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Well, that didn't take long.

After arresting Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates for disorderly conduct when he loudly protested police activity at his own home, the State of Massachusetts today dropped all charges against him.

The arrest arose out of a report that two black males with backpacks were apparently attempting to force their way into a residence.  In fact, Gates, a distinguished African-American scholar, had just returned home from China to discover his front door had been damaged.  Apparently, the person who called police had observed Gates forcing his way into his own home.  (The report that there were two black males involved remains unexplained.)

When police arrived, Gates was in his house, on the telephone to the management company for his property.  As of yesterday, article about the arrest included a link to the police reports describing the basis for the arrest.  The link no longer exists, doubtless as a result of the termination of the prosecution of Professor Gates.  To the best of my memory, however, the police reported that Gates was angered by the police presence; that he showed police identification establishing that he was in his own residence; that Gates was angered by what he perceived to be a refusal by the officers to identify themselves by name or badge number; that as the police left his house, Gates followed and continued to yell at them from his front porch; and that bystanders "appeared alarmed" because of what was happening.

It's hard to tell from the news article, but it would appear that part of the agreement between Gates and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was that Gates would not sue or that he stipulated to probable cause for the arrest (which would have the same effect).  If so, he's a better man than I.  Under Massachusetts law, "disorderly conduct" does not include protected First Amendment speech nor does it cover the means chosen to deliver such speech.  (The statute is discussed here. I apologize that I can't find a better citation for it right now, but the discussion in that case should make clear that Gates's behavior was indeed constitutionally protected.)  There was, accordingly, no probable cause for the arrest.  Most likely, both Gates and the Commonwealth decided to put the whole incident behind them and attribute any misbehavior on either side to the fact that all involved seem to have had a bad day.

Originally posted to houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 11:13 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  According to one report I read, (18+ / 0-)

    the second black man was his driver, who Gates had asked to help him with the door.

  •  "it would appear that part of the agreement" (0+ / 0-)

    If there is an agreement, where is it?

    Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

    by oblomov on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 11:19:38 AM PDT

    •  there's a joint statement (9+ / 0-)

      Skipgate is over:

      The City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Police Department have recommended to the Middlesex County District Attorney that the criminal charge against Professor Gates not proceed. Therefore, in the interests of justice, the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office has agreed to enter a nolle prosequi in this matter. The City of Cambridge, the Cambridge Police Department, and Professor Gates acknowledge that the incident of July 16, 2009 was regrettable and unfortunate. This incident should not be viewed as one that demeans the character and reputation of Professor Gates or the character of the Cambridge Police Department. All parties agree that this is a just resolution to an unfortunate set of circumstances.

      •  That would be the public statement (7+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho, Treg, va dare, jayden, Darmok, witkacy, miss SPED

        The nolle prosequi entered by the DA leaves the possibility of a false arrest suit open unless it was accompanied by a stipulation to probable cause.  At least, such is the law in Connecticut.

        There may have been private assurances given during the course of negotiations.  The statement that the incident "should not be viewed as one that demeans ... the character of" the Cambridge PD (interestingly, their reputation, unlike Gates's, remains demeaned) indicates to me that there was some negotiations that went on with respect to future proceedings by Gates.  Those negotiations could well have been tacit, with both sides understanding full well the effects of the agreement that the statement memorializes.  The last sentence of the statement, which speaks of "a just resolution," would in my opinion indicate that Gates has agreed, tacitly or explicitly, to refrain from suing for false arrest.  Hence, the unfortunate incident is resolved.

        I'm deriving these conclusions from my experience of having handled dozens of criminal cases in Connecticut in which both sides knew that a false arrest suit was, or could be, in the works.  Some of my assumptions, based as they are on Connecticut law and practice ca. 2000, could be wrong as Massachusetts practice differs in many respects, some of which may be germane to this incident.

        "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

        by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 11:34:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Charges were dismissed and Gates is still free (0+ / 0-)

      to sue . . . so what's with agreement?

      He agreed not to call them pinheads?

      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by bobdevo on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 02:06:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, it's not 100% clear to me (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        miss SPED

        that Gates remains free to sue, at least not for false arrest.  That depends on Massachusetts law (with which I'm not familiar).  In Connecticut, if Gates stipulated to probable cause for the arrest in exchange for the nolle prosequi, he would lose his cause of action for false arrest.  The statement is silent as to whether Gates so stipulated (or took analogous action under Massachusetts law).

        He retains a possible cause of action for illegal entry into his home in any event, something I was not aware of until one of the comments called attention to a link that included Gates's version events.

        The aspect of the statement that makes me suspect that there may have been a de facto agreement that Gates would not sue is that Cambridge and Gates agree that dropping the charging provides a fair "resolution" to the incident.  Gates clearly negotiated the statement carefully, taking pains to avoid clearing the police department's "reputation" while the department had to indicate that Gates's "character and reputation" should be unaffected.  Accordingly, if the use of the word "resolution" was equally carefully chosen, it implies that the parties believe the matter resolved, i.e., ended.  

        I agree that the language does not necessarily bind Gates.  He may well have kept his options open.

        "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

        by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 02:55:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd like to know what the police dept (6+ / 0-)

    will do about the situation vis a vis the cop who made the arrest.

    •  Looks like nothing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Treg, Lava20

      at least no formal disciplinary action as a direct result of this arrest.

      Whether he gets assigned to buckets for the next three months, who knows?

      Richard "The Dick" Cheney: screwing America since 1969

      by litho on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 11:47:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  keep an eye out for the next round of (0+ / 0-)

      promotions.

    •  At the very least the cop needs training (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      miss SPED

      on how not to escalate a conflict.  

