the press conference today hosted by three police unions, a reporter asked if Crowley thought he had to make the arrest in order to maintain his authority. Crowley didn’t speak at all today and the spokesperson didn’t address the question head on but I wonder how much this factored in, and the implications of being arrested so policemen don’t look weak and become more vulnerable. One of the spokesmen mentioned that Crowley needed to finish the call and get back to work waiting for him at his desk. (Here’s a man you shouldn’t put in front of the cameras.) Mostly the press conference was a testament to how the police unions support Crowley in all aspects and that hey demand apologies from Obama, Deval Patrick, and Skip Gates.

Defenders of Crowley seem to want to fall in line with an assumption that police authority is legitimate (or at least insurmountable) irrespective of law; Defenders of Gates seem to want to see the practical application of police authority be bound by the relevant law.

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You assume many things that simply are not true.

Police Departments readily acknowledge the practice of charging people with Disorderly Conduct in situations like this one as, “by the book”. The police make the arrest and the DA and courts sort it out. Regrettably, we are used to it and accept it as reasonable.

No police department would ever define a disorderly conduct as being "by the book". Sure the arrest process may have been by the book, but the thought process going into an arrest like this is never by the book. There are many bad cops that make bad arrests and decisions and for the most part they are fired or discplined. If Crowley has a history of disorderly arrests, or profiling arrests, then there might be a problem.

An arrest for disorderly conduct may not hold up if the reason the officer made the arrest was because the ’suspect’ was yelling at the cop, challenging the cop verbally, or insulting the officer. Duran v. City of Douglas:

Well yea, but that didn't happen here. Crowley articulated the fact that there were people present and that they were alarmed by the situation. And it looks like the Duran case, the officer pulled over a car for no legal reason. Crowley had a legal reason to be at Gates' home.

"Gates was arrested for what came out of his mouth and nothing more as far as I can tell."

Again, people were there and a scene was caused.

"The DA dropped the charges without comment, as I understand it."

They did comment and said that although there was probable cause that a crime was committed, they decided not to go forward because it would not benefit the situation at this point.

Mostly the press conference was a testament to how the police unions support Crowley in all aspects and that hey demand apologies from Obama, Deval Patrick, and Skip Gates.

Are you sure they asked for an apology from Skip Gates? Your track record on the truth is very poor anonymous. I don't remember them demanding an apology from Gates.

"Defenders of Crowley seem to want to fall in line with an assumption that police authority is legitimate (or at least insurmountable) irrespective of law; Defenders of Gates seem to want to see the practical application of police authority be bound by the relevant law"

Again, stop trying to put words in other peoples mouths. You've already shown that you did not know what the law was or how it can be intrepeted, but you still want to set up you own cornfield of strawman arguments to prove your point and opinion.

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Let's meet for a beer.

I know a place called the thin blue line. You'll feel right at home.

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"The Strawman Cafe" or the "Liars Den".

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but not your own facts. No beer for you.

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The answer to the question asked in this thread, Is the arrest of Skip Gates a legitimate application of law? is NO.

Crowley lost patience with Gates, who was not guilty of any crime, and arrested Gates because Crowley couldn't walk away.

The DA chose to not prosecute the charge. Crowley blames Gates for not ending it, even says it was totally in Gates control ...but we know Gates did not restrain Crowley from leaving, Gates followed Crowley outside while insisting on an answer to his question: What is your badge number? Crowley is now cowering behind his lies and three police unions who were not there and are taking Crowley at his word.

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Not fair though you knew the answers beforehand!

What did you win a pair of clownshoes?

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You feel that police abuse their powers when it comes to the disorderly conduct law, and they abused their power here.

NO shit sherlock. The charges were punted by the DA. The cop was out of bounds making the arrest.

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Dropping charges does not necessarily mean that the charges were without merit.

Perhaps they were, perhaps they weren't.

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but in this case, yes, it was a bad bust. If the DA tried to prosecute the disorderly conduct he would have lost the case and in the process opened the city up to a civil action of wrongful arrest and 1st amendment rights violations. The city and CPD is still on the hook for wrongful arrest unless they agreed to drop charges in return for a release. Since Gates is talking about deciding whether he'll go to court, I think it's clear he did not release the city from liability.

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As far as I know, not enough information is publicly known to say for sure.

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What I can say is Res ipsa loquitur. I'm not at liberty to say more.

