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July 23rd, 2009
08:06 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Professor profiled? Cop fires back

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/23/officer.gates.arrest/t1home.gates.split.wcvb.cnn.jpg caption="Sergeant James M. Crowley (left) said he will 'never apologize' for the arrest of scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. (right)." width=265 height=239]
Jacob Smilovitz
AC360° Intern

We’ve got another big show tonight on the heels of the second installment of Black in America 2.

In Massachusetts, the police officer who arrested Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. is speaking out tonight and telling his side of the story. Sergeant James M. Crowley finds himself at the center of a heated debate over the state of race relations in this country. With Gates, a preeminent scholar on the topic of race in America, and even the President questioning his actions, Crowley says he will “never apologize” for the incident.

"That apology will never come from me as Jim Crowley, it won't come from me as sergeant in the Cambridge Police Department," Crowley told Boston radio station WEEI. "Whatever anybody else chooses to do in the name of the city of Cambridge or the Cambridge Police Department which are beyond my control, I don't worry about that. I know what I did was right. I have nothing to apologize for."

What do you think? Does Crowley owe Gates an apology?

Tonight, CNN contributor Roland Martin and Boyce Watkins, a Syracuse University Professor and the founder of YourBlackWorld.com, will share their thoughts on this story. And at the “Magic Wall”, Tom Foreman will break down the raw data, taking a closer look at the prevalence of racial profiling in America’s police departments.

In L.A,. new details are emerging in the mystery surrounding Michael Jackson’s death. This time they come from Rolling Stone magazine and their contributing editor Claire Hoffman, who will join us live tonight.


Among other revelations, Hoffman reports that Jackson was aware of how the public had come to perceive him and eager to replace all the gossip over his lifestyle with talk of his work.

Plus, in court today lawyers for Katherine Jackson made a request for money. We’ll have those new developments for you.

Also on our radar, a disturbing internet video now surfacing of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews apparently shot without her knowledge in the privacy of her own hotel room. How easy is it for something like this to happen? Erica Hill enlists the help of a private investigator to get us some answers.

All that plus a recap of tonight’s edition of Black in America 2 when you join us for AC360° at 10p ET.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson • The Buzz
soundoff (576 Responses)
  1. Roxxanne Cole

    You know I was reading the comments, and I think of myself, I am a 32 year old black woman, Mom of 3 boys and a nephew, coming home one night in my little town of Freeport, FL listening to my music, and I was pulled over at 930pm by a white rookie cop and his reason was loud music. My license was suspended and he called 3 more of his buddies and handcuffed me, took me to jail. They searched my SUV, went through my purse, basically trashed my vehicle for what? They didn't find anything, didn't have my permission, didn't even have probable cause to trash it that way. I live in a predominately all white town and I was appalled. I have never experienced such racial profiling as that night, but you know what, it is what it is, and I wasn't aware of it, until I was watching this show tonight and went back to that horrible experience. I do believe that watching this show, I honestly feel that we all need to pray, because we are in the 21st Century and it could happen to anyone. It is sad, but true, and it happened to me, a Mom of three.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  2. Kurte Pellerin

    All I know is that a simular incident happened to me in post Katrina New Orleans. I was arrested at my own house after calling the police myself about a wallet I thought I left at a roadblock. The police arrested me for curfew violation public drunkeness, and public intimadation, all bogus charges.

    They we called to my house by me and treated me like a criminal.. I had to stay outside in the cold overnight in a makeshift holding cell under the greyhound bus station. The Public Defender told us that either we plead guilty or go to the Hunts Prison until someone could bail us out.

    Racial profiling is real. The cops would not have treated any of my white neighbors this way. I understand the Prof frustration when you are at your own house proceed to treat you like a criminal. I was calm and the cop's still abused their power by arresting me at MY HOUSE!!!!

