July 23, 2009


A woman sees a man she thinks is attempting to break into a neighbor's home, and calls the police.

An officer arrives, and finds a man in the foyer of the home, and begins to question him. The man acts belligerently, and initially refuses to provide identification, while screaming the cop was prejudiced. The man inside the home was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct, even though he later provided identification showing he he was and proving that it was his home.

People get arrested all the time for acting like an ass and refusing to work with police responding to a call, and the officer could have just as easily charged the suspect with obstruction of justice and he would have been well justified.

But because the man who was arrested is a prominent African-American professor crying racism, and the officer is white, the cries immediately began that the arrest was racist, when it very plainly was not.

Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr was non-compliant with a police officer merely doing his job of trying to protect Gates' home. In fact, he was abusive towards the officer. And the officer's the bad guy?

Give me an effin' break.

Gates could have easily diffused this situation at the very beginning by showing Sgt. James Crowley his identification as requested. Crowley would have seen that the home was indeed Gates', would have wished him a good day, and been on his way. A normal person may have even thanked the officer for responding to the call (which was, after all, to protect his property), and the neighbor who was trying to looking out for him.

But Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr is more than a scholar. He's also an asshole... and more than likely a racist himself.

By his own admission he immediately escalated a simple matter of identification into a confrontation, and then had the temerity to play the victim.

Further—and amazingly—a hopelessly lockstep and well-conditioned liberal media immediately joined in echoing the hue and cry, though all the evidence points towards a good cop simply attempting to do his job and a self-important jerk acting belligerently, thinking that he is above the law.

Sgt. Crowley is no racist. He's done his best to serve his community, and did everything in his power to attempt to save the life of another famous African-American.

But Gates and his supporters can't see that, blinded by knee-jerk rage and hobbled by minds firmly rooted in the past.

Likewise, our President, Barack Obama, showed his character and intellect to be paper thin, accusing Sgt. Crowley of acting "stupidly," even as he admitted that he didn't know the facts of the case.

Here are the facts, provided by another officer in the arrest report:

Henry Louis Gates Jr, of his own accord, needlessly escalated what should have been a very simple and cordial interaction with a law enforcement officer into a situation that the officer felt necessitated his arrest.

Upon his release from jail, Gates needlessly escalated the situation further, making public and repeated unsupported charges of racism against an officer who seems to have an exemplary record in an attempt to justify his own shameful behavior.

And now, as if if Gates foolish behavior wasn't bad enough, we have our neophyte President ignorantly weighing in, giving this incident more credence than it deserves, and assigning blame without knowing any of the facts, automatically assuming the white officer was wrong.

So much for a post-racial America.

All hail the Racist-in-Chief.

Update: Added the arrest report screen capture and link.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 23, 2009 10:11 AM

It's truly sad when an American president validates the modern premise that if you are black, you are automatically right.

Posted by: Kathy at July 23, 2009 11:50 AM

Not only is Gates less likely to ever get police help at his home in the future - Gates just reduced the odds that any black may get police help in their home because which cop is going to take the chance to subject himself to such Gates-like nonsense

Posted by: DBD at July 23, 2009 11:53 AM

Of course, Obama is a racist!

Read his books, look at his mentors, Jeremiah Wright and his Black KKK "church".

This episode only highlights a known fact, but since the MSM is entirely leftist and believe that no leftist could ever be racist, this will not be reported.