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...then perhaps anonymous posting on the topic without disclosing potential conflict of interest upfront isn't the greatest idea.

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I offer what I can. You can take it or leave it.

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No justice would be served if Gates was found guilty or not guilty of this crime. The DA even said they had more than enough probable cause to go through with the case. But Since the penalty for the crime would be less than if you drove a car with tinted windows, why bother.

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Would that we could all get off by such a forgiving metric. Next time I get a moving violation, I'll be sure to call the DA and ask him to tear it up since it'll be less than the cost of tinted windows. Why have "disorderly conduct" on the books at all if the penalty is so minimal and even with probable cause no justice is served by finding him guilty?

This case was dropped because it became extremely embarassing very quickly for the city to have this hanging over its head.

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is that if Kaz loses her speeding violation, the state gets some money, and the only people that have to hear about it are the people on Uhub.

If Gates loses his disorderly case, the state doesn't get any justice. It seemed to be understood by both sides that justice would not be served either way in this trial. It would have been a distraction to the normal operating duties of the Cambridge Police Department and City for such a big trial over a small crime.

If the DA said that there wasn't enough evidence to convict Gates, I could understand that side. There is a difference.

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I'd like to read that. Where does the DA say he has "more than enough probable cause to go through with the case" of public disorderly?

Probable cause refers to the standard by which a police officer has the right to make an arrest, conduct a personal or property search, or to obtain a warrant for arrest. It is not the standard by which DA decides to charge the crime and try the suspect. The DA decided to not charge the crime or try the former suspect. Probable cause does not address the elements of crime which the DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Your explanation reveals a stunningly superficial understanding of this case.

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because smartypants law school types like you don't usually read UHUB.

But what I saw on the news clip was a police or DA spokesman say that the police had probable cause to make the arrest.

The charges were not dropped because the DA didn't have enough evidence or because they felt it was bogus. That was my point.

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I'd like to read your source. Do you have a link please?

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Im not at home and Im on a slow computer. You will have to look it up yourself or not believe me. Sorry.

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i can wait.

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it's even from an article you will love.

"Professor Gates is owed a public apology by the arresting officer and the Cambridge police department. Instead, a spokesperson for the police department has shown no remorse for the arrest, still insisting in a news conference yesterday that there was "probable cause" for the arrest."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ahmed-rehab/racism-o...

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"The DA even said they had more than enough probable cause to go through with the case."

I don't see it but I could be mistaken. You're not confusing the police department spokesman with the District Attorney's Office are you?

Here's an interesting part;

While the charges have since been dropped, the arrest never should have happened.

Professor Gates is owed a public apology by the arresting officer and the Cambridge police department. Instead, a spokesperson for the police department has shown no remorse for the arrest, still insisting in a news conference yesterday that there was "probable cause" for the arrest.

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I was paraphrasing on what I thought was the police or DA spokesman. It was a police spokesman who said that. And I already cleared up the fact that was what I was refering to.

Let me ask you anon, how many times have you seen a disorderly conduct charge play out in a court room? And then tell me how many times you have seen a DA drop a charge and tell me why they did it. And I mean a real ADA in a real courtroom. How many disorderly report have you seen? How many disorderly arrests do you thing happen?

I have a good feeling that you have never seen any of the above. Not suprising based on your comments here.

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How many times have you seen a cop admit to a bad arrest?

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How many times have you spilled hot coffee on your crotch while driving a crown vic one-handed? Hah? Answer me that! The fact that you haven't means any specious justification I can imagine gets a free pass. Nyah Nyah.

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Ive seen it plenty of times. I haven't seen it on the news I don't think, but Ive seen it. But Ive also seen dozens of actual bad and illegal arrests. Ive seen cops fired and suspended for these bad arrests. The problem is, I don't think you really know what a "bad" arrest is. There is a clear line sometimes between "illegal" or "false" arrests and what someone might determing what a "bad" arrest might be.

This arrest was not illegal though, and it being "bad" would be up to intrepetation by really only those who were actually there. Its a discresionary arrest, and these types of arrests are the most difficult to clarify.

Specifically Ive seen officers arrest people who they thought were possessing beer while underage, only to find out the wrong kid was arrested and the kid was actually underage. This officer admitted he arrested the wrong guy and later apologized. This was more of a case of poor investigative police work, but it was also an illegal, and bad arrest.

