At that moment in time, he crossed the line. Rather than retuning the ID and leaving the NON-crime scene home that he no longer had any business being in; he actually held onto Mr. Gates ID and called more cops to the residence. Just holding the ID at that juncture violated Gates' Fourth Amendment rights, which by way of the 14th have applied to all States since the 60's...
This sort of hyper-technical analysis is all well and good if people were able to remain completely mindful of their actions from one minute to another.
This rush to decry violation of rights is symptomatic of what is right and wrong with this country.
While the Taliban appoint fanciful "husbands" to wed and rape female prisoners because Islamic law does not permit the execution of a virgin, and the Mullahs in Iran order the murder and beating of their citizens for the temerity of protesting a rigged election, we have scores of people passionately decrying violations of Constitutional rights and bleating about an ongoing police state in America.
The simple truth of the matter is that and you and so many others on this thread wouldn't have burned a dozen calories if the loud mouthed jerk having his rights trampled was white.
It may well have been because he was a loud-mouth jerk... but my experience with Law Enforcement makes me tend to strongly doubt it. I doubt there are many cops out there who aren't frequently berated by irate citizens who are guilty of petty crimes, their mother, boyfriends, etc ad nauseum. I bet it sucks too... but that doesn't give them the power to confiscate the papers of the innocent, invite more intimidating police officers to the scene, nor to arrest a man who is by this point (at the very least) righteously pissed off.
You as a white man have had the experiences that enable you to discern when a white cop is acting on racism?
I have had run-ins with stupid cops and on one occasion the detective's behavior was far more outrageous than Sgt Crowley’s. I assure you that no one would mistake me for an African-American. These experiences didn't lead me to assume that cops who over-react do so because of race, but perhaps you have had different experience.
Whether the Police Officer in question is a stand up guy or not; I don't believe for one moment he arrests a 60 year old white professor under those same circumstances. Needless to say, if he did, he would be just as wrong. I do not see compelling evidence that racism was involved and do not believe such an accusation would pass the burden of "beyond a reasonable doubt." I do, however, think it could easily meet the preponderance standard, and would be happy to wager the attorneys for the powers that be agree.
Well, your experience obviously has been that white people, and particularly loud mouthed white people, never get pushed around by the police. Interesting life you've led there Bill.
You don't see "compelling evidence that racism was involved" and yet you have reached that conclusion without too much trouble.
I can't imagine how we can actually play your wager, but I would take it. Just because the DA chose not to prosecute Gates is hardly proof that he was convinced Crowley was driven by racism. This is an incredible leap of illogic on your part.
Again: No doubt his rights were violated, and little as to why. My conclusion was based on the former being "stupid"; the latter is just my personal opinion as to why the former took place. You'll notice I didn't allege any 13th, 14th, or 15th Amendment violations. (Though I did point out when the 14th was interpreted to provide 4th Amendment protections to States.)
Well, we can be thankful for something then, can't we?
(Did you just get a law degree from Phoenix University?)
It's your personal opinion about the latter assertion that concerns me.
The only evidence upon which you could possibly form such an opinion is the fact that Gates is black. Obviously your opinion has also been informed by personal experience that tells you that the police never step over the line with white; only blacks.
Let me ask you the following:
1)Do you believe that every time a black suspect contends he or she is innocent and that the police have racially profiled them, that they are telling the truth?
2)Do you believe that it is possible that clever black criminals have recognized that they have a potential out by making these claims, and will use them to save their asses?
3)Do you believe that the police, no matter how many times they have seen #2, must ignore it as a dynamic at the scene of a crime?
These questions are irrelevant to the Gates incident, but pertinent to your mindset.
That a black man whose rights were trampled chooses to use the incident to promote awareness of a frequent asinine double standard is nothing I'll fault him for. I commend him for it. The fact that he's a black man getting the apologies for the unconstitutional treatment from law enforcement isn't the only reason this is getting national attention. He is a prominent black man. Sure, whitey wouldn't get the national attention, but neither do the literally thousands of ordinary black men falling victim to unconstitutionally "stupid" decisions by police officers who may or may not be racist. This same thing happens to less accomplished black men with a regularity that would turn your stomach if you really stopped to think about it.
wouldn't get the national attention..."
Interesting choice of words.
You don't need to lecture anyone on the fact that African-Americans have an uneasy and disturbing relationship with police.
