Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gates and Cambridge cops: maybe no hero?

I haven't been able to get to blogging here of evenings, but I did tke not of the Henry Louis Gates situation over at the Register's Orange Punch blog. Entries here, here, and here, all with a fair number of comments from readers. Apparently the situation is fairly interesting to a range of people. I guess I'm struck, however, by how closely ideological predilections tracked attitudes. Conservatives in general sided with the police and some even came up with conspiracy theories -- he was trying to sell a book and figured publicity would help -- to discredit Gates. Liberals generally blamed the cops. Facts emerged gradually that had the potential to change attitudes, but I don't think many attitudes changed.

I'm inclined to think -- to having been there either, of course -- that there's plenty of blame to go around. One can understand that Gates was pissed, but the police report says he immediately played the race card and shouted interminably. Bad move. Contempt of cop is more likely to get somebody arrested than a real offense. On the other hand the Cambridge cop could have walked away as soon as he determined that Gates wasn't a burglar but the legitimate resident of the house. Unprofessional in my view.

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