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.