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July 30th, 2009
09:45 AM ET

Gates, Crowley and The President: Calling it how I see it

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/23/gates.arrest.mayor/art.gates.cnn.jpg caption="Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. says he and his attorneys are considering further actions."

Richard Weinblatt
Police Link

Many Americans of all races have been immersed during the past two days by the intense emotional national debate surrounding the interaction between Cambridge, MA, Police sergeant James Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The first part of my response on the debate concerns the incident itself (which, as I will outline here has, two separate components). The second concerns the comments by President Barack Obama at his prime-time press conference viewed by some 25 million people.

Before the messages start to fly that I am one-sided, let me frame my perspective. As a college criminal justice educator, police expert media commentator, and former police chief, I have commented extensively on police situations. I have done so before on everything from law enforcement’s use of the Taser (which as a Taser instructor I support) to the Caylee Anthony case. In some cases I have defended officers on the scene and explained their perspective. But in others, I have eschewed the ‘circle the police wagon’ mentality.

In short, I call it how I see it based on commonly accepted police practices and an eye on the big picture of policing in America.

Keep reading...

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Walter Crumkite

    Maybe we should give lie detector test the the involved parties to find out what really happened. They can go on maurey and montel and reveal the results. After all, this has become a national campain with so much controversy that it is worth getting down to the cold hard facts. Enough of this 'he said, he said'.

    July 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  2. Carolyn form Austin TX

    @ Cindy from GA. Hear, hear! and Amen!

    July 30, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  3. gavintiegirl

    I read the comments from some of the law enforcement at the site where this article was posted and I have to tell you; I was left speechless when I read most of those comments. Granted most were written by the same people or a few different people, but from the comments it appears that no matter how far we have come in this country; law enforcement is not color blind. The harsh comments had such racist overtones and even directed at the President, which I disgraceful for a member of law enforcement to post such nasty things about our President. I commented and wrote the following:

    Comment on Police Link regarding the Henry Louis Gates Jr. article written by Dr. Richard Weinblatt

    Based on the comments made on this site; which is a site for law enforcement; it is really disheartening to see the lack of support for your/our President. I truly hope that if a crisis every broke out in our country where you were called on to protect the President, I hope you would be able to see past his skin color and realize that he is a flesh and blood human, as you are.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  4. gavintiegirl

    I read the comments from some of the law enforement at the site where this article was posted and I have to tell you; I was left speechless when I read most of those comments. Granted most were written by the same people or a few different people, but from the comments it appears that no matter how far we have come in this country; law enforcement is not color blind. The harsh comments had such racist overtones and even directed at the President, which I disgraceful for a member of law enforcement to post such nasty things about our President. I commented and wrote the following:

    Comment on Police Link regarding the Henry Louis Gates Jr. article written by Dr. Richard Weinblatt

    Based on the comments made on this site; which is a site for law enforcement; it is really disheartening to see the lack of support for your/our President. I truly hope that if a crisis every broke out in our country where you were called on to protect the President, I hope you would be able to see past his skin color and realize that he is a flesh and blood human, as you are.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  5. Dr. Richard Weinblatt

    In response to concerns that I have read in the AC360 blog comments, I want to assure the readers of this editorial that the extreme comments below it do not represent the views of all law enforcement officers in the United States. I have gotten many, many phone calls and messages from officers, both white and black, as well as non-officers, that agree with my more balanced viewpoint on the Dr. Gates situation.
    - Dr. Richard Weinblatt

    July 30, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  6. Walter Crumkite

    Now that the 'beer summit' is set for tonight, does anyone have any idea which side of the table president Obama will sit on? After all, it is a picnic table and has only 2 sides to it! Wont this be interesting. I haven't heard anyone mention this situation which in it self, will make news ! What's going on in the 'Situation Room'.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  7. Sharon

    I agree with many that it is time to move on from the coverage of this incident.

    That said, Isis has quite succinctly given a "food for thought" summarization. I could not have said it better.

