A New Gates-Related Arrest

Sure, the arrest of Skip Gates for disorderly conduct is largely regarded as an example of poor race relations--but is a broad law at the real heart of the matter? Frustrated with the news that Gates was arrested at his home after an alleged break-in, a 33-year-old lawyer named Pepin Tuma shouted "I hate the police" while walking along a D.C. street Saturday night. Nearby officers heard the rant and arrested Tuma, again for disorderly conduct. The local chapter of the ACLU has said that the city's law is "confusing, overbroad, frequently used by police to harass disfavored individuals" and that it "violates constitutional rights of free speech, assembly and petition," according to the Huffington Post. Tuma spent a few hours in a holding cell and has filed a complaint with the D.C. Office of Police Complaints, asserting a lack of probable cause. It is the belief of Tuma that Gates' case has more to do with abusive police powers than it does with race relations. "It's an ongoing problem of police using disorderly conduct to shut people up," Tuma said.