Jul. 24th, 2009

tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
The definitive word on the Gates case

Highlights: (begin quotes)
Badge numbers are assigned for a reason, and Massachusetts requires its cops to carry ID cards for a reason: Cops can lie about their names, making it difficult or impossible for citizens to file complaints about their behavior after they've departed a scene. If every police officer was assumed to be honest and forthright in all instances, those laws wouldn't be on the books. What's more, there are a lot of people in the Boston area named Crowley, and a lot of them are police officers. Gates asked Crowley to comply with Massachusetts law by furnishing his full name and badge number, and all Crowley told him was that he was a sergeant and that his last name was Crowley. In other words, he did not comply with Gates' request.

Gates is clearly not a street walker, railer, or brawler. His language may have "accosted or annoyed" someone of the opposite sex—the only female whose presence at the scene was documented is Lucia Whalen, but we don't know how annoyed she was by Gates' comments. Gates was clearly not "idle," though he could be potentially be classified as "disorderly" or "disturbing the peace." The latter charge is dependent on Gates' being outside his house—presuming that his yelling wasn't audible on the street when he was inside—which would have been the case had Crowley not refused to fully identify himself to Gates unless Gates followed him outside. Whether one can be a "disorderly person" in one's own home isn't clear. But we suspect that if one could, then Crowley would simply have arrested Gates in his home.

What is clear is that the city of Cambridge has called the arrest "regrettable and unfortunate," and said that dropping the charges was "in the interests of justice." Crowley himself now says that he "regrets that I put the police department and the city in the position where they have to defend something like this." So if Crowley wasn't stupid, then what, exactly, does he regret?

(end of quotes)

As far as I'm concerned, if you're still defending the Cambridge Police here, you really ought to ask yourself why.


tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

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