Posted by: SClanding at July 23, 2009 11:59 AM

Professor Henry Louis Gates assumes that because 1) he is a black man, and 2) because he's a Harvard professor that he is above the law. The officers did nothing wrong. If any white man did what he did, they would be arrested for disorderly conduct or even obstruction of justice which carriers a weightier burden of proof and a bigger fine or even a jail sentence. Almost fifty years ago the NACP came to the zenith of its power when Congress passed Affirmative Action, making it possible for black men and women to believe that they are now equal in rights with whites. The truth is that many activate blacks know they are above the law in many respects and an inconsiderate president doesn't make life as a police officer easier when he, without knowing the facts, sides with his black brother. In reality, he is more white than black by far and even more Arab than black. But that's beside the point. He chose to be a "Black man" to help him get elected. Now in everything he is proving to be champion of minorities, even when they're in the wrong. It doesn't make him a bigger man to come out like he did in a Health Care Press Conference and make this point. It was a setup. Reporter Lynn (something) from the Chicago Sun Tribune is a friend of Obama's. He wanted to weigh in so he specifically asked her to ask this question near the end of the conference. What some "black men" won't do for press attention. I don't blame the other black men, just one black man, Barak Obama, who is so far the worst president this country has ever seen. Yes, he is a racist president.
Don White

Posted by: Don White at July 23, 2009 12:00 PM

Obama should not waste his time commenting on this topic and is a huge racist.

Posted by: megan at July 23, 2009 12:22 PM

If the police acted stupidly I do not know-I was not there nor was the President-However I did see the President on TV and he surely acted STUPIDLY!!

Posted by: lh at July 23, 2009 12:26 PM

Obama is a RACIST and probably the antiChrist or his forerunner

Posted by: lilbit at July 23, 2009 12:39 PM

maybe obama and gates should talk to reggie lewis's widow,, and see how a racist operates.. i thik obama true self is starting to come out,, and it's only been 6 months.. who's relly the racis mr POTUS..

Posted by: greg bgardner at July 23, 2009 01:17 PM

i am sorry but Obama is too effin stupid to be the anti-christ. rock dumb in fact.

I cant believe the knuckle-head we have as a president. complete 99-ring circus act.

just think the reigns of the most powerful nation in history are in this moron's hands.

Posted by: lu-ee at July 23, 2009 01:33 PM

Recall, how it took at least several days of watching demonstrators beaten and gunned down in Iran before Obama would utter a word out of concern, and even then stressing a reluctance to 'meddle'.

Yet the moment this story breaks, and before the full reports become known, a minor police arrest for disorderly conduct merits a press conference statement and presidential condemnation.

Truly this president is unbalanced and immature.

Best regards, Peter Warner.

Posted by: Peter Warner at July 23, 2009 02:04 PM

Hope this shows up on COPS some night.
But I'm sure Professor Wankers class will hear a full play by play of his brush with da man for years to come.

Posted by: sanjuro at July 23, 2009 02:23 PM

The most hilarious bit of this is that, even by his own statement of the events, Gates is obviously in the wrong. But no one should expect anything different from this race hustler who is better dressed than Al Sharpton but otherwise indistinguishible. This puke has made grillions fanning every parking ticket, every job application and foremost every academic event into a race riot. People are obviously losing patience with this claptrap. Finally.

Posted by: megapotamus at July 23, 2009 02:33 PM

Mouth off to a cop, get busted. It's that simple. Whether you're black, white, yellow, purple, or green makes no difference. Like it or not, the police have tremendous power in America. Insolence to those who have such power is stupid. Some black men know this, for example, Chris Rock.

Posted by: Gringo Malo at July 23, 2009 02:54 PM

I have had the alarm go off at my house and the first thing you are expected to do is show some identification. It is only logical. This professor is clearly prejudiced and above us all.

Posted by: David at July 23, 2009 03:18 PM

So, the Boston news has stated a contradiction between the story told earlier and what is being told now.

The relevant bit:
"Friends of Gates said he was already in his home when police arrived. He showed his driverís license and Harvard identification card, but was handcuffed and taken into police custody for several hours last Thursday, they said."

Now, it say's "Friends of Gates", which seems to imply to me that someone's telling a story to cover his butt. It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out in the end.

The article can be found here:

Posted by: Eric G. at July 23, 2009 03:26 PM

Obama is an idiot for shooting off his mouth about something of which he admits he doesn't have all the facts.

When Skippy "Do you know who I am?" Gates isn't raising a pint in Dublin, Ireland and flapping his gums about how his DNA is "56% White" he's ginning up race relations in Boston, which have never been al that good.

