Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Henry Louis Gates speaks out

Here's an interview with Gates on his arrest.

CC

30 comments:

Robin Edgar said...

Seems to me that Henry Louis Gates might have been well advised to exercise his Miranda right to remain silent. . . The interview does not reflect all that well on him. It is clear from his own testimony that he refused to cooperate with the police officers investigating the 911 call from the get go. Quite frankly he sounds just a tad paranoid when he says -

All of a sudden, there was a policeman on my porch. And I thought, ‘This is strange.’ So I went over to the front porch still holding the phone, and I said ‘Officer, can I help you?’ And he said, ‘Would you step outside onto the porch.’ And the way he said it, I knew he wasn’t canvassing for the police benevolent association. All the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, and I realized that I was in danger. And I said to him no, out of instinct. I said, ‘No, I will not.’

Robin Edgar said...

The more I read the interview the more I think that Henry Louis Gates is totally out to lunch. . .

"By the time I was processed at the Cambridge jail, I was booked, fingerprinted, given a mug shot and answered questions. Outrageous is the only word that I can use. The system attempts to humiliate you. They took my belt; they took my wallet, they took my keys, some change; they counted my money. And I knew that because they said, ‘We’re going to release you upon your own recognizance, and the fine is $40, and we know you can pay it because we went through your wallet.’

It’s meant to be terrifying and humiliating. And I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me."

As someone who has gone through the exact same process a few times now I can say with authority that it is by no means meant to be "terrifying and humiliating." If Gates felt terrified and humiliated by being booked, fingerprinted, and given a mug shot etc. it says a lot more about him than the police. This is standard procedure that happens to everyone who is arrested, regardless of their race, social status, or indeed guilt or innocence. . .

Chalicechick said...

Is it still paranoia given that he was absolutely correct to be worried given what happened afterwards?

I think once the police saw his ID, the encounter should have been over, but they kept treating him like a criminal for no reason. A lot of people would have lost their tempers at that point.

CC

Chalicechick said...

If I were snatched from my own house having done nothing wrong, had my stuff taken away and had the officers rub it in that they'd gone through my things, I would have felt violated too.

But I will certainly allow that different people find different things abusive.

CC

Robin Edgar said...

When I was arrested for the second time I went through the same process that Gates describes as "meant to be terrifying and humiliating." I was neither terrified nor humiliated nor do I expect the vast majority of people who go through the same boring methodical process feel either terrified nor humiliated. Gates is either terribly insecure, even paranoid, or milking his arrest for all it's worth, or both. . .

:Is it still paranoia given that he was absolutely correct to be worried given what happened afterwards?

Really CC? Just what "danger" was Gates in afterwards? Had he cooperated with the police from the get go I doubt that he would have been arrested and hand-cuffed.

:I think once the police saw his ID, the encounter should have been over, but they kept treating him like a criminal for no reason. A lot of people would have lost their tempers at that point.

According to his own testimony posted above Gates lost his temper, or at least lost his head. . . as soon as the cop first spoke to him by asking him to step out onto his porch. Why did the situation escalate further from there? Let Gates' own words tell the tale -

It escalated as follows: I kept saying to him, ‘What is your name, and what is your badge number?’ and he refused to respond. I asked him three times, and he refused to respond. And then I said, ‘You’re not responding because I’m a black man, and you’re a white officer.’ That’s what I said. He didn’t say anything. He turned his back to me and turned back to the porch. And I followed him. I kept saying, “I want your name, and I want your badge number.”

Lends a whole new meaning to the term "police harassment" AFAIAC. It is clear that Gates called the race card, and effectively called the police officer a racist, very early in this encounter.

:If I were snatched from my own house having done nothing wrong, had my stuff taken away and had the officers rub it in that they'd gone through my things, I would have felt violated too.

Gates wasn't "snatched" from his own house. If he hadn't stepped out of his house in his Quixotic quest for the name and badge number of the cop he effectively "name-called" a racist he might not even have been arrested at all. According to his own testimony it was Gates' own "mistake" of stepping out of his house to go after the cop for his name and badge number that resulted in his arrest. If I was a cop investigating a reported break-in and was almost immediately accused of being a racist for trying to do my job I might feel just a tad violated too. . .

It is standard procedure to count the money in the suspect's wallet so that the suspect has the full amount returned to him upon his and/or her release CC. There's no reason to feel violated about cops safe-guarding your possessions while you are in custody.

:But I will certainly allow that different people find different things abusive.

