In 1979 Fort Lauderdale, Legal Precedent That May Apply to Gates Case

I'm not as sure as letter-to-the-editor writer Richard Frisbie is that the case of Florida v. Brayman makes a fair comparison to the one between Cambridge police and Prof. Henry Louis Gates. But it's worth mentioning if only to celebrate the verbosity of late Broward Circuit Court Judge John J. King.

Frisbie, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, tells of how the 30-year-old case involved a Ms. Brayman of Fort Lauderdale who had got into an argument with her family and was being hauled away for disorderly intoxication.

En route to the police vehicle, she made numerous profane comments, including a suggestion that the police "had in the past carried Oedipus complexes into reality and had committed other forms of incest."

That quote is from Judge King, of course, coining the most elegant euphemism for motherfucker the world will ever know. Since even the most vicious profanity is political speech and since those in the law profession, wrote King, "cannot be shocked by the language used by the miscreants," he dismissed the charge of resisting arrest without violence.


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