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Crowley vs. Gates

Discussion in 'Alley of Lingering Sighs' started by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    [​IMG] NOG and others:

    Some info on the Gates case: (Note: I hate how we attach -gate at the end of any potential scandal - I really hope it doesn't happen here, because it will be Gatesgate.)

    Story and release of 911 call.

    And someone who agrees that the officers actually did act stupidly.
     
  2. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    This whole situation getting blown up in the media is ridiculous. Obama commenting on the police acting stupidly is also ridiculous. There was a call about a possible break-in to the police. They have to respond to the call. If they don't, they're not doing their job. If the police show up to my door on a report of a possible break-in, I don't question their motives as my 1st reaction. Nor as my 2nd thru upteenth reactions. I fully co-operate to resolve the matter. They wouldn't be there on a whim. It is our duty as citizens to co-operate with the law to help resolve crimes, not to inflame the situation and turn an uncomfortable situation into something more. This happens everyday around the country and the police are always the bad guys, what crap! It's a real shame that words like "Duty" and "Responsiblity" mean zilch in todays society and have been replaced with "Poor Me" and "Oppurtunity".
     
  3. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    And they should do it and leave. It's ironic that Gates had been the victim of a previous break-in; then the police finally show up and arrest the homeowner. In this case, Gates is both a victim of crime and the police. The police are obviously doing a "great job."
     
  4. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I agree. I don't have a problem with the police showing up - that's their job. However, after ascertaining that the guy who "broke in" actually lives there - their job is finished. To arrest someone for disorderly conduct because he started yelling at you is what I have a problem with. Yelling at a police officer (especially in your own home) does not meet the criteria for disorderly conduct under Massachesetts law. If there was physical contact, or any threatening comments made, he could have been arrested, but that's not what happened. The police are in the position of power there, and it should be up to them in that situation to take the high road and leave once they saw the guy's ID that said he lived there.

    And as for police always being the bad guys, that impression is not without some justification - a lot of cops are jerks who are on power trips.
     
  5. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    There were mistakes on both sides. Either side could have diffused the situation -- but neither did. For his part, Gates should have realized the best way to deal with police is politely. Harrassing a police officer who is responding to a potential break in is ... unwise. Had Gates simply stayed in his home and not followed the officer (taunting and insulting him) outside there would have been no arrest.

    On the police officer's side, he was right to approach the situation with caution. The most likely scenario is the most dangerous -- a domestic dispute where one partner (or ex-partner) is breaking in to confront the other. However, he needed to be respectful and polite at all times. The police officer should know how to diffuse a situation and put the person at ease -- he totally failed to do that.

    The final piece to the puzzle is the absolute arrogance of Gates. That Gates' first identifier was "I'm a Harvard professor, don't you know who I am?" Is quite telling of a level of arrogance I've seen in many noted professors. Just why would a police officer know him at all? Why should Gates be offended (and offensive) when the police officer doesn't know him? Does his notariety/fame give him justification to treat the police officer poorly? The answer to the last one seems to be yes. IMO, Gates fell into the same pit many famous people fall into (most notably Zsa Zsa Gabor) where they see civil servant as beneath themselves and treat such people accordingly.

    Where the police officer's actions were, at times, not the correct path to follow in order to diffuse the situation, Professor Gates's actions were shameful and ultimately led to his arrest.
     
  6. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    With the constraints that have been put on police by our society through changes in the law over the past 25+ years, it is impossible for the police to do a "Great job". Every single aspect of every part of their decision making is dissected and turned against them in court. When did it become the rule of thumb that the police are always the bad guy? How did it come to this point? We are way past the line on this one as a society and have probably crossed the point of no return. The police will never be able to do their jobs without the criticisms always coming their way, for in the eyes of todays society, they can never do it right, there will always be someone or some group that will be offended. I guess that just life in the 21st century now, what a shame...
     
  7. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    While I would agree that the police are not always the bad guys, I don't see any reason to automatically raise them on a pedestal either. As Aldeth has pointed out there are plenty of past example (and plenty more to come I'm certain) that seem to justify the bad guys view, and the cops themselves don't exactly do a good job at dispelling the impression with cases like this one. While I agree with T2 that this Gates is an arrogant jerk (and, as someone who works in an academic environment, I would like to point out that such professors are the minority; with most of them you'd never know they're professors just from seeing them or casually talking to them), but last time I checked being an arrogant jerk in your own house is not a crime. His actions were shameful but not unlawful, so they should not have led to his arrest if the cop was doing his job, which considering the outcome he clearly wasn't. I want to stress another thing T2 said - not only should the police know how to diffuse this kind of situation, it's their job to do so, and not to randomly arrest anyone who they think is being arrogant. I don't have much sympathy for Gates considering how he behaved, but the police's handling of the situation was totally unacceptable. As to respond to something Blades said, you could look at it the other way: the police are being criticised because they didn't do their job.
     