Ive seen a man arrested once for punching a woman in the back of the head when she wouldnt get out of a mans way on a crowded sidewalk. Cops caught up to him around the next corner, several witnesses pointed him out and the man was then arrested. This was not an arrestable offense so the arrest was illegal. Was this arrest "bad"?

I remember a woman being arrested in front of her house after being stopped for a broken tailight. She had a suspended license, 2 kids in the car with no one inside to take care of the kids, but the officer arrested her anyway. Not an illegal or false arrest, but a bad one I would say.

But officers are not usually allowed to talk to the public about their arrests, so thats why you probably havent seen it. In this case, the Cambridge police told Crowley that he could speak publicly about his arrest. If they thought it was bad, Crowley would have been charged, disciplined, reprimanted or investigated. Crowley of course (along with the PD, DA, and plenty of other people) do not feel that this arrest was illegal.

Now answer my questions...

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.

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It's pretty obvious what you are taking to mean a "bad arrest". In order for you to see it our way, we'll just have to go replace "disorderly conduct" with stricter guidelines. We also need to get rid of "hindering an investigation" and "resisting arrest without violence". Then let's see how easy cops' jobs are. "Contempt of cop" charges are bogus tricks-of-the-trade that you're going to defend as "justified by the law" when in fact, the laws were meant for far worse actions than what Gates did. These laws have been corrupted by cops in a way for them to create a he-said/cop-said court case where the cop will always win (or you have to be the biggest scholar of your day to force the national news media to get the DA to drop the charge). These are all "bad arrests", Pete, no matter how "legal" they are and it needs to stop.

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and yea, disorderly conduct is a law where you need to use discression. So it is different. This isn't like if Crowley came to this call and saw Gates sniffing cocaine or cleaning his illegal gun in his kitchen. Those would be crimes without discression. So I don't have to see it your way on this.

And you asssume there are no oversights for police within their own departments. Thats the whole problem here. You assume that people are being arrested for these crimes all the time and that its some sort of major problem that goes unchecked. That is simply untrue. If this wasn't Crowley that arrested Gates, but some first year rookie, you can bet the rookie would have been pulled aside and told about how to use discression in a better way. Now if the rookie made this arrest and Gates wasn't screaming (and witnesses said Gates wasn't screaming, because thats what Gates did say, even though the original 911 caller now says that all she could hear was Gates screaming), or that there were no people there, or that Gates wasn't warned....there would be an even bigger problem here.

Every law has been corruped by cops. Cops have killed people on the job, raped and kidnapped women, planted evidence, shot people in cold blood, lied on police reports, used excessive force etc. And cops have been arrested before and charged with crimes. So it doesn't go unchecked. Like I said, officers have been suspended and dicplined for bad policework. It happens all the time.

And this isn't a he-said/cop-said case. There were other people there. There were facts here that can be corroberated by other people and events. There is the difference.

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The cop didn't get a single one of the "shocked or offended" names down in his police report...you know, the people that justify the offense he barely mentions in his report.

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and the caller said she heard Gates screaming from inside the house.

Do you think the people were made up? We also dont know if their names were taken down, or if they were put in another supplemental report. I don't think these people are going to disapear.

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You're barking up the wrong tree if you're trying to make the case for public disorderly. That case could not be made a week ago and it cannot be made now but go ahead and try.

Only Crowley and the union say it was a good bust - the facts supported the charge. Moreover, I don't hear either one of them complain about the DA's decision to punt nor ask the DA to apologize for insulting the CPD by failing to prosecute it.

Public disorderly was Crowley's way of wrapping up a call where the resident was being uncooperative and yelling. Did I mention Crowley was on the scene for excatly seven minutes, from 12:44 to 12:51? Man he works fast.

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I said from my first post here that I probably would not have arrested him.

But if you think only Crowley and the union think it was a good bust, you could be further from the truth. Have you even watched the news?

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I don't think Pete understands where you're coming from. I don't think Crowley or CPD does either. To me, your point is one of the more important lessons about this event because of the scope of the problem.

(Later, we'll talk about the police being authorized to use Tasers on the job to compel behavior and the lack of any reasonable standards with which their use is governed. ...and the number of deaths that have resulted. Taser is the ultimate respect my authority tool. Nah, let's leave that for another thread.)

