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PamJH


Member

Posted Sun Jul 26th, 2009 2:05am Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
I've been interested in Professor Gates for some time and do admire some of his work. He was interviewed in Time magazine a while back and made some remarks that irritated me.That said, here's my experience (which I know is a bit different but parallels can be drawn).

I was locked out of my dorm room years ago, and decided to climb through a window (wish I was still that agile). Not five minutes later, a cop shows up and demands to see some ID. He'd seen me climb through the window himself.

I was scared and a bit indignant, too, because I thought the cop knew me. It was a very small town and I'd had to get a few students out of the soup with that same cop.

That meant nothing to him. He demanded ID, demanded to know why I'd crawled through the window instead of getting help and told me I should be keeping my windows locked at all times. I wanted to get belligerant but knew better. What good would it have done? And really, the man was simply doing his job.

I think if Prof. Gates hadn't gone spare on those cops, this might have turned out differently. If he'd calmly presented his ID and offered to find someone to back up his story, they'd probably have left him alone.

Here's that article from Time:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1877366,00.html

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Nitro


Member

Posted Sun Jul 26th, 2009 2:46pm Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
Hmm...I could've sworn that the police officer went into his home where he retrieved his wallet and ID...why would a burglar leave their wallet at the scene of a crime????

Really? Wow.

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PamJH


Member

Posted Sun Jul 26th, 2009 3:19pm Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
Hmm...I could've sworn that the police officer went into his home where he retrieved his wallet and ID...why would a burglar leave their wallet at the scene of a crime????

I wonder if the professor's attitude had more to do with it? I think a few things probably should have been done differently on both sides. Indignation is all well and good, but it serves no purpose when dealing with authorities, especially in circumstances such as this. if everyone had remained calm, I still believe it would have turned out differently.

And I"m sure I'm talking my way around an issue here. Maybe if I think about this for a bit, I can be more succinct.

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TobiasMonk


Moderator

Posted Sun Jul 26th, 2009 7:41pm Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home

I wonder if the professor's attitude had more to do with it? I think a few things probably should have been done differently on both sides. Indignation is all well and good, but it serves no purpose when dealing with authorities, especially in circumstances such as this. if everyone had remained calm, I still believe it would have turned out differently.

And I"m sure I'm talking my way around an issue here. Maybe if I think about this for a bit, I can be more succinct.

No I think you've got it right, though that's probably because I've said something similar

Tell us what should be done about it Nitro, srsly. I've already said that police protocols etc. need be changing, but what else?

Someone help me remember, who said "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"?

I cannot be awake for nothing looks to me as it did before, Or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep.
Walt Whitman

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ginj


Member *

Posted Sun Jul 26th, 2009 8:05pm Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
Hmm...I could've sworn that the police officer went into his home where he retrieved his wallet and ID...why would a burglar leave their wallet at the scene of a crime????
It all began before any positive ID was made, and escalated. How did they know that there really was ID showing him to be the homeowner, before entering into a dangerous situation? They were responding to a report of a crime in progress and found an uncooperative man on the premises.

Apparently Lord Acton said it. http://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&.....3Aofficial

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Maxx England


Member

Posted Sun Jul 26th, 2009 8:30pm Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
here's my experience (which I know is a bit different but parallels can be drawn).

I was locked out of my dorm room years ago, and decided to climb through a window (wish I was still that agile). Not five minutes later, a cop shows up and demands to see some ID. He'd seen me climb through the window himself.

I was scared and a bit indignant, too, because I thought the cop knew me. It was a very small town and I'd had to get a few students out of the soup with that same cop.

That meant nothing to him. He demanded ID, demanded to know why I'd crawled through the window instead of getting help and told me I should be keeping my windows locked at all times. I wanted to get belligerant but knew better. What good would it have done? And really, the man was simply doing his job.

I think he did have a point about the window being locked; if you could get in, then some fit male with a habit of taking what isn't offered could get in too.

I still can't help wondering if the police department in question modified it's training to include diplomatic probing as a method of eliciting information as an additional technique to be used where the assertive/aggressive approach is unsuitable or unnecessary, it would have avoided this whole rumbling mess.