No kidding. . . Apparently some U*Us think it is abusive for the UUA to use the word "standing" in its Standing On The Side of Love slogan/campaign. There is nothing particularly abusive about standard police arrest procedures if they are properly followed.

Chalicechick said...

Ok, I'm confused. Which premise do you disagree with?

1. People shouldn't be arrested when they've done nothing that even seems illegal.

2. Being verbally rude to a police officer who is on your property doesn't even seem illegal as long as you don't physically threaten them, and Gates wasn't charged with threatening a police officer.*

3. It is not unreasonable for someone who was unjustly arrested to be annoyed about it.

All three of those premises are true as far as I can see, and they lead straight to the conclusion that Gates was unjustly arrested and has the right to be annoyed about it.

And ignoring repeated requests for a name and badge number is also highly unprofessional, though we only have Gates' word on that one.

CC

*According to the Boston Globe story I read, the police report shows Gates was charged with "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space." IHMO, no court in the land would be willing to accept the officer's apparent decision that the inside of Gates' house and Gates' front porch constituted a public space.

Robin Edgar said...

:Ok, I'm confused.

So what's new CC? You seem to be confused quite regularly. . . :-)

:Which premise do you disagree with?

I am not sure that anything I said indicates that I disagree with any of those premises CC.

:1. People shouldn't be arrested when they've done nothing that even seems illegal.

Needless to say I wholeheartedly agree with that premise CC. What "seems illegal" about a peaceful public protest in front of *any* church? What "seems illegal" in these emails that I sent to Rev. Diane Rollert or my account of my brief discussion with her on Sunday November 19th 2006?

:2. Being verbally rude to a police officer who is on your property doesn't even seem illegal as long as you don't physically threaten them, and Gates wasn't charged with threatening a police officer.*

I am not familiar with Massachusetts law or Cambridge municipal laws CC, but in some jurisdictions insinuating that a police officer is a racist, with little or no evidence to support that insinuation, might *seem* illegal if not actually be illegal. Taking a broader view it might well be illegal to be verbally rude to a cop depending on the nature of that "rudeness." If someone called a homosexual cop a "fifi" up here in Quebec, or used the N-word to "namecall" an African American cop, they might well find themselves hauled before the Quebec Human Rights Commission although it is apparently perfectly OK for an intolerant and abusive U*U minister to label an inter-religious event with the C-Word. . .

3. It is not unreasonable for someone who was unjustly arrested to be annoyed about it.

Again I do not disagree. I was a tad annoyed about being unjustly arrested a few times myself although my annoyance was reasonably restrained and directed more at the Unitarians who lied to the police and pressured the police in order to bring about those unjust arrests. I do not recall ever pretending that the actual experience of being arrested was "horrendous" or "outrageous" and I certainly didn't "terrified" or "humiliated" by the arrests themselves. Au contraire, I publicly commended the arresting officers who conducted the first unjust arrest saying that they "made it a pleasure to be arrested", I was considered to be a "gentleman" by the second set of arresting officers, and publicly thanked the third set of arresting officers for their "professional and courteous service which does the MUC police force proud."

Robin Edgar said...

:All three of those premises are true as far as I can see, and they lead straight to the conclusion that Gates was unjustly arrested and has the right to be annoyed about it.

But Gates was "annoyed", to say the very least. . . from the get go CC. He refused to cooperate with a reasonable request to step onto his porch. He effectively accused the cops of racism almost from the get go too. Maybe he was unjustly arrested but he was no more unjustly arrested than I and many other people have been unjustly arrested. I am not questioning Gates or anyone else's right to be annoyed about being unjustly arrested. I am just saying that he is blowing things out of proportion. Unjust or not was Gates' arrest any more "terrifying and humiliating" or "horrendous" and "outrageous" than my own and other people's just or unjust arrests? I think not. In fact it is clear from his own testimony that the Cambridge police were reasonably polite and professional in conducting the arrest whether it was an unjust arrest or not.

:And ignoring repeated requests for a name and badge number is also highly unprofessional, though we only have Gates' word on that one.

Indeed and I can't help but wonder just how much Gates' word is worth in light of all the hyperbole he is using to describe his arrest CC. . .

:*Court records show Gates was charged with "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space."

Does what he was charged with have to match what he was initially arrested for CC? Maybe Gates' was guilty of being "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space" (presumably aka disturbing the peace) on the sidewalk as he was getting into the police car. . .

:No court in the land would be willing to accept the officer's apparent decision that the inside of Gates' house and Gates' front porch constituted a public space.

