I really wish the President hadn’t said the police acted “stupid” in arresting Professor Gates at his home. There were better adjectives he could have used like idiotic, nonsensical and moronic. Maybe another word he could have used was alarming.
I will explain, but first let’s get to the facts of the case. Now, when I say facts, I’m assuming that every word in the police report that Officer Crowley submitted were the absolute truth. I have no reason to believe he lied, unless it comes out that he has a history of lying. So far, nothing of the sort has been evidenced. The officer was a responding to a report from Gates’ neighbor who witnessed two black men with backpacks who breaking into the home. The police report states that when Crowley explained to Gates why he was there to investigate, Gates’ responded “Why because I’m a black man in America?” It went on from there with Gates accusing officer Crowley of being racist, asking for the officers name and badge number repeatedly, and interrupting the officer when he attempted to provide that information. And according to Crowley, he continued to call the officer a racist on porch of his home. Crowley then arrested Gates for exhibiting “loud and tumultuous behavior in a public place”.
First, do I think Officer Crowley arrested him for racially-motivated reasons? No, I don’t. But I do think it pissed the officer off that he was even being accused of being racist. Gates kept it going, and really got under the officer’s skin. Anyone would get pissed off being accused of something they are not. The officer felt provoked. Provoked enough to put Henry Gates’ ass in jail and let him think about it. Thus the claim of Mr. Gates exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior or the required code words for a disorderly conduct arrest.
Mr. Gates was in essence, arrested for yelling on his front porch and for acting like an asshole. Last time I checked, being an asshole isn’t a punishable crime, although if it were I know a few assholes I’d turn over to the cops in an instant. And while being respectful to members of law enforcement is probably a good idea, it isn’t the law of the land. In essence, Gates was arrested for mouthing-off at the officer. Had the officer just jotted down his name and badge number for Mr. Gates, and then left scene with Gates on his porch yelling and hollering about racism, perhaps the news cycle would have been about the professor’s nutty behavior.
If Gates had threatened the officer, then that would be a different story. There were no threats, just Gates accusing the officer of being racist and demanding the officer’s name and badge number (which is within every citizen’s rights). In this case, this was the cop’s way of showing the professor who was boss. That is what I find alarming.