Skippy is such a great guy and neighbor, he was immediately recognized and vouched for by the reporting party and bystanders... oh wait, I guess no one outside his house knew who he was.

Around Boston, no one is surprised that this arrogant, race baiting, "victim" comes straight out of the mean streets of harvard and moonbat Cambridge.

Posted by: Steve R at July 23, 2009 04:23 PM

In Obama's speech he said Gates was jiggering the door. I looked up jigger in Wikipedia. Turns out it's a slur for a black person.

Posted by: Brian W at July 23, 2009 04:54 PM

...and while the President feels the need to comment on yet another case of bad, bad white people, I just wonder how many more men and women cannot support their families because they lost their jobs and how many unfortunate children will again go hungry tonight because we as a Nation are so completely ignorant in our morales and values! Wow, so much for the Great USA. We'd better put some people in office next time that will get us off of this path of complete destruction,or soon, we won't be able to recover. Wait a minute, let's say a prayer because we're in dire need of a higher help. Oh, hold on, are we asking for help today or are we yet again finding ways and allowing people to chisel him out of our lives and Country?! Sorry for this, I'm just so sick and tired of this crap!

Posted by: grasshopper at July 23, 2009 05:05 PM

Not only is Gates less likely to ever get police help at his home in the future - Gates just reduced the odds that any black may get police help in their home because which cop is going to take the chance to subject himself to such Gates-like nonsense.

I totally disagree with this statement! Most cops are consumate professionals, they won't stoop to Gates' level and try to return "tit for tat".

Gates is a prime example of what is wrong with the black community. The have combined an entitlement mentality with a chip on their shoulder (a boulder really!) about things, which for the most part, just don't exist in America any more - or they wouldn't, if people like Professor Gates, Al Sharpeton, Jesse Jackson, and, yes, especially Barrak Hussein Obama keep bringing them up!

Professor Gates! Give it a rest and just grow the f**k up!

Posted by: Wolfman George at July 23, 2009 05:16 PM

Obama appears to be a shallow and bitter man. If my impression is correct we are in for a nasty 4 years.

Posted by: Rick at July 23, 2009 05:18 PM

You know its kind of sad you all want to side with a Person who only saw a black man she thought didn't belong in the neighborhood. Thatís one. And two is the fact that after showing not only his State ID, but also his SCHOOL ID, he got arrested. I guess it was a way of saying weíre sorry but because you didn't cower in fear of the police we are taking you in. Even though you have a chest infection and have to walk with a cane we still think you are a threat. Here is a question, does the fact that the president is black, give not only the police but the neighbor that made the call to act like racist and even worse asses? Thatís person who made that call need to answer for what he or she did? Until then it sad to be a white person in this country

Posted by: Joe Krash at July 23, 2009 05:33 PM

Obama, you're a disgrace to all Americans.

Posted by: John Eden at July 23, 2009 05:49 PM

But had already shown both a Harvard ID and a drivers license to show that it was his house. Yankee do you think you should be arrested in your own home after showing proper identification? This is America last time I checked.

Posted by: Just the facts at July 23, 2009 05:50 PM

Go and read the arrest report. The man was having to pri open his door. He had been out of town for a while. All she saw was 2 black men breaking into the house. What she is not suppose to call because it might be racial??? I think not. He should appreciate that fact considering that he told the arresting officer the door could not be secured due to a 'previous break in attemt'.

Posted by: Jennifer at July 23, 2009 05:56 PM

If she had called and said two white men were forcing the door and the Cops showed up and Gates answered the door, likely the same questions would have been asked. Black in this case was a descriptor.
Two Black Males attempting to force a door, is going to help the responding officer more than two people of indeterminate description.
Where it fell apart was an ass showing his to the responding officer, refusing to cooperate, and even after complying, continuing to accost the officer.
Broke into my own home once. Late at night. Cops came, I gave them my ID, explained I managed to lock myself out, and the only set of keys was inside, or in Michigan on vacation with the other that lived in the house. One officer offered a friend's service to repair the door, and after I pointed out the abundance of carpentry tools he laughed, bid me good night, and left quietly.
Yes, I am white, but all the break ins in my 'hood were a youngish white male. The caller was the older lady across the street who thought I too was out of town. I thanked her for keeping an eye out, and was polite with the officers. Works wonders, that. As any cop will tell ya, even if you are caught breaking the law, being polite goes a long way in your benefit.
By all accounts at the time of the arrest, Gates was not anywhere near polite, and followed the officer outside and Cambridge has laws agi'n that, being the upscale liberal bastion it is.

