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Thread: Was arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. an act of racism?

  1. #31
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    I really don't know why Crowley said he talked to Whalen and she said he didn't. However, the report is oddly written enough that Crowley could have talked to a lady that wasn't Whalen, but said she was the one that called 911. (He says "later identified as Whalen) Protocol says he's supposed to talk to the 911 caller if she is still at the site.

    Yes, a Moroccan can be very dark, but according to the 911 call, it was 2 rather big guys, one Hispanic. Nobody heard the guy was Moroccan until after the event.

    Yes B&E is serious and it can be simple burglary for money or a home invasion of some sort. Either way, not good.
    Just doesn't make sense, if the two eyewitnesses did not say anything and Crowley went there as a B&E under orders then the whole scenario came about after the fact. I do not see a real scenario there. Too many missing pieces.

    You have to forgive me for being persistent on this, I use to date a law student who would drive me up the wall with all her questions about anything - not necessarily about the law.

    There was also a TV piece on profiling at the airports yesterday morning.. Some want to stop it; others fear Terrorists will slip by. Swarthy looking men, women and children are suspicious.

  2. #32
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    All scenarios come about as 'after the fact', at least if the fact is a 911 call.

    When you call 911 in my town,here's what happens. Dispatcher one sends out an ambulance, a fire truck and a police truck immediately. Dispatcher 2 gets the facts from you.

    She/he then conveys the info first to the equipment most likely to be of use. In this case, it would be the police.

    So the cop was told 2 kind of large men, one Hispanic, forced open the door, one entered.

    This is why the whole event from 911 call to arrest of Professor Gates took only 6 minutes.

    If there's a heart attack or a B&E, time is of the essence.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    Meanwhile, Dr. Gates put out the following press notice (in same article above)
    “Sergeant Crowley and I, through an accident of time and place, have been cast together, inextricably, as characters - as metaphors, really - in a thousand narratives about race over which he and I have absolutely no control,” Gates wrote late Thursday on theroot.com, the Web site of which he is editor in chief. “It is incumbent upon. . . (us) . . .to utilize the great opportunity that fate has given us to foster greater sympathy among the American public for the daily perils of policing on the one hand, and for the genuine fears of racial profiling on the other hand.”
    I wonder whether Sgt. Crowley will be part of Dr. Gates' racial profiling show?
    I really enjoy reading the posts by dorispulaski, belzc, and Joesitz. Thanks!
    To me the whole incident is just polices doing their job in respond to 911 call. I do think the professor over reacted either due to his past experience or his own opinions about racial profiling, and then things got out of control a bit. I do know that shouting at policeman and not cooperate usually will get you into trouble no matter what's your skin color. If the policeman didn't do anything after he saw the professor then it would be reverse- racial profiling. And let's not forget that The Media just loves to have something to print. I was really surprised at President's deep involvement into this. I don't think it's wise. \
    Just my 2 cents.

  4. #34
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    According to Wilipedia,

    A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally:
    (1) engages in fighting or in tumultuous conduct;
    (2) makes unreasonable noise and continues to do so after being asked to stop; or
    (3) disrupts a lawful assembly of persons;
    commits disorderly conduct.

    Apart from racial issues, I find the arrest of a suspect who resisted verbally showing a valid ID for disorderly conduct as an abuse of power. It was not a request of voluntary attendance, but arrest with handcuffs without warrent.

    I guess things might be different in the US where citizens can own a gun and the policeman has to think of self-defense more seriously. But if this is something that you have to accept as things that often happen in the US, no wonder mistrust towards the police seems pervasive.

  5. #35
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Because everyone knows that it was Dr. Gates and his limo driver who broke into his house, it has become obscured that the cop did not know this.

    The cop received a 911 call that said 2 rather large men, one Hispanic, had broken down the door and one had entered the house. (The recording of the 911call & the dispatcher's relay of that call to the cop are available, so this is not speculation.) (There is a question of whether or not the cop talked to Ms. Whalen. She says not, so I am assuming not. But it doesn't change the case at all.)

    So when the cop saw Dr. Gates, two things were clear: Gates is neither rather large nor Hispanic. Clearly either there was another person in the house, or the 911 caller had not given a correct description.

