Racist Cop or Combative Professor?

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by Archangel M, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Archangel M

    Archangel M Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    4,555
    Likes Received:
    154
    Trophy Points:
    173
    I just read this over at a blog that I like:

    http://pepperspray.me/

    I have to agree with the author. To the people saying "the cops wouldnt have even shown up if it was a white guy.." I call ********! If a bypasser called my PD saying that someone was forcing a door on a residence that person would be stopped and ID'd BLACK or WHITE...exactly as this guy was. To say a white guy would have been driven by is a load of crap. This "professor" apparently had already determined that the only reason that this officer was investigating a break-in at his home was because of his race...while I wasnt there I can almost see the scene already.

    Officer: Stop what you are doing and show me some ID.

    Prof: I live here!

    Officer: ID please sir

    Prof: (while handing over ID) THIS IS ********! WHY ARE YOU HASSLEING ME! THE ONLY REASON YOU ARE BOTHERING ME IS BECAUSE IM BLACK! YOU ARE A RACIST!

    Officer: Sir please keep it down or you could be charged with disorderly conduct.

    Prof: OH NOW YOU ARE THREATENING ME?? WHATS YOUR NAME AND BADGE NUMBER? THIS IS ****ING ********!!! yadda..yadda..yadda...

    Officer: You are under arrest.

    I have seen this drama played out time and time again..look Im not nieve enough to think that "driving while black" and the ilk isnt happening out there in some cities and jurisdictions, but its been my anecdotal experience that the accusation is thrown without cause far too often. If I had a nickle for every time I had to listen to this BS when I was just doing my job (and would have done the exact same regardless of race) Id be a welthy man.

    Like I said I dont know the details here and perhaps this cop was a cocky *** who pushed this guys buttons for no good reason...could be. But its been my experience that in these situations if the subject would have just said "thanks for looking out for my property officer..Im the homeowner and Im locked out...heres my ID" then all would be well. When you start out the contact with racist accusations against the cop what good is going to come of that?!? You dont combat the legit cases of racism by accusing every cop you come across.....what would this professor like the cops to do if there was some black guy legitimately breaking into his house? Just drive by...assume that it was the homeowner?

    I also agree with the author. I dont think this was racist...I think the arrest was legitimate by the letter of the law...I think the decision to arrest was probably a bad discretion call.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Omar B

    Omar B Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    3,687
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Queens, NY. Fort Lauderdale, FL
    That article leaves out the fact that he showed them 2 forms of ID before he was arrested, his drivers license and college ID. That should be the end of it, "Sorry about the mistake, have a nice evening." He got arrested in his own home after presenting ID, that's wrong.

    Minutes later, a Cambridge police sergeant appeared at his front door, saying he was responding to a report of a suspected break-in, Gates’s statement said. Gates showed his Harvard identification and driver’s license and asked the policeman for his name and badge number, Ogletree said. The sergeant walked away without answering, the statement said.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=anupUHzw.F0Y

    The officer indicated that he was responding to a 911 call about a breaking and entering in progress at this address. Professor Gates informed the officer that he lived there and was a faculty member at Harvard University. The officer then asked Professor Gates whether he could prove that he lived there and taught at Harvard. Professor Gates said that he could, and turned to walk into his kitchen, where he had left his wallet. The officer followed him. Professor Gates handed both his Harvard University identification and his valid Massachusetts driver’s license to the officer. Both include Professor Gates’ photograph, and the license includes his address. http://www.theroot.com/views/lawyers-statement-arrest-henry-louis-gates-jr
     
  3. Archangel M

    Archangel M Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    4,555
    Likes Received:
    154
    Trophy Points:
    173
    You are only reading the victims statement...of course its going to support his side.

    BTW: The officer was right in going in...he doesnt know if this is the resident or the burglar. Some PD's will make you step-out..check the house..then ID yourself.

    The rest of the story is that Gates began a tirade in the house and then followed the officer OUT OF THE HOUSE, yelling and screaming..where he was arrested.


    Like I said though. While the officer is human..was probably pissed at the accusations..and "within the letter of the law"...the arrest was probably not a good idea.
     
  4. Omar B

    Omar B Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    3,687
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Queens, NY. Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Whatever the sequence of events were no crime was committed and the home owner got arrested for forcing his own door. Charges were dropped so I guess the cops see it that way too.
     
  5. Archangel M

    Archangel M Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    4,555
    Likes Received:
    154
    Trophy Points:
    173
    He wasnt charged for the burglary/door forcing..he was charged for disorderly conduct for his tirade outside his house. Thats the charge that was dropped.
     
  6. Omar B

    Omar B Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    3,687
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Queens, NY. Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Whatever you say man, I'm with the Prof on this one. Yeah I'm gonna get loud and disorderly after showing ID.
     
  7. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    20,311
    Likes Received:
    540
    Trophy Points:
    248
    Location:
    NH
    Oh please. Professor Gates is making it sound like he's the only black man adrift in a sea of bigoted white snobs that want to do nothing better than lay the hammer down on a brother. And perhaps folks that think Cambridge = Harvard University and nothing else are believing it.

