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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:04 PM
Original message
Report: Harvard Scholar Gates' Arrest Avoidable
Source: CBS/AP

BOSTON, June 30, 2010
Report: Harvard Scholar Gates' Arrest Avoidable

"Certain Degree of Fear" Between Black Scholar, White Cop Led to Arrest that Fueled Debate on Race Relations, Panel Says

CBS/AP) Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the police sergeant who arrested him last July after a confrontation outside his home both missed opportunities to "ratchet down" the situation and end things more calmly, according to a review of the case released Wednesday.

The independent review said "misunderstandings and failed communications" and a "certain degree of fear" each man had for the other led to the six-minute dispute that ended with the renowned black scholar being arrested by the veteran white Cambridge police sergeant.

Sgt. James Crowley arrested Gates for disorderly conduct at his Cambridge home July 16 while investigating a possible burglary. Gates alleged he was a victim of racial profiling. Charges were later dropped.


The conflict sparked a national debate on race relations, and President Barack Obama invited both men to the White House for a "beer summit," where Obama and Vice President Joe Biden sat down with the two men for a drink at a table on a White House lawn.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/30/national/main...
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geek tragedy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:06 PM
Response to Original message
1. The cop was afraid of Henry Gates?
I bet Sammy Davis Jr would have terrified him.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. You know, one of those guys was a professional on the clock
and the other guy was a jet lagged, disabled person, with two suitcases and the flu.

How the f is the blame shared here?

Unbelievable.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. Gates agreed to make nice. He got the platform for discussing how race was involved
over and above other factors like the fact that it was Barnie vs. townie and trust me, in the Cambridge area there are a lot of negative feelings towards Barnies (Harvard-affiliated people and other academics)because of their superior attitudes towards the mostly blue collar natives.

I think Gates made the strategic move to smooth out ruffled feathers in public because the incident DID get considerable attention and prompted more discussion on race locally.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Oh, I think that's exactly how it went down. And this report
is ridiculous. You can't hold both parties equally responsible for a 6 minute event when one of them had all the weapons.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. And don't forget he was in his own home which he proved
to the rogue cop.

No way the blame is shared. But that's how it goes now when they cannot defend the actions of cops. 'Both were to blame'.

Everyone should remember that the next time a cop accuses you of not living in your home, then when you prove you actually do and ask him to please leave, he arrests you. It's YOUR fault also! What a country! For cops that is, they can do NO wrong, even when they do.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. This is the mayor's email address if you want to pass your take along.
mayor@cambridgema.gov

His name is Maher.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Thanks, I'll do that ~ n/t
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hughee99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #12
19. The cop responded to a report of a break in
After Gates proved he lived there, the cop would know Gates wasn't breaking in, but he didn't know if someone else had broken in and was perhaps in the house. Just because Gates can prove he lives in the house doesn't mean the cop needs to leave, unless he can get the eyewitness who made the report to identify Gates as they person they saw trying to "break in".

If someone had broken into the house before Gates arrival, and the cop had left after talking to Gates (lets assume everything was perfectly civil), and then the intruder attacked Gates in his own home after the cop left, the cop would be in trouble for not doing his job.

As I understand it, the cop's job was to figure out who broke into the house, and if they were still there. Simply knowing that Gates owns the house, and is now at home doesn't answer those questions.

The cop could have handled it better. Gates could have too.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. Nope, The witness said in the 911 call that the two might might be residents.
She didn't say she was sure she was watching a break in.

There was no certainty at any point that there had been a break in.
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hughee99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. MIGHT be residents?
So a cop is called for what may or may not be a break-in. Knowing that Gates is the owner and is at home doesn't change any of that. It still might be a break in, how is the officer to know? For that matter, unless Gates searched his house after coming home, how is he to know if anyone is hiding in the house. Had there been a break in with the intruder hiding in the house, and the police talked to Gates and then left, people would be yelling about how the police didn't protect him.

Here's the call...
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/item_1llqzVbjNMc0... ;jsessionid=5E1B09DE6AE86804CE02F8129EE8D05C
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Arresting the homeowner seems like a fairly stupid response to a breakin.
No?
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hughee99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. I don't think he was arrested for breaking in...
I'm not arguing that the cop was right, just that determining Gates owns the house doesn't mean the officer is done, and that Gates could have also handled himself better than he did.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. I don't think he was arrested for breaking in either.
He was arrested for not being polite to the cop. That is not actually a crime. Cops in this country need to grow up and get a clue about the fact that that is not a crime. Everybody will be happier, lots of public money will be saved, the President will not have to intervene.
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #24
34. He was arrested for being not "respecting" the cop
Even after Mr. Gates proved who he was. A person has a right to not kiss a cop's ass, when that person is a homeowner, in his own home, who has done nothing wrong and has proven the cop that. The cop made sure he had gates in "public" getting upset, so he could arrest hm.

