Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We Should Talking About "The Right To Criticize Armed Agents Of The Government"

Radley Balko at Reason agrees with Harvey Silvergate that the first amendment and "police arrest powers" should be the topic of discussion regarding the arrest of Henry Louis Gates.

Balko writes:
"By any account of what happened—Gates', Crowleys', or some version in between—Gates should never have been arrested. 'Contempt of cop,' as it's sometimes called, isn't a crime. Or at least it shouldn't be. It may be impolite, but mouthing off to police is protected speech, all the more so if your anger and insults are related to a perceived violation of your rights. The 'disorderly conduct' charge for which Gates was arrested was intended to prevent riots, not to prevent cops from enduring insults. Crowley is owed an apology for being portrayed as a racist, but he ought to be disciplined for making a wrongful arrest."
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