Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Charges Against Henry Louis Gates Dropped!

From today's Washington Post:
The charge against him was dropped Tuesday, but Gates said he plans to use the attention and turn his intellectual heft and stature to the issue of racial profiling. He now wants to create a documentary on the criminal justice system, informed by the experience of being arrested not as a famous academic but as an unrecognized black man.
I wish Gates would sue the arresting officer, the Cambridge Police Department, the City of Cambridge, and the Trustees of Harvard University (apparently their police officers on the scene did not prevent the arrest--and should have known he was in his own home).

BTW, I wish Gates would also bring up the Fourth Amendment issues at stake, in addition to the racial bias:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I believe the policeman had no right to stay in the house once it was clear that Gates was in his own home. In fact, I believe Gates had every right to yell at him, at that point--since the policeman was violating the Fourth Amendment.

As a documentary filmmaker myself, I can tell Gates that the police, Harvard, and city officials are not as afraid of TV documentaries as they are of lawsuits. So, my "Memo to Skip Gates" is:

Sue the bastards!

More on this story at The Daily Beast.