A Quick Thought on the Gates Arrest

I don't have a clue if Professor Gates was arrested primarily because he was black.  But I can certainly say that it is not just blacks who are arrested every day for what is being called "comptempt of cop."  Police officers have developped a theory, which is not backed up by any actual written law, that they are the dictators of the immediate area that they occupy, and that citizens owe them absolute obedience to their commands and complete deference to their majesty, or else risk arrest.  While blacks may fall victim to such arrests at a higher rate, this is not just an issue of racism.  It is an issue of abuse of power as well.

Update: Carlos Miller has many of the same thoughts, and a lot more detail.  Having been arrested himself for "comtempt of cop," he should know.


  1. James:

    I think things happen to non-blacks on a daily basis that we pass off as others just being assholes that, when they happen to blacks, they perceive as racism. I would posit that most of the daily experiences that blacks perceive as 'racism' are just people being assholes. Of course real racism does still exist, but I think pales in comparison to the rampant narcissism and general asshole-ness that is now standard operating procedure, at least here in CA.

    In this case, it sure looks like an abuse of power, but I don't think you help anything when you scream "WHY? BECAUSE I'M A BLACK MAN?" I'm no racist, and only a moderate asshole, but if you just starting yelling this at me when I ask for some ID after you get caught breaking down a door, I'm gonna bust your balls too.

  2. Brad:

    If bullshit were snow you'd be a blizzard. I'd be willing to bet that every state has a statute that covers interfereing with a police officer or fireman in the conduct of his duties.

    A quick google search turned up 4-5 on the first page.

  3. K:

    The problem is that police do have that (nearly) absolute authority in some situations but not in others.

    These problems emerge from a gray area where no one is absolutely sure what the officer can do.

    The police never have the authority to make you shoot your children. But suppose instead that they are directing traffic onto a detour road; you better obey, your right to drive on Elm Street has been trumped.

    The police know about the gray. One will push as hard as they can under uncertainty. Another will be less aggressive.

    And uncertainty isn't always the question. Occasionally an officer will have had one beer too many before starting his shift. Life happens.

    What happened here? I don't know. Offhand, I would say investigating a possible burglary in progress would be a gray area where an officer must adapt his actions to circumstance. And may have to act w/o certainty.

    OTOH, judging from the headlines, Gates seems sure of his version of the events. Otherwise why press so hard?

    I will leave this flap to the legal establishment of Massachusetts. I assume they will leave mowing my Arizona lawn to me. There is never a lawyer with a lawn mower around when you need one.

  4. Michael:

    I don't think racism or comptempt of cop apply in this situation. You have an area that has been experiencing home break ins. You have two people using a crow bar to enter a home. You have a lone officer responding to a break in. Gates could have just shown the office his ID and ended it.

    There were also Harvard police at the scene so the cops knew this guy was a radical black activist professor. Gates had to act like a real ass to get arrested.

  5. Fox:

    If my understanding is correct, the black guy forced himself into a property and was noticed in the process by his neighbours who called a cop (Harvard is not quiet place and people tend to be watchful for those who get through the windows).

    When an officer arrived he asked the guy in the house to identify himself. In my books, it is really reasonable again. the officer has no knowledge if he speaks to a burglar or to an actual owner of the property.

    Now, the guy refused to show his ID and started to call names... Practically speaking, that was unreasonable. Legally speaking, there's no law requiring a man to identfy himself in his house to anyone. He didn't even have to open the door. But on another hand, if that would be a burglar, how would you expect police to do their job?

  6. Ray:

    I have had to break into my own house (No key)and my neighbors at her request (left town without letting the dog out). In both cases expected and would have welcomed being confronted by the police, its their job and its good to know someone is paying attention.

    If caught the plan was to promtly offer ID, phone numbers, refrences, the very last thing I would have done is become belligerant. To do that would have rightfully got me arrested.

  7. Warren Lewis:

    This Gates guy is a piece of work. The cop shows up to protect Gates' house, and Gates will not cooperate with him at all. And what sort of outrageous demands was the cop making? Tell me who you are. Step out on the porch. Why not? What's wrong with that? Why not cooperate? This Gates guy sounds like a psycho belligerent nutjob. Perfect for Hahvahd. There's being a victim of racism on the one hand, and there is acting like an pathetic jerk on the other. The latter appears to be the case.

