Re: Gatesgate


Andrew Sullivan is on vacation. It was Chris Bodenner that made the referenced post.
when you're young, you are heedless. you might fear losing the respect of your peers more than you fear losing your life.

hence, a good portion of youth-on-youth violence, and likely the reason for yesterday's AK-47 murder.

BTW, are there any young black men who read slog?
Again, I concur. Their lives (young black males) ARE that important.
There's a fantastic poem about this by Robert Lashley called "The Black Man's Guide to Surviving the Tacoma Police Department", which has the really great ending

Don’t relax now, as the cop decides there is no way to arrest you.
He says he was just doing his job, and this is proper procedure.
Slink away, just slink away.
Pick up your dignity and slither out of the blood-stained briar patch
Think of your rights another time.
But not now, forget now.
Forget, young man, always forget.
Memory is a cruel jailer for a black man

The whole thing's at the end of this post.
Dr. Gates has every right to insist that his rights be respected. He was not in some dark back alley alone with a cop. He was IN HIS HOME. He had a police officer come to his door, and start making demands of a man who had done nothing wrong. Cops do have a way of treating people and reacting to people that is dismissive and hostile. He was not invited into Gates' home. He should not have entered. There is no way that any reasonable person can look at Dr. Gates and feel threatened. How many burgulars do you know open the door for the cops if they come? The police officer saw no sign of a crime in process. He could have simply stayed on the porch, explained why he was there, and ascertained who Gates was and said "sorry for the inconvenience." But no, he walks into his house without warrant or invitation (a violation of rights and law). Something in his attitude and demeanor made Gates ask for his name and badge number, as is his right. Something else about his actions (Gates says refusal to answer his question) caused Gates to follow this cop onto the porch. At the porch, the cop "thanks" him for complying with his "initial request" which was to come outside. Why was he asked outside, because the cop has more leverage and a wider scope of choices outside. He has you in "public" now. Certain of your rights disappear at the threshold of your front door.

Tell me: why is it always the black man, the one whose rights are being violated, who has to diffuse the situation? Is it not the job of the police officer to diffuse situations? The police report reads like a skit from the Chappelle show. But only a third of it - cop version, Gates version, the actual chain of events. Gates probably did get hot. But he was accosted and accused in his own house, and treated like a criminal until he could prove otherwise. And after proving who he was and his right to be there, the officer does not do his job and diffuse the situation, become more accommodating and take the sting out of it. No, he's more concerned with the way this man spoke to him. That he didn't come out when told to come out. That this black man has the audacity to question his authority, aske for his identity (to make a complaint) enraged this man to the point that he has to save face and make a non-criminal situation into a crime. I know, he has the gun. Sometimes living is less important that standing up for yourself, your rights, and your beliefs.
I agree. If I was doing something that looked suspiciously like breaking into a house I would expect to see a police car roll up. I would expect to have to explain myself. And I wouldn't be surprised if the cops initially thought I was a burgler. I mean that is what it looks like when one is seen breaking into a house, no? I am a white woman and am sick of being told what happened to Gates couldn't happen to me. The only reason it couldn't happen to me is that I wouldn't throw a shit fit. I assume Gates was overly sensitive due to feeling entitled to deference due to 1) his age 2) his social status 3) being black. I also think males are a like more likely to react like Mr Gates due to resent having to answer to anyone or more sensitive to feeling belittled. Women are more used to it.
Interesting that of all the articles being linked to and rhetoric being written about said articles, no one seems to have read Gates' personal account. Charles is condemning Gates' behavior based on the cops account.

Gate's account is here:…

Note that Gates' has a throat virus he picked up while traveling and is apparently unable to yell. Note that he was arrested after he had identified himself as the owner of his house.

How disorderly is a raspy whisper? Charles, are you actually advocating that the appropriate response for any black person is to voluntarily give up all their legal rights in the face of gross injustice.

The only person who broke any law, was the police officer who is required by law to not only give their name and number but actually hand over a card with said information.

I understand your advice however, you are advising a different situation. It is not illegal for a black man to be inside his home. It is not illegal for any person to be inside their own home. That seems like a pretty basic right worth defending.
It's a good thing Rosa Parks didn't follow this advice.
I should add I agree with Charles, not #6.