The only way is forward. Now where's the bar?

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PamJH


Member

Posted Sun Jul 26th, 2009 9:05pm Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
here's my experience (which I know is a bit different but parallels can be drawn).

I was locked out of my dorm room years ago, and decided to climb through a window (wish I was still that agile). Not five minutes later, a cop shows up and demands to see some ID. He'd seen me climb through the window himself.

I was scared and a bit indignant, too, because I thought the cop knew me. It was a very small town and I'd had to get a few students out of the soup with that same cop.

That meant nothing to him. He demanded ID, demanded to know why I'd crawled through the window instead of getting help and told me I should be keeping my windows locked at all times. I wanted to get belligerant but knew better. What good would it have done? And really, the man was simply doing his job.

I think he did have a point about the window being locked; if you could get in, then some fit male with a habit of taking what isn't offered could get in too.

You should have heard what my father said after I told him about that. My ears still hurt. And every now and then he asks me if the windows are locked.

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TobiasMonk


Moderator

Posted Sun Jul 26th, 2009 9:16pm Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
I still can't help wondering if the police department in question modified it's training to include diplomatic probing as a method of eliciting information as an additional technique to be used where the assertive/aggressive approach is unsuitable or unnecessary, it would have avoided this whole rumbling mess.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I think all police depts. probably require that type of training for their people. The problem is that there's obviously a lot of wiggle room in the protocols, and in the laws we're using which allows police officers to use their own discretion. Unless these things are changed the sad reality of all this is will continue to be that police officers can make things very difficult for you if they choose to do so, and so we are ALL at the mercy of their discretion, like it or not.

Thanks Ginj!

I cannot be awake for nothing looks to me as it did before, Or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep.
Walt Whitman

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Nitro


Member

Posted Mon Jul 27th, 2009 3:36am Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home


Tell us what should be done about it Nitro, srsly. I've already said that police protocols etc. need be changing, but what else?

Someone help me remember, who said "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"?

Oh Tobi, I can't seriously tell any of you what should be done about it. It's a discussive thread and everyone has a viewpoint, including me. But that's all it is.

My viewpoint is that just because someone says to me a crime is going on, I'm not going to assume it's true in absence of evidence. And I find someone who's not acting like a burglar but rather the homeowner, also happens to be handicapped, and claims to be a Harvard professor well...yeah, I'd think that would constitute a calmer approach. I mean, this officer used the word 'tumultuous' in his progress report regarding the professor, and I can't help but wonder how often he actually ever uses that word in a week X-D I think the hours wore on and he got to thinking about potential repurcussions, he knew he'd HAVE to paint as poor a picture of the professors behavior as possible or he'd be reprimanded by his department in some manner. But I'm speculating, of course, which is not a fact of any kind.

I think many police do not know how to handle a private citizen questioning anything they do. The police aren't there just to protect, but to serve as well. Everyone. They're also not there to try the people in question. That's up to the courts. If a law is actually broken or being broken, it's their job to apprehend someone. He wasn't arresting gates for B&E. He was, IMHO, arresting him to prove a point. "Don't argue with me. I've got the badge."

And again, IMHO, that's abuse of ones position not an expression of it.

Really? Wow.

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ginj


Member *

Posted Mon Jul 27th, 2009 4:26am Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
Unfortunately in today's society when police are given information that a crime is taking place and are greeted by someone who is belligerent and uncooperative it may actually cost them their lives to relax enough to sit down for a cup of tea to discuss the matter. You are absolutely right they are not there to try the case, just to gather the facts unimpeded by people who uncooperative because they had a hard day. You assume that the behavior of the Professor has been somewhat embellished because it fits with the way you want to see this situation. However, it doesn't seem to fit the facts. But it does help to make it look like all cops are nothing more than big bullies, and that is really the point you are trying to make anyway.

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PamJH


Member

Posted Mon Jul 27th, 2009 5:06am Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
I need to ask my brother-in-law about this. He's a cop. Duh. I just thought of that.