  8. Ariel:

    Uh, Gates did identify himself both with a Harvard ID and a drivers license. This was while he was in his own home, and prior to his arrest on the porch. That is in every news report I have read.
    The crux of the matter is two-fold: why didn't the event end there, when ID was shown because at that point the police had no legal reason to remain; and did the officer(s)clearly ID themselves to Gates, as required by Massachusetts law (they are acting unlawfully if they don't give both name and badge). The disorderly conduct charge isn't holding, either, so Gates will likely continue to pursue this. Do I think it was racism, nah, more likely "contempt of cop". If you go to policeone.com you'll see similar comments from LEOs. Just remember, just because a cop charges you with a crime, it doesn't mean one was committed.
    OT but right now we have the Lopez incident and the Tased Anus incident where no real punishment was given to officers who used incredibly excessive force, then lied their asses off on their reports. Nothing to see here, folks, move along, move along.
    Most LEOs commenting on policeone.com called for Lopez to be fired, and/or charged criminally.

  9. nom de guerre:

    ohhhh, you might be a little - uh - way off base there, brad. yeah, i'm sure "every state has a statute that covers interference with cops", etc etc. the problem is, the COPS seem to get to define what constitutes 'interference'. every year, year after year, that interpretation seems to get broader and broader. on 2 separate occasions, (refusal to let the cops come into my house after i called them to report a burglary at the neighbors; and a refusal to let them search my car after getting a ticket for a bad headlight: they **really** got pissed off when i got out of the car, locked it behind me, and pocketed the keys. seemed to take it as a personal affront, in fact.), i've had cops scream at me in their trained-to-be-manly-and-intimidating-but-in-actual-fact-has-no-legal-authority-whatsoever-behind-it "command" voices that they were going to "arrest me for interfering in their business" if i continued to refuse to allow them to ignore my rights and not do what they wanted me to. interestingly, they got louder and more "commanding" when other cops arrived on the scene to "help" - which is behavior more normally associated with crips or vice lords. and i'm a 50-year-old white guy homeowner with no arrest record. in fact, there are several blogs and websites devoted to just this sort of abuse by the cops - not to mention the epidemic of our brave peace officers bravely tasering small children and little old grandmaw ladies for getting lippy. ("the officer felt threatened by the 60-pound child.")(the cops have also been shooting small, friendly dogs a lot lately, all in the name of "officer safety".) google it sometime. start with "puppycide". then too, kindly note that any cop anywhere is free to tell any lie he wants to, to anyone he wants to, so long as its not on paper or under oath. that's a favorite cop trick, i've learned. one they particularly like to brag about when interviewed. (in fact, they've gotten to the point where they feel so free to lie *even under oath* that it made the cover of the wall st. journal awhile back, and included a new verb, invented from necessity: "testilying". must be a pretty bad problem if it makes the WSJ, huh?) knowing all that, i'd be inclined to believe gates' version over the cops. also, how exactly does following a cop off *your own property*, even if you're being unkind and loudly calling him a racist, none of which is illegal to my knowledge, how does that constitute "interference of cop"? answer: of course, it doesn't. as coyote points out, the *real* crime committed here was the abuse of power by the cops.

    so if cop-jock-sniffing were peanut butter, you'd be a PBJ, good buddy. (hey, you're right, brad: it's FUN to insult people you disagree with!)

  10. Anon:

    "why didn’t the event end there?"

    Because Gates was not going to miss this chance for big headlines, big publicity, bigger speaking fees, and a bigger budget for him at Harvard.

    He wasn't being a jerk to the cop because he's a jerk. The guy is an opportunist, nothing more.

  11. Michael:

    Ariel, the officer did withdraw from the house to confirm the ID with the Harvard police. Gates was free to remain in his house and go about his business. He chose to leave his house and continue his cries of racism. The worst thing the cop did was arrest him. It gave Gates the attention he craves.

  12. Craig:

    Anon is right. Gates saw the chance to get some publicity, knowing the media would accept his claim of racial profiling hook, line, and sinker. The cop should have tased him.