    This is not the only incident that I have encounter either by the prof story hit home. The cop indeed owe the professor an apology. KP

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  3. Debra Ireland

    Professor Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct, and based on what has been reported, I can imagine how the situation escalated to that end. It appears that the Professor may have become overly agitated, that the officer took offense at being accused of profiling, and that the situation escalated from there. It has been my experience that whenever there are two opposing stories, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I think they probably owe each other apologies. My concern is that hate infused issues of race have once again come to the forefront. Shame on the professor for continuing to make waves, shame on the officer for being so stubborn, and shame on CNN and the media for giving this circus so much attention. Can't we all just get along?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  4. Michael Harvey

    I have broken into my own house and car several times over the years (after losing my keys), I understand why the officers checked out prof. Gates. But once they knew that it was his home. The police were out of order to arrest him at his home without probable cause.The Officers and the police department owe prof. Gates an apologize and they should get more training on handling these types of situations.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  5. Bob Jasinski

    Read the Supreme Court's decision in City of Houston v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451 (1987), wherein the court stressed that a citizen cannot be arrested for verberlly challenging police action - a First Amendment right that was clearly violated in this case.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  6. John

    It is obvious to most blacks that no matter your stature, President of the United States, Governor of whatever State, Mayor of any city, Harvard Professor, Pastor or Police Chief , you are still considered guilty until proven innocent. I , for one, am not surprised. It's a chance for a $45,000 salary white cop to show the $100,000 black professional that he is still in charge.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  7. Jemima

    It's just unbelievable that The President of the USA can make such a comment without having the full facts of the incident. The cop request an ID to simply prove that it's his property, If he would present his ID, that could of end it there. Being that Gates is a prominent professor, most likely refuse to show an ID and things got out of hand...now he's playing the race card

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  8. Robert Jr. James McClendon

    This was "not" Racial Profiling. This was all too common the abuse of Police authority and power. If you are inside your "own" home, it is not a crime to get angry. If you've ever been a victim of Police abuse and filed a complaint, they never type what you say the way you say it happened. They always change the facts to support "their" Officers. Its the Blue Code or whatever. The Attorney General needs to investigate "Ploice Abuse" and the government needs to break up the institutionalized racism that exist within the Police force. Its the good ole' boy network designed only to serve and protect "certain people", with permissiom to abuses all others. These Cops remind me of Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours when he said, "I'm a Cop (a high school graduate), which means I have the permission to kick your behine". That only happens in movies, because Black Cops know better than to abuse white Americans like that. The Attorney General needs to speak out about Police Abuse and the Institutional Racism that exist in America's Police Departments and the penial system. Was it Racial Profiling, No! Will white people always support white people against a Black man, Hell Yes!!! Its "Un-American" for white people to apologize to a Black man. If they'll deny to effects of slavery. Skip, you know they ain't going to have one of their own apologize. I know that the Officer was an exceptional Officer, I'm just curious to know what branch of the service was he in?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  9. Albert VanLanduyt

    I don't think that race is the main issue here. This is what I view it to be, and I would like a discussion on this issue to ensue.

    Do we have the right to free speech when in the midst of an altercation with the police?

    The Cambridge Police Department stated, I am paraphrasing, that the professor had been berating the officer. So, am I right in assuming that he was arrested for berating the officer? Is that grounds for arrest?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  10. Ty

    It is obviously a major problem in America with racial profiling to say the least. I think everyone can attest to that but little is being done to bring about a change. Why were the charges dropped? Why are the government officials never wrong or does not make a mistake? Will we ever learn the real true?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  11. art spears

    An apology is in order especially since the charges were dropped,a clear indicator that charges were unwarranted.Are police unable to apologize for miscues?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  12. Robert

    At what point do people outside of law enforcement have the rights to speech toward police officer .When Poice hear a comment they didnt particularly carefore some abuse thier power over people to make a point. The victum is the professor who was standing his ground inside his home where his rights and life was uprooted needlessly. He had no plans to have this happen in any way. The police officer had a attitutde that whatever he says is gospel and the judicial system will side with him. Wrong! Police have standard procedures and revenge toward a person who clearly expressed his right of speech to another human being inside this free country should not have to defend it matter the color. Roland Maritn quoted the facts as seen rationally fit . The people who believe the police re copetely honest are clueless about minority realitly .Many would say this resesmbles the same Police that were Rodney King opressors and felt it right to beat defenseless man. Whos only imparital witness was the camera pointed at them. The real message should be to do the job right the first time, even if your the police.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  13. Kim

