Free Markets, Free People

Chips, Skips and Apologies

Justified anger is a wonderful thing. It allows one to act like a complete ass with little, if any, impunity. For example, I recall once while backpacking my way through Egypt when a taxi driver I made a deal with for a ride ditched me for some other riders. We were in a sleepy, seaside town on the Sinai peninsula, separated by several miles of harsh desert terrain from the local bus stop. The driver wanted to maximize the trip, understandably, and sought out a few more riders (there was only two of us) before leaving. Of course, when he returned the taxi was full and we were left without a ride, stranded in Dahab. Needless to say, I was a bit miffed.

Luckily, I had consulted my trusty, Harvard-drafted “Let’s Go: Egypt” prior to entering the country, which suggested throwing a loud and boisterous fit if put in a situation where you are likely being cheated. So, I did. And it worked like a charm. I threw luggage, cursed at the top of my lungs, and glared menacingly at the taxi driver causing him to quickly exit the situation as a crowd of onlookers gathered. But suddenly, something wonderful happened; the crowd sympathized with my plight, took me under their care, and within a few minutes I was being treated to warm food, cold drink and a new taxi (driven by someone’s cousin as I recall) was summoned to take us on our journey. By acting like a spoiled child, just because I was screwed out of a ride, I was treated as a victim in need of comfort, and not a damned fool in need of discipline.

My tantrum was quite effective and confirmed to me that “justifiable anger” is a powerful, and intoxicating, thing. It is the “castle doctrine” of emotional responses which places blame for any incident squarely on the shoulders of the instigator, leaving you with unquestioned moral authority. However, like any intoxicant, it also tempts overuse and abuse.

Gates being arrested at his home

Gates being arrested at his home

By now you are probably aware of Dr. Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr.’s arrest in Cambridge, Massachusetts. What should have been a non-story became a huge imbroglio because of Dr. Gates’ stature, and the media’s endless pursuit of “Racism in America” stories. Even so, it was likely on its way to dying on the back pages of Boston newspapers until Pres. Obama resurrected it with his rather careless and admittedly ill-informed denunciation of the police officer involved.

After spending most of an hour patiently reiterating his arguments for changing the health insurance system, President Barack Obama turned his press conference sharply toward an iconic moment in American race relations: The arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. earlier this week by the Cambridge Police.


“I don’t know – not having been there and not seeing all the facts – what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two that he Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home,” Obama said in response to a question from the Chicago Sun-Times’s Lynn Sweet.

Gates, Obama allowed, “is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don’t know all the facts.”

In other words, despite not knowing all the facts, the President decided to weigh in anyway on the side of his friend and to assume the worst about the police. Unfortunately, Obama is not alone in his ignorance or willingness to castigate someone without questioning the actions of Dr. Gates.


If anything is clear about the situation, it is that escalation was not necessary and could easily have been avoided. Dr. Gates apparently has a huge chip on his shoulder with respect to white cops, in the very least, and reacted poorly to Sgt. Crowley following up on a breaking and entering call. Indeed, Pres. Obama, among many others, opined that Gates was perfectly justified in being angry (“but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry”) because he was being accused of robbing his own house.

Yet such reaction completely ignores the reason for Crowley being there in the first place: to protect Dr. Gates’ house. Why would a policeman acting in defense of Dr. Gates’s own home upset him? Because Dr. Gates has a huge chip on his shoulder and succumbed to that sweet temptation of justifiable anger to grab the moral high ground. In doing so, he elided right past the justifications for Crowley’s visit, as well as his questions, and instead went right into victimization mode.

Crowley, for his own part, also seems to be carrying a chip or two. One, that is not uncommon to policemen, appears to be a distinct aversion to challenges to his authority. After all, yelling at a cop in your own front yard hardly seems like a criminal offense. In addition, and more understandably, Crowley carries a big chip on his shoulder regarding being called a racist. Here’s why:

The Cambridge cop prominent Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. claims is a racist gave a dying Reggie Lewis mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in a desperate bid to save the Celtics [team stats] superstar’s life 16 years ago Monday.

“I wasn’t working on Reggie Lewis the basketball star. I wasn’t working on a black man. I was working on another human being,” Sgt. James Crowley, in an exclusive interview with the Herald, said of the forward’s fatal heart attack July 27, 1993, at age 27 during an off-season practice at Brandeis University, where Crowley was a campus police officer.

