Baiting The Charge?

by Chris Bodenner

Okay, this is the last thing I'll air on Gatesgate: Jacob Sullum reads the police report and spots a damning detail in the cop's actions:

Notably, Crowley invited Gates to follow him, thereby setting him up for a disorderly conduct charge. "I told Gates that I was leaving his residence and that if he had any other questions regarding the matter I would speak with him outside the residence," Crowley writes. He claims "my reason for wanting to leave the residence was that Gates was yelling very loud and the acoustics of the kitchen and foyer were making it difficult for me to transmit pertinent information to ECC or other responding units." But instead of simply leaving, Crowley lured Gates outside, the better to create a public spectacle and "alarm" passers-by. The subtext of Crowley's report is that he was angered and embarrassed by Gates' "outburst" and therefore sought to create a pretext for arresting him.

The charge against Gates was dropped. But what are the odds that it would have been if Gates had not been a nationally famous scholar with many friends in high places, including the president of the United States? Instead of showing what happens to "a black man in America," the case illustrates what can happen to anyone who makes the mistake of annoying a cop.