Monday, July 27, 2009

Shocker? Not So Much

Here's the latest breathlessness from the Herald on the Gates fiasco. This is a situation that generates more questions than answers, but let's add a few more to the mix.

Is the witness trying to exonerate herself because she didn't mention the race of the people on the Ware Street porch? Does this mean race had absolutely nothing to do with it? Does the witness call the police if she sees a 58 year-old white guy in glasses and a little polo shirt trying to force his door open?

And did she really and truly have to retain an attorney? Was that the only way she could let the whole world know that she has “olive-colored skin and is of Portuguese descent”?

Let's just all have one last good collective cringe and move on. Okay?

UPDATE: A typically excellent and thoughtful post from Dan Kennedy here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Wow. That's just about all I can say after reading these stories about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates at his home a few days ago. Some thoughts:

1. To say that Gates has the better of the two arguments here would be a laughable understatement. He showed the arresting officer his license and Harvard ID card, and the good Officer Crowley continued to question him? And then Officer Crowley arrests Gates because he's yelling at him? That's a joke. And a bad one, at that. Just turn around. Get back in your cruiser. And drive away.

2. Cambridge had better lawyer up. It was bad enough that its officers seem to have accosted a high-profile public intellectual in his home. But then they arrested him? And charged him? I hope the city has insurance (with high coverage limits) for this sort of thing.

3. The person with the hardest job in Eastern Massachusetts today is Gerard Leone. He's going to alienate someone before the day is over. Even if he just sits in his office and refuses to comment.

4. If the arraignment does go forward on August 26, 2009, it might be the slightest tad bit chaotic, no?

5. Cambridge should call John Linehan and ask for the number of his PR people. Because this is officially a fiasco.

6. Police officers have incredibly difficult jobs. But this is America and we're allowed to criticize them when they seem to do stupid things. Those traditionally sympathetic to law enforcement might keep that in mind.

UPDATE (12:30 p.m.): Charges dropped. There's your answer to No. 3.