  13. dave smith:

    This was almost surely staged.

    Otherwise it is one heck of a coincidence.

  14. morganovich:

    according to the police report, gates actually said "i'll speak to yo mama outside" when the officer asked if he could speak to him outside.

    report here:


    if true, this guy was being awfully belligerent and i don't have a ton of sympathy for him. make life rotten for anyone trying to do their job and you can expect to get poor service and a bad interaction.

    try using "yo mama" next time you order a deli sandwich or see the doctor and see how it goes. better yet, try it at the DMV.

    gates was dying to make an issue of this and wasn't going to stop until he did. it was all over and the officer was leaving and he followed him outside to yell at him.

    one could make some interesting comments about obama claiming that the "cop acted stupidly" and then admitting he did not know the facts of the case though...

    remember when the order used to be gather data THEN develop an opinion...

  15. Peter:

    Living in MA I was hearing on the radio today that the police responded to a report of a breakin at the Gates house only 3 weeks ago. You can bet that if they hadn't responded Gates would be claiming that it's because he is black. Additionally one caller from the neighborhood stated that Gates "pesonifies the 'Do you know who I am' attitude."
    Personally I feel that peoples responses to this are entirely based on their own predisposition towards racisim and police attitudes. without additional evidence it is not possible to know if Gates was beligerant before or after providing identification.
    Fox I thought I had read (possibly on this blog) that the supreme court ruled that people are required to identify themselves when requested by law enforcement and that the 5th ammendmet does not apply to your identity.

  16. Cardin Drake:

    I really like your blog. It has great stuff on a regular basis. But you are way off base here.
    The rule is simple: Don't be an ass, and the cop won't arrest you.
    What, was he supposed to recognize the professor?
    Show him your I.D.; be a human being and recognize the cop responded to what could have been a risky situation, and it's case closed.

  17. ArtD0dger:

    It sounds like Crowely reacted badly to deliberate provocation by Gates. Yes, we should expect better from both of them.

    But who cares? The significance of this story, by orders of magnitude, is the fact that our president sees no problem in using his office for casual acts of intervention on the behalf of old friends and cronies. Or it's that he couldn't foresee the obvious consequence that said patronage would dominate the news cycle and suck the oxygen out of his health care speech. Or perhaps it was his decision to deliberately step into a pile of dog doo that was nowhere near the path he needed to tread.

    Honestly, Warren, the cop and the professor have the least bit to do with this story.

  18. Ariel:

    Guys, I follow injustice blogs, criminal lawyer blogs, reports, and police blogs. "Don't be an ass, and the police won't arrest you" is simply uninformed. You have a significant, small but still significant, number of LEOs who consider any, absolutely any, response from you other than complete and immediate obedience to any order of theirs as justification for brutal physical response and arrest. The taser is a case in point, it has gone for a substitution for lethal force to a method of immediate compliance.

    Cops admit that "contempt of cop" exists, and that a cop is acting unlawfully when he abuses his authority because he doesn't like your tone, or attitude, or that you ask him for ID, or that you ask him what the crime is, or that you ask him anything. They admit that the "code of silence" exists. The cases are documented. This isn't anti-cop, unless you consider the LEOs that admit it goes on as anti-cop, its a problem of attitude, poor screening (LEOs should be screened every three or more years for psychological problems induced by work stress), poor people skills, and an environment where LEOs are protected from criminal charges by rubber stamp IA, prosecutors afraid they'll get no cooperation if they rock the boat, you out there that think cops can do no wrong, and even judges who worry about the ramifications of incarceration. Did any of you google the Lopez incident or the Tased Anus? Did you read what actually happened? Are you aware of the Narc unit that was robbing bodegas? Or the 7 cops that were caught falsifying reports, but kept their jobs? All the videos that have shown police lying their butts off regarding what happened during an arrest? The problem is that the police do not police themselves, unless the incident is so egregious or so public that they can't ignore it. Police have twice the rate of alcoholism, higher rates of DV, higher rates of sexual assualt, than the general public, the list goes on and on.