    I pull police reports under the open records review quite often. The officer report is written to fit what the officer wants not the suspect. In racial profiling cases, the police reports are embellished.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  14. Carolyn

    The bottom line is Professor Gates being upset with being questioned in his own home after providing identification stood up to Sgt Crowley. He probably said something that totally upset Sargent Crowley which in turn made Sgt Crowley have to prove that he was the higher authority. It was a shouting match as to who had the most authority and as usual Professor Gates, a black man lost. We can say what we like but events like this will never be understood except by those who have been there. I am so grateful that this incident did not end in tragedy.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  15. Bridget Hagens

    I was once in Gates shoes but in a different way. I was born and raised in Miss. and back in 1996 I was stopped for speeding by a white Hwy Patrolman b/c he said I was speeding, well I got all upset and just used all kind of profanity. When officer put his right hand on his hip I thought he was going for the spray and I said, "If you spray me I will get out of this car and whip your a_ _." I got upset b/c my car was an old chevrolet that looked like it came out of junk yard and for him to stop was just unheard of. Because my car looked the way it did I just thought in my mind that no cop should stop me for speeding b/c everyone thought my car could not go fast. The officer "asked" me to step out of the car and I said, "Don't you rush me, I take my own damn time getting out." When he went to put the cuffs on me I cursed hiim out. When he proceeded to put me in the back seat but then changed his mind and said, "Im putting you in the front seat." Well, I said, "Hell no! put me in the back where I belong." The cop arrested me in a different town but took me to my home town where I would be close to home. Once we got to the police station the verbal abuse started again. Each time I opened my mouth the cop was writing a ticket. It has gotten so bad the African American female clerk said, "Will you hush, b/c everytime you say something he writes you a ticket." In the end I had about 10 tickets totaling close to $2000.00, yea of course I had to get a lawyer. When I appeared in court the only thing the officer wanted was an apology. He said, "she didn't have to curse me the way she did, she really didn't have too." I felt smaller than a nat, I was so ashamed and from that day forward I vowed to never disrespect the law ever again. I will just file a complaint. Just to think now, I cursed out a white cop for no reason.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  16. Bingo

    to Mike, Syracuse, NY comment...He was picked for this by the last police commissioner, a black.

    OMG! A Black? A Black?... Are you serious? really? This is 2009 for pete's sake! How can anyone take anything you say seriously. Do you think simply because he was selected by a black man that that automatically qualifies him as incapable of being biased? Even if he was selected by a hundred black men, that still proves NOTHING. Did you ever consider he may have just been the least racist of the bunch? I could see if your proof was that he had actually done something relevant dealing with race relations in his life, like Professor Gates!

    And for all those that say professor Gates is playing the race card, would you have been so upset if instead of race the Professor to said, the officer treated him unfairly because he was vertically challenged? Or maybe because he is disabled? Or that he is Bi-racial? Middle aged? Married to a white women? Has bi-racial children? Right handed? Wears glasses? My point is not why he was treated unfairly, just that he WAS treated unfairly!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  17. Herb

    The President made a great point. If someone walks into your home, start questioning you. Then you provide proof of your innocence. Then the COPS attitude comes into play. Talking down. This is how its esclated. This happens all the time. Part of the the COPS training should be how to communicate. PRIDE from the COPs thinking they can talk to anyone any kind of way is the reason this got out of hand.

    You can catch more bees with honey than you can with vinigar.....

    July 23, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  18. Mary

    Nikki , the professor showed his ID to the officer , how much more prof do you need , it was racism plain and simple. Just call them like I seem them.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  19. Phyllis Royster

    Yes Crowley should apologize! The realtiy is both parties were angry. However, Sgt. Crowley crossed the line when he let his anger get the best of him. Dr. Gates should have never been arrested in his own house. It would have never happen to a white man.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  20. tim

    I believe that both parties acted and are acting out of character. Its not a secret that some blacks are targeted but in this instance procedure must be followed. Was race and issue, no. Misunderstanding the proper procedure that police must follow was not understood. Yes there are rouge officers in the country but here procedure was apparently being followed.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  21. lois

