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Sen. Adams: I would’ve collared Gates immediately!

The Brooklyn Paper

State Sen. Eric Adams inserted himself into the national debate over the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates in his own home last month by saying he would’ve gone even further than the arresting officer in the now-infamous incident.

“I would have handcuffed Gates as soon as I entered the household,” said the state senator, a former NYPD officer.

The comment came at the monthly Brooklyn Real Estate Roundtable, days after Obama attempted to seek a national catharsis by holding a beer summit on July 30 with Gates and Crowley — and proves again that almost nothing — or should we say no one — is off-the-cuff with Adams.

Later, Adams, who served 21 years in the NYPD, explained his shackle-first, ask-questions-later position.

“I went to many scenes as a cop and a captain [that] when I arrived I didn’t know what was in front of me,” he said.

“Bad guys do things that are disruptive to throw your attention off. Police officers get injured when they get distracted. The first thing you need is to do is take care of the situation until you can find out what you are dealing with,” Adams added.

Adams recalled searching for a cat burglar one night as a sergeant in Fort Greene when, with his gun drawn, he forced a man to get to the ground in his own backyard, because the resident fit the description of the suspect.

“You can always say you’re sorry later,” he said.

Adams’s comments are in stark contrast to the president he supported. Last month, President Obama provoked an uproar when he initially said that Sgt. James Crowley, who is white, “acted stupidly” when he arrested Gates, who is black.

Crowley charged Gates with disorderly conduct on July 16 after he arrived at the professor’s home to investigate a possible break-in. The two men have differing versions of the incident. Gates said he showed identification proving he lived in the home. Crowley said Gates was uncooperative. The charges against Gates were subsequently dropped.

The high-profile incident involving one of the country’s leading academics and the country’s first black president reawakened an ongoing debate about police methods towards minorities.

Adams seems intent on keeping that waning debate alive.

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Merle from Michigan from Detroit Metropolitan area says:
Sounds like he meant detained and NOT arrest. Arrest means hold against his will and run him in. Detain means handcuff or otherwise limit perps movement (back of squadcar or otherwise). Once everything is confirmed, at the scene, (who is who and what is what), then the DETAINED suspect is free to go? I think (at least hope) this is what he meant.

Merle from Michigan
Aug. 11, 2009, 12:41 pm
Ludvikus from Manhattan says:
I always treat Police Officers with the utmost respect. That in part because of my understanding of the hardship of their profession. But I also expect them to be well trained in resisting provocation.

Unfortunately, some policemen are more cops than loyal Americans. Every oath of office I know of requires a public servant to defendant and protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

In the Gates case, the only thing that matters is the charge under which Gates was arrested - "disorderly conduct." Disorderly conduct only exists in a public place. Gates, therefore, was innocent of the charge because he was arrested at home.

You really do have to be stupid not to see this simple fact.

Any policeman who's competent and a loyal American will concede that arresting Gates at home for disorderly conduct violated his constitutional rights. You may not like it, but there are many things a good cop is supposed to endure from a suspect - even disrespect for police authority.

But Gates was not formally arrested for his conduct while at home. He was arrested for his behavior in a public place. But Gates never made it to the Street for misbehaving because he was already hand-cuffed and arrested before he got there. I don't know how much disorderly a man in hand-cuffs, who also limps and is 58 years old can misbehave.

A truly great policeman would have been stong enough and confident enough to say, "Sorry to have bothered you at your home, if you wish to make a complaint here's my name and shield number, and have a nice day."

