Friday, July 24, 2009

I Don't Recall . . .

Vanderbilt University professor Houston A. Baker being so concerned with the importance of protesting police misconduct when those whose civil liberties were being violated went to school at his then-institution. Nor do I recall Distinguished Professor Baker being so concerned about the importance of avoiding racial profiling when he elected to comment on the case involving his own institution's students, acting as he did solely on the version of events presented by the police and the prosecutor.

But perhaps the events in Durham opened Distinguished Professor Baker's eyes to the importance of always speaking up on behalf of civil liberties.

For the record, I consider these posts by Marc Ambinder, Wendy Kaminer, and Conor Friedersdorf the most perceptive commentary on the Gates case. President Obama's statement (which, it's worth noting, did not echo Gates defenders' absurd racial profiling allegation) struck me as common sense. As for Drew Faust: can anyone imagine the ultra-politically correct Harvard president issuing the statement that she did, at the time that she did, if a white male Harvard professor had been arrested in his own home for behaving legally, if obnoxiously, to a Cambridge cop?


Anonymous said...

It is never common sense to make a quick assessment of a situation you know very little about and make it known publicly. Especially if you're the POTUS.

Anonymous said...

Obama must be quite the soothsayer if he can judge a case without even reading the police report.

Duke Prof

Anonymous said...

You would think the POTUS would simply say that it was a local matter about which he did not have all the facts. It would be nice if someone would inform Obama that the reason blacks are arrested proportionately more often than whites is because they commit more crimes proportionately than whites.


Anonymous said...

There is no more arrogant a class of people than university professors (with the possible exception of museum curators). They are elitist of the first order, and most of them look upon those who wear uniforms as lesser humans.

I work at a non ivy league, but decent, research university and observe here that the "softer" the discipline the more "entitled" and prickly to perceived slight the faculty.

I can easily imagine any one of our "soft science" and "angry studies" professors feeling totally outraged that they weren't instantly "recognized" as one of the special folks who needn't bother with an official request. And why bother to even be civil to a lower caste?

He should be ashamed of himself for setting such a poor example of how to interact with public servants.

Public servants deserve all of our respect and assistance.

Jim in San Diego said...

The facts of the Gates case will never catch up to the ideology.

We will never know for certain what happened, because there was no video tape, and witnesses always see facts from their own perspective.

However, here is an evaluation of the probabilities, trying to avoid relying on seriously disputed facts:

1. It is probable there was some element of racial profiling in the initial witness report to the police.

The report was that "two BLACK men were trying to break into a house". (Not just, "two MEN were trying to break into the house").

Most whites, and probably even blacks, consider the fact it was two BLACK men increased the probability that a crime was being committed. I.e., racial profiling.

2. It is probable there was no racial profiling by Officer Crowley.

His information was that two black men were seen attempting to break into the house. In fact, two black men (Mr. Gates and his cab driver) WERE trying to break into the house, becaue Mr. Gates had lost his key.

Officer Crowley apparently has a particularly good reputation for absence of racial animus. He was handpicked to teach a class on "racial profiling". There have as yet been no reports of a history of misbehavior towards blacks (cf Det Gottlieb).

3. It is probable that Mr. Gates overreacted.

He immediately became angry, calling Officer Crowley's presence "racial profiling". He responded to Officer Crowley's request for his ID with a request for Officer Crowley's badge number. He produced only his Harvard ID, which does not list his address. When he was asked to step outside by Officer Crowley, he did not comply.

4. It is possible that Officer Crowley overreacted to Mr. Gates' overreaction.

This is the difficult conclusion, because here we do not have enough facts.

Did Officer Crowley arrest Mr. Gates because Mr. gates was being rude to him? Not allowed.

--However, Mr. Gates had a legal duty to follow police instructions, even if he was angry.

--The instruction to provide verifiable ID when finding somone at the scene of a possible crime is reasonable.

--So far as we know yet, Mr. Gates never provided any ID with his address on it (driver's license? Library card?).

--Mr. Gates had a legal duty to provide the ID.

The instruction to step out of the house was reasonable.

--It is basic, accepted police technique to separate witnesses, or move out of an unfamiliar environment where the Officer may be subject to being ambushed (the house) to the street.

--Mr. Gates had the legal duty to step out of the house.

--However, it is unusual to arrest a homeowner once you determined he actually was the homeowner. The homeowner must have been behaving unusually aggressively for this to be justified.

5. It is probable that President Obama stepped on his tongue.

I'm sorry, but it is not common sense to say, "I don't know the facts", followed immediately by "the police acted stupidly".

Jim Peterson

Duke 1965 said...

I disagree that Professor Gates acted legally. Assuming the police report is accurate, the cop clearly had probable cause (based on the report of a neighbor who was standing in front of the house when the cop arrived) to believe that there was a burglary in progress. Upon arriving at the scene, the cop first asked Gates to step outside (standard police procedure to protect the officer, in case there are armed accomplices inside); Gates refused the request. At that point, one could well argue that Gates was subject to arrest for refusing a lawful order during an investigation of a felony, i.e., interfering with an officer in the performance of his duty. While I agree that both parties could have done more to de-escalate the situation, I am struck by the lack of common sense of the professor, who seems to be living in a very strange "bubble" indeed. Most of us intuitively know that when you encounter a cop investigating a crime in progress, you basically do what you're told and save the civil suits for later. Reality must really change when you're wearing race-colored glasses.

Anonymous said...

Marc Ambinder writes, "Gates was understandably angry that he was being harassed in his house, [...]" There is nothing understandable about the "Do you know who I am?" rant at a police officer. That's the pinnacle of class elitism. If I have just barged my way into my own house and an officer shows up suspecting that I may be a burglar, I thank him for his concern and hand him my driver's license.

Wendy Kaminer claims that Gates' constitutional right to talk back to a police officer was violated. The right to free speech is not unqualified and doesn't extend to interfering with the officer's ability to do his job, in this case to use his radio effectively. Causing a scene, alone, can get you arrested for Disorderly Conduct. That's what the law is intended to combat. If the columnist thinks the law is stupid, fine, criticize the law, but every legal analysis I've seen supports the officer's actions as long as the events happened as the officer claims. Witnesses appear to corroborate the officer's version. Maybe the Cambridge Police Department will release the 911 and radio transmission tapes.

Professor Johnson, I find it hugely ironic that you would single out a column written by Andrew Sullivan for praise when it contains a blatant assumption of guilt, facts notwithstanding: "Wrongly arrest a black men who happens to be a Harvard professor, release him without filing charges, [...]"

I've been a fan of DIW because you have consistently brushed aside the rants and charges of racism to focus on the facts of the Duke Lacrosse case. You have been justifiably hard on the Durham police force because the facts in that case demonstrate their misbehavior. I'm a bit disappointed that you single out these three columns as being perceptive. I think they're rushing to judgment.


One Spook said...

I agree entirely with the comments of Anon @ 12:08 and Duke Prof @ 12:20.

I do not agree with your assessment of the posts you cite , KC, as "the most perceptive commentary on the Gates case."

Here's why. Consider this statement by Marc Ambinder in his post: Gates was understandably angry that he was being harassed in his house ..."

