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 Do you consider this racism?

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PostSubject: Do you consider this racism?   Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:18 am

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AFP/Getty Images/File – Henry Louis Gates, an acclaimed black US scholar has accused a Massachusetts police officer of racism …
Slideshow:Harvard Scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. By MELISSA TRUJILLO, Associated Press Writer Melissa Trujillo, Associated Press Writer – 17 mins ago
BOSTON – Supporters of a prominent Harvard University black scholar who was arrested at his own home by police responding to a report of a break-in say he is the victim of racial profiling.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. had forced his way through the front door of his home because it was jammed, his lawyer said Monday.

Cambridge police say they responded to the well-maintained two-story home near campus after a woman reported seeing "two black males with backpacks on the porch," with one "wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry."

By the time police arrived, Gates was already inside. Police say he refused to come outside to speak with an officer, who told him he was investigating a report of a break-in.

"Why, because I'm a black man in America?" Gates said, according to a police report written by Sgt. James Crowley. The Cambridge police refused to comment on the arrest Monday.

Gates — the director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research — initially refused to show the officer his identification, but then gave him a Harvard University ID card, according to police.

"Gates continued to yell at me, accusing me of racial bias and continued to tell me that I had not heard the last of him," the officer wrote.

Gates said he turned over his driver's license and Harvard ID — both with his photos — and repeatedly asked for the name and badge number of the officer, who refused. He said he then followed the officer as he left his house onto his front porch, where he was handcuffed in front of other officers, Gates said in a statement released by his attorney, fellow Harvard scholar Charles Ogletree, on a Web site Gates oversees, TheRoot.com

He was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after police said he "exhibited loud and tumultuous behavior." He was released later that day on his own recognizance. An arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 26.

Gates, 58, also refused to speak publicly Monday, referring calls to Ogletree.

"He was shocked to find himself being questioned and shocked that the conversation continued after he showed his identification," Ogletree said.

Ogletree declined to say whether he believed the incident was racially motivated, saying "I think the incident speaks for itself."

Some of Gates' African-American colleagues say the arrest is part of a pattern of racial profiling in Cambridge.

Allen Counter, who has taught neuroscience at Harvard for 25 years, said he was stopped on campus by two Harvard police officers in 2004 after being mistaken for a robbery suspect. They threatened to arrest him when he could not produce identification.

"We do not believe that this arrest would have happened if professor Gates was white," Counter said. "It really has been very unsettling for African-Americans throughout Harvard and throughout Cambridge that this happened."

The Rev. Al Sharpton said he will attend Gates' arraignment.

"This arrest is indicative of at best police abuse of power or at worst the highest example of racial profiling I have seen," Sharpton said. "I have heard of driving while black and even shopping while black but now even going to your own home while black is a new low in police community affairs."

Ogletree said Gates had returned from a trip to China on Thursday with a driver, when he found his front door jammed. He went through the back door into the home — which he leases from Harvard — shut off an alarm and worked with the driver to get the door open. The driver left, and Gates was on the phone with the property's management company when police first arrived.

Ogletree also disputed the claim that Gates, who was wearing slacks and a polo shirt and carrying a cane, was yelling at the officer.

"He has an infection that has impacted his breathing since he came back from China, so he's been in a very delicate physical state," Ogletree said.

Lawrence D. Bobo, the W.E.B Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard, said he met with Gates at the police station and described his colleague as feeling humiliated and "emotionally devastated."

"It's just deeply disappointing but also a pointed reminder that there are serious problems that we have to wrestle with," he said.

Bobo said he hoped Cambridge police would drop the charges and called on the department to use the incident to review training and screening procedures it has in place.

The Middlesex district attorney's office said it could not do so until after Gates' arraignment. The woman who reported the apparent break-in did not return a message Monday.

Gates joined the Harvard faculty in 1991 and holds one of 20 prestigious "university professors" positions at the school. He also was host of "African American Lives," a PBS show about the family histories of prominent U.S. blacks, and was named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Americans in 1997.

"I was obviously very concerned when I learned on Thursday about the incident," Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust said in a statement. "He and I spoke directly and I have asked him to keep me apprised."
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:56 am

No I do not consider it racism. A police officer doing his job responded to an eye witness report of two men appearing to attempt to force open a front door. That bears investigation.

Gates was probably not feeling well, overwrought from his travels and aggravated about the door and then the police come to question him about what he is doing and he loses his cool. The whole thing should be dropped on both sides.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:02 pm

Last I heard, the parties issued a joint statement acknowledging a misunderstanding. Makes sense to me.

