Thursday, July 1, 2010

Skip Gates, Revisited.

[Editor's Note: It's a slow blogworthy news day. Sue me.]

I, like you, assumed the whole Gates-gate thing was a dead story after that silly Beer Summit photo-op. Who can forget the visual of Gates, Crowley, Obama, and Biden "stupidly" positioned around that cheesy patio furniture? It was all an exercise in futility born from a completely avoidable pissing match. Depending on whom you ask, it was either a non-story or the turning point in Obama's approval ratings with white America. I still say non-story, but if nothing else, it introduced me to what is now my favorite beer, the venerable Blue Moon, which Officer Crowley infamously imbibed.

Thank you Officer Crowley.

Anways, some folks don't know when to let a story die, and the final "independent review" from the Cambridge was just released. How punctual. Anyways, it essentially says the same thing I've been saying all along.
Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the police sergeant who arrested him last July after a confrontation outside his home both missed opportunities to “ratchet down” the situation and end things more calmly, according to a review of the case released Wednesday.

The independent review said “misunderstandings and failed communications” and a “certain degree of fear” each man had for the other led to the six-minute dispute that ended with the renowned black scholar being arrested by the veteran white Cambridge police sergeant.

The situation at Gates’ home quickly escalated when it shouldn’t have, according to the review put together by a 12-member panel assembled in September. No one on the panel had direct ties to the Cambridge Police Department.

The report suggests that Crowley could have more clearly explained what he was doing and why he was doing it, especially after being shown Gates’ license and university ID. For his part, Gates could have used a more respectful tone to address the officer. Neither man, in interviews with the panel, said he would have acted differently.

The incident was a “textbook example of how a police officer and a member of the community can clash if they do not share a sense of responsibility,” according to the report.

The panel made 10 recommendations for avoiding similar incidents in the future, including better training for police in de-escalating conflicts, as well as more outreach to the public and academic community to teach understanding of the police department’s job.
Not quite spelled out, but definitely inferred: "he with gun and badge has last word".

Well, at least there's Blue Moons.

Question: Did Gates-gate signal a difference in how White America viewed Obama? In retrospect, was your initial reaction to this story the same way you feel today?

Report: Harvard scholar Gate’s arrest avoidable [AP]

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