This Bud Is For You Mental Midgets Of The Media

obama-beerThere are three irreducible minimums emanating from the arrest of Henry Louis Gates at his home in Cambridge Massachusetts. First, it was an illegal and unconstitutional arrest because of the abuse of police power and discretion. Second, it may or may not (my inclination is not, at least at the outset) have been a racially motivated moment; either way it is one from which serious discussion could, and should, ensue. Third, it is an event that has become embedded in the national consciousness from which the nation could learn and grow as one.

Despite the above, the trained Skinner rats in the national media have glommed onto the most trivial and inane aspects to convey to the public audience. To half wit USA Today:

We guess this qualifies as breaking news.

President Obama will drink Bud Light at the Thursday meeting with the African-American professor and white police officer who got in a dust-up earlier this month. Press secretary Robert Gibbs just made the announcement to the press pool on Air Force One.

The full menu looks set. Sgt. James Crowley, whose arrest of professor Henry Louis Gates at his home, touched off the incident, has indicated a preference for Blue Moon. Gates has said he likes Red Stripe.

"So we’ll have the gamut covered tomorrow afternoon," Gibbs said.

Walter Cronkite is barely in his grave and already he is rolling over. And ABC News doubles down on the boys’ brews. Here is the AP with the same basic drivel. And Bloomberg. The Pulitzer Prize material is front and center at every news source imaginable as well as the cable and broadcast outlets.

The only teachable moment we are going to be treated to out of the lofty potential available from the moment is to learn once again what lowest common denominator dregs we have in the American media and what little they think of the American national intelligence and conscience. Quite frankly, President Obama has not acquitted himself well in leading here either.

What is really on tap for tomorrow’s "teachable moment"? The Washington Post (probably piqued they cannot turn the event into a "Salon") sets the social table:

Gates and Crowley will gather for a beer and chat with President Obama at a picnic table outside the Oval Office as the sun sets Thursday. The president has called the incident a "teachable moment," but the trio is not expected to discuss the details in their meeting.

Off the agenda: Gates’s and Crowley’s dueling accounts of the professor’s arrest outside of his home on July 16, and the accusation that Crowley allegedly racially profiled Gates.

On the agenda: A tour of the White House with their extended families. Gates will be accompanied by his fiance, two daughters, father and brother. Crowley will travel with his three children and wife.

And, of course, both men will bring their lawyers.

No meaningful discussion or social betterment, a common family White House tour and the whole bailiwick chaperoned by competing lawyers. What a country. All things considered, it is hard to imagine this particular pooch being more screwed by all parties involved from start to finish.

  1. MadDog says:

    …Second, it may or may not (my inclination is not, at least at the outset) have been a racially motivated moment…

    I’m in the “don’t know” category, but it surely has taken on a racial tone after the fact:

    Boston Cop Used Racial Slur In Gates E-Mail

    A Boston police officer was placed on administrative leave after he allegedly used a racial slur when referring to Henry Louis Gates Jr.

    In a mass e-mail, Officer Justin Barrett, 36, called Gates a “jungle monkey,” according to a law enforcement source…

    …Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis found out about the e-mail on Tuesday and immediately stripped Barrett of his gun and badge, officials said. The e-mail was first sent anonymously to the Boston Globe and then to local members of the National Guard, where he is a member.

    The e-mail was in response to a Globe article about Gates’ arrest. In the e-mail, Barrett writes, “(Gates’) first priority should be to get off the phone and comply with police, for if I was the officer he verbally assaulted like a … jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC deserving of his belligerent non-compliance…”

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, it really did at the point the police report was painted to make the original 911 report sound as if there was a racial element (not to mention when Gates saw a racial animus as motivation whether it was there or not). I am really fairly hard pressed to see any racial motivation out of Crowley when it all started though. Who knows, but I am willing to give him that benefit of the doubt. My real beef is the unjustified over-extension of police power and control and the false arrest. To me, that is just about as crystal clear as can be; and nobody really talks about it.

      • MadDog says:

        …My real beef is the unjustified over-extension of police power and control and the false arrest. To me, that is just about as crystal clear as can be; and nobody really talks about it.

        There be some hard truth!

        I’m guessing it is far simpler for many in the Media to just make it into another episode of the MSM’s go-to ratings exploit of American racial angst.

        Examining the real facts would be real work, and being lazy is so much easier.

  2. Peterr says:

    Under the rubric of the first of your irreducible minimum points, the officer is the one who is supposed to be trained *not* to lose his cool when confronted with an angry person. The officer has the authority, has the power, and has the gun. The officer also has the responsibility for seeing that he doesn’t get baited into doing something he shouldn’t.

    This isn’t to say Gates’ reaction to the officer was without problems — just that however Gates reacted, that’s a secondary question. The officer is the one with the badge, and the responsibility for acting accordingly to shape the encounter.