Mr. Gates was NOT being "harassed in his house." He responded initially, to the officer's request to produce ID, which is entirely legal, by saying, "I WILL NOT!" In fact, it is a criminal offense to refuse to provide ID to a police officer involved in the investigation of a crime.

It is entirely legal to accuse a police officer of racism or whatever "ism" one's ideology prompts them to presume that a police officer is exhibiting.

The problem with the analyses you cite is that they gloss over, misstate, and/or ignore the very behavior of Gates that led to the escalation of the event.

I agree that the eventual arrest of Gates for disorderly conduct was inappropriate and in fact, those charges (unlike those in the lacrosse hoax) were quickly dropped.

However, to me, Gates' behavior and some of the opinions of his supporters suggests the same type of ideological-driven knee-jerk reactions that produced the listening statement in the lacrosse hoax, to wit: The lacrosse players were white, male athletes and therefore presumed to be guilty = The white, male police officer was conducting an investigation in a manner entirely consistent with the law yet is presumed to be "harassing" Gates.

This is an excellent comparison of the behavior exhibited by a person who was asked to produce ID to a police officer while that person was ”shaving while white” in his own bathroom.

Compare that person's reaction to that of Gates. I consider Gates' behavior deplorable and Obama's ill-informed comments about the event, even worse.

One Spook

Anonymous said...

By ignoring Gates' obvious and unabashedly racist actions, Pres. Obama has confirmed his adherence in the 88ist worldview. Congratulations, KC, for voting like a chicken for Colonel Sanders. :)

(I know it was your hope -- and admirable it was! -- that Obama would have a "Sistah Soljah moment" at some point, but that's really like thinking that Col. Sanders would have a deathbed conversion to vegetarianism. He's Houston Baker with a teleprompter.)


Anonymous said...


"President Obama's statement....struck me as common sense."

His statement was both ignorant and racially divisive.


Debrah said...

The Skip Gates episode, or "Gatesgate", as it is now being called by some, is unfortunate for a multitude of reasons.

Not the least being that it provides never-ending fuel for the already superfluous race/class/gender gluttony on every major university campus in the country.

Did everyone catch how quickly every professor within a mile of a camera or a microphone and who happened to be black latched onto this fiasco immediately?

If you read the report and listen to accounts of the episode from people who were actually there, Gates was arrested only after he would not stop yelling and ranting.

He followed the officers outside and continued, even as onlookers had begun to congregate on the sidewalk.

The officer repeatedly answered Gates' questions, yet that was not enough to prompt more civilized behavior.

The officers did not show up to harm "a black man in America".

They were called by Ms. Whalen who thought someone was breaking into a house.

Even with the initial shock of having police officers at your door, most people behave in a civilized manner.

And the only reason a man of 58 would have already had hip replacement and be using a cane is because his entire adult life has, no doubt, been spent sitting on his tush.

Probably very little exercise at all except for his mouth.

If there are abuses they should be handled later in a legal manner. Not screaming at police officers there on the spot.

I'd like to ask Gates and all his Gang of 88-esque defenders: Is Henry Louis Gates a "distinguished" professor, or a goofy ranting nut who craves attention and who needs material for his paper-thin faux scholarship?

Well, from his language and his behavior, I might believe the latter.

And let's not forget the large, muscular officer who also showed up at Gates' door and who also tried to calm him down---(so that he'd stop trying to relive both the films, "Roots" and "Amistad", at the same time, right there in his front yard)---was also "a black man in America".

Did that black man in uniform show up to do harm to Gates for being a "black man in America"?

Here's an account by another "distinguished" scholar in Harvard's African American Studies department, Lawrence Bobo.

He apparently picked up Gates at the police station.

And IIRC, Bobo was one of the professors scheduled to show up for the Duke conference "Still Two Nations?" back in March, but didn't make it.

I can say with certainty that Bobo will find time to make the next "race" conference.

He'll even be a huge part of the subject matter.

I can hear it in the wind already.

Lubiano is beaming from Prague.....with a listening statement and its epilogue.

Perhaps the police officers could have just as easily ignored Gates' ranting and raving and let him publicly paint them as violating his rights rather than attempting to answer a call of breaking and entering.

They know they cannot win amid the madness of those who have been dormant and empty since Obama was elected president.

Such people need to create a victim...somehow.


Skippy does his thing again!

Lastly, the president, of course, is free to give his opinion on anything he chooses; however, I agree with Bill Cosby, journalist and commentator Juan Williams, and a whole host of others when they said Obama should not have injected himself into the details of a case like this.

No president should.

IMO, a mistake born of a need to be seen as sensitive to racial profiling.

But this was not a case of racial profiling.

It was a case of being "stupid" while passing yourself off as a "distinguished scholar".

Hopefully when the details come out, Gates will be shown, once again, for the temper-tantrum-race-obsessed drone that he is.

A Duke Dad said...

Wonder if the distinguished scholar, Dr. Skippy Gates, had any comments on the Duke LAX case, back when it was unfolding.

This might give some insight into the nature of his alleged remarks in the Cambridge Door incident.

Anonymous said...

This is cross-posted on another blog from yesterday, July 23 in the afternoon:

"This was not racial profiling. To be racial profiling, there needs to be a police stop of a random person of another race on a pretext (i.e. an illegitimate or thin excuse). This was a police response to a specific location, involving specific individuals who were alleged to be committing specific criminal acts.

Hinting at the possibility that this was racial profiling was wrong on the part of President Obama. Claiming that one party acted "stupidly" was also wrong. I would expect the President, as a former lawyer, to have used a word like "imprudently" if he was going to use any word at all without knowing all the facts.

I have read both police reports as well as the statements by Gates and his lawyer, Ogletree. In my mind, both parties acted imprudently, but I don't know for sure. So, it is a qualified "imprudently" from me until further facts are developed.

Based on the facts as they exist now, I hold Gates responsible for acting confrontational with the police while the officer was attempting to assist the property owner. He set a bad example. I hold the officer responsible for not walking away, even if the rhetoric and volume had reached an annoying level. He set a bad example.

The good news is that, after six months, this has been my only criticism of President Obama. He has been doing an outstanding job in an incredibly difficult situation, so I can live with what I feel were two minor errors. Now, let's pass health care, keep the economy in recovery mode and resolve Iran and Afghanistan.


Just now, President Obama has finished a presser in which he said that that he has now talked to the police officer involved, that he still sees an "overreaction" by all parties, but he could have better "calibrated" his words.

My admiration for President Obama grows.


People are going to soon learn that folks like Professor Gates form a "lobby" just like the ones that benefit milk producers and automobile manufacturers. This lobby doesn't deal in money but in shame and guilt and the threat of bad publicity. Gates' lobby attempts to dredge up every possible accusation of "structural inequality" or alleged practical instances of inequality even though a better answer is available or might be available if honest research was done.

That still doesn't excuse an arrest in this situation in my opinion, but it should provide everyone with a reason to appreciate what police officers have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

Well...its rather amusing to hear Rush Limbaugh compare Obama to Mike Nifong; to the extent that they both exacerbated situations without knowledge of the facts.

