Friday, July 31, 2009

Prof. Gates and the Cambridge police

Professor Gates of Harvard identified himself with his driver’s license and Harvard ID card. His driver’s license gave his residence address as the house he was in.

Any reasonable police officer would at that point recognize that he was dealing with the homeowner and say “Thank you, Sir. We were just making sure that you were, indeed the homeowner. Have a nice day.” Then leave.

This was not about race; it was a cop on a power trip. This officer has a real problem with authority figures.

Wait, you say, “isn’t the officer the authority figure?” Only until he finds out that the person he is talking to is not a “suspect”; he or she is a “citizen”. In the case of Professor Gates, that happened in the instant that he showed the officer his identification that he was not breaking in, that he was the homeowner.

In that moment the citizen became the authority figure and the officer the public servant.

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