I'm sure there are such fine policeman - but they now have to endure the consequences of Crowley's stupid arrest.
Aug. 11, 2009, 11:05 pm
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
I couldn't have said it better! Props to Ludvikus.
Aug. 12, 2009, 12:30 am
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
Sen. Adams would've recognized Prof. Gates immediately and chatted with him with no chance of the handcuffs coming out. Let's keep it real.
Aug. 12, 2009, 12:34 am
bob from bklyn hts says:
Not that it's necessarily relevant to the specific situation that led to his arrest, but Prof. Gates was on C-Span this weekend (presumably taped before the incident), where he was EXTREMELY impressive and knowledgeable, and came across as anything BUT a racist. I point this out because to many people (whatever their view of the incident), Prof. Gates is little more than a caricature or a cause celebre. It's useful to remember that he's a human being -- and a distinguished one to boot.
Aug. 12, 2009, 1:06 am
Steve from Lafayette says:
Hey Ludvikus, he was arrested outside where he was making a scene and disturbance. He did not show ID at first as requested and instead decided to make it a racial issue when the cop was just trying to do his job instead of thanking the officer for perhaps maybe saving his skin if it had been a real break in. Crowley did resist the provacation by giving him two warnings, but Gates would not calm down and give any cooperation towards the officers (3) at this point, one of which was black and supported the actions of officer Crowley. At what point should an officer allow someone to create a situation that may lead to other problems such as a car wreck out front from people being distracted when driving by from this conduct. I would imagine that Crowley probably was upset as well at this point and I don't blame him for taking him to jail. I am a homeowner and if I had been in this situation I would have thanked the officer. If I had acted in this manner I would have expected to go to jail. Maybe you don't have to give respect to the police, but you should. They put their lives on the line every day and should not have to tolerate a bunch of crap from a so called educated person. It just floors me that people such as your self actually think like this.
Aug. 12, 2009, 4:59 am
Ace from New Utrecht says:
Ludvikus is 100% on this. I was on the other side until, upon reflection, I realized that the police officer is a professional trained to hold his temper in check.

In the customer service world we refer to the "circle of pain and fear" and professionals know to never ever go there.
Aug. 12, 2009, 1:12 pm
A DAVISLAN from CLINTON HILL says:
Senator Adams,
Quite frankly, I was surprized by your response. Considering your long standing dedication and steadfastness to both the rule of law and community policing, handcuffing verified homeowners as a first course of action in this scenario seems to me an overreaction. Baring information escalating such an encounter to a possible life threatening situation (weapons, violence, history), tactical approach, entry and engagement is best. Affecting an arrest after a proper ID is inappropaiate at best. If things escalate, so can the police. Yes, treating everybody like a criminal is safest...but not expected nor should be tolerated in our society.
Aug. 12, 2009, 2:27 pm
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
To Steve from Lafayette,you are wrong. Show me the video where he is outside on the street. The fact is he was arrested inside his house.
Aug. 12, 2009, 5:03 pm
James W. Preston, Sr. from Wash. DC says:
Unfortunately, New York State Senator Eric Adams needs to fall back a little and look at the law. He's not acting stupidly, he is thinking that way. I can understand his theory and maybe his street training, but thinking on his feet by circumstance isn't one of his best traits. He's need to understand a citizen's rights under the constitution. Dr. Gates arrest was improper and illegal and several judges have rendered that opinion, under the law. Now, allow me to use the race card factor. I'll bet former Officer Eric Adams never would have enacted an arrest had Dr. Gates been white under the same circumstance.

Director of Advocacy, Mediation and Court Process Services, Justice & Mediation Service Center, Wash. D.C.
Aug. 12, 2009, 11:57 pm
James W. Preston, Sr. from Wash. DC says:
Unfortunately, New York State Senator Eric Adams needs to fall back a little and look at the law. He's not acting stupidly, he is thinking that way. I can understand his theory and maybe his street training, but thinking on his feet by circumstance isn't one of his best traits. He's need to understand a citizen's rights under the constitution. Dr. Gates arrest was improper and illegal and several judges have rendered that opinion, under the law. Now, allow me to use the race card factor. I'll bet former Officer Eric Adams never would have enacted an arrest had Dr. Gates been white under the same circumstance.

Director of Advocacy, Mediation and Court Process Services, Justice & Mediation Service Center, Wash. D.C.
Aug. 12, 2009, 11:57 pm
Steve from Lafayette says:
To Pac, there is no video of the arrest. This is what is in the police report and confirmed by other police and others at the scene including his neighbor. That is the reason he was arrested. He was being disorderly in the public.
Aug. 13, 2009, 5:43 am
Michael from Bay ridge says:
I don't trust that he knows what he would have done in that stiuation not having been there. It's an interesting guess, but being that there is no transcript or video documentation of what happened he really couldn't know how he would have acted.
Aug. 13, 2009, 11:08 am
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
Steve, the incident happened inside his house. The public can't be alarmed in a private place. You are assuming the circumstances. Clearly the video shows Prof. Gates in custody and control by the police inside his house.Then they led him out of his home via his front door in cuffs. Did Prof. Gates cause the disturbance outside then run inside his home with the police in hot pursuit of him? I don't think so. The fact is PO Crowley made a stupid decision that was later swept under the rug. Fact, if it would have been a lawful arrest it would have been prosecuted. Steve pick up "Plolicing For Dummies" at your local bookstore so you can continue posting on this subject.
Aug. 14, 2009, 7:29 pm

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