Considering that Obama is now "walking back" his original comments I con't see how they could be termed "common sense."

KC Johnson said...

To O.S.:

I liked the Ambinder post because of its emphasis on the culture clash between the local police and the Harvard faculty, and its dismissal of the "race" explanation.

I have absolutely no doubt that if a white or Asian or Hispanic or Native American Harvard professor behaved exactly like Gates did, the officer would have arrested him.

My sense is that most people at Harvard look down on the Cambridge police force, and the local cops (understandably) resent that.

That background, rather than the absurd claim of racial profiling, best explains the incident.

(I should note that I find Gates' most recent remarks--that he'd offer the officer a tutorial in racial discrimination if the officer apologized to him--nauseating.)

Anonymous said...

KC Johnson, You - me right there: oo <=> oo ( eye to eye.)

Anonymous said...

I wrote the comment above before reading the link provided by Professor Johnson to Houston Baker's screed. It comes as no surprise that Baker took the hard-line position of the APFCO. As a long-time member of Angry Professors For Constant Outrage, Nashville Local #249, it is in Baker's self-interest to constantly promote outrage, take only one side, view every action in the universe under the prism of an angry racial lens, promote the need for his job and support his union brother Gates.


From Baker's screed: "Ironically, no black public intellectual in the US has been more complicit in publicizing the myth of 'post racialism' as an American reality than Professor Gates." With national outrage from the Mangum Rape Hoax dumped on the APFCO Durham local (a/k/a "Group of 88"), and now the country seeing the inflexible position of the union's national leadership in the Crowley/Gates incident, we may see a deserved backlash. I believe that Gates and Baker don't want to see a post-racial presidency.


On a final note, I hope my more conservative brothers and sisters in the commentariat at least appreciate the fact that Professor Johnson is willing to write what he believes to be true even if it might ruffle EVERYONE'S feathers. MOO! Gregory

Jim in San Diego said...


It is very impressive of President Obama that he took the trouble to talk to the police officer, and present a revised opinion based on more of the facts.

His conclusion now - that everyone overreacted, and he himself could have chosen better words to express his first reaction - is spot on. It probably is correct in all its aspects.

When did we last have a President with these instincts to do the right thing? The ideologues on all sides can't like this very much.

Jim Peterson

Anonymous said...

KC, I have to disagree with your characterization of Obama's comments at the end of the health care event. It was inappropriate, it fanned the flames, and it was not "post-racial". At the same time, I thought it was appropriate that he contacted Crowley this afternoon.

Doesn't exactly sound like BO apologized but he is clearly backing away from a knee jerk defense of Gates.

I think Obama probably got his people to dig into what really happened up there and they have learned that the CPD has Skippy going moonbat on tape. This isn't going Gates' way and Obama bailed to avoid looking like an idiot.

Hope Obama's gesture is the beginning of the end of this stupid distraction from real problems in the world.

Anonymous said...

For those who might be interested in the legality of the arrest, as well as the possible illegality of Gates' actions, this article from Slate explains the relevant codes:

To summarize some of the relevant points, Gates was well within his rights to demand that the officer identify himself, as all police officers in Massachusetts are required to do so by law.

Second, without probable cause, Gates was under no obligation to speak with the officer, come out of his house, etc. (Slate implies that there was no probable cause, though this seems debatable.)

Finally, Gates behavior in no way well under the heading for 'disorderly conduct,' which in Massachusetts is defined as: "fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior, or creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition for no legitimate purpose other than to cause public annoyance or alarm." Gates' allegation of racial bias, no matter the volume that it was shouted at (and that too seems to be in dispute), and protesting arrest are both held as political speech and thus protected by law.

There is an additional commentary on Slate by Richard Thompson Ford that some might also find interesting:

Good day to you all, --ss

A Duke Dad said...

A few corrections to Jim in San Diego's post:

1. Gates was forcing the front door because it was jammed. He had his keys and used them to open his back door. Gates was inside the house when Officer Crowley arrived.

2. It DEFINITELY was not racial profiling. Racial Profiling is choosing to stop and investigate individuals because of ... duh .. their race.
Crowley was dispatched to Gates' home by police radio. He had NO DISCRETION in choosing whether to investigate this incident.

Further points:

3. The police report tells a side not seen in most media reports:
Seems that Gates was yelling his head off, and not producing identification initially.

4. The MAJOR piece of evidence has NOT been made public -- tapes of the POLICE RADIO conversations. Should be quite interesting.

5. No one on the police force, even anonymously, has said anything negative about Crowley

6. The police chief and the mayor of Cambridge are both black.

Inspector Clouseau said...

We have three observations about the Harvard professor incident:

1. We find it interesting that the fact that this was the professor's home was evidently not established early on way before the dispute escalated;

2. We find it fascinating that the versions of two members of society, who most would ordinarily view as responsible and honest citizens (this obviously does not include politicians), would vary so dramatically from a factual point of view.

3. Finally, considering that the reading and viewing public were not present at the scene (and thus have no first hand knowledge), and that there is no video tape to our knowledge of the sequence of events and what was said, how so many have formed conclusions, and made assumptions, about who did what and who was wrong.

There are some things which Professor Gates might have considered upon the arrival of the police, no matter how incensed he may have been.

Jim in San Diego said...

Duke Dad,

We perhaps need to agree on a definition of racial profiling, since that is the topic of the day.

The definition I use is this:

"Racial profiling is the inclusion of racial characteristics in determining whether a person is considered likely to commit a type of crime, or an illegal act, or to behave in a 'predictable' manner"

It is the definition I assumed in my earlier post. Under this definition, the initial witness call suggested racial profiling - two BLACK men at the door - implied a greater chance a crime was being committed than if merely two MEN were at the door.

I am not sure how far this definition differs from yours, but you conclude there was no racial profiling. I agree as to Officer Crowley, disagree as to the complaining witness.

Jim Peterson

jamil hussein said...

Obama said (without knowing the facts) that the officer "acted stupidly".

That was insulting, incorrect, classless and inappropriate for the President to comment.

Anyway, I understand Obama wants to get involved in local race baiting - an area which he has actual competences - rather than difficult issues facing the President of The United States.

One Spook said...

KC writes @ 3:41 PM

"I liked the Ambinder post because of its emphasis on the culture clash between the local police and the Harvard faculty, and its dismissal of the "race" explanation. ... That background, rather than the absurd claim of racial profiling, best explains the incident."

I agree, but that Armbinder cast Gates treatment as being "harassed in his house ..." to me, overshadows his otherwise accurate analysis of the cultural clash in Cambridge.

In that regard, Gates calling the officer a racist was probably equally as disturbing to the officer as Gates having said "You don't know who you're messing with!"

It is one thing for known race hustlers such as Sharpton and Jackson to quickly latch onto such events and view them as examples of a perfect offense, as they incorrectly did both in the lacrosse hoax and in the Jena 6 hoax.

But for a professor like Gates and for professors like the Group of 88 to presume "offense" and pronounce guilt for behaviors simply based on race, class, or gender seems to me to be the key element of what this Blog has examined for the length of its existence.