  8. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Ziad, I agree. I heard an interesting point the other day during a debate on this (with a very varied panel) -- the police, as a whole, are only effective if people respect their authority. A blatant, public display of disrespect toward police sends a message throughout the entire community and therefore cannot be allowed. In such cases, the ultimate tool of the police is the handcuff the person and take them away.

    The message in such an arrest is important to maintain the authority of the police. Often charges in such arrests are completely dismissed, but the image remains. Are such arrests wrong? Yes and no. They serve a purpose of maintaining authority -- you cannot allow the populace believe they can question a police officer's authority at any time. The charge is clearly exaggerated, so it is also wrongful.

    IMO, when Gates was angry and abusive in his home the officer was understanding and walked away. The officer allowed the disrespect in private. Once Gates took it public (to the front porch where people had gathered) the police really had little choice. The crowd basically ensured Gates would be arrested -- no police officer can allow such comments to fly in public without recourse. Inaction at that point puts the entire police force at risk of others (and less reputable at that) doing the same. While the arrest was egg on the face of the Cambridge police, no one in Cambridge is going to do the same thing and not expect to be arrested as well.
     
  9. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I disagree Ziad. They were there to help him and protect his possessions and person. I would be overjoyed to know they are doing this for me and the rest of the public. Then, the police did what they are trained to do, make the arrest in a hostile environment. There was more than one issue at hand, as they responded to a break-in call, but once there, they encountered a grown, hostile man. Once he identified himself, he should of cooled off. Period. But he didn't. It doesn't matter that he lived there or on the moon. They, the police, did not create the hostile scene, Gates did with accusations of racism and belligerence, putting everyone, including the officers present in a bad spot. If not for that, there would have been no arrest made. I find it amazing that we are not past the racism issue, especially now that it is so overemphasized in police training that someone could even think to use it when asked basic questions to a police response of a break-in. Especially by someone with Gates's background. The arrest is made to help insure the safety of all, so the scene doesn't escalate further, not because Professor Gates is black. Once he was cuffed, any chance of hostilities is over. When he was brought in, it was discussed further and they decided to release him, as the hostile situation was then over. That is basic police work, end of story.
     
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  10. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    BoV - That's really funny - Looking at your sig. :)

    It's not the "last 25 years" - It's only that some have started taking the Consitution seriously again. The 4th Amendment protects citizens in their homes from government intrusion. IMO, Gates was a jerk, (gee, a Harvard Prof who's arrogant :hmm: ), but if that was a crime, a lot more people would be arrested.

    James Otis argued, "A home is a man's castle and he should be treated as a Prince by the government authorities when he is in his home."

    This is really an issue of property rights and the Constitution.
     
  11. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    I've got mixed feelings about this, for exactly the reasons you mention. On the one hand I agree that the police will have a much more difficult time doing their job if their authority is questioned, but on the other hand I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of them being allowed or even encouraged to exaggerate a charge so they can arrest someone they think is being disrespectful. It opens up far too many avenues for abuse of power, especially by those policemen who like the power trip (and let's face it, they may not be the majority but they're certainly not an insignificant subsection either). I still wonder if the cop could have dealt with it in a better way, maybe by taking Gates aside and trying to reason with him. Then again Gates was really pushing it - once the cop had left there was no reason to follow him and make a public scene out of it, so I doubt he would have been responsive to such an attempt. I guess it's a lose/lose situation: just walking away would have undermined the police's authority, but doing what is perceived as an unnecessary arrest has also done the same thing.

    Oh I didn't meant that they made a mistake by showing up, far from it. That is their job after all, and they did this part very well. I disagree with your definition of a hostile environment though. It's typical of the police to perceive anything as potentially hostile. It's part of their training and it's something I have a problem with. Someone shouting at you because you've walked into his house and asked him to prove he's not breaking in isn't a hostile environment, it's an overreaction (by someone who really should know better, but again Gates doesn't seem like a very bright specimen). I don't think dealing with it needed something as drastic as arresting the guy and getting him to the police station. As for the entire racism issue, it was clearly stupid of Gates, but there's a reason why we are not past it: it's still around. This story is quite obviously not a racism case, but there are others, whether in the US or elsewhere.
     