It’s a date Crowley still can recite by rote – and he still recalls the pain he suffered when people back then questioned whether he had done enough to save the black athlete.

“Some people were saying ‘There’s the guy who killed Reggie Lewis’ afterward. I was broken-hearted. I cried for many nights,” he said.

Surely someone who faced such criticism, despite administering his best efforts, is going to be a little sensitive to being called a racist. I wouldn’t be surprised if “oh no, here we go again” was the primary thought running through Crowley’s mind while Gates was delivering his tirade.

Unfortunately, Crowley’s chips may have caused him to ignore the obvious (if unwarranted) source of Gates’ ire, and instead to grab for that justifiable anger high ground himself. The end result is that a normally routine procedure becomes a huge production that serves the interests of no one.


Of course, to be fair, Gates’ reaction was quite confusing to the officer.

Consider for a moment, how you would assess the situation had you been in Crowley’s place. You receive a call about a B&E in progress and immediately respond, asking the caller who reported the incident to meet you at the front door to the residence. In all likelihood you’ve responded to similar calls before only to find that the either it’s someone breaking into their own home, or that an estranged girlfriend/wife is calling for backup in a domestic situation, or something other than an actual robbery. Therefore, you request the caller to be there just to be sure.

Upon arrival, you have to assess the situation without having any knowledge. You meet the caller who tells you that two black men with backpacks were observed trying to “wedge” the front door open with their shoulders, thus raising suspicion and precipitating the call. OK, now you can be reasonably certain that it’s not a domestic situation, but there still may be an innocent explanation. You notice someone inside the house, looking out at you as you approach the front door. Who could it be? The owner? A friend? Or perhaps a potential burglar? You don’t know but the only way to find out is to question the person.

Now, stop and think for a moment. If the person you are about to question is the home’s owner, wouldn’t you expect a rather cooperative attitude? You are defending their home after all. In contrast, if the person inside is someone who shouldn’t be there, then you would expect a more evasive, or possibly hostile reaction. But how do you deal with the rightful owner calling you a racist (pdf)?

As I turned and faced the door, I could see an older black male standing in the foyer of [redacted] Ware Street. I made this observation through the glass paned front door. As I stood in plain view of this man, later identified as gates, I asked if he would step out onto the porch and speak with me. He replied “no I will not.” He then demanded to know who I was. I told him that I was “Sgt. Crowley from the Cambridge Police” and that I was “investigating a report of a break (sic) in progress” at the residence. While I was making this statement, Gates opened the front door and exclaimed “why, because I’m a black man in America?”. I then asked Gates if there was anyone else in the residence. While yelling, he told me that it was non of my business and accused me of being a racist police officer. I assured gates that I was responding to a citizen’s call to the Cambridge Police and that the caller was outside as we spoke. Gates seemed to ignore me and picked up a cordless telephone and dialed an unknown telephone number. As he did so, I radioed on channel 1 that I was off in the residence with someone who appeared to be a resident but very uncooperative. I then overheard Gates asking the person on the other end of his telephone call to “get the chief” and “what’s the chief’s name?”. gates was telling the person on the other end of the call that he was dealing with a racist police officer in his home. Gates then turned to and told me that I had no idea who I was “messing” with and that I had not heard the last of it. While I was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence, I was quite surprised and confused with the behavior he exhibited toward me. I asked Gates to provide me with photo identification so that I could verify that he resided at [redacted] Ware Street and so I could radio my finding to ECC. Gates initially refused, demanding that I show him identification but then did supply me with a Harvard university identification card. Upon learning that Gates was affiliated with Harvard, I radioed and requested the presence of the Harvard University Police.

The statement above if from Sgt. Crowley and, most likely, is self-serving. Then there is Gates’ version of events:

When Professor Gates opened the door, the officer immediately asked him to step outside. Professor Gates remained inside his home and asked the officer why he was there. The officer indicated that he was responding to a 911 call about a breaking and entering in progress at this address. Professor Gates informed the officer that he lived there and was a faculty member at Harvard University. The officer then asked Professor Gates whether he could prove that he lived there and taught at Harvard. Professor Gates said that he could, and turned to walk into his kitchen, where he had left his wallet. The officer followed him. Professor Gates handed both his Harvard University identification and his valid Massachusetts driver’s license to the officer. Both include Professor Gates’ photograph, and the license includes his address.