    • hazmaq says:

      Ever see the screaming New Englander video, after the Highway Patrol gave him a speeding ticket? The guy screamed his ass off at the cop and tore up the ticket -in front of the offer..?
      Remaining beautifully calm and cool the officer told him to get out of the car- and pick up the pieces.
      Then said thank you to the whacko and “Have a nice day” and walked to his car.

      There you see the differing attitudes between a cockey local hot head and a professionally trained officer.

      Crowley remains the asshole who we’ll likely see again some day for a similar offense.

      By the way, look at the photos – does anyone else think Crowley’s drink is not beer but appears he switched and is drinking ice tea??
      Unless the East Coast Irish are committing sacrilege and put lemons in there beer??

  3. PJEvans says:

    I ran into a description in a novel, of two guys lighting into each other verbally, as ’spraying each other with testosterone’. (They had to work together, they couldn’t stand each other personally, and neither one would back down or compromise because that would be seen as cowardice by the other.)

    • whyknot says:

      Perhaps they could do a joint seminar on overcoming racial prejudice called Whitie, we’re the man now, deal! Brews served on the break. No fisticuffs allowed.

  4. bobschacht says:

    Interesting interview of Ariana Huffington by Howard Dean on Countdown today, echoing themes on Rachel Maddow’s March 20 show, “Cops and Robber Barons.” (Back then, I did a diary on Rachel’s show.) They were actually talking explicitly about the Glass-Steagall Act, and problems with credit default swaps. Howard jokingly referred to Ariana as “the next Secretary of the Treasury,” and highlighted her book,
    “Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption Are Undermining America.”

    Bob in HI

  5. x174 says:

    recently i was bemoaning the utter loss to the blogoshere of Billmon.

    damn bmaz! that is one great post. terse and dead on. the contrast between how a teachable moment could evolve from the compelling story of a clear violation of the 4th Amendment with possible racial overtones and the sludge focused on by the media elites is jarring.

    i think the tone too is appropriate. so much of what i read (that’s past tense) in the left blogosphere seemed either too weak and watered down or misguided on some fundamental point.

    thanks for keeping the spirit of Billmon alive!

    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

      billmon is alive and well, posting at DailyKos as recently as July 14th: Fool’s Goldman

      His heyday at Whiskey Bar is over, but archives of that era do exist, and he hasn’t lost his touch.

      Not that I think having a bmaz AND a billmon is in any way a bad thing. The more ‘telling it like it iz’, with factual backup, the better.

  6. eagleye says:

    If I was either Gates or Crowley and I flew all the way to Washington DC and Obama served fucking corporate Bud Lite I’d be pissed. There must be 100 brew pubs in that city– can’t they at least discuss their differences over real beer?

    • AZ Matt says:

      Get one of the brews that got micro-brewing going, a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It is hard to beat!

    • drational says:

      St. Louis, Mo. 119 acres, corporate headquarters. Columbus, Ohio 258 acres.
      Jacksonville, Fla. 205 acres. Merrimack, N.H., 294 acres. Williamsburg, Va., 144 acres, Fort Collins, Colo. 250 acres. Cartersville, Ga. 250 acres.


    • PJEvans says:

      I heard that Obama is the only one of the three who’ll be drinking Bud. (Well, it’s at least sort of beer. Better than Colorado Cool-Aid, at least. FWIW, I like imports or Anchor Steam.)

    • R.H. Green says:

      Agree. Flying is a pain enough without being treated to… well shouldn’t say in a public forum. Thing is though, I recall seeing a photo recently of Obama at a ball game being photographed “sipping” what looked like beer from a plastic cup. I got the notion that the whole thing was staged to make the Prez look like “a guy”. Now this, a beer with the boyz. But BUD LITE? paraphrasing Helen Thomas: doesn’t he have any taste? Or is this an attempt to appear “middle of the road”, a reverse “puttin’ on the Ritz”? Gag me.

      • R.H. Green says:

        The more I think about it, the more steamed I get. We got rid of one photo-op president, only to get another. Obama knows how to get elected, but seems to be devoid of how to govern. His Bush copycat act is a disgrace to us all. He apparantly hasn’t a clue of how to handle the economic situation, the foreign affairs portfolio, the military fronts, the civil liberties/security issues, but he wants to present a cameo moment on race. And then, “the trio is not expected to discuss” the cause of their convergence? How dumb does Obama think we are. And on top of it all bmaz is correct in that this isn’t about race; its about the abuse of government power. What Officer Crumky should have had uppermost in his mind is that he was entering a private home without a warrant, and had reason(from the 911 call) to expect to find the homeowner present.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      This Budweiser thing must be a shout-out to McCain, who actually has helped Obama on some things. F-22.