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Malice? Racist?
Would the person who called the police would have called if he/she saw a white male trying to force the door open? Most likely. That removes the race question there. Would the officer involved have asked to see I.D. on a white male given the circumstances of the call?
He would have to use his training and experience to make that call. Likely, yes.
Experience is important here.
Experience is why Professor Gates reacted the way he did. The officer's request was reasonable. Professor Gates' response came from his experience, and that of other black men, of being questioned for merely being present where blacks may not usually be present. He has probably experienced being pulled over for DWB, driving while black, or questioned for being somewhere when he was minding his own business and behaving in a perfectly ordinary manner. Those experiences seemed to blind him to the facts:that a police response was intended to protect his property and life, and that Sgt Crowley was performing the duties of his job.
Had Professor Gates not had a very instinctual response based on past experience, the situation would not have escalated. He had an unreasonable response to a reasonable request, that of an ID request when his actions resembled those of someone breaking in.
The officer, unless Mr. Gates was making threats, had no reason to arrest. He had no right to demand compliance that Mr. Gates calmed down. He could easily have walked away. It was a power play.
Both parties were equally at fault for the escalation. Both should shut their mouths unless they want to sit down together in private and hash this out.

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You're pointing out that the officer treated Gates just like he'd treat a white man. You may or may not be correct, but the whole problem is that he didn't seem to take into account that Gates is a black man and respond to him with the experiences of a black man in mind.

Just as you said yourself, it's pretty safe to assume that a black man has had life experiences like being questioned where he's going and what he's doing during a routine traffic stop, being followed around or watched in stores, etc. It's likely that he has a really different view of cops showing up and demanding things than many white men would.

If the police officer truly had anti-racism in mind, he'd see a black man and would be thinking along such lines, so he'd be extra sure to do some deescalation. "Sir, I realize you're upset, how about we sit down here and I'll explain what I'm doing?" etc, rather than just demanding an ID and seeming to be thinking along the lines of "well, it's legal for me to come in this house and ask this guy for an ID given the 911 call, so what I'm doing is right, and if this guy doesn't like it, then he's wrong."

Don't you think this would have played out totally differently if the cop had explained that it was a really unfortunate misunderstanding, and apologized for this gentleman having had his personal space violated like that? No, Gates didn't need to start allegedly spouting off about the officer's mama, but honestly, that's really within the range of expected responses to having a cop show up and start demanding things. Cops are going to get sworn at and yelled it. It doesn't feel good, but it's part of the job. The appropriate response is for the officer to deescalate the situation, not to take the insults personally and start flexing his power.

Having worked in secure facilities, I can tell you that it works wonders to listen to people and acknowledge their feelings of victimization no matter what. The issue of cops violating someone's personal space with a perfectly legitimate reason seems rather analogous to restraining an out-of-control person to keep them safe. It's correct judgment on the part of the staff to put someone in a hold so that no one gets hurt, but you still listen to the person who's pissed about it. You validate that it really must have felt violating and infuriating to be restrained. You acknowledge that people have the right to feel safe and in control of their bodies, and it's really unfortunate when this can't be the case.

http://1smootshort.blogspot.com

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what if i'm a white man with other life experiences that caused me to respond in the same manner? If the officer failed to consider my other life experiences because I wasn't black, that's not fair either.

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is the systematic oppression of marginalized groups by dominant groups, so no.

But no, I didn't mean the cop was right to be all "respect mah authoritah" to ANY person. Just that in this case, skin color might have been a fairly obvious clue as to why the guy was pissed, and why the guy might not view cops asking for info in the same way as the cop expected he would. I'm guessing you've seen all the comments from white people saying stuff like "well, I'd just have been grateful, so he should have been too!"

The cop has a duty to deescalate and find some common ground regardless of who it was spouting off at him. It just seems that from some of his statements, he's stuck on the "well, the homeowner should have realized that I was doing my job, and he should have been grateful and respectful," which seems like he's ignoring that there's an extensive history of why a Black man in particular might not feel that same way.

http://1smootshort.blogspot.com

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The cop has a duty to deescalate and find some common ground regardless of who it was spouting off at him.

Based on the officers experience, it is up to the officer to decide when the scene is safe and the situation can be deescalated. It sounds to me like the officer was never able to truly secure the scene or house. Luckliy it was what it was, a homeonwner that was trying to get into his own house. If it were a different situation, like two men were still in the house, and the owner just happened to come in from the other side of the house, then the scene was not safe at that point, and the officer has experience and training in making that scene safe before he can start "deescalating" the situation and explain to the resident that he was sorry for how he initially handled the call, but that is what has to be done in that situation.