    In any case, in all such home invasion / breaking and entering cases, the key thing is to keep to home owner (and the cops) safe, whether the home owner is being cooperative or not. Dr. Gates refused to answer when the cop asked whether anyone else was in the house, and he refused to come outside. This is, of course, Dr. Gates' right. However, it put the cop in a pickle.

    To understand this case, you must picture it from the cop's perspective, which is that you must always assume the worst- i.e. at least one, maybe 2 criminals are in the house. And the cop was the closest cop, and was driving without a partner.

    The cop settled for following Dr. Gates into the house to get the id (thus keeping him in sight and hoping to deter any possible person hiding from hurting Dr. Gates, if Gates proved to be the homeowner, which is what the cop said later he suspected), and eventually getting Dr. Gates on the porch. He also called several other cop cars as backup, to make sure if anyone was in the house, any criminals hiding would have no opportunity to escape. However, since he did not have permission to go in the house, he couldn't search it to verify that no one else was inside. His only option was to somehow stall for time and keep Dr. Gates from going back inside until the police were sure it was safe.

    His method of doing this was the rough and ready one of arresting him and taking him to the police station. In an ideal world, the cop would have succeeded in not upsetting Dr. Gates in the first place, or in calming Dr. Gates down latter.

    So This was not a great choice; however if you run this whole case through in your mind with 1 big blonde & one other big man breaking in and casting the professor as a short redhead, and the professor still uncooperative, it may make more sense to you. Assume the red headed professor is an aging hippie who had bad interactions with the police when he was young, for the purposes of the visualization.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 08-09-2009 at 09:21 AM.

  6. #36
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Thanks for your information and providing another perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    So This was not a great choice; however if you run this whole case through in your mind with 1 big blonde & one other big man breaking in and casting the professor as a short redhead, and the professor still uncooperative, it may make more sense to you. Assume the red headed professor is an aging hippie who had bad interactions with the police when he was young, for the purposes of the visualization.
    As I said, I find an arrest with handcuffs without warrent shockingly rough regardless of race/ethnicity. If ensuring the immediate security was the main issue, the police could have listened to the suspect after putting the handcuffs, but the suspect was sent to the police station. Is this something that you have to expect and accept as an occasionally conducted action by the police? Apart from race/ethnicity, I feel that this could be newsworthy if it happens in Japan.

  7. #37
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Well, there are a plethora of true police shows on TV here. One is Street Crimes. In it, a white man in Florida broke into his girl friend's apartment to get some things for her. She was at the hospital and didn't have the key. The neighbor called 911. The police asked him to come out of the apartment, which he did. They questioned him and obtained his ID. He answered politely. They handcuffed him with his hands behind his back. They read him his Miranda rights.

    Then they called the apartment manager and the hospital and verified that he had her OK to break in and get her stuff. They apologized and let him go.

    In FL, they have a concealed carry law, so anybody with a permit could have a gun concealed on them. In FL, I'd use the cuffs too. I'm not sure what the gun laws are in MA, but pretty much everywhere you can get a carry permit of some sort for a handgun.

  8. #38
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Thanks for further background info. I understand that the police always has to be aware of the worst case scenario.

    BTW, I know mistrust toward the police is pretty pervasive among poor neighborhoods and/or minority communities. What are the typical images of the police in the US mainstream culture then? Are people scared, cautious, or obedient when interacting with them, so that they won't be perceived as uncooperative? Or are people not afraid of being assertive when needed, feeling safe and trustful that assertiveness with justifiable reasons would not lead to unexpected rough treatments?

    I was familiar with the campus police in a US university and they were extremely friendly and approachable because the majority of the staff were fellow college students. The campus itself was pretty safe, too. But I guess the kind of relationship between students and the campus police may not be the standard outside the campus.

  9. #39
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Not sure if it helps, but here's a poll from 2005:

    http://harrisinteractive.com/harris_...ex.asp?PID=605

    And one on racial attitudes to the police that's recent:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/07...y5196554.shtml

  10. #40
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    Not sure if it helps, but here's a poll from 2005:

    http://harrisinteractive.com/harris_...ex.asp?PID=605

    And one on racial attitudes to the police that's recent:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/07...y5196554.shtml
    Wow, thank you! Very interesting data! I will take a closer look at it later, but wanted to thank you first.

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