It is indeed impressive that Obama has softened his tone from "stupidly" and even contacted the officer involved. I believe that many of our citizens are "hoping" that Obama will adopt an impassioned view of matters such as these, as Jim in San Diego @ 4:12 PM very accurately articulated.

One Spook

AMac said...

Here's a link to the best analysis that I have read, Brandon del Pozo’s guest post at Crooked Timber.

Police Discretion: A Different Perspective.

CT blogger Henry Farrell’s introduction:

"Brandon del Pozo is a captain in the NYPD (now working for Internal Affairs on internal police corruption cases, but with plenty of experience as a beat cop in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and as a police instructor too). He is also a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at CUNY. He has sent us a post with a different perspective on police discretion and the Gates arrest than that of my last post. We are publishing his post in the interests of furthering serious debate."

The follow-on comments are mostly what you’d expect at a thoughtful Gates-sympathetic site, with a few cop-friendly ones as well. del Pozo has good responses sprinkled throughout the (long) thread.

Gary Packwood said...

It's Just The Narrative

Aren't we looking at the same practiced NARRATIVE with Gates as we saw with the Duke University lacrosse team rape hoax?

Those words from Gates were practiced as were the words from Houston Baker, Crystal and the leadership core group of pot bangers back in 2006.

It's just the narrative that has been developed secretly over the years and I doubt that Obama even knows anything about THE narrative since he is not included in the group. In fact I doubt he knew about THE narrative from his own minister ...The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright.

This weekend I think I will send a copy of KC's book to the Cambridge Police Department with a small notation pointing out there are lessons to be learned from the Duke lacrosse team members and their experience with THE NARRATIVE.

First, unlike Crystal, the person who delivers THE narrative needs to be sober if they hope to get any traction from THE narrative no matter how much narrative training they have.

And secondly, a room full lacrosse athletes with cell phone cameras tend to slow down THE narrative considerably.

The Cambridge Police Department would do well to purchase several mini-video cameras if they wish to put a lid on THE narrative.

Yes indeed. I think I will grab that 'teachable moment' this weekend for the Cambridge Police...if I can find a copy of the book at the bookstore hidden by the booksellers who DO embrace THE narrative.

A Duke Dad said...

Re: KC Johnson @ 3:41

Town vs Gown conflict is not at all unusual.

Clearly, we see this in Durham, in Cambridge, and I know, first hand, in Princeton Boro.

Dr. Gates has illustrated for us that needless confrontation is not always the best strategy. But, perhaps he intends to dine out on that incident for the next few decades.

Anonymous said...

Obama did not apologize, but it was accepted by Crowley.

Anonymous said...

i want my vote back :-( .... because im not "post-racial" enough. And if this past election wasn't enough...then i give up trying because i dont see anyone working the other side. go figure.

No justice, no peace said...

The referenced articles are 0-3. Not one pointed out that the esteemed professor Gates is an AA professor. It served Gate's best interest to start a fight. It brings he and his program into becoming a media event. Maybe even a fund raising event.

They released his arrest photos. I'm certain he was gleeful.

On the other hand we've yet to hear the 9/11 call. Isn't that a bit curious?

Guys like this are frauds, plain and simple. People who defend people like Gates, especially before they know the facts, aren't using good judgement.

The blow-back from this, like most AA, gender, class warfare crises only create a wider chasm. Which raises the question. Are AA studies programs in place to bring the races together or create a wider divide?

Anonymous said...

Sweetmick says "MOO! Gregory "compliments KC for writing what he, KC, "believes to be true". But this is what happened in the Lacrosse case. Sheehan, Sill, Williams, Blythe all writing in the N&O what they believed was true, (what they desperately wanted to be true.) The first 2 commenters that KC refers us to form some damning conclusions without any substantiation.( e.g., that Prof. Gates was harassed.) These conclusions then become the basis for reaching further "logically" damning conclusions. Exactly what the N&O did.
We now have a Hispanic Sgt. and a Black Sgt. who were both with Sgt Crowley, and who both have now backed Crowley in how he conducted himself with Prof. Gates. Let's see if we've gained some wisdom from the Lacrosse case. Can't we wait until more information is produced before reaching our biased conclusions? There is plenty of time to pontificate and moralize.

No justice, no peace said...

One minor thing about Obama's interejecting himself that I found irritating was his joke.

It irked me more when I read it, less so when I heard him deliver the comment. It was something about how this could have happen to him.

The he laughed and said, well probably not trying to get into HIS house. (The White House)

It isn't his house. It's our house.

A minor item, but I think it speaks volumes about the way he thinks.

Did anyone else catch this and have a similar reaction?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how Gates would have acted if he hadn't been awarded the "i'm black you're white, so i can act like an idiot and get away with it" get out of jail free card.

He wasted serveral long hours of his rest time following a long tiring trip trying to prove how smart and powerful he was to a "so called" half-wit flatfoot who's job description includes terms like "submission techniques".

What again are all those adjectives used before and after Gates' name in article after article??? "scholarly", "intelligent", "worldly", "brilliant"... yada, yada, yada...


Anonymous said...

“Due to the tumultuous manner Gates had exhibited in his residence as well as his continued tumultuous behavior outside the residence, in view of the public, I warned Gates that he was becoming disorderly. Gates ignored my warning and continued to yell, which drew the attention of both the police officers and citizens, who appeared surprised and alarmed by Gates’s outburst. For a second time, I warned Gates to calm down while I withdrew my department issued handcuffs from their carrying case. Gates again ignored my warning and continued to yell at me. It was at this time that I informed Gates that he was under arrest.” –Police Report

Mr. Gates received two warnings in front of multiple witnesses. The third time, he went to jail. That’s the law. If the citizens of Cambridge want to change the law, they’re free to do so. But until they do, Cambridge police must enforce the law on the books.

William L. Anderson said...

Damon Root has a good piece on the Reason website about this case from another perspective.

I think that another thing needs to be pointed out, and that is the demise of community policing that has been replaced by the "military model." In the past, a cop on the beat would have known or at least have been familiar with Prof. Gates and where he lived. The beat cops actually were able to establish relationships with the people who came across their paths.

Today, however, with "professional" policing, we are seeing situations that are going to be confrontational because the people involved are strangers to one another. Furthermore, with the continuing militarization of the police, we are seeing cops acting more like an occupying army fighting an "unseen" enemy than what policing might have been in the past.

Last, we also remember that in the black community today, there is a "standing up to the man" mentality that people like Gates and others have exploited for years. John McWhorter has an excellent commentary on this situation and the arrest:

(I would link this, but I don't know how to do it. Sorry.)

One of the casualties of making everything "professional" has been taking the personal relationships from community interaction. We see yet another example of what happens when we lose these relationships.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, I read an article in a Nashville newspaper about black police officers. The reporter went along with two black officers in a patrol car. The officers patrolled North Nashville, the black section, on a normal day in the summer.

At one point, a pickup truck went by driven by a young white man. The truck went by again a few minutes later. The black police officers then pulled the truck over. They told the driver to leave the area before he got in trouble.