See above. Maybe he was placed under arrest for a different reason initially. Anyway I am not disputing whether the arrest was just or not I am simply criticizing Gates' own questionable behavior as he has described it in his own words. . .

Chalicechick said...

(((Does what he was charged with have to match what he was initially arrested for CC? Maybe Gates' was guilty of being "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space" (presumably aka disturbing the peace) on the sidewalk as he was getting into the police car. . .)))

Why would they be putting him in the police car if they hadn't arrested him already? And it would not be legal for them to "arrest" him on a phony charge just so they could get him to the sidewalk, then arrest him for yelling from the sidewalk.

So far, your main point seems to be that Gates was rude. So what? I don't think anybody has denied that exactly, though there are varying accounts of HOW rude he was. It's just that most Americans are used to the idea that if the only thing you've done is be rude to a police officer, then they can't arrest you because of free speech.

This is a broad statement, but I believe it is true: Insulting someone is not a crime in America, no matter what you say, as long as you don't threaten them with physical harm.* Institutions, like schools, can have rules against racist speech or swearing if they want, but the government itself cannot punish someone for insulting someone else, especially on the insulter's property.

But putting that aside, if "insulting a police officer" ever becomes a crime in America, God forbid, I tend to think that people who do it and are arrested for it and admit to doing it will be charged with that crime rather than being charged with something else that they are not guilty of.

CC

*Indeed, there's a big fight going on in Congress right now over adding homosexuals and transsexuals to hate crimes legislation because some conservative folks are concerned that it will become illegal to insult homosexuals. Of course, the legislation doesn't SAY that and would be struck down by our courts if it did, but that hasn't stopped the propaganda.

Robin Edgar said...

:Why would they be putting him in the police car if they hadn't arrested him already?

Yet another example of CC being confused. . . My comments made it clear that I knew Gates had been arrested prior to being put in the police car. I am just saying that he may well have been "loud and tumultuous in a public place" if he was "loud and tumultuous" on the sidewalk. This photograph of Gates' arrest indicates that he probably was "loud and tumultuous" on his front porch anyway. . . Chances are good he was "loud and tumultuous in a public place" too. Didn't Gate's claim to be physically incapable of shouting in his "interview"? This photo and independent witness reports contradict that testimony.

:And it would not be legal for them to "arrest" him on a phony charge just so they could get him to the sidewalk, then arrest him for yelling from the sidewalk.

I never suggested that they did that CC. I was thinking that the initial arrest may have been for other legitimate reasons but the cops then charged him with something they knew they could prove beyond any reasonable doubt. . .

:So far, your main point seems to be that Gates was rude. So what?

I just love it when people say "So what?" CC, especially when they are U*Us. . . My main point here is that Henry Louis Gates is making an international mountain of a Cambridge mole-hill aka blowing up a huge tempest of agenda driven BS in a Boston teapot.

:I don't think anybody has denied that exactly, though there are varying accounts of HOW rude he was.

I am more concerned with how *truthful* he IS or is not CC. . .

:It's just that most Americans are used to the idea that if the only thing you've done is be rude to a police officer, then they can't arrest you because of free speech.

You yourself said that court documents showed that he was charged with being "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space" presumably a form of disturbing the peace. What he was initially arrested for is not entirely clear but I can see some possibilities. He was physically going after the police officer whose name and badge number he wanted to obtain. He was arrested by a colleague. Who knows? Maybe the colleague arrested Gates because he feared that he might assault the officer he was apparently chasing after according to his own testimony. That is just one of a variety of possibilities for an initial arrest.

:This is a broad statement, but I believe it is true: Insulting someone is not a crime in America, no matter what you say, as long as you don't threaten them with physical harm.*

But I never said or suggested that Gates was arrested for insulting someone CC. BTW Since you raised the subject here. . . Could insulting someone by publicly airing a "sodomy fantasy" involving anally impaling them on the Statue of Liberty's Torch or some other excessively large butt*plug be construed as threatening them with physical harm? Could senator Bill Napoli have sought a restraining order against Rev. Victoria Weinstein by claiming to have reasonable grounds to fear that she might commit a serious personal injury offense against him? Just asking. . .

Robin Edgar said...

:Institutions, like schools, can have rules against racist speech or swearing if they want, but the government itself cannot punish someone for insulting someone else, especially on the insulter's property.