    I'm going to repeat this for those who don't get it. Gates did show his ID, not initially, not immediately, but he did, and at that point the police had no business on his property. Period. Doesn't matter that he was a disrespectful ass, because you actually have a right to be a disrespectful ass. But the police wouldn't let it go. While you focus on the racial issue, the real truth is that this happens to whites more often in absolute numbers than to blacks, latinos, or asians. Gates is just one of many, of any color.

    Peter, the ID issue varies from state to state. It never involves presenting actual hard ID unless you are in a vehicle. The cops make this up constantly, that you have to present a Drivers License or other recognized photo ID in any other situation other than driving. Some states only require name, others name and address, but none require a DL unless you are driving. It isn't lawful.

    Now, understand this too. I am a classical liberal who has been a Republican since 1972 (first 18 year olds to vote). I am not anti-cop, I'm pro-good-cops, and I love what this country was founded on, the Enlightenment, natural rights, the Constitution, etc. It wasn't until the 20th century that we finally started to achieve a society where the State could not run rough shod over its citizens, and that you want to allow the Police carte blanche to do as they please angers me.

  19. Michael:

    I’m going to repeat this for those who don’t get it. Gates did show his ID, not initially, not immediately, but he did, and at that point the police had no business on his property.

    He showed his employee identification card. The officer ask for a Harvard police officer to come to the scene while in the house and left the property to meet the Harvard police. (The property is owned by Harvard.) The officer withdrew. That is established. Gates chose to follow the officer outside to continue his harassment. The witness statements put Gates conduct from belligerent to out of control.

    Yea, there are bad cops out there that need to be fired and some that need some time in jail. But this just doesn't come to that level. You have a lone officer, responding to a possible crime in progress. He needs to establish if the people on the scene are legitimate tenants or committing a crime. And no one is saying that the officer did or said anything of a racist nature. The officer is a specialist in training police how to avoid racial profiling.

  20. Cardin Drake:

    I have no doubts some cops abuse their authority.
    This was not a case of that. When the cop asks to see an I.D., and the response is "What, because I am a black man in America", you can see where the encounter is heading.
    You don't have an unlimited right to heap abuse on a cop who is just doing his job. The "professor" is an ass, and he deserved to be arrested. Unfortunately, that is what he wanted.

  21. nom de guerre:

    no no no no no NO, cardin! here in america, cops - despite the fact they like to call us non-cops "civilians" - are just regular citizens, like you and me. as LEO's, they are imbued with certain privileges that we aren't, but these special privileges are to be used *only* in the lawful performance of their duties, and may NOT be used to override the lawful civil rights of non-cops. "heaping verbal abuse on a cop who is doing his job" is not a crime. happens all the time to waiters, slow/stupid cashiers, and incompetent investment advisors. yet they don't get to make citizen's arrests for it, do they? so why do cops? we've already shown that cops **aren't** special, above-the-law beings of light, they're just citizens with a badge. their lives are no more valuable than ours, and before anyone starts whining "dangerous job" let it be noted that copping is FAR less dangerous than driving a cab; working at a convenience store; and many other jobs that don't involve much-higher-than-average-pay and gold-plated pensions.

    and if "being an ass" is an arrestable offense/crime, then every car salesman, corporate HR sensitivity trainer, and college professor in america should be in prison. this is america, or was once: you're ALLOWED to be an ass, even to a cop - especially if he's on YOUR property, after he's SEEN your ID, and it's clear he has no reason for being there. the glorification, ("that guy deserved to be arrested for being mouthy"), ongoing militarization, (once upon a time, police carried 6-shot .38 revolvers. now they're up to high-cap .45's. some PD's have armored personnel carriers, complete with 50-cal machine guns on them.), and mission creep of the police - don't see many "officer friendly's" anymore, do we? - is not the hallmark of a free country, and can only end badly for us all. (ask a brit sometime about the usefulness and efficacy of the police and their ocean of CCTV cameras there.) it's already well under way here: see all the new TV shows highlighting 'dynamic entry' as opposed to good ol' sheriff taylor doing his job without carrying a gun; if you get within 10 ft. of a cop while carrying a knife, he's trained to shoot to kill, but if he tasers your granny because she wouldn't sign a traffic ticket and she dies there'll be no charges filed; if you accidentally kill a police dog it's a heavy felony and prison time for you, but if he kills YOUR dog it's no harm no foul. (google 'puppycide', 'cheye calvo', and 'cop shoots dog cookeville TN' for starters.)

