I think it’s time, once again, to talk about police abuse, the violation of citizens’ rights by police officers, and their being held to a different, lower standard of conduct than other citizens. I think that’s the core of the Henry Louis Gates arrest. And I think the commentaries that focus on the illegal arrest of Dr. Gates just as examples of racism and/or classism to the exclusion of the societal role of out-of-control police are missing the boat. Of course, the poor, people of color, immigrants, the disenfranchised, the powerless are the usual objects of police abuse. But the primary, ugly problem that needs to be confronted is that the police are unrestrained and repeatedly commit illegal acts with impunity.
This old post from April, 2006 makes my point far better than yet another re-hashing of the illegal arrest of Dr. Gates in his own home by Cambridge Police. And it even goes a long way toward explaining why the offending officer has been invited to a beer at the White House rather than a deposition in a federal civil rights case in which he is the named defendant.
I am now going to take my anger out for a walk.