The officers then explained to the reporter that when you see a white man in the black section of town, he is probably there for one of two reasons. Either he is there to buy or sell drugs, or he is looking for a hooker. A white man in North Nashville could also get his head bashed in, or worse.

These two policemen were simply trying to prevent trouble before it happened. You could also call it an example of racial profiling. The police are suspicious when they see a white man in an area were he does not figure to be. Often it will be a drug transaction. This is racial profiling directed at whites and it happens frequently.


Debrah said...

This NY Times piece has the best assessment I've seen so far with this:

“The facts of this case suggest that the president used the right adjective but directed it to the wrong party,” said Sgt. Dennis O’Connor, president of the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association.

Sgt. Leon Lashley, an African-American officer at the Gates house that day, separately told The Associated Press that he supported Sergeant Crowley’s actions “100 percent.”

People in the academy, the black community, who have never seen a race-baiter they will not support, and various stale hangers-on in this game will never be able to explain away the behavior of Gates.

He's a walking parody.

The Wayans brothers could not have written such a clean and concise comedy.

A police officer is called to a location to check on the possibility that there might be a crime taking place.

He merely asks Gates to identify himself and he gets:

"Why, because I'm a black man in America? !!!"


Do any of you who are trying to make excuses for such a loony man come in contact with real life on a daily basis?

I really want to know.

Debrah said...

The New Yorker has brought this one to their front page from the annals of race in which Skippy is opining.

Anonymous said...

my hat is off to you, kc for the great site for the lacross hoax. but since you voted for obamba, i can't take anything you say reliable any longer. how can you not see what this horrible administration is doing to our beloved country? oh, i know, you too are in the ivy league tower of elites, that sit above the rest of the sheep, cause of your elite position at your university. supporting this president is just plain stupid.

i believe that you were in israel not long ago. how can you be so blind to not see that obamba does not support this country?

you know why the gang of "88" are still in teaching positions? because people like you vote demonrats in gov positions that are just like they are. race baiters like this gates guy, sharpton, jackson, etc. will always be in our universities when the vote is democrat.

Debrah said...

I think I'll bring something to the fore from the Diva annals.

Since everyone, along with Gates, wants yet another discussion, I think it's time to really get down to some inner thoughts and impressions.

The reason the Diva often liked dating black classmates at university---other than the fact that my area was Fine Arts and more conducive to a, shall we say, free-flowing environment.....

......was the fact that they always behaved like children and never seemed to worry about consequences.

They could often dance as well as the Diva and they were "good dressers".

And all-in-all, it seemed kind of chic.

Never did I dream that this mindset and the never-ending irresponsibility and blame-the-man game would still be epidemic in the year 2009.

KC Johnson said...

To the 10.00:

The President's name is "Obama."

Anonymous said...

To link this story directly back to Duke, you might want to look at this story by Stanley Fish:

As you may know, Prof. Fish was the chair of Duke's English department when Gates was hired. (Just a note: he does not go by 'Skippy,' but by 'Skip.' Try to have some respect.) He writes about his time with Gates and how and why Gates left Duke so quickly. If you're looking for a little more insight into the man behind the story, this offers some.

I may not always agree with your comments or how you run your blog Prof. Johnson, but I happen to agree with much of what you've said regarding Prof. Gates thus far. I would like to hear more about the town-gown context in Cambridge, as I think that might be the more telling frame for this story, and a better link to the Lacrosse debacle.

Thanks, and have a good day everyone. --ss

Debrah said...

Here's the John McWhorter column.

Anonymous said...

To the 10:00

Oh, my gracious. We certainly do need patience to endure the those who demonstrate their anger and hatred by sarcasm like this. Forget the faint praise and look introspectively.

President Obama has been in office for only six months. The stock market is up 40 % during that period of time. The economy has been returned from the brink of depression and is, at least temporarily, stable.

The issues the President is dealing with are residual from a Republican administration, but I haven't heard the blame placed on the previous President.

Your accusation of Professor Johnson (and all other educators in higher education) as "elite" demonstrates your deep anger and lack of self esteem. On a strictly practical basis, not ALL educators are either Democrats or Republicans. Your obvious indignation that some people in this country (that leads the world in freedom of speech) might disagree with your positions is laughable, but, mostly, sad.

I support and respect your right to hold and verbalize any position you choose, but I do not support or respect your arrogance, sarcasm and anger in your display of disrespect for our President .

Anonymous said...

It was nice to read this morning that both Henry Gates and James Crowley have agreed to meet with the President at the White House. While most posters have pressed their various agendas, police must deal with real people in very real and often dangerous situations. Officer Crowley responded to a possible break in and ran into an uncooperative Prof. Gates. Was Gates under some form of duress? Was he in fact the burglar? Or was he was he suffering a physical problem or prescription drug reaction? Both Sgt. Leon Lashley and Officer Carlos Figueroa confirmed that Gates was acting strangely. Both officers supported the arrest. They stated that something just wasn’t right. One would not expect a 58 year old Harvard professor to start screaming that someone was racist for no apparent reason.

Officer Crowley properly followed the man into the house to verify that Mr. Gates lived there. Despite Gates outragious verbal abuse, the officer did not pull his weapon; he did not lay a finger on the man or threaten him in any way. Once Crowley ID’ed the professor, he tried to defuse the situation by backing off and leaving the house. Unfortunately, as described in the police report snippet provided above, Mr. Gates remained highly agitated and combative. What would you folks have done in such a situation?


Anonymous said...




Debrah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
No justice, no peace said...

Please excuse my earlier error. I meant 911 and not 9/11.

Anonymous said...

Is Baker a Communist?

Anonymous said...

I believe the death of community policing where the "cop on the beat" knew everyone was the TV. Back in the pre-tv and air conditioner days, people would sit on the front porch and visit their neighbors in the warm evenings. Now, even if there was a beat cop, there is a very good chance he would never have seen Gates.

Bill Alexander

Anonymous said...

To: A Duke Dad 7/24/09 at 3:26 p.m.

I don't know if Gates had any comments about the Duke LAX case. However, I can tell you that last year he invited Karla Holloway (remember her?) to Harvard for a sabbatical year. If you will recall, she reckoned herself as a victim in the whole Lacrosse affair (and as a result was exhausted and needed a sabbatical).

Bill Anderson said...

I really am not defending Crowley's actions, but I do believe that Wendy Kaminer's post is over-the-top. She does not know Crowley or anything about him, and to make fun of his attempts to save the life of Reggie Lewis leaves me cold.

Whenever we see police abuses against blacks, the situation always is interpreted solely in racial terms, i.e. "racial profiling." Yet, there is a much larger issue at stake that is lost when we focus simply on race.

Yes, police do abuse blacks and on a regular basis, too. But they abuse everyone else as well, and current police practices, such as the proliferation of SWAT teams and the liberal use of "no-knock" raids and the unnecessary show of force, has turned police forces into something akin to occupying armies.

There is another matter that I think needs to be pointed out, and that is that blacks and especially black leaders rarely complain when abusive police tactics are used against non-blacks. This blog came about because of the Duke Lacrosse Case, and other than James Coleman, there were no other established "black leaders" who spoke out against an obvious frame.