  7. orionATL says:

    wow, bmaz, this story has been “disappeared” from the national media since monday? remember all the coverage last week?

    thanks for bringing it up again.

    lots of media noise last week , but then came the release on monday of the caller’s transcript, clearly contradicting the sarge’s recollections, with race having been mentioned prominently by both the dispatcher and the sarge.

    and following this, the cambridge police department’s refusal to comment on the apparent “error” in sarge’s written report (can you say “two blacks with back packs” fast?).

    so why the sudden lack of media interest?

    could there be a cover-up in progress – maybe a white house coordinated cover-up to keep this issue out of the media?

    remember the illegal telephone spying and the acquiescence of the nytimes in hushing it up (just prior to the 2004 elections) until james risen was about to publish his book?

    this particular issue is less momentous. put it does involve the mistreatment of a citizen by a police officer

    and it does involve disgraceful and unprofessional behavior by that senior police officer.

    so the white house meeting? all to what end –


    moral mush and

    political mush.

    that’s the way democratic politicians treat serious issues these days.

    buttercup obama, sweet little buttercup obama.

    even on an issue in which black americans like himself have been mistreated for decades

    he still comes off like

    michael dukakis in a helmet in a tank – no credible fighting instinct.

  8. behindthefall says:

    I have to say I sympathize with Prof. Gates. If I had just traveled from China, was coming back with some respiratory bug, had found the front door jammed, and *then* had to deal with an officer asking for I.D. while I was talking on the phone with the university to arrange for repairs — well, I would have gone past the last of my patience about the time the front door got stuck.

  9. Neil says:

    I wonder if the right-wing’s labeling of Sotomayor and Obama as racists can be considered advancing the conversation. I suppose we should take progress from wherever it comes.

  10. Neil says:

    What Officer Crumky should have had uppermost in his mind is that he was entering a private home without a warrant, and had reason(from the 911 call) to expect to find the homeowner present.

    Crowley did know he was entering a private home as is evidenced by his request when Gates answered the door “Please step outside,” and by walking out of the house to the porch before arresting Gates for Public Disorderly.

    Office Crowley forgot only that he had cleared the potential suspect of any suspicion of breaking & entering, which is why he was called to service.

    The entire incident took 7 minutes, from 12:44 to 12:51, when Crowley arrived until when Gates was cuffed and perp walked to the vehicle.

    A friend wrote the commissioner to ask if CPD plans to explain why officer Crowley recounts a conversation with Luci Whalen, documented in the incident report, that he alleges occurred prior to knocking on Gates door and that she says never took place. Crowley says Whalen said there were two black men with backpacks. Whalen says she did not speak to Crowley.

    Can anyone think of a reason Crowley might want to embellish in such a way?

    • bmaz says:

      Heh heh, good one Neil. Same reason just about every police report I have ever seen is peppered with lies and/or embellishment of some sort and degree. To cover their ass for procedural irregularities and make the case more easily prosecutable. Ever seen a DWI report where the suspect’s eyes were not “bloodshot and watery”? Me either. They literally teach them to include that as a matter of rote delineation while they are at the academy. Even seen that when a guy had a glass eye. It is just what cops do.

    • esseff44 says:

      I think it’s possible that Sgt. Crowley spoke to the elderly woman who was the first to see the two men trying to force the door open. She stopped Lucia Whalen and asked her to call 911. Whalen reported what she saw and we can hear the elderly lady in the background. They both may have been there when Sgt. Crowley arrived and he may have spoken to both and may have not had the name of the elderly lady, just the name of Whalen from the 911 call. It was all happening in a short amount of time. We do not know what the elderly lady said, but she played a major role.

      What I don’t understand is why they did not see the driver get back in his car and leave. There are still pieces of the puzzle that are missing.

        • esseff44 says:

          Listen to the tape of the 911 call. That’s where the speculation comes from. Sgt. Crowley asks the dispatcher to have the witness meet him at the scene. It doesn’t sound as if the dispatcher called Whalen back and we don’t know who was there when Crowley arrived and we don’t know what they told him exactly. It could have been the elderly woman and not Whalen, but Sgt. Crowley may very well thought it was the elderly woman who was the caller to 911. Yes, it’s speculation, but someone above asked for a possible explanation. Who would he be most likely to hear from at the scene, the first one who saw the two men on the porch and became alarmed or the passer-by who got stopped and made the call for her?

  11. Palli says:

    Leaving the subject of micro-breweries aside, I am still bothered by this question: Did Officer Crowley ever recognize Prof. Gates? If he did not know him…then I am flabbergasted that a “race relations sensitivity” police trainer would not know him, through his writing and public speaking at least. Just how did he prepare himself to teach these classes and skipped Gates work?
    If he did recognize Gates…well, that’s scary to think.

  12. chrisc says:

    Maybe it is because media bar is just so low, but I was pleasantly surprised by Logan Jenkins article in the SDUT comparing the Gates story and the arrest of Shari Barman in her own home where she was hosting a fundraiser for Francine Busby.

    “Objecting to an officer’s presence in one’s residence should hardly be grounds for arrest. . . . Ultimately, it was the officer’s responsibility to de-escalate the situation, even by walking away. Police are trained specifically to ignore verbal provocations that come their way.”

    Sound sort of foreign in light of a parallel local story?

    The Boston Globe editorial, which applauded a rapid and “mature resolution” to the July 16 arrest of a world-renowned Harvard professor, suggests how many miles separate Cambridge, Mass., from Cardiff, Calif.

