A Boston Globe editorial today captures the nuances of the Henry Louis Gates matter quite well: “The confrontation between Gates and Sergeant James Crowley isn’t a textbook example of racial profiling.”
But: “Once the officer established that Gates was indeed standing in his own home, the encounter should have ended. Objecting to an officer’s presence in one’s residence should hardly be grounds for arrest.”
17 thoughts on “Globe: Police should have left”
Dan,I disagree. The police still have to secure the home by searching it, even if they find it to be his home.However, this is not racial profiling. It's a case of the professor needlessly escalating the situation. HE mentioned race, not the police.
I can't understand what you're trying to type here, Dan — the lighting in my office is so poor. Come outside and type it again.Bob in Peabody
If I'm having trouble getting into my house, before I do anything to get back inside, I'm going to call the police and let them know what I'm going to do.
LoveThatIceCream:What country do you live in? The police do not have the right to search your home without probable cause or a search warrant. And a phone call isn't probable cause.People can – and do – call the police with all sorts of claims – some real and some imagined. But those claims don't give the police carte blanche to do whatever they want. They still have to follow the law.So in this case they could have knocked on the door and made inquiries. But they just can't barge into a private residence, demand ID and conduct a search.Once it was established that Gates was the resident of the home and the burglary report was in error, the police should have left. Not called in more police and arrested the resident for being irritated.The charges were dropped for a reason. The police made a mistake – and thankfully they admitted it.
This is very well written. However, and I'm playing devil's advocate, what do people think of the first sentence in the editorial? "CAMBRIDGE POLICE and prosecutors found a mature resolution to a dust-up late last week…"Couldn't they have used a better term to describe what happened? My reaction was terming it as "a dust up" seems dismissive in tone. Maybe that's just me, but I was wondering if others feel the same way.
If I'm having trouble getting into my house, before I do anything to get back inside, I'm going to call the police and let them know what I'm going to do.First, he was *already* in his house. He had used his key to enter by the back door, and he had turned off the alarm.Now, since he rented the house, the prudent call might have been to the landlord before trying to unstick the front door, but the police? Why? You're committing no crime.It's a case of the professor needlessly escalating the situation. HE mentioned race, not the police.Right, because when cops engage in racial profiling they always *mention* race out loud.The police still have to secure the home by searching it, even if they find it to be his home."Have to"? Who says? Just because it *may be* standard procedure (and I doubt that) doesn't mean it's not a violation of the man's privacy.I'm neither black nor a professor, but if a cop entered my home unwanted, and refused to give me his name or other ID, I'd be royally pissed as well. It's an unhealthy society that lets guys with guns and uniforms march into the private homes of law-abiding citizens at will.
no it's not against the law, but it makes sense to recognize the possibility that a neighbor (especially if you only rent a house) will notice the activity and call the cops. Calling the cops beforehand is being proactive and what I would have done.
What this case and the resulting discussion have done is simply to fix people more firmly in whatever their preconceptions were to begin with. Those generally supportive of the police remain so, while those who were convinced that police officers' actions are often racially motivated have found justification for that belief. While I think that there was some degree of fault on both sides, there's no question that the academic community, the press and Cambridge politicians are going to make sure that Sgt. Cleary is overmatched.
Sgt. Crowley, not Cleary. Sorry
David Rogers: Unless your cell phone was in the house you just locked yourself out of. Then you'd go to a neighbor's and ask them to call the police, to tell them…Not me. I've broken into my house a couple of times, in broad daylight. It's a pretty clumsy and obvious affair, done via a garage window. I live on a busy street and you can see me doing it from the street. Police response times must be a lot faster in Cambridge than in Lynn, to be able to…oh, he was already in his house by the time they got there? Then he showed them ID? Then he gives them a ration of shit? Too bad. Correct response at that point is to exercise common sense and restraint, thus proving Gates wrong: Okay sorry for the misunderstanding sir, have a nice day, goodbye.Dan you are right I think that the division here is along the "deference line".
The first time I locked myself out of the house, I took a spare key and screwed it to my leg. (sorry, gimp humor, but true)I wonder how often this type of situation arises — a resident seen trying to forcibly enter his own living unit is confronted by police. How many arrests result from this type of encounter? Any instances of such an encounter going ballistic?This is not the type of incident that usually draws attention. But the high profile of the professor has brought it to the fore and given us reason to wonder about such matters. Sorta like a cop being called for a trivial matter noticing something else of interest.As for searching the house, I believe this would be to protect the resident, in case an intruder was hiding in the house. (Probably happens more on TV than in real life. But it may be department protocol.)
Ryan said – I'm neither black nor a professor, but if a cop entered my home unwanted, and refused to give me his name or other ID, I'd be royally pissed as well. It's an unhealthy society that lets guys with guns and uniforms march into the private homes of law-abiding citizens at will.It's amazing how many people on both sides of this issue shoot their virtual mouths of without checking the facts of what actually happened, or at least checking the proverbial "other side of the story". . .Henry Louis Gate's version of what happened, as published in his self-serving agenda driven "interview" in The Root webzine that he is the chief editor of asserts that Sgt. Crowley refused to provide his name but the official police report filed by Sgt. James Crowley says otherwise. The pertinent part of it may be read at the bottom of this screenshot of the report.
Actually Sgt. James Crowley claims that he identified himself as "Sgt. Crowley from the Cambridge Police" after Henry Louis Gates first demanded to know whop he was. Considering some of the obvious inconsistencies in Gates version of events I am inclined to believe that Sgt. Crowley did identify himself by name as described in the police report.
One more thing Dan,If you or anyone else wants to embed the police report into a blog post or web page you may do so by copying and pasting the customisable embed code here.
Robin, memory is a terribly fallible thing. I'm sure both sides believe (to a degree) their version of events is true. I'm equally sure both sides misremember certain elements of what in fact took place.
The original "your mama" police report reappears through Drudge and The Smoking Gun.
:"Objecting to an officer's presence in one's residence should hardly be grounds for arrest." :Exactly.Wrong. The last time I checked, Henry Louis Gates was not arrested for objecting to Sgt. Jame's Crowley's presence in his residence. It may or may not have been a lawful arrest but it was for disorderly conduct, nothing more, nothing less.
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