One more time CC. I never said or suggested that insulting a police officer was the reason for Gates' arrest. I have even already conceded that, whatever the reason given for the initial arrest was, that it may indeed have been an unjust arrest. It's a quite a *shame* that those U*U institutions known as UUA and Unitarian Church of Montreal have no rules against U*U ministers engaging in intolerant and abusive hate speech eh?

:But putting that aside, if "insulting a police officer" ever becomes a crime in America, God forbid, I tend to think that people who do it and are arrested for it and admit to doing it will be charged with that crime rather than being charged with something else that they are not guilty of.

You do enjoy arguing with yourself don't you CC?

:*Indeed, there's a big fight going on in Congress right now over adding homosexuals and transsexuals to hate crimes legislation because some conservative folks are concerned that it will become illegal to insult homosexuals.

Well up here in Quebec it is more or less is illegal to insult homosexuals. In fact a, wait for it. . . used car salesman who referred to a homosexual as a "fifi" more or less behind his back, i.e. the victim was not even aware of the insult until someone else brought it to his attention, was hauled in front of the Quebec Human Rights Commission and ended up having to pay $1,000 in compensation. Seriously. . .

:Of course, the legislation doesn't SAY that and would be struck down by our courts if it did, but that hasn't stopped the propaganda.

Well as you know CC "propaganda" is not all that easy to stop. . . Are you unable to see that Henry Louis Gates is generating a fair bit of propaganda of his own here?

Robin Edgar said...

Maybe you should have titled this blog post Henry Louis Gates SHOUTS OUT CC. . .

From The Root interview - HLG: The police report says I was engaged in loud and tumultuous behavior. That’s a joke. Because I have a severe bronchial infection which I contracted in China and for which I was treated and have a doctor’s report from the Peninsula hotel in Beijing. So I couldn’t have yelled. I can’t yell even today, I’m not fully cured."

I guess that Gates is just yawning or trying to catch flies in his mouth in the photograph of his arrest. . . and the neighbors who claim that he was yelling at the police are either liars or delusional. Ri-i-i-ight. . .

BTW The voice of sanity aka the backlash to Gates' race card "propaganda" is starting to appear in letters to the editor and Op/Ed pieces.

Chalicechick said...

This seems like a good time to remind anyone reading that I'm not a lawyer, though I have looked up the laws in this case.


In the photo, he has his mouth open. That doesn't mean he's shouting.

I haven't seen independent witness testimony, I've only seen his version and the police's version and neither one make it sound like he is doing anything illegal.

((the cops then charged him with something they knew they could prove beyond any reasonable doubt)))

Of course, they can't since one's own front porch is not a "public space."

Also, even if the court should decide that one's porch is a public space, which would be a sad thing to anyone who has tumultuous children, that rule doesn't even apply if we call Gates' comments about racism a "protest" which they just might be.



((I am more concerned with how *truthful* he IS or is not CC. . .)))

Ever had an argument with someone who yells "I'm NOT YELLING" at you or says "Stop yelling at me" when you're not yelling? It's not that the other person in the argument is lying, it's that two people can have wildly varying perceptions and memories of the same incident, particularly the same emotionally-charged incident.

This is a major issue in witness testimony where the perceptions of independent witnesses often wildly differ from one another and even from videotaped accounts of what happened.

Note how the original person who made the 911 call said they were "Two big black men with backpacks" when they were actually a big black man and a fairly small black man with suitcases. Witnesses perceive things incorrectly all the time.

Of course, the more polite Gates perceives himself, the more reasonable he appears. And the more impolite the officers perceive Gates, the fewer issues they will have with internal affairs. If I had to guess, I would say that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

((Maybe the colleague arrested Gates because he feared that he might assault the officer he was apparently chasing after according to his own testimony.))

If Gates did not threaten the officer or touch him, then that would not be a legal arrest. Again, using a pretext to take the yelling guy into a "public space" (assuming the sidewalk in front of his house counts, and that's questionable) and then arresting him for "yelling in a public space" is not allowed.

Arresting him for something on his porch, then deciding you can't prove it and arresting him again once he reaches a public space is pretty much the definition of a pretext.

(((Could insulting someone by publicly airing a "sodomy fantasy" involving anally impaling them on the Statue of Liberty's Torch or some other excessively large butt*plug be construed as threatening them with physical harm?)))

Not the way it was originally phrased, and not the way you're phrasing it now either. In almost all states, a threat must be "creditable" to have any real legal meaning if it is not accompanied by action. This means that a person who has no means of carrying out the threat can't be charged with it.