    look: they're not ninjas, they're not urban warriors, they're not the praetorian guard, and - being human - i'd bet that 95% of them do the job for either A) the money, the pension and the fabulous bennies, which cops *never* talk about or, worse B) they're barney fifes looking for payback for all the crap they took from the cool kids in high school. ok, gates was absolutely being a jerk. an ass. a punk. and a guy who stands for things i utterly despise. but NONE of that is a crime. the cop who abused his power, and oppressed gates under color of law......committed the only crime at that address that night.

  22. ParatrooperJJ:

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  23. dr kill:

    Just remember that there is no circumstance where a cop is ever your friend, and you'll be OK.

    When seconds count they are minutes away. Other than that they are merely fund-raising tools of the Government.

  24. Doug G.:

    "The rule is simple: Don’t be an ass, and the cop won’t arrest you."

    B.S. I have a right to be an ass if I want to. There is no law against being an ass, especially when you are on your own property.

  25. Quite Rightly:

    I'm waiting for the press to ask if the person who called the cops about the suspected burglary got asked to show her ID. There's a good chance that she did (her name is clearly on the police report), but of course that wouldn't fit the racism profile.

  26. Eric Hammer:

    I can't recall who first said it, but I will paraphrase an excellent point:

    "Considering that police are supposed to 'protect and serve' the populace, isn't strange how you never get a warm, fuzzy feeling every time you see one?"

    Police officers are a classic case of unchecked and vague authority corrupting those who have it. A great part of that fault belongs to the legislators who grant such bizzare powers well beyond the natural law, but even still, the final responsibility lies with the men and women who, once possessing that power, abuse it.

  27. Frederick:

    One point no one has mentioned: Is the police officers report accurate? I say that as in the recent case of the Hispanic officer who beat up a young girl in Philly, the report was totally falsified. If there had not been a security camera at the store, he would have gotten way with it, despite 4 witnesses that said he lied. I seem to recall the officers report in the case of the stopped ambulance a month ago was not totally falsified, but had a quite biased presentation of what occurred, at least when compared to the witnesses and camera accounts. It is not unknown for police officers to omit some part of an incident that might not show them in the best light.

    Now go back and read the officers report. There seems to be a distinct gap in the early part of his report, as it begins with him outside of the house and never mentions his entering the house. Yet by the time his back up is there he is clearly in the house. Read the portion between where he is talking with the person who called in the report and when his back up arrives. I would guess part of the conversation between the officer and Mr. Gates was omitted in that report. It is quite possible that used his traffic stop "obey me voice", stepped into the house without permission and that the homeowner lost his temper. Recall that Gate just got back from a long trip; had to jimmy his lock and most likely was tired. How would you react if you were surprised by someone who suddenly is commanding you in your own house? Mr. Gates demanding to know who the officer was is consistent with that interpretation.

    Now I am a white, middle-aged, trim and polite fellow. I have short hair, wear clean clothes and let's just say I do not look like a "hood". I do not have a hot temper and I think most would take me as easy going. Yet the two traffic stops I have had in the past say 3 years both left me with rather a bad taste (No ticket in either case). The tone of the officers was rather rude, and while I am sure that they did it to "control the situation" I am not sure how I would react if one of those self important little men attempted a similar effort in my house or on my property. The natural responses of men on ones own turf is to be aggressive to any interloper.

    Now of course I do not know what occurred and how much the officer's conduct induced Mr. Gates response. It is quite possible the real ass was and is Mr. Gates alone. Certainly the "mama" comment was rather juvenile and once he mouthed off to the policeman, right or wrong he was a fool to leave his house. Mr. Gates does not appear to be all that mature for a college professor, so it is possible that the officer's account is substantially correct. One the other hand, knowing policemen's propensity for rage when having their authority challenged (You must respect my authority!!) it is very possible that the policeman chose to let Mr. Gates know who the "true" master was.