Professor Gates then asked the police officer if he would give him his name and his badge number. He made this request several times. The officer did not produce any identification nor did he respond to Professor Gates’ request for this information. After an additional request by Professor Gates for the officer’s name and badge number, the officer then turned and left the kitchen of Professor Gates’ home without ever acknowledging who he was or if there were charges against Professor Gates.

In comparing the two statements, they contain a lot of agreement on how the events unfolded. Both accounts state that Crowley asked Gates to step outside and that he explained the reason for his visit. They also both agree that Crowley asked for verification that Gates belonged in the residence, as well as that Gates provided at least his Harvard ID. They further agree that Gates asked for Crowley’s identification, although they differ as to why.

In fact, Gates never suggests why he wanted the officer’s ID, nor what could have possibly prompted the request. If Gates’ statement is to be accepted as true, we would have to believe that he was a perfect gentleman throughout the process until his request for Crowley’s ID was ignored. Indeed, Gates’ entire story depends on the idea that he only became outwardly upset when Crowley refused to give him identification. And even if that were true, it does not explain how the charges of racism and racial profiling came to be leveled. It’s not as if refusing to show official ID has some racially disparate component to it.

Gates has further problems with his story as well. According to Crowley’s statement, he radioed into ECC with pertinent information as he got it and requested the presence of Harvard Police. In addition, he observed Gates making a phone call to someone and asking for the “chief” while declaring that a racist police officer was in his home. All of these statements are verifiable by looking at the radio transmissions from Crowley and the phone records from Gates. Oddly, Gates makes no mention of the phone call, nor offers any explanation as to how the Harvard Police came to be at the scene. That tends to lend credibility to Crowley’s version of events.

On the other side of the ledger, however, it sure does look like Crowley lured Gates outside in order to arrest him and show him who was boss. His claim that he went outside to speak with Gates because the acoustics were inhibiting his ability to communicate with ECC sounds just a little too perfect. Crowley further neglects to explain why he could not have offered to write the information down for Gates, or even better, simply handed him a business card (which every cop I’ve ever dealt with has had plenty of). That would have presumably satisfied Gates for the time being and allowed Crowley to exit the situation without any further ruckus. Instead, both parties claim that Crowley asked the professor to step outside, in full view of the poor crowd who’s tender mercies were then violated by Gates’ tirade, and voilà Crowley then had a reason to arrest him.

Despite all the foregoing, and regardless of whose version of events you believe, there is simply no indication of why this has been turned into a racial incident. Some suggest that the original caller was racist for immediately assuming that two black men trying to force a door open were criminals. But that’s just absurd, and I would hope that if a passerby sees anyone of any color breaking into my home they call the police. Others hypothesize that a white professor would not have experienced the same treatment at the hands of the police, but that ignores (a) the agreed upon facts, and (b) the fact that police would be derelict if they did not verify who was in the home, and whether or not they belong there. I’m sure there are plenty of people who have run into similar circumstances regardless of race (I know I have). To date, no one has offered a reasonable explanation as to how the incident justifies charges of racism and racial profiling, although plenty of people are perfectly willing to assume such is the case.


I may as well get the ball rolling for turning what could have been a succinct piece into a meandering tome. So, sorry about that.

Next up is Officer Crowley who is adamant that no apology will be forthcoming.

Crowley himself, speaking to the Globe yesterday and again last night in Natick, said he will not apologize and asserted, “I am not a racist.’’

Crowley’s police union issued a statement saying it had reviewed the arrest of Gates and expressed “full and unqualified support’’ for his actions.

“Sergeant Crowley is a highly respected veteran supervisor with a distinguished record in the Cambridge Police Department,’’ said the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association. “His actions at the scene of this matter were consistent with his training, with the informed policies and practices of the Department, and with applicable legal standards.’’

I guess you can forget about the Police Department delivering one either.

As for Gates, well he hasn’t been asked for one, and it does not appear that one will be forthcoming, especially now that the President of the United States has backed him.

Obama acknowledged that Gates is a friend and that since he was not there, he cannot know exactly what role race may have played in the incident.

