Harvard Professor arrested – why didn’t the cop just LEAVE?

The media is full of the story about the black Harvard University professor who was arrested for disorderly conduct after a Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer investigated a report of a break-in at the professor’s home. It turns out that the reported burglar was just the professor trying to get his own door open. Police Report is here.

The police argue that the officer was just doing his job, but the professor accused the officer of being racially motivated.

It seems as if Professor Gates ought to have been a bit more understanding (and appreciative) of neighbors and police who were only keeping a watchful eye on the neighborhood, including the professor’s house. But from his viewpoint, he was just minding his own business on his own property. Maybe he had a bad day at the office (leading up to an even worse evening at home).

The bottom line, however, is that at some point the police officer became satisfied that Professor Gates was the homeowner and that there had been no burglary. At that point, the officer’s business was concluded. He did well in walking out of the residence.

I understand that the officer probably felt that the Professor was an ungrateful jerk. What I cannot understand—and perhaps this will become clear at some point—is why the officer did not JUST KEEP ON WALKING and LEAVE.

The homeowner was irate and abusive and making racial accusations, but he was not violent. Once the police knew there was no break-in, they had no right and no authority to remain on his property at all.  I don’t know what they wanted to prove by arresting the professor for: 1)  yelling at them; 2) while on his own property; 3) after their business was finished.  There was no point in it, except to have the last word.

We all like to have the last word.  If you have a gun and a badge, I suspect you get it more often than the rest of us.

Trapster alerts phones to speed traps & red-light cameras

It will be interesting to see how popular the new website & service Trapster.com will become. Trapster is a smartphone application (iPhone, Blackberry, Android & Nokia) that lets drivers communicate the location of speed traps, cameras and checkpoints, all in real time.

Since the phone’s GPS sensors know where the phone is, a driver passing a radar speed trap can just push a button to tell the network where it is. Another driver, approaching that location will receive an alert about the upcoming trap.

Not all cops are happy about it: Police chief denounces ‘cowardly’ iPhone users monitoring speed traps

I notice that most of the flagged locations in the Jefferson City area seem to be reported as spots where police “often hide here.” If that is the case, then police should like it because people would slow down in those areas whether the police were around or not.

Here’s a video:

The website shows a million people signed up for the service. I suspect you would need a lot more than that to put a dent in traffic court revenues. We will see.

Obama wants to formalize imprisonment without trial

Remember the film “Minority Report” with Tom Cruise? Cruise worked for the Department of Pre-Crime. Pre-Crime was able to determine who was going to commit crimes in advance, so they were able to send Cruise out to arrest and lock up people before they had done anything wrong.

This is called preventive detention. It is unconstitutional; and is a mark of a totalitarian state. The US has been doing it for years. President Obama recently announced that–while George Bush had gone about it in a haphazard way–Obama would formalize the practice through a new “legal” framework.

This prolonged imprisonment of suspects in the “war on terror” goes on even though the government cannot prove that the prisoners have committed any crime.  [Note: as a point of reference, keep in mind that in the State of Missouri, no one can be held without formal criminal charges for more than 24 hours–even if the person is suspected of murder]

Come back with a warrant