There are so many cases of tired, intoxicated, combative citizens that public safety officials must deal with on a daily basis. Patrick Kennedy, Robert Schuller, Diana Ross etc, are all prone to the "don't you know who I am?" syndrome.

Gates, whoever he is, is fine by me.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:13 pm

Quote :
Henry Louis Gates Jr. had forced his way through the front door of his home because it was jammed, his lawyer said Monday.

Cambridge police say they responded to the well-maintained two-story home near campus after a woman reported seeing "two black males with backpacks on the porch," with one "wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry."

By the time police arrived, Gates was already inside. Police say he refused to come outside to speak with an officer, who told him he was investigating a report of a break-in.

"Why, because I'm a black man in America?" Gates said, according to a police report written by Sgt. James Crowley. The Cambridge police refused to comment on the arrest Monday.

When police respond to your house there is a certain set of protocol in place. Besides the fact that Gates refused to come out of the house, a report of breaking in entering is not going to be remedied by simply throwing your Harvard ID at the cop.

Lastly...I don't care who you are, but if you mouth off to an officer like that...you are going to get arrested, white, black,red...doesn't matter. Disorderly Conduct is a wonderful all encompassing charge that allows a police officer arrest you for just about anything.

If Gates had simply come outside when the Officer got there explained the situation and given his drivers license (as I would have done) this would never had been on the papers.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:38 pm

This issue, involving Harvard as it does, smacks more of elitism than racism.

What if Gates were inside his home and 2 black males had been trying to break in the front door to commit a home invasion? The police officer would be a hero then. There would be no charge of racism then. Police aren't psychics.

Talk about over-playing the 'race card'...
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:21 am

That's my point Wendy....he refused to come out of his house to give the officer that proof...instead he sat inside and ranted about how he was being singled out. Furthermore, a harvard ID does not necessarily (and probably doesn't) count as legal ID and certainly does present proof that he resides at that house. His drivers license would, but he did not show that to the officer until the issue had escalated.

I know people who have been arrested for Disorderly for far less. Is it right? That's debatable....but perfectly legal. Furthermore the Mass Supreme court made a ruling about two years ago that changed the game on probable cause leading to bodily searches when it ruled that a police officer who spotted a known gang-member from across the street with his hand underneath his coat, decided he needed to be searched and found a gun.

The court ruled that the officer knowing this persons history, as well as his knowledge of how criminals tend to behave while concealing a weapon, had sufficient probably cause to search him. That sets the precedent.

So the officer who responded to Gates house for a possible B and E gets to the scene and the person refuses to come out of the house to speak to the officer, and refuses to show ID. You don't worry about offending people when you are a cop. You worry about being shot.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:34 am

Sticky issue, eh? silent

I think I can agree with Wendy that better judgement could have been used by all parties involved. I do not agree that bad judgement equates racisim...if that is the case then let's flip it around...if the Officer was black would Mr. Gates have responded the same way??? Would you consider Mr. Gates to be a racist because of his "perceptions"?

It is difficult to judge the actions of an Officer unless you have been one. I think the arrest could have been avoided but we were not there. I do like that someone saw something that concerned them and they contacted the Police.

I can't tell you how ,many times I have heard about the kid(s) walking away from the house carrying a duffle bag/TV, ect...of course the witness tells us an hour after the break in.

my 2...

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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:54 am

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Under what circumstances are police allowed to stay in your house once you have proven that you are the homeowner? I would say they are allowed to stay IF they see a crime in progress or IF they are invited. Otherwise, they should leave.


I just re-read the article because Wendy mentioned the Officer being- or wanted to be inside the house? Where does it say that? There is a huge difference in the Police wanting to come inside the house versus what I read of the Police asking the renter to come outside and explain the situation to the investigating Officer.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:02 am

I agree with Terry. This appears to be more of a case of elitism than racism. And, IMHO, Wendy's comments support that argument.

Without witnessing the incident, she is completely willing to accept the professor's account and dismiss the lowly officers account.

Boy, Dave. Every day I find myself wondering how you guys do it. Thumbs up
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:41 am

Ok I'll bite some more...I am keeping my comments focused on the issue of racism so I say this partially tongue and cheek---
Wendy said;

Quote :
Everyone makes mistakes at their job; this guy made a mistake. It was probably due in part to his racism and perhaps to lack of experience and/or having a bad day.

