You're not paranoid if they really are out to get you

Matt Barganier has a great post on the Antiwar.com blog about the Gates affair. The gist of it is that police officers know the various ins and outs of the law, as well as the gray areas they can exploit, and use this specialist knowledge to trick people into situations where they can be arrested.

For instance, what struck me when reading the policeman’s account of the Gates incident was a small detail: the repeated use of the term “tumultuous.” It appears three times in the brief report in descriptions of Gates’ behavior. Why was the cop fixated on this SAT word?

Turns out, it appears in the Massachusetts statute defining disorderly conduct. The cop goaded the agitated Gates into stepping outside of his house (he made sure to give a reason for this in the report – poor acoustics in Gates’ kitchen!) to create the grounds for an arrest. The cop already knew the specific – though vague and debatable – adjective he should use in his report to make the charge sound incontestable to the lawnorder crowd.

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Status games

Yeah, and that's because cops need to understand the law in their day-to-day lives, and it is perfectly rational for them to educate themselves on how to toe the line.

If they did not try to educate themselves, and crossed the line at times, what would be gained? Nothing, except to lower the relative social status of policemen, which suggests a tribal aspect to your motivations.

Agree with Reason. The gist

Agree with Reason.

The gist of it is that police officers know the various ins and outs of the law, as well as the gray areas they can exploit, and use this specialist knowledge to trick people into situations where they can be arrested.

Seems like a natural consequence of training, knowledge and intelligence.

How about how ordinary citizens brake if they see a cop trying to catch people for speeding? Trickery there?

The ordinary citizen might

The ordinary citizen might think it's a hassle to get pulled over, but would not honestly deny a violation of the speed limit.

The police officer not only thinks nothing is wrong with creating situations, but has incentives to do so and has a host of defenders behind him no matter what he does.

The analogy is limited but

The analogy is limited but people most certainly do deny a violation of the speed limit. In fact, it can be a good strategy depending on the personality of the Cop.

My sympathies lye on the side without the power. That I'm defending Police Officers is actually quite shocking to me in hindsight. I think this is in light of the recent controversies.

Prick Meet Asshole

This was a case of prick meet asshole. Gates was clearly looking for trouble and got it. The cop should have just sucked it up as part of his job but decided to make him take a ride. Tit for tat.

Spokane

Sounds like the kind of thing that's been going on in my hometown lately. Tough to know who's at fault - the cops or the bad guys - probably a little bit of both, as Brian says above.

I don't think so..

I don't think that it's right to use such difficult words in order to prove one's guilt. Yes, I do agree that cops have their rights but they shouldn't abuse it because everything has its limits right? I do think that educating themselves in order to win any possible argument by using uncommon terms is just one of the techniques that they use in order to become better and well-respected police officers of the society.