Cops lose their tempers all the time and abuse their authority. It makes me sick.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. Knowing Gates is the resident should have prevented the arrest
but Jim Crow was too busy throwing his weight around

And Dr. Gates didn't need to be "protected" with an arrest.
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hughee99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 07:55 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. I'm not arguing he should have been arrested
just that Gates could have handled himself better, and that knowing Gates is the resident doesn't necessarily end the police visit (regardless of his race).
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 07:06 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. Baloney. Any of us, black or not, would have become angry under the same circumstances,
A man who has every reason to believe the same incident would never have occurred if he were a well-known, well-respected white Harvard Professor in Harvard's home town had even more reason to become angry. I'm amazed Gates did not kick CROWley's ass out of his hom after showing him two forms of photo ID with his address did not end the matter. then again, Gates wass much older, mmore tired, more sick, more crippled, and much more civilized than Jim CROWley.
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hughee99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #29
37. I'm not saying he didn't have a reason to be angry
but I think "You're not responding to me because I'm a black man and you're a white officer" certainly didn't help the situation any. You know what always makes a confrontation with the police go well? Calling them racists.
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:38 AM
Response to Reply #27
35. BS -- it does end the cop treating gates as a suspect
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 06:57 AM
Response to Reply #19
28. Fail. Your comment does not fit. On seeing two forms of photo ID with Gates's address,
the cop did not apologize and explain and tell Gates that he (the cop) needed to search the home and grounds to make sure Gates was safe. The cop did none of that. Instead, he called in the Harvard University police and kept insisting Gates should step outside. And, as soon as Gates complied, he arrested him. Not a single thing was done to see if someone else had broken in.

And, it was the cop who changed his report. Gates never changed his story. Also, the cop is the one TRAINED not to escalate> It's part of his job obligation. Not so of someone being provoked for no apparent reason in his own home, even after he proves he has every right to be there. Finally, this cop was known to locals well before this as "Jim CROWley." Wonder why?
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #28
36. Yup, he wanted him outside so he could arrest him
For being a nuisance.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:06 PM
Response to Original message
2. Link to full report (pdf) here:
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 07:09 AM
Response to Reply #2
30. Would that be the third version of the report, or were there even more?
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Diane R Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:18 PM
Response to Original message
3. Both these men have handled this with dignity. Kudos to our President for bringing them together.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. I don't applaud Obama for making everything everything.
This was a bad arrest and now that Crowley has been rewarded for his bad behavior, he has zero reason to change it.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 07:15 AM
Response to Reply #3
31. Obama had a public relations problem to deal with because he knee jerk critiized the cop, without.
investigation. I agree with Obama that the cop was wrong. However, the cops' union and cops around the country were damn angry. .
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Chakab Donating Member (102 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:25 PM
Response to Original message
6. That incident wasn't necessarily just a
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 02:30 PM by Chakab
racial thing. It's more about authoritarianism. Crowley arrested Gates because the professor talked backed him. End of story. This is the reason that I keep my distance from cops. There are several that think they have the right to do whatever they want to you if you don't deal with them while conducting yourself in an obsequious manner.

I will say that it was a bit unnerving for me to see Dr. Gates get arrested for disorderly conduct in his own home around the same time that all of those tea party freaks were acting like animals and threatening elected officials at town hall meetings with impunity.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Well, racism is all about power, isn't it? And that happened to me, too.
Here were the tea klanners all over the place, threatening the president and showing up in public with guns, and there was Dr. Gates just trying to come home from a trip.

Unreal.
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Chakab Donating Member (102 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Yes, racism is about power.
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 02:39 PM by Chakab
Growing up as a black kid in predominately white suburbs in Texas I was also involved in similar incidents, but I think that it's important to take note of the authoritarianism and machismo in police culture that's not necessarily rooted in racism. I've been hassled and insulted by black cops as well as white ones. I've also seen some of my white friends get arrested for arguing with police officers without even raising their voices.

I just think that it's unfortunate that most people ignore this type of conduct on the part of the police unless they are on the receiving end.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Agreed. Authoritarian behavior doesn't really register with a lot of people
until it gets physical in some way. And that's much too late to stem its influence on our society.