Also, the way it was presented originally, in context that you never share, was as a response to a sodomy fantasy of the Senator's own related to the rape of a virgin. Thus it is well within constitutionally protected freedom of speech, so even if it were a threat, it would be likely unconstitutional to do anything about it.

(cf. that case where the hippie said "If they ever make me carry a rifle, the first man I want to get in my sights is LBJ" which is a FAR more direct and creditable threat and the court ruled it political speech.)


(((I never said or suggested that insulting a police officer was the reason for Gates' arrest)))

I think it was exactly the reason for Gates' arrest, it just isn't a legal reason. It seems pretty clear that the cop was annoyed that Gates was going to get him chewed out and he came up with bullshit reason to arrest him.

This makes Gates' beefs, even he does exaggerate when he describes them, perfectly legitimate ones.

CC

Diggitt said...

In terms of what sort of danger Gates was in when he was at the police station? Look at it this way.

You are in your own home when a policeman arrives and challenges your right to be there. You are a 60-ish gray-haired man using a cane to get around, and you show him photo ID that shows a) you are a Harvard professor, b) you are in a Harvard-owned property, and c) it is your legal residence.

The policeman does not check with Harvard or trust the evidence of his own eyes. He asks you to step outside.

Now I wonder, why am I being asked to step outside? What earthly reason does this policeman have to asking me to step outside my own home? Nonetheless, I do as I am asked.

[So far, does anyone dispute this account of what happened? The cop doesn't.]

The policeman arrests me because now -- having left my own home at his request -- I am on what might be construed as public property.

I am shoved handcuffed into a police car.

I personally am a 60-ish white woman and a highly visible elected official in my community, and I think if this happened to me -- and I see no reason why it might not -- I would think the world had gone mad. I would be plenty scared. My mind would be racing. I would think, this can't be happening to me.

If instead of being a 60-ish white woman I were an AA man who had grown up in the USA and who knew, every minute of every day, that I was on someone's watch list of dangerous people just by virtue of being myself, I would be extra scared.

Gates' education and rank have now vanished and he is being treated like any street hoodlum. Isn't that scary?

We all know that AA males die in police custody. You're an AA male in police custody. Wouldn't you be scared?

I think it's very likely that somehow, Gates has, over the years, built up an image of himself as somewhat special and privileged. After all -- he is! And I'm certain that male Harvard profs who are white consider themselves special and privileged. When all this started crumbling around his head, it was a scary, scary thing. Who knows what dredged-up images flew through his imagination?

I think distant commenters cannot imagine what would happen in the head of someone in Gates's situation. I don't think our second-guessing him is useful at all, because there isn't an analogous position to his in this country.

PG said...

Robin,

I think you should familiarize yourself with the *massive* differences between U.S. and Canadian law regarding freedom of speech before you assume that what would be impermissible in Montreal is also impermissible in the U.S.

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down laws that prohibit hate speech. In America, we have the freedom to call someone a racist, even to use the n-word so long as doing so does not create an immediate danger (e.g. a police officer might arrest a random skinhead who was deliberately taunting a group of black people in order to get them to start a fight, but the police officer is obliged to protect the Nazi march through Skokie even if every sign has a racial slur on it).

Protesting how you are being treated by the government -- and a police officer is an agent of the government, whose powers derive from the government -- is a core First Amendment right. There is nothing more sacred under the First Amendment than to be able to stand up and say, "The government has done wrong."

If you don't know that, you don't know the context in which Gates was speaking and in which the officer decided to deal with his hurt feelings by arresting him. You're therefore probably also unaware that the dubious constitutionality of this arrest has a lot to do with why the Cambridge police are dropping charges and apologizing. Officers in the U.S. cannot constitutionally arrest people just for calling the officer a racist. If you're right that they can do that in Canada, that's one more reason for me to be glad I'm an American.

Chalicechick said...

(((If you're right that they can do that in Canada, that's one more reason for me to be glad I'm an American.)))

The CSO and I were discussing exactly this subject this morning and I said I might put up a survey asking people if they would be willing to make ethnic slurs and such illegal if it meant chipping away at free speech.

I still might do that.

CC

Robin Edgar said...

Just where did I make the assumption that what would be impermissible in Montreal is also impermissible in the U.S. PG?

:The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down laws that prohibit hate speech.

And you apparently see that as a wonderful thing. . .

:Protesting how you are being treated by the government -- and a police officer is an agent of the government, whose powers derive from the government -- is a core First Amendment right. There is nothing more sacred under the First Amendment than to be able to stand up and say, "The government has done wrong."