...are we talking about the Officer or Mr. Gates...or both? If the Officer was black would Mr. Gates have reacted differently? uhm

We all have our bias. Wendy knows Mr. Gates. I come from Law Enforcement. I would hope that we could at least agree that better decisions could have been made by all involved and that poor judgement does not automatically equal racism.

BTW...Seek congrats on hitting the post mark and earning a star.

D
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:03 pm

First of all, do you also believe that most people of all ethnicities are racist or just us "crackers"?

Now on to an anecdote. Has any contributor here been indirectly or directly called a racist in the course of fulfilling employment obligations? I have and it brings to the surface emotions that you never knew existed. The only analogy I can make is what it must feel like to be an African American and have the "N" bomb lobbed at you. (Sorry if that sounds racist)

Many years ago, the company I worked for had a certain protocol which was to be followed in certain circumstances. It was neither fun for the employee or the client. But it was required in all cases, regardless of the person involved. One time I was forced to follow this protocol with a black person. It never occured to me I would be verbally assaulted the way I was for simply doing my job. Do you have any idea what it is like to try to diffuse such a situation when your caught up in your own emotional turmoil? Not only was I verbally assaulted I was threatened. I could not sleep or eat for days. It really bothered me that this person who never met me could jump to such a conclusion.

You can call me fat, ugly, dull, stupid etc. You can even label me a Social Conservative. But unless you can prove it, please don't ever call me a racist. Such a claim says more about the accuser than the accused. IMHO.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:21 pm

Wendy, you call a police officer whom you've never met a racist? And the eye witness a moron? and you expect most white people in this country to be racist? That's very insulting, close-minded and elitist in my opinion.

I think Prof. Gates is more racist for making a racial issue out of this just because some of the officers were white.

In the end, I'm going to lay the blame on the wet humid weather we've had all summer for making the door stick and starting off this chain of events.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:58 pm

Let's outline the facts here.

1) A call was made to the police stating that two black males were standing on a porch with backpacks while one of them appeared to be trying to wedge the door open.

2) A Police officer responds to the house and sees two black males inside that house.

3) The Officer asks Prof. Gates to come out onto the porch and show some ID to prove that he actually belongs in the house

4) Prof Gates refuses to come out of the house, refuses to show ID, and starts ranting and calling the responding officer a racist.

5) The Officer enters the house and after much arguing Prof. Gates finally shows his drivers license.

So Wendy...after number 3 you are saying that the officer should have just left the porch and taken Gates at his word? That makes no sense. And the argument of if it had been a white guy in a suit the officer were not have done that, is bogus because the Officer would have asked the white guy in a suit for ID, the only difference is the white guy would probably not have started crying racism about it, would have gone out onto the porch, and therefore would not have been arrested. And I know the Officer would have asked for ID because he was on an official call, and he would have to give a name for the report of who he actually found at the residence.

Gates has only himself to blame for this because the call was perfectly legit, and so was the request for proper ID. The only details I disagree with is that the officer should have shown his badge number and given his name when requested. That's about it.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:47 pm

I don't think I will call Gates a racist, Terry. Maybe an opportunist since it has been reported he will be creating a documentary based on his experience as it pertains to racial profiling. But in all fairness, maybe it will be unbias.
I guess we will have to wait and see.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:13 pm

Tried to embed the report...not working...here is the link.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/17512830/Gates-Police-Report

Based on that I think Gates got exactly what he deserved and he is lucky the officer didn't sucker punch him....
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:36 pm

You are correct...he saw a older black male...not two...doesn't change my point.

As for the punching I was being sarcastic....

Also I will concede that racial profiling probably did take place, but it was by the person who made the phone call. Nothing else in that police report in my opinion was race motivated.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:38 pm

Wendy, I don't think Mike wrote that he thought Gates SHOULD have been punched. What he said was that Gates was LUCKY he did not get sucker punched.

Under the circumstances and in the interest of self-preservation, you would think a highly educated gentleman of any race would excercise some restraint.

Remember the game Rock, paper, scissors? How about a good game of glock, taser, PHD? affraid
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:36 pm

lol... I was typing from my phone so I could not be as articulate as I would have liked.

What I meant to say was that Gates is lucky the officer did not sucker punch him for talking about his mama like that. cheers lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:35 am

Hold on, Wendy. I don't think anyone is defending the police actions. The original question was "Do you consider this racism". Because Gates said it was, you seem to think it must be true. Gates is a highly respected Harvard professor. The officer, well, is just an officer. Case closed.

