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Stupid Is as Stupid Does: Obama Chimes in on Gates Arrest

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ShinyTop, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    Of course I do! He's empowered by his community with a gigantic amount of power--up to and including lethal force. Of course he has a responsibility to use that power legally and appropriately, and in accordance with the law. He's a police officer, a public servant.
    The abuse was in public only because the officer insisted that it be in public. He intentionally and deliberately got Gates out on the porch in order to arrest him. There would have been no public abuse if not for Crowley's own decision, before there was any public abuse, to make the arrest.
    This is just silly baiting on your part, Shiny. Of course physical abuse, or any kind of physical resistance, is completely beyond the limit. I said as much already in the tased grandma thread. It's a crime, and it should be, to physically abuse or attack an officer (or anyone else). It's not a crime (and shouldn't be) to speak rudely or meanly to an officer.
    It doesn't really matter how rude the words are. The officer has to keep his temper and act legally and appropriately, or if he can't he should find another line of work.
    A target for mean words? That's part of the job. "Sticks and stones," remember? If we can teach that to little children, we certainly should be able to teach that to professional officers of the law, public servants, armed with lethal and less-lethal weapons and the power of arrest.

    I can't put you in jail for saying mean things to me, Shiny. I can punch you in the mouth for doing so, but I don't have a legal right to do that, and a police officer, on the job, has even less of a right to do either of those things.

    Let's say that Gates called Crowley a racist. That may be hurtful, it may be mean, it may be rude. It's not against the law, and it's not grounds for arrest, and I really don't think you or anyone here would want to live in a world where it would be. That's not a democratic society.

    We can go back and forth forever about the moral dimensions of Gates' actions. But legally, he was within his rights and should not have been arrested. I've said again and again that I think Gates acted during the event like an asshole. But police officers, when on the job, do have a higher responsibility. Their job is (partly) to deal with assholes or people who are acting like assholes.

    I think you've worked customer service or tech support before? (I may be mis-remembering--forgive me if I am). In any case, anyone (including me) who has worked with the public has experienced rude and obnoxious treatment. It's part of the job. We have the right to walk away, we have the right to hang up, we have the right to protest or complain or deny service in a commercial establishment to assholes. We have the right to respond in other ways, too. But we do not have the right to put handcuffs on someone and take him to jail just because he is being rude and insulting.

    That's where Crowley went wrong--he abused his power, a power given to him by the citizens (including Gates), simply because he was personally insulted. That's stupid (as Obama said, and was right to say).

    I get it. Probably better than you. I just disagree.
  2. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    You have forgotten the primary rule in any situation and that is maintain control at all times. Gates did not allow this. Regardless of the situation at hand, Crowley was within his rights AND duty to arrest Gates in order to maintain control. It was by the book, was within the confines of Crowley's duties, and regardless of what you may think, was perfectly legal in the situation at hand.
  3. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    In response to these claims, let me quote my esteemed colleague, Mr. S. Top:


    See how illuminating that was?

    Actually, on further thought, I do need to clarify what I said above a bit--there are some words which should instantly trigger an arrest, even without any physical action. If someone says to a police officer words that are clearly a physical threat or a predicate to physical action ("I'm going to punch you in the face" or "I'm going to shoot you" or similar), then I think the police officer is perfectly justified, morally and legally, in making an arrest. He doesn't have to wait for the action to actually happen before taking steps to prevent it--he certainly doesn't have to allow himself to be punched in the face or shot.

    But the words in that instance have to clearly and transparently indicate an intention to attack physically. I realize that that determination will sometimes be a bit subjective, and that police officers do have to be able to stop physical violence before it occurs.

    In Gates' case, though, even relying only on Crowley's report, there was never the slightest hint of such language. Gates never said anything that Crowley found to be a threat of physical violence, he never indicated any intention to resist physically or to attack Crowley. Crowley himself never, at any time, reported that Gates did any such thing.

    If Gates had made physical threats, even verbal ones, or behaved or spoke in a manner which indicated an intention or threat to attack or resist physically, Crowley would have been completely right to arrest him, even if the physical attack hadn't yet happened.

    Of course none of that is the case here.
  4. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Actually in that one word post I was quoting quite a few of your posts, Joe. Of course I was able to sum them to one word!:)
  5. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    You're pithy like that. It's admirable. :)
  6. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Last post and a verdict

    At least from me for what it is worth.

    Having read over 300 posts on this matter, numerous editorials (this being the latest) and blogs, I've come to the conclusion:


    1. Crowley was within his rights and followed protocol and procedures.

    2. Crowley was stubborn and while he was within his rights, he could have walked away. That was always an option. He could have apologized and walked. Gates could have said and yelled all he wants. As someone who has seen NYPD work here, they've faced MUCH worse.

