Sunday, July 26, 2009

Professor Gate's Neighbor Sides with Police

Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Harvard professor who has cried racism over his arrest at the hands of Sergeant Jim Crowley of the Cambridge, MA, police, has been milking the incident for all of the publicity he can get from it including publicly calling President Obama his "friend." The detail that bugs me more than anything else about this fiasco is that so far, everyone at the scene of the incident, other than Gates, supports the police officer's version of what occurred.

All of the police involved, Sergeant Crowley, Officer Figueroa, Crowley's backup officers Ivey and Graham, and the officer from Harvard University police all support Crowley's version of the incident. Plus they agree that Crowley acted properly in arresting Professor Gates.

Of course people naturally assume that the police will stick together on this issue, so most folks are not lending much credence to the fact that the police all support Crowley.

The woman who called the police in the first place, Lucia Whalen, who is African American, has refused to talk to the media; however, she obviously thought Gates was a criminal breaking into a house or she would not have made the 911 call in the first place. I would say that puts her more on the side of the police than anything else.

We now have another neighbor who witnessed the incident and who also sides with the police. In this short interview from ABC news the neighbor tells the reporter that Professor Gates was "belligerent" when he talked to Sergeant Crowley.

In addition to all of this, Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley have both agreed to sit down together with President Obama over a beer to discuss the incident. According to the White House this meeting should happen soon.

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Anonymous said...

Being belligerent is not illegal. The key idea here is that the police can't run into someones house, demand obsequious (rear-end kissing) behavior, and arrest them when they don't get it.

The only question the police are legally allowed to address is whether a person is committing a crime. Police can charge with "disturbing the peace" and most always get away with it, but if the cop is imposing his will rather than protecting the neighbors it is illegal.

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