      Gates had more of a right to be angry than the cop. He was returning from a long overseas trip and had trouble getting into his house so he was probably pretty frazzled by the time the cop showed up.

      The cop started off okay but as soon as he was satisfied that Prof Gates was in his own house he needed to stop taking it so personally. If you read the report, the idea that bystanders and other police were somehow disturbed by Gates' yelling and so he had to be arrested was just BS.

      If the cop had just apologised for disturbing him and left the "problem" would have evaporated.  The cop didn't like being yelled at but so what. Yelling at a cop shouldn't be a crime and cops should have a thicker skin. Arresting the guy was just dumb and apparently done in the heat of the moment.

  •  I blame the neighbors... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, sephius1, witkacy

    who didn't recognize the famous scholar who lived in their midst ('what? there's a black man living on my block?') and called the police in the first place.

    If you have come to help me, I don't need your help. But if you have come because your liberation is tied to mine, come let us work together. Lilla Watson

    by va dare on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 11:25:16 AM PDT

    •  I've never seen his front porch - have you? (0+ / 0-)

      Lighting may have been such that you or I wouldn't have recognized Forrest Whittaker had he been standing there.

      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference.

      by blue aardvark on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 11:28:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      va dare, sephius1, witkacy, miss SPED

      Bet (or at least, I hope) that person feels like a real asshat for causing all of this trouble.

      •  I doubt that this person feels badly at all. (8+ / 0-)

        People who suffer from the "Scary Black Man Syndrome" rarely do.  What this person saw is what American society has warned her about her entire life. Scary Black Men breaking and entering to steal something or otherwise cause harm or loss to upstanding White people who are working hard.

        I voted for President Obama Nov. 4, 2008 and I strongly support him and his policies as he approaches the end of his first six months.

        by Blogvirgin on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 11:55:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So, assumptions about people are bad ... (0+ / 0-)

          Except when you do it?

          •  Oh, so now racial stereotyping is making (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            freespeech, Lava20

            "assumptions"? How clean, neat and acceptable.

            I voted for President Obama Nov. 4, 2008 and I strongly support him and his policies as he approaches the end of his first six months.

            by Blogvirgin on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 12:19:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are assumptions "clean, neat and acceptable"? (0+ / 0-)

              I'd say that they should be viewed with caution.  

              And, it's more than a little ironic that you are (rightly) bothered by racial stereotyping but you're more than happy to do it yourself.  

              •  Why not argue the point I made about (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                freespeech

                American society?  Too true for you?

                I voted for President Obama Nov. 4, 2008 and I strongly support him and his policies as he approaches the end of his first six months.

                by Blogvirgin on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 01:24:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Why not stick to my response to your comment? (0+ / 0-)

                  Too difficult to admit that you - like all of us - sometimes resort to making assumptions/stereotypes?  It doesn't make you a criminal, but it may make you stop and think about how easy a trap it is and how we all need to try to avoid it.  That's the point that you're vainly trying to avoid.

                  •  As a minority, I would not have "assumed" as the (5+ / 0-)

                    passerby did that the two men were breaking into the house. As a minority I do not clutch my purse when approaching minority men. As a minority I know the feeling (happened twice last year) of being questioned about my location.  Once when a policeman followed me into my driveway to ask me if I lived in the house, and second when medical personnel with an ambulance would not recognize me when I said I owned my home. I am older, Black and female.

                    My white neighbor fell in her driveway and came to my front door bleeding profusely. I called an ambulance for her.  The paint on the side of her house is peeling. Mine is freshly painted. The young men with the ambulance kept asking her which one of us lived at my address. Although I kept saying me, they refused to recognize me. It was only after she yelled that she lived next door that they wrote it down.

                    Just by your comments I can tell these experiences are not familiar to you. All of us are not racially insensitive. All of us do not make immediate assumptions about people that can only be traced to their race.

                    It is not a crime to make assumptions, but those that are racially based have no place in a multi-ethnic society, and there is a difference.

                    I voted for President Obama Nov. 4, 2008 and I strongly support him and his policies as he approaches the end of his first six months.

                    by Blogvirgin on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 02:08:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You really like to avoid the issue (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      IL clb

                      You don't know the first thing about me and my personal experiences with stereotyping.  And the issue doesn't have anything to do with your personal experiences, or mine.  So, to remind you of your own words:

                      What this person saw is what American society has warned her about her entire life. Scary Black Men breaking and entering to steal something or otherwise cause harm or loss to upstanding White people who are working hard.

                      You don't know the first thing about why the woman called the police.  You assume that she is white and you assume that she had some specific fear.  Try leaving your prejudice out of this and accept that it is equally - if not more, likely - that this woman simply saw two men trying to force open the front door of a home and called the police to investigate.  

                      You might also try to imagine how you'd react to this story if it wasn't Gates trying to enter his home, but a real intruder who may have attacked Gates if Gates had surprised him in the act of burglary and people had seen the intruder trying to enter the property but hadn't called the police.

                      •  Let me tell you what I know that among other (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        houndcat

                        things you do not. The woman according to news reports I am aware of, was 77 years old. A 77 year old African American woman living in Cambridge would have known who Dr. Gates was, and would not have called the police.

                        The very fact that you discount my personal experiences tells me exactly who you are. This quote from you further identifies who you are

                        You might also try to imagine how you'd react to this story if it wasn't Gates trying to enter his home, but a real intruder who may have attacked Gates if Gates had surprised him in the act of burglary and people had seen the intruder trying to enter the property but hadn't called the police.

                        This is BS!.  BS used to qualify and try to make blatant acts of discrimination sound rational when they are anything but. Dr. Gates was inside the home when the police arrived. He produced three forms of identification. The police (and you )should apologize for your errors in judgement and move on.

