The Gates Incident
Living in a Police State
It is common practice for police in America to abuse their authority and to arrest people on a charge of “disorderly conduct” when those people simply exercise their free speech rights and object strenuously to how they are being treated by an officer
By DAVE LINDORFF 7/22/09
...[Harvard] Prof. Gates, who was understandably outraged at the whole situation, properly told the sergeant that he wanted his name and his badge number, because he intended to file a complaint. Whether or not the officer had done anything wrong by that point is not the issue. It was Gates’ right as a citizen to file a complaint. The officer’s alleged refusal to provide his name and badge number was improper and, if Gates’ claim is correct, was a violation of the rules that are in force in every police department in the country.
But whatever the real story is regarding the showing of identification information by Gates and the officer, police misconduct in this incident went further. Gates reportedly got understandably angry and frustrated at the officer for refusing to provide him with this identifying information and/or for refusing to accept his own identification documents, and at that point the officer abused his power by arresting Gates and charging him with disorderly conduct.
There’s nothing unusual about this, sadly. [certainly not in Berrien County!] It is common practice for police in America to abuse their authority and to arrest people on a charge of “disorderly conduct” when those people simply exercise their free speech rights and object strenuously to how they are being treated by an officer...
There is no suggestion by police that Gates physically threatened the arresting officer. His “crime” at the time was simply speaking out...
What is unusual is not that the officer arrested Gates for exercising his rights. That kind of thing happens all the time...
Very little of the mainstream reporting I’ve seen on this event makes the crucial point that it is not illegal to tell a police officer that he is a jerk or a racist, or that he has done something wrong, or that you are going to file charges against him. And yet too many commentators, journalists and ordinary people seem to accept that if a citizen “mouths off” to a cop, or criticizes a cop, or threatens legal action against a cop, it’s okay for that cop to cuff the person and charge him with “disorderly conduct.” Worse yet, if a cop makes such a bogus arrest, and the person gets upset, he’s liable to get an added charge of “resisting arrest” or worse.
We have, as a nation, sunk to the level of a police state, when we grant our police the unfettered power to arrest honest, law-abiding citizens for simply stating their minds. Full article: http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/?q=node/342