Patterico's Pontifications

7/28/2009

Unreasonable at Reason

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General,Law — Jack Dunphy @ 2:42 am

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

One must be cautious not to judge the merits a blog site by measuring the apparent intelligence and moral character of its commenters. Heaven knows the commenters right here in our little corner of the blogosphere can occasionally wander pretty far afield, to understate the matter considerably. But I have to say I was shocked, and not in the Casablanca sense but genuinely so, to read some of the comments on a post over at the Reason website.

As I wrote Monday on NRO’s the Corner, Reason blogger Brian Doherty took liberties in lifting a quote from an earlier Corner post, with his readers being led to believe, either through his own carelessness or dishonesty, that I take a cavalier attitude in protecting constitutional rights if it comes at the expense of my own safety. You can read his post and my own and judge for yourself. But when the commenters weighed in, though there was some thoughtful exchange of ideas, there was at least as much lunacy, as measured by the number of people who expressed, in one form or another, the general idea of “f*** the police” (with the expletive spelled out, of course). And then there was the one who, addressing the subject of the risks police officers face, brushed aside such concerns with the observation, “Dying on the job is an occupational hazard.”

So, if I follow the advice of such people and, in my reluctance to give offense to some suspected criminal I have stopped, fail to heed some subtle hint of danger and am killed as a result, hey, I knew it was a tough job when I signed up, so tell Mrs. Dunphy to get the black dress to the cleaners and get over it.

I don’t think so.

Let me spell it out clearly for all those hardcore libertarians who think defying a police officer’s lawful authority is somehow noble. If I stop you in the reasonable belief – even a mistaken one – that you have committed a crime, abundant statutory and case law (see Graham v. Connor, for example) authorizes me to use reasonable force to effect an arrest, overcome resistance, and prevent escape. If the crime I suspect you of committing is serious enough, one way or another you’re going to end up in handcuffs, even if only temporarily. Protest if you must, but be prepared for the consequences.

Those who brand this as tyranny remind me of the driver who insists on entering an intersection on a green light even as he sees that a car is about to run a red light across his path. “But I had the green light” is a poor choice for an epitaph.

–Jack Dunphy

175 Comments

  1. Mr. Dunphy – nice post, and a couple of thoughts:

    First, what the hell are you doing up?

    Second, I completely concur that in order to have a civilized society, there must be an organized group of people that possess the authority to enforce the agreed rules of that society.

    In a strange way, the police and the libertarians can sometimes suffer from the same malady, which is that the concentration on a particular type of interaction distorts viewpoints so as to be at cross purposes.

    Police deal primarily with illegal behavior, and it has been argued that this interaction comes down to exerting control over a situation. As you state yourself in the post, “one way or another you’re going to end up in handcuffs”. The Police don’t execute the law, the courts do. Police only exercise control, which is generally accepted as necessary for the courts to be effective. Police can develop distorted views of what is acceptable exercise of authority, as so much rests on maintaining control.

    In the same way, Reason concentrates almost entirely on government excess, especially excess control, and that includes Police abuse of their authority. Just as Hot Rodder magazine doesn’t run features on knitting, Reason magazine doesn’t often run features on effective and reasonable police practices, which they should, as there are plenty of people alive today because the Police did their jobs above and beyond what was expected. It’s no wonder then that the view of Police authority becomes distorted, when the majority of information about Police control that Reason subscribers (of which I’m one) ingest deals with abuse of that control. Example here.

    Yes, it makes me pretty mad as well, and while I understand both sides, I don’t remember a time in my life where I’ve had less confidence in the authority of our government, and I’m not alone. The problem has less to do with basic Police function and more to do with what I can only describe to you as an increase in mistrust of our elected officials and a general view that they are hopelessly corrupt.

    Unfortunately, the Police are tasked with the protection of those same elected officials, and when the citizens begin to suspect that groups such as ACORN are attempting to rig the electoral system, the admonition to ‘write your congressman’ becomes an unfunny joke.

    I think you are an entirely reasonable officer, and from reading your posts I’m quite glad that you’re on the force. I can only say that I have witnessed many not entirely unreasonable attitudes towards government control lately, and that these attitudes do not come from a fringe of society. They are coming from people who I feel are reasonable people, who have jobs and plan for their futures. They are tired of the lies and corruption, and especially the incompetence from our ‘leaders’.

    You do a great job of posting. Please keep it up and know that most people understand the importance of functioning systems in our society and support such systems. When the system fails to function at the top, however, control is no longer in the service of function, and has passed over to the support of non-function and corruption. That, I would say, is the single most important balance to strike, as too far in either direction is disastrous.

    It’s important that all sides understand this, as the breakdown of society will not be beneficial to anyone. I’m not writing off any side, and I hope others do not as well.

    Comment by Apogee (e2dc9b) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:37 am

  2. What a crock of shit. A cop CANNOT enter a home (by force or otherwise) unless he has reason to believe a crime is happening NOW. We are supposed to be safe INSIDE of our homes from illegal searches, siezures, and detentions. You guys must be great cops and are responsible in part for the hostility toward the police in many communities.

    Comment by Howard Veit (3f8901) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:33 am

  3. What Apogee said. Why be redundant?

    Oh, and you ain’t seen unreasonable until you have met Rich Puchalsky. Just sayin’

    Comment by JD (071163) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:36 am

  4. As a former police officer, I support Dunphy’s position. He has stated the position as clearly
    as possible and it is the correct position.

    My son is a special agent with a Homeland Security
    agency operating in the South Texas district. He is SWAT trained and often carries a sub machine gun as a duty weapon. He and I often speak on regarding the increasing milatary influence of police agencies.

    I would like Dunphy to post on this subject and its good and bad aspects.

    Glenn

    Comment by Glenn Beebe (9a28b7) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:37 am

  5. Jack,

    I keep hearing arguments such as both men were wrong and the cop shouldn’t have arrested him for being in his own home.

    I think that cops are special people because we (society) ask them to go into very volatile situations on a daily basis. In order to protect the police as much as possible in these unknown situations, we bestow great authority on them (and a weapon.) This authority only lasts as long as the situation lasts, then we have a very deliberative legal system to sort it all out and determine guilt or innocence. Gates supporters sound like he will have an extended prison stay because the cop didn’t like him. In fact, the system worked exactly as it should. The cop controlled the immediate situation by placing the beligerant Gates in custody. The prosecutor, who didn’t have to worry about the safety of himself, his partners, other occupants of the house, the general public or Mr. Gates, reviewed the facts and determined that prosecution wasn’t warranted.

    Comment by Mike S (907732) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:37 am

  6. I presume that comments like HV’s above were in the same vein as those that Senor Dunphy referenced in his post.

    Comment by JD (071163) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:48 am

  7. My daughter (when she was old enough) would watch the COPS tv show with me. We always found it so amusing how some people would stopped for a small infraction – and they would escalate it to such a point that, what would have been just a warning, turned into an arrest.

    I don’t know how many times I have told my daughter, if you get pulled over by the police, just do what they tell you to do. It doesn’t matter if you know you are right, that will be figured out in the end.

    Obviously, Howard doesn’t understand the current issue. A 911 call about a breakin is more than enough reason to enter a home. For all the police knew, Mr. Gates’ wife or children were being held hostage and Gates was under pressure to get the police to leave.

    If we don’t respect the Police – and let them do their job, only chaos will ensue.

    Great piece Jack. And keep up the good work.

    Comment by Corwin (ea9428) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:59 am

  8. Nice post. During one of my tours in the military we were augmentees for the security forces. We would go out in convoy fully armed and loaded. The “real cops” who briefed us when we saddled up always drilled opportunity, intent and capability into our heads when talking about use of deadly force. I still remember the briefings 12 years later. Point is cops are trained to do this right.
    As a parent I taught my kids to never argue, be polite, cooperative, and always make sure their hands were in plain view. Like everyone they and I have run into the occasional cop who takes their authority a little too far and goes out of their way to get a reaction from us. Rather than get into the whole attitude thing and escalate we know to let it roll off and vent to our hearts content when we get home. More often than not simple courtesy and respect results in a warning rather than a ticket.
    If I think the cops were out of line I will call the Chief of Police and discuss it with him or her. This is of course long after the stop and when tempers have cooled.

    Sometimes one just has to suck it in and be quiet. We were on a 10 hour military flight to Japan when one of the stewards picked up my three year old and tossed her back in the seat because she kept slipping out of her seat belt. He wasn’t a cop and I had to fight hard to keep from cleaning his clock. The thing that stopped me was the knowledge that I would (a) be charged with assault, (b) charged with interfering with safety of flight, and (c) if not tossed out of the military, would certainly be demoted and cause a financial loss for the family
    We sat on it for 10 hours until we landed. Once off the plane we filled out the report with the cops and let them take it from there.
    Although the steward was not a cop he was in a position of authority and is an example of where self discipline is a must no matter how much in the right one is.

    Comment by voiceofreason2 (590c85) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:04 am

  9. Jack is absolutely right. My grandfather was the last Police Commissioner of a large Texas City until they changed to the City Manager form of government. He always taught us when we visited that the police sometimes make mistakes, but you better be polite if you get stopped because you have no idea if the police just pulled a body out of a wreck or saw a murdered child. Police Officers are people too he said.

    Grand Dad died in 1962, 8 years after he left the Police Commissioner job and at his funeral at a National Cemetery (he had been in the army for 42 years including 3 as a P.O.W. in WWII) the line of Officers and Police cars stretched half a mile, in part, because he always thought of his officers as humans first, Officers second, and a wall against tyranny third.

    Thanks Jack for your service, and thanks to all Officers for yours.

    Comment by GM Roper (d53336) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:10 am

  10. One reason (no pun intended) why I am not a “large L” libertarian is the fact that, like comment #2 illustrates, there are a lot of libertarian nuts. The 9/11 truthers and probably even the Obama birthers, are heavily represented in that subset of the population. I have had a couple of annoying incidents with cops I thought were indulging themselves, one with my 16 year old daughter, but those were incidents in the safe precincts of Orange County where traffic stops are their principle responsibility. Responding to 911 calls is not a safe situation until proven to be so. The Gates story has turned into a huge moral lesson for the country and the officer has come off looking the most adult of the major principles so far. I just hope he comes home safe from the White House.

    Comment by Mike K (2cf494) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:16 am

  11. I too have taught my four children to be respectful of police officers. But I also thought that it couldn’t hurt to suggest to my daughters that shedding a few tears doesn’t hurt either. ;-)

    Comment by Gesundheit (47b0b8) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:42 am

  12. “I don’t know how many times I have told my daughter, if you get pulled over by the police, just do what they tell you to do. It doesn’t matter if you know you are right, that will be figured out in the end.”

    If they ask to search your car and you say yes, what will be figured out in the end is that you consented to a search.

    Comment by imdw (ea40bd) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:44 am

  13. Doherty’s summary seems pretty accurate. Not surprising you’d try to walk your NRO article back by “explaining” it in this post.