Gates’ daughter and attorney said they were pleased by the president’s comments.

Charles Ogletree, Gates’ attorney and a fellow Harvard professor, told “Good Morning America’s” Dan Harris today that Gates “was simply pleased that Barack acknowledged he was a friend and what he had read and heard and understood to have been reported that Professor Gates did not violate the law.”

Perhaps the media will apologize for turning this into a major story, and perceptibly backing Gates’ version by playing up the racism angle, not to mention raising the issue at a prime time news conference on health care. Hmmm … no, I guess that’s just silly.

Once the tempting fruit of justifiable anger is consumed, it almost impossible to give up. Should Crowley apologize for arresting Gates? Yes, he probably should, but I’m sure he feels too justified in his anger to do so: Gates shouldn’t have berated him for protecting Gates’ own home, and certainly shouldn’t have called him a racist.

Should Gates apologize for his tumultuous behavior and unwarranted accusations? Most definitely, but that isn’t likely to happen either because Gates feels justified in his anger as well: Crowley shouldn’t have arrested him, causing him embarrassment and extreme discomfort, simply because he was yelling and screaming while on his own property.

So, nobody will apologize, nothing will be fixed, and no wounds will be healed. Welcome to post-racial America.

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52 Responses to Chips, Skips and Apologies

  • The actions of Sgt. Crowley were consistent with how to handle a breakin where 2 persons were initially identified being involved and only one was visible … what if Mr Gates had been forced into his own house by another person ?  Asking him to come outside, in this case, might be an invitation that could save his life.

    • …what if Mr Gates had been forced into his own house by another person ?  Asking him to come outside, in this case, might be an invitation that could save his life.
      Umm, “in this case” asking for the cops identification, throwing a racial tirade, and picking up the phone to call someone are tell-tell signs of a hostage situation?  And I guess then he arrested Gates for his own protection.
      Or, and much more likely, the cop didn’t like this guy insulting him, so he got him outside so he could arrest him.
      Gates may be a racist prick, I don’t know.  But the cop was in the wrong, not for investigating a routine B&E call, but for arresting the homeowner for “disorderly conduct” on his own property.

      • Whatever the cop did wrong he doesn’t deserve to be called a racist, especially not publicly.

        Now to cap it off white folks are coming into his house,

        Look at the arrest picture of Gates: one of the cops is black. There may have been a reason for Gates to have a chip on his shoulder, but him calling the cop a racist is beyond excuse.

  • In the racial equivalent of bring a sword to a gun fight …

    Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley has taught a class on racial profiling for five years at the Lowell Police Academy after being hand-picked for the job by former police Commissioner Ronny Watson, who is black, said Academy Director Thomas Fleming.
    “I have nothing but the highest respect for him as a police officer. He is very professional and he is a good role model for the young recruits in the police academy,” Fleming told The Associated Press on Thursday.
    The course, called “Racial Profiling,” teaches about different cultures that officers could encounter in their community “and how you don’t want to single people out because of their ethnic background or the culture they come from,” Fleming said.

    I suggest that Obama tell his good buddy “Skip” Gates to “cool it”

  • Gates’ whole career has centered on race, and judging from his academic work, there’s little doubt of his presupposition of inherent racism in Western culture. So, his ability to rationally and objectively consider the events as they unfolded were likely nil. He immediately jumped to conclusions without asking himself if the police officer could have actually had innocent motives.

    On the other hand, a good deal of police are in that line of work in the first place because they possess authoritarian tendencies. As someone who has used (likely similar) wireless communications a lot, I think the officer’s claim that the room’s acoustics were interferring is certainly true. Not just because it is plausible, but because it is almost inconceivable that someone would be able to think it up as a lie.

    Here’s my take: The truth lies between the two men’s stories, but heavily leaning towards the officer’s account of events. If for no other reason, because probably about 70% of the officer’s story is verifiable through third parties. Gates was acting like a total *sshole and the cop decided to take him down a peg. That simple. No racism involved, other than Gates’ preconceived notions playing out in his own head.

