Monday, July 27, 2009

How hard is it?

The question begs to be answered. When a cop asks you for your ID, how hard is it to comply? These questions leaped to mind when I read the story of the interlude shared by Sgt. Crowley of the Cambridge PD and Professor Henry Gates of Harvard University. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, Cambridge PD sent a few units to Professor Gates home on report of someone trying to get in the residence by forcing the front door. On arrival it was determined that the man in question was Gates who had forgotten his keys and was returning from some international travel. Despite the fact that Gates was identified as the homeowner he was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct after an argument with police, specifically Sgt. Crowley.

To distill this to its simplest points if you have occasion to be stopped by the police and they ask you for some ID please just show it to them. If you are doing nothing wrong that will be the end of it. It is really quite simple. We have been conducting field interviews based on citizen complaints for years and to my memory none of these interactions have required the intervention of the President of the United States. Even if you are a learned Professor and have just returned from travel it is in your best interest to become a partner with the local police who have no agenda other than keeping your community safe. So even if you are cranky from carrying a chip on your shoulder for fifty years or so, put down your baggage, take a deep breath, show your ID and go about you business happy the local constabulary is on the job keeping your family and property safe from the bad guys.

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