                        I voted for President Obama Nov. 4, 2008 and I strongly support him and his policies as he approaches the end of his first six months.

                        by Blogvirgin on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 08:28:36 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

    •  Neighbors didn't call the police (7+ / 0-)

      it was a woman who works down the block (for Harvard) and was walking by on her lunch hour.  

      I don't have personal knowledge of that neighborhood, but I imagine it is very very very white.  Which would make the fact that two black men were trying to get in the front door in broad daylight a hint that they were doing nothing wrong.  Perhaps a couple of white guys could pull off a stunt like that in that neighborhood....

      That woman is going to have a lot to live down.

    •  It was 12 noon. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lirtydies, Treg, sephius1, Lava20, miss SPED

      So, unless the eclipse was schedule to hit Cambridge midday, it should have been pretty clear.

    •  how famous could he have been? (0+ / 0-)

      Scholars aren't, by and large, famous.

      You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

      by DawnG on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 11:56:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It wasn't a neighbor. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      va dare, Reel Woman

      It was an employee of Harvard Magazine who called it in and then hung out on the sidewalk to await the police.  Since this happened in early afternoon, and said non-Good Samaritan was close enough to tell the police there were two black males with knapsacks, I figure the caller could have seen and said that it was a 5'4" elderly man in business clothing with a cane, with his uniformed driver, struggling to open a stuck door.
      Now were it me, I would have stopped to ask if I could help (plus I would have known it was Skip Gates, how clueless can Ms. Whalen be?) rather than calling the police. That's just me, I'm kinda softhearted and not kinda racist.

  •  Interesting (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cwholcomb, sephius1, jayden, witkacy, miss SPED

    Perhaps Professor Gates preferred not to be part of the media circus that would surely have ensued.

    I still don't understand what prompted the original arrest for disorderly conduct, other than the fact that Gates was angry and said so.

    •  As the officer made him go outside so he could (7+ / 0-)

      arrest him I assume getting yelled at by a black man prompted the arrest.

      It'd be hard to prove disorderly when he was yelling in his house about being harassed for going into his house but outside he was an angry black man scaring the neighbors.

      Rub raw the sores of discontent - Saul Alinsky

      by JayGR on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 11:44:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's not the story told by either side (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Khun David, Darmok

        As the officer made him go outside so he could arrest him I assume getting yelled at by a black man prompted the arrest.

        Ogletree's statement says that Gates was upset that the officer had stepped inside his home, uninvited:

        Gates’s lawyer and Harvard colleague, Charles Ogletree, said what angered his client was that the police officer stepped inside Gates’s Ware Street house, uninvited, to demand identification and question him.

        Both sides say the officer initially asked Gates to step outside, and he refused.  Ogletree says that Gates followed the police officer outside after the incident without any prompting:

        After an additional request by Professor Gates for the officer’s name and badge number, the officer then turned and left the kitchen of Professor Gates’s home without ever acknowledging who he was or if there were charges against Professor Gates. As Professor Gates followed the officer to his own front door, he was astonished to see several police officers gathered on his front porch. Professor Gates asked the officer’s colleagues for his name and badge number. As Professor Gates stepped onto his
        front porch, the officer who had been inside and who had examined his identification, said to him, "Thank you for accommodating my earlier request," and then placed Professor Gates under arrest.

        If Gates' story is correct--and I would tend to believe his side--then the arrest is entirely uncalled for.  But he was never forced to go outside, nor was he even asked to go outside when he did.

        If the police report is correct, Gates went outside unprompted to berate the officer in front of a small crowd of other people--including other police, campus police, and civilians.

        •  The cop told him if he wanted the cop's (0+ / 0-)

          name and badge number he should step outside.

          He clearly lured him out so he could slap on the cuffs.

          "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

          by bobdevo on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 02:08:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's not what either side says happened (0+ / 0-)

            The police report says the cop gave him his name and badge number several times.

            Ogletree's account says the cop just walked out of the house, and Gates followed him and asked the cops outside for his badge number.

            I haven't read any account that says the cop told him to come outside if he wants his badge number.

            •  The cop says, and I quote: (0+ / 0-)

              Crowley:

              As I began walking through the foyer toward the front door, I could hear Gates demanding my name.  I told Gates I would speak to him outside.

              Then when Gates followed him outside, he arrested him.

              "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

              by bobdevo on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 03:05:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're ignoring (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Darmok

                Yes, that line comes directly after the report says  "I told Gates I was leaving his residence and that if he had any other questions regarding the matter, he could speak to him outside."

                He was not lured outside according to any account.

                •  So? He told Gates he had to come outside if (0+ / 0-)

                  he wanted to get an answer to his question.

                  "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

                  by bobdevo on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 05:39:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, he said he answered it twice already (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Darmok

                    And, again, where did you get this tuxedo and limousine stuff?  

                    You seem be playing very loose with the facts.

                    •  "He said"? The cop? The cop lied. (0+ / 0-)

                      If he told Gates his name and badge number twice, why was Gates asking for it?

                      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

                      by bobdevo on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 07:33:19 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  This is beyond silly (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Darmok

                        You keep insisting that the police report said things that it didn't actually say.  After being repeatedly called out for fabricating, you're now simply accusing the cops of lying.

                        They may be lying, but the question we were discussing was what's in the police report.

                        And, once again, where are you getting this tuxedo and limousine stuff?  Did you just make it up?

                        •  In the police report, the police officer says he (0+ / 0-)

                          told Gates if he wanted to talk he could come outside.

                          The cops says he had already given his name, but he cop also says Gates was asking for his name and badge number.

                          Gates says he never got the badge number.  Why can't you read?