Obama's use of the word "stupidly" again smells of elitism. But rather than prudently keeping his comments to himself, he saw an opportunity to enflame and divide a weary nation in his effort to push forward his own agenda. Rather than working together with the CPD, Gates hits the talk show circuit. Again. Seems kind of opportunistic to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:54 am

Wendy wrote:
I still am amazed at the defenses of the police. I would somewhat understand it from Dave, for obvious reasons. I know cops pretty much never admit in public that something a cop did was wrong. But I was reading this just now:
http://www.samefacts.com/archives/crime_control_/2009/07/nightmare_on_ware_street.php
and came across this passage:
"[The officer] tells an angry citizen to calm down while producing handcuffs. The only plausible question for the chief to ask about that little detail is: "Are you stupid, or do you think I'm stupid?" Crowley produced those handcuffs to provoke Gates and then arrested him. The decision to arrest is telling. If Crowley believed the charge was valid, he could have issued a summons."

Is the author of this passage wrong?
Is displaying handcuffs while trying to calm down a situation a proper implementation of police procedure?

I googled "Gates was wrong" and there was a wide array of equally biased articles, but the one I'll post is from the Daily KOS....because ...well...you know why. Wink

And regardless of the who was right or who was wrong after the first 10 seconds of the confrontation, Gates was clearly in the wrong at the beginning, and he set the tone for how the officer was going to respond.

Officer: "Sir Will you come out here and speak with me?"

Gates: "No I will not!"

Officer: "My Name is Sgt Crowley from Cambridge PD and I am investigating a report of a break in in progress."

Gates: "Why because I am a black man in America?"

Had it been Officer Mike responding the next response would have been...

Officer Mike: "No...because you are an idiot who locked himself out of his own house and then apparently had to break into his own house. Satisfied?"

At any rate our great and wise leader said that the CPD acted stupidly....so I guess that settles it for all of us.
Shock Thud

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/23/756704/-Sorry,-Professor-Gates.Youre-wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:54 am

He should have said, "they should have considered other options", rather than "they acted stupidly". I watched that press conference and was "shocked" that the PROTUS would use that phrasing.

However the topic was about if you considered the incident and act of racisim- not what a politician commented on days later.

I have stated from the start of the topic that better judgement could have been used by all, so I am not defending one of my own. That said I don't see how one can really defend Mr. Gates either because it takes two to tango and we are not talking about two drunks guys going at it with their ability to reason numbed.

Turned out to be a good topic and it goes to show that we can have different takes and opinions and not attack each other about it.

D
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:14 pm

On Funny note I watched the interview with Crowley and when asked what he thought about the President's comment he turned towards the camera and said "I didn't vote for him." Ha Ha Ha!
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:19 pm

Wendy, you are coming from a different perspective regarding the word "racist". For many of us, the word is painful. It reminds us of the atrocities commited by our European ancestors. Maybe we need a new word. Obama is good at that. Maybe he should ordain a word czar. Very Happy

Re: Obama

As for a response , maybe if Obama simply said something like "I don't have all the facts so I do not think it would be appropriate for me to comment. But no one can deny that we have come a long way and we should continue on a path towards reconcilliation, understanding, and mutual respect". But to chastise one party for acting stupidly was, IMO, inappropriate. BTW, Whoopi Goldberg has commented that she hates the 'S' word.

What needs to happen now is Biden has to come out and say something REALLY stupid so Obama looks good. Good cop, bad cop has served them well. Just wait..... Wink


Last edited by seek2mend on Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : unclear as to which contributor I was responding to)
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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:53 pm

Quote :
And this is why people are concerned about Crowley.

Sorry...not following. If people are concerned about Crowley (who it turns out is the department racial profiling Instructor), because they harbor a bias then that makes them part of the whole racial problem.


I asked before...if the Officer who knocked on Mr. Gates door had been African American do you think he would have reacted the same way???


I would argue that a preconcieved bias is a better indication of racial motiviations than a display of poor judgement.


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PostSubject: Re: Do you consider this racism?   Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:22 pm

He got that idea because he has an issue with his character. By your reasoning he became the way he is because of the people that he works with. I prefer to think that people are racist because they have a flawed character that skews their perceptions. That can happen to anyone....anywhere. I should not matter if they are a police officer or grew up with a single parent - that is just an excuse and excuses are a problem with character.


my 2

d
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