Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Stranger at the Gates

Oh, wait. It's my own house!

The incident involving Professor Gates and an over-zealous police officer has garnered a lot of attention. I am highly critical of the arresting officer. This is not in any way a defense of Gates. This is a situation where there is plenty of wrong to go around.

We will never know exactly what transpired between the two. Both were heated, and probably fatigued when the incident took place. In the high emotional charge, I'm sure they have very different recollections.

But there are degrees of wrong. Being unreasonable, belligerent and offensive are not crimes. Insulting a policeman who is inside your home is not a crime.

For a cop to arrest somebody because he pissed him off is an inexcusable breach of authority by someone who's motto is "To protect and to serve." Remember - they work for us!

Urbino nails it.

The dropping of the charges is a near-certain indication that the cop was wrong. The intransigence of the officer, and the victimized stance of the police union in the wake of Obama's comment do nothing to change my view.

The Boston Globe had the police report up on their web site, but then took it down. An excerpt can be found here.

Update: I want to draw attention to a conservative (probably libertarian) take on this. As the commenter goes off topic and draws broader conclusions, he loses his way, in my opinion. But that's because I'm a progressive!


J said...

Much ado about nut-tink. While Professor Gates may have been a bit rude, it was his house, and Crowley and the Cambridge cops did more or less smash in the door of Professor Gates' residence, demand ID, and proceed to interrogate Gates, who is like 5-7, with a bad leg, and in his late 50s.

Crowley sounds like the usual varsity-town jock cop who fancies hisself some great crimefighter by going out on courtesy calls, rescuing cats from trees, etc. Really, he's lucky he's not like in El Lay, southside. A few visits like that in the 'hood, and he'd be iced.

Jazzbumpa said...

I fear I must agree.