    Comment by Battle Panda (567029) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:44 am

  14. Ditto #10. Most pure & extreme ideologies like libertarianism tend to be disproportionately populated by argumentative men with poor social graces, which also is the main demographic for blog commenting.

    Comment by Jack (1a3562) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:46 am

  15. Apparently imdw wishes to have a discussion about probable cause, again.

    Comment by JD (be8dcd) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:55 am

  16. Mike, I also am worried about the cop at the White House. While he’ll clearly be used as a prop, I hope that’s the extent of it. Obama has an awful track record when it comes to dealing with citizens who make him look bad.

    I wonder how many of his staff are searching for dirt on this man. I hope he’s not placed in a bad situation, or lectured, or asked to admit fault. We’ll see.

    I don’t think birthers are more likely to hate the police.

    Comment by Juan (bd4b30) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:03 am

  17. “Apparently imdw wishes to have a discussion about probable cause, again.”

    You don’t need probable cause or a warrant when you have consent. You get the point right? If “do what the cop tells you” includes “consent to searches,” it means even if you think you’re right, you just gave up that right. This makes interactions with the police harder for some people, because they want to be polite and nice to the cops or even believe the cops when the cops are saying that things will be alright.

    Comment by imdw (96b4d6) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:07 am

  18. JD, I think imdw’s comment was accurate about a kid submitting to the cops.

    To some extent, you want to have kids who don’t have anything to hide. On the other hand, knowing not to resist, but also not to consent under some circumstances, is a pretty important lesson for kids to get. Young ladies should also know to pull over in well lit areas and have basic awareness.

    All kids should know to obey commands from police, regardless.

    Comment by Juan (bd4b30) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:08 am

  19. Juan – If that comment of its was in good faith, it was its first one. It has been squawking about probable cause in every other thread about this topic.

    Comment by JD (78ecba) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:12 am

  20. “Juan – If that comment of its was in good faith, it was its first one”

    That’s some primo shit yo.

    [note: fished from filter]

    Comment by imdw (8bef51) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:17 am

  21. #2 – Nye kulturny.

    Comment by Mike LaRoche (d83224) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:18 am

  22. Wonder where they linked to that brought such a deluge of mindless comments, maybe KCET?

    A few choice morsals from the tolerant left:

    “Yep, Mao was right.”

    “Well let’s hope then that several cops (spit) end up with holes in them too. Particularly in their heads after being severally beaten and admitting what worthless pieces of s[*]t they are on camera (that’s uploaded to the ‘net). Or have their heads slowly cut off. It’s a death befitting terrorists since that’s what they are.”

    “F[*]k you and your cop friends, c[*tcicle”

    and maybe the funniest:

    Everybody in my family knows the drill:

    (1) Don’t answer any questions asked by a cop about your personal activities……

    uh….everybody in the family ‘knows the drill’??? The only family I know that considers police inquiries/searches a ‘drill’ is a family in La Habra with numerous sons, a father and an uncle who are repeat convicted felons.

    Comment by harkin (3769c8) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:29 am

  23. It seems the more anarchist type libertarians are the ones who have the biggest problem with Sgt Crowley’s actions and arrest of professor Gates. They don’t seem to accept the police being allowed to arrest someone for disorderly conduct while on their own (or rented) property. We had a similar comment discussion at one of the hardcore libertarian blogs I follow (knappster). The Gates situation highlighted a seam in libertarianism between those who lean anaracho and those who lean conservative.

    I argued that the police will not leave a 911 call when the situation is out of control. Professor Gates actions and words demonstrated he was out of control, and when he stepped out front he was becoming even more out of control in front of an audience. At that point of escalation, the safest option available to the police was to arrest him, thus breaking the emotional feedback loop that was escalating his irrational actions. People forget, you can be arrested for mere words and gestures when those words and gestures communicate the possibility of violence. Out of control behavior can communicate that possibility. The evidence appears to support Sgt Crowley’s decision. Professor Gates was irrational and out of control, and was becoming more so when he stepped out front.

    Comment by Ray (3c46ca) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:47 am

  24. While I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Dunphy’s points here, Glenn Reynolds has done an excellent job at his site detailing the overzealousness of some of the SWAT teams operating in his hometown. As always, it’s about another drug bust gone horribly wrong – yet another argument for decriminalization of some substances.

    Nye kulturny.

    I’m not smart enough to know what this means, but a big shout – out to my homey in Austin – great to see you again, Mike!

    Comment by Dmac (e6d1c2) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:53 am

  25. JD, FWIW, hatred of police is nothing new amongst commenters at Reason. They’ve always been that way.

    Comment by gp (72be5d) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:54 am

  26. Professor LaRoche is tossing a great Heinlein bit into the discussion. Tip of the hat, Mike!

    Nye kulturny is Russian for “you have no culture.”

    According to Heinlein, this was a horrific insult from one Russian to another.

    Comment by Eric Blair (204104) — 7/28/2009 @ 7:10 am

  27. And I am another member of the “small ‘L’ libertarian” club. The Reason folk get themselves all heated up on many issues.

    Fact is, F x S = k. Freedom times security equals a constant.

    There are many limitations to our freedom in the name of security (fly recently?). The problem is that none of us agree how much of each we should have.

    The police, on the other hand, are trying to make the situation secure. You don’t know what is going on when you pull up in the squad car. And to borrow from that nasty television MD, House, “everybody lies.”

    Personally, I take the middle ground: be polite to the officer (especially because he was polite to Professor Gates throughout). If there is a problem, then deal with it after the police leave. Professor Gates would still get his press conferences and media attention.

    No, Professor Gates threw a tantrum. That’s the story. Not racism.

    And if Absolutist Libertarians don’t like what happened, it is time to work for legislative changes. But that isn’t as cool as posting tough guy comments at Reason, you know?

    Comment by Eric Blair (204104) — 7/28/2009 @ 7:17 am

  28. Apogee, megadittoes:
    In a strange way, the police and the libertarians can sometimes suffer from the same malady, which is that the concentration on a particular type of interaction distorts viewpoints so as to be at cross purposes.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407) — 7/28/2009 @ 7:24 am

  29. If I stop you in the reasonable belief – even a mistaken one – that you have committed a crime, abundant statutory and case law (see Graham v. Connor, for example) authorizes me to use reasonable force to effect an arrest, overcome resistance, and prevent escape. If the crime I suspect you of committing is serious enough, one way or another you’re going to end up in handcuffs, even if only temporarily. Protest if you must, but be prepared for the consequences.

    That’s not the question.

    You originally painted a scenario where you as an officer were responding to a report of an armed robbery suspect fleeing in a given make and model of a car. You then directly stated that when you pulled a similar car over, if the occupant of the car aggressively asserted his 4th Amendment rights he might get shot.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the only justification for you to fire your weapon is if you have a reasonable fear for your life – if the car occupant draws a weapon of their own, for example. Are you seriously asserting that if you file a report saying that the driver refused to let you search their car, refused to answer any questions beyond handing you their license, and called you named and used profanity, that report would support the use of deadly force? Give me a break.

    Gates would have been a lot smarter if he cooperated. I would choose to be cooperative and polite in such a situation, if only because it’s the easier thing to do. But that’s not the question here. Obviously if you are belligerent to a police officer and offer him verbal complaints and insults, you stand a good chance of being arrested. The question is what the system should do after that arrest. Should it support the police officer, even though numerous US SCOTUS precedents and every Massachusetts appeals court and SJC precedent says that such an arrest is unlawful? Or should it support the person who was arrested?

    If your argument is, “Anyone with common sense knows that the police will arrest you in such a situation” there are two things wrong with that. First, it assumes that police routinely make so many unlawful arrests that we should assume that when we encounter the police we too will be unlawfully arrested, and failing to assume police misconduct is therefore against common sense. If that’s true, it’s a sad commentary on law enforcement in our society. Second, it completely avoids the question of who should face repercussions after the arrest, which is the most important question. It may be predictable that a police officer who is “disrespected” will arrest you to punish you for it, but it should also lead to sanctions for the police officer if the arrest was not lawful. It may be predictable

    Comment by Fluffy (6cea10) — 7/28/2009 @ 7:26 am

  30. As JD points out above, in comment no. 2 we see revealed someone who a) cannot read well enough to distinguish between the facts of my scenario, i.e. a car stop of a suspected felon as opposed to an arrest taking place inside a home (which, as he correctly states, requires a warrant in most cases), and b) cannot comment on the matter without resorting to profanity.

    Comment by Jack Dunphy (38fbdf) — 7/28/2009 @ 7:29 am

  31. imdw, I haven’t read previous posts on your feelings about consenting to searches. So there may be a lot more to your point. For me, I’ve told my daughter to be careful who she takes in her car — if they have something illegal, and you get stopped, you might get the blame for it. That’s how it works.

    Again, I point to the COPS program. You see it happen often enough. Don’t pick up strangers, and choose your friends with care.

    Should she consent to a search? She shouldn’t have anything to hide.

    Also, this is another reason to keep your vehicle clean and in good running order. Make sure all your lights work, the exhaust is (basically) clean, and don’t leave junk lying around in the car. Keep it clean. It’s easier to drive when you don’t have empty soda cans strewn about the pedals, etc. etc.

    Comment by Corwin (ea9428) — 7/28/2009 @ 7:29 am

  32. No, Professor Gates threw a tantrum. That’s the story. Not racism.

    And if Absolutist Libertarians don’t like what happened, it is time to work for legislative changes. But that isn’t as cool as posting tough guy comments at Reason, you know?

    Since the Massachusetts courts have already ruled that engaging in a loud, angry, and profane tirade at police can’t support a charge of disorderly conduct, there’s no need for legislative changes.

    Since the US Supreme Court has ruled that you can’t be arrested merely for directing verbal disrespect at police, even if you are loud and use obscene language and gestures, there’s no need for legislative changes.

    The police already know that charges of this kind can’t stand up in court, and they don’t care. They are perfectly happy to let the experience of the arrest be the punishment, even though the charges will never be pursued because they’re bogus. It doesn’t make you an anarchist to regard such police conduct as an automatic abuse and as a corruption of the power to arrest.

    Comment by Fluffy (6cea10) — 7/28/2009 @ 7:32 am

  33. They are perfectly happy to let the experience of the arrest be the punishment, even though the charges will never be pursued because they’re bogus.

    lie back and think of social order?

    Comment by dhex (ca7f40) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:00 am

  34. Fluffy: If I’ve stopped you because I believe you have committed a violent crime, I will most likely order you from your car and tell you to lie on the pavement with your arms and legs spread wide. This is an indignity for an innocent person to endure, to be sure, but it’s been held by the courts as reasonable. You of course would be much more certain of your innocence than I would be, at least initially, but if in asserting your rights to be free of such an indignity you fail to do as directed, you’ll be in for some rough handling. And if you reach for your waistband or your pockets or otherwise convey, however innocent your motives, that you might be drawing a weapon, you may indeed be shot. In such a scenario, you and I both need to be careful so we can go home to our families when the encounter has concluded.