    Crowley was wrong, Gates was wrong. It was not race but testosterone that caused the uproar. The officer's training should have had him leave when he knew there was no crime, had an upset homeowner who was unreasonable. Gates should know even a professor has to comply with a order from the police. If it had been a woman cop, or a woman homeowner, estrogen mixes better with testosterone and no arrest would have been made.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  22. Carolyn Askew

    I have had the same happen to me in my own home also. I am a African American woman living in Bridgeport Ct. I know the feeling of powerlessness, disbelief then anger (outrage). I know how this man felt. I own a home and rented to a white family downstairs. The man downstairs was beating his girlfriend. I phoned the police. 3 white policemen responded. After they left the apartment they came up to mine. Of course the man said he was not beating the woman and added that I was a vengeful landlord evicting them and thats why I called. The police repeated this to me and waited for my response. My response was 'did they show you any court papers to verify an eviction?' The police man then told me I could be arrested for making a false complaint. I told him I called out of concern for the woman and told him there was no eviction in process and that could be checked. I was wrong because I was the wrong skin color calling (white police) on white people. I will never forget that feeling. It make you want to HATE the police.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  23. pearl

    Sgt crowley does not owe and apology... I bet if it would have been the other way around it would have not been races... Grow up and stop using the Race Card.... And what is the president doing getting involved only cause he knows the prof. maybe thats why gates is making a big deal???Now I guarantee his going to make a big deal because you got involved?? President you have bigger issues to be getting involved with... and now its always going to be a race card on any little thing involving a person in color and there going to run to president..

    July 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  24. Chad

    I beleive the officer did not have to arrest Gates. Gates probably was behaving disorderly but who wouldnt under the circumstances. I am pretty sure gates has worked hard for everything he has and he is a very notable black man. Imagine this, you come home from a long trip and cant get into your house but worst of all no one is home and you have diarhea. So you try to get in the house you own, and your own neighbors call the police, the police comes and ask for your id and you show them but they still tell you "you are under arrest" because you might be a threat. I think I would be mad too and the policeman probably would have too therefore he should have made the choice to not arrests gaines and none of this probably would of happened. I dont think it was neccesarily racial profiling just a cop with a super ego which is also not good for law enforcers.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  25. Laurie

    The negative comments about both Crowley and Gates are very interesting ...they are the only two that really know the facts however I will say the following:

    When a Black person stands there ground and advocates strongly for their rights, they suffer a consequence such as what happened to Professor Gates.

    I honestly believe if Professor Gates was a White male the Officer would have just checked his identification, asked him if everything was okay, then left the Professor alone.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  26. karla

    The one question I want answered regarding police procedure is this: Once a man shows you his I.D. that he is the resident and no one else is in the home for him to threaten, shouldn’t the police just leave?Even if the person is verbally upset, but not threatening the police officer, shouldn’t the police leave? What was the “correct procedure” that the Cambridge police followed with Dr. Gates?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  27. Troy Brown

    Racial profiling isn't the issue here. Racial profiling is defined as the inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether a person is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime or an illegal act or to behave in a "predictable" manner.

    Rather the true legal issue in this mess is whether Sgt. Crowley exceeded the scope of his discretion when he arrested Dr. Gates for disorderly conduct under the applicable statute. My understanding is that these statutes give a wide degree of discretion to the arresting officer. With that being said, it seems the underlying facts do not suport a charge of disorderly conduct. Frankly, I'm sure it's one of the reasons that the charge was dropped against Dr. Gates. Cursing, yelling, or demeaning an officer, while offensive, is not criminal. Moreover, if, as Dr. Gates stated, the officer refused to give his name and badge number when asked and if the officer "lured" Dr. Gates out of the house to arrest Dr, Gates, then the police officer is in trouble. In fact, after reading the police report, I noticed that Sgt. Crowley simply apes the language in the disorderly conduct statute without describing in any substance how Dr. Gates' behavior qualifies as criminal.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  28. Jobie

    In the mid 1980's I was walking down Boyston St. along the Boston Commons, when I saw 4 large
    blacks walking side by side and forcing people to go into the
    street to avoid them. I decided I would not be forced to do this.
    I was sure I was about to be in deep trouble. From nowhere,
    four of the largest police officers I have ever met appeared on
    the scene. Thank God for the Boston Police.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  29. adlar g

    Since President Obama wasn't there, and he doesn't know what actually happened, he should stop calling the policemen stupid. Why doesn't he focus on the economy and get my family some jobs–else, I will really regret voting for him.