  28. Billy Beck:

    "Now, the guy refused to show his ID and started to call names… "

    For Christ's sake: read the police report. It a manifest and irrefutable fact that the cop arrested Gates after he was fully aware that Gates was the homeowner. This should be dispositive to any thinking person. The only question I have is whether some people are ignorant of it or simply don't care about reality.

  29. Elliot:

    I remember many years ago here in Chicago one night on Rush street. The police had blocked off an area of the street from party goers. My friends and I watched a guy with his girlfriend ask the police why he couldn't pass. He displayed some attitude but turned and walked away. As he walked away he shouted something knowing the cop would hear it. The cop stopped him and before long his girlfriend was asking why he was cuffed and in the squad car. No one was black.

    While we're at it, who's up for doing some B%E in this neibohrhood of theirs. I'll bet you no cops will show up for a week after this.


  30. Frederick:

    Confirmation that not all the conversation made it into the report, Officer Crowley confirmed on a radio interview that he asked to search the house, as two individuals had been reported breaking in. As I think I heard it, he wanted to ensure that there was no one hiding elsewhere in the house. That statement is not in the report he filed. No one knows what was said, but it is quite possible Gates took umbrage with how he asked that, and that might have resulted in his interpretation that it was because he was black, not the officers concern that there might be an individuals holding Mr. Gates in some way. Such things do occur; the officer had a legitimate concern. It is very possible the officer meant well, but it is equally understandable why Gates might have been upset had the officer used the wrong tone of voice, Mr. Gates might have interpreted his request as resulting from a racial prejudgment. Nonetheless, in practical terms it never pays to be insulting to police, rightly or wrongly they can make your life difficult if you piss them off.

  31. Ariel:

    Cardin Drake,
    Actually you do have a right to heap abuse, see mouthing off, one decision among many. Note that one of the hallmarks of a police state is when you don't have the right. Also, to the best of my knowledge, outside of a vehicle stop, you do not have to show police any ID whatsoever, not in my state of Arizona and not any other state as far as I can find. You must clearly and honestly identify yourself and in some cases supply address. The "show me your ID or you're arrested" is a police fiction, an very unlawful one. The problem is the fight after you refuse to show ID but do give them the required information. They, unlawfully, make it very unpleasant for you.

    However, the ACLU site has some very good recommendations on language when talking to the Police. Has to do with constantly asking whether you're detained or not, are you free to go, etc. The Police know they are in trouble when you ask these specific questions, and you say nothing else other than the required verbal ID. The fictional character Grissom on CSI gave very good advice to Nick, to paraphrase, when you're innocent, don't talk to the police.

    As nom de guerre pointed out, police are just citizens with special privileges due to their job. They have qualified immunity, but that only goes back to 1983 IIRC. Immunity is lost if they act unlawfully, but there is a high hurdle to show that the immunity no longer applies. Excessive force if egregious enough can kill their immunity. And, yes, their job doesn't even make it into the top 10 for hazardous.

    Crowley may have had a legitimate concern as two people were involved in "breaking" into Gate's home, he and his driver. Still, once Gates "ID'd" himself, he/they should have left. If Gates told them to leave, they should have obeyed him (yes, they have to obey you when you tell them to leave your property when there is no "probable cause", no "in pursuit") because they had no right to be on his property at that time. Frankly, from what I could find, Crowley is likely a very good cop. But I think in this situation he allowed ego to keep him there until Gates stepped outside, something Crowley wanted so that he could arrest him on what turned out to be a fiction, disorderly conduct.
    And yes they will punish you, unlawfully, if you piss them off. This must stop.

  32. Ariel:

    My bad, I forgot to give credit on the link "mouthing off". It was from Alex #58, Photography Is Not a Crime.

  33. Michael:

    The officer keyed on his mike. I hope they release the tapes so we can hear the conduct of these two people.

    Gates today is saying he stepped on to his porch, asked to see the officer's ID. The officer said "thank you for complying with my request. I am now placing you under arrest."

    To bad for Gates the dozen or so witnesses never heard this.

