A few years ago, my nephew was taking a class on the UT campus. While waiting on his bus to arrive after class, he decided to wonder through the new law building with its interesting architecture. Upon seeing my nephew in the halls, a secretary or worker in the building decided that my nephew was not a law student and called the police. By the time the police arrived, my nephew was outside waiting on his bus. The police approached my nephew and asked him for his ID. My nephew, who had recently taken some sort of civil law class told the officers that he did not have to show his ID since he was not doing anything wrong. Then he began to walk away – the police followed, and it turned into a comical chase around a parked car. My nephew managed to call his dad, my brother the lawyer, on his cell phone while avoiding the police. He told his dad that the police were chasing him. My brother told his son to stop immediately and let the police catch him. He did, and was promptly arrested.
Now there is no law against a student walking through a building on campus even if he is not taking classes in that building, but we don’t know what prior instances might have happened to make the secretary call police. Although I think my nephew is quite handsome, he does have long hair, a tattoo or two, and wears baggy pants. You would think that on the UT campus this look would be quite normal. Did the fact that my nephew is a Hispanic male have anything to do with the police being called? It probably did. Whatever this lady was thinking, the police did show up and did ask for an ID and did arrest my nephew for not cooperating. Was I upset that someone would treat my nephew this way? Yes, I was. But, if he had just shown them his ID and explained his actions, all would have been okay. And that was the lesson learned by my nephew, who was quite young and inexperienced. I don't know what penalties my nephew had to pay for this little incident, but I think he did have to do some community service or something along those lines.
Now Mr. Gates should have known better. If Mr. Gates had just had enough respect for Sgt. Crowley and his position as a police officer trying to do his job, all would have been okay. If someone had really been trying to break into his house, would he have wanted the police to investigate? His actions and the President’s words undermine the authority and respect police officers need to do their job.
On a side note, I want to tell you that I think my nephew is intelligent and good-looking, is quite the charmer, and has a great personality. Although I don't see him nearly enough and have not told him personally, he has a special place in my heart - he is very dear to me. Here is one of my favorite photos of us together twenty years ago. I don't know where I got that hat, but the photo was taken on a hot day at a street dance in Leon Springs, TX.
Jesse just emailed me an article on the death of WWII hero, Darrell Powers, who was portrayed in the movie "Band of Brothers" and I thought some of you might be interested.