Then please do explain how "Free Speech Zones" came into being PG. . . Sure it's OK to protest against the U.S. government as long as you do so in a place where government representatives aren't obliged to witness your protest. . . I wasn't talking about *theory* PG I was talking about *practice*. In practice, in real terms, we have as much if not more freedom of speech up here in Canada than in the "Free Speech Zone" known as the U.S.A.

:If you don't know that, you don't know the context in which Gates was speaking

I know the context in which Gates was speaking PG. The "interview" makes it quite clear. . . It was the context of a Harvard professor with a massive sense of self-importance, which may be over-compensating for some deep insecurities and even some paranoia, who has a well established agenda of playing the race card.

:and in which the officer decided to deal with his hurt feelings by arresting him.

If I read the various reports properly, including the "interview" that CC linked to here, Gates was not even arrested by the officer whose feelings he allegedly hurt but by a colleague of that officer. Who knows? Maybe he was actually arrested by the African American officer who was at the scene. All things considered it would have been better if an African American officer had been the first to respond since Gates would have had no excuse to play the race card in terms of his refusal to cooperate with the police.

:You're therefore probably also unaware that the dubious constitutionality of this arrest

You're probably unaware of the dubious constitutionality of this arrest and this one PG. . . I am already on record as recognizing that the arrest of Gates *might* have been an unjust arrest. OTOH The reports seem to suggest that he was arrested for a form of disorderly conduct. It would appear that Gates was in fact being quite disorderly in his conduct and I am not convinced that being disorderly on your own property, or even inside your own home, exempts you from being arrested. If Gates decided that his next door neighbor was a racist, and started yelling and screaming at his neighbor calling him a racist KKK lover yadda yadda yadda that he could not be arrested for disorderly conduct just because he was being disorderly, to say the least. . . on his own property?

:has a lot to do with why the Cambridge police are dropping charges and apologizing.

Do you know that for sure PG? Or are you just ass*uming? There are other possible reasons why the police dropped the charges.

Robin Edgar said...

:Officers in the U.S. cannot constitutionally arrest people just for calling the officer a racist.

And Gates wasn't arrested "just for calling the officer a racist."

:If you're right that they can do that in Canada, that's one more reason for me to be glad I'm an American.

And where did I say that Canadian police officers can constitutionally arrest people just for calling the officer a racist PG?

Answer - I never said any such thing. . .

I will refrain from actually weilding Occam's Zweihänder by leaving the question open and simply saying that you are either unable to properly interpret and understand plain English or you are knowingly and willfully misrepresenting what I actually did say. . .

Need a reminder PG?

I said - If someone called a homosexual cop a "fifi" up here in Quebec, or used the N-word to "namecall" an African American cop, they might well find themselves hauled before the Quebec Human Rights Commission

So please do explain to everyone reading this how you manage to interpret that plain English as meaning that police officers in Canada can constitutionally arrest people just for calling the officer a racist. . . Once again I am left wondering if someone is being disingenuous or just dense. . .

Robin Edgar said...

Anyone, U*U or otherwise, wishing to enter into a genuinely free and responsible search for the truth and meaning of what happened between professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley and other Cambridge police officers might want to dare to compare what Henry Louis Gates Jr. says in his self-serving interview and what Sgt. James Crowley and Carlos Figueroa said in their official police report on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. on disorderly conduct charges.

Chalicechick said...

This version is a little easier to read.

Again, I tend to think the truth is somewhere in between.

CC

Chalicechick said...

And I'm glad that someone leaked the report. I found the police's excuses for not releasing it despite having dropped the charges rather suspicious. Maybe they just didn't like that it didn't show him doing anything illegal.

There are two versions out there, a longer unofficial one and a shorter one that they actually filed with the court.

CC

PG said...

"If I read the various reports properly, including the "interview" that CC linked to here, Gates was not even arrested by the officer whose feelings he allegedly hurt but by a colleague of that officer."

You didn't read them correctly. He was arrested by Officer Crowley, who was the person who investigated when the call was made.

PG said...

Robin,

Also, you may have missed in another thread that I suggested that you read this.

Free speech zones on public property and for particular events are time, place and manner restrictions. They do not regulate the content of speech, which is what Canada's "hate speech" restrictions do. Indeed, I wonder if your repeated references to Gates as "playing the race card" are actually compliant with your local law.

Robin Edgar said...