    Consider the fates of two handcuffed citizens.

    These looney-tunes arrests offer an interesting contrast in how authorities on opposite coasts handled the fallout from police-triggered eruptions inside the home – the safe place where, at least theoretically, law-abiding citizens should be able to question patently misguided police.

    Jenkins then recounts the two “contempt of cop” situations. And, yes, he used that term.

    Jenkins says he would not have acted like Barman or Gates.

    Last week, a Boston Globe columnist asked a pointed question: “Would you stand for this kind of treatment, in your own home, by a police officer who by now clearly has no right to be there?”

    The answer of many San Diegans, including myself, wouldn’t be just a simple “yes.” It would be, “Yes, sir.”

    In the military town where I grew up, you didn’t give lip to uniformed authority. Any sworn officer is superior.

    Well, it’s a person’s right to kowtow to power. But is it necessarily a crime not to do so?

    Jenkins then focuses on whether or not being obnoxious to a policeman in one’s own home and quotes Eugene Robinson, a WP journalist who said

    Short of attacking a police officer in your own house, you can be obnoxious in your own house.

    Jenkins concludes

    Until Barman is cleared of criminal charges – and the county Sheriff’s Department issues a face-saving apology – the Globe’s editorial definition of “maturity” and Robinson’s legal theory will continue to sound foreign on this side of the country.

    Definitely better than the Bud drivel.

  13. GregB says:

    Bill O’Reilly is probably wondering if Gates will want to drink some motherf*cking iced tea.


  14. JohnJ says:

    Either I am missing something or this is being treated as a simple misunderstanding between two equals instead of a public employee abusing power given to him, just to protect his own ego?

    Any animosities between the two men are meaningless. We have a public servant that abused the system available to him, which was designed to be used to protect the public from harm, just to further his inflated self image and to enjoy the rush of power he wields at his whim over another human being.


    At the very, very least that cop should be sent back into training and reevaluation or simply just be fired because he just isn’t suitable for the job of SERVING THE PUBLIC.

    The public at large has NO IDEA how much the system is a punishment unto itself. Being arrested is no small inconvenience. It is a major intrusion into an innocent person’s life.

  15. BayStateLibrul says:

    It ’twas a Lemony Snicket moment.
    A series of unfortunate events.
    Today, we get a chance to enjoy a beer

    “People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflct.”

  16. ApacheTrout says:

    i like that three people who are joined together only by an event that that two undertook and the third commented on from a distance will now get together and not talk about that event. Yup, that sounds about right for communication in America.

  17. wavpeac says:

    It seems to me the voices of racism have gotten louder and less timid. The crazies, the radicals, the totally emotional minded are revving up. This concerns me, alot. Obama’s presidency has been a disappointment in many ways so far (at least to me) however, when it comes to the issue of race, it is obvious to me that we are as a country going to face new complexities of racism that were beneath the surface, and far more ubiquitous until now.

    Obama is in a tough place…but he keeps trying to placate the crazy, the lost ones. The difference between co-dependency and leadership is deciding you don’t need the crazies to follow you. In this act sanity becomes obvious and leadership tangible. Obama must take the step, the same one that an abused woman takes when she gets a protection order and stands up to the abuse of power and control for the first, second, seventh or tenth time. He must take the path that the spouse of an alcoholic takes the first time that spouse chooses the sane act over placation. In each case it is real wrath that is faced. It is often very real danger risked. But it is in that act that truth and freedom line up. Attraction not promotion. Obama must lead and he must do more than placate the crazies. He must risk their wrath, call them out, and let their behavior speak.

    If he confronts it, they will escalate. The escalation is risky but it’s the only way that “reality” can be left to speak for itself. Obama needs to be true, assertive, and not fear poking the bear. This bear must be poked. I believe there is no way for him to truly lead without poking these grizzly bears right in the face. In fact he is facing a cage full of bears. My disappointment with him has been his refusal to risk it. My disappointment in him is how he uses his frontal lobe to rationalize his lack of risk taking. (I know it well and this is very different than the true peacemakers, like Ghandi and MLK) Peace comes by confronting the truth and be willing to face the consequences. This nation is being held hostage by fear, and as long as we fear, they control us.

  18. rdwdkw says:

    I think the real issue here is confusion. Someone got driving while black mixed up with answering door while black and the news folks are just tired of health care, war, jobs , etc. so they continue to dwell on this. Silly news people.

  19. JohnnyTable70 says:

    Here is another example of the fine whine of Cop entitlement which makes me want to puke:

    A union official and attorney will accompany Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley to tomorrow’s “beer summit” with President Obama and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

    Crowley will be joined at the White House by Dennis O’Connor, president of the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association, and Alan McDonald, the attorney for the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association, the Cambridge Police Patrol Officers Association and the Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition.

    So they get to go to the WH for overreacting to POTUS’ response to a question at a presser, which said cops clearly misconstrued because they claim POTUS said they were stupid. (memo to stupid cops: POTUS said they acted stupidly.