    • Not to excuse Gates, but to explain where his head probably is – he’s tired from his travels, he’s just had to break into his own house, he’s pissed at himself. Now to cap it off white folks are coming into his house, which he’s been in for all of 5 minutes or so, and demanding he identify himself and prove he’s not a burglar.   WELCOME HOME!   Does it excuse his rant about racism, no.  But it at least may explain why that chip on his shoulder almost instantly became the size of an Igloo cooler.
      All in all I lean more towards the veracity of the cop’s story, self serving though it may be.  Based on a run-in with the Gestapo Cambridge Police Department circa 1984 I was more than willing to believe Gate’s story over theirs when this first came to light.

      • I could totally buy that.
        I’ve blown my top a time or two cuased by compounding aggro.

      • “Now to cap it off white folks are coming in to his house”

        If the color of the police officer’s skin is a factor in the tantrum put on by Gates, then racism was clearly a factor – but Gates was acting the racist, not the policeman.

        • I genuinely believe if he’d looked up to see someone of color in the uniform asking the questions he might have taken a different approach, if only because of the sense of familiarity it might have engendered in a guy who’s already in a bad mood.
          As it is now the lines have been drawn in the sand and we’re going to piss away a lot of national time and concern because the President demonstrated once again via his inability to stay out of this why he’s not up to the requirements of the job of statesman.  He’s a local hack, elected into the highest office in the land.  God help me, Hillary would have been better.

  • Were Sgt. Crowley and his partner in uniform?  If so, then why in the world would Gates ask for ID and badge number?  Unless the Cambridge PD uniform is much different than that of every other American police officer I’ve ever seen, Crowley’s name and badge number should have been quite visible.

    It will be interesting to see what the truth is.

    As for TAO… Well, what can you expect from a former “community organizer”?  Cries of police brutality, blaming “the Man”, and the race card are their stock-in-trade.  I wonder if he is capable of realizing that HE’S being a racist in this case by reflexively assuming that the WHITE cop was a bigot for (perhaps) merely doing his job.

    • Were Sgt. Crowley and his partner in uniform? If so, then why in the world would Gates ask for ID and badge number? Unless the Cambridge PD uniform is much different than that of every other American police officer I’ve ever seen, Crowley’s name and badge number should have been quite visible.
      For the same reason as the phone call to “the chief” — it sounds awfully like a feeble attempt to cow the cops into leaving. What a fool.

  • It only took a few months but here we are…Obama = Al Sharpton

  • More details-
    Cambridge Police now report there was an attempted break-in at the residence earlier during Gates’ absence.
    Gates and Crowley…
    Whose life is on the line while doing their job?

  • Shouldn’t the cops ask a few questions to make sure the man “breaking” into his own home isn’t an estranged husband trying to scare or harm his wife who still lives in the home?
    This actually happened to my boss. She had kicked her husband out of the house after he choked her and she filed a police report. A few weeks later, he broke into the house, but left just before the police arrived.
    The police are justified in asking a few questions and checking on his story when the arrived at Gates’ house.

  • This whole incident could well be a staged event to further the political desires of Barack Obama to put a profiling law on the books. It takes lots of reading to get there but Gates pursuit of a “racial profiling” documentary with PBS, the mysterious disappearance of two young black males with backpacks spotted on the porch of Gates’ Harvard residence, the languishing racial profiling legislation and Gates’ loud and seemingly deliberate insults against the police officers are just too coincidental to be believed; especially when Al Sharpton immediately shows his racist continence and the government controlled media and trained and paid lefty bloggers turn up the volume on racial profiling.
    Obama’s comments at his press conference biased the case against the officer and Obama’s inference that he too would be arrested for breaking into his own home because and only because of his color.  During the election Michele Obama in a CBS interview made a similar comment.   So as Rush Limbaugh pointed out today,  Barry was obviously listening to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright more than he has admitted.
    Look for the Senate to roll out the buried “racial profiling” bill that Senator Obama sponsored in 2008.

  • Any time your “break into anything” you should be prepared to be asked a lot of questions if the police happen to stop by.
    Being uncooperative is an invitation to a trip to the station house.

  • This was a well-written, thoughtful and objective article.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this event and asking not, “Who can I blame?” but, “What can I learn?”

  • Most people in this country have a great deal of respect for those of us in the military because we are willing to risk our lives on a foreign battlefield but what they forget is our combat tours are far shorter than those of our domestic police force.  I had 13 years in before i did my first combat tour, a police officer’s combat tour starts the day he graduates the academy and doesn’t end until he quits, retires, or dies; sometimes in the line of duty.

