The following is a quote from a story on the Gates arrest. This professor and retired police officer says exactly what I was thinking after reading the police report and Gates’ version. Even if the police report is correct, once the officer was aware that this man was in his own home, it’s time to walk away, apologizing for the misunderstanding, even if the homeowner is calling him every name in the book. The break-in was a fiction. The reality is that this is an American citizen that wants this policeman out of his house, a policeman whose reason for entering in the first place is gone.
But for all the Gates case’s lessons, former police officer George Kirkham, now a professor at Florida State University, says that it’s actually very unusual for a single individual to be arrested for disorderly conduct on their own front porch. After years of studying Florida arrest reports, in fact, Mr. Kirkham says it’s the only one he’s come across.
“Once we cross this Rubicon – we know this man lives here, he’s presented his ID, and it’s inconceivable that he would be there for any illegitimate purpose – the police officer doesn’t get to have his feelings hurt,” he says. “That’s why this is larger than black and white, and it goes to basic constitutional rights that we all enjoy – black, white or brown – including the right to be in your own home and say what you want.”