I'M a civil rights absolutist--or what I like to call "an American"--but I'm also a Midwesterner, so I believe in polite, twice over, to cops, parents of small children, even disc jockeys, while expecting the same against all reasonable historical evidence.
Now, being an absolutist doesn't mean I have to think everyone's innocent until conviction, after which I get to pile on; it means they're entitled to my presuming their innocence before the Bar. I have no idea whether Professor Gates became disorderly and "disruptive", whatever that means (Police report, which the Globe scrubbed, is here.) Dunno if he threw open his unstuck door and called Sergeant Crowley a racist, or if he started in with the sorry-assed "You don't know who you're dealing with" routine, though, for the sake of someone who wants to take offense at being racially profiled, I hope not. Dunno if he was jet-lagged, drunk, medicated, or cranky. Dunno if the sales job that Incident Report tries to do is legitimate or suggestive.
What I do know is that Gates has the right to be obnoxious, should he decide that's a good idea, and a peace officer has the power to arrest and the right to lie as when, to chose an entirely hypothetical example, he asks an irate citizen to step outside his domicile and continue yelling in order to draw a crowd that interferes with the officer's performance, and blames it on "accoustics". The facts are obscured; the general outline--Gates pisses off cop, cop runs him in in retaliation--can be glimpsed through the fog; charges are dropped (read: Gates wins, read: never should have reached that point).
And leave us depart from Rashomon meets In The Heat Of The Night here and suggest that you receive a report of "two [black] men trying to break into a house", and you determine that there was no break-in, and that one of the men was the homeowner, the other his cabbie, then you bear the responsibility for the thing managing to wind up on the national news that evening anyhow. Police work, like bartending and network teevee programming, is all about how far you cooperate with assholes. (I gotta tell you, Sergeant, that if "Suspect refused to get the non-verbal message when I flashed my cuffs" is part of the department standards your Association says you live by, I personally would like to see them augmented by "biceps flexing in shirt-sleeve weather" or "cracking walnuts in the fist, where possible".)
And, look: whoever took the last sheet of toilet paper should replace the roll. That's the situation you guys are in, and I know you resent it, because I watch The Closer*. Get yourself some professional PR help. Do not say "I'm not a racist". That's what racists say.
The Globe, our dedicated story scrubber, does its best to help:
A father of three who coaches youth basketball and plays on a local softball team, Crowley declined to comment in the afternoon, but spoke to a Globe reporter this evening.
"The officer, who admits he "bawled like a baby when Old Yeller died," said..."
One of Crowley's neighbors, Ed Shagory, a retired attorney, said he has been friends with Crowley and his family for more than 17 years.
He said he was upset about the criticism levied against his friend, whom he supports in the dispute. "I think the world of him and his family," Shagory said.
He said he was disturbed by the intense worldwide, often sensational, media coverage on the case. His daughter, serving in Iraq, even read about the news, Shagory said.
Good Lord. The terrorists have won.
Nice attempt. I think you should have used a bigger trowel, but then I'm no professional; my one semester of Journalism was so long ago I remember the professor saying that shit that had no fucking connection whatsoever to the story was supposed to be left out. But I'm just wondering how much longer ham-fisted reverse racism charges are going to fly, via pseudo-crypto Birther pandering and faux-analysis of what was "decided" in Ricci, in our coming Post-Racial Age. Not that the Globe will be around to see it, but Scary Black Man Cries Racism would seem to have a dwindling appeal, and the expectation that the Police, Corporate America, and even, yes, the Republican Party might reach the point where they got entangled in such messes only by accident, not design, are rising. Dunno who's at fault. Maybe both, maybe nobody, really. Dunno if Sgt. Crowley would have behaved differently with a white suspect, but I know that his Many Fine Personal Attributes have nothing whatsoever to do with the reality of racial profiling, in this case or in every last one of 'em. And I don't know, but I suspect, that if the arrestee had been a newspaper reporter for a Tottering Metropolitan Daily, Crowley's kindness to old people and injured wildlife would have been, uh, less newsworthy.
* God help us, appending soap-opera "personal" storylines is apparently as essential to teevee policiers as bolted-on tits are to pole dancing, but do we have to have the Ambitious Professional Rival combined with The Conniving Other Woman, the Evil, Unscrupulous Internal Affairs Officer, and The Paragon of Bleeding Heart Concern For Everyone's Rights Except The Victim's, Even When It's Gunned-Down Cops like some sort of basic cable English Trifle or something? Pah. At least when these storylines ground Hill Street Blues to a halt you knew they weren't going to take over entire episodes.