                          "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

                          by bobdevo on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 07:06:46 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

  •  Agreement or not, the call to police and (12+ / 0-)

    the arrest don't make any sense. Why did Lucia Whalen, fundraiser for the Harvard Magazine and we'll assume not legally blind or mentally deficient, imagine that old Professor Gates - he dresses old; he stands old - was staging a break-in?

    And where was the car - wouldn't it be parked right up-front? And wouldn't it have livery plates?? And what about the luggage? Is it true, to over-vigilant loons like Ms. Whalen, that - as Eddie Murphy said long ago in a stand-up routine - "a black man can't have a suitcase"?

    Gates has made an agreement with authorities, because he's a busy man and this is a tawdry, stupid business. But this is an outrage that may well stoke up a response out of Gates' control. I know I'm sickened to death by this crap, and am half-inclined to hop a train to Boston, if a protest or something should happen.

    •  Man walks with a cane!!! (5+ / 0-)
      •  Exactly! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        freespeech, lirtydies, babeuf, SilentBrook

        Could it be that Ms. Whalen was hoping to reap the reward proffered for the capture of the Middle-Aged-Cane-Wielding-Burglar who'd been eluding the crack forces of the Cambridge PD for lo these many years?

        Or had she just forgotten that morning to take those meds for anxiety and bipolar disorders? Inquiring minds...

        •  I think you're misplacing blame. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jayden

          When you see someone breaking into a house, it's perfectly reasonable to assume that they don't belong there.

          I don't have a sig line.

          by NMDad on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 12:01:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In broad daylight! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lirtydies, miss SPED, RatCitySqueaker

            Look. I've seen this happen with someone breaking into their own car. I stopped and said : Hey what's going on. He said, I left me keys in the car. I know this looks funny."  I then noticed a bag of groceries, which visually confirmed that this was his car.  I went on about my business.

            •  Houses normally get ripped off (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jayden, Darmok

              in broad daylight. That's when they're usually empty.

              I doubt that a woman walking alone would approach two men who she thought were committing a crime to ask them what was going on.

              I don't have a sig line.

              by NMDad on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 12:10:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm a woman. And I do. (6+ / 0-)

                Crime paranoia is a US infection. My Gawd. Crime happens true, but live you're for goodness sake. Not everything and one a suspect. The point is whoever this person is overreacted. The cop, overreacted. Gates, who was in his own bloody home was rightfully pissed. I sure as hell would have been.

                •  I mean live your life that is. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  freespeech, Treg, miss SPED
                  •  And another thing about crime paranoia... (5+ / 0-)

                    I've been robbed three  times, once at gunpoint. I've worked in some dodgy neighborhoods as a matter of course and yet, I'm shocked that people who live in perfectly safe suburbs are absolutely frantic about crime. And have the most lurid crime scenarios at the tip of their tongues whenever police matter pops up.

                    •  Oh, those paranoid suburbanites! (0+ / 0-)

                      Yes, we all know that suburbs are so totally safe that anyone would be paranoid to be concerned about crime!!

                      Or, you could ask Polly Klaas' family about it (just to name one infamous case).

                      •  Come on now. (0+ / 0-)

                        Statistically, the chances your kids going to be snatched by some stranger is minute. The suburbs are actually safe, despite the big sensationalist crime story. They are very well policed areas of the country, with very little crime.

                        •  So, what is your point, exactly? (0+ / 0-)

                          Yes, the odds of a child being taken from a bedroom and murdered is slight, but crime can happen anywhere.  Attacking the woman who reported what she believed to be a break-in on the mistaken assumption that people in the suburbs are "paranoid" is absolutely the wrong way to approach this.  

                          And I don't even know what suburbs has to do with anything, since this was in the middle of Cambridge.

                          •  Who's attacking her? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Reel Woman

                            Saying that she overreacted to the sight of am older black man with a cane trying to unjam his door in broad daylight is hardly an attack. To be generous she has poor perception skills. In fact I could think of some unkind words to say, but frankly I cut the woman a lot of slack. She's one among many folks who jump at the opportunity to call the police.

                            As for my citing the suburbs, this is my observation of what I see in the States. I'm American but I've lived most of my adult life abroad and one thing that strikes me is that way too many people are obsessed with crime.

                            They see suspects everywhere. And yes, this suspicion is sometimes profoundly racial. The great irony is it is often folks who live in perfectly safe areas. That you would immediately shout "What about Polly Klaas" is a case in point. Why the hell, would that even worry you? It is tragic indeed, but the likelihood of something so horrific happening to you or someone you love by a stranger is miniscule.

                          •  You have such amazing powers (0+ / 0-)

                            She's one among many folks who jump at the opportunity to call the police.

                            I'm truly humbled to be in the (virtual) presence of a mind reader such as yourself.  Amazing, too, that you haven't even spent most of your life here, but you are so in touch with the out-of-control problem of people who "jump at the opportunity" to call police.

                          •  Those amazing powers are (0+ / 0-)

                            merely observation, and opinion. And although I lived abroad, I'm as American as apple pie, although I'm more found of the sweet potato variety.

                      •  Your hysterical reaction is a case in point. (0+ / 0-)

                        Um, David Bezerkowitz....OWWWWW Scary.... NYC the most dangerous place on earth. Segue to the theme music from Jaws.

                •  Calling the police when (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jayden

                  you see someone breaking into a house is not an overreaction. That's a normal reaction.

                  I don't have a sig line.

                  by NMDad on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 12:17:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  But burglars usually don't (6+ / 0-)

                come in through the front door with a limo or town car parked outside. Also, not too many burglars walking around with canes. That said, I blame the police for their poor handling of the situation much more than the woman who called it in. If the police officer had acted professionally and just left after checking the professor's ID, the whole thing could have been avoided.  