Posted by: JP at July 23, 2009 05:58 PM


What kind of knee-jerk are you ? The stated arrest report says the "she saw a man wedging his shoulder into the front door." No mention of race. . .

The second officer attested that he heard Crowley ask for identification and heard "no I will not."

No evidence of racism there. No matter what your color may be, when a cop says "I need to see some ID" if you start yelling and causing a ruckus in public (and your porch can be considered such for this purpose) you have met the textbook definition of disorderly conduct.

Imagine your neighbor sets up a 3,000 watt stereo on his porch and begins blasting [insert the type of music you hate most here]. Does he have a "right" to disturb and alarm everyone else because it's "his property ?" Fortunately, the law disagrees.

Posted by: 1charlie2 at July 23, 2009 06:30 PM

After how many months of this nonsense I still can't look at Obama and think "President", and I doubt I ever will. I expect someone that leads my country to act a little more dignified and to even possibly represent all Americans. The arrogance is mind blowing to me that he would even mention an incident that trivial. The thing that gets me is that he thinks he can say anything at any time and his opinion is the only one that counts.Its going to be a long three years.

Posted by: Bill at July 23, 2009 07:47 PM

This was truly disappointing. If nothing else good comes of Obama pretending to be president, I thought maybe, just maybe, we could get past the race stuff. But, it's not to be. In fact, I think it's much worse because every chance he gets he makes race an issue. His wife does, his supporters in the media do - especially Leonard Pitts and Cynthia McKinney. And blacks are so wrapped up in this guys success that they won't help get him on the right track. They just dig in and support everything he does as if their life depends on it. I have a feeling we are going to have race riots again soon.

Posted by: Jayne at July 23, 2009 08:25 PM

A racist president.... who has set progress in race relations back at least 40 years. No doubt if he gets his healthcare reform, the first casualties will be not only elderly, but white.

Posted by: Kathy at July 23, 2009 09:06 PM

I've learned a good lesson from this. As a white male I'm simply racist if I interact with African Americans. The way to avoid that is to have nothing to do with them.

Posted by: Brooks at July 23, 2009 09:43 PM

This dumb cop should have known better. Now he's going to get Joe The Plumber'ed. Bet you ACORN, ACLU, and the NAACP are already digging through his personnel file. Bet the networks have their ace dumpster divers going through his trash and talking to his kids' classmates. Bet the police union is frantically working on stategy to throw him under the bus without pissing off the rest of their membership.

He may as well turn in his badge and gun, move to Montana and start over. Not that the media will let him.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at July 23, 2009 10:11 PM

Steve S ... This policeman is not a "dumb cop," according to the fuller details of this story. He is a police officer with an admirable record who has conducted courses for the Cambridge police on how to avoid charges of "racial profiling."

The politically correct leftists in this country are determined to charge anyone, police or civilian, with racism if any criticism of certain selected groups is offered by the rest of us who do not belong to those groups. Thus our President, who is a 'newbie' to say the least, [that's a computer word for a beginner and has nothing to do with his race] cannot be criticized by his constituents without said constituents being accused of racism. He, however, feels free to criticize us, without full knowledge of the facts.

As far as Professor Gates goes, his common sense and courtesy appear to have gone down the drain when he broke into his own house. You don't speak to the police that way. They are charged with protecting you and your valuables from predators and crazies who want to hurt you. It's a tough job, and the great majority of them do a conscientious and efficient and courteous job of it.

Surely, it is our responsibility to be courteous to them too. Professor Gates Mom should be ashamed of him. I'm sure she taught him better.