  20. tejanarusa says:

    btw, anyone who hasn’t read bmaz’s posts and ensuing threads from last week should. Many of the issues raised here were covered very thoroughly.

    Oh, and bmaz – you left out the other most prominent police report-ese in a DUI arrest:

    “As I approached the driver’s side of the car, I smelled a strong odor of alcohol.”

  21. puravida says:

    I sure hope Bud Lite isn’t the President’s adult beverage of choice. Like others have noted, I may have to rethink my vote in 2012.

    There is still time for Obama to change his ways, however. Might I recommend a “Fat Tire” or a “Salva Vida,” or even that reliable standby “Harp.” Hell, even a “Sam Adams” would work.

    Any beer with a little, ahem, color in it.

    • esseff44 says:

      The latest report said Prof. Gates had a Samuel Adams lite. Biden has a non-alcoholic beer I had never heard of.

  22. torgo2009 says:

    NEWS FLASH!!!!!
    The much anticipated beer party at the White House actually started at 3 pm EST not it’s announced 6 pm start time. This was done to avoid some of the media blitz that was expected.
    Unfortunately, things did not go well. First there was Henry Gates, a scrappy fellow even when stone sober. Professor Gates is a rather small guy and after downing a couple of beers got very loud and out of control. The Secret Service was able to get him calmed down.
    Worst was Officer Crowley. According to informed sources, Crowley showed up at the White House already smelling of alcohol. Most likely he had a few shots to steady his nerves. After three beers were downed in 35 minutes, Crowley drew his gun which he was right there on his hip, and started shooting wildly into the air. Again, the Secret Service was able to handle the situation, but not before several holes were put into the White House ceiling. The repair bills will be significant and will be paid for by we taxpayers.
    However, the worst incident of the afternoon involved the president himself. No one had ever seen the president drunk before and lets just say he doesn’t handle his booze very well.
    I hate to tell you this but we are now at war with Canada courtesy of an tipsy President Obama.
    I guess the trio should have had more solids before they started drinking.

    • Petrocelli says:

      LOL … exactly as I see it playing out, except you add two more gun totin’ drunks to the mix …

  23. Petrocelli says:

    Hmmm, so two guys are at loggerheads and someone thinks it is a good idea to bring them face to face and add free alcohol to the mix ?

  24. Downpuppy says:

    Lest we forget, “Those who can’t do, teach” is an operating maxim in civil service. In an environment where canning for incompetence is not an option, putting people in chairs where they can do the least damage is an art form.

  25. puravida says:

    Actually, I see it more like this:

    After some opening chit chat, Obama asked if they’d like to listen to some tunes, and proceeded to put on MJ’s “Thriller.” Crowley said that although he doesn’t really listen to that kind of music, the Eddie Van Halen solo on “Beat It” is awesome. Gates replied that, “Yeah, this was back when Michael was good.”

    Then they had a substantive discussion on the evolution of MTV which segued into race relations in America, and finally to the responsibilities of the police and the African American community. No guns were fired and about a dozen empty bottles were recycled.

  26. Raven says:

    “My real beef is the unjustified over-extension of police power and control and the false arrest. To me, that is just about as crystal clear as can be; and nobody really talks about it.”

    I dunno, a lot of people have talked about it and written about it. I am so indoctrinated from years of HAVING to be cool to the cops that it took me all day for ya’ll to convince me of the “false arrest”. While I finally ran out of gas and mea culpa’d, a week of shootin the shit with a lot of people says, it may be the law that you can say anything you want to a cop but it sure as shit isn’t reality.

    • bmaz says:

      Exactly why this case is important; we need to change that dynamic. And exactly why Obama should have kept out of this, all he has done is step on his own dick and everything since then has been all about him extricating himself from that. It has been a pathetic show on his part.

      • SanderO says:

        Being a lawyer and a friend of Gates, he should have said he didn’t know the facts but it seemed like a troubling situation that spiraled out of control… and had no further comment until after it was investigated.

        That’s what he’s supposed to have done whether what he said was right or wrong. He tripped in the trap by making a comment.

      • Raven says:

        Come to Athens on September 15 for a night game with South Carolina and watch the fine citizens interact with the cops after drinking for 12+ hours.

    • Petrocelli says:

      Word … from now on, I’m carrying a cooler of Chilled Brewskys, in case I get pulled over.

      I’m sure the Officer will be just like Crowley and gladly accept a cool one rather than arrest me.

      what could possibly go wrong ?

  27. SanderO says:

    The lessons from this story:

    The media will miss the main points of an important story and focus on the human interest nonsense aspects of it.

    Even the president can’t call the cops stupid behavior stupid EVEN when the effectively admitted it by dropping the arrest charges. Someone made him suck up to the police of america.

    The arresting cop won’t admit to making a mistake even when the arrest charges were dropped. They were dropped because he made a mistake and did a stupid thing by arresting Gates.

