President Obama did not need to clear the air, or the record regarding his remarks that the Cambridge, Massachusetts police department acted stupidly, because they did. I know it was a political move doing so, he didn’t want to upset his base that may think police are above the law, but frankly the arresting officer, James Crowley blew it and he was wrong. I don’t think anything more needs to be said about that; should professor Henry Gates decide to take civil action against the city of Cambridge or not, I’m not weighing in on that for the moment. It appears to me the city realized Crowley’s mistake and dropped the charges, disorderly conduct is a catch all for when the police don’t really have anything else to charge you with, as they should have.
President Obama has shown himself to be a politician and that’s unfortunate; we in America have too many of those. What we need is a leader who takes a position regardless of public opinion, for the public good; who has enough foresight to know the outcome will be beneficial for all even when no one else thinks so. What we don’t need, is someone who gives in to every whim and cross wind that plows across the American body politic with an eye on the next election cycle. Police brutality has always been pandemic in American society and the only way to treat this disease is to attack it at its roots; those people in authority who enable it, pardon it, condone it and practice it need to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Obama didn’t even do that; he merely said the practitioners of the brutality with respect to Gates acted “stupidly” and for that choice of words all the angst about his election is now being rehashed in corporate media, the home of profit over substance, agenda over truth.
Quite frankly what happened in professor Gates’ home will never really be known, but the outcome of those unknown actions is he was charged with disorderly conduct. That didn’t happen. But Gates was arrested because he wasn’t deferential enough with Crowley who reached a point where he could no longer walk away from a citizen who demanded more than he, Crowley, was willing to give. Cops know this charge is aimed at quieting down someone who doesn’t go along willingly with the police program, but in the case of Gates who didn’t go along while in his own house, the charge could not stick. I was struck by how other police officers had become judge and jury for Gates in deciding that he should have been charged, one officer saying Gates had become “openly hostile for what, I think, was no good reason.” This , however, is the sanitized definition of disorderly conduct removed from the atmosphere of the Gates case:
The term disorderly conduct is used in statutes to identify various acts against the public peace. It has been held to include the use of obscene language in public, the blocking of public ways, and the making of threats. A statute must identify acts that constitute disorderly conduct with sufficient clarity in order to avoid being held unconstitutional because of vagueness.
I hope you understood that last sentence; the statute as it is is so vague municipalities have to be so specific about it that Cambridge’s definition couldn’t cut it enough to keep Gates tied up. If you want to say that it was dismissed because of politics then I’ll venture to say the arrest was made because of race. As I mentioned in the previous post about the Gates arrest, that when Crowley knew he was face to face with the occupant of the residence should have done an about face and left. That’s what I think as a private citizen should have been Crowley’s concession to the altercation; for those who say that wasn’t necessary or mandatory, I would say equally as forcefully that Gates’ deferential attitude to Crowley was not necessary nor called for in order to avoid a stupid result.
Let me take it a step further………and what if after Gates had identified himself as the legal resident he asked Crowley to leave, exit, get out of his house and Crowley refused. What would Gates’ rights have been then? The 2nd amendment in me says, when confronted with an intruder from whom you fear for your personal safety, and who is armed, you have a right to deadly force. What then would have been the outcome had Gates exercised this right to self defense? Thankfully, we don’t have to go there and despite all the scenarios one could picture that could have happened, the best one is the one that did happen. It’s been reported Obama has offered to have the two main participants to the White House for a friendly get together. That would be nice, I’m sure, but his re-calibration wasn’t necessary.