  • Some cops do have a chip on their shoulders (I’ve had some unpleasant experiences with law enforcement myself) and cops will definitely tell lies in arrest reports.  However, in this case there were witnesses for the last part of the altercation and they can attest to whether Gates was being as confrontational as the arresting officer claims.  There will also be records of Gates’s telephone call and the officer’s radio transmissions.  If those corroborate the narrative in the arrest report then Gates deserved what he got.  I agree that haranguing a cop should not lead to an arrest, but every single one of the white commenters on this thread would have been arrested if we had acted in the manner that Gates did per the arrest report.  That is the relevant question: what would happen to anyone else had they gone ballistic on a police officer?  They would have been arrested and the charges wouln’t have been dropped.    

    Also, this incident doesn’t have anything to do with racial profiling.  Gates wasn’t pulled over in a traffic stop.  The officer was responding to a neighbor’s 911 call.   

  • …and the “crime” gates committed was….being unfriendly to a cop? loudly questioning his competence? calling him unpleasant things? damn right they should have arrested him! we must show instant deference and obedience to the security forces, ja? because we’ve all seen the youtube video of the pittsburgh cop tasering the lil ol’ granny in the police station and we don’t want them to do that to us, ja?
    now obama shooting off his mouth on this sad, filled-with-dark-portents-but-still-minor incident ….is interesting. the guy doesn’t have much of an opinion on iranian election fraud, or north korean missile tests, or pakistani ISI terrorist sponsorship – but THIS….THIS calls for an instant response.  how very odd.

  • Agreed. This is the only thoughtful discussion of the incident I’ve seen anywhere. Thanks MichaelW.

  • As I was showing my daugther how to use the “Panic” faeture on our alarm system, as she was going to be alone in the house that day, I ended up tripping it myself. The police arrived promtply, and were jusifiably cautious as I explained what happened. I took the initiative of inviting them in, rather than waiting for them to ask, and while I was mad at myself for being stupid, was open and honest with them. I know the next time they may need to come to my house, I may actually need them.

  • I have already seen it somethere…

  • Assume Gates was white, and everything else was exactly the same. My reaction would be… Nothing. Yes, the cop was being an ass. You still have to be an idiot to stand there and shout at him. Is there a better way to handle this? Would you expect a Harvard professor to be able to figure it out? Without instructions?

    I’m concluding Harvard isn’t what it used to be, and cops are what they always were.

  • Given the exact same information, if Gates had been white and the cop black, whose side would the media be on?  Maybe the tapes will clear it up.  But to paraphrase Chris Rock, if a police officer stops you:  Be Polite.  


  • Personally, I’ve found that saying “sir” and refraining from abrupt movements works well.
    I had this friend who looked like your stereotypical “hippie” who thought it was a good(?) idea to jump out of his car and run back to the cop car when he was stopped by the police. The policemen gave him … let’s call it a non-operational demonstration of his firearm. … and he was white.
    Even Gates didn’t get that.

  • Why was this turned into a racial incident? That is an easy one. He is a professional black man. All police, therefore, are racist and all black men are always innocent, persecuted victims.

    As far as asking him to step outside, I think that is done to put the suspect out of reach of possible weapons and/or make it more difficult to run. They also do it to white folks. It also puts everything out in the open, visible to anyone within view and audible to anyone within earshot. This prevents, or at least deters, unwarranted claims of police brutality.

    I seem to detect a certain bias against police here; “Crowley…. seems to be carrying a chip or two”, etc.

  • Yeah, I wouldn’t have any different reaction if this were a liberal white male professor from out East, (say from Maine.)  If I were Gates I would have let the Sgt talk to me, assess the situation, and then leave.  If I had acted the way Gates had, I would expect to at the least be cuffed and put in the back of a cruiser to cool off.
    Some corrections:

    Gates didn’t break into his house, he went around and used the back door, because the front door was jammed up, presumably from the earlier burglary attempt (or actual burglary.)
    According to the police report, Sgt Crowley took the situation outside because he couldn’t hear his radio over the yelling.
    According to the police report, initially Gates did not produce ID.  This is the most puzzling part to me.

    While the ‘truth’ may be somewhere in the middle, I believe the tone and tenor of the police report is probably correct.  While Gates calm retelling of his story on the news, just seems contrived.