                •  I thought it was a regular taxi driver (0+ / 0-)

                  Maybe he looked more like a "typical burglar" that Prof. Gates and that's what the passerby was keying off.   If she would make the same call to the police if they had been white then she is blameless, but it is fair to speculate that she was reacting to their race.

                  •  What is fair about it? (0+ / 0-)

                    but it is fair to speculate that she was reacting to their race.

                    That's what I don't get; why is it fair to speculate that the caller was racist but it would be unfair when a white person (for example) speculates that the black man approaching them on the street is a criminal?  Speculating or making assumptions or stereotyping about some person based on their race or sex or any other category is wrong.

                    I'm always amazed and perplexed by a few of the same posters here that feels like these kinds of stories justify them engaging in the same kind of wrongful behavior.

                •  The cop also might should have (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Treg, miss SPED

                  waited for an invite before entering the house.  Given the lack of any other suspicious circumstances with respect to Gates's presence there.  I mean, if the cop wanted to go by, you know, the law.

                  "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

                  by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 03:06:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  If the house was otherwise unremarkable... (9+ / 0-)

            perhaps. But there was a car... probably a limousine parked out front with the trunk likely open and the accoutrements of one's returning from a trip openly visible. Dr. Gates tried the front door, went to the back, let himself in with a key, shut off the  alarm system, came back out via the back, walked around the house, investigated the front door and got the driver to get it open (I doubt Dr Gates, given his disability, would have done so) and then once it was open, they began taking the aforementioned accoutrements into the house. This being done by one without a disability would have taken several minutes; a elderly man with a cane would have taken much more than that...

            While it may be reasonable on occasion to make the assumption you note... even if she just came upon the scene as they were trying to get the front door open, for someone who remained on the scene and watching until the police arrived it should have become readily apparent that her assumption was horribly horribly wrong.

          •  "Seeing someone" (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Treg, jayden, miss SPED, RatCitySqueaker

            doing ANY activity isn't a neutral activity with one certain outcome. I understand that you're hoping that we're in a more neutral, objective society than we're in--but the plain fact is that this arrest of an elite Ivy-League professor and minor TV star who committed no crime (do you think this is in dispute? - Then why were the charges dropped; and so publicly?), while in his own home, boggles the sane mind.

            What is "perfectly reasonable," as you put it, is the assumption that, should your front door be jammed or locked when you return from an overseas trip, you can gain entrance to your home without leaving in handcuffs and with your mug shot featured in the media. My guess - just guessing! - is that this isn't as much a peril for you as it is for me.

            I would direct you also to an article printed only last summer (August) in the Boston Herald regarding racial profiling and harassment of black students and faculty at Harvard.

          •  High noon with a limousine parked outside (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deoliver47, foufou

            and the driver in a tuxedo??

            WTF, dude.

            "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

            by bobdevo on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 02:09:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darmok, NMDad

      Why did Lucia Whalen, fundraiser for the Harvard Magazine and we'll assume not legally blind or mentally deficient, imagine that old Professor Gates - he dresses old; he stands old - was staging a break-in?

      Probably because she saw two men attempting to force their way into the front door of a house, which is exactly what was happening.

      There's absolutely nothing wrong with calling the police in that situation, and there's no duty on the woman to go investigate the license plate of the car parked in front of the house.

      •  You're not listening. (0+ / 0-)

        It was high noon.  One of the men was a limo driver in a tuxedo with a limo parked out front.  Gates tried the front door, which was jammed from an earlier burglary attempt, went around back, opened the back door, then opened the front door to let the driver in with his luggage.

        When the cops came, he was sitting in his living room.

        VERY SUSPICIOUS

        "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

        by bobdevo on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 02:11:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's not true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Darmok

          Here's Ogletree's statement:

          Professor Gates was driven to his home by a driver for a local car company. Professor Gates attempted to enter his front door, but the door was damaged. Professor Gates then entered his rear door with his key, turned off his alarm, and again attempted to open the front door. With the help of his driver they were able to force the front door open, and then the driver carried Professor Gates’s luggage into his home.

          He didn't open the front door to let the driver in.  They managed to force the door open together, which seems to be what the woman saw.

          And where are you getting this information about a tuxedo and a limousine?  Not that it's incorrect, but I haven't seen it mentioned in any of the reports.

          •  "then the driver carried Professor Gates’s (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bobdevo, babeuf, foufou, miss SPED

            luggage into his home" is the crucial part of the statement.

            Everyone knows what a private car service car looks like. But the key statement is - carrying the luggage INTO.

            Duh.  

            Only an idiot would describe that as looking like a burglary.

            "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

            by Denise Oliver Velez on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 02:41:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Is that what the woman who reported it saw? (0+ / 0-)

              You don't know because all the police report says is that she told the officer that she saw two "black males" with backpacks on the porch trying to force open the door.

              There is nothing wrong with contacting the police to investigate a possible crime.  

  •  Being black is time consuming. (18+ / 0-)

    I completely understand why he's just getting this done with. Contrary to popular belief, most black folks just want to get through the day, work, get their stuff done. Racist crap can take up all your freaking time if you let it.  I remember the summer I looked for an apartment in a fine Ivy League town... ahhh good times. Life is too short.

    •  But as you know it's impossible to get through (6+ / 0-)

      the day and mind your own business, if people are throwing this kind of garbage at you (and always when your guard is down, when you least expect it, when you can't imagine trouble brewing, etc.) People who've been objects of racism know this as a certainty: Racism can be a unilateral process, taking people down randomly (though according to phenotype) like a sniper--sometimes literally (see: Amadou Diallo)

      I'm just glad that Professor Gates got through this with his body intact, and that he'll be able to continue his work.