In fact, the NAACP, the leadership of NCCU, the Wilmington Journal, and other black organizations stood solidly behind Nifong and the Durham police and desperately tried to shore up this illegal case. I believe that the larger point of this story is that if black leaders want racial profiling to stop, and if they want police abuses to stop, then they have to be willing to speak out for others, not just politically-connected blacks like Skip Gates.

The Duke Lacrosse Case demonstrated to me that the black "leadership" in this country has no problem at all with police and prosecutorial abuse, just as long as it is not directed towards blacks. That is a shame, as the result is going to be more police misconduct.

Greg Toombs said...

The “larger meaning” (viz. Gates) of this incident is to properly answer the police’s questions and treat officers with respect. It's what I have taught my kids.

Attitude will get your ass is a sling. There are other ways to handle an overbearing cop.

Obama shot from his lip. It was a moment worthy of his VP.

Jamal Matsuzaka said...

KC, do you not understand that this incident is not about singular professor, a singular cop and a singular call from a neighbor?!?! It is about all of us and our secret racism! At this point in the racism timeline, we are all so racist that we don't even know how racist we are!

It is a sad state of affairs. Thank goodness that a neighbor called the police when he/she thought someone was breaking into Prof Gates's house and THANK GOODNESS that Gates is black!!! Otherwise, how would we know how racist we all are?

Debrah said...

Interesting podcast from Slate

Anonymous said...

To 1:15 and 10:00

Darn, I recognize you. You must be one of my teenage sons. Of course,I can tell by your limited, adolescent language usage ("whatever, loser"), your tendancy to criticize adults without sound bases for doing so and, most strikingly, your immature approach to important, complex issues.

But, I still love you, and I hope that, after a few more years of growing up, you'll be able to look back on this without too much embarrassment.

Carmine Burton said...

sdsgo - One would not expect a 58 year old Harvard professor to start screaming that someone was racist for no apparent reason.

Unless that 58 year old Harvard professor was a member of the Angry Studies crowd, of course.

Jonathan Cohen said...

The police report submitted by Crowley and the interview with Gates are more complementary than contradictory. In fact one gets a pretty good idea what happened by reading both of them. The rest is speculation.

I didn't like the articles suggested by KC because like most of the commentary, they were based more on the point of view of the author than the evidence that is known.

Gates felt he was being profiled as soon as he saw the officer approach the house. Crowley only knew he was responding to a possible burglary in progress.

The 911 report said two large men had forced open the door. So Crowley observed from the outside one small older black man so he needed to ascertain where was the second person or where were the other two since Gates didn't seem to fit the description.

Crowley wanted Gates to step out of the house because it would be safer to deal with the possible burglary if Gates stepped outside. Secondly, he was concerned about the second person and furthermore Crowley has stated that after Gates had identified himself as the owner of the house, he was concerned that Gates might be unaware that a burglary was in progress.

Gates did provide identification and Crowley believed him to be the owner. He said that he reported that Gates was the owner of the residence but he was acting irrationally.

My reading of the statements of the two antagonists is that Crowley went up to the house suspecting to encounter two burglars and Gates believed that harm was coming to him from the officer because someone had seen him force his way into the house and assumed he was a thief because he was black.

From Crowley's perspective he was putting himself in a potentially life threatening situation to protect the life and property of the owner of the house.

From Gates point of view he was being treated as a criminal because he was a black man forcing open the door of his own house.

I don't think Gates was listening to the officer because he was too busy berating him for profiling him. He kept demanding to see his badge and give him his name. Crowley says that he told Gates his name twice. I believe him because from Gates own description of the situation he seemed too angry to necessarily be listening to what the officer was telling him.

I read Stanley Fish's op-ed in the New York Times and I found it very disturbing. Clearly Fish had no interest whatsoever in the evidence in the case. Since Fish had hired Gates and respected him the officer was at fault. It was the familiar line that essentially it is only the narrative that counts, facts be damned.

Gates is not a group of 88 type.

Whether he would have signed the letter if he were still at Duke is a matter of speculation. But he is different in that he is a real scholar and writer. And generally he, like Crowley, is basically someone who tries to tone down racial animosity rather than exploit it.

I don't think Obama should have weighed in on the situation without knowing the facts but I am glad that he stepped back from the confrontation and has tried to diffuse it. If he hadn't, it could have gotten a lot uglier.

Anonymous said...

Is Duke a state school?

Debrah said...


What happened to the Sunday morning line-up?

On MSNBC earlier this week, it was stated that Gates would be on Meet the Press for the full hour.

Obviously, at some subsequent time.

Oh, but Hillary is so much more significant.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, here's some of the Cambridge/Harvard/Ivy League context that I've been looking for:

The (anonymous) author can clearly be critiqued on any number of points, but his/her insight into the nuances of the situation are quite revealing.

Have a good day, --ss

Anonymous said...

Does any of this sound familiar? Now Gates says...

- He wants to "move on"
- It isn't "about him"
- Sees the opportunity to use this as a teaching moment...

I translate this as

- Oh SH#T, I am on the wrong side of the law, have embarrassed myself and exposed my self to actual criminal/civil liability...time to duck and cover.
- Same as above
- Does not realize that HE is the one who needs the lesson, and would never admit he has no importance or impact in American life

The "move on" statement is what caught my attention, just at the Klan of 88 wanted to move on when reality broke out and public/legal opinion started to swing the other way.

One can only hope, but not really expect, that at some point there are consequences for such behavior and are then self-limiting.

ES Duke 1990

Anonymous said...

Every day across this country there are decent individuals who have the metanarrative that Gates himself used spat at them. This race baiting behavior is used to justify narrow and stupid and selfish behavior litterally. These accusations are so toxic as to make anything less than deference to the accuser a possiblity. It is why college presidents as happened at both Duke and Harvard walk around accusations of race. There is even an intellectual construct that black people cannot be racist, and as a result no one takes head on what often amounts to a collection of lies. Mr. Gates behavior was contrived of many parts of this thinking, but it was not composed with decency or a sense of responsible citizenship or for that matter just thankfulness that an officer came to what should have been his rescue. What a fraud this man is, and like Sotomayer's fireman or the Duke lacrosse team, Gates put a decent person in his sights who was merely attempting to do his duty. The fact of the matter is that this country has been deconstucted so by these academic self-serving psuedo-racists so much so that it has lost its confidence in its ability to function.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually surprised by the number of people here who seem to be taking the police report as gospel. Did we really learn nothing from the Duke case?

Anonymous said...


I am a keen admirer of yours, except for your Obama blind spot. The President just can't do anything wrong as far as you are concerned...

Anonymous said...

Lawrence Auster runs a blog called View From The Right. He calls himself a traditionalist. Here is an exchange with a black reader ( of his blog concerning the Gates Affair and police abuse of blacks. You may not like what Lawrence Auster writes as he is a man with strong opinions.


Debrah said...

JinC finally has up another one of his masterpieces.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:25 PM said:

I'm actually surprised by the number of people here who seem to be taking the police report as gospel. Did we really learn nothing from the Duke case?