    Comment by Jack Dunphy (38fbdf) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:01 am

  35. You should talk to the police the way you would talk to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at oral argument. Politely, but not subserviently, alertly, intelligently. (Hmm, actually, you should talk to all people that way.)

    Please understand, I am not telling you to litigate your case at the curb. You will lose every time if you try. But whatever the idiots at Reason* may think, the police are not street punks with nothing to lose. They are totally invested in our system and our institutions and will not risk their jobs, their promotions, and their pensions, given half a chance not to by a person who stays within the bounds of the law and basic civility.

    *I stopped visiting Reason a long time ago because … well … basically, they say way too many stupid things.

    Comment by nk (d93f7f) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:09 am

  36. The green light / red light metaphor is an interesting one. We’d be justified in calling the driver who went through the green a fool, but we’d also criticize the driver who ran the red light as a dangerous law breaker. He would probably be charged with a crime.

    Or am I taking the metaphor too seriously?

    Comment by roy (d6fc79) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:12 am

  37. Never Talk to the Police
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4097602514885833865

    Comment by Timo (12cdd5) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:13 am

  38. But whatever the idiots at Reason* may think, the police are not street punks with nothing to lose. They are totally invested in our system and our institutions and will not risk their jobs, their promotions, and their pensions, given half a chance not to by a person who stays within the bounds of the law and basic civility.

    They won’t? Interesting. LAPD history says you’re wrong.

    Comment by T (939365) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:18 am

  39. A client of mine calls me. He has been arrested. I call the desk officer to find out more about the charges and where I can go to see him. She tells me, “He got his telephone call”. I said, “He’s entitled to a reasonable number of telephone calls. If you won’t tell me whether you will hold him, could I speak to him, please?” Our relationship changes. I find out that my client is signing an I-Bond as we are speaking and he shows in my office half an hour later (instead of me shlepping down to the station).

    Comment by nk (d93f7f) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:35 am

  40. Won’t somebody please clear the cache?

    Comment by nk (d93f7f) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:39 am

  41. So, if I follow the advice of such people and, in my reluctance to give offense to some suspected criminal I have stopped, fail to heed some subtle hint of danger and am killed as a result, hey, I knew it was a tough job when I signed up, so tell Mrs. Dunphy to get the black dress to the cleaners and get over it.

    Oh dear. The original context behind that comment was (Death is an occupational hazard) was to counter the idea that you (as a police officer) deserve some kind of extrastatutory authority just to save your life. You don’t. You voluntarily elected to become a police officer in Los Angeles, fully cognizant of the risks involved, and you are therefore not permitted to blithely bulldoze people’s rights by invoking those risks.

    Comment by The Angry Optimist (2aba7b) — 7/28/2009 @ 9:02 am

  42. Yeah, the “Rage Against my Trust Fund” types are always good for a moronic comment on this type of thing.

    I was surprised, though, to see Radley Balko misread Jack Dunphy so thoroughly.

    Comment by Phil Smith (1cf25d) — 7/28/2009 @ 9:15 am

  43. The problem with law and order advocates is that they won’t recognize that law enforcement represents the greatest criminal threat to most Americans. LEOs are trusted with special authority to enforce the law and therefore should be held to the highest standards of law. Unfortunately, they are given license to violate the law.

    Comment by Warren (1f22e4) — 7/28/2009 @ 9:17 am

  44. If I stop you in the reasonable belief – even a mistaken one – that you have committed a crime, abundant statutory and case law (see Graham v. Connor, for example) authorizes me to use reasonable force to effect an arrest, overcome resistance, and prevent escape. If the crime I suspect you of committing is serious enough, one way or another you’re going to end up in handcuffs, even if only temporarily. Protest if you must, but be prepared for the consequences.

    Sure, but once you’ve figured out that I’m the guy who actually lives in that house and I’m not committing a crime, it makes no sense to arrest me for having a big mouth.

    Comment by Thoreau (a1e8dc) — 7/28/2009 @ 9:18 am

  45. I might add that if having a big mouth were an arrestable offense then the Cambridge police would have good reason to invoke RICO against Harvard. However, we happen to live in a country where some subversive radicals added an amendment to the Constitution protecting your right to have a big mouth.

    Comment by Thoreau (a1e8dc) — 7/28/2009 @ 9:22 am

  46. Nye kulturny.

    I don’t speak Russian, but I’m guessing it means “No culture.” That’s the literal sense, the figurative would be along the order of “I would say that you have the manners of a pig, but that would be an insult to pigs.”

    I know “kulturny” means “culture”, esp. in the sense of good manners, and saying someone lacks it basically calls them a jerk. At best.

    Comment by LarryD (feb78b) — 7/28/2009 @ 9:34 am

  47. The Reason nutballs are starting to show up. I guess they finally woke up.

    The most obnoxious experience with law enforcement I’ve had was described the next day on my blog. It wasn’t with local police at all but with the feds and their drug war carried to lunatic proportions.

    That was a lot different situation than a good faith 911 call.

    Your right to have a big mouth carries with it the responsibility to choose time and place. A guy named Holmes said something about it.

    Comment by Mike K (2cf494) — 7/28/2009 @ 9:43 am

  48. harkin, maybe you didn’t realize this, but the poster at reason was referencing Mao’s “Power flows through the barrel of a gun” – meaning that he’s calling authoritarians such as yourself Mao-enablers.

    Comment by The Angry Optimist (2aba7b) — 7/28/2009 @ 9:47 am

  49. It seems the more anarchist type libertarians are the ones who have the biggest problem with Sgt Crowley’s actions and arrest of professor Gates.

    They don’t seem to accept the police being allowed to arrest someone for disorderly conduct while on their own (or rented) property. We had a similar comment discussion at one of the hardcore libertarian blogs I follow (knappster). The Gates situation highlighted a seam in libertarianism between those who lean anaracho and those who lean conservative.

    Call me a minarchist if you have to label me. I’ve a huge problem with LEO’s unproffesionalism. Somebody ragged on him, called him names while he was trying to do his job. Boo hoo! That never happens to anyone else. Assuming* that Professor Gates is solely responsible for what should have been a tempest in a teapot, after ascertaining that he was the lawful resident of the house, the officer should have simply said, “good day sir” and walked away. Sometimes people are jerks and adults who aren’t full of themselves live with it.

    * For the record, I am far less likely to believe an LEOs version of events than that of a bystander’s. Since there were no witnesses to what was merely a verbal confrontation, I grudgingly give the cop equal credence as the Professor in this case.

    Comment by J sub D (6e12c5) — 7/28/2009 @ 9:51 am

  50. Almost forgot -
    REMEMBER KATHRYN JOHNSTON!

    [note: fished from spam filter]

    Comment by J sub D (6e12c5) — 7/28/2009 @ 9:53 am

  51. you underestimate the power of the super cache young jedi :(

    Comment by voiceofreason2 (10af7e) — 7/28/2009 @ 10:09 am

  52. Your right to have a big mouth carries with it the responsibility to choose time and place.

    Please show me where in the Constitution or really any binding law that says I am required to “choose time and place.”

    Right, there isn’t such wording. But let’s assume there are responsibility laws or whatever b.s. you decide, I would wager that a very appropriate time and place to exercise your 1st Amendment-protected freedom of speech would be when you’re being arrested for a crime you’re not guilty of, or in Mr. Gates’ case, not even a reasonable suspicion of being guilty.

    And your HTML tag buttons suck…

    Comment by Taktix® (c97f04) — 7/28/2009 @ 10:11 am

  53. Jack Dunphy, why do you think the LA Times won’t print the photo of the guy who killed the 17-year old honor student on Saturday? Isn’t the booking photo public property?

    Comment by Jack (a9896a) — 7/28/2009 @ 10:12 am

  54. Hey harken,

    “morsals’ is spelled M-O-R-S-E-L-S…

    Comment by Taktix® (c97f04) — 7/28/2009 @ 10:14 am

  55. Jack Dunphy seem to believe the cop’s take on what happened and discounts the professor’s.

    I’m a little lot less trusting of LEO honesty.

    Was the professor being disrespectful and verbally abusive? Probably.

    Was the cop pushing his weight around and arresting someone without a crime being committed? Most definitely.

    Comment by A cricket (6e12c5) — 7/28/2009 @ 10:24 am

  56. We are supposed to be safe INSIDE of our homes from illegal searches, siezures, and detentions

    And the reason Libertarians are so sensitive about that may be because of the thick cloud of marijuana smoke in their living rooms.

    Comment by Official Internet Data Office (6ac5ad) — 7/28/2009 @ 10:31 am

  57. I’ve been reading you (mr dunphy) and balko for years. I used to enjoy your nro work but much less so in the light of what balko reports every day

    The CG here in Afghanistan harps on the fact everyday that we can’t be a$$@@@@ here – we wouldn’t like it very much if some foreign army were a$$@@@@@ in our country (my words of course not his). It would be nice if some of your colleauges would start following the same advice (like that gentleman in ok that stopped the ambulance)

    Comment by Kolohe (23f387) — 7/28/2009 @ 10:39 am

  58. And the reason Libertarians are so sensitive about that may be because of the thick cloud of marijuana smoke in their living rooms.

    And the reason LEOs oppose mandatory taping of suspect interviews is because they all abuse suspects.

    Give me a break.

    Comment by Mo (7d1336) — 7/28/2009 @ 10:44 am

  59. corwin @ 7:29

    “she shouldn’t have anything to hide”

    With all due respect f that sentiment

    Comment by Kolohe (23f387) — 7/28/2009 @ 10:51 am

  60. There were other witnesses that corroborate Sgt Crowley’s statement. That is why I believe him and not the professor who is on record as a race baiting leftist. There are too many examples of police who are high on their own power, use excessive force and actually break the law themselves. This is not one of those examples.

    Comment by Ray (3c46ca) — 7/28/2009 @ 10:57 am

  61. It seems to me there are two levels of focus to this argument – what is appropriate for one to do when stopped by an officer in any given instance and what is more broadly appropriate for officers to be doing in the first place.

    Unquestionably engaging in an argument with an officer is a fool’s errand. For one there is the risk of escalating force. For another, once that officer has stopped you, every incentive and tool at his disposal has to back up the notion that he was in the right to stop you. He can’t ever concede in the moment that he screwed up. Not. Ever. Even if you feel wronged, you have to take that up later through other channels.

    That said, I don’t believe it is a legitimate argument that officers can do whatever they like so long as those strategies reduce risk for them personally. The relevant parts of the equation are the risk to innocents, the rights of the subject, and to be honest further down the list the safety of the officer. It is trite to give a shorthand “occupational hazard” response, but in a certain sense it is true that the proper arrangement has to have rights above officer safety.

