Racist cop is racist, impolite.

The more this story develops the more I shake my head in despair.

If you’re allergic to tl;dr the gist of it is that someone saw a black guy in a white neighborhood and freaked out.  Turns out the black guy actually lived there, though, and provided identification to that effect… but was arrested anyway for, I don’t know, not being white enough.

The charges were dropped just as soon as someone with a working brain came within eyeshot of the situation, and the officer got a slap on the wrist and a stern talking-to. (Maybe.) That wasn’t enough to knock the douchebag out of him, though, and instead of an apology he decided to issue a non-apology instead.

Good ol’ Officer Whitebread is defending his actions with a smokescreen of “I was just looking out for my personal safety.” And you know, that’s usually a pretty good argument. Cops often have to make split-second life-or-death decisions even in routine traffic stops, so I can understand approaching the situation with caution. Most cops I’ve come across, though, don’t arrest everyone they can get their hands on for any reason or no reason at all. Once they’ve determined a situation isn’t dangerous, such as knocking on the door of an elderly unarmed man who provides legal identification, they let their guard down a bit and apply a little tact.

I almost always side with the police in situations like this, because of the aformentioned split-second decision thing. But this story looks terrible from any angle. I’ve read that the officer’s own report admits he was aware the man he arrested was the lawful homeowner before he cuffed him and hauled him in. Up to this point I think I could buy that maybe, just maybe, it was all a weird misunderstanding. If it were, and the officer were a gracious man, he would have no problem apologizing. The fact that he refuses to do so casts his motives into serious doubt. How am I supposed to read this situation, other than “white cop arrests black man because he is black, then refuses to apologize also because he is black”?

Someone take this guy’s badge away and sit him in a corner until he learns some manners.

4 comments to Racist cop is racist, impolite.

  • Lys

    Maybe you’ve already listened to this, Brick, but here’s another perspective: http://audio.weei.com/m/25432556/sgt-james-crowley-cambridge-police.htm

    • Brickroad

      Yeah, I’ve seen both sides. I still think the cop was way out of line and believe he would have handled the situation differently had the homeowner been white. Even if the sergeant’s version of events is 100% true it was still his job to diffuse the situation and handle it as calmly and rationally as possible. If he didn’t like being yelled at all he had to do was wish the man a nice day, get in his car and drive off. The arrest was way out of bounds.

  • Lys

    In my experience, police officers have no obligation to let you yell and scream at them in public, and I’m surprised that Professor Gates felt he had the right to do so. I know that if I pulled that, I’d be hauled away in no time, and I’m as white as a sheet. 😉

    • Brickroad

      The altercation didn’t happen in public, it happened on private property.

      Assuming the officer’s version of events is true (which there’s no evidence for), you’re right. He’s not obligated to stand there and get screamed at. Once he determined there was no reason for him to be standing there at all, though, he could just leave.

      It’s not against the law to disagree with or yell at the police. It’s against the law to resist arrest or impair a lawful investigation, but Gates did neither.

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