PG The police report was not available to me at the time I made the comment about a colleague of Crowley being the arresting officer. In fact I was going by Gates' own description of who arrested him. Gates said -

He (Crowley) turned his back to me and turned back to the porch. And I followed him. I kept saying, “I want your name, and I want your badge number.” It looked like an ocean of police had gathered on my front porch. There were probably half a dozen police officers at this point. The mistake I made was I stepped onto the front porch and asked one of his *colleagues* for his name and badge number. And when I did, the *same* officer said, ‘Thank you for accommodating our request. You are under arrest.’ And he handcuffed me right there. It was outrageous.

My understanding of what Gates said was that the "same officer" who he asked for Crowley's name and badge number placed him under arrest and handcuffed him. It was only on later reading the "disappeared" police report that I came to understand that either Gates meant Sgt. Crowley when he said "the same officer", or he was confused about who actually arrested him or, and I agree this is a long shot but none-the-less a possibility. . . the "colleague" did in fact arrest and handcuff Gates but Sgt. Crowley pretended that he arrested and handcuffed Gates in his police report for some reason. Needless to say I am quite prepared to accept Sgt. Crowley's version of events regarding the actual arrest unless some reason not to arises.

I did indeed miss the NYT artiocle you have linked to and will have a look at at but there is no reason to believe that my talking about Gates' glaringly obvious playing of the race card in this matter is not compliant with Canadian or Quebec law which, one more time. . . guarantees "freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication." Heck the province of Quebec has its own Charter of Human Rights And Freedoms which says -

Every person is the possessor of the fundamental freedoms, including freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association.

My well-founded opinion that Henry Louis Gates' Jr. is playing the race card, to say nothing of a 52 card deck or race cards. . . can hardly be construed as "hate speech" nor can my well-founded opinion that Gates is an arrogant self-important jerk who has made a total ass out of himself in this matter. I can hardly make Gates look much worse than the "interview" this blog post links to makes him look. Talk about a case of foot-in-mouth disease. . .

Robin Edgar said...

OK I read the somewhat dated NYT article that you linked to PG. You might want to read this Wikipedia page that is rather more up-to-date.

Robin Edgar said...

BTW PG I refamiliarized myself with the First Amendment which says -

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

and it seems to me that it could be argued that the establishment of so-called "Free Speech Zones" may be unconstitutional because, if they do not actually *abridge* freedom of speech itself (which is open to some debate), they certainly seem to abridge the right of the people to assemble peaceably by limiting the time and place where they may assemble. Am I wrong?

Chalicechick said...

A lot of people have argued that the "free speech zones" are unconstitutional, though a case has never made it to the Supreme Court.

The time and place where people can assemble has always been limited in some senses, even when the site of the protest is a public space. (e.g. You do not have the constitutional right to assemble on a high school football field during a game, you do not have the right to assemble in the public library when it is closed.)

A lot of presidential speeches and political conventions happen on private property and there's no constitutional right to assemble there, though giving the protesters a place where they are allowed to assemble is generally done.

And even when the speech or convention is on public property, the courts tend to take a dim view of protests that are disruptive of another event or are likely to cause a riot. Everybody is afraid of the 1968 Democratic convention riots happening again, and also, preventing your political opponants from having a peaceful assembly by harassing them isn't constitutional in spirit, so some regard the "free speech zone" as the simplest way to keep large groups apart of people who hate each other apart.

So though a case hasn't made it up through the courts, the court ruling it unconstitional is not at all a sure thing.

CC

PG said...

Robin,

The NYT article is about how America is unusual in not restricting the content of speech, even when it is hateful or offensive. It's not solely about the MacLean's article. However, IN THE UNITED STATES THE COMPLAINT WOULD NOT HAVE EVEN BEEN CONSIDERED. In Canada, it took 10 months to come to the conclusion that the article was legal, and it required making a prediction about whether the article would expose Muslims to "contempt or hatred."

In the U.S., if you tried to file a complaint, it would take 10 seconds for the judge to say, "First Amendment, no individual libel, go away." If you said, "But it exposes my group to contempt or hatred," the judge would say "You're about to feel some contempt of court if you keep bringing frivolous actions."

In Canada, if you are deemed to have exposed a group to contempt or hatred, you've breached the law. In the U.S., if you expose a group to contempt or hatred, you're just exercising freedom of speech. (So you don't think that your statements about Gates expose him to contempt or hatred with regard to his race?)

In Canada, people go to jail for denying the Holocaust (and deported to Germany to be tried for such a crime, then sentenced for a five-year term). In the U.S., such a prosecution would be considered a form of political persecution, because the right to freedom of speech includes the right to say things that are stupid and wrong so long as they are not factually erroneous about a specific individual who wishes to bring a libel claim. (And even then there can only be civil penalties, no jail time.)

