A whole lot of trees have died and ink has been spilled over the Henry Louis Gates arrest. I am withholding final judgment until we hear the tapes of the call.
I will opine that, with today’s technology, I think that it would be an excellent idea for police to be issued cop-cams that would provide photographic and aural evidence of any arrest. Attorneys know that all kinds of people commit perjury, but Officer Cyclops tells no lies.
Many years ago, I had a gig circulating petitions door-to-door. Since I’m a bigger-than average man and would be knocking on the doors after dark in the winter months, I had quite a few close encounters with the police. I never experienced any serious difficulties. First, because I always took the precaution of wearing a necktie. (Ask any cop the last time he arrested a burglar wearing a necktie.) Second, I always kept my identification in my *shirt* pocket and reached for it very slowly. (Nobody carries a pistol in their breast pocket.)
I will never forget one occasion in early January of 1980. A cop had stopped me and radioed back to headquarters that someone was circulating a petition. There was a pause at the other end of the line. I heard the station sergeant say, “Hey, that’s a basic Constitutional right.” I was so glad that that desk sergeant had gotten the word about the First Amendment of the Constitution.