    July 30, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  8. Ikaika

    Cop abusing his power, citizen being enraged by cop's attitude, person stating his opinion "BASED ON WHAT I DO KNOW" (President Obama). It's time we citizens have the power to stand up against this type of "Police officer". Been on the receiving end of these officers' antagonistic attitude, and I say once again, it's maddening
    Bravo to our president for not apologizing, as he did nothing wrong.

    July 30, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  9. Terry

    Cindy, unfortunately, this issue is a microcosm of the deep-seated problems the US had when it comes to race. These issues go back nearly 450 years, so it can't just "go away" and be swept under the rug, which is what people have tried to do the past 35 years or so. It's too emotional for us not to talk about it. Yes the incident, in and of itself, should have not escalated to where it is now, but the underlying factors eventually lead back to race. I honestly don't believe Sgt. Crowley is racist. But the information we have on the incident so far raises some eyebrows. Do some homework – When you have had incidents involving people such as: Rodney King, Amadou Diallo, Abner Louima, Jimmie Lee Jackson, Medgar Evers, Sean Bell, and Oscar Grant, can you see a pattern?

    July 30, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  10. Isis

    I agree, how would you feel if you just arrived home from a trip, your front door was stuck, you finally got in, beginning to unwind, when a know comes at your door asking you who you were....words toss back and forth but for some reason when you ask the police officer his name he begins to play games, avoiding the question....next thing you know your hand cuffed, and finger printed, all because your was troubled that that a cop wanted you to prove you were suppose to be in your own home....tell me how would you, yourself react? I agree that the cop made a foolish mistake, all because of his ego, and of course prof Gates ego played a role, mainly because he was home, he is black, and he was provoked.
    There are many other pressing issues, but this situation tips off this country race relationship problems that are hidden in cracks.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  11. planetspinz

    Going to the link posted, I read the comments from some people in law enforcement. What they said made me think that what the Cambrdige police officer did was what he was actually trained to do, even though he claims to teach race relations. AC360 look into the record of the entire police department, and see how many false arrests are made because of "discretion" and you might find that what was done to Professor Gates is just they way things are done there.

    While you are at it though, take a look nationally, because this is the way things are done by police all over the country. I call them the American Basij. Take particularly close look at how this summer police from San Diego, Fort Worth, and Provincetown have been illegally arresting gay and lesbian Americans, a story that will never made national news but will remain in the AC360 closet.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  12. Army18Tir

    Stop Killing:
    Many People asked us, who we are?
    We are not belong to MOK, Pahlevi and communist organisations.
    We are only agianst chamenei's clan and thiers groundless violence, killing and arrest.
    We believe in Mir Hossein Mosavi and support his policy.
    all the People can come to us and fight with us against the sway of chamenei's dictator.
    Mousavi and Karroubi and Million People of Iran are show now up at the cementery. we appeal to Basiji's troops, don't shot to the Rallies People.Whoever else dose shot us, we do shot them back...
    we do boycott Siemens and Nokia, and save the Lives of your sisters and Brothers...
    Army18Tir

    July 30, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  13. Gary T.

    Another thing you Americans are so extreme when someone in authority is talking about taking your guns or even discussing it.
    What about the your homes & property??
    How would you feel being arrested at your Own Home????

    July 30, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  14. Gary T.

    Someone on Larry king last night asked what would have happened & how different the discussion would be if some white older famous guy like Henry Kissinger had been treated like Mr. Gates by a black policeman.
    We know the conversation would be Totally Different!!
    Think about it!!!!

    July 30, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  15. Cindy

    I wish this Gates story would just go away! It's had it's 15 minutes now it's done. Who really cares what beers they have together with the pres. It won't change the fact that Gates went into this whole thing with his mind made up that all white police are racists. He brought this on himself with his ranting.

    Please move on from this!!

    Cindy..Ga.

    July 30, 2009 at 9:56 am |