      •  Indeedy!!! (6+ / 0-)

        I must say bigots love to come at you when you're tired, stressed or overworked. At least that's been my luck. Not to say I want to encounter some bigot a-hole while I'm on vacation or relaxing. Really, I just with they'd all piss off the lot of them. But C'est la vie.

        •  Catch-22 (7+ / 0-)

          If you had your back up all the time, expecting some racist garbage to come your way, you'd be considered uppity, sensitive, hard to grasp, and socially at odds--qualities suiting a stereotype.

          But when you're the very opposite, when you're trying to affect a social ease and facility, not hindered by suspicions or memories of past slights/frustrations--then you're most susceptible to being sucker-punched by a slight, or an attack, etc. For this reason I'm constantly in awe of the likes of President Obama, or of Professor Gates (or above all W.E.B. DuBois, an age ago), because I can't imagine how they keep that delicate balance, in their professional lives--they're like the Phillipe Petits of our society...

  •  Just to clarify again (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, Treg, miss SPED

    I don't know that Gates has decided whether to sue for false arrest.  I'm reading between the lines of the statement issued by the Cambridge DA's office based on my own experience handling similar cases (albeit, with far less prominent arrestees).  And, as you suggest, some of those arrestees decided to forgo a false arrest suit based on the time, money and energy such a suit would drain.

    "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

    by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 11:39:10 AM PDT

  •  Dr. Gates is not the one who needs to be (8+ / 0-)

    put in his "place". The cops need to remember their "place" and stop harassing citizens because they don't like their "attitude".

    Americans--we all have "attitudes". I go to a foreign country and I know my countrymen by their walk and "attitude". We act like we own the place. We are the audacious creation of a free society. We are proud, we don't take crap and allow our rights to be violated while we lie down quietly. We have first amendment rights and police officers have no earthly right to punish you for defying them with your voiced or expressed dissent as if they are sacred cows and above reproach.

    Where can I sign up to be a gun-carrying bully who gets to be above the law? The Police Academy? Sweeeet. Maybe I'll sign up and see how many evil cop asses I can get away with kicking since there's no possible way I will be ever held accountable.

    "I believe God created me in one day" Yeah, looks like He rushed it." -Bill Hicks-

    by mistakeonthelake on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 11:44:18 AM PDT

  •  More to the story emerging? (7+ / 0-)

    Latest from Boston Globe - Gates chastises officer after authorities agree to drop criminal charge:

    This afternoon in an interview, Gates said he never yelled at the officer other than to demand his name and badge number, which he said the officer refused to give. The officer, Sergeant James Crowley, said in the police report that he did state his name. He also said Gates unleashed a verbal tirade, calling him racist, telling him that he did not know who he was messing with, and threatening to speak to his "mama" outside.

    "The police report is full of this man’s broad imagination," Gates said in response to a question on whether he had said any of the quotes in the report. "I said, ‘Are you not giving me your name and badge number because I’m a black man in America?’ . . . He treated my request with scorn. . . I was suffering from a bronchial infection. I couldn’t have yelled. . . I don’t walk around calling white people racist."

    If you have come to help me, I don't need your help. But if you have come because your liberation is tied to mine, come let us work together. Lilla Watson

    by va dare on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 12:54:58 PM PDT

    •  Wow, the officer sounds like an absolute jerk. (5+ / 0-)

      I've seen Skip Gates. Heard him on several occasions (he was a key note at a week long conference I attended). The guy is definitely not going to be pulling the Flip Wilson 'yo mamma' crap. He is truly erudite and frankly soft spoken. Not to mention he is quite small in stature. Now, this really pisses me off.

      This is big time messed up.

    •  Not surprising in light of the fact (4+ / 0-)

      that even if the police report were 100% true, there was no probable cause for the arrest.  It's a safe assumption that the officer was trying to put his behavior in the best possible light.  So the fact that the cop in this case was still unable to establish probable cause in his report is a pretty good indication that he had acted abominably.

      "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

      by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 02:18:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry, I don't think it was race motivated (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, Darmok

    Boston area cops are pretty much handcuff happy with anyone who ever questions their authority in a manner they don't like...It's about the fact that maybe they need better training in dealing with irate people, or training into how to diffuse situations instead of escalating them, as they do in every case I have ever seen...

    •  Someone posted a question (5+ / 0-)

      on theroot.com. If a famous white Harvard professor had been in the house and a black cop had approached him and said he was checking out a complaint of potential break in, do you think there is any chance the black cop would have first insisted the white man step out of the house, then insist that he show him his ID, then follow him into his kitchen to make sure he was going in to pick up his id, then refuse to give him his name and badge number, and then tell him to "step out" of his house to talk to him?

      This is bullshit. There is no doubt the guy was a racist motherfucker out to show the "uppity" black man his place. If he is not racist then he is too fucking dumb to be a cop in Cambridge to not know or recognize Henry Gates.

      •  It's bullshit if that's all true (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Darmok

        But the police report tells a very different story.

        Like you, I tend to believe Gates over the police report, but neither you nor I actually know what happened.

        Saying there's "no doubt" that the cop is a "racist motherfucker" seems incredibly irresponsible given what we know at this point.  

        •  Obviously you haven't read this (0+ / 0-)

          “The police report is full of this man’s broad imagination,” Gates said in response to a question on whether he had said any of the quotes in the report. “I said, ‘Are you not giving me your name and badge number because I’m a black man in America?’ . . . He treated my request with scorn. . . I was suffering from a bronchial infection. I couldn’t have yelled. . . I don’t walk around calling white people racist.”

          •  I have read the accounts from both sides (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Darmok, glassbeadgame

            And, again, I tend to believe Gates more than the police report.

            But neither of us actually know what happened.  

            The fact that there were several witnesses to the interactions outside of the house--coupled with the agreement accepting mutual responsibility--suggests the truth lies somewhere in between.