Marianne Matthews

Posted by: Marianne Matthews at July 23, 2009 11:27 PM

"An officer arrives, and finds a man in the foyer of the home"

Wow. That is a pretty quick arrival. I wish the cops would show up that quickly where I live. Think about it. The call went in, and by the time he broke into his home, and made it to the foyer, the cop arrived. That is really fast.

Reaction time where I live is about 10 minutes, and compaired to some states and towns, 10 minutes is considered fast.

Posted by: Matt at July 24, 2009 01:38 AM

Marianne, I was of course being sarcastic. But I will elaborate, and say that anyone in the US today starting in law enforcement is dumb. This shows what we can expect in the post racial age. The President is a long time associate of Bill Ayers, for crying out loud.

As soon as the officer noted a disparity in skin color he should have turned around and left.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at July 24, 2009 12:03 PM

We have three observations about the Harvard professor incident:

1. We find it interesting that the fact that this was the professor's home was evidently not established early on way before the dispute escalated;

2. We find it fascinating that the versions of two members of society, who most would ordinarily view as responsible and honest citizens (this obviously does not include politicians), would vary so dramatically from a factual point of view.

3. Finally, considering that the reading and viewing public were not present at the scene (and thus have no first hand knowledge), and that there is no video tape to our knowledge of the sequence of events and what was said, how so many have formed conclusions, and made assumptions, about who did what and who was wrong.

There are some things which Professor Gates might have considered upon the arrival of the police, no matter how incensed he may have been.

Posted by: Reggie Greene / The Logistician at July 24, 2009 02:41 PM

You know I have to ask this question:

With all the inherent ignorance and outright stupidity demonstrated by Barak Obama, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, Al Franken, and G.W. Bush (though I don't think he was as dumb as people claim) as alumni and a Professor like Henry Louis Gates shouldn't Harvard be worried about tarnishing their "brand" as a top rate school?

Or does "Ivy League" just mean "where the rich kids go to hang out and party"?

Posted by: Scott at July 24, 2009 03:25 PM
2. We find it fascinating that the versions of two members of society, who most would ordinarily view as responsible and honest citizens (this obviously does not include politicians), would vary so dramatically from a factual point of view.

I get viewing the cop as a responsible and honest citizen (or at least the benefit of doubt), but a Harvard professor?

Posted by: iconoclast at July 27, 2009 02:20 AM

I think that Gates over reacted, to say the least. I had never heard of the man before this event. From what I've read, he sounds like a jerk to me.

I'm not an attorney. Even so, without a warrant, unless I'm mistaken, Gates had no legal responsibility to answer any questions nor to show any form of ID on his own property.

If the cops come onto your property without a warrant, knock on your door and you come to the door, you have no responsibility to tell them anything. Of course, common sense would dictate that you answer the door and speak in a civil manner.

If I were in his situation I would have answered the door. I would have asked for ID from the cop. I would then have informed him of the events that lead the neighbor to call. If he asked for my ID, I may or may not have shown it to him. I probably would have.

I would then ask him to leave my property and politely tell him that if he needs to search the house to please come back with a search warrant.

Posted by: Dude at July 27, 2009 02:21 PM

I've been going around about this with a couple on the left at Hannity's forums...

...we keep talking past each other:

Because Obama's mouth got him into trouble, they are busy trying to find ways to shield him. The point they have chosen is the idea that nobody in Mass. gets arrested like that and the charges were dropped so it is plain as day the cop made an unlawful arrest that should never have happened.

And I've been saying repeatedly -- the cop did exactly what police are trained to do these days, and whether or not the case sees a light of day in a court of law doesn't matter.

Police are trained in the Use of Force Continuum with the specific idea that the police on a scene should remain one rung above the suspect or other person on the scene:

You start with verbal commands, if they take it up a notch to being verbally abusive and you can't get them to calm down, you cuff em. If they lay hands on, you go to your weapons - pepper spray, nightstick, tazzer - and if they go to weapons - you go to your gun.

