On Monday, Fox News Legal Analyst and former New Jersey state Judge Andrew Napolitano told to the conservative network’s audience that police broke the law when they arrested Professor Henry Louis Gates for disorderly conduct. Gates was charged with disorderly conduct during a conflict with police on his own property, but as Napolitano explained, the law only “allows an arrest for being disorderly if you are in public. … So if Professor Gates was arrested because of the words he used to police inside his house, on the front porch or on the front lawn, it was an improper arrest.” Napolitano added that police violated Gates’ Fourth Amendment rights the minute they entered his home without his permission:
The law says, unless [a police officer] witnesses a felony…or unless he has a piece of paper from a judge—a search warrant or an arrest warrant—saying “you can go in that house,” he can’t go in the house. So when Professor Gates said “no you can’t come in,” and the police went in anyway [the police] violated the federal Constitution.
Ever since President Obama criticized Gates’ arresting officer — who happens to be white — for mishandling this arrest, the right wing has ramped up its racially charged rhetoric against the President, with Fox’s Glenn Beck claiming that Obama’s statement somehow proves that the President “has a deep-seated hatred for white people.” If Beck actually bothered to watch his own network’s legal analysis, he’d know that this attack doesn’t hold water.