    3. I also believe that Crowley's arrogance of his background in his teaching and his belief that no matter what transpires, he will be backed by the people and his department. Those two things allowed this issue to go further than it had to.


    1. Was right to get upset. No matter how the whole situation came to be, after having to grow up as a black man in a racist America (he did go through the sixties, the seventies, and even the eighties) and his reaction was an over-reaction based on that.

    2. Speaking of reactions, it was a knee-jerk reaction. It left very little for debate. When faced with issues of white on black racism, Blacks (and their Liberal white friends) tend to forget that there are two sides of the coin.

    3. Could have also shut his trap, didn't even need to apologize, and just walked inside his house. His arrogance of being a high profiled Harvard professor had him believing that he was going to raise the issue all the way to the president.

    Unfortunately, this whole incident had little to do with race but a lot to do with CLASS. As in, I am a white collar professor and you are just a cop. But Black and Liberal America can not see past the race issue. It's the first thing they cite.


    1. Really unprofessional of him to react the way he did in the healthcare press conference. Not only did this reflect from what he was trying to push, he indirectly had to apologize for this.

    2. His beer summit was a good way to try and put this under the rug.

    3. I never want to see that from a President again. I don't care what party he is coming from.
    1 person likes this.
  7. cmhbob

    cmhbob Did...did I do that? Staff Member

    How can you say he was right to get upset?

    Crowley got a report of someone possibly breaking in to a house. Crowley arrived, and found someone in the house. Crowley then tried to ID that person, and got called a racist. Crowley was perfectly within his duty to ask Gates for ID, which is what set Gates off.

    Might interest you to know that it's not at all uncommon for a bad guy to try and intimidate an officer out of dealing with him, much as Gates did. Women will claim sexism or some other thing. They're trying to intimidate the cop away from further discussion about the real issue.
  8. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    It's his home. I'd be upset if someone alleged that I was breaking in to someone else's. Wouldn't you? Please don't read too much in to it. Gates would have been upset if a Black cop came over or an Asian one or any other Cop. It's the immediate feeling of someone thinking you are a criminal.
  9. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Nope.. I'd thank the officer for responding, provide the information he asked for, and shake his hand as he left.
  10. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    I don't know what I would do. I wasn't there, I didn't hear what Crowley said (as opposed to what he said he said). It could have been Gates over-reacted, but I'd rather err on the side of human emotions.
  11. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    That wasn't alleged. He was questioned on whether it was his home. The identification he provided did not meet the burden of proof required under law, hence the need to investigate further.
  12. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    And hence him getting upset. People are different, varied, diverse. It's not a Pie Chart.
  13. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    I have faced an police officer thinking I was in the wrong and I cooperated fully with his questions and instructions until he was satisfied and had lowered his pistol.
  14. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Fantastic for you and for anyone else who wants to repeat the same thing. This forum is full of either Police officers or their sympathizers. I am one of those people as well.

    However, let me repeat: People are different, varied, diverse. It's not a Pie Chart.
  15. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Isn't that a bit irrelevant? No matter what one's status in society is, there must be a simple common denominator when faced with confrontation by law enforcement. That is to simply comply, so long as the request is legal and justified. That was absolutely the situation in this case. It's a choice anyone can make, under any circumstance, but when it comes time to pony up for that choice, fuck the whining, you need to do the time...or have a beer with the president. ;)
  16. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    He didn't comply, he was arrested. Charges dropped. Did I say he did the right thing? The most appropriate of all reactions?

    Of course not.

    Was he right to be upset? Yes, in my opinion. Did he take his emotions too far? I would think so because I would not if I was in his place. However, he did.
  17. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Apparently, that makes both of us smarter than a Harvard professor. I'm pretty sure that I'd be annoyed too, but I doubt I'd be dumbass enough to hand them a non standard ID in an attempt to escalate the situation and ultimarely play the race card.
  18. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Most College people are not street smart if you want to get in to details. I wouldn't hang them by the balls for it though. :)
  19. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Why? If he was upset that the police were called, his anger was misdirected then. I'd be happy that my neighbors were looking out for my place. Unless, of course, it was a regular occurrence, which I don't think is the case here.
  20. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    FOLKS GET OFF IT ALREADY. HE GOT UPSET like I am about to here because you are too stubborn and buffoonish to understand that NOT EVERYONE IS LIKE YOU!


    "Why? Why was he upset!"
    "I never get upset, why should he?"
    "I masturbate when I am upset, why doesn't everyone else?"
    "I dress in women's clothing when I get upset and when the cops come I just behave!"

    For the love of God he got upset, he paid for it, MOVE THE FUCK ON!

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