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exoskeleton


Member

Posted Mon Jul 27th, 2009 7:14am Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
a little late in...I'm sorry for not paying attention and now being slow.

I remember reading the 10 Questions for Henry Louis Gates Jr. when it was in TIME. I didn't agree with all of his responses either. I mean, the guy is vastly more educated than me in general, and then on his specific area of expertise I truly know nothing.
I particularly resent his disparaging comments about the month of my birth!

here is a TIME article about his recent arrest:
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1912778,00.html
I am not sure that all will be able to see that, so here is the most pertinent sentence in my estimation:
"Most white, and some black, TV talking heads obviously believe that Gates was stupid if he actually exercised his constitutional right to say anything he felt like saying to a cop."
just because something is not prohibited by law does not make it a good course of action...just think of all the stupid legal behaviors that are possible!

however, the article makes the point that according to the police officer's report of the events, no actions taken by Professor Gates were grounds for arrest according to the disorderly conduct laws in Massachusetts. I don't know the details and all the different accounts but this seems significant because the officer has no motive to downplay or omit anything that could possibly be disorderly.

I wonder what Obama could have done differently given the way the question was posed to him. it would have been reasonable for him to point out that the purpose of the press conference was to discuss healthcare reform, but then I bet a lot of people would have been angry with him for staying silent. I think he could easily make the case retroactively that we're all better off if he doesn't establish a precedent of speaking so definitively on a controversial matter.

also...Harvard University seems to add a lot of cachet to the story. not going to get into a discussion about that being a whole different power struggle but will mention it in case anyone else does.
(mostly I kind of need to go to sleep.)

sockdolager.

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Nitro


Member

Posted Mon Jul 27th, 2009 8:55am Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
Unfortunately in today's society when police are given information that a crime is taking place and are greeted by someone who is belligerent and uncooperative it may actually cost them their lives to relax enough to sit down for a cup of tea to discuss the matter. You are absolutely right they are not there to try the case, just to gather the facts unimpeded by people who uncooperative because they had a hard day. You assume that the behavior of the Professor has been somewhat embellished because it fits with the way you want to see this situation. However, it doesn't seem to fit the facts. But it does help to make it look like all cops are nothing more than big bullies, and that is really the point you are trying to make anyway.

Everything in your post is ugly and accusatory towards my own character and motives and I will not answer it as it's presented.

Really? Wow.

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ginj


Member *

Posted Mon Jul 27th, 2009 1:09pm Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
The only thing that is "speculative," not accusatory, about my post is the assertion that you are trying to portray all police officers as bullies. And it isn't too far of a leap considering the fact that you say:
I think many police do not know how to handle a private citizen questioning anything they do. The police aren't there just to protect, but to serve as well. Everyone. They're also not there to try the people in question. That's up to the courts. If a law is actually broken or being broken, it's their job to apprehend someone. He wasn't arresting gates for B&E. He was, IMHO, arresting him to prove a point. "Don't argue with me. I've got the badge."
My comment about you assuming the report was embellished is taken from your own post.
I think the hours wore on and he got to thinking about potential repurcussions, he knew he'd HAVE to paint as poor a picture of the professors behavior as possible or he'd be reprimanded by his department in some manner. But I'm speculating, of course, which is not a fact of any kind.
All of my other comments are general comments about what a police officer may have to face on any given day.

I deny that there is anything accusatory in the post because I make no statements nor implications as to the correctness or incorrectness of your personal opinions or behavior. I simply responded to posts made in this thread. And despite your assertion that you wouldn't respond, you in fact did respond and responded in a way that was "ugly and accusatory" without any justification for same.

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TobiasMonk


Moderator

Posted Mon Jul 27th, 2009 5:24pm Post subject: Professor Gates arrested for being in his own home
I'd like to see some ID's because there have been some reports about disorderly debate. Nitro, have you got any concealed weapons you wanna tell me about? WTF...is that a net? X-D

I cannot be awake for nothing looks to me as it did before, Or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep.
Walt Whitman

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