    The city of Cambridge is very urban and very diverse. There are many people from many different ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic groups. Like any urban environment, its also got its issues with poverty, drugs, and crime, but for the most part the Cantabrigian people are good folks that look out for one another.

    I think the officer may have made a bad judgment call. I don't think he was racist and I certainly don't think the Cambridge Police deserve to be given a black eye by our President.
     
  8. Archangel M

    Archangel M Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    4,555
    Likes Received:
    154
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Eh..Its not a matter of "whatever you say"..its a fact. Gates was charged with disorderly conduct.

    If a cop came to my house and DIDNT ask for ID... assuming I was telling the truth..Id be pissed and complaining "that cop came here on a call of someone breaking in and left just because I told him I lived here...what if it really was a burglary?"

    BTW: I remember my deparment chasing some bad guys after a robbery and finding a door open on a house. The guy inside said he lived there and was shirtless. After being ID'd without warrants the police left. Turned out it was a BG who broke in, took off his clothes and acted like the owner. We didnt discover the truth till the real owner came home. Fortunately he gave the officer a real drivers license at the time and was picked up on a warrant later.
     
  9. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    20,311
    Likes Received:
    540
    Trophy Points:
    248
    Location:
    NH
  10. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Messages:
    3,458
    Likes Received:
    532
    Trophy Points:
    198

    For what? There is a sequence of events that have to be followed any time an officer is dispatched to a crime. Many department policies include running every person through LEIN for information etc.


    Do you REALLY buy his story that BOTH sides (police and him) had this polite discussion (as told by his story) and then he is suddenly put in handcuffs? Come on now...simple logic tells you that for the police to arrest you for disorderly conduct there was something else to it.
     
  11. celtic_crippler

    celtic_crippler Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Messages:
    3,968
    Likes Received:
    137
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Airstrip One
    This ain't rocket science.

    Regardless of race, one should be reassured, comforted, and thankful to know that they police will quickly show up to your house at the report of a break in. That's no cause for anger, quite the opposite.

    If it was a real break in and they didn't follow procedure then the owner would have complained about that.

    If the police show up, comply. If you did nothing wrong then that's the end of it.

    If the professor did not go on a tirade and did not show his butt, then the cops are in the wrong. If he did, then he brought it on himself and should learn the lesson that sometimes you just need to STFU.
     
  12. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Messages:
    30,187
    Likes Received:
    426
    Trophy Points:
    208
    Location:
    Cromwell,CT
    I too, call ******** on those saying the cops were racist. Its sooo typical to play that card in cases like this, its disgusting. White, black, green or yellow, I've taken countless burg. in progress calls, with the suspects of various races, and they're taken care of the same way.

    Until the cops figure out who's who, yes, they have every damn right to detain everyone, until they sort things out. The cops are not mind readers, so for anyone to say that the Prof. was arrested for forcing his own door, let me ask this...how the hell did they know at the time? Would you assume that it was the home owner and not stop and ask for ID? Please, lets have a dicussion with some common sense here please. In cases like this, its perfectly normal for them to check the inside and outside of the house to make sure that nothing is wrong. Theres also nothing wrong with ID'ing all parties there.

    And I echo what the article said....if this Prof. instead of acting like an ***, just cooperated, and didn't get all huffy, macho and tough, maybe, just maybe, this incident would've been over pretty quick. But instead, he followed the typical tough guy behavior that some show when dealing with the cops.

    Of course, I'm sure if this were a burg in progress, and the Prof came home and found his stuff gone, hmm...lets see, who would've been the first person he called? Oh yeah, the cops.

    This guy was an *******, plain and simple. Oh and BTW...if you're going to get loud and disorderly after showing ID, you're probably gonna find yourself cuffed and in the back of the car for interferring with the investigation.
     
  13. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Messages:
    21,656
    Likes Received:
    2,011
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Northern VA
    First -- I agree with Archangel. It was a legal arrest -- but it wasn't a wise arrest. (Which is probably why he was de-arrested at the station.)

    Second -- Professor Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct not breaking into his own house. His conduct in dealing with Sgt. Crowley who was investigating a report of black men breaking into a house is what led to the arrest.

    Third -- I suspect that there were communication failures on both sides.

    I understand a homeowner, probably tired after a long flight, being upset when the cops are at his door, questioning whether he lives there. Especially if he's a black guy in a very much white neighborhood AND just came back from China. I rather suspect at various points in his trip, possibly as early as recently as the customs line or even the cab stand at the airport, he was the victim of racist acts. (Yes, there are racist cops. And cab drivers. And university professors.)

    And I understand the cop, who's just trying to do his job and make sure that he really is the homeowner AND that everything really is OK, getting fed up quick with the irate guy yelling at him and making accusations. (Yes, having been there & done that, I'm pretty confident that I have a decent idea what was being said.) When the guy doesn't calm down -- the cop applies the tool he has to solve the solution: arrest. Again -- not a particularly wise choice, but then again, it's not particularly wise to argue with the cop.

