Friday, July 24, 2009

He Did Act Stupidly

Was the arrest of Henry Gates Louis, Jr. by Cambridge police an act of racial profiling? That remains to be seen, and I think is actually not the crux of the case here.

The officer is speaking to Boston media outlets defending himself; it was noted that he performed CPR on Reggie Lewis once (performing CPR on a black person makes you not racist?) and taught a course on racial profiling.

I would be pissed if I were Professor Gates for getting hassled for walking into your own home. So his anger is understandable. And his belief that the thus-far anonymous phone call to the police about a black man breaking into a house was probably a case of racism.

But here is the core of it. Once it became clear that Professor Gates owned that house, that it was not breaking and entering, the police should have apologized and left. Instead, Gates was arrested for "disorderly conduct" because he was an asshole to a police office? That is inexcusable. The Cambridge police did act stupidly, as President Obama noted. Not to single out this specific incident or officer; but I'm sure many of us have experience with police officers who act like assholes or act above the law, and fuck with everyday citizens. Well this could have been an outstanding officer, as it has said, but arresting someone in their own home for yelling at you is wrong. Being an asshole is not a crime. If it was, Sgt Crowley would be in jail.

Similar sentiments at Thomas Jefferson St Blog

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