            •  The report (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              glassbeadgame, babeuf, miss SPED

              says the cop asked Gates to step out because he was yelling loudly. I guess some people will still choose to believe that the white cop was too fine and fragile a human specimen to put up with the "yelling" of a 58 year old man with bronchial infection and artificial hip. That's what I call bullshit.

              •  That's not actually what it said (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Darmok

                The police report said the cop couldn't properly use his radio because the yelling inside the kitchen was too loud.  The report said that the cop told Gates that he was leaving, and that if he had any additional questions he could talk to him outside.

                You can choose to believe whichever story you'd like, but you can't invent one side's story.  I tend to think the reality is somewhere in the middle.

            •  I've read the police report (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              freespeech, miss SPED

              and wish I had had the foresight to save it to my computer.  But there are a number of points to make with respect to that report.  First of all, even based on what the officer reported, there was no probable cause for the arrest.  According to the cop's own version, he arrested Gates because Gates was angry about the way the cop handled the incident and, as the officer was leaving, yelled at the cop from his porch which, says the cop, "appeared" to disturb passersby.

              Thus, even by the officer's account, Gates was engaging in activity protected by the First Amendment, namely, criticizing a public official. To establish probable cause for an arrest under such circumstances, the officer needed a hell of a lot more reason for the arrest than that passersby, none of whom are named or quoted, "appeared" to the officer to be disturbed by Gates's behavior.

              Second, the police report is (intentionally, I think) vague about how it came to pass that police entered into Gates's home in the first place.  By Gates's account (and that's really all we have), at least one officer entered uninvited and remained in the house even after Gates produced ID showing that he resided there.  If my memory serves, there was a second police report by another officer who took pains to note that he entered the residence after the first officer was already inside.  All of that adds up to a likely illegal entry by the first Cambridge cop, with the second cop sufficiently suspicious of the legality of the first entry, that by the time he writes his report, he feels compelled to include a CYA explanation.  (The second cop would be entitled to rely on the fact that the first cop was inside to establish probable cause to enter.  Of course, if it turned out the first cop didn't have probable cause, the first officer remains liable for the illegal entry.)

              So there are aspects of the police reports that provide powerful circumstantial evidence that the police had acted unlawfully and that they knew it.

              The agreement is interesting in that Cambridge agrees that Gates's character and reputation should remain unbesmirched by this incident while Gates provides a pass for the Police Department's character, but not its reputation.

              Now I don't know if the first cop's activity was racially motivated.  But it's hard to imagine, say, Lawrence Tribe (to choose an equally prominent white Harvard professor) treated the same way in his home under similar circumstances.  Not impossible, but hard.  In any event, whatever motivated the cops, based on their own account, including omissions from their account, it seems more than likely that the police arrested Gates without probable cause after having illegally entered his home.

              I've speculated that aspects of the agreement suggest that Gates has decided to forgo suing as a result of this incident.  But I really am just making an educated guess here, informed by my experience of having handled similar cases (with far less celebrated arrestees) in Connecticut.  So Gates still may have kept his options open.

              "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

              by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 02:44:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not saying the police report is true (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                houndcat, Darmok

                BTW, if you want to read it again, I've uploaded it.

                Page 1
                Page 2

                According to the cop's own version, he arrested Gates because Gates was angry about the way the cop handled the incident and, as the officer was leaving, yelled at the cop from his porch which, says the cop, "appeared" to disturb passersby.

                Thus, even by the officer's account, Gates was engaging in activity protected by the First Amendment, namely, criticizing a public official. To establish probable cause for an arrest under such circumstances, the officer needed a hell of a lot more reason for the arrest than that passersby, none of whom are named or quoted, "appeared" to the officer to be disturbed by Gates's behavior.

                I don't think this is right.  First, disorderly conduct is not necessarily protected by the First Amendment, even if it's criticizing a public official.

                Here are the standards for conviction in MA:

                First:  The Commonwealth must prove that the defendant involved himself (herself) in at least one of the following actions: he (she) either engaged in fighting or threatening, or engaged in violent or tumultuous behavior or created a hazardous or physically offensive condition by an act that served no legitimate purpose of the defendant’s;

                Second:  The Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s actions were reasonably likely to affect the public; and

                Third:  The Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant either intended to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly created a risk of public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.

                The police report--whether you find it believable or not--makes all three of these claims.  It says Gates was tumultuous, that his actions were reasonably likely to affect the public, and that he acted recklessly.

                •  To satisfy the First Amendment (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  miss SPED

                  the statute must be interpreted to exclude expressive conduct.  As a federal court indicated, interpretting the statute in a different context,

                  The district court's definition of "disorderly," however, would permit a jury to find that persons are "disorderly" based solely on the manner in which they express themselves. This definition contravenes A Juvenile, in which the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court expressly excised from "disorderly" analysis both "speech and expressive conduct." A Juvenile, 368 Mass, at 593, 334 N.E.2d at 625. After all, if the SJC thought that protected speech uttered in a loud voice could lawfully be regulated, then it would not have felt compelled to extricate the "makfing of] unreasonable noise" from the definition of disorderly.

