Gates-Type Encounters with Police Happen Every Day, Irregardless of Race

Some cops just abuse power, and make up rules as they go along.

Gordon Haire, a former newspaper reporter and former police officer, was sitting at a table on the campus of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston when he snapped a photo of a university police officer strolling towards him.

Officer Tim Wilson then came up to him and told him he was not allowed to photograph the Galveston National Library, which apparently is so top secret that only a Google search will reveal its true appearance.

Wilson told him it was against the law to photograph the building because it is a security threat.

Haire, 66, told Wilson he did not believe him.

Sensing the impending terrorist threat, Wilson asked for Haire's identification.

But having lost his drivers license, Haire was only able to produce a Medicare card (he had arrived by bus for a doctor's appointment).

The cop then asked for his full name and date of birth, then relayed that information to a dispatcher through his collar microphone.

"He's giving me a hard time," the cop said to the dispatcher, according to Haire.

The cop finally left, but not before informing Haire that it was illegal to even photograph the sidewalk.


  1. richard:

    The scary part is that it is not going to stop and it will get worse. These people think they are above the law.

  2. stan:

    Most people can handle adversity. If you really want to test a man's character, give him power.

  3. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA):

    Please try "regardless" ...

    Race these days has become a figurative, and too often literal, get-out-of-jail-free card, at least for 'people of color.' I don't blame them for attempting to use white guilt to their own advantage; it's a smart thing to do.

    Whites have no one but themselves to blame for allowing that kind of PC horse$#!+ to be effective. Simply hold to King's color-blind character standard and you'll be fine.

    A noticeable majority of 'African-Americans' have a cultural or a character problem, and they try to avoid facing it by hiding behind race. It doesn't really matter whether they're a professor, a street-baller making 6 million bucks in the NBA, some useless punk from Topeka, or the TSA girl at the airport who refuses to speak anything resembling standard English.

    You'd be surprised by how many real African from places like Nigeria, Sudan, and Uganda hold the average "African-American" in remarkably low regard. Ironically, one of the greatest surprises faced by African-Americans in Africa is the realisation that they are widely considered to be "white."

  4. drew:

    Sorry to play the pedant, but 'irregardless' isn't a work. 'Regardless' or 'irrespective' work.

    The worst thing about the Gates thing is that I'm not really sympathetic to either party. It's a shame that they both can't lose.

  5. Alex:

    To Mr. Hall,

    "Race these days has become a figurative, and too often literal, get-out-of-jail-free card, at least for ‘people of color.’ "

    Really? Is that what the statistics say? I think you are generalizing over a few incidents that receive public attention to make a wide, baseless allegation. Look at the drug war. It's fine if you think (as coyote does) that it's not really racism guiding this case and those like it, but to think that the justice system is overly "politically correct" in excusing the crimes of minorities is totally without merit.

  6. Flatland:

    Sorry for being the grammar Nazi, but irregardless is "non-standard". Regardless is the proper word.

    Not that it matters, it's just a pet peeve of mine.

  7. Link:

    Let's play an exercise in role reversal.

    #1: First, change everyone's color. Sgt Crowley is now black. Prof Gates is a white neo-con professor. George W Bush is still President.

    #2: When Sgt Crowley shows up at the house Prof Gates immediately loses it, calling it every white man's nightmare, throws in some racial epithets and maybe even an n-word or two. Sgt Crowley bears an ongoing tirade for minutes, and then finally slaps the cuffs on. White officers on the scene support the move.

    #3: Pres Bush -- while on national TV the next day -- defends his white neo-con professor friend and says that Sgt Crowley acted stupidly.

    #4: Realizing there's been some backlash, Pres Bush offers to have Sgt Crowley and Prof Gates over to the White House for a malt liquor drink-up ... everyone to get a 40 and a blunt. He makes sure through back channels that Sgt Crowley knows to show up and to have a smile on his face when he does.

    Now check your own personal hypocrisy meter. Would you still defend President Bush? Would you still give Prof Gates a pass, or say he's the victim here? Is this even conceivable in America 2009?

  8. Elliot:

    Regarding the non-standard English;
    I'm fond of making a mistake as perfect as possible. In this case the word is:
    QuasiNonAntiDisIrregardless. Try it out on your friends.

    For really rude non-standard English, Bill Cosby is also worth quoting:
    "You can't talk like that and be a doctor."

    Regarding the Gates matter. This is just an instance of one who can't resist the obvious reaction, grabbing at the low hanging fruit, of a situation. A little maturity would have gone a long way.


  9. foxmarks:

    Link, you demonstrate the behaviour Coyote called out in his previous post. Nice job!

  10. MJ:

    Contempt of cop?

  11. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA):

    Alex -- on one level I agree with you completely, and believe the "drug war" to have been a long-term exercise in collective idiocy. It has indeed swept up quite a few fatherless black youth who deserve much better than 15 to 20.

    That said, and this was my intention in using the Monopoly reference, race is far, Far, FAR too often used as a trump card with which to stifle discussion of genuine differences of opinion. One need look no farther than the 2008 presidential campaign to encounter abundant examples of that putrid phenomenon.

  12. nom de guerre:

    to expand on this a little bit, (or threadjack: sorry) one possible reason the cops seem to be growing ever-more....uh....hyperaggressive is that they've finally figured out they really CAN lie with impunity. even with video cameras running. there are MANY instances in which cops have testified under oath "ABC", and were shown by video to be lying, as what *really* happened was "XYZ". if fact, cops lying under oath has become common enough that the WSJ did a recent feature on it. hell, it's even got its own word: "testilying".

    in all of these 'video proved cops testimony to be lies' cases, i can't recall one single instance in which the lying cop was charged and tried for perjury. despite the fact it's provable beyond any doubt. anyone out there know of any studies comparing "% of cops busted for perjury" vs. "% of general population busted for perjury"? who watches the watchers? well, uh, they do that themselves. who charges dirty watchers? well, uh, that'd be the people they work closely with every day. the people whose careers depend on the goodwill of the cops.