  • The Bloomberg report says that Gates made more than one reference to the cop’s “momma.”

    That’s a good fast way to get arrested.

    From my comment at NPJ:

    Here’s another scenario: Gate’s house is actually being broken into, someone makes a 911 call to report it, the cops show up, the kindly gentleman committing the burglary, black or white, says he lives there, the cops take his word for it and leave, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. comes home to find his momma’s priceless sterling silver tea set and other family heirlooms gone, for good.

    What’s the charge then? That the cops were racists because they didn’t take a burglary at a black man’s house seriously?

    The big difference in that scenario is that the burglar knew how to handle the police.

    • The big difference in that scenario is that the burglar knew how to handle the police.
      Really!?  That’s the big difference???
      See, to me, the big difference in that scenario is that the burglar is an actual burglar, not the homeowner who actually produced ID.
      I always love it when you show up, Martin.  In your scenario, the cops get duped into not arresting a burglar, but in the real scenario, the cops actually arrest the homeowner committing no crime.
      Just brilliant.
      You keep me in stitches, hoss.  Keep it up man.
      A laugh riot.

      • I see that pussy of yours is still aching from our last encounter, Toad.

        Yes, the big difference in the cop reaction is that burglar knew better than to comment on the cop’s “momma,” you imbecile.

        • I see that pussy of yours is still aching from our last encounter, Toad.
          Careful now, Bryan Pick will edit or delete your comment for being rude and condescending.
          Yes, the big difference in the cop reaction is that burglar knew better than to comment on the cop’s “momma,” you imbecile.
          Wait, who is the burglar again?
          Where is the homeowner in this scenario?
          In your scenario, the savvy criminal vs. the irate homeowner, the criminal wins.  Is there a justification for the cops here that I’m just missing, or what?
          In your world, are property owners supposed to give deference to police or they get arrested?

          • Gates could have had an “I don’t like your attitude” talk with the cop without the “do you know who I am” histrionics and the “your momma” comments, but that would properly, and wisely, come after the issue at hand (the suspected break-in) had been settled.

            The cop is not on the scene to harm Gates, he is there to protect Gates’ property against said suspected break-in.

            The cop probably wanted to leave straightaway, and any smart person who knows how cops can get when agitated doesn’t de-facilitate that exit with trash talk. Unless he wants trouble. I can only conclude that Gates, like many of the multitude of morons in the academic world, doesn’t have sufficient cognitive resources on hand to figure that out. Harvard is the nesting place of a particularly high-maintenance breed of intellectual moron.

            What was most likely happening here was that Gates, almost unconciously, ran the plays from the racial arsonist’s playbook, perhaps set-off by something roughly akin to a hypnotic suggestion, and then compounded it with his “I’m a Harvard professor” sense of entitlement.

            The most laughable part was how the Crapmaster-in-Chief fell right into Trinity Church form and made a fool of himself at his press conference. Today, he called the cop and made an apology, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

          • Careful now, Bryan Pick will edit or delete your comment for being rude and condescending.
            Oh, I see what’s going on here.  Don’t think for a second you muthafuckas can get away with it.  This is nothing but ideological profiling.  Your mama wears combat boots.
            See, I get it.  When some of your ideological allies come in here and insult me, calling me names and treating me in a condescending manner, they’re left be.  Me?  When I do the same, I’m singled out and persecuted.  Your mama’s so fat, I’d roll her in flour and look for the wet spot.
            You guys at QandO are nothing but a buncha’ ideological racists.
            Your mama’s like a vacume cleaner;  she sucks, she blows, and she lays in the closet.
            Oh sure, when the man decides to loose his hammer on poor little ole me, my cries of persecution are ignored.  When I decide to fight back, I’m abused and made to cower under the heel of the powers that be with threats of banishment.
            Your mama’s pussy is so hairy, when your brother was born, he died of rugburns.
            Power to the people, assh*le.  We shall not allow the Bryan Picks of the world to silence us.  I propose an affirmative action.  I shall be permitted to post whatever comment I like on someone elses private property whenever and however I see fit.
            Don’t you see?  I’m the victim here.
            Your mama is so ugly, they pushed her face into dough to make gorilla cookies.
            I’m on to you guys.
            Where is my sympathy for my plight?
            Your mama’s so stupid, she sold her car for gas money.