    Comment by JasonL (1c4bda) — 7/28/2009 @ 11:14 am

  62. Comment #35 by Timo: Watch to video, it’s very entertaining. And don’t miss the companion video “Don’t Talk to the Police” by Officer George Bruch.

    [note: fished from spam filter]

    Comment by dchamil (529832) — 7/28/2009 @ 11:25 am

  63. Hey ‘Dunphy’, did you ever pause to think that your threats make it more dangerous to be a police officer? Your threats of ‘cooperate or else’ might just give a few people the idea that when dealing with the police you are better off shooting first. If police are nothing but thugs, that’s probably the appropriate response.

    Comment by JB (ea5027) — 7/28/2009 @ 11:27 am

  64. Fluffy: If I’ve stopped you because I believe you have committed a violent crime, I will most likely order you from your car and tell you to lie on the pavement with your arms and legs spread wide. This is an indignity for an innocent person to endure, to be sure, but it’s been held by the courts as reasonable. You of course would be much more certain of your innocence than I would be, at least initially, but if in asserting your rights to be free of such an indignity you fail to do as directed, you’ll be in for some rough handling. And if you reach for your waistband or your pockets or otherwise convey, however innocent your motives, that you might be drawing a weapon, you may indeed be shot. In such a scenario, you and I both need to be careful so we can go home to our families when the encounter has concluded.

    That’s fine, but that’s not what you said in your initial post.

    You wrote:

    And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.

    Now you’re saying, “Well, if you also defy legal police orders and look like you’re reaching for a weapon…”

    Doherty is entitled to respond to what you actually wrote, not some secret scenario you had in your head.

    “Darn those unfair Reason bloggers, mischaracterizing my statements! When I said, asserting your right to be free of unlawful search and seizure I meant charging at me firing an AK-47! Of course I didn’t say that, but they shouldn’t respond to what I actually say!”

    Comment by Fluffy (6cea10) — 7/28/2009 @ 11:29 am

  65. Comment #35 by Timo: Be sure to watch the video, it’s very entertaining. And don’t miss the companion video “Don’t Talk to the Police” by Officer George Bruch.

    [note: fished from spam filter]

    Comment by dchamil (529832) — 7/28/2009 @ 11:31 am

  66. There were other witnesses that corroborate Sgt Crowley’s statement. That is why I believe him and not the professor who is on record as a race baiting leftist.

    I am willing to completely believe the account of events Crowley gives in his police report.

    The problem is that the events as he describes them don’t support a charge of disorderly conduct in Massachusetts, and there was no way for Crowley to reasonably believe that they did. Crowley admits that he arrested Gates because Gates loudly denounced him, loudly demanded his name, and accused him of racism in a heated manner. That makes Crowley’s action a bad arrest under Massachusetts case law.

    It’s really not a he said / he said situation. Basically to support Crowley, even if you completely accept his version of events, you have to believe that it’s OK for an officer to disregard the current state of Massachusetts disorderly conduct law, in order to “take control of a situation” or to “teach Gates a lesson” or what have you.

    Comment by Fluffy (6cea10) — 7/28/2009 @ 11:37 am

  67. REMEMBER KATHRYN JOHNSTON!

    Comment by Taktix® (c97f04) — 7/28/2009 @ 11:39 am

  68. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18340889/

    the new professionalism likes to watch.

    Comment by dhex (ca7f40) — 7/28/2009 @ 11:54 am

  69. The problem with law and order advocates is that they won’t recognize that law enforcement represents the greatest criminal threat to most Americans. LEOs are trusted with special authority to enforce the law and therefore should be held to the highest standards of law. Unfortunately, they are given license to violate the law.

    Don’t forget that the Chicago Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police went on National Public Radio in the spring of ’96 (March or April, I believe) to DEMAND that police be the ONLY ones exempted from proposed legislation to disarm those convicted of domestic abuse. The “highlights” of their “argument”:

    1. You can’t disarm a cop for beating his wife. His gun is his “tool of the trade”. Unfortunately, the NPR interviewer neglected to ask the FOP spokesman why that argument didn’t apply equally to hitmen like Harry Aleman and Sammy “The Bull” Gravano.

    2. Taking the gun from an angry, violent cop will only make him MORE angry and violent. Sounds like a threat to me.

    3. You can trust a convicted wife beater cop with a gun, because he’ll be “closely supervised”… just not closely enough supervised to keep him from beating his wife’s brain’s out… or stomping barmaids.

    Talibanesque indeed. The CIA is looking for Osama bin Laden in all of the wrong places. They should be looking at 3510 S Michigan Ave. Just look for the tall, skinny, bearded guy in the turban with the blue and white checkerboard, wearing the “Free Cozzi!” button.

    Comment by Michael Ejercito (833607) — 7/28/2009 @ 12:21 pm

  70. The comments one sees regarding the police demonstrate how some in our society are so self indulgent and infantile they cannot grasp anything that might intrude or bother their self indulgence. That police act in accordance with the law and do so to protect themselves and others is dismissed as an occupational hazard.

    These are the same lepers who will howl when the police are late to their calls for help. It isn’t difficult to spot these people in crowds or in parking lots. Reason is filled with these dopers and slackers.

    No wonder they fear a search of their car if pulled over. Libertarians seem more concerned with free drug use than any other issue. I’ve never met one that didn’t start his come on without mentioning drugs.

    I also note the ignorance of those who seem to think theat free speech was intended by the founding fathers to allow peronnal abuse and insult. It was intended to protect freedom of political speech. That is why we have libel and slander laws. It is also why Hamilton wound up dead and men have been beaten in the Congress for insults given. This is not constitutionally protected.

    As for the meme about professionalism, then Havrad should immediately fire a racist who lacks the judgement to cooperate with the police during a legitimate police investigation. In most places he would have been charged with obstructing a police investigation.

    Comment by Thomas Jackson (8ffd46) — 7/28/2009 @ 12:31 pm

  71. [I see this comment as an attack on Dunphy's fitness for his job and am deleting it. -- P]

    Comment by DCSCA (9d1bb3) — 7/28/2009 @ 12:34 pm

  72. It’s sad to hear that so many people have such little faith in our Justice System. Compared to most countries, ours is far better. I stand by my view that, if stopped by the police, I will fully cooperate (even allow a search of my car), even when I know ‘they have the wrong person’.

    The Harvard Professor should have done the same, and this matter would not have escalated.

    I think you must be crazy to mouth-off to the Police.

    Kolohe, you can do whatever you want to this sentiment. I hope you don’t have that attitude if/when you are stopped. Or, if it is the case, I hope the cop is more tolerant.

    If everyone (and it does include the Police) were a bit more tolerant, and a lot more responsible for their own actions, so many minor incidents would remain minor.

    Comment by Corwin (ea9428) — 7/28/2009 @ 12:39 pm

  73. The original call was a reasonable response to a valid question of whether it really was just a guy having trouble with his front door, or a guy trying to break into a house.

    The initial police response was, as near as I can tell, reasonable in making sure that Prof. Gates’ property was safe. Gates didn’t see it that way, and reacted badly to the percieved slight at being called (in his mind) a criminal.

    Getting upset at the police officer was a bad idea.

    But arresting him for getting upset doesn’t seem to make a great deal of sense. The officer had demonstrated to his own satisfaction that there had been no crime. If posters above are accurate in what they say, getting angry at a police officer is not a crime. So why did Gates’ get arrested for his stupidity? It just doesn’t seem to have been an arresting offense. Seems to me the correct response would have been to suggest that he take any such complaints to the precinct house (or whatever the appropriate place for that sort of thing would be) and to leave. Let Gates rant for a bit, look like an idiot, and go on about things.

    It’s the arrest that made it news. Prior to the arrest, it’s a guy ranting about injustice when there wasn’t any. Once he gets arrested for it, now the police have taken it from a guy ranting to an arrest for a crime that the police officer knew he’d never get a conviction on.

    I guess that’s what makes regular folk think that Officer Crowley screwed up. That a disagreement became an arrest when nobody’s account of the situation seems to justify an arrest – not even Officer Crowley’s.

    Comment by lunchstealer (c23684) — 7/28/2009 @ 12:56 pm

  74. Jack,
    In your initial article you say “And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.” There’s nothing in there about the suspect giving you any reason to fear for you safety. It’s true that failing to comply with a lawful order is a crime and that you can arrest me for it. But asking you why I’m being detained isn’t a crime. Asking if I’m required by law to do what you say isn’t a crime. In most states calling you officer shit for brains isn’t a crime if I use a mild tone of voice and don’t make any sudden movements. It’s a stupid idea since there’s no limit on how long you take in pulling up my ID in the patrol car but it’s legal.

    In THIS post you add the point that you have a right to defend yourself.

    So you’ve made two separate points. First you said if I’m a jerk I run the risk of getting shot. Now you say if I scare you I run the risk of getting shot. The first claim is silly. The second is reasonable.

    Comment by Joe 2 (46cc0f) — 7/28/2009 @ 12:59 pm

  75. I kinda want to state a bit more clearly the point I was trying to make above.

    If all that had happened was Gates being abusive to a policeman who was just trying to do his job, he’d have been being a jerk. He was being a jerk.

    But when the cop responded to nonviolent disrespect by arresting him, he joined in the stupidity and added some of his own.

    Should he get punished for it? Probably not. Should he appologize for overreacting? Probably. So should Gates. But to say Crowley did nothing wrong seems to be stretching credibility.

    Comment by lunchstealer (c23684) — 7/28/2009 @ 1:19 pm

  76. DCSCA

    Umpires operate in a protected environment where fans are forbidden from entering the field. They certainly have no choice but to endure a chorus of boos from thousands of fans after a controversial call, but that occurs within strict boundaries. If you jumped onto the field to argue right in front of homeplate, you’d be escorted to the stadium jail. Umpires will toss players and managers who crosses the line even by an inch.

    A police officer should assume certain responsbilities and risks that comes with the job, but that doesn’t mean he’s obligated to endure unnecesary abuse. If I throw a tantrum in front of a employer at the DMV, the security will kick me out. What makes you think a person suspected of crime should is entitled to a different outcome?

    Comment by lee (86706b) — 7/28/2009 @ 1:31 pm

  77. Actually I think you are wrong in this case Mr. lunchstealer. I think the pompous man had made it very clear even prior to his arrest that he would seek to file charges of vile racism most foul against the goodly officer.

    Gates gave the officer little choice but to arrest him if he wanted any hope of continuing his career in law enforcement. There needed to be a formal report, and other officers needed to be on hand to observe the pompous litigious man’s attitude and to hear what he had to say.

    That’s what I think is the twoof even if no one will say so.

    Comment by happyfeet (71f55e) — 7/28/2009 @ 1:37 pm

  78. Interesting that, according to the 911 call and the witness, Crowley seems to have invented the “two black men with backpacks” portion of the police report whole cloth.