The whole focus of the training is on --- keeping the scene under control for the safety of all involved.

Why? Because even the most average of citizens - regardless of race, color, creed, or sexual orientation ---- will sometimes make very stupid decisions in the heat of passion.

So, when you see someone starting to get worked up - getting themselves worked up and perhaps people in the area too ---- you get control of the situation as quickly as possible ---- which means calling in backup and putting the person acting ludicrous in cuffs and if need be in your patrol car and if they still won't calm down - you take them into custody and book em.

And the point is not to try to make some arrest stick or make sure the person gets fined or even spend the night in jail --- the whole purpose is officer safety and safety on the scene.

9 times out of 10, the situation might not have spiraled out of control into a physical confrontation or street riot or whatever in the first place, but that 1 time out of 10 can see people get killed.

...So you don't take chances.

Reading the police report, the cop did what he was trained to do...

Posted by: usinkorea at July 27, 2009 05:40 PM


"Even so, without a warrant, unless I'm mistaken, Gates had no legal responsibility to answer any questions nor to show any form of ID on his own property."

Dead wrong. It might vary state to state, but in general, this is the exact opposite of the law:

If the police officer is on the scene due to a legitimate call, people on that scene have certain basic, minimal obligations -- like showing identification and giving their name.

Refusing to comply can --- I stress "can" --- be considered obstruction of justice and grounds for arrest. It usually isn't, because why waste your time on such a small charge if no bigger crime has been committed?

And such general questioning also falls outside the rules of Miranda rights too. A citizen does not simply have the right to remain silent and refuse to produce identification and block the execution of a legitimate investigation into a police call.

And once person on a scene begins to throw a tirade and get himself - and sometimes his family members and/or others on the scene -- cops are trained to get the situation under control before someone does something stupid that ends up getting someone hurt.

This case with the professor is the type that goes on every day across the country with people of all races and genders and whatever...

The only thing that made this case unusual was that the President of the United States decided to speak up about it and claim it was based on racism.

Since the cop in question was falling guidelines that are pretty standard in police academies across the nation - I believe - I bet cops all over the land would like to tell Obama to stick his head up his bum...

Do a search for the term "Use of Force Continuum".

Posted by: usinkorea at July 27, 2009 05:54 PM

On Dude's point again,

Let's imagine if the prof had not worked himself into a lather and simply refused to speak or show identification. What probably would have happened?

The police would have detained him - at the scene - until they could work out why he was in a house with a jimmied door that someone had called to say might be the scene of an ongoing break in.

If the prof had refused to answer any questions at all, I would bet the police would have been within their lawful duties to pat him down looking for a wallet that might have an ID in it.

Or maybe they would have simply asked a neighbor if they knew who the man was and upon finding out he was the homeowner - that would have been it.

But the prof would still have been obstructing justice.

And lets say the crime were a bigger one - say a murder - and the police came up on the scene due to a call - say someone phoned in hearing gunshots - and the prof had been on the scene and refused to speak or show identification:

The police would clearly be within their rights and the law to detain the person and removing him from the house until his identity and why he was at the scene could be established.

Just because nobody had actually broken into the prof's home doesn't change what the duty and responsibilities are for the police and a citizen found at that scene.

Posted by: usinkorea at July 27, 2009 06:06 PM

"If I were in his situation I would have answered the door. I would have asked for ID from the cop. I would then have informed him of the events that lead the neighbor to call. If he asked for my ID, I may or may not have shown it to him. I probably would have.

I would then ask him to leave my property and politely tell him that if he needs to search the house to please come back with a search warrant."

And if it were not your house, after the police left to get a search warrant, you could have cleaned the place out and headed for the nearest pawn shop...

In responding to a call like that, the police do not need a search warrant to do a cursory search to make sure a crime has not been committed --- especially if the door of the house showed signs of having been jimmied.

If you had refused to let the officers in the house or told them to get out of the house, they might ask a neighbor to verify that you are the homeowner, but whatever the case, they would have the right to keep you on the scene and continue the investigation into whether the house was being burglarized or not. If you tried to actively stop them, you would be guilty of obstruction of justice.

