President Obama has invited Sergeant James Crowley and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to the White House for a beer to clear up hard feelings over Crowley’s arrest of Gates for disorderly conduct two weeks ago.
Notice how, now that the facts have come out, no one is taking Gates’ side anymore; those who initially sided with Gates are arguing that both men are at fault and that we should all “learn from this incident” and move on.
If anyone still cares, the fact is that both sides are simply not at fault.
Here are a few myths and misunderstandings about Crowley’s arrest of Gates:
Crowley overreacted in arresting Gates.
Not according to the Cambridge Police Department; the Cambridge Police Patrol Officers Association; the Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition; the Cambridge Multicultural Police Association; mixed-race police unions across the country; Sgt. Leon Lashley, the black cop who accompanied Crowley; or black public figures such as Bill Cosby and Juan Williams. Other than that, the experts are unanimous—he overreacted!
Gates’ behavior was not an arrestable offense; Crowley should have walked away after establishing his identity.
According to police protocol in such an incident, you leave the scene only once all actors are quiet and issues have been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. You do not slip away while one party is still unhinged, screaming like a lunatic, insulting a police officer’s mother, badgering officers, and frightening neighbors who have gathered out of concern. If the object of investigation shows no signs of calming down, it is not police procedure to leave such a raving maniac poised to cause additional mayhem. The police have seen plenty of cases in which angry residents have gone on to cause further trouble; it’s foolish for anyone to second-guess the cops and pronounce that they should have known what Gates would do next. Gates had dozens of opportunities to cooperate with Crowley’s attempts to defuse the situation and back away, and every time he chose not to. That is why he was arrested. read more »