    Comment by Mo (7d1336) — 7/28/2009 @ 1:40 pm

  79. Actually mo that’s according to the witness’s lawyer not the witness per se … and the lawyer wants her client to be as uninvolved as possible. That witness lady is in grave danger of being labeled a foul racist.

    But what does the discrepancy amount to? How is it material? It amounts to nothing and is immaterial.

    Comment by happyfeet (71f55e) — 7/28/2009 @ 1:46 pm

  80. “They know when to call a play safe, out or eject somebody, according to the rulebook. And they know when to call the game.

    You’ve done your duty, “Jack.” Retire.

    Comment by DCSCA ”

    What rulebook? You mean the law? Because the law says the Gates is a criminal. The only call made was to not prosecute. Gates still committed the crime, plain as day.

    He got his antics on the record… that’s all Crowley did.

    Comment by Juan (bd4b30) — 7/28/2009 @ 1:46 pm

  81. Mike K said:

    “Your right to have a big mouth carries with it the responsibility to choose time and place. A guy named Holmes said something about it.”

    Thanks for proving my point, jackass. The Holmes ruling was overturned as unconstitutional. I learned this from the article you linked.

    Thanks again!

    Comment by Taktix® (c97f04) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:07 pm

  82. What rulebook? You mean the law? Because the law says the Gates is a criminal. The only call made was to not prosecute. Gates still committed the crime, plain as day.

    Juan, you’re just wrong, and you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    The Massachusetts courts have ruled that yelling obscenities at the police at a crime scene, even in the presence of the public, is protected speech and cannot support a charge of disorderly conduct.

    That’s exactly what Gates did, even if we accept Crowley’s account verbatim.

    I also note the ignorance of those who seem to think theat free speech was intended by the founding fathers to allow peronnal abuse and insult. It was intended to protect freedom of political speech

    Last time I checked, police officers drew government paychecks. That makes direct complaints and abuse directed at them, even in heated or profane terms, 100% political speech, no questions asked, as long as no threats of violence are made.

    Saying I can be arrested for telling a police officer “You’re a cracka!” is like saying I can be arrested for telling Barack Obama “You’re a socialist slime!”

    No wonder they fear a search of their car if pulled over. Libertarians seem more concerned with free drug use than any other issue. I’ve never met one that didn’t start his come on without mentioning drugs.

    Well, as far as I am concerned, the state has no moral authority to declare categories of contraband, and lacks the Constitutional authority to do so. If it took a Constitutional amendment to allow the state to ban alcohol, it should have taken a Constitutional amendment to allow it to ban anything else. I also recognize that the sheer presumption by the state that leads it to assume the powers it has assumed in the drug war underlies most of the other state arrogance that more “typical” conservatives usually complain about, even if you can’t see that.

    That doesn’t mean drugs are a particularly major issue for me. I support the absolute right of the people to keep and bear arms, also, but I have never owned a gun. I support the right of farmers to sell their produce without registering with the federal government, although I have never been a farmer. I oppose the minimum wage laws, even though I have never sought to employ anyone or to be employed at a wage below the minimum. And I support the right of elderly black men with a chip on their shoulder to wise off to police without penalty, even though I’m not black and even though I’ve personally never encountered anything but complete professionalism and courtesy from police. So please, don’t try to tell me why I hold the positions I hold.

    Comment by Fluffy (6cea10) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:16 pm

  83. I’m going to reiterate Fluffy’s point since none of you seem up to answering it – what action did Gates take that constitutes disorderly conduct?
    Throwing a verbal tantrum in his own home, which is the most Gates is accused of, neither meet the requirements of the law, constituted a risk anyone’s person or property, nor prevented the officer from completing his investigation of the suspected breaking and entry.

    Those who brand this as tyranny remind me of the driver who insists on entering an intersection on a green light even as he sees that a car is about to run a red light across his path. “But I had the green light” is a poor choice for an epitaph.

    Despite the non-sequitir at the beginning (why would the group that believes baseless arrests for disorderly conduct are commonplace recommend pissing off cops?), this analogy is more apt that the author would intend. Like the driver running the light, the fact that the cop was acting outside the law offers little practical protection from the consequences of getting in his way, as somebody not on the Harvard faculty may have found plea bargaining on the disorderly charge cheaper than fighting it.

    Comment by MattXIV (932009) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:34 pm

  84. If the comments of the various “newbies” are any indication, Thomas Jackson was dead-on with his analysis of Reason readers.

    Comment by Bubba Maximus (456175) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:35 pm

  85. The International Man of Parody just reached new heights of parody with his comment to Dunphy.

    Comment by SPQR (5811e9) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:36 pm

  86. Taktix,

    Like your buddies at Reason, you speak law but do not understand it. In other words, you’re a jackass.

    Comment by nk who wrote The Ballad of Kathryn Johnston (d93f7f) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:37 pm

  87. Yes friends, we’re living in a Police State. Get used to it.

    Comment by David Ehrenstein (2550d9) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:38 pm

  88. Thomas Jackson said:

    “I also note the ignorance of those who seem to think theat free speech was intended by the founding fathers to allow peronnal abuse and insult.”

    Upon what evidence do you base this ridiculous assumption? Or are you just parroting something you heard on Michael Savage’s radio program?

    Although I shouldn’t be surprised. If you’re too lazy or ignorant to misspell “threat” and “personal” then you’re probably too incompetent at reading to be able to understand the Constitution.

    I think they have a nice illustrated edition. Lots of pictures!

    Comment by Taktix® (c97f04) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:39 pm

  89. Matt, Gates obviously was disturbing the peace. Have you read the law he broke?

    I don’t understand your argument that because he didn’t put anyone’s property at risk, he’s not guilty.

    Of course it prevented the cop from completing his investigation. Are you kidding? The cop had to find the two men who broke into that house, and Gates was screaming outside his home. He was being extremely abusive. If he had been shouting like that at a civilian, he’d still have deserved, and possibly gotten, the arrest.

    If you don’t like the law, you can try to have it changed, I guess. If Crowley really didn’t follow it, you can bet your life Obama, Gates, and friends would already have let you know. But they can’t do anything about this arrest besides slur cops… because the arrest is obviously legal. They can only claim it was ill advised.

    Comment by Juan (bd4b30) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:40 pm

  90. actually Matt14 the professor dude isn’t accused of anything cause of there weren’t any charges brought.

    If you want though you can accuse Mr. Gates of royally effing up the Barack Obama’s press conference and dealing a swift kick to the nuts of the Barack Obama’s agender.

    Comment by happyfeet (71f55e) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:41 pm

  91. This is not a winning issue for the dirty socialists. Let’s talk about it some more.

    Comment by happyfeet (71f55e) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:43 pm

  92. nk wrote:

    “Like your buddies at Reason, you speak law but do not understand it. In other words, you’re a jackass.”

    You care to back that up? Or is that simply, like your previous statements, baseless and unfounded and nothing more than argumentum ad hominem.

    P.S. Link included for charity…

    Comment by Taktix® (c97f04) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:51 pm

  93. link included for peppy moldovan pop star

    mine one is more fun than his one

    Comment by happyfeet (71f55e) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:54 pm

  94. You care to back that up?
    Comment by Taktix® — 7/28/2009 @ 2:51 pm

    With Radley, yes. He is an intelligent person who lets himself get carried away. With you, no. You’re just an idiotic parrot.

    Comment by nk who wrote The Ballad of Kathryn Johnston (d93f7f) — 7/28/2009 @ 2:57 pm

  95. Holy Jeebus.

    International Man of Parody is a moron. And it has lots of friends today.

    Comment by JD (a74281) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:07 pm

  96. When cops start treating the lowliest of society with the respect that citizens deserve, maybe the citizenry will start returning it. I live in the wonderful city of Detroit. Our police department has been under federal judicial oversight for 6 years now.

    The department has been under federal monitoring since 2003, after a Justice Department investigation documented violations of civil rights through police brutality, locking up homicide witnesses and keeping unsafe holding cells where many prisoners died.

    Originally, the court order on use of force was supposed to last five years and the one related to jail cells was supposed to last two. Cook earlier extended both of them to July 2011. Now, the order related to use of force will have to be extended again because the department has to be in “substantial compliance” for two years before it is lifted, meaning it would have to be in compliance today. Only one year of compliance is required for the lifting of the holding cell consent decree. [emphasis added]

    If the citizenry treated Detroit cops with the respect they deserve it would get pretty ugly.

    Let me know when LEOs start getting thrown in a holding cell with drunks and crackheads for raising their voice and cussing at citizens.

    The preceding rant is from a retired Master Chief Petty Officer who has never been arrested for anything.

    LEOs, you’ve got yourselves a PR problem. Acting like an occupying army when dealing with the public isn’t helping.

    Comment by J sub D (6e12c5) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:12 pm

  97. Folks like Taktix and the other usually reasonable folks who frequent Reason turn into frothing savages when it comes to police. Even when they have something valid to say, they turn it into an emotional indictment of law enforcement itself. It’s weird.

    Comment by chaos (9c54c6) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:13 pm

  98. J sub D,

    As an Army man, I laugh at your Naval inexperience with what an occupying army would look like.

    Comment by Juan (bd4b30) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:17 pm

  99. Wow, some of you are very, very staunch in your defensive of one side or the other.

    I’ve read several articles, written by lawyers from Massachusetts, that say Gates did not commit a crime. Sorry, but I deleted the links already, though I’m sure a Google search could find them again. But, the charges being dropped appear to support that analysis.

    That means Crowley was wrong to arrest Gates. Is he incompetent? Did he really believe that the arrest was the punishment? Gates was definitely being a horrible person, but Crowley abused his authority…unless he really was incompetent.

    And, to be fair, I also had an issue with the way Jack Dunphy originally wrote the piece. I had real heartburn with being told I would be shot full of holes if I protested my 4th amendment rights too much. The explanation and reasoning given in the comments above are much more realistic – I will always cooperate with a policeman giving lawful orders. I am not an anarchist and won’t give a cop a hard time as long as he isn’t just screwing with me. As a matter of fact, I’m so polite to officers that every time I’ve ever gotten stopped for a traffic violation, I either get a warning or a much milder ticket than I deserved. But, I would not hesitate to give the cop a hard time if he was simply harassing me for unknown reasons.

    Also, I would never consent to a search either. It was implied that a policeman takes precautions because he doesn’t know if he is dealing with a dangerous criminal – which is highly reasonable. Just as it is reasonable for a citizen to take precautions because he doesn’t know if he is dealing with a corrupt policeman.

    And, just to be fair in establishing my views, I am not a law enforcement fan nor hater. I’ve had run-ins with cops that I’d like to have slapped as well as cops that were good friends. They are people like the rest of us, prone to imperfection and mistakes. I just think they should be held to a higher standard than the rest of us, since they are given a gun and a badge and the power to arrest and even “shoot us full of holes” if necessary. Poor decisions and bad conduct are far too often given a pass for the police because they are the “thin blue line.” I’d much rather see them hammered for even the slightest infraction so they took the importance of their authority with more humility and less of a gun-ho style.

