Thursday, July 23, 2009

Its The Audacity, Stupid

I've read quite a bit about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates by a Cambridge police officer. But John Cole, commenting on a thread authored by his co-blogger DougJ probably makes the most salient argument yet as to why this arrest was indeed stupid:

The simple fact of the matter is that law enforcement is about de-escalation. We don’t give guys badges and guns to go out and make things worse. This cop, no matter what Gates might have said, once he produced ID and it was clear it was his house, should have turned around, said sorry for the inconvenience, and then gotten the hell out of there. Why? Because that is what he is paid to do.
He isn’t paid to arrest a guy on trumped up charges when he isn’t a threat and no laws have been broken, waste hours of everyone’s time, force his department to have to deal with a media fire storm, and then have the trumped up BS charges dropped. The cop chose to escalate and act the big man with his badge, and wasted a lot of time and money that could have been spent on more productive things.
That’s called acting stupidly.

I can't say with any degree of certainty that Gates was arrested because he is black. What I can say is that the line where an African-American, and the line where a white American can get away with not being deferential to cops is not the same. With our nations history it shouldn't be too difficult to decide who is less likely to catch a break.

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