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. Btw, welcome to DU, Chakab.
Sorry for my bad manners. :hi:
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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
14. Interesting how they miss the vastly unequal "power relationship"


What we've got here is... failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it... well, he gets it. I don't like it any more than you men.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. That's pretty much what I told the Mayor Maher.
What a farce.
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pinboy3niner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:01 AM
Response to Reply #14
33. Your coment goes to the heart of it
In an "unequal power relationship" blame CANNOT be shared equally. It is the person in authority who bears the burden of responsibility for managing the incident and de-escalating the situation (as police are trained to do). The outcome, as the report observes, was avoidable--but for that, the person in authority bears the responsibility, not "both" parties.

It's unfortunate that this report, in finding "both" men to blame, misses the opportunity for a real "teachable moment" for the police on the burden of their authority and responsibility.

I wouldn't go so far as to call for dismissal of Sgt. Crowley. Cops are human, and they make mistakes like this. An appropriate management response would be a reprimand to correct the officer and reinforce the Department's standards and expectations for proper police conduct.
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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 03:40 PM
Response to Original message
17. FYI - Democracy Now - It's about Class (and "Race")
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 03:40 PM by ProudDad
CHARLES OGLETREE: Well, the real summation is that the hero in all this is Lucia Whalen, the woman who called 911 when there was a report she is the hero because of three things. The first thing, if you listen closely, she never presumed the guilt of Professor Gates. She said, I see two gentlemen on the porch, they might have left their key, they might live there or work there. That doesnt sound like a burglary. She reports that they brought two suitcases. Ive been a lawyer for over 30 years; I dont ever remember a client in any criminal case bringing suitcases full of clothing to a burglary. Now taking them from a burglary I mean, it could be clearer, right? She never, ever, ever, ever, ever said that the people who were barging in the door were black and wearing backpacks, but thats in Sgt. Crowleys report.

And the other thing, that I think youve covered, that people need to read in this book, is that Professor Gates provided his Harvard ID that has his photograph on it, it says, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Officer Harvard University. He provided his drivers license that has his photograph on it, his address, and that hes a valid driver. What more can a citizen do? And what I worry about is that people focus on Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the esteemed Harvard University Professor, and not focus on the fact: what would they feel like when someone comes to their house, suspects them of a burglary and they produce ID in their own house?

But heres the point Sgt. Crowley probably could have arrested him. Arrest him if you think he has committed a burglary, well settle later. He could have searched the house if he thought burglars were there, he didnt do that. This whole thing took six minutes, from start to finish, and Gates did everything he could to prove that he was who he said he was. The officer still was defiant. And thats why Gates says, Call the Harvard University police they know me.

You cant ask for a citizen doing more than he did, and dont judge him by the fact that he is a successful African-American in this nice house and nice neighborhood who loves the police. Professor Gates loves police. He says, like everybody else, these criminals get these criminals out of my neighborhood, out of my restaurant, away from my car. He loves the police. He couldnt imagine this would happen to him.

And thats why Im talking about class, and not just crime. He did say, Do you know who I am? Right, well obviously, the officer didnt, thats why he locked him up, right? But the reality is that he thought he had achieved a status in his own community that police would at least call, call the Harvard University Police. Theres a guy here who says hes Henry Louis Gates, Jr., do you know him? Yes, Sergeant, we know him hes a neighbor, hes a friend, hes a professor, hes a good guy. None of that happened.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/30/ogletree
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
20. The cop should be fired.
If you carry a gun and have a monopoly on the right to use force, you are NOT ALLOWED to get all emotional, angry, scared, etc. With authority goes responsibility. The notion that Gates was a "threat" to anybody is fatuous.
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 07:22 AM
Response to Original message
32. This is EXACTLY..
... why the police in this country are losing the faith of the people.

It's not that the idiot officer had to flaunt his power with a completely unjustifiable arrest, that happens ALL THE TIME.

It's that the department WILL NOT ADMIT he was OUT OF LINE.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
38. This incident was about both race AND class. Opportunity lost to discuss the latter. nt
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Fastcars Donating Member (121 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. I agree that race played a part...
In the arrest. But I think it is more a matter of a civilian daring to tell the cop to "get the hell out of my house" when the cop didn't take care of his business and leave in a, if not cordial, at least civil manner.

As a young white man I came very close to going to jail on many occasions for not paying a cop what he considered proper respect. On the other hand, there were several occasions that I probably should have been run in that I didn't simply because I and the officer involved didn't have clash of personalities.

I don't know that the findings are saying that Gates did anything "wrong", just that he had opportunities to help diffuse the situation and chose not to take them. The cop was looking for a fight and Gates obliged.

The cop should have been disciplined. He is the one in the situation that, supposedly at least, is a professional with the training to keep the situation from escalating to the point it did.
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