Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Monday, July 27, 2009

Gates Arrest

I'm not one to call racism but what was the cop doing in Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s home? If he didn't like how Professor Gates was acting all he had to do was back out and leave. And I ask myself how would I react if someone, even a cop, followed me into my home and was unwelcome and wouldn't leave? I've been having disagreement with my homeowers association and I resent everytime they come on my property and although they have power over me they at least (as far as I know)don't carry a gun and taser. I can see Gates' point of view. I cannot see Crowley's. Is his ego so sensitive that he cannot withstand a small elderly man with a hip replacement yelling at him? If so, maybe he needs another line of work where he doesn't have to withstand such 'abuse'.

Andrew Sullivan has a great point of view:
If a cop gives you trouble in your own home after it is perfectly clear that no crime has taken place, you have every right to tell him to get the hell out of your house; and he has no right to hang around. You also have every right to give him your opinion of his police work or his haircut if you so wish.

There is a distinction, in other words, between a deference to cops based on trust and a deference based on fear. I find the idea that mouthing off to a cop in your own home is enough to get you arrested a disturbing feature of the post-9/11 police state. My gut sense of the interaction is that Crowley - used to total deference and fear from those he interacts with - was simply appalled at being harangued so vituperatively, especially by a black man (but race was not the only factor), and quickly realized he had no grounds to arrest Gates in his home, and so lured him outside to get the pretext of "disorderly conduct" in front of seven people. Yes, Skip over-reacted after a long flight and an embarrassing battle with his door; but Crowley - a cop who declared that he was a Republican to the media for no apparent reason - got the man who didn't kowtow to him in cuffs as revenge. The very fact that the charges were dropped tells you who was in the wrong, according to the Cambridge police.

I don't know about you, but I prefer societies in which the exercize of free speech in your own home does not lead to being arrested - especially just to teach you a lesson on how to be deferent to police.


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