Friday, July 24, 2009

Criminal, Not Stupid

Today is Friday, 24 July 2009.

A white female in Cambridge, Massachusetts, employed by Harvard Magazine, sees two Black males attempting to open a recalcitrant front door a few doors down from her office. (She doesn’t recognize one of the males as Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of Harvard’s most prominent scholars, and known world-wide.) Fearing it’s a burglary attempt, she calls the police.

Meanwhile, Prof. Gates has entered his home through the rear door. Sergeant James Crowley, the responding officer, sees Prof. Gates through a glass panel in the front door, and orders him to come out. Prof. Gates refuses and requests that the officer produce his official ID, listing his full name and badge number. The officer is required, by state law, to produce the ID. Crowley doesn’t. He claims later that Gates turned and went into the kitchen to retrieve his ID from his wallet before the officer could produce the ID. Uninvited, Crowley follows Prof. Gates into the kitchen. (Recall he has no warrant, merely a report of a possible crime, which does not seem to rise to the level of exigent circumstances which would justify his invading the house.)

Prof. Gates produces his state ID, proving that he resides in the house, and his Harvard ID. At this point, Crowley has no reason for remaining: he has no warrant, and he now knows that no burglary is in progress. Crowley should immediately have apologized and exited the house, but instead he remains illegally.

Crowley is a sergeant, having received appropriate training and passed the relevant exam. It is therefore not too much to expect that the officer would have produced his ID, walked into the kitchen, and shown it to Prof. Gates. Unless, of course, the officer feared Prof. Gates might file a complaint against him, and he wishes to illegally obscure his identity. Conversation ensues, and the officer indicates he will finally become law-abiding, and display his ID, if Prof. Gates will walk onto the porch with him.

Crowley later claims that this is because the “acoustics” of the kitchen interfere with use of his radio. This claim is patently absurd, since the only thing which could interfere with use of his radio is an impediment to the reception and transmission of radio waves, and not the internal acoustics of sound within the kitchen.

Crowley also claims, in contradiction, that he had remained in the house because he feared actual burglars might be in the house, unbeknownst to Prof. Gate. This is obviously a lie. Crowley knew several officers had gathered outside. Had he harboured such a fear, he would have claimed exigent circumstances and enlisted them in a sweep of the entire house.

Once on the porch, with Cambridge and Harvard officers lurking on the sidewalk, Gates continues to ask the officer for ID, the officer continues to violate the law by not producing it, and Gates is shortly arrested for disorderly conduct (i.e., demanding Crowley abide by the law.) (See full text of disorderly conduct law below; obviously doesn't apply.)

I can only conclude that Sergeant Crowley arrested Prof. Gates, not for disorderly conduct, but for “uppity n---erness”, which is not a crime.

I can only conclude that Crowley lured Prof. Gates from his home onto his porch, so that Crowley could claim Prof. Gates was making a public disturbance (by objecting to being abused).

Whether Crowley is racist I cannot at this point determine. Obviously, he’s a thug willing, in at least this instance, to pervert the law so that he may abuse an innocent citizen. Thus, Crowley is corrupt.

I can only conclude that Crowley was a white male with a gun and authority to use it, offended by a Black male who refused to be intimidated and abused, and so Crowley criminally abused Prof. Gates under colour of law by knowingly and intentionally falsely arresting Prof. Gates.

Obama’s choice of the word “stupidly” to describe Crowley’s behaviour was inappropriate: he should have said “criminally”.

Crowley should be immediately suspended without pay pending speedy dismissal, and prosecuted for abuse of office and false arrest.

“Common night walkers, common street walkers, both male and female, common railers and brawlers, persons who with offensive and disorderly acts or language accost or annoy persons of the opposite sex, lewd, wanton and lascivious persons in speech or behavior, idle and disorderly persons, disturbers of the peace, keepers of noisy and disorderly houses, and persons guilty of indecent exposure may be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than six months, or by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.” - Chapter 272, Sec. 53, Massachusetts State Code.


Anonymous just wondering said...

Maybe Sgt. Crowley did misuse his power as an officer of the law. However, is there any evidence that indicates he acted this way soley because of Mr. Gate's skin color? If there is such evidence, I missed it in all the media coverage.

1:20 PM  
Blogger HH said...

Note that I carefully noted that we can't say if Crowley had racial motives as well as corrupt cop motives. I maintain this position in Part 2 today. Given the overall track record of American white cops, I wouldn't be surprised were he to have had racial motives. Absent use of an epithet or a track record of racism, the case remains clouded in this regard. Howsomever, even if Crowley habitually sings "We Shall Overcome", the fact that he acted illegally as a thug in uniform is enough that firing and prosecution is the only justice.

Thank you for wondering. We'd be better off if more people did that, instead of wandering.

1:29 PM  

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