    Comment by DeadGuy (becaa9) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:19 pm

  100. Actually the dropping of charges can have nothing to do with whether or not the arrest was justified. Having enough evidence of a crime to arrest someone is not the same as having enough evidence of a crime to convict them.

    Comment by chaos (9c54c6) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:28 pm

  101. DeadGuy wants him some bobbies.

    Comment by happyfeet (71f55e) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:36 pm

  102. This whole charges were dropped means it was a bad arrest meme is laughable. What it means is that the Mayor, Harvard, Governor, and President were his buddies.

    Comment by JD (a74281) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:39 pm

  103. Libertarians whine that
    1) The government will not let them carry guns;
    2) The government will not let them smoke marijuana;
    3) The government will not let them consort with prostitutes;
    4) The police put the handcuffs on too tight when they arrest them.

    Meantime, black kids on the Chicago’s South Side
    1) Carry guns;
    2) Use and sell drugs;
    3) Not only consort with but actually have the prostitutes bring the money to them;
    4) When they kill a cop, they are the king of the cellblock.

    Basically, Libertarians are to be laughed at.

    Comment by nk who wrote The Ballad of Kathryn Johnston (d93f7f) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:39 pm

  104. the only crime gates committed was a localized form of lese majeste.

    Comment by dhex (a80022) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:41 pm

  105. i applaud nk’s dipping right into the “buh-buh-buh-b-b-b-black people!” at least you’re being honest about this whole thing, if only inadvertently. (not sure when “black kids” became “the government” but whatevs.)

    Comment by dhex (a80022) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:42 pm

  106. juan,

    http://www.masscriminaldefense.com/disorderly.htm has a nice summary of the MA law and exerpts the relevant passage from the MGL. The point of the 2nd and 3rd clauses of that statement were to demonstrate that arresting Gates did not serve a legitimate public interest in theory as well as not comporting with the law. Angrily shouting at a private citizen is not disorderly conduct either. Crowley didn’t follow the law, which is why Gates was released instead of being charged – if he did meet the definition of disorderly conduct, they would have charged him.

    happyfeet,

    Legitimate arrest requires probable cause to believe a crime has been committed – so what specific action or actions provided the probable cause for the arrest?

    Comment by MattXIV (932009) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:46 pm

  107. The DA’s office in Cambridge didn’t say there wasn’t probable cause for an arrest on grounds of disorderly conduct.

    Gates has no one to blame but his own absurdly lacking coping skills.

    Comment by happyfeet (71f55e) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:52 pm

  108. What specific action or actions on the officer’s part provided the probable cause for Barack Obama to go on national tv and draw a bullseye on the cop’s head?

    Comment by happyfeet (71f55e) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:55 pm

  109. Mike K said:

    “Your right to have a big mouth carries with it the responsibility to choose time and place. A guy named Holmes said something about it.”

    Thanks for proving my point, jackass. The Holmes ruling was overturned as unconstitutional. I learned this from the article you linked.

    Thanks again!

    Comment by Taktix®

    What a bunch of idiots descended !

    I said “something about this” because he said falsely crying fire in a crowded theater and is often misquoted. Now where in that link did you learn how a Supreme Court Justice was overturned (sic)? The court later adopted a different standard but the saying remains and is appropriate.

    Is everyone who reads Reason this nuts ?

    Comment by Mike K (2cf494) — 7/28/2009 @ 3:57 pm

  110. “Should she consent to a search? She shouldn’t have anything to hide.”

    I wonder if this sort of view of the 4th amendment is somehow related to your ‘people should do what cops tell them’ views.

    Comment by imdw (98ea39) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:01 pm

  111. Oh, and the super cache is teh suck.

    Comment by JD (2a16e6) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:10 pm

  112. Mike K – maybe you should elucidate, exactly, what it is you think we “misunderstand” about the law?

    You can keep calling names, but maybe you should stick to your undoubtedly limited knowledge about the law and the rule of law.

    Comment by The Angry Optimist (2aba7b) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:10 pm

  113. You guys are just racists.

    Comment by JD (2a16e6) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:13 pm

  114. happyfeet – not “bobbies” – “boobies”, but that is way off topic.

    Crowley was annoyed that Gates was calling him names and being a complete ass. Crowley’s motivations had nothing to do with racism and I feel comfortable, not personally knowing the man, saying the Crowley is definitely NOT a racist. His investigation was totally reasonable. His actions were totally reasonable and responsible, based on the information he had. All the way up to the point of arresting Gates. Being a loud-mouthed jerk in your home/on your porch/on your front lawn is NOT probable cause for an arrest under Massachusetts law. I base this on columns written by Massachusetts lawyers. If you can tell me what probable cause there was and refute the arguments the lawyers made, I’d happily change my mind.

    Since Gates had no probable cause, he is either incompetent or he abused his authority. It does not appear that he is an incompetent police officer. It appears that he got mad, told Gates to shut up and when he didn’t, Crowley slapped the cuffs on him to teach him a lesson.

    Gates was being an insufferable moron and a boor, but that is not a reason to get arrested. That is where Crowley screwed up and where the Cambridge police are going to get nailed if Gates sues.

    I believe every word that Crowley wrote in his police report, but he still did the wrong thing in arresting Gates.

    But, again, if you can refute the arguments made by the lawyers and tell me what the probable cause was, I’ll eat crow, apologize to you for arguing and jump right in to defend Crowley with you. If he did the right thing, I’ll defend him, but every analysis I read says he did the wrong thing at the very, very end of a situation where he could have easily made Gates look like the fool he is.

    Does anyone else keep typing “probably” instead of “probable?” I just had to change all three of mine.

    Comment by DeadGuy (becaa9) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:22 pm

  115. I’m not smart enough to know what this means, but a big shout – out to my homey in Austin – great to see you again, Mike!

    Comment by Dmac — 7/28/2009 @ 6:53 am

    Hi, Dmac! Great to see you again, too. Hope all is well up in Chicago.

    Professor LaRoche is tossing a great Heinlein bit into the discussion. Tip of the hat, Mike!

    Nye kulturny is Russian for “you have no culture.”

    According to Heinlein, this was a horrific insult from one Russian to another.

    Thanks, Eric! One can never go wrong by referencing Heinlein. That term is quite useful when encountering socially autistic trolls.

    Comment by Mike LaRoche (28d23b) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:33 pm

  116. Is everyone who reads Reason this nuts ?

    Evidently so. Also, remember that about half of their staff voted for Obama last year. Some “libertarians” they are.

    Comment by Mike LaRoche (28d23b) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:35 pm

  117. That police act in accordance with the law and do so to protect themselves and others is dismissed as an occupational hazard.

    And what about the attitude that some police have that they should be exempt from the laws that they enforced?

    I quoted above how the Chicago lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police went ballistic when they learned that cops who had been convicted of domestic violence will nop longer be permitted to keep and bear arms. They argued that cops need an exemption, and only cops, because guns were their “tool of the trade”.

    I wonder why this reasoning does not apply to Sammy “The Bull” Gravano; guns were his tool of the trade.

    Comment by Michael Ejercito (833607) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:38 pm

  118. i applaud nk’s dipping right into the “buh-buh-buh-b-b-b-black people!” at least you’re being honest about this whole thing, if only inadvertently. (not sure when “black kids” became “the government” but whatevs.)

    Comment by dhex — 7/28/2009 @ 3:42 pm

    How about … the black kids on Chicago’s South Side are real libertarians, with balls, and you Libertarians are nothing but a bunch of whiny pussies? Can you understand that?

    Comment by nk who wrote The Ballad of Kathryn Johnston (35ba30) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:40 pm

  119. Stupid whiny pussies.

    Comment by nk who wrote The Ballad of Kathryn Johnston (35ba30) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:42 pm

  120. Its going over his head, nk.

    Comment by SPQR (5811e9) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:44 pm

  121. “Was the cop pushing his weight around and arresting someone without a crime being committed? Most definitely”

    Cricket, were you physically in attendance to be able to make this statement beyond a shadow of a doubt?

    Comment by PatAZ (9d1bb3) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:45 pm

  122. Master Chief Petty Officer … Does your disdain for law enforcement have something to do with your younger seaman/airman days? Come on, admit you’re just a Master Chief wannabe.

    Sorry, the devil made me do it.

    Comment by PatAZ (9d1bb3) — 7/28/2009 @ 4:47 pm

  123. How about … the black kids on Chicago’s South Side are real libertarians, with balls, and you Libertarians are nothing but a bunch of whiny pussies? Can you understand that?

    i’m not entirely sure how you’d square shooting cops with the non-aggression principle but i do like your style.

    i won’t lie. i find its raw masculine power to be a welcome counterweight to my own life, which seems dulled through repeated sessions of ideological self-abuse and unending hypocrisy. i’ve never broken a law. i’ve never even broken a dish (i’m incredibly sure-handed).

    clearly i have a lot of thinking to do.

    Comment by dhex (a80022) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:00 pm

  124. “Was the cop pushing his weight around and arresting someone without a crime being committed? Most definitely”

    Cricket, were you physically in attendance to be able to make this statement beyond a shadow of a doubt?

    Wasn’t in attendance. I still have no doubt the cop was just proving how he was too important to be treated like that. Read his own report. If you think optherwise, I’ve got a bridge for sale.

    Comment by J sub D (6e12c5) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:18 pm

  125. You’ve done your duty, “Jack.” Retire.

    It is against the rules here to suggest that any person posting here should not have his or her job. DCSCA, you will not make any more such comments. “Yes, but I believe it’s true” counts as such a comment.

    I’m not banning you but this is a firm and stern warning. If you wish to disagree, disagree. If you think it’s unfair that you can’t attack someone as unfit for their job, seethe in silence. What you won’t do is say that out loud.

    I’m going to go back and edit that comment to remove any such reference. Orwellian! And my choice.

    Comment by Patterico (cc3b34) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:25 pm

  126. Master Chief Petty Officer … Does your disdain for law enforcement have something to do with your younger seaman/airman days? Come on, admit you’re just a Master Chief wannabe.

    Sorry, the devil made me do it.

    I’m going against my better judgement and responding to this childish comment.

    FCCM. Worked on Tartar (SPS-39A and SPF-51 C/Ds),
    Harpoon (SWG-1 and 1A) , Aegis (SPY-1A, AWS MK 7 Mod 4, FCS MK 99). Taught AWS MK 7 Mods 3,4,5. Worked at Naval Ships Weapons Systems Engineering Station as a SPG-51C/D tech rep.

    Served in the PG for Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Was in the PG for the Iran/Iraq war. Pulled liberty on 5 continents. Shellback 3 times over. Been thru the ditch twice. After retiring with 20 years and 4 days service, I took a job writing opertaion and maintenance manuals for production machinery in automotive factories. That was pretty easy after being a Combat system Maintenance Manager on the most advanced AAW/ASUW combat system on the planet.

