Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Most Effective Response to the Gates - Gate

Kudos to dadvocate51 at Alexandria for posting this clip.

I wouldn't normally post this clip after the most recent blog. However, my article here has generated 15 comments (so far) and my post at Alexandria is up to 7 comments. I think people want to talk about this issue, and it can be a part of a larger discussion. However, after watching Mrs. King on this clip, is there really any serious belief that Officer Crowley is a racist?


the anonymous guy said...


Cops saying that another cop did no wrong.

You never see that.

Andy D said...

So you don't trust these officers either?

the anonymous guy said...

So you're saying, I guess, that you *would have* trusted all the Boston cops who "didn't see nothin'" after they beat the brains out of a fellow (oh yeah African American) officer? They would never lie, right?

But, to your question: no, of course I don't trust the word of cops simply at face value--especially when they're defending one of their own. I want hard evidence.

Plus, we already know Crowley was lying or mistaken about some of the "racial" stuff in the case, and your cops were there backing him up on those lies/misrepresentations. And, remember, the 911 caller told these same cops *three times* that she thought maybe the guy in the house actually lived there. So the cops already have credibility issues on this.

But there are wider, completely well-documented reasons not to trust cops when they're defending another cop against accusations.

Google "blue wall of silence" or "blue code of silence."

Andy D said...

What lies or mistakes have you seen from Officer Crowley and the other officers?

As far as the 911 caller telling him that she thought Gates may live there, Crowley stated that when he began talking with Gates he thought either Gates didn't live there, or there could be two other individuals in the house that Gates didn't know about. How is either of those issues race related?

the anonymous guy said...

Crowley said the caller told him to look for "two black males." He was either lying or remembered something that didn't happen. Details here.

Anyway, here's another clip of trustworthy cops. I trust *everything* they say, just like the ones on your clip.

Andy D said...

So because the 911 dispatcher didn't describe the race of the two men that the police thought broke into Gates home there is some great conspiracy? Really, you have to have something better than that when you allege a conspiracy against a private citizen. That's just silly Anonymous.

the anonymous guy said...

No, Andy. You're not even reading the basic reporting on this case. And you misunderstood my post (which could easily be my fault).

Go read what Crowley wrote in the report and compare it to what the original 911 caller actually said to Crowley at the scene. Crowley either lied about it by injecting race into it, or was coincidentally mistaken.

Then compare what Crowley wrote in the report to what Gates is saying. Somebody is not telling the truth.

And, btw, do you trust the Boston Police Officer who called Professor Gates a "jungle monkey" today? Would you have trusted him yesterday?

Andy D said...

I have done a number of searches tonight on what the 911 caller said and on what Crowley said. I really don't see anything that sounds racist to me on either of their parts, and I don't see any great conspiracy or intentional lies between their statements. I wouldn't expect their memories of the events to coincide 100%.

I also have been searching for Gates statements on what happened. I posted this link back at the other post, but here it is again. This just doesn't sound right to me. Do you really believe Gates simply followed Officer Crowley out onto the porch and out of no where the police decided to arrest him? That doesn't make any sense.

I don't know what you're talking about with the Jungle Monkey comment. Please don't post a link to it here, I don't want that kind of story linked to this site in any way. I am sure people can find it by googleing it.

the anonymous guy said...

From WCVB Boston:

Boston Police Officer Justin Barrett wrote in a mass email, "(Gates') first priority should be to get off the phone and comply with police, for if I was the officer he verbally assaulted like a jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC deserving of his belligerent non-compliance."

If this cop had maced Gates, and not said "jungle monkey," would you recognize him as a racist?

Would you have recognized this officer as racist before he sent this email?

Also, I love it that you say Crowley couldn't have done what Gates said, b/c that simply wouldn't make any sense. That's exactly the point, bro.

Just like macing the professor in the face, just like making up elaborate stories to frame a motorist you hit with your patrol car, or like white Boston cops beating a black cop's brains out for no reason--cops sometimes do stupid stuff that "doesn't make sense."

But, for Andy, if a cop is accused of doing something that doesn't make sense, it apparently means they're innocent.

Andy D said...

Two different issues here. First, with respect to Gates and Crowley's competing stories: They are very similar. Gates makes the claim the Officer Crowley, in front of a number of other officers of different ethnic backgrounds, arrested him for no reason what so ever. When you have competing stories, you have to decide what passes the smell test. Does this story sound like it rings true to you?

