Friday, July 24, 2009

Cops arrest renowned scholar for breaking into his own home...

Cops Arrest Gates
Cambridge, Mass., Sgt. James Crowley arrested Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his home last week after he responded to a report of two black men attempting to break in to Gates' home.

It turned out that Gates, head of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, had broken into his own home after being unable to find his keys upon his return from a trip to China.

A police report of the incident written by Officer Carlos Figueroa, who responded to the call with Crowley, says Crowley was already in the house when he walked in. The report says Crowley had asked Gates for some identification and Gates shouted that he would not give any information and called the sergeant a racist.

According to the report, Gates then yelled, "This is what happens to black men in America." When Crowley tried to calm him down, Gates shouted, "You don't know who you're messing with."

The report continues that the shouting went on after Gates and the officers walked out onto the front porch. When Gates allegedly wouldn't cooperate or calm down, Crowley arrested him.

(Source: Cambridge Police Officer To Obama: Butt Out of My Arrest)

Sgt. Crowley's side of this argument is "bitchassness" at it's (and apparently Cambridge's) finest. How are you going to arrest someone for public disturbance in the privacy of their own home? What public? At best it would have been on this man's front porch. Was the tongue-lashing that severe? Did he insult your mother/manhood/intelligence to that degree? Even further, to arrest someone for what must of been the most epic verbal abuse ever just makes Crowley look like even more of a wuss. "Creating a public disturbance" eh? Were there formal noise complaints from the neighbors filed? Even just a "keep it down" from anyone not in uniform? Or what he just creating a scene. I see scenes created all the time, but I don't see people being arrested for those without formal complaints. Maybe that's why the charges were dropped.

Also, someone called the cops on this man for breaking into his own home. It says something about America that your own neighbors don't know you. I must admit, I don't know any of the people that live around me. Not sure that I want to. However, if I lived in a neighborhood like the one in which Professor Gates resides I'm sure my neighbors would know who I was. I may not know my neighbors but I bet they know where I live. Just as I'm pretty sure he stands out as the "different" neighbor near Harvard Square. So then you have to wonder about the relationships and biases of the people in the neighborhood. I'm sure the police were quick to arrive.

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. being arrested essentially for insulting Sergeant James Crowley over his disturbance entering Gates' home is also a matter of class relations too. By that I mean the role the education Crowley received versus that of Professor Gates plays into the incident. Anyone would have been upset about the situation. Think about the history a man in Professor Gates position has lived through and to get to where he has professionally. Which would lead into a discussion on the hiring practices throughout history of law enforcement, what jobs were essentially "given" to what class of immigrants versus the requirements to become an officer today which also changed with the increase in diversity. As well as professional incomes and why some people are paid more for their education/profession than others. Though I'm sure there would be broad generalizations carelessly cast about in these debates, I know this sure is an EXCELLENT example to reference in the age of Obama.

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