Henry Louis Gates, Jr. vs. the Cambridge PD
Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was recently arrested trying to get into his own house, the front door of which was jammed. One of his neighbors called the police to say that two black men (who were actually Gates and his Moroccan driver) were trying to break into the house, and the police didn't leave even after Gates showed his ID and explained that it was his house. Instead, these thugs kept grilling him, and in response he "exhibited loud and tumultuous behaviour", which in Copland is automatic grounds for arrest.
Gates is rare among victims of aggressive police officers in that he is well-connected; three of his Harvard colleagues showed up to the station to bail him out. He has this to say:
"I am appalled that any American could be treated as capriciously by an individual police officer. He should look into his soul and he should apologize to me," Gates said. "If so, I will be prepared to forgive him. I think that poor people in general and black people in general are vulnerable to the whims of rogue cops, and we all have to fight to protect the weakest among us. No matter how bad it was going to get, I knew that sooner or later I would get to a phone and one of my friends would be there to help."
Re-read that last sentence and imagine if Gates were not a Harvard professor: he'd be alone, and he'd be charged and convicted like any other police victim, instead of having the charges dropped by the embarrassed Cambridge police department. He'd be bullied some more along the way. He'd be just another sucker as far as the police were concerned.
I only wish he'd put two and two together: systematic racism in the police force, abuse by individual officers...maybe, just maybe, the abuse is systematic too.