There's a reason it's called the American Exception, along with things that I find somewhat more dysfunctional and possibly in need of being changed, like having juries for civil trials. Canada has looked at how America does it, and has said, No thanks, we like mandating that people be civil to one another.

Robin Edgar said...

PG, Unlike *some* people here I am perfectly capable of reading and properly interpreting aka understanding plain English

:The NYT article is about how America is unusual in not restricting the content of speech, even when it is hateful or offensive.

I got that.

:It's not solely about the MacLean's article.

That too.

:However, IN THE UNITED STATES THE COMPLAINT WOULD NOT HAVE EVEN BEEN CONSIDERED.

No need to SHOUT PG I understood that perfectly.

:In Canada, it took 10 months to come to the conclusion that the article was legal, and it required making a prediction about whether the article would expose Muslims to "contempt or hatred."

Yup. Got that too.

:In the U.S., if you tried to file a complaint, it would take 10 seconds for the judge to say, "First Amendment, no individual libel, go away." If you said, "But it exposes my group to contempt or hatred," the judge would say "You're about to feel some contempt of court if you keep bringing frivolous actions."

That logically follows what the article says PG and I did say I read it.

:In Canada, if you are deemed to have exposed a group to contempt or hatred, you've breached the law. In the U.S., if you expose a group to contempt or hatred, you're just exercising freedom of speech.

I am pretty sure I understood that from things you said before I even read the article. You have been pretty clear on *that* concept. I do understand that engaging in "hate speech" is legal in the U.S.A.

:(So you don't think that your statements about Gates expose him to contempt or hatred with regard to his race?)

Nope, no hatred at all and only contempt with regard to his status as a deeply insecure race-baiting arrogant blowhard.

:In Canada, people go to jail for denying the Holocaust (and deported to Germany to be tried for such a crime, then sentenced for a five-year term).

I know that.

:In the U.S., such a prosecution would be considered a form of political persecution, because the right to freedom of speech includes the right to say things that are stupid and wrong so long as they are not factually erroneous about a specific individual who wishes to bring a libel claim. (And even then there can only be civil penalties, no jail time.)

Got that too PG. Thanks for acknowledging that, at least in U.S. terms, I am subjected to legal harassment and persecution on the part of Canadian AND American Unitarian*Universalists because I say things about them that are neither stupid, nor wrong, nor factually erroneous. . . Justice perverting legal harassment that is highly questionable even in the context of the Canadian constitution.

:There's a reason it's called the American Exception, along with things that I find somewhat more dysfunctional and possibly in need of being changed, like having juries for civil trials. Canada has looked at how America does it, and has said, No thanks, we like mandating that people be civil to one another.

I got all that too. Unfortunately when I tried to get Rev. Ray Drennan and other intolerant and abusive Montreal Unitarian U*Us to be civil towards me Canada dropped the ball. . . Of course so did the Unitarian Church of Montreal and UUA.

Anonymous said...

DAVID LETTERMAN'S HATE, ETC. !

David Letterman's hate is as old as some ancient Hebrew prophets.
Speaking of anti-Semitism, it's Jerry Falwell and other fundy leaders who've gleefully predicted that in the future EVERY nation will be against Israel (an international first?) and that TWO-THIRDS of all Jews will be killed, right?
Wrong! It's the ancient Hebrew prophet Zechariah who predicted all this in the 13th and 14th chapters of his book! The last prophet, Malachi, explains the reason for this future Holocaust that'll outdo even Hitler's by stating that "Judah hath dealt treacherously" and "the Lord will cut off the man that doeth this" and asks "Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?"
Haven't evangelicals generally been the best friends of Israel and persons perceived to be Jewish? Then please explain the recent filthy, hate-filled, back-stabbing tirades by David Letterman (and Sandra Bernhard and Kathy Griffin) against a leading evangelical named Sarah Palin, and explain why most Jewish leaders have seemingly condoned Palin's continuing "crucifixion"!
While David, Sandra, and Kathy are tragically turning comedy into tragedy, they are also helping to speed up and fulfill the Final Holocaust a la Zechariah and Malachi, thus helping to make the Bible even more believable!
(For even more stunning information, visit MSN, Google etc. and type in "Separation of Raunch and State," "Michael the Narc-Angel," "Bible Verses Obama Avoids," and "Hate Bill Favoritism.")