Saturday, July 25, 2009

Media missing the real issue of the Harvard prof arrest

By Carlos Miller

By now you surely heard the story of the black Harvard professor who forgot his key, so had to break into his own house, which resulted in police being dispatched and him being arrested.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. didn’t get arrested for breaking and entering, but for disorderly conduct after he asked the cop for his name and badge number. We know they hate that.

And anybody who reads this blog knows that disorderly conduct is one of the most abused charges cops use against people. It is, in fact, the default charge when police can’t think of an actual crime being committed.

Disorderly conduct was one of the original nine charges I was slapped with after my arrest for photographing cops against their wishes two years ago. It was also one of the ones that were dropped.

Just as it was in Gates’ case.

Gates believed he was profiled because he is black and he may be right. He also believes that if he were a white professor, he would not have been arrested.

But if that white professor had asked for the cop’s name and badge number, there is a good chance he would have also been arrested.

After all, contempt of cop knows no color barriers.

But the thousands of stories that have been written on this incident so far have focused on the race issue.The media has turned this into a black vs white issue when it’s really more than that.

It’s actually a class issue. That dumb cop made the mistake of arresting a Harvard professor. One who is friends with the president of the United States.

Had it been any Joe Blow, whether he was white or black, life would have gone on as if nothing had happened.

Where was the national media and the president when a white guy getting a Taser gun stuck up his ass by a white cop?

Or when a white girl who got a gun pressed against her face by a Hispanic officer because she was involved in some minor fender bender with his son?

Or when a white grandmother got Tasered by a white cop because she refused to sign a speeding ticket?

Or when a white middle-aged lesbian who got beat up by a white cop because she hosted a liberal political fundraiser?

Or when the two white reporters who were arrested by a Hispanic cop for doing their job?

Or if that is not enough, just take a look at Police Misconduct News Feed compiled by Injustice Everywhere.

It’s true that black people get harassed on a much more disproportionally level than non-blacks. Anybody who denies that is naive.

Let’s not forget the black teenage girl who got attacked by a white cop because she flipped a shoe at him.

Or the black EMT who was strangled by a white cop (after the cop pulled over the white driver for not yielding to him).

Or the black motorist who was beat up by a white cop who had the audacity to lie about the whole thing, even though he knew it was recorded on a dash cam video.

And let’s not ever forget the black unarmed man who was shot and killed by a white cop earlier this year in an incident that was caught on a cell phone video.

But not even the Oscar Grant shooting generated this much response from the national media, much less a comment from the president. Granted, President Barack Obama had not taken office yet during the Grant shooting, but judging by the coverage it received outside of San Francisco, he probably would not have been asked his opinion on it by one of the beltway media whores.

Obama has been criticized for stating that this cop “acted stupidly,” mostly by white people and especially that white cop, for “interfering with a local issue” but he was asked his opinion and he gave it. He did not use his executive power to influence anything. Gates’ charges had already been dropped. I found his comments refreshing, but then again, I voted for him.

Nevertheless, Obama’s comments prompted the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, to insist that he is not racist and that he will not apologize for arresting Gates.

We will probably never know if he is racist or not, but what we do know is that he arrested Gates after the professor demanded his name and badge number.

He even admits that Gates could have avoided arrest by shutting his mouth and going back into his house.

Crowley also said that arresting Gates “was something I really didn’t want to do,” but that “the professor could have resolved the issue at any time by quieting down and going back into his house.”

And that is the real problem. The fact that we, as citizens, are expected to not question police officers. And if we do, then we should expect to be arrested, Tasered or even killed.

Source: Photography Is Not A Crime

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