Doing a job well does not always mean doing it nicely, and with a huge smile on your face. Would walking away from the scene be considered nice? What if the police responded to a domestic dispute between a couple, and one of the couple starts berating the police incessantly, while the other member tells the police they are on private property and should leave...[snip]?
I don't see this as a comparable situation. I've heard no claims that Gates was in a dispute with any third party. I believe it's just him and the police. Unless he is physically impeding them or threatening them with some specific harm, I don't see how they would suffer by letting the situation cool a few minutes.
Again, you've taken rhetoric of "the job" to mean first protection of property and second an extremely broad definition of maintaining the peace. Being called in for the first is not a good reason to be hasty in applying the second. They are separate discussions, and shouldn't be confused.
I do not say Gates is lying, but even if he does lie, and is caught, there will be neither repercussions or legal sanctions against him. He knows this. The police report, on the other hand, is a sworn piece of evidence, and if it would ever be proven the officer was perjuring himself on the document, he would likely be fired, possibly faciing criminal prosecution. There are too many variables in any given situation (the presence of cell phone cameras, recorders, etc) which could immediately disprove the officer if he was lying. So yes, I do lend more weight to the police report than Gates's statements.
I do think this has some potential; just not wholly swayed by it...
Are there reports of anyone actually in the area observing to take pictures? Just at a quick flip on Google, I keep seeing the same picture on the porch over and over. If the setting or population density are such that no one is likely to be watching, then cameras don't come into play often.
Also... While it's possible the Cambridge police think the same way you do, there are also not so many Blacks as I understand it in the neighborhood who might be filming. If you accept race as a factor at all, that diminishes the chance that any pictures would be transmitted to contest the police report. Speaking more generally, I'm not totally convinced that all police see counterevidence as likely... Nor that their internal review procedures cannot be manipulated by good old boy networks, playing off bad actions in a good light to save on some fumbles.
Ah, now you stereotype the police. Sgt Crowley has a spotless disciplinary record. He has no history in his file of being involved in any similar incidents.
help. However, if few Blacks live in the neighborhood, there will be less likelihood of race claims too. Also, recall what I said about the law being open to interpretation. People can apply it in nasty ways without necessarily breaking "procedure" or being cited.
Are you saying that if Gates had been white, but acted in the same manner, the police would have walked away? I would completely disagree with you on that. Disorderly behavior is the same no matter who engages in it. I don't pick and choose which laws I enforce based on the ethnicity of the suspected perpetrator. Of course this is anecdotal, because I speak only for myself.
But I have enough time as a police officer (15 years) to see that this police behavior which you make out to be so common is actually exceedingly rare. In fact, I myself have never seen preferential treatment given by individual officer based on ethnicity.
There are a couple possibilities here. One is that you have a narrower, and possibly somewhat race-blind, definition of bias. You might be operating in a culture that explains it away as something else. Race bias in general is quite prevalent. Or you could be in a pretty progressive unit, or (I doubt you'd say it then but possibly) a place with few or less visible minorities - possibly less class friction.
While the average encounter is not precisely the same (those class issues), I believe NYT cited a Los Angeles study that showed Blacks were disproportionately detained without good cause - and they are still struggling after some years to reform. My colleagues in sociology, who are generally speaking more educated in race issues, have stated in classes with conviction that bias in surveillance and detainment based on race is common. I can't look around tonight, but my bet is the research shows some bias.
Even if it was not consciously so for Crowley, Obama did not go so far as to assume that Crowley acted in a racist manner. He was particularly concerned because Gates had apparently proven he was not trespassing etc. Obama simply pointed out how in such a political context, race issues are bound to arise and it becomes a public spectacle. At that point, politicians have to respond and it's fair to discuss real problems larger than the individual officer.
If Gates disbelieved Crowley's ID, why then did he not call 911 to report a police impersonator? There would have been a much faster response. Instead, he tried to get the Cambridge Police Chief on the line. Why not a lieutenant? No. Gates was attempting to scare Crowley by virtue of political connections. Gates is friends with a Chief, you see. He's a very important person! Like I said, I have been in the exact same scenario Crowley was in. When Gates refused to quiet down, he escalated the situation all by himself.
You seem to assume that Gates knows a lot about police procedure. Personally, I would never have imagined that calling 911 would be a sure fix. (For one thing, I've been kept waiting a good while by 911.)
Actually, though, I am more concerned about the question of who one can call if the police on scene are being inappropriate. It seems to me that you want someone higher up for that. The notion that no one should ever protest or question (unless the police bother to take it to court, when they
feel it's worth their while and the politics are on their side) is very problematic to me.