  12. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Ziad, egg on the face is preferred to a bullet in the chest. Undermining the image of the Cambridge does not put the police at risk from the bad guys (far from it actually -- fear is a great motivator). But a public display of inaction sets a very dangerous precident for the police.

    The Sgt could have handled it better. I think he even admits that. He was slow to give details to Prof Gates -- details which would have completely diffused the situation. Police are human too; they make mistakes. They can also become emotionally drawn into a situation ... which is why we citizens should alway be polite and courteous. These guys are used to dealing with the absolute worst society has to offer and go into nearly every encounter expecting the worst. Experience has shown them that people who are uncooperative usually have something to hide (and we pay them to be curious).
     
  13. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Yeah, but it was quoted from Elminster, my favorite Zhent-blaster Master!:D

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 12 minutes and 31 seconds later... ----------

    You are right, it is an issue of the Constitution, but going both ways, not just for Gates. Crowley was accused of being a racist by Gates, an attack on his own morality. That is no small thing, especially for a cop who needs to have the public look upon him favorably in order to be able to do his job effiecently and safely. Hopefully, now that there will be a meeting between Obama, Crowley and Gates, this will be resolved with a friendly hand shake and acceptance of unity among them. In my opinion this is a matter that should be far below Obama's radar, given the current state of the country. He has much bigger fish to fry, like overseas conflicts, Healthcare and the Economy. There are many arrest and releases every day and Obama doesn't chime in about them....
     
  14. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    I understand that Crowley was in plain colthes when he encountered Gates. Anybody can claim to be a cop, trying to gain entry. My dad, who is a retired cop, always told me, "never cooperate fully until you've seen a proper ID. Anyone can buy a tin badge at a discount store. You never know who you are dealing with unless they are in a patrol car, and even then, check for Texas exempt plates." You have to always be your own advocate, because the cops are not always going to be your advocate.
     
  15. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Could it be argued that Gates' background was a contributing factor to the escelation? I mean, the guy is a scholar in African American Studies at Harvard, and a lot of his sociological studies focus on race relations. He may have seen himself as a victim of police racial profiling much more readily than someone else.

    Wiki

    Typically, Obama isn't personal friends with the person arrested in those cases.
     
  16. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Which, I would think, is more reason for him to keep out.

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 1 minutes and 18 seconds later... ----------


    If Gates had a reason to believe Crowley was not a cop, why would he accuse him of racial profiling?
     
  17. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    :confused: I was under the impression that the reason the reporter asked that question was BECAUSE Obama knew the guy. It was the fact he knew him that was the only reason he got involved in the first place.
     
  18. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    I don't know if Gates doubted it or not. I only know if it was me, Crowley would have shown the proper ID and explained the situation fully. Then I would have cooporated with him. I also never would have stepped out onto my porch until Crowley could explain why I needed to. Anything he needed to explain, I could have listened to in the entryway of my house.
     
  19. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    IMHO, the cop was in the guy's house acting in good faith, not just "breaking into a n*****'s house because I have the power to do so, HAHAHAHA Power Trip central!"

    Although he probably should have been much more forthcoming about his reasons for being there, he did eventually ascertain that Gates was the lawful owner. Now at that point, seeing the agitated state of the man, he should have left very, very quickly. Perhaps he did, perhaps he didn't. However, from what I can see, he didn't do anything to deserve the verbal abuse heaped on him by Gates. i don't give a damn if you are in your own house, you don't lip off a police officer who has been doing his job in good faith. You sure as hell don't follow him outside and try to embarass him on front of other people. gates obviously has huge chips on his shoulders and is one of those people who is just chomping at the bit to play the race card at every possible opportunity.

    I have zero respect for that mindset. IMHO, anyone verbally assaulting a police officer deserves a serious beat down. I know that makes me sound like a vicious bastard, but I for one have had several encounters with cops, a couple of which were very unpleasant and awkward, but I was polite and respectful and got the same in return. I'm tired of people constantly acting as though they have a right to verbally abuse cops. As has been mentioned before, the cop simply could not let the public insults to slide. I feel that Gates was hiding behind his race in order to act like a jerk, and I find that despicable.
     
  20. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    The President of the United States should not pass judgement on social issues if he can't pass judgement in an unbiased fashion. The mere fact that he gave such a remark as to put "stupid" into it is very unbecoming of him, also very surprising, I have thought Obama was above that type of Judgement. For me, it's his 1st bad mark, though i feel he has made many, many, many good decisions and I will still support him.
     
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