I don't assume a cop is telling the truth if they are accused of something that doesn't make sense. I look at the other factors. What are others who were also there saying? What competing stories are out there? How truthful do each of these stories sound?

Now the part you are going to really love: If the two stories sound equal, I give the cop the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because the cop puts his or her life on the line to enforce the laws of the land. They never know which person they talk to during a work day might try and kill them. They are willing to do a job I am not willing to do, and for that they earn my respect. We are asked to give the accused the benefit of the doubt until they receive their day in court. I am willing to do the same to police officers.

Andy D said...

Second: The nature of racism. First, does a single comment make a person a racist? You've called this officer a racist based on this one email. Would you also so Judge Sotomayor is a racists because she believes latina women make better decisions than white men? Does a single comment make a person a racists, or is it a combined effort of a number of actions and beliefs?

I am hesitant to call any person a racists simply because of one isolated remark. Now, if this officer had a number of emails like this, and had a history of abusing a particular group when they had no recourse to protect themselves, I would say you are probably right.

Kevin said...

So you don't trust the cops.
2 comments for you then.

1) don't call them. Not if you get your house broken into. If you get in a wreck. I think you should also ignore them when they pull you over. Perhaps don't even pay your taxes.

2) Cops are a government run agency. You don't trust them to safely and equitably do their job. How is it that you will trust them (government) to run our health care?

Andy D said...

Pack, I think point number two is a very excellent question. If we can trust police to be color blind when enforcing the law, how do we trust the government to be color blind when deciding what procedures they will and won't pay for?

the anonymous guy said...

Anybody recognize themselves in this analysis?

Andy D said...

Nope, and I am not sure I even recognize the environment Rich describes. He seems quite happy to pull a comment here or there out of context and throwing his own meaning behind it.

Brandon said...

Anonymous guy,

In various articles about the Gates-Crawley debacle, it has been mentioned that several homes in the neighborhood had been burglarized. I would say that it is possible that those suspects could be black and so the sergeant assumed that is who was breaking into the Gates home.

It's also entirely possible that the sergeant thought he heard the witness say the suspects were black. Anytime you respond to a crime in progress call it's highly chaotic & it's hard to remember exactly what happened when you're writing your report.

Kevin said...

An opinion piece? Really!?? I am disapointed. After all the hussy fits you've thrown after Andy posts a link to one you do the same.

I'll comment on it more later.

the anonymous guy said...

Geez, Brandon. So you're saying that since Crowley *could have theoretically* heard of black people breaking into neighborhood houses, therefore it makes sense that he thought this other black guy might be a criminal.

Dude, that's exactly the kind of *racial profile* thinking that a lot of us are really pissed off about.

It's weird that some of you still don't get that, after all the talk about this incident.

Andy D said...

What if this had gone the other way? What if Crowley had assumed the man he found in Dr. Gates house lived there, and it turned out to be a theif. Would that have been a better outcome?

Let's also take a step back. Whether Gates was profiled or not, the worst that happened to him was that he may have been embarrassed for a bit. He wasn't shot, beaten, or treated roughly when the police got him away from his house. If this is racism, which most of the left seems to want to paint it as, then it is the most tame form of racism I have ever seen.

Kevin said...

Now Andy that is a dumb comment. Racism is racism regardless of the severity.

I understand racial profiling is wrong. I also think it does happen. Did that happen in this case? I don't think so. Did the cop write in the report black? Yes. Does that make it a race issue? No. Was he not arrested for disorderly conduct? Something happened during and/or after the questioning and verification of his place of living that caused the cop to arrest him for disorderly conduct. Lots of people get arrested for disorderly conduct daily.

Should the cop have stayed calm and try to defuse the situation? Yes. Should Gates have stayed calm and not jumped to conclusion? Yes. Should the President kept his mouth shut? Yes. Should the press stop trying to make this a Rosa Parks size issue. Yes.

Anonymous you ask why people can't understand why a lot of you are angry about this racial profiling. I think that is a valid question and a valid thought. I think a lot of people do have that problem. I want to ask you though can you understand why they might not understand it. I mean if you look at it simply a guy got pissed off and acted like a fool, disorderly conduct, to a cop and got arrested. Then it becomes a race issue. They wonder why it seems to them anytime a black person gets questioned/stopped/arrested by a white cop it is racial profiling?