  34. tomw:

    Okay, I'll state that I want to avoid any unnecessary interaction with LEOs. I keep my brake lights, tail lights, license plate lights, headlights and turn signals working. I keep my drivers license up to date and have my vehicle registration current. I pay any parking tickets I get, even when they put up the "tow away zone" signs after I had parked at 5am legally.
    I don't want to be under their 'thumb', where I have to obey 'lawful' commands, submit to 'lawful' searches, and so on. If they can find a reason, any reason, to stop your vehicle, and ask permission to search, you may be putting yourself at risk of arrest. Suppose you had a teenager, not necessarily your own child, that had perhaps been smoking dope in your car and had left some 'material' behind. Who is on the hook?
    I watched on COPS where an Atlanta man was stopped at 6am for a broken taillight, and was asked for his license. It was suspended. He was working, on his way to pick up his helper who had a valid license, and was now facing 1)arrest, 2)court, 3)bond?, 4)towing charges, 5)storage charges and 6)lost his only means of employment. He had no one to bail him out, and would likely spend weeks, on your dollar, in the hoosegow awaiting trial. Justice. Is blind and not 'fair'.
    All for a $1 light bulb. He was not speeding nor driving abnormally. He had a valid registration on the vehicle.
    Don't get involved with LEOs any more than you have to is my theory. They can do damn near anything they want, and are like the tarbaby once you 'interface' with them. They can be arbitrary and capricious at their whim, at your cost.

  35. Cardin Drake:


    Your link was about whether speech alone was enough to constitute interference with a police officer.
    You do not have an unlimited right to abuse an officer. At some point, it becomes disorderly conduct. The line at which it becomes disorderly conduct instead of general assholery is certainly a gray area, one that I have no doubt is abused by cops on occasion, and abused by citizens on occasion as well.
    The police are winning this particular argument because the officer did everything by the book, and he is even making the President back down.
    The very fact that the Harvard professor felt completely free to start off the encounter by abusing the officer, who was only doing his job, (which at the time was protecting the Professor's house and belongings), demonstrates how little fear he was feeling at the time, as well as how little respect he had for the officer.

  36. Ariel:

    Cardin Drake,

    Your right certainly, because it can cross over to DC when a crowd gathers, which is why Gates had to be on the porch. Actually, Crowley won nothing because the charges were dismissed and you now have "look at what they did to the Brother" again. Obama is backing down, not because of Crowley but because of the Police Unions, which are conflating Obama's remarks on one police incident as "besmirching the honor of all the police in the US" or some such drivel, and have a hell of a lot more political power than they should when representing 0.3% of the population. Of course, they do have guns...

    I certainly agree that both police and non-badged citizens abuse the right to be an asshole. None of us should, and certainly the guy with special privileges to forever change your life shouldn't. The point of the link was that you do have the right to question or challenge. And the police have a responsibility to answer and justify. Try it next time you have an encounter with a LEO. I promise to visit.

    A case in point: "The rule is, if a police officer stops you in a car or on the street, he's the captain of the ship, and whatever he says goes," says Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police's legislative division. "If you've got something to address, do it later. Do what he says, or else only bad things can happen." Kind of disagrees with SCOTUS, don't he? What a maroon. (Bugs Bunny editorial comments off.) Think hard and deep about what he has just said. Gives you a real warm and fuzzy doesn't it? From The Christian Science Monitor

    I've read Crowley's report and there are two discrepancies. Minor but there. If you've read the report and didn't spot them, go back and look again. Has to do with identification and crime in progress. Doesn't quite add up, but Crowley is only human. And a good cop from what I could find on him.

    Oh, I will change one thing. After reading Crowley's report, and do understand I take an officer's report with the same skepticism I would a non-badged citizen, I don't think Gates was a disrespectful ass, I think he was a race baiting unmitigated ass. Still, the charges were dismissed and here we are.

    Anyway, best to you. Until I'm back this way, it has been a pleasure.

  37. Scott Wiggins:

    We live in a society in which there are 16000 homicides per year. As well, there are hundreds of thousands of other violent acts committed each year. For obvious reasons, the police have to take charge first, before situations can develop where people get hurt. Gates is a tool who had to try really hard to get arrested. He probably sees himself as a modern day Rosa Parks. He's not. He's a clown...