The Stupidity Of The Gates Arrest

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by Bfgrn, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Bfgrn
    Offline

    Bfgrn Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Messages:
    16,829
    Thanks Received:
    2,480
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +3,060
    Saturday, Jul. 25, 2009

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is what the absurdist, typically stilted language of Sergeant James Crowley's report on the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. really means:

    Gates: You're not the boss of me!
    Crowley: I am the boss of you.
    Gates: You are not the boss of me!
    Crowley: I'll show you. You're under arrest.

    There is no crime described in Crowley's official version of the way Gates behaved. Crowley says explicitly that he arrested Gates for yelling. Nothing else, not a single threatening movement, just yelling. On the steps of his own home. Yelling is not a crime. Yelling does not meet the definition of disorderly conduct in Massachusetts. Not a single shouted word or action that Crowley has attributed to Gates amounts to disorderly conduct. That is why the charges had to be dropped. (Read "Gates' Disorderly Conduct: The Police's Judgment Call.")

    In classically phony police talk, Crowley refers to "[Gates'] continued tumultuous behavior." When cops write that way, you know they have nothing. What is tumultuous behavior? Here's what it isn't: brandishing a knife in a threatening manner, punching and kicking, clenching a fist in a threatening manner, throwing a wrench or, in the Gates house, maybe a book. If the subject does any of those things, cops always write it out with precision. When they've got nothing, they use phrases that mean nothing. Phrases like tumultuous behavior.

    Unless you confess to a crime or threaten to commit a crime, there is nothing you can say to a cop that makes it legal for him to arrest you. You can tell him he is stupid, you can tell him he is ugly, you can call him racist, you can say anything you might feel like saying about his mother. He has taken an oath to listen to all of that and ignore it. That is the real teachable moment here: cops are paid to be professionals, but even the best of them are human and can make stupid mistakes.

    We have an uncomfortable choice with Sergeant Crowley. Either he didn't know what disorderly conduct is or he decided to show Gates who's boss the only way he knew how — by whipping out his handcuffs and abusing his power to arrest. Police make the latter choice in this country every day, knowing the charges are going to have to be dropped. (See TIME's 10 Questions for Henry Louis Gates Jr.)

    We all know it happens. That's why so much of the commentary about this case is obsessed with exactly who said what to whom in the Gates home that day. Most white, and some black, TV talking heads obviously believe that Gates was stupid if he actually exercised his constitutional right to say anything he felt like saying to a cop. Because they know it is not terribly difficult to provoke U.S. police to violate their oaths and the law and arrest people for no legal reason.

    The President was right when he called the arrest stupid. It doesn't mean Crowley is stupid. It means that, in that moment, he made a stupid choice. Barack Obama has made some stupid choices on occasion too. We all do. Everyone who is defending Crowley's arrest, including his union, needs to reread his report. There is a crime described in there. In fact, Crowley's report is a written confession of the crime of false arrest.
    Lawrence O'Donnell Jr.

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1912778,00.html?artId=1912778?contType=article?chn=us
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 5
  2. WillowTree
    Online

    WillowTree Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    68,136
    Thanks Received:
    10,163
    Trophy Points:
    2,030
    Ratings:
    +14,683
    Hey! it was a good thing,, he's paying his back taxes now ain't he?? :lol::lol::lol:
     
  3. Ravi
    Offline

    Ravi Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Messages:
    81,329
    Thanks Received:
    12,694
    Trophy Points:
    2,205
    Location:
    Hating Hatters
    Ratings:
    +29,772
    I read somewhere that Crowley taught sensitivity courses. It sounds to me that Crowley needs to take some sensitivity courses, or a least review his oath of office and learn to deal with the people he serves even if they look at him cross-eyed.
     
  4. Xenophon
    Offline

    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Messages:
    16,705
    Thanks Received:
    3,750
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    In your head
    Ratings:
    +3,751
    We certainly needed yet another Gates thread, thanks!
     
  5. Contessa_Sharra
    Offline

    Contessa_Sharra Searcher for Accuracy

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    1,639
    Thanks Received:
    147
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +147
    I have been reading at http://www.TheRoot.com and there is considerable dicussion that there is a larger than the grand canyon divide in experience of the police in this country.

    Why Blacks and Whites View Police Authority Differently

    Those who have never dealt with it will not get it easily.

    All of us at all times must learn that just because we may have been fortunate as to have never had negative experiences in life does not mean that everyone else can look at everything through our personal point of view.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  6. editec
    Offline

    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    41,427
    Thanks Received:
    5,598
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Maine
    Ratings:
    +5,617

    Cops are taught to lie for the record.

    Had this guy not been who he was he'd likely have been found guilty of some specious crime or the other, too.

    And it would NOT have mattered what race he was, either.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  7. Midnight Marauder
    Offline

    Midnight Marauder BANNED

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Messages:
    12,404
    Thanks Received:
    1,876
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +1,876
    Also by the report, the officer was leaving. Gates continued shouting racial slurs and family ad-homs at the top of his lungs. He had every chance to cease the disruptive behavior and chose to continue. In fact, was TOLD that if he continued he would be arrested. His response? "Arrest me."

    Ever try telling a cop that? They WILL oblige you.

    THAT was the stupidity.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  8. manifold
    Offline

    manifold Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    48,693
    Thanks Received:
    7,227
    Trophy Points:
    1,830
    Location:
    your dreams
    Ratings:
    +20,734
    :eusa_think:

    Is this a fact?

    My understanding has always been that verbally assaulting a police officer can be deemed disorderly conduct. If my understanding on this is wrong, I would change my opinion about Crowley's actions. But I would need to validate the veracity of the above quote.

    However, it would still do nothing to change my opinion that Gates is a douchebag asshole for berating an officer for doing his job.
     
  9. concept
    Offline

    concept Evil Mongering

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,040
    Thanks Received:
    340
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    West Mi
    Ratings:
    +340
    I'm glad this stupid racist got taken in.

    Maybe he'll shut his mouth and engage his brain next time.

    ANd that goes for Obama too.
     
  10. Anguille
    Offline

    Anguille Bane of the Urbane

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    17,910
    Thanks Received:
    2,122
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +2,137
    Not sure I sure share this info with a hothead, but ...


    But one thing is clear: Gates did not violate any law. Under Massachusetts law, which the police officer was supposedly enforcing, yelling at a police officer is not illegal.
    There are clear decisions of the Massachusetts courts holding that a person who berates an officer, even during an arrest, is not guilty of disorderly conduct. And yet that is exactly what Gates was arrested for.
    The Massachusetts statute defining "disorderly conduct" used to have a provision that made it illegal to make "unreasonable noise or offensively coarse utterance, gesture or display," or to address "abusive language to any person present." Yet the courts have interpreted that provision to violate the Massachusetts Constitution's guarantee of freedom of speech. So police cannot lawfully arrest a person for hurling abusive language at an officer.
    In several cases, the courts in Massachusetts have considered whether a person is guilty of disorderly conduct for verbally abusing a police officer. In Commonwealth v. Lopiano, a 2004 decision, an appeals court held it was not disorderly conduct for a person who angrily yelled at an officer that his civil rights were being violated. In Commonwealth v. Mallahan, a decision rendered last year, an appeals court held that a person who launched into an angry, profanity-laced tirade against a police officer in front of spectators could not be convicted of disorderly conduct.
    So Massachusetts law clearly provides that Gates did not commit disorderly conduct.




    Adam Winkler: Obama Was Right About the Gates Arrest
     

Share This Page