    Cops don’t know when to NOT use force and intimidation. This seems to be especially application with dark skinned people in this country.

    Cops are on a power trip and this is often a problem when it should not be.

    Cops don’t know how to purge their ranks of bad cops and always protect them.

    The disorderly conduct charge is too easily abused and when found to be false should make the cop personally liable AS well as the police. Damages against the police are paid from the taxes paid to the jurisdiction.

    A black plain clothes boston cop was involved in a chase and a suspect jumped a fence and when other uniformed officers arrived they beat the shite out of the black cop. Even with the investigation non of the cops would fess up and no one saw anything. The blue line of silence is well in place.

  28. SanderO says:

    The police represent the public face of the national security state. You can’t be POTUS and call anything they did stupid even when it IS stupid. While race may have been in there somewhere, it was mostly a cop being a bully because he CAN legally be a bully.

    And this is important to keep the peace. They want to be feared and they need to instill fear in EVERYONE, rich, poor, black, white. You don’t eff with cops. End of Story. The best you can do is hope he is not in a pissy mood.

  29. boogiecheck says:

    President Obama will drink Bud Light…

    … Sgt. James Crowley, has indicated a preference for Blue Moon.

    Gates has said he likes Red Stripe…

    Gah. It sounds more like a “product placement” ad in a sitcom…

    And I’m in agreement with the choices of beverage. Blecch.

    I think the President should serve LaBlatt’s, a Canadian beer…oh, wait…

    …perhaps he should serve that at the next healthcare executives’ meeting he hosts at the WH…just for a touch of irony.

    Back on topic– What I’ve gotten from Obama is that although he may have strong feelings about it, the politician in him wins out over the side of him that speaks from the heart. The look in his eyes as he said that he “would have been shot” if he had broken into the WH spoke volumes.

  30. Knut says:

    I never watch network news (cable or broadcast) except in airports and bars, where you can’t turn it off. But last week I was at my mother’s and took a peak, as the local newspaper is, if you can believe it, even worse than network news. Or at least I thought so before I peaked. It isn’t news, and the networks aren’t making any pretense that it is. It is entertainment, just like the radio shows my trucker brother-in-law listens to wheeling down the road. It is just babble that apparently sells.

  31. DakkonA says:

    1) I don’t know that it was exactly “illegal and unconstitutional”. Maybe it shouldn’t have happened, but that doesn’t mean it was wrong.

    2) I think we can pretty much accept that race is not a problem with this story anymore. Plus, I recently heard from a Boston friend of mine that a friend of hers, who is black, was actually helped out by Crowley when a drunk undercover cop pulled him over and harassed him. Yes it’s hearsay, but its as much evidence as anyone has to the contrary. Yes, something to discuss, but no, not part of the situation.

    • bmaz says:

      If you would have read the link at those words in the post, here it is again, then you would know exactly why it was illegal and unconstitutional. In a nutshell for you though, the only provision of Massachusetts disorderly conduct statute that could possibly apply to the situation is “disturbing the peace”. That charge requires identifiable victims of the public be disturbed, not the officer. The police report does not identify one single person of the public who complains of being disturbed. In fact, the report clearly indicates that it was the officer who feels disturbed and it is crystal clear that was the basis of the arrest. That is a blatant, false, unconstitutional and illegal arrest. Furthermore, the officer was obligated to leave the scene once he became aware that Mr. Gates was legitimately in his own house; he did not. If you understand the law, this is a very clear cut situation. And, yes, it DOES mean it is wrong.

        • bmaz says:

          It requires a complaining victim. Who was the “victim” of Gates’ conduct? There is/are none in the police report. It is not sufficient to say that some folks had gathered out on the street; there is no evidence they were “disturbed”. Indeed, they were likely drawn by the cops, not Gates as Gates was arrested almost immediately upon walking out on his porch. There are certainly no identifiable victims that could testify in court they were disturbed, nor, clearly, was there ever any attempt by Crowley or the PD to so identify any. The police report does make clear that Crowley was disturbed, but he is simply not a proper victim under the law for this kind of charge. No proper victim, no valid charge under the disorderly conduct statute, no valid arrest.

        • bmaz says:

          Naw, it is a reasonable question. But it is pretty clear cut on the answer under the line of cases I cited in that first post on Gates.

        • esseff44 says:

          What percentage of the ‘disorderly conduct’ arrests are dropped would you guess. I think it’s pretty high. It’s also the favorite charge at protest rallies and most of those are dropped. There are usually a lot of opportunities to release someone from detention before the actual charges are filed.

        • bmaz says:

          Good question, no clue. Probably a lot. I have seen a lot in courtrooms while I was waiting around for my case to be called that clearly should have been and were not though. Problem is most people don’t know the law, can’t afford a lawyer and just plow along. But even where the charges are dropped, even quickly, there are deleterious consequences. You get formally arrested, prints entered into the system, may have spent some time in a holding cell and there is an “arrest” on your record, as well as an entry in police databases that can affect future encounters. It is just wrong.

