Screenshot from "Giving A Cop the Finger a Constitutional Right" @ youtube.com/watch?v=hXzBDi19Gbg
On July 16, 2009, a resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts called the police. The resident saw a large man bashing open the door of their elderly neighbor, Henry Gates. Cambridge police arrives, and Sgt. James Crowley knocked on the door of Mr. Gates’ home. Mr. Gates himself answered the door. Sgt. Crowley, wishing to establish that Mr. Gates was not in danger, asked Mr. Gates to step outside. Mr. Gates refused. Sgt. Crowley asked to come inside. Mr. Gates refused. Sgt. Crowley then demanded identification from Mr. Gates to establish that he was the owner, given what Sgt. Crowley deemed to be suspicious behavior. Mr. Gates became irate, but complied. As Sgt. Crowley left the property, Mr. Gates stepped out onto the porch and screamed obscenities at the officer’s back. Mr. Gates’ words echoed down the quiet, upscale street where onlookers had gathered to see what all the fuss was about. Sgt. Crowley then detained Mr. Gates for Disorderly Conduct.
Because Sgt. Crowley was white, and Mr. Gates was black, this became national news and was personally addressed by President Barack Obama. During the controversy, President Obama declared that the Cambridge police had behaved “stupidly.” Various talking heads specifically called out Disorderly Conduct as a charge for white police officers to use against blacks who don’t know their place and commit “contempt of cop.”
I had largely forgotten about the incident until a trend started to intrude upon my consciousness. While working in a certain red state, I had become accustomed to the police warning rowdy individuals to stop screaming and swearing in various public areas, lest they face arrest for Disorderly Conduct. A white woman, whose boyfriend was being arrested, kept screaming, cursing, and causing a scene after several warnings to calm down and clear the area. She was handled in the manner I had come to expect, accompanying her lover into a squad car with cuffs on. Locals were accustomed to those who created a scene being efficiently, and perhaps scornfully, being carted off when they refused to behave like civilized adults. Contrary to their reputation, I specifically remember the police being very compassionate in their handling of an irate black man as they realized that he was mentally ill and rambling nonsensical accusations.
Now I work in a blue state, and have become accustomed to “the parade of cacophony.” An irate person is advised to leave the area. Walking as slowly as possible, they scream abuse and profanity at police, employees, passing families, and/or the very heavens themselves. The police advise them to keep walking, or they will be arrested for trespassing. The irate person screams that they are walking. The police officer may even goad the individual into proving what a badass they are, but then the irate person shows their actual mental clarity and laughs off the attempt. Officers that know the game will make a show of their aloofness while being called a “stupid ass white bitch.”
But, while these officers successfully avoid lawsuits and official censure, what is the reaction of the populace to these events? On many faces, I see a kind of sneering acceptance. They see a fellow oppressed person “keeping it real,” and may even be silently rooting for the officer to snap and promote the racial narrative they want to spread. But, for people of any race that want civility in public places, there is sadness and anger. Occasionally, someone will angrily question why the person clearly disturbing the peace is not being arrested to provide an example. Increasingly, I see a sort of resignation as people silently think, “This is one of THOSE neighborhoods, now.” A sad realization spreads that civility will now only be found in areas that lack “diversity,” or, worse yet, are actually some archaic stronghold of white supremacy.
People go home, and look for new places to shop, new places to work, and new places to live. They don’t say they are looking for a place that is racially homogenous. They say they are looking for better schools, better crime rates, and better communities.
Not being one to tout anecdotes, the following can be derived from FBI statistics from 2009-2014:
America cannot claim the status of “canary in the coal mine,” because that canary died when the scandals surrounding the Rotherham Rape Gangs emerged. Can anyone presume that grooming minors for rape was the first level of offenses ignored by British police in the name of vibrant diversity? When public spaces become unpleasant, which requires no calamity more severe than disrespectful youth, people stay home and/or move away. The community collapses as atomization becomes the norm and the dysfunctional become the face of the public. The police cannot control a society of individuals with rights, but without responsibilities. We can see what lies further down that road.