The cops would not need a search warrant in this case.

--- They certainly couldn't have started going through your draws or looking under seat cushions and whatnot - but they would be justified in taking a walk through each room to check for any signs of a crime having taken place and to make sure other potential suspects were not hiding waiting for you to con the police into thinking it was your home and convincing them to leave...

Posted by: usinkorea at July 27, 2009 06:27 PM

I guess I could have cut these series of posts should by simply saying "probable cause."

You don't have to have a search warrant to justify each and every search under the law...

Posted by: usinkorea at July 27, 2009 06:30 PM

I'm not suggesting that the guy should have tried to "actively stop them". I am saying that on his own property, in his own house, he is under no legal obligation to discuss anything with the police, especially if he didn't call them and if they didn't have a warrant. Even if they have a warrant, the only thing that he has to tell them is his name.

Obviously, Gates has a huge chip on his shoulder. He certainly didn't handle this situation very well. In my opinion, he's an idiot. If he had good sense he would not have screamed at the cop. He would have stepped out onto the porch, shown him his ID and thanked him for checking his house for him. Then, if the cop asked to come into the house it would be Gates decision to give him permission or not. If the cop insists on coming in, against Gates's will, Gates most certainly should not physically try to stop the cop. He could later sue the cop for unlawful entry, perhaps, and let that issue be worked out in a court of law.

Probable cause is generally used to obtain a search warrant, not to perform a search without a warrant. Granted, there are exceptions and gray areas of the law. And, as you pointed out, I'm sure that it varies from state to state.

If a cop comes to your door and you open the door and the cop sees clear evidence of a crime in progress or that a crime has been committed he certainly doesn't need a warrant to make an arrest. For example, if the cop sees a body on the floor or if he sees illegal drugs in plain view, he doesn't need a warrant to act.

On the other hand, if cops come to your door without a warrant and say to you: "Mr usainkorea, we'd like to ask you a few questions. May we come in and talk with you?" You're under no obligation to talk with them or to give them permission to come into your home. In fact, you have the legal right to tell them that you don't want to talk with them and to tell them to get off of your property.

Finally, I don't think that a person's front porch constitutes public property in the sense of being required to show ID to a police officer. But again, I'm not attorney. I do enjoy discussing this sort of thing with my brother who is a criminal defense attorney, mostly in federal cases. It may also be worth noting that I did stay in a Holiday Inn last night! That should count for something!

Posted by: Dude at July 27, 2009 10:08 PM

"I am saying that on his own property, in his own house, he is under no legal obligation to discuss anything with the police .... "Mr usainkorea, we'd like to ask you a few questions. May we come in and talk with you?" You're under no obligation to talk with them or to give them permission to come into your home."

That's not what the law says. And if the police came to my house due to a citizen reporting a possible crime in progress, I would not have had the legal option of withholding my name or refusing to show ID.

And it doesn't matter if it is public property or not. As far as it concerns the officers, it is a crime scene -- until they can tell through a routine investigation whether or not the crime reported actually happened or not.

If you are found at the scene of a police dispatch call of a potential crime, you can't refuse to identify yourself or produce ID or even stop a cursory search.

You can refuse to give your name and ID, but you are then obstructive a legitimate investigation, and you can be detained for it and in all likelihood in most states be subject to a basic pat down and having your wallet removed from your pocket and checked for ID.

Of course, people refusing to give their name or ID are not arrested all the time for obstruction. The charge isn't worth the paperwork or court costs (if the DA would press it anyway), and you can usually find out the info you want to know in other ways --- but still -- the person on the scene has the obligation to answer those basic questions.

The probable cause of the dispatch and you being on the scene grants that.

And simply showing ID and saying, "This is my house" isn't good enough - unless the cop isn't too bright. He'd have to verify that somehow.

And probable cause is routinely used on a scene to search even the body of the person --- the pat down...

It could also certainly be used as justification for a quick walk through the house to see if anyone else where there or if there were signs of a break in if the person on the scene could not or would not offer proof that the house was his.