I'm glad someone else is picking up on that. While most of the comments here seem quick to judge -- dare I say, even rush to judge -- Prof. Gates' action, even going so far as to condemn him simply because he was a professor of African-American studies, few have been willing to question the police department's line at all.

If society is going to learn from the Duke Lacrosse case, we need to learn from all of it, not just the nuggets that we like. For some people, that means reevaluating the state of race relations in the US today and opening the possibility that reverse racism might be as dangerous as racism. For others it means understanding that the police are both human and fallible.

These are just two of the things that the Duke case can teach us, and both of them need to be applied to the story coming out of Cambridge. There are other issues as well, some with echoes of Duke in the spring of '06 -- town-gown relations, classism, elitism, the media, and general stupidity -- each of which can help us to better understand and interpret what went on for those who do not have the experience with the Duke case that so many of us have. To ignore any of this and reduce the case simply to Gates being racist is not only stupid, but it does a disservice to the events at Duke, Prof. Johnson's work, and our own intelligence.

Please, before you fall to the level of diminishing Prof. 'Skip' Gates as 'Skippy,' or are tempted to say things like "Knowing it was an AA professor almost certainly assures that he was generating a crisis" (No Justice No Peace, 7/21 @ 8:43), or "I'd love to just slap him" (Debrah, 7/20 @ 3:42), take a moment to consider what we have learned -- all that we've learned -- from the Duke case. Doing so should prevent a kneejerk reaction, and may keep you from looking a tad hypocritical.

I hope that everyone is enjoying their Sunday night. --ss

Debrah said...

As many have mentioned, none of us knows very much about this Officer Crowley, although his work in the department speaks for itself.

All his fellow officers---white, black, or whatever---have nothing but praise for him.

I do, however, have a relatively large mental cache on Gates---both anecdotal and factual.

And it isn't exactly glowing.

I do wish that Crowley and the other officers had just left Gates standing there screaming on the porch, but I think they didn't want a conclusion with Gates calling them "racists".

IMO, that was the breaking point.

Gates continued yelling those words.

And we all know---none more than those who use them so promiscuously---how damaging they can be if they are true or not.

But let me say this, having read that it was Crowley who gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the dying athlete who was a black man:

It takes all kinds of people and most of us know whether or not we're suited for one profession or another.

I never entertained interest in any area of the medical profession simply because of the negative aspects of coming into close---very close---contact with the bodies of strangers.

Think of the constitution and the cast iron stomach one must have not only in operating rooms and emergency rooms, but many times just during a regular examination.

But one of the most difficult things to do, IMO, is to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to another person.

It might seem quirky to some; however, I'd have to place much emphasis on Crowley's efforts to save that athlete and what he did in that circumstance.

It's doubtful that a "racist" would have been so motivated.

I'd have trouble giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to an acquaintance or a relative, much less a total stranger who'd just been engaged in a strenuous sports activity.

And yes, it's just the Diva's opinion.

inman said...


Now we have theatre in real life,....

...with a scholar worthy of the moniker: "88 is not quite enough for me" ...

[How is it that a Harvard professor who focuses on "angry studies" deserves deference or consideration and the 88 Duke professors do not? I'd appreciate hearing KC's and other's reconciliation of this apparent contradiction.]

... and a police officer from whom Gottlieb (et al) surely could have taken lessons ...

[Here we have a police officer who has the support of his colleagues and counterparts, both black and white, ... who collectively assert praise for the lack of racial animus ... rather than a rogue cop hell-bent on a race/class/gender-defined notion of justice.]

...and a President who talks about how an arrest for disorderly conduct deserves comment because it is a part of his "portfolio"...

[Again, give me a break. O'Bama thought he'd win some political points by interjecting himself into a rather petty local and misdemeanor violation of law (if any). The fact that he said anything other than "I have no comment" when asked the question strikes me as evidence of his predisposition to play the race card.

What's next. A comment on traffic tickets?]

and ...GoodGodaMickeyMighty ... otherwise thoughtful folks who have argued the facts of the Duke Lacrosse Burning are now loudly contradicting their previous statements, trying to mitigate the all too apparent racism of the supposedly pre-eminent scholar and the President.

In this case, the only point at which racial profiling can be alledged is at the point that the 911 caller said "two black men." Give me a break. When I've called 911 to report a possible criminal act, I've always provided the best description possible. In this case, there WERE two black men involved. How else ccould they be described. That's the description that any reasonable person would provide. And if it had been two white men (which frankly would have been more suspicious given that the occupant of the house was black), that is also what a reasonable person would report.


This is simply a case of a man who has studied angry people for his entire career and who now is all too ready to express that same anger.

And it's a case of a President that is now showing his true colors.


I wonder if Obama will invite others accused of disorderly conduct to the White House for a beer?


I must admit --- I'm observing this whole charade with some glee ... for the race card is now being seen for what it is ... it has no suit ... it is simply a joker.

Locomotive Breath said...

Just like Dick Brodhead, Barak Obama missed a really good opportunity to keep quiet. In effect, Obama said "If Officer Crowley didn’t do it, whatever he did is bad enough." Soon he'll make the excuse "the facts kept changing".

Not what you are looking for in a President of any kind.

A Duke Dad said...

OMG ...
the Duke LAX story will NEVER fade ... and how it illuminates the Gates flap.

The woman who made the 911 call, Lucia Whalen, never mentioned the race of the two men

...according to her attorney, who is ... Wendy J. Murphy, Esq.

Murphy's statement is confirmed by Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas.

However ... Sgt Crowley DID speak with the 911 caller, Whalen, BEFORE he approached Gates' house. Whalen had stayed in phone contact with the 911 dispatcher. There presumably is no record of what Whalen and Crowley discussed on the street, before he went to the residence

skwilli said...

My grandfather had no legal training, no history training past third grade, and no love of politics, but he gave me good advice on that type of situation. "You should always be deferential to the police." Gates acted stupidly and deserves no beer and no praise for his actions or his "advanced learning". "Obama had no place commenting on the situation either", I can hear him say!

halides1 said...

A friend of mine put forth a plausible explanation of the officer’s behavior. The officer asked Professor Gates to step outside. One cannot be arrested for disorderly conduct in one’s own home, but one can in the presence of other people. The officer must have known this, and therefore he set Professor Gates up to be arrested. The officer should have left once he learned Gates’ identity. I don’t care for the angry studies crowd, but my friend’s explanation has made me rethink the incident. I have not seen this point raised before, but I may have missed it.


Anonymous said...

halides1 said...
A friend of mine put forth a plausible explanation of the officer’s behavior. The officer asked Professor Gates to step outside. One cannot be arrested for disorderly conduct in one’s own home, but one can in the presence of other people. The officer must have known this, and therefore he set Professor Gates up to be arrested. The officer should have left once he learned Gates’ identity. I don’t care for the angry studies crowd, but my friend’s explanation has made me rethink the incident. I have not seen this point raised before, but I may have missed it.

Chris -

One of my friends has expressed this view (in frankly rather a toxic fashion which means I quickly leave his presence when he gets on this subject.) He refers to it as if it were absolutely incontrovertible that the officer engaged in "entrapment".

