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.


Adam Gaffin said...

DA drops charges; city apologizes.

Terry Klein said...

Thanks, Adam. I believe you were commenting at the exact same time I was updating.

Anonymous said...

And you wonder why racism is perpetuated in this country. it's because of RACISTS like Gates. Clearly he was looking to bang a drum and he was successful. The city of Cambridge s/b ashamed to not support their cops.

Anonymous said...

if you believe the police rpt, gates doesn't look so good. it's hard to tell who to believe, gates or the cop(s). yes, cops lie, but so do defendants even if they're a distinguished harvard prof.

put yourself in gates' shoes w/out the benefit of hindsight. you just flew halfway across the world and you're really really tired. a cop shows up demanding proof that this is your house. you don't realize that a neighbor called in a possible B&E, so you assume that the only reason that the cop had for confronting you is your race. instead of showing your ID to the cop, you accuse him of racism and after he leaves your house you continue to yell at him in front of members of the public as well as the sergeant's subordinate. how does gates feel about students undermining his authority in front of his peers?

i think any white man in that situation would get arrested for being a jerk to someone trying to do their job. my encounters w/ cambridge cops are that they have a pretty thick skin. they put up w/ idiot students, mentally ill, and gutter punks.