You may be correct that Gates was connected. That doesn't matter so much to me. Lots of people are connected, and some of them also have good cause to be angry. If Crowley did nothing inappropriate, then why should a call to downtown add to his desire to arrest Gates? At the least, your position sounds like a defense based on insecurity with relation to class and employment. It's not a crime on Gates' part. Try someone under "public disorder" and in court you would say, "You see, he was going to bad mouth me to my chief and I know they golf together, so I had to cuff him." Huh?
This I will never understand. First, police are assigned to guard what their supervisors tell them to guard. The supervisors are told by the politicians what the police should guard. You make it sound as if the police are some sort of independent shadow government, beholden to none. When I am assigned a sector during patrol, I patrol that sector. I don't decide to go patrol the nicer neighborhood, because I like rich or white people better. I do my job, and my job is dictated ultimately by elected officials.
I didn't say the police were "beholden to none." When I say they give less priority to some areas then others, I mean that is also consistent with political rewards for doing so (but they may have to perform that way more informally than where orders are less explicit). I understand there is a class hierarchy leading the police chain of command to a significant degree.
My point was, if you try to justify Gates' arrest partly by saying he shouldn't get off due to class... We may disagree on this. But, I don't believe Whites in a similar situation are arrested as often, for the same sort of five-minute argument. There may be other factors like geography, but I have seen other comments online to this effect - that people yell on their lawns all the time, sometimes at police, and it blows over with no arrests.
Alternatively, do you suppose there are only a few cases where people are rich enough and
troublesome enough to be made an example of through arrest - but those are not racially divided? Perhaps we could research that, if they are rare but you see this as such an example.
About protests: I recognize the right of people to peacably assemble for redress of grievances. But I also recognize the right of other people, who are not involved in the protest, to be able to come and freely, whether it be to their workplaces or otherwise... [snip]
I read this; I was thinking more of my pet disaster, the 2004 Republican National Convention. Your reasoning might apply if you think it excuses arrests and dispersal of hundreds of peaceful people who did not clog vehicular traffic, many blocks away from the meetings they sought to approach. However, other protestors were allowed to walk around in front of hotels as long as they kept moving. To me, it looks more like a choice to allow scattered protest but not large, visible ones. Especially when the riot police come in force where few businesses (and less media!) are operating.
In addition, again you make the case that the police officer on the street is the one who is deciding on his own where the protestors are allowed and disallowed....
I didn't explain it well. There were other situations at the RNC where regular uniforms (some from out of town) manned small barricades and would selectively search or bar access - based on whether one wore a protest t-shirt etc. Sometimes they would not allow people with protest t-shirts into certain subway entrances, while others passed. National Lawyers Guild told me those actions are both patently illegal. I'm not saying it was the officers' choice precisely. It was just more evidence that police are deployed to back class interests. (Kind of ironic that you argue Gates shouldn't "get off" on class connections actually - just an observation.)
Can you say with certainty that Crowley had similar encounters in the past with other upper class homeowners, but did not arrest them because they were white?
You're missing my point when you try to depict the situation as some personalized vendetta against Crowley or his job. The initial question as I understood it, was more whether Obama's comments had some basis. As I've said above, in broader terms, I believe they do because there are patterns of racist treatment -- not necessarily
by Crowley, but through police actions. We may disagree about that. At that point, we might be better going off to find the research.
Disorderly Conduct is described in the penal law, very thoroughly.
It might be interesting to check it out... But coming from a sexual minorities perspective, I am very used to seeing long, "thorough" legal documents sliced and diced to discriminate and rationalize in so many ways. The simple claim that it's all on paper doesn't hold much weight with me. On paper, a good chunk of Elliquiy also has mental health issues. Or I should say, parts of what is written in the psych regulations
would be interpreted so that biased people can draw that conclusion. I think you can do much the same thing with law.
Middle and upper class homeowners are not regularly arrested for acting in a disorderly manner out of proportion to the frequency they engage in it. Neither are lower class homeowners or renters.
Assuming that's the case... The question remains of whether "disorderly" is being applied the same way across races.
One factor is if the party opposite the police quiets down quickly enough. I have walked into disputes, etc, where the crowd or individual was boisterous. I didn't immediately start throwing people into custody. I always ask for quiet first. If the party continues to act in a loud or aggresive manner, their chances of being arrested rise exponentially. There are also cases where the police must make an arrest.
Okay. If you could do that for a crowd, do you think Crowley couldn't wait five minutes for one guy
on his own porch
harming no one directly, to chill out. And was it necessary for him to remain right there watching when Gates was protesting specifically about his presumptions and continued presence? This wasn't a mob scene, but Crowley chose to represent a protest against himself
in terms of a threat to the neighbors or the spirit of community.
I'll stick by what I've said previously as far as Obama's comments.
We seem to just differ on that.