                  The district court's definition also contravenes Massachusetts court interpretations of the term "tumultuous behavior" of subsection (c) of the Model Penal Code definition of "disorderly." Massachusetts courts have upheld convictions for disorderly conduct only where "defendants' conduct'independent of any speech or expressive conduct'" warranted the conviction. Commonwealth v. Carson, 10 Mass.App.Ct. 920, 411 N.E.2d 1337 (1980); see also Richards, 340 N.E.2d at 896 ("evidence that the defendants engaged in fighting and violent or tumultuous behavior, entirely apart from any speech of theirs [warranted submission of disorderly conduct complaints] to the jury with instructions, inter alia, that the speech of the defendants was not to be considered as evidence of guilt"); United States v. Pasqualino, 768 F.Supp. 13 (D.Mass.1991) (rejecting contention that person was "unruly and tumultuous" where arrest was grounded solely on the conclusion that the defendant was loud, and, consequently, that he created a disturbance). In any event, Veiga's behavior cannot conceivably be brought within the SJC's careful definition of tumultuous behavior as "involving riotous commotion and excessively unreasonable noise so as to constitute a public nuisance." A Juvenile, 334 N.E.2d at 628.

                  No reasonable person could interpret what the officer describes to indicate that Gates's actions involved "riotous commotions" or constituted a "public nuisance."

                  The police report is a transparent attempt to fit Gates's behavior into the standard definitions of "disorderly."  It fails to take into account that where First Amendment-protected speech and conduct are concerned, the law imposes a far greater standard to establish probable cause.   Because of that omission, the police report, as written, indicates that the officer lacked probable cause for the arrest.  Period.  

                  "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

                  by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 03:23:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'd disagree (0+ / 0-)

                    The police report is a transparent attempt to fit Gates's behavior into the standard definitions of "disorderly."

                    Absolutely, and I think it does so.

                    •  Well, yeah, except (0+ / 0-)

                      he just uses the words.  He forgets about the actual definition of the words as limited to avoid infringing the First Amendment.

                      Where is there anything resembling "riotous commotions" in that report?  Where is there any hint of a a "public nuisance"?  The officer's impression that people "appeared" disturbed is just not good enough.  In fact, it's precisely the kind of pretext that the First Amendment limitation imposed on the statute by the Massachusetts Supreme Court was designed to eliminate.

                      Please.  Contact an attorney, one in Massachusetts preferably, who has handled criminal cases with First Amendment implications.  Or even just look at this description of a similar case from Pennsylvania.  The federal court in that case held that, if the arrestee had been arrested for yelling profanities from his front porch at a police officer who was attempting to arrest someone else, the officer violated clearly established constitutional law.

                      In that case, at least the cop claimed he arrested the guy for some other reason.  In this case, it's the officer's own report that establishes the constitutional violation.

                      "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

                      by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 06:09:47 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  See also (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Partially Impartial

                      United States v. Pasqualino, 768 F.Supp. 13 (D.Mass.1991) (rejecting contention that person was "unruly and tumultuous" where arrest was grounded solely on the conclusion that the defendant was loud, and, consequently, that he created a disturbance).

                      "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

                      by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 06:59:05 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  See also too (0+ / 0-)

                      Norwell v. Cincinnati 414 US 14 (1973):

                      Allegation that defendant was "loud and boisterous" insufficient to justify arrest where defendant was protesting action of police officer and there was no allegation that defendant used "abusive language" or "fighting words."

                      "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

                      by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 07:09:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Also see too (0+ / 0-)

                      Commonwealth v. Zettel, 46 Mass. App. Ct. 471 (1999), in which the Court discussed what conduct may constitute tumultuous conduct. In that case, the court held that the defendant's refusal to obey a police officer's request to move or park her car legally, speaking loudly to the officer, and resisting arrest did not rise to the level of riotous commotion or unreasonable noise constituting a public nuisance which constitutes tumultuous conduct as matter of law.

                      In that case, even resisting arrest was held to fall short of "tumultuous conduct" as a matter of law.  Gates's actions, as described by the police, fall far short of the standard set in Zettel.

                      "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

                      by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 07:22:35 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Oh, and thanks for uploading (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Partially Impartial, miss SPED

                  the police reports!

                  "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

                  by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 03:23:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Almost everyone agrees the arrest was wrong (0+ / 0-)

                  What people can't agree on, because they do not know, was whether (a) the cop was out of line, (b) Gates is making more of this than there really was, or (c) both.

                  If any video/audio is allowed to be released under the agreement that may exist between Gates and the city, we may get a clue.

                  Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

                  by oblomov on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 03:33:23 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  True (0+ / 0-)

                    Or statements from the witnesses.

                    •  Well, that will clearly depend on whether (0+ / 0-)

                      side or the other can discredit, dismiss, or undermine the (apparently 7) witnesses.

                      Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

                      by oblomov on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 03:36:49 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  NO! NO! NO! (0+ / 0-)

                    A million times NO!!!!

                    The cop was out of line based on his own description of events.

                    This is a First Amendment case.  The cop admits Gates was engaged in expressive activity, namely, yelling criticism at the cop.  See, e.g.,United States v. Pasqualino, 768 F.Supp. 13 (D.Mass.1991) (rejecting contention that person was "unruly and tumultuous" where arrest was grounded solely on the conclusion that the defendant was loud, and, consequently, that he created a disturbance).

                    This is established law.  The arrest was illegal, even as described by the cop.  His entry into Gates's home was illegal, as described by Gates and not contradicted by the cop.

                    There is highly unlikely to be an audio or video record  of the event, but it does not matter.

                    Please.  Trust me on this one.  I've handled dozens of such cases in Connecticut.  The differences in the law are not so great that it creates a significant question as to whether the cop had probable cause.

                    "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

                    by houndcat on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 06:17:48 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, having dealt with boston cops, I'll (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        freespeech, Matthias, Darmok

        tell you right now, it doesn't matter what color the skin is. My dealings with Boston area cops as a young professional in this city tell me it was far more about the cops power trip than the color of the offender...Cops here have issues, but this stuff happens to all of us, but instead of automatically playing the race issue, let's try to improve the policing all around instead. It would take me too long to post my personal story, but trust me, it is almost exactly the same, had the exact same outcome almost, and had nothing to do with race, but power

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