Henry Louis Gates, American Hero

Wikipedia has good coverage of the arrest of Professor Henry Gates. Eddie has wise words, too.

Here are the most important events in Sgt. James Crowley’s arrest of Dr. Henry Gates:

  1. Crowley arrives at Gates’ home, after a report that two men — one probably hispanic, the other of an unknown race — were attempting to break in.
  2. Crowley rapidly observe that Gates his black
  3. Gates produces identification, indicating he lives on the premises
  4. Crowley does not leave Gates’ home when asked
  5. Gates is rude to Crowley
  6. Crowley orders Gates to leave his home
  7. Crowley arrests Gates

The Wikipedia page has a good article on contempt of cop – the abusive police practice of abridging the first amendment rights of citizens — which mentions this:

At a person’s home, by asking a citizen to “step outside” the doorway, that person can be considered as “being in public” and then could be arrested, after making defiant remarks, for “disorderly conduct” in public. [citation]

It is clear that Gates was rude to an uninvited stranger in his own home. That is his constitutional right. Gates may have been rude to an intruder in his home, but Crowley acted like an armed thug, inflicting “regrettable and unfortunate” vengence on those who did not kowtow to him. By standing up to this thug, by recognizing it is better to stand for one’s rights than avoid harm and trouble, Gates is an American hero.

Indeed, Gates’ stand for his rights against the clumsy brute may make his hometown safer for everyone. One of the most shocking parts of the story are serious allegations that Crowley is a liar at best, and was engaged in a criminal effort to ‘plant’ evidence at worst. Crowley first claimed he received a report that two black males were trying to break into a home. Thankfully, a recording of the 911 call exists, and reveals this to be untrue. Crowley then changed his story, claiming the 911 caller came to him in person and claimed she saw two black males. Thankfully, the caller was not terrorized by Crowley’s arbitrary arrest into keeping silent. She held a press conference, and told the world that this claim was also untrue.

It goes without saying that Crowley being on the streets with a badge is a pulbic danger. Innocent citiznes may be arrested because he dislikes them. Further, any criminal case he is involved in will be under a cloud of suspicion. If Crowley would manipulate evidence and frame a Harvard professor to defend an absurd disturbing the peace charge, what would he do to put away someone he thought was an actual criminal? A burgler? A rapist? A murderer?

For defending his Constitutional rights against an unreasonable assault, and then publicizing the case in a way that may save others the same pain, Professor Henry Louis Gates is an American hero.

53 thoughts on “Henry Louis Gates, American Hero”

  1. Eddie,

    True.

    Many people want the Constitution only to protect their friends. Leftists famously believe that tolerance is repressive when their opponents are tolerated [1], while in these cop-abuse cases a chorus of little tyrants celebrates when individuals they dislike (Gates, iHeartJade.com) are stripped of their rights.

    A tragedy of this, of course, is that if you tolerate corrupt, lazy, and bad cops, the people lose their ability to peacefully remove public servants. At that point, the people either become vigilantes [1,2] (like the corrupt cops they despise) or submit to the extralegal tyranny the bad cops have created.

    Two bad options.

    [1] http://www.chinasmack.com/pictures/hui-minority-beats-lanzhou-chengguan/
    [2] http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/6/21/734388/-VIDEO:-Protestors-Strike-Back,-Basij-Headquarters-Destroyed

  2. Dan,

    How much of this stems from the police union culture of corruption and denial of accountability? Police misbehavior and the denial of justice to their victims via accountability and oversight measures are merely another field where unions have destroyed customer trust and business relationships (from incompetent teachers to bozo UPS employees mistreating packages and disrespecting customers and supervisors in front of the general public).

    I am glad Obama has lied to the unions and given them next to nothing on their wish list thus far. I only hope he continues to cynically play them for the opportunistic extortionists they are throughout his term.

  3. Eddie,

    Thanks for the comment!

    How much of this stems from the police union culture of corruption and denial of accountability? Police misbehavior and the denial of justice to their victims via accountability and oversight measures are merely another field where unions have destroyed customer trust and business relationships (from incompetent teachers to bozo UPS employees mistreating packages and disrespecting customers and supervisors in front of the general public).

    Great point.

    When given power, all peopel tend towards self-importance, self-justification, and so on. Politically, this is why we have a Constitutionally. Organizationally, this is why dysfunctional unions can seriously harm quality in any organization.

    I am glad Obama has lied to the unions and given them next to nothing on their wish list thus far. I only hope he continues to cynically play them for the opportunistic extortionists they are throughout his term.

    Indeed. Obama shows no sign of being a unionist.

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