    Now you tell me about your professional life, dipshit.

    [Found in spam filter.]

    Comment by J sub D (6e12c5) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:33 pm

  127. DeadGuy … I am very comfortable with the arresting of Mr. Gates being consigned to a gray area. There are grey areas in marketing. Why not policing?

    I heart my discretion.

    Comment by happyfeet (71f55e) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:33 pm

  128. This is embarrassingly easy.
    Police use Taser on deaf, disabled Alabama man
    He was taking too long in the bathroom. The money quote -

    The newspaper [Mobole Press-Register] says the officers attempted to book Love on charges including disorderly conduct, but a magistrate on duty wouldn’t accept the charges.

    Have a nice day gentleman, I’m going out for some beers.

    Comment by J sub D (6e12c5) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:42 pm

  129. Where did Brian Doherty (whom I have met) initially get the misleading idea that Jack was saying anyone who asserts their constitutional rights risks getting shot? Why, it appears to have been from our old friend Radley Balko.

    I think I’m going to do a post about this. It’s quite amazing how Jack’s comment has been distorted.

    Comment by Patterico (cc3b34) — 7/28/2009 @ 5:54 pm

  130. The readers at Reason seldom display any, judging by their commentary here.

    Comment by Dmac (e6d1c2) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:26 pm


  131. 2) The government will not let them smoke marijuana;
    3) The government will not let them consort with prostitutes;

    You forgot to add that they’re incensed that they’re not allowed to piss all over the street outside the bar when they’re three sheets to the wind. That used to be big raison d’terre over there.

    Comment by Dmac (e6d1c2) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:29 pm

  132. That is no different than what the folks @ SEK’s place were doing, Patterico.

    Comment by JD (6ef835) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:31 pm

  133. You’ve done your duty, “Jack.” Retire.

    DCSCA, why on earth would you make such an undeserved and ill mannered comment?

    What has Mr. Dunphy ever evidenced to readers here other than being a man who obviously handles his profession with the seriousness and gravity it’s due, intelligence, a deliberateness in thought before voicing an opinion, and a reasonableness that causes him to consider opposing views.

    This isn’t enough for you? You need more?

    Until you are out there, daily putting your life on the line for others, I will consider you on a par with the Ken Laynes of this world.

    Comment by Dana (57e332) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:35 pm

  134. Dana – It took that comment for you to figure that out?

    Comment by JD (6ef835) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:37 pm

  135. No, JD. This is just the most polite way I know to express being so appalled by this statement.

    Comment by Dana (57e332) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:43 pm

  136. “Police use Taser on deaf, disabled Alabama man
    He was taking too long in the bathroom. The money quote -”

    How would you feel if this cop didn’t come when you needed him? Like he was a little bitch?

    Comment by imdw (603c39) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:49 pm

  137. “harkin, maybe you didn’t realize this, but the poster at reason was referencing Mao’s “Power flows through the barrel of a gun” – meaning that he’s calling authoritarians such as yourself Mao-enablers.”

    You mean the barrels of the guns never drawn?

    Mao enabled the murder of millions – comparing that to questioning a man who broke his own door down and his eventual arrest when he got threatening and belligerent would be a reach anywhere outside the province of The Daily Worker.

    And if you want to find true authoritarians, look to Obama’s hometown of Chicago, where over 70% of all murder victims seem to be victims of racial profiling as they are black, killed by other blacks who feel a Saturday Night Special gives them the authority to impose their will.

    Taktix said:

    “Hey harken,

    ““morsals’ is spelled M-O-R-S-E-L-S…”

    Hey Taktix,

    ‘Harken’ is spelled H-A-R-K-I-N

    Do I win because the word I yipped was not right in front of my face?

    Good luck finding your way out of the shallow end of the pool…..and the difference between ” and ‘.

    You truly are cutting edge!

    Comment by harkin (f92f52) — 7/28/2009 @ 6:56 pm

  138. I refer everyone to JD’s First Rule of Trolls.

    Comment by JD (e64f1a) — 7/28/2009 @ 7:04 pm

  139. Howardf*ckinDean is filling in on Countdown for Olberdouchenozzle.

    Comment by JD (e64f1a) — 7/28/2009 @ 7:07 pm

  140. Dana, I am glad you spoke up. This DCSCA character has a repetitive set of habits:

    1. Clear jealousy and antipathy toward people who accomplish things (at least those who differ from his supposed personal beliefs). Let’s put aside his idolatry toward those with whom he agrees for the moment; that is another kind of personal problem.

    2. He lies consistently (actually, inconsistently) about his own supposed past—all heroic, all famous, all the time. Dmac’s timeline says it all.

    3. He even used quotations around Mr. Dunphy’s pseudonym, clearly trying to criticize him for doing so—while using a pseudonym of his own. But that is hardly the first level of hypocrisy and nasty-mindedness he has shown.

    I think he should have to apologize to Mr. Dunphy, but you know how that has gone for him in the past.

    So I guess we know about this person’s own level of personal and professional success—hence the World of Commander McBragg nonsense.

    A bitter, small person. Remember how he criticized John McCain personally as “never having run anything” and “lived off a government check”? This is more rank jealousy, again.

    He is nothing but a miserable little troll, jealous of others and bitter about his own life. He posts primarily to irritate others. I’m glad that Patterico removed his post.

    Comment by Eric Blair (0b61b2) — 7/28/2009 @ 7:44 pm

  141. Mike LaRoche #113: it is a great insult—to Russians. I don’t think it has much of an impact on Americans. Sadly.

    Comment by Eric Blair (0b61b2) — 7/28/2009 @ 7:48 pm

  142. I think I’m going to do a post about this. It’s quite amazing how Jack’s comment has been distorted.

    Oh, by all means, go up against Radley Balko, Patterico. That would make this comment thread look like Candyland.

    Mao enabled the murder of millions – comparing that to questioning a man who broke his own door down and his eventual arrest when he got threatening and belligerent would be a reach anywhere outside the province of The Daily Worker.

    What, do you think, enabled that murder? Here’s a hint for you: it was the rule of men instead of the rule of law. Something both you and Mao defend.

    Comment by The Angry Optimist (2aba7b) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:01 pm

  143. This has gotten weird.

    Comment by happyfeet (42470c) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:19 pm

  144. Is this some version of Godwin’s Law?

    Comment by Eric Blair (0b61b2) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:21 pm

  145. [...] [his] constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure.” But in fact, as Jack explained this morning, if the driver fails to comply with the officer’s demands (which may include such indignities [...]

    Pingback by Patterico’s Pontifications » Radley Balko, Brian Doherty, and an L.A. Times Editor Distort Posting by Jack Dunphy (e4ab32) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:30 pm

  146. Every time Balko’s people come around, things get weird. This optimist person seems to be lacking in things like honesty and integrity.

    Comment by JD (355e34) — 7/28/2009 @ 8:32 pm

  147. #86

    Tacki:

    I provided ample examples of exactly what the founders intended.

    Now either you cannot read or could not grasp their intentions or you would have pointed out the failure in my analsysi.

    Your education prevented you from doing so lest your precious ego be on public display for its poverty of training and knowledge.

    You might have countered with an example to prove me wrong, but as I mentioned in my comment those who lack the discipline of the mind and will not allow anything to interefere with their self esteem will bray endlessly.

    One concludes Tacki that your comments are so puerile not just for their ignorance but because they are to be expected from someone who has a perchant for Brazilian wax jobs.

    But we all can say that in reading your comments we are entertained by the lies and entranced by the steroid fueled dementia.

    Comment by Thomas Jackson (8ffd46) — 7/29/2009 @ 12:28 am

  148. #123- Patterico– Duly noted and address privated via email. Seethe? Not a bit. I agree with your decision per my email and glad you chose to do your own posting on it.

    Comment by DCSCA (9d1bb3) — 7/29/2009 @ 12:33 am

  149. #126

    You know there is a name for people who leave out information that distorts the picture that is presented. The individual was mentally disabled. His actions and responses would not have been normal. By the way do you think police haunt restrooms? Or that the store’s personnel were unable to rouse this individual and found his behavior to be out of the norm?

    The deaf explanation doesn’t work either. Anyone who pounds on a stall of a restroom knows someone is pounding on it by the vibration and movement. Why didn’t the individual respond or acknowledge he was there?

    Attempting to paint the police as brutes is just so easy for you isn’t it. A lawsuit would have been the result if these police had brutalized this individual not a complaint.

    Comment by Thomas Jackson (8ffd46) — 7/29/2009 @ 12:41 am

  150. #146- P- pardon the typo- meant ‘addressed privately’.

    Comment by DCSCA (9d1bb3) — 7/29/2009 @ 12:41 am

  151. #138- “I’m glad that Patterico removed his post.” I’m glad he did, too. That “DCSCA” is pond scum. But rest easy. Pond scum, condescension and projection may very well be covered under the public option at affordable rates when national healthcare is reformed by President Obama.

    Comment by DCSCA (9d1bb3) — 7/29/2009 @ 12:47 am

  152. Fluffy and Joe 2:

    Each of you studiously ignore the part of Jack’s post where he says that the person asserting their rights FAILS TO DO WHAT THE OFFICER ASKS — which is obviously going to be things like: put up your hands, get down on the ground, etc.

    Failing to do what the officer asks when you are reasonably suspected of being an armed felon — might get you filled full of holes.

    Please read his entire statement and do not carve out part of it while ignoring the rest. Sure, that makes it harder to make your argument. But it’s also more honest.

    Comment by Patterico (cc3b34) — 7/29/2009 @ 12:53 am

  153. Oh, by all means, go up against Radley Balko, Patterico. That would make this comment thread look like Candyland.

    In that the outcome is predetermined?

    I always liked Monopoly myself. And Risk. Never lost a game of Risk that I remember.

    Comment by Patterico (cc3b34) — 7/29/2009 @ 12:57 am


  154. “…Pond scum, condescension and projection may very well be covered under the public option at affordable rates when national healthcare is reformed by President Obama…”

    And how many times have you used the heathcare commentary comment?

    I would simply add =yawn=

    But it is always amusing to watch you repeatedly accuse another person of projection and condescension. And you never learn. That is because you only post to irritate and cause trouble.

    And you fool literally no one with your tall tales.

    Comment by Eric Blair (204104) — 7/29/2009 @ 1:04 am

  155. Heck, when you get Dana irritated with you, DCSCA, that speaks volumes. She is one of the fairest and kindest commenters here or elsewhere in blogland.

    Comment by Eric Blair (204104) — 7/29/2009 @ 1:05 am

  156. #153- Surprise. Hold the presses. Alert Olbermann, call Couric and send snail mail to O’Reilly. I agree with you.

    Comment by DCSCA (9d1bb3) — 7/29/2009 @ 1:11 am

  157. Say goodnight, Gracie.

    Comment by Eric Blair (204104) — 7/29/2009 @ 1:12 am

  158. #152- “I would simply add =yawn=” Appropriately timed. It’s late.