As for racial profiling. You ever do a double look when you see a guy in an airport that looks middle eastern?

Kevin said...

I think the opinion piece from the NYT brings up an interesting point. I think it does miss label things. As I tried to point out in my previous post this is one of the things that makes whites angry. They act a certain way and it is considered racist.

What the guy is trying to say is this is a reaction from whites that are worried about the change in the status quo and their resistance to that is racist. Yes I think people with power are worried about losing that power. Regardless of race people with power don't want to give that up. The more millionaires there are the less prestigious that is. So the more people that get millions the less power the ones that had millions have. The truth is that whites had money. Now people of other color are getting millions too and they are getting mad that more are getting millions and it is looked at as being racist. Just like the south is looked at as being racist because they voted for McCain rather than Obama. Is there not another reason for this than race? I think race is just an easy fall back reason that people know work so they use it.

Andy D said...

Nonsense. I simply wish to put this in context. I don't think he was profiled, and I don't think he was the victim of racism. I also think we should take a step back and look at what was done to Dr. Gates with fresh eyes. Look at what has earned police officers headlines in the past when they have stepped out of line. This doesn't even come close. Gates was arrested on his front porch, then hand cuffed in a "comfortable manner" and taken to jail. No brutality, no police beating. I think you could make the case that he may have let Gates get to him, but that is it.

the anonymous guy said...

Pack, it sounds to me like you at least understand why some folks are worried about profiling, even if you don't agree with their level of concern. I respect that.

And, sure, I have "that feeling" about people who look Middle Eastern in the airport. When I feel that, I think about my Middle Eastern (and a few south american!) friends who have been profiled, including a young couple, sunday school teachers, who were moving to the united states, were illegally deported after arriving in the U.S. not long after 9/11, had their visa canceled, after they had sold their home and quit their jobs overseas. No reason given, Homeland Security laughed at their lawyer who was trying to get to the airport before they were deported: "you'll never get here in time," the agent said. So I think of that in the airport.

Or I think about how thankful I am that so many people of color don't assume that I'm like the white racists who have treated them badly.

My own gut-level prejudices against dark skinned people are bad enough. But they are really dangerous in law enforcement officers, and as acts of national policy (see: special registration program).

At the same time, I don't think we can know for sure how big a role "race" played in the Gates/Crowley incident. However, it very clearly fits a couple of classic and familiar racist patterns. And to hear people deny that is partly what seemed so strange to many of us.

the anonymous guy said...

Good, fair, perspective on the particular recent history of Harvard in the Gates/Crowley thing.

P.S. I once heard a white guy rail at Spike Lee for teaching a film class at Harvard "instead of" teaching black students. Spike, befuddled, said something like, "you don't think there are black students at Harvard?" Somehow, that never occurred to the guy...

Brandon said...

anonymous guy,

The far more likely reason for the 911 caller being mistakenly cited as stating the offenders were black would be due to the sergeant mistakenly believing that was what she told him upon his arrival.

I never said that Sgt. Crawley thought Gates was a criminal. I stated that if the burglary crew was two black men, it would make sense for the sergeant to assume that the two men breaking into the Gates home might be black. It has nothing to do with profiling, it's about doing your job right and reading the crime reports for incidents that occur in your area and paying attention to the suspect descriptions.

Kevin said...

That is an interesting piece. The important thing I think he hit on was it was small little things here and there really do add up.

I was thinking the other day as I was talking to my real estate agent. We are trying to sell our house. It is not going well. So we are thinking about renting. As she was explaining to me about renting and reviewing applicants a thought came to mind that I should share with you to explain the other side of things.

I feel that I have to be careful of who I deny renting too. I will, of course, review credit scores and do all that background checks. However, if I deny somebody due to credit and they happen to be black I could be labeled a racist and taken to court. I would probably win but I don't have the money to defend myself. So do I just give in and let a less qualified person in just to avoid the trouble?
Does that make sense?

I really do think racism happens. I just wish people would see that it does happen the other way as well and that if we bend ourself over backwards to make sure we are not being racist or to correct past wrongs we have done nothing to correct the problem. In fact I would say the rules to keep things fair have caused racist like behavior to develop in some people.