"There is no way that any reasonable person can look at Dr. Gates and feel threatened."
Cops should treat everyone equal. Should he has treated him better because he was well dressed. Gates got a personal apology from the Mayor and both the President of the US and governor expressed their condolences. You know what? I have been more wrongfully treated by the SPD and have received no apology from the Mayor and condolences from the pres and governor. Gates is getting the star treatment. It shows how classist our society is that everyone is falling over themselves over something that was not big deal when far worse conduct by the police goes un-apologised for every day. There have been enough apologies to this man, his ego is no more important that anyone elses. He's lucky he wasn't tased like that 60-something year old white woman who was uncooperative with the police. Anyone who says "this wouldn't happen to a white person" hasn't looked very far.
... And this humiliating experience should immediately be followed with a complaint to the mayor and the OPA. Cops would turn America into a checkpoint society if we let them.
I believe the US Supreme Court in Houston v. Hill said it was okay to yell at cops, so stop being such a pussy Charles.
You know what's absurd is that ANY of us has to "watch our mouth" (ie, freedom of speech) around the police. The police scare the shit out of me--a middle class white woman! Being verbally abusive (not that I actually think Dr. Gates was) is obnoxious not criminal, but being arrested for it IS criminal. The fact that it happens disproportionately to blacks and latinos in our "free" country makes sick! We should ALL join together in solidarity for Dr. Gates and fight for our right to say whatever the fuck we want, whenever the fuck we want, TO whoever the fuck we want. Where are we, CHINA??? Jesus Christ!
Most of the people who have criticized and praised Mudede on this have misread him.

Personally, I would love to have policemen treat me fairly. I would also love to live in a land where the streets are paved with gold. Both things aren't going to happen.

I agree with Charles about 57% of the time, but he's dead right here. The key word is Realistic. You can curse at, signify, and rage against cops who fuck you over, after they have fucked you over. When they are fucking you over, however, is not the time.

BTW: is 31 young enough?
@14: it's a start, but i was thinking 17-21.
Good post Charles.

@14 "Most of the people who have criticized and praised Mudede on this have misread him." Word.
No, a black teen on the streets of Tacoma shouldn't mouth off to the cops.

But if a highly respected scholar in his own home in one of the most liberal cities in America doesn't stand up for his rights and the rights of all people of color to be treated equally, then who will?
The importance of knowing the line is knowing when to sue. There is almost no such thing as verbal abuse that amounts to a criminal act. The Supreme Court has said that there is something called "fighting words" that are words that would incite immediate violence, but it is so narrowly defined that no one knows how it could be enforced. There are also "true threats," such as threatening to kill someone, but general cursing and yelling never amount to a crime, unless you're stalking someone.
Gates has a very easy sec. 1983 suit against the city and a slightly more difficult one against the officer, because even if the officer is telling the truth and he was following procedure, the procedure calls for a violation of constitutional rights. The officer admits he knew Gates had a right to be there, and thus arrested him without probable cause.
White people regularly get arrested for sassing off to cops as well.

In a somewhat famous incident a couple of years ago, the SPD body slammed and seriously injured a pretty young white girl for giving legal advice to her friend as he was being interviewed for a DWI.

The answer to all this is putting real police accountability in place.
People giving up their freedom for safety is how dictatorships start.

people, black and white, should follow the example of Patrick Henry: liberty or death.
"Do not follow grandpa Gates' example ... focus on finding a peaceful way out of the bad situation." Great advice for everyone, not just young black males.
Agreed. Cooperate first, sue later
Gates is a peevish little man with a big chip on his shoulders. I got yelled at by a cop for changing traffic lanes legally but I did not get up all in his face over it. BTW, Gates was not inside his house when arrested. He was disorderly and yelling at a cop is causing disorder. Furthermore, Obama made a fool of himself just the way Al Sharpton and Bill Cosby did about Tawana Brawley.
@23 whatev's, troll. Gates was on his own property, there was no warrant and police aren't above criticism. Talking to police as equals (like all people) ususally works better but Gates was right and Obama was right, the cop and Gates' neighbor were wrong. What I find disturbing and sad was that the woman who called the police knew the house enough to care that someone was 'breaking into it' but didn't know or recognize her neighbor. Time for a block party maybe?
@23: gates has a constitutional right to say whatever it is he said to that cop.