    Comment by DCSCA (9d1bb3) — 7/29/2009 @ 1:18 am

  159. So the man who personally met Von Braun gets pantsed, beclowned and emasculated all in one evening, yet comes back for more. Pathetic.

    Comment by Dmac (e6d1c2) — 7/29/2009 @ 7:23 am

  160. Each of you studiously ignore the part of Jack’s post where he says that the person asserting their rights FAILS TO DO WHAT THE OFFICER ASKS — which is obviously going to be things like: put up your hands, get down on the ground, etc.

    Emphasis added.

    Here’s the root of the problem. You say that it was obvious that Dunphy meant things like put up your hands and get on the ground. But that wasn’t really obvious to most of us.

    His quote was “And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.”

    While I realize that it was obvious to you that he meant get on the ground or put your hands up, it was not clear to some of the rest of us. When the context is the arrest of a guy on disorderly conduct charges for berating an officer and his comment includes the phrase “asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search…” it’s not unreasonable that Balko & Doherty thought that he meant not answering questions or not consenting to a search.

    Admittedly, I understand what Dunphy meant now, and the sentiment makes more sense that way. But if he’d originally phrased it “… you don’t put up your hands or get on the ground …” in stead of simply “… you don’t do what the officer asks …” there would never have been a misunderstanding.

    As it is, Balko & Doherty misunderstood what he was saying, but did not do so disingenuously. And the flipside of that is that Dunphy could’ve stated his thoughts more clearly. If you blog, you’re going to have people misinterpret you, and if you read blogs, you’re going to misinterpret someone. Goes with the territory.

    As for the comment section at H&R, yeah, there are some whackaloons there. Nobody would ever disagree. There are definitely some people posting over there that would give any hard left or hard right blog a run for their money in terms of shrill dogmatism. But nk and happyfeet aren’t exactly doing the law-and-order types proud, either. We’ve all got our wackos to bear.

    Comment by lunchstealer (c23684) — 7/29/2009 @ 8:37 am

  161. “One reason (no pun intended) why I am not a “large L” libertarian is the fact that, like comment #2 illustrates, there are a lot of libertarian nuts.”

    I’m right there with you Mike, same here. I read Balko’s blog from time to time and while Balko seems mostly sane when he’s not letting his biases get in the way, most of the posters there are nuttier than a bag of Planters.

    It’s a shame, because this contributes to this country’s lack of a viable 3rd party. No one wants to associate themselves with nutjobs, even if the core idea (“small l” libertarianism, what this country was founded on) is a good one.

    Comment by TexasC (265917) — 7/29/2009 @ 9:01 am

  162. As for the misunderstanding with Balko and others like them, I can see how it happened. Being a cop brings a different perspective, and sometimes we forget that others don’t share that perspective (I tell this to new Officers I train).

    So what sounds pretty straight forward to us, completely misses the mark with people who haven’t had our experiances, dealt with our stresses, and haven’t had our specific professional training. This is something to consider when communicating with anyone.

    But even if you do consider it, it may be impossible to to get the point across because of the deeply held biases of the person recieving the communication.

    Comment by TexasC (265917) — 7/29/2009 @ 9:11 am

  163. Let me spell it out clearly for all those hardcore libertarians who think defying a police officer’s lawful authority is somehow noble. If I stop you in the reasonable belief – even a mistaken one – that you have committed a crime, abundant statutory and case law (see Graham v. Connor, for example) authorizes me to use reasonable force to effect an arrest, overcome resistance, and prevent escape.

    Dear Sir,

    The key difference between your view and that of a hardcore libertarian is that most likely as a government agent you believe “Because I (or the legislature or the courts) say so” to be a reasonable belief or basis for arrest and prosecution whereas a hardcore libertarian would believe that a reason would be required.

    The legislature may have, and has, banned people from owning buying selling possessing or using flowers (aka marijuana “buds”) – but that’s not a reasonable basis for using force to subdue and incarcerate an individual. The absurdity of a heavily armed and armored government agent using electricity, chemicals, or brute force to keep people from enjoying flowers might escape you but there is no reasonable belief or reason to behave in such a barbaric manner.

    Have a nice day!

    Sincerely,

    Patriot Henry

    Comment by Patriot Henry (e1a625) — 7/29/2009 @ 3:23 pm

  164. Libertarian used to mean “Smaller Government – Lower Taxes – More Freedom.” After reading these comments, some believers apparently think it means “I do whatever I want and you can’t stop me.”

    Comment by DRJ (6f3f43) — 7/29/2009 @ 3:40 pm

  165. #162 DRJ,

    Knowing someone who helped to craft the document you linked I feel pretty comfortable in saying at least one of them thinks the arrest is wrong.

    They even stated it right in the beginning.

    namely, (1) the right to life — accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action — accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and (3) the right to property — accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.

    Interesting things rights and authorities are.

    The absolute capitulation at the alter of legal positivism and levels of cognitive dissonance in the comments is entertaining, a little scary, but entertaining.

    Comment by hmm (454923) — 7/29/2009 @ 7:33 pm

  166. This “lunchstealer” guy seems all right. He seems like someone who can listen to reason and change his position when he understands the other guy’s point of view. We could use more like that sort around here.

    Comment by Patterico (cc3b34) — 7/29/2009 @ 7:39 pm

  167. hmm,

    I’m glad I’m entertaining you and also that you know important libertarians, but I think you’ve conflated the issue of whether Gates should be arrested with the separate issue of whether Crowley could legally enter Gates’ home or interrogate him.

    Comment by DRJ (6f3f43) — 7/29/2009 @ 7:44 pm

  168. lunchstealer is not all right.

    I think he called me a wacko. And nk too.

    “Hmmph,” happyfeet said in his characteristically unwacko-like manner. “I’m sorry to say it so plainly,” he continued, “but what wackness there is to be found in this folderol lies in mistaking this comedy of manners to be fraught with legal import. It is not, and good day to you, sir.”

    Comment by happyfeet (42470c) — 7/29/2009 @ 8:05 pm

  169. The key difference between your view and that of a hardcore libertarian is that most likely as a government agent you believe “Because I (or the legislature or the courts) say so” to be a reasonable belief or basis for arrest and prosecution whereas a hardcore libertarian would believe that a reason would be required

    Indeed you are correct. however, if a cop has a report of your house being broken into, and in short order arrives and finds you in your home, he most certainly has a reasonable excuse to want to know who you are, and once he is properly convinced you belong in that house, he’d probably have a valid reason to want to look around and make sure you’re ok and someone isn’t there forcing you to get rid of the cop.

    The legislature may have, and has, banned people from owning buying selling possessing or using flowers (aka marijuana “buds”) – but that’s not a reasonable basis for using force to subdue and incarcerate an individual. The absurdity of a heavily armed and armored government agent using electricity, chemicals, or brute force to keep people from enjoying flowers might escape you but there is no reasonable belief or reason to behave in such a barbaric manner.

    Indeed. While I probably agree that having pot be illegal isn’t the best idea, it is the CURRENT idea. I certainly hope that you don’t think that simply because you don’t agree with the law means that you’re immune from it’s enforcement.

    I mean, you DO accept that growing, buying, selling, transporting or using pot is currently illegal, and that if you do any of those things and get caught, you’ll probably be arrested and tried, yes? Whether you agree with the law doesn’t mean you should expect to be allowed to ignore it.

    Certain you are allowed to make your case before a jury, and even to work to have the law changed, but PLEASE tell me that you don’t think flaunting existing law is a good idea.

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (d027b8) — 7/29/2009 @ 8:06 pm

  170. I think he called me a wacko. And nk too.

    Well, if the shoe fits… :)

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (d027b8) — 7/29/2009 @ 8:18 pm

  171. Being called wacko by a Libertarian is like being called crazy by a paranoid schizophrenic.

    Comment by nk (01b1e5) — 7/29/2009 @ 8:43 pm

  172. drj,

    The bold is clearly concerned with property rights and not the first amendment. I just found it interesting you would link one of the very documents I have discussed recently and one that clearly does not support the actions taken by Crowley to support your assertion that “some believers apparently think it means ‘I do whatever I want and you can’t stop me.”

    You weren’t one of the entertaining ones. No need for the thank you.

    I never knew there were important libertarians and unimportant libertarians. I have always seen the entire group as being evenly important regardless of position held or contribution, but if you think someone’s participation in crafting that particular document makes them important I will convey the compliment and a link.

    Comment by hmm (454923) — 7/29/2009 @ 8:59 pm

  173. #163

    I have rarely seen such a muddy and trite description of a political viewpoint.

    I have never seen anyone in his right mind object to the enforcement of the law including the use of force. Are you just depending on mind reading here or are you serious?

    So any libel and slander may be used whenever the fancy strikes you. How quaint. Why limit it there? But I note you haven’t including opposing government efforts to oppose “actions.” Like rioting and looting.

    I say you are a man the Rev Wright would love, Bill Ayers would probvably wish to share a beer with you too.

    I see you are caught in the inherent contradiction of your viewpoint where on one hand you want the government not to oppose any action that strikes your fancy yet you say you wish property protected?

    Coherence isn’t your strong point is it.

    Like most people parading under the banner of Liberaltarian I conclude you wish to do what you want, whenever the whim strikes you.

    You sound like many in the Congress. You ought to run, you’d fit in well.

    Comment by Thomas Jackson (8ffd46) — 7/29/2009 @ 9:33 pm

  174. hmm #170,

    Okay, I’m glad someone here is entertaining you even if it’s not me, and feel free to pass along my compliment to your libertarian friend or acquaintance who you say is not that important. Please also tell him or her I think libertarians stand for important values and principles.

    As for Crowley’s actions, it’s clear you disagree with his arrest of Gates. So did Patterico and I don’t know enough facts to say whether I disagree. But I think there is a good argument Crowley acted reasonably in investigating the 911 call and interrogating Gates. Do you disagree? Put another way, do you think the principles of libertarianism you quoted would prohibit Crowley from investigating the 911 call and interrogating Gates?

    PS — It’s DRJ, not drj.

    Comment by DRJ (6f3f43) — 7/29/2009 @ 9:37 pm

  175. [...] The LAPD officer who writes under the pseudonym Jack Dunphy and blogger and prosecutor Patterico have each put up posts taking issue with my Reason colleague Brian Doherty’s and my criticism of one of Dunphy’s posts at National Review Online. Doherty and I both summarized Dunphy’s post to say that Dunphy believes the lesson from the Henry Louis Gates affair is that anyone who asserts his constitutional rights when confronted by a cop risks being shot. Patterico and Dunphy both say Doherty and I misread Dunphy. [...]

    Pingback by The Agitator » Blog Archive » Response to Patterico and Jack Dunphy (2ccb72) — 7/31/2009 @ 9:47 am

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