    Let's look at it for a moment from the cop's viewpoint. His dispatch probably went something like "Respond to <Gate's address>; complainant reports seeing two black males trying to force open the door." You get there, and knock, and a black guy comes to the door. "Is this the suspect? Is it the homeowner with a suspect behind him telling him to get rid of the cops?" goes through your mind. You ask him to step out (if it's a home invasion situation, get him out & he might tell you). He's not exactly cooperative, but gives you ID. YOU STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON INSIDE THE HOUSE. And he's not acting "normal" for a homeowner in that situation. And he won't calm down...

    In my experience, the typical behavior in a case like that is some embarrassment, coupled with at least a grudging appreciation that the cops are making sure everything is OK. Usually, when the race card gets dropped -- the person dropping it is trying to distract me or keep me from doing my job.

    Yeah, with the wonders of 20/20 hindsight and in the ease and comfort of my home, it's easy to say that Sgt. Crowley should have walked away, and let Prof. Gates calm down when they left. But he didn't know that then; he just knew that Prof. Gates was going nuts...

    Like I said; communication failures on both sides.

    And Prof. Gates is capitalizing on that. Kinda convenient how much press coverage he's had out of this, huh?

    I'll tell you right now, my cynical inner voice is telling me that there are probably guys in suits with small gold badges whose motto is "Fidelity. Bravery. Integrity" walking around Cambridge, talking to everyone who'll talk, looking for evidence that Sgt. Crowley (and maybe the whole PD) is a racist. And that, when the results of that investigation are forwarded to an Assistant United States Attorney, the writing on the wall will be to find SOMETHING, unless that AUSA wants to move into the private sector post-haste.
     
  14. crushing

    crushing Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,082
    Likes Received:
    134
    Trophy Points:
    173
    I assume the Sgt. Crowley isn't the officer in the foreground.


    [​IMG]
     
  15. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

    • Advisor
    • Founding Member
    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2001
    Messages:
    15,767
    Likes Received:
    428
    Trophy Points:
    208
    Location:
    Michigan
    Personally I think racism is a problem but when it is called like in the old story "wolf" it will be ignored the same way.

    IN this article :

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090723/ap_on_re_us/us_harvard_scholar_disorderly

    Now if I refused I would be arrested for disordely conduct as well.


    So my problem is that until the facts are known people should presume all are innocent, even the President of the United States of America should hold his comments until he has been breifed.

    Personally I think the Professor and the current sitting President who the officer and the police department an apology.
     
  16. Joab

    Joab 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Messages:
    763
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    18
    As soon as the Professor showed his ID which had the address of the house he was in the incident should have ended. The officer should have handed the ID back and said "have a nice evening sir" and left.
     
  17. crushing

    crushing Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,082
    Likes Received:
    134
    Trophy Points:
    173
    I'm sure that's where the officers would have liked for it to end too.

    Professor Gates was likely very agitated that he had to break in to his own house and embarrassed that his cab driver had to help him do so. I wouldn't be surprised if his door sustained some sort of damage that now needs repairs and on top that irritation and to add to the embarrassment, here come the cops and following them the neighbors to see what is going on. From sideshow, to carnival, to big freakin' media/political circus.
     
  18. CoryKS

    CoryKS Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    4,403
    Likes Received:
    182
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Olathe, KS
    I'm thinking racist, combative professor. Reminds me of the Eddie Murphy skit about going to Texas looking for racism. "Yeah, that's my bag! What's the matter, a black man can't have a suitcase?"

    Police got a report of a break-in. The investigating officer asks for proof of ID. Show him the ID and STFU. Gates can't even argue that it wasn't a break-in - it was. All he had to do was prove he lived there. Instead, he asked for name and badge number and got hostile. He escalated into something it didn't need to be and then cried racism when he got arrested for it.

    Gates' behavior in this has been childish and emotionally-driven. I certainly hope he's not an accurate indication of the sort of "intellectual" that Harvard employs.

    BTW: Do you suppose there's a potential burglar in Cambridge who's considering robbing Gates, with the assumption that the police won't dare investigate it?
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  19. Omar B

    Omar B Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    3,687
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Queens, NY. Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I hear all the arguments, I still say once his identity was established the cop should have said "Have a nice day" and left. The Prof did get agitated and loud, but he had already proven ID, what was the cop still doing there? I would be pissed if after proving that I was not breaking into my own house to the cop he was not still sniffing around.
     
  20. celtic_crippler

    celtic_crippler Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Messages:
    3,968
    Likes Received:
    137
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Airstrip One
    From what I understand Gates continued to confront the officers. If he'd been polite, showed his ID immediately, thanked the officers for their quick response and left it at that...no story, but he didn't. He had to show his butt.

    There's a reason I'm not a cop...they don't get paid enough for the crap they have to deal with.123
     

Share This Page