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I'm guessing you've seen all the comments from white people saying stuff like "well, I'd just have been grateful, so he should have been too!"

Notably, Crowley said Gates should have been grateful. Crowley also said Gates was in control of the situation, that is, that Gates was in control of whether he got arrested. How's that work?

According to Crowley, Gates got himself arrested and Crowley just did his job. Not only did he do his job, he did his job "by the book". That is an assertion that Crowley's actions were legitimate and lauditory.

To me, it sounds like Crowley is blaming the victim and then claiming victim status for himself. Witness, Crowley wanted the President to get reporters off his front lawn... and I'm thinking, isn't that what cops normally do?

Crowley wanted Gates to shut-up, nothing more. Crowley asked him to calm down, showed his hand cuffs, Gates wouldn't shut up, Crowley arrested Gates because he was still talking. Even if we want to grant merit to Crowley's formulation that Gates was in control of whether Gates got arrested, Crowley was in control of whether Gates would pay a price for talking.

Apart from whether Crowley was right or wrong in making an arrest, you gotta recognize that the logic in his arguments is turned upside down. Witness, the homeowner should have been grateful. The perpetrator was in control. The arrest was "by the book."

While government can make no laws abridging Gates right to free speech, the government can arrest Gates for not shutting up when a bystander reports a crime in progress at his address.

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Where did you get this quote now?

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I don't know how to make it any more clear.

I saw Crowley say it on TV and so did other people. Specifically, eeka isaid it in the comment you responded to. What gives? She says it and you make no issue of it. I say it and you're all over it. You are growing tiresome.

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first of all, and second of all, she paraphrased it differently and did not verbalize it as a direct quote like you have done with facts and quotes about 100 times now.

It just seems that from some of his statements, he's stuck on the "well, the homeowner should have realized that I was doing my job, and he should have been grateful and respectful,"

Ill disagree with her too if you want. I mean, you can google the quote "Gates should have been Grateful", and you will find 100 quotes in a row of people that did say Gates should have been grateful. Crowley is not one of them though.

Just say "I bet Crowley feels like Gates owes him an apoolgy", or "I bet Crowley thinks Gates should have been Grateful"

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The indented quote is eeka's quote. Try reading a little closer.

Watch this, STFU and stop trying to tell me when I should say:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DjuJzHSY9g

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as saying Gates should be Grateful. He said it was a situation where it was

"something you wouldn't expect from anybody..that would be..should be grateful that you are there investigating a report of a crime in progress"

Still different than saying he should have been specifically grateful. He said he was suprised that someone in his position was not grateful. And there is a difference there.

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"something you wouldn't expect from anybody..that would be..should be grateful that you are there investigating a report of a crime in progress"

You agree Crowley was referring to Gates?

Crowley is making the point that Gates should not be angry (and tumultuous,) instead Crowley thinks Gates should be grateful and because Gates was not grateful, Gates was the problem, (not Crowley.)

Go ahead, try to argue that Crowley did not say Gates should have been grateful. Write it all down so everyone can read it as you destroy your own credibility.

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Go ahead. Although no one has told me to wear clown shoes yet, Ill give you a free one.

And saying that you are suprised someone wasn't grateful and that he should be Gratefull is different.

And remember, Crowley has probably been on 1000 alarm and B/E calls like this where probably 999/1000 people were grateful so Ill take his feelings on the subject over yours.

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My "feelings" Pete, are that Crowley said Gates 'should be grateful'.


"something you wouldn't expect from anybody..that would be..should be grateful that you are there investigating a report of a crime in progress"
- Crowley

Where is it written that citizens should be grateful when a law enforcement officer shows up at their front door, asks them to step outside, and "requests" identification?

First, you argued that Crowley did not say Gates should be grateful. Next, you argue that despite what he said, he meant something else,

"saying that you are surprised someone wasn't grateful and that he should be Gratefull is different." - Pete

Crowley is defending the arrest. He's saying Gates should not have been angry and irrational (and therefore being arrested is Gate's fault.) I disagree with Crowley.

Take a look at the comment above which inspired all of your protestations.

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Where is it written that citizens should be grateful when a law enforcement officer shows up at their front door, asks them to step outside, and "requests" identification?