          And @86 – thanks for responding, I was curious. Yeah, but the cops were covering their ass as much as they could in the report and that isn’t there. Also, the interview of Whalen I saw seemed pretty clear that neither she not the other lady had substantive contact with Crowley or anyone else from the PD it seemed.

        • esseff44 says:

          I couldn’t hear the questions at the Whalen press conference, but there were a lot her lawyer didn’t want her to respond to. She and the elderly woman must have seen the driver leave. In her call, she tell 911 that both men are still in the house. How many men is Sgt. Crowley looking for when he goes in? When Gates will not answer when asked about someone else being in the house, what is he supposed to do?

          I am in agreement with the overreaction on Sgt. Crowley’s part, but with the information that he has, it could have been a hostage scenario, or the kind of robbery we have here a lot where older people are followed to their door and pushed inside and robbed. How does he clear that up before he leaves?

        • bmaz says:

          Irrelevant as of the instant he has confirmation that it is Gates and Gates’ house, which he gets very early on if you listen to the com tape released. At that point, Crowley just needs to leave.

        • sagesse says:

          You know, Crowley’s vice to me on the radio and media airwaves afterwards just sounded so over-the-top sincere innocent cop – that I think it was staged from the get-go. He did what he did knowing full well Gates was Gates. Isn’t it very, very likely that he KNEW what Gates looked like long before this – lie maybe back when the PBS program aired – or before.

  32. wedidit says:

    Who else needs his Union Representative and Lawyer with him when he goes out for a beer?
    Sgt. Crowley does.

  33. RevBev says:

    I hope they have a lot of fun…looks like Biden is at the party as well. I first thought that the beer thing was sort of hokey….but maybe a good idea. We all need to find ways to step back….to get over ourselves. I think our Pres. had a fine suggestion.

  34. Raven says:

    Disturbing the peace is a crime generally defined as the unsettling of proper order in a public space through one’s actions. This can include creating loud noise by fighting or challenging to fight, disturbing others by loud and unreasonable noise (including loud music or dog barking), or using offensive words or insults likely to incite violence.

    Disturbing the peace is typically considered a misdemeanor or an infraction depending on the jurisdiction and is often punishable by either a fine or brief term in jail. On other rare occasions it is considered an ordinance, the lowest level of an offence. However, a person held in breach of the peace will not have a criminal record entered against their name[citation needed]; which would otherwise seriously hurt the person’s future dealings with authorities, or when seeking future employment.

    With regard to noise, if there have not been active requests to the perpetrator to reduce the noise to a reasonable level, it is not considered an act of disturbing the peace.[

  35. KayInMaine says:

    I’m glad this meeting over beer is taking place tonight. President Obama is a good man (as is Joe Biden!) and continues to reach out to Americans to talk about race. Remember, George Bush would have bombed Gates’ house or would have sent in Cheney’s assassination squad. See?

    • bmaz says:

      Obama has comported himself disgracefully in this matter, and this “beer summit” is an asinine dog and pony show of the highest order. Not to mention, the real “teaching moment” is at root the abuse of police power and false arrest, not race.

      • KayInMaine says:

        Well, Gates thought he was being racially profiled. Not a secret. After the charges were dropped against Gates, President Obama was asked in a news conference his thoughts on the case. He said the police acted stupidly….which they did. In a conversation with President Obama it was suggested that a beer at the White House might be a good thing. It was. The 3 showed up. Crowley just said it was a terrific meeting and he was glad he went. Gates had to fly off to a destination and did not stick around.

        President Obama takes seriously race relations in this country. I think if he had not said anything it would have been worse. But hey! Many are taking the side of the right wingers of American now, and that’s that!

  36. KayInMaine says:

    Bmaz, you just hate President Obama and have for months now. He could literally cure everyone of cancer and you would still hate his guts just like the right wingers (birthers & deathers especially!) do!

    • bmaz says:

      I actually like Obama quite a bit, however I think he has been horrible on terrorism, governmental transparency and privacy policy. In this case regarding Gates, he stepped in the shit with his idiotic remark at the press conference and has pettily made it all about extricating himself since then. It has been overall an abysmal showing by Obama.

  37. KayInMaine says:

    On the audiotape you can hear Whalen talking to the old woman and she’s saying she is calling for the old lady to report the ‘crime’.

      • KayInMaine says:

        No one knows what the significance, but some have been speculating that the old woman was the one who had ‘racism’ in her chest and put Whalen up to calling in the report (no one argues Whalen did the right thing). I doubt this is the case, but it is a little weird. Also, the person who took the only picture of Gates in handcuffs was a neighbor who snapped the shot and then went home (he’s made money off the selling of the picture). When asked about why he didn’t stick around to see what was going on with his neighbor (Gates), he didn’t really answer the question. He then went on to say he sided with Crowley 100%. Again, kind of strange.