I can understand the hypothesis, and I agree that it could be the case, but it doesn't fully convince me. Other hypotheses seem as plausible if not more plausible to me, such as that Crowley hoped the presence of witnesses who were not white presumed-racist cops would induce Gates would moderate his behavior so as not to embarrass himself. Or, a hypothesis that becomes ever more plausible the more this thing spirals into a media firestorm, Crowley wanted any interaction between himself and Gates to be witnessed by as many people as possible so that he could have a hope of defending himself against charges of racism.

Anonymous said...


What is wrong with the standard explanation that the police are trained to ask people to step outside for everyone's safety?...especially when there could be an intruder in the house?

The Cambridge situation and how it's handled by the President, the Officer, and the Professor likely will set a standard for citizen and police behavior in future police investigations. I, for one, am pretty confused at this point, although I certainly tell my kids to be extremely polite to police officers, comply immediately and graciously with their requests for ID, and request a consultation with a lawyer.

How much abuse should the police be asked to tolerate in the course of an investigation? Do we really want to establish a right for citizens to insult police officers and impede investigations? Maybe a ticket with a large fine was more in order here, but there has to be something to help the officer manage the the abusive and uncooperative citizen.

ummm...the police report seems to be checking out based on the other evidence, namely recordings of the call and radio transmissions. The facts seem quite straightforward now...AM I MISSING SOMETHING? Now we just need to determine whether Officer Crowley abused his discretion in arresting Professor Gates. Nothing else Officer Crowley or the 911 caller did seem the least bit controversial. (I am still perplexed by the idea that it's racist to acknowledge race in describing a possible suspect, which as we now know the Lucia Whalen, the world's sweetest 911 caller, did NOT do...but if that is racist, then is acknowledging whether the potential perpetrator is male or female somehow sexist...should we forego descriptions of potential suspects altogether?)


Anonymous said...

Put another way: Crowley asked Gates to come outside the house, and he asked Gates to behave in a civil manner. Are the consequences really Crowley's fault if Gates chose to follow only the first of those requests?

Anonymous said...

Juan Williams said it best about the incident: when the police come to his Washington D.C. home and ask him to come outside because of a call, they're doing it because he MIGHT be under the influence of a hostage-taker. Asking the man - Gates, if you can call him a man - outside would be for Gates' protection, and for any other innocent party inside the house.

Of course, since Gates wanted to be another Houston Baker, it would make sense that he was setting up his own victimhood, his own narrative. He was a "mee-too" victim.

And if Gates were at Duke during the Hoax? Very likely he would have signed the letter, and it would read "89."

Anonymous said...

I remember being profiled. I was on my way home from my job as a bartender, and it was sometime after 2 am. I had seen the officer's car in my rearview mirror and did not want to be pulled over. I was tired. As a result, I slowed my car down to the speed limit - I had been going 5 mph over the limit.

That's what the officer pulled me over for: driving the speed limit. At that time of night, someone driving the speed limit is probably drinking.

But being the butthead that I was, I had gotten out of the car (in my bartender's uniform, which made me look like an organ-grinder's monkey) and asked - demanded, actually - why I was being pulled over. I didn't use bad language, I didn't reference the officer's "momma," making it personal: I wanted to know how I could avoid being pulled over on my way home from work in the future. Should I exceed the speed limit?

Since I've grown up - apparently more than Professor Gates - I understand why I was "profiled." DTS: Driving Too Slow. But having seen the results of motorists' after they'd been slaughtered by drunk drivers, I understood the need for that kind of behavioral profiling.

By the way, Israeli airliners are rarely hijacked. That's because the Israelis are terrific at profiling BEHAVIOR. And the behavior Gates' exhibited seems consistent with what we might expect of the hated "88."

KC, you are simply wrong on this one, and the examples you've cited are lame.

Anonymous said...

To Chris and the anonymous @ 9:25:

Both of those explanations are plausible. It could be that Crowley wanted to entrap Gates by getting him outside, or, it could be that Crowley wanted witnesses to Gates' odd behavior and to protect himself from charges of racism.

One major fault I have with the "entrapment" argument is that Crowley could've arrested Gates inside the house just relying on the pretext already contained in his report (i.e. refused to show identification) or even a made-up pretext -- if he was like that. The only problem with this argument is that Crowley might have been leery about hidden video cameras in the home.

It also could be simpler. Crowley mentioned in his report that he couldn't hear his radio in the house over Gates' remonstrations. Going outside would have helped that. Or, since Gates just got home, the house was really hot and Crowley was in his full uniform and etc.....

I don't think Juan Williams has it right at all. His speculation does not logically fit the timeline. By the time Crowley left the house, he had already walked through it to make sure that there were no "hostage-takers." I agree that that was likely Crowley's reason for initially wanting Gates to walk outside, but not the motivation for what actually happened later.

I see this as two good and productive people who were both tired and stressed out (Crowley coming from a domestic disturbance call; Gates coming from China), who, at a time of weakness, lapsed into an easy narrative that they both had avoided throughout their distinguished careers.


The funniest meme coming from the left side of the aisle is that Cambridge dropped the charges, which, in itself, proves that they were bogus, unconstitutional and never had legitimacy.

We all saw in the Duke case how easy it is to keep bogus charges on the books in some jurisdictions. It is not hard to imagine that it would be just as easy in those towns to dismiss charges. MOO! Gregory

Debrah said...

TO "Gregory"--

A long time ago, I would have agreed with you that Gates had a "distinguished" career.


But for quite some time now he has displayed--in both word and deed---the same hideous mindset as the Gang of 88.

The little "race" documentaries he pumps out are superfluous ego massages. No different than someone researching their own ancestry.

Not true and significant scholarship.

And by the way, I don't care how stressed a person is from travel, etc.....

Gates had all those tired meta-narratives and accusations inside his head, trigger-ready to spew at a moment's notice.

Similarly, you don't use epithets to describe groups of people so easily unless you're accustomed to doing it. This illustrates how an individual thinks.

The so-called anger is the trigger to what already exists.

Check out Gates in some of those YouTube videos.

His outdated dialogue.

He still disparages Duke in the most extreme his listeners the impression that the school is quite the opposite as we all know it to be.

Is Duke University really hostile to "minorities"?

What a joke!

This whole Lacrosse Hoax took place precisely because Gates' words are such total lies.

Review what we actually know to be facts.

The entire Duke campus and the administration cater to "minorities" nonstop.

At the expense of authentic scholarship and reason.

Mary DBT Semans, a Duke heir, philanthropist, and ever-present force has always bent over backward to make the campus anything but what Gates described when he taught there for a short time.

Duke had not yet turned the place into a haven for what Gates intended......along the lines of Cornel West rap CD's and floating "phalli".

No doubt, Mary Semans would have offered Gates one of her own daughters if she had had one left and he had asked.

After all, one of her daughters is already married to a black man.

There would have been anything but a "hostile and racist" atmosphere at Duke such as Gates is fond of describing.

My senses tell me that with John Hope Frankln very much around at the time, a building named in his honor, and an entire department of study devoted to him.....Gates could not have run the show and have been the "Big Daddy" as he would have liked.

That scenario is the most plausible one.

He went north where he was able to cop a better deal at the time.