This is all pretty standard stuff, I believe. It goes on every day across the land.

Posted by: usinkorea at July 28, 2009 06:00 AM

""Mr usainkorea, we'd like to ask you a few questions. May we come in and talk with you?" You're under no obligation to talk with them or to give them permission to come into your home.""

For clarification of my last comment:

If the police came to my house to investigate a crime that took place the day before, I could politely tell them to kiss my @ss, refuse to give them my name, and tell them to get the heck off my property...and I'd be within my rights and they'd need to obey.

----But, the same people located on the same piece of property concerning a possible crime happening now or just before the cops showed up is a completely different matter...

The same goes for identifications by witnesses, and this is one I don't actually feel comfortable with, and for all I know, the Supreme Court my have reversed itself on this issue --- but as far as I know, it still stands:

Say the police are responding to a shooting. Dispatch gives out a typical general description of the suspect, and you vaguely match that description and are not far from the scene of the crime in terms of both geography and time:

The police have the legal right to detain you, get your name and ID, and if there are witnessed to the crime, they can even produce you for that witness to identify or not.

This would seem to fly in the face of the laws about police lineups, but at least in the past, the Supreme Court has, as I understand it, ruled that such a 1-on-1 identification is legal if the crime just happened and you were taken near the scene.

The further you get in time and location from the crime itself, the less chance you have for such an identification to stand up in court....

Posted by: usinkorea at July 28, 2009 06:08 AM

Here is one from my own past, when I was in college and before going to the police academy:

I was walking around 2 or 3 AM on a dark street in a residential neighborhood. I was heading down to the local supermarket to get some food for late night studying - so I was carrying my bookbag to put the grocery bag in for the walk home.

And the police stopped me...

...and I am white.

I didn't particularly like being stopped. They asked me my name, for an ID, and why I was in that neighborhood at that time of night.

I wasn't particularly thrilled to be interrogated for what I considered just walking down the street.

They didn't ask to look in my bag - which would have probably pissed me off - at that time in my life.

But, even then, given the situation, I could endure it (as Koreans would say) because they were just doing their jobs. It was an odd time to be walking the streets. It was nearly pitch black in a residential neighborhood. I could easily have been a cat burglary.

Several years later, when I went to the police academy, I found out the bookbag was key too -- that cat burglars are known to carry a breakin kit in such bags and items they've stolen from the place.

I also learned that whether or not the cops had the right to stop me, even when no crime had been called in and they were just on patrol, had been tested in court.

I do think that if they had demanded to inspect my bag and done so against my refusal, the search might not have stood up in court, but at least from what I remember, that had held up in some cases before.

Anyway, after asking me basic questions, and even after I answered in a way that should have raised doubts ----- (I had just recently moved into a garage apartment in the neighborhood and couldn't remember the homeowner's name or my street address) ---- they let me go. I did notice as I got to the supermarket that was several blocks away that they came cruising through the parking lot to make sure I did what I claimed.

I didn't particular like having my honesty tested ---- but again, another part of me understood they were just doing their job, and if I had a home in that area, I'd want them to do their job.

Posted by: usinkorea at July 28, 2009 06:34 AM

To Dude and the other jailhouse lawyers:

You don't know what you're talking about when you say 'Gates don't got to tell the man sh!t.' A police officer investigating a suspicious person call is absolutely permitted to verify identity. By Gates escalating the incident into an active confrontation, he screwed the pooch.

Gates refused to provide any form of identification before Sgt. Crowley knew Gates was inside his own home. By later going outside onto his porch, yelling and acting like a fool, Gates was being disturbing the peace of the community. The police report indicates that there was a small crowd of civilians gathering around to watch the show. After refusing to comply with a warning to desist, Gates was arrested.

It was a good arrest for Disorderly. The fact that the charges were dropped the next day merely indicates that the Cambridge PD Commissioner has all of the testicular fortitude of a small rodent.

Posted by: Retired Buckeye Cop at July 30, 2009 03:10 PM