Thursday, July 23, 2009


So a major story right now is everything that is happening with Dr. Gates. I believe that it is a travesty and shows how people can react when their authority is tested. For those of you who are not aware of the situation Dr. Henry Louis Gates was arrested for "disorderly conduct" after the police were called because neighbors were concerned that two balck men were trying to break into Dr. Gates' home. Now I appreciate a good Neighborhood Watch as much as the next person, but if these people are as nosey as I am assuming they are, shouldn't they have been able to recognize Dr. Gates?

So once the police arrived they claim that Dr. Gates refused to show any kind of identification despite the fact that they identified themselves immediately. Now I have not had much personal contact with the police, but I have been around police interactions and they are not always as forthcoming as they believe they are. Next the officer states that Dr. Gates became irate and was yelling obsenities and the acoustics in the foyer were preventing them from providing information to other units that were responding. Now let's think. An American man who has been accused of attempting to break into HIS OWN HOUSE has become upset. I wonder why? Also you have two men and I am assuming two police officers there already and one man MAY be yelling, but he is an older gentleman who would, presumably, lose in a fight against these two well trained officers. Are more units truly necessary?

Now, of course, Dr. Gates must tell his side of the story which seems plausible. He states that he presented identification and that when he requested the names and badge numbers he was met with resistance. And when the officers were departing his home, he followed them, requesting the same information and was subsequently arrested. Now as I said I have not had much personal contact with police, but I have had enough to know that some, not all, but some believe they ARE the law and do not like when their authority is questioned. Especially when they know the person is correct, so more often than not when the authority of this type of officer is question they, like the alpha male/female that they are, make attempts to regain their idea of control (i.e. striking fear into the hearts) and they can do this by fabricating information and making an arrest to show people who's boss. Now I am not saying that these officers were like this, but there are some things is their story that do not mesh well for me.

So I want to know what you think about all of this. I want comments. I want someone to discuss this with me. I want people's opinions, all of them. I want to know what people who believe the officer's side of the story to help me fill in my blanks. Maybe I am missing something, but I won't know unless you help me. I promise to post all comments unless they attack or use obscene language. I want to know what you think, but first I want you to think about what you know.


  1. Police officers responding to a call about a break in have every right to use extra caution and call for back-up. The situation could be dangerous. However, Dr. Gates showed identification immediately proving that he lived in the house. He also showed his University identification which should have cleared up any suspicions about whether or not he truly resided at the house. After that point, there is no doubt in my mind that the police overstepped the bounds of caution and harrassed Dr. Gates.

    What really bothers me about this whole thing is the motive behind the officers' overstep. Was it racially motivated? Was it simply because they were tired and they made a mistake? I am sure that they harrassed Dr. Gates, but did they do it intentionally and does the motive even matter? Or only the consequence? And not to add more questions, but are police officers anywhere in this country adequately trained and educated to be entrusted with the awesome power they hold? Shouldn't that profession require a professional degree?

  2. Very true about the right for them to call for extra backup. And I do not want to wave around the race card simply because I am African American, but what else could it have been?

    Another example: A woman I worked with last summer here in Colorado was pulled over and the police attempted to hold her, but because she knew that they did not have anything on her, she left. The next day the officer called her to "set-up" the interview she'd been requesting for weeks and when she showed up they arrested her!

    And in regards to police officers needing a professional degree, I personally think that would be more detrimental because sometimes people go into these positions because they have no other option (or so they feel). I do believe that the screening should be better and they should be provided more counseling to help them better deal with any stress they are having and to help identify those officers I was speaking about in the post.


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