I don't think that anyone (and I mean anyone) on this thread would argue that blacks attract more attention from the police than whites.
What we cannot discuss (without being castigated as racist) is the fact that blacks, disproportionally, commit more crimes than whites.
Yes, there are all sorts of sociological reasons why black men are led to criminality, but this matters little when a cop is making an arrest.
Again, this has nothing to do with the Gates situation except that he, and you, and others would like to represent his experience as emblematic of the black experience in America.
Correct, he should have left, but you can no more prove your gut instinct that it was irrespective of race than I can mine that the white man in identical circumstances doesn't get arrested by Crowley (or anyone else for that matter, I'd wager). This is the part of racism that is nearly impossible to eradicate, and also the part I believe each and every one of us is guilty of to some degree. Not being able to pin-point it, doesn't make the overall effect any less unfair to he who has to endure it, day in and day out.
First of all, my conclusion was not based solely on a "gut instinct."
If you've read anything about Crowley you would know that, on his own dime, he travels to and teaches police recruits about the traps and problems of racial profiling. You would also know that a black superior recommended him for this task, and that he has no record of prior insinuations, let alone arguable contentions concerning racism.
If you read either Crowley's or Gates (albeit this may have changed in the last 24 hours) version of what happened, there is absolutely no evidence that Crowley was motivated by racism.
On the other hand, you and other, have reached the conclusion that Crowley acted through racism for no other reason than the fact that Gates is black.
I disagree. For the reasons pointed out in the paragraph above, I think the attention is a good thing that could lead to a greater understanding of the shadowy side effects of racism that are not often even noticed, let alone focused on by those of us not often afflicted by them.
People who are not black are going to appreciate the legitimate sensitivity blacks have to interactions with the police because some haughty Harvard Professor, who happens to be black, bleats about racism when a cop, who couldn't be more opposite of the stereotype of racist cops, arrests him for being a loudmouthed jerk?
Even "The Eloquent One" realized that his knee-jerk comments did more harm than good in presenting this subject for national discussion.
I'll agree that the leader of the free world should be better informed before addressing the situation, but I don't think it's terribly relevant whether the cop arrested him for a crime that didn't happen or a disturbance that he didn't create. Either way, it would have been stupid.
That's because you agree with the premise he prematurely formed (In fact, now that he has discarded it, you press on with it. You Uber-Obamaniac you!)
Hollow qualifiers? I don't think so. I have no reason to believe Crowley is any more racist than your average Joe... but I think that's the underlying point. One need not wear white sheets and white hoods to be exta afraid of the black man, or to more easily believe he is guilty of something, or less qualified for... etc. ad naseum... but these more subtle, less provable aspects of racism are no less offensive to he who endures it, and I'd wager I'd be pretty damn sensitive to them myself.
There is absolutely no evidence that Crowley was "extra-afraid" of the black man. Considering that so much has been made of Gates use of a cane, your assertions is pretty laughable.
Blah, blah , blah...
I have never argued that black in America have a uniquely negative relation with law enforcement.
Do they have reason to be suspicious of the motivation of the police? Yes.
Do the police sometimes single them out for interrogation irrespective of whether or not they have exhibited behaviors deserving of suspicion? Yes.
However, there is nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, by falsely characterizing a non-racist police action as racist. Crowley's actions whether stupid or not, were not racist unless you really want to believe that all "whitey" cops are racist.
Similarly, I've recently learned just how put off people can be by gender specific allocations, and responded with a conscious effort to police my use of them. Had this subject not come up in conversation, I wouldn't have even thought to look for my error. Hell, I practically worship women, but my demeanor has not always reflected this truth. Awareness is a good thing.
Well, bully for you Bill. I'm glad you are having success actualizing your feminine and liberal selves. It's amazing the effect a good woman can have on a man.
In this case, you have a prominent man who literally had his constitutional rights trampled... and to whatever degree that can be exploited to highlight the ugly reality of day to day unnoticed by the majority double standards, for the edification of us all, I'm all for it.
By now, Crowley has been accused of many sins, but it's hard to accept that he literally
trampled on Gates rights. Did Gates produce a copy of the Constitution which he claimed as his own; and which Crowley stomped all over?
This is a case of a policeman overreacting to the uncalled for belligerence of a citizen. Black and white have no roles to play here except for the rhetorical bullshit that has ensued.