Its not written anywhere. Just like its not written anywhere that I should be grateful that my sons 5th grade teacher stayed afterschool with him to help him learn math. After all, thats her job isn't it? But I am grateful to her for doing that. Just like Im grateful for the firetruck that would show up to my house so quick for a false alarm and check the alarms for me, or the EMTs that came when my uncle had a heart attack and the cop that showed up and gave my aunt a ride to the hospital.

What don't you understand about this call? It was a live break in progress. Cops respond and have to act a certain way until the scene is safe. Then everyone can shake hands, apologize and have a beer. You have never been in that situation obviously, but Crowley has. So when he says he would think someone would be grateful, he probably means it because thats how he would feel in the same situation, and thats how people feel about him in the 1000 times before this situation where the 999 people did thank him.

First, you argued that Crowley did not say Gates should be grateful.

Not exactly. Well first I had to have you find the quote, because it would have been the 142nd time that you would have made up something on here. And I still defend my point about what Crowley said.

He's saying Gates should not have been angry and irrational (and therefore being arrested is Gate's fault.)

No. Crowley gave Gates the chance (2 actually) to be quiet or that he would be arrested. Gates could have been quiet, and he would not have been arrested. Whether is was right to arrest Gates after any amount of warnings is up for debate. I would not have arrested Gates I don't think, but I was not there.

A big part of this is the fact that Gates made a decision on the fact that he thought Gates was being disorderly. He told Gates that he thought he was being disorderly and to stop yelling, Gates ignored Crowley's request to stop yelling, then Crowley told him a second time that if he didnt stop yelling, he would be placed under arrest. Gates ignored him again and was placed under arrest.

This would be a big problem in America if cops were going around all the time making disorderly arrests at a high rate. It simply doesn't happen.

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...this situation actually has far broader implications about all citizens' relationship to the police and the way we are expected to respond to authority, regardless of race. I've watched too many taser videos over the past few years featuring people of all races and both genders being put to the ground screaming in pain, not because they were dangerous or threatening and not because they were so out of control there was no other way to deal with them, but because they were arguing with police and the officer perceived a lack of respect for the badge.

I have discovered that my hackles automatically going up at such authoritarian behavior is not necessarily the common reaction among my fellow Americans, not even my fellow liberals. The arguments are usually something along the lines of "that guy was an idiot to argue with the cops, he should know better," which is very similar to what many are saying about Gates.

Read on. There's more.

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I agree and disagree with a lot of things this guy says.

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[T]he “central debate” surrounding “Gates-gate” must determine whether the arresting officer was motivated by Gates’s “disruptive behavior, racial animus and bias or was he just trying to teach any old professor who thought he was better than the ‘working guy policeman’ a lesson.”

You can listen to the discussion on this topic between Harris-Lacewell and Cox here.

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Sergeant Crowley is one of four brothers who work in law enforcement. Unassuming when off duty, friends say, he expects respect when in uniform.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/27/us/27gates.html?em

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Any police officer after reviewing his actions in retrospect can conclude that this situation if handled differently could have better served police and community relations. We also agree that the officers acted “stupidly” in arresting a man in his own home for disorderly conduct. Police officers are held to a higher standard than the public. They are trained to de-escalate situations and to be more tolerant. The officer in question, an instructor of sensitivity,should have exercised more discretion between free speech and the necessary element of public alarm for disorderly conduct. It is a common practice, often complained of, that requesting an officer’s name and badge number often results in being arrested. Resisting arrest, resisting arrest without violence, disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration and similarly worded statutes are tools for law enforcement officers to advance or support legitimate police actions and strategies. These statutes were never meant to advance the intimidation of the public.

Latino Cops Organization: Cambridge Police Acted "Stupidly"
By Anthony Miranda, July 25th, 2009, Click here for whole story

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I'm sure this wasn't a "bad arrest" either. Hell, the guy probably deserved the charges. Maybe Obama can invite him and the cop to the White House for next week's Beer Summit.

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to think I am stupid enough to equate the two situations?

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But the problem, Pete, is that these are only the ones that are getting caught. How indicative of the entire system is this behavior? Lying on police reports, abusing "legitimate" laws to browbeat citizens into submission, defending other cops when their actions are at best questionable (at worst, downright illegal)...

