Police Report

“Lots of folks are already on this, but I wanted to post about the police report for the arrest of Henry “Skip” Gates in Cambridge the other day. Here’s a copy of the police report… The officer is clearly trying to justify the disorderly conduct arrest, which has to involve other people and a public place and cannot be made inside a person’s own house. Even the officer’s own version of events involve him persuading Gates to walk outside so that he could have an excuse to arrest him. Gates had already provided his identification and the officer makes it clear in his report that while he was still inside Gates’s house he knew he was no longer investigating any kind of crime. Gates’s “crime” in the officer’s own report consists solely of loudly accusing the officer of being a racist and asking for his name and badge number. The report makes it clear that the arrest was meant as a retaliation for being yelled at and called a racist, and he really didn’t care that the charge wasn’t going to stick.

Out on the streets, this kind of interaction happens all the time: objecting to police treatment when you have, in fact, done nothing wrong gets to you arrested for disorderly conduct or resisting an officer. It does happen to Whites, but it happens a heck of a lot more often to people of color. To me the most frightening thing about this incident are the large number of commenters on some sites who are sure the police have the right to retaliate if you object to their mistreatment of you.”(Scatterplot via walker)


Is this the instance of police misconduct to obsess about? “Interesting as it is to speculate about Henry Louis Gates and the Cambridge Police Department, the attention the case is generating reflects an unfortunate feature of American public discourse: you’ve got someone like Radley Balko who spends the bulk of his career documenting the most grave instances of police misconduct imaginable — including cases that involve the incarceration of innocent people for years on end — and most of even the egregious cases he writes about never break into mainstream conversation, whereas a minor altercation involving a Harvard professor who isn’t even being charged with a crime spawns wall-to-wall media coverage.

Isn’t it notable that six months into his presidency, the most prominent advocacy President Obama has done on behalf of minorities mistreated by police is to stand up for his Ivy League buddy? ” — Conor Friedersdorf (The Daily Dish)

Hattie Carroll’s Killer Dies

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William Zantzinger, the white Maryland tobacco farmer immortalized in a Bob Dylan song for the 1963 killing of a black Baltimore barmaid, has died. Zantzinger, inebriated from a night on the town, struck Hattie Carroll with a cane when she was slow bringing him a bourbon. Carroll, a 51-year-old mother of 11 children, died from a brain hemorrhage 8 hours later. Zantzinger was convicted of manslaughter and served 6 months. Dylan recorded “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” in 1964.’

via Newser [thanks, walker].