          • C’mon McPhillips.  Whatever happened with your scenario?
            I guess we’ll have to tune in next week when Seargent McPhillips says, “nevermind the facts, ma’am.”

          • The scenario, and its irony, is self-explanatory, to all but those sniping over their sore pussy.

            Perhaps what you need fleshed-out a bit is your face. That can’t be done here.

          • Perhaps what you need fleshed-out a bit is your face. That can’t be done here.
            Time and place.
            You’re right, It can’t be done here.  Why don’t you drop me an email.  Or you can just come to Houston and look up beekeepers in the yellow pages.  I’m not hard to find.  There isn’t many of us in the yellow pages.  It won’t take you long.
            You threaten to rearrange my face?  You wanna antagonize me with physical harm?  Let’s not discuss it further here, shall we.  Out of respect of McQuain and the others that host us.

          • Don’t make me laugh you ridiculous slob.

            Out of respect for McQ? Stop leaving your guano deposits, if that’s what you’re interested in.

            Otherwise, shut your trap.

          • You totally got showed up, McPhillips.
            I destroyed your “scenario” and the “big difference.”  And the best you can do is call me a toad and threaten to rearrange my face.
            I don’t know what its like where you are, but I’m not intimidated by your dumbass.
            If you think you got the better of me, then put it down on text, and leave the hollow threats fueled by your mid-life crisis behind you.  And unless you’re willing to follow through with your impulses, then shut yer trap about physical violence.

          • Showed up?

            You’ve been babbling like some fool kicked in the head by a horse.

            Just take it down to any good tavern, where men who lift things for a living work, and keep it running long enough.

            Someone will punctuate your sentence for you.

          • Just take it down to any good tavern, where men who lift things for a living work, and keep it running long enough.
            Someone will punctuate your sentence for you.
            I tell you what, why don’t you go down to a tavern where men who “lift things for a living” and tell any one of them that you’ll “flesh-out” their face.  You seem so comfortable doing so behind the protection of anonymity.  What’s stopping you?
            You’re all talk, McPhillips.  And when you can’t talk, you write checks your ass can’t possibly cash.
            And who here has the swollen pussy?  Toad.

          • You do. You walked into this thread holding it like an overworked hooker.

            I recommended the tavern to you because I know you’ve been there already, at the end of the bar, running it. And that you’ve gone home with your earnings.

            More than once, I’m betting.

          • You spineless cretin.
            You come in here with your “I’ll flesh-out your face” threats, completely unable to defend your scenario.
            Google it.
            I’m in full view.
            Put your money where your mouth is, or retract your threat and take me head on in text.
            How embarrassing for you.

          • I didn’t write “I’ll flesh out your face.”

            That’s why I told you you were a ridiculous slob when your cyst burst all over my actual comment.

            Houston. Beekeeper. Jackass.

            I’ve run into rotten little creeps like you on the net for fifteen years. The incontinent wailing, the histrionic gestures, it’s all familiar.

            But also, you specifically, in my tavern life, which was extensive, I’ve seen you many times. The outcome is predictable.

          • But also, you specifically, in my tavern life, which was extensive, I’ve seen you many times. The outcome is predictable.
            Yeah, and I’ve seen you there many times as well.  The outcome was always predictable.  You make empty threats and then tuck tail and then run.  Oh, the memories.
            BTW, I f*cked your sister.

          • I didn’t make an empty threat, because I made no threat at all, imbecile.

            Your problem tying the shoelaces of your own thoughts together, which you camo with your dink formatting, is nothing compared to your inability to read simple sentences.

            Running it, keeping it running, is what you do, and you hope nobody notices.

            Well, I’d venture a guess that almost everyone notices.

  • “NOTICE TO BLACK CAMBRIDGE BURGLARS:   Open season at (redacted) Ware Street, all police protection cancelled.”

  • Hey guys keep it down to a dull roar.

  • Pogue –
    do you do bee removal?

  • yes, those fabled words of what can only be the god’s own truth: “…according to the police report…”
    i believe it’s been demonstrated enough via youtube and cellphone video footage over the years that a “police report” is no more reliably honest than the ‘national enquirer’.

  • do you do bee removal?

    probably  😉