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Like I've said dozens of times already, departments have to keep officers in check and do keep them in check more than you know. And you don't know Kaz, because you don't see this stuff on the news. Officers that behave badly will get complaints against them. Many times these complaints will be for lying on police reports. When Internal Affairs investigates these complaints and finds out that Officer X has several complaints about lying on police reports, Officer X gets dealt with by the department. And it usually doesn't even go that far. Officer X usually gets spoken to by Supervisor Y because Supervisor Y doesn't want to get sued over Officer X's bad police work.

How many times do disorderly arrests happen in this State in cases like this? An easy stastistic to get Im sure, and I bet you will find that it does not happen that much.

And its not so much that officers around the country are defending the cops decision to arrest here by saying that it was the only solution here, but they are defending the right to make a decision on a discresionary law from what this officer observed.

And you will not find many cops defending illegal actions by anyone, cop or not. And if you think this is a clear cut case of an officer doing something illegal, you simply don't know what you are talking about.

And as for the discrepancy on the police report, I don't know. But I still don't see how Crowley lying here would benefit his case, or the case against Gates. I mean, if he lied about something Gates said specifically, or about who was there or not there I would have a problem.

Or if Crowley smashed into the house and threw Gates on the ground for information that Crowley made up there would be a problem.

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Crowley was wrongly questioned about whether he had done enough. It's shameful to blame the good Samaritan. Crowley should not have been subject to that questioning.

He was a campus police at Brandeis University when Reggie Lewis suffered a fatal attack July 27, 1993, during an off-season practice there. Did he do enough to save Lewis, a black man then and did he do enough to treat Mr. Gates with dignity and respect now? He claimed, during an interview with the Boston Herald, that he cried many nights when questioned about "whether he had done enough to save the black athlete." “Some people were saying ‘There’s the guy who killed Reggie Lewis’ afterward. I was broken-hearted. I cried for many nights,” he said. link

I was devastated when Reggie died too. He was one of my heroes on the basketball court. I saw his family in Newton a few months ago. His son is a teen, tall and handsome. He never knew his dad.

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Probably a lot of people tracking the Gates incident could use a little light diversion anyway...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS_Uvg56U_o

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Heres another light diversion on how to deal with the police..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj0mtxXEGE8

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"There is no African-American in this county who has not been exposed to this kind of situation," Powell said. "Do you get angry? Yes. Do you manifest that anger? Do you protest? Do you try to get things fixed? But it's the better course of action to try and take it easy and don't let your anger make the current situation worse."

The former secretary of state said he has been racially profiled "many times," including an incident that took place while he was the national security adviser to President Reagan.

"Nobody thought I could possibly be the national security adviser to the president. I was just a black guy at Reagan National Airport," Powell said. "And it was only when I went to the counter and said, 'Is my guest here waiting for me?' that someone said, 'Oh, you're Gen. Powell.' It was inconceivable to him that a black guy could be the national security adviser."

More here.

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Lucia Whalen said she would do it again, make the call to the police to investigate a possible break in, even if it meant being threatened, scorned, ridiculed and accused of being a racist.

She also said she never spoke with Officer Crowley at the scene, which conflicts with Officer Crowley's Incident report in which he specifically recounts a conversation with Whalen before he confronts Gates that involves her description of two black men with backpacks. Hopefully, we'll hear from the CPD promptly and get this cleared up.

In a recording of the 911 call released Monday by Cambridge officials, Whalen, 40, can be heard telling a dispatcher that she had seen two suitcases on the porch and wasn't sure if it was a break-in.

"I don't know what's happening. ... I don't know if they live there and they just had a hard time with their key, but I did notice they had to use their shoulders to try to barge in," Whalen said

[...]

Crowley, in his report on the incident, said that Whalen had told him on the sidewalk outside the house that she "observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch" of Gates's house.

But Whalen said today that she had not spoken to Crowley, other than to indicate that she was the person who had placed the 911 call. link

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July 29, 2009

Dear Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas,

Will the CPD be addressing the apparent conflict between Sgt. James Crowley's Incident Report regarding a conversation he recounts with Lucia Whalen, and Lucia Whalen's statements today at her press conference?

"Ms. Whalen’s statements contradict the police report filed by Sgt. James Crowley, who said Ms. Whalen told him outside Mr. Gates’s home that she had seen “what appeared to be two black males with backpacks” on the porch of the yellow single-family house.

Ms. Whalen said that the only words she exchanged with Sergeant Crowley in person were, “I was the 911 caller.” She said that he responded, “stay right there.”

Thank you.

Sincerely,
[name withheld here upon request]

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