  38. orionATL says:

    bmaz @73

    i have been working all day, but this matter has been eating at me all day, too. i can’t get it out of my mind; the sense of injustice done on mul;tiple fronts is too strong,

    i have gone back and forth about what to say here and how severely. coming here in the evening i find that bmaz has concisely articulated my feelings, though a great deal more politely than i would have:

    bmaz wrote:

    [ bmaz July 30th, 2009 at 4:21 pm 73

    In response to KayInMaine @ 72 (show text)

    Obama has comported himself disgracefully in this matter, and this “beer summit” is an asinine dog and pony show of the highest order. Not to mention, the real “teaching moment” is at root the abuse of police power and false arrest, not race.]

    that’s the nub – abuse of police power.

    in my view, use of police power granted to crowley for the purpose of protecting society used instead by crowley for his personal benefit – to subjugate and humiliate gates.

    this is entirely analogous to the serge taking out the metal screen between the front and back seats of his cruiser, loading in the family, the family in that cruiser, and heading down to washington for a week of family sightseeing.

    so what’s the score after all this hooha?

    the real culprit – abuse of police powers for personal benefit –

    is still at large.

    not only that,

    but the prez’s pointless intervention may prove instrumental in helping sgt crowley avoid a lawsuit that would have cost his department and himself a bundle and put the rest of the constabulary on notice about making “personal” extensions of their policing powers.

    thanks to our soft, soft prez, that lawsuit is now much less likely to happen.

  39. Petrocelli says:

    Of course in all of this, the MSM manage to look even worse …Clockwise, they sat around the round, white table in this order: Obama, Crowley, Gates, Biden.”

    WTF were the drinkin’/smokin’ ? Clockwise they sat Obama, Biden, Gates & Crowley … the MSM is just so used to reporting the opposite of reality !

  40. orionATL says:

    petrocelli @93

    the problem in our society today is that things get turned upside down routinely. what should be done does not get done; what should never be done gets condoned.

    the gates case is a case where a citizen was treated unjustly by a police officer.

    perverse result: the police officer becomes some sort of victim and the (wrongly) arrested citizen becomes irrelevant to the discussion of the issue.

    justice has not only not been done, but has been prospectively undone.

    the summary of what actually happened is :

    crowley arrests gates, misusing his peace powers to do so. the prez says crowley’s behavior is “stupid”. shortly, the media response reports crowley’s and generally police “distress” at being so reprimanded. subsequently, our prez hurries to say he supports crowley, indicating he “understands” police behavior in general.

    subsequently, obvious questions to the sarge such as:

    – “why did you write in your report that there were two black men with back packs trying to enter the house when neither blacks nor backpacks had ever been mentioned to you or to the dispatcher?


    – why did you say to the dispatcher “keep the cars coming”? for what were they supposed to “keep coming”?

    are not asked by the media.

    so where are we ?

    well, an serious injustice was done prof gates.


    there will likely be no accounting for the police behavior, including crowley’s misbehavior.

    obama, of course, could have asked for a justice dept investigation into civil rights abuses.

    instead he asked the guys to join him for a beer.


    this is the prez who represented himself as representing a very poor section of chicago society,


    who never seems to have been able to bring himself to make waves, as saul alinsky would have done, in order to assist that down and out section of chicago citizenry.

  41. SomeGuy says:

    The NYT has a new story which says the three may meet again for lunch soon. I doubt they will talk about the specifics of what happened that day, now that lawyers are involved.

    They still could still do something worthwhile. There are many people who will listen to Prof. Gates but not Sgt. Crowley. The reverse is also true. Maybe they could find some general principles they agree with that would help both the public and Police.

    One potential place for ideas on common ground comes from a unlikely source. The ACLU has a “bust card” you can print out and keep in your wallet. It is on the ACLU racial profiling page. It is called “Know Your Rights: What to do if you’re stopped by the Police”. It tells what your rights are (including courteous and respectful Police treatment). What you should not do, and what and when to do something if your rights are violated.

    Here’s the “ACLU bust card” link

  42. mui1 says:

    But let’s be honest: this is all about a black guy getting on the side of another black guy who got crosswise with the cops. Why would he touch such a powder keg? Like it’s going to ignite at least one more battle in the late lamented Culture War.

    This is why I don’t read that blog.
    A “culture war”.
    Heavens! Isn’t that a phrase wingnuts like to use? Is it constructive to use their framing?
    “late and lamented?”
    WTF? Is this about wearing acid wash jeans v. not wearing acid wash?
    “Why would he touch such a powder keg?”
    Because due to our long sad American history, it already is a “powder keg.” If Obama were to ignore it, the problem would still exist. It doesn’t matter whether there is evidence of racial profiling. It became a civil rights issue the moment it hit the press. And the “guy” isn’t just a “guy”. He’s a Harvard professor, i.e. academia plus civil rights.
    Think, think of a history and a time and a place where it didn’t matter if a person of color held a PHd or not; that person could still be arrested for walking down the same side of the street as a white woman. Collective memory, history touches off a nerve. So having a beer with the Prof. is much wiser than feigning ignorance.