    As for this dust-up between a decorated officer and an Ivy-League professor, in the end, it is a he said-he said affair that won't result in anything more than grandstanding by politicos in the 24-hr news cycle...can't we focus on something more important like who killed Michael Jackson? 🙂

    July 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  30. Jerry Stanaszak

    What a disgrace – Why is CNN not reporting the break in to this house of the professor a few weeks ago. I am a retired detective and very upset with your reporting. This officer knew of the prior break in – he has a right to be suspicious based on the prior break in. The professor was completely out of line with the officer. Why is CNN not reporting what the professor was shouting ? This is the basis for the disorderly conduct arrest. Why are you intentionally withholding this info – the only conclusion is that you want to slant this story in the direction of the professor.
    If the professor was as loud as stated and made the comments that have been reported on FOX News I would have arrested him myself.
    Talk about who has credibility here. The officer has nothing to gain here yet the professor does. From what he has already said he will profit financially in his profession by now talking about this issue where he pits himself as an alleged victim. Who is setting up who here.
    You want and expect officers not to racial profile – if this is what an officer (white) that stands against racial profiling can expect in the future why in the world would he, based on this experience ever train anyone again.
    Clearly racial profiling occurred here – the professor is racially profiling the officer and it is the officer that is the victim here of racial profiling.
    An investigation should be conducted but on the topic of why were the charges dropped. What type of political pressure was placed on the police department and by whom.

    Jerry Stanaszak
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    July 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  31. Aaliyah

    Obama was right the office should give an apology because, he was wrong. Now if the tables were turned and it was a black cop in a white neiborhood and arrested a white preofessor he would've been fired and thrown in jail. Mr. Gates is an idol to us young black and lation children like myself. I've been stoped by the police because, of my race. Iam black and latino so the police think iam dangerous and they stop me for having money and for walking to the store and school. I think if the officer doesn't beg for Mr. Gates forgiveness then he should be fired. The officer should be ashmed of his self.

    -Aaliyah Mateo age 14 bx,ny

    July 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  32. C. Clay

    I know that there are good officers of the law out there. I have had occasion to work with many of them. I also feel that they are too few and too far between.

    In my experience too many of them feel that there is a segment of society who are somehow less than human. There are too many who misuse their authority and who make snap judgments based on their own predjudices and stereotypical beliefs.

    My brother, who was a teen at the time, was coming home at dusk. He slipped through a broken slat in our fence to enter our back yard. Two white male officers saw him, they entered our yard threw my brother to the ground and cuffed him.

    They took him in even when my mother came out to tell them that he lived there! He was a student with no record or any prior arrest. He did not mouth off other than to insist that he lived at that address. We were also the only black family on the block at the time.

    My mom had to go down and use her connections at that Sheriff's Office to get him out! I shudder to think what might have happened if she didn't know someone with a little clout!

    Diversity and sensitivity training are not enough! More in depth screening has to be done before and after hiring for law enforcement officers. The officer who arrested Gates needs to stop protecting his apparently fragile ego and apologize. He made a mistake a misjudgment. This could be an opportunity for him to look at the fact that maybe he's not as enlightened as he would like to belive!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  33. Sheba

    First, that is Black, with a capital B. It is our name, what we choose to call ourselves. Respect that.

    Second, who was Sgt. Crowley protecting? Professor Gates was in his house. He could have run around naked if he wanted to because that is his house. Once he showed his identification, that should have been sufficient for Crowley to leave.

    Third, Crowley should have been asked to produce a warrant or leave.

    Fourth, someone suggested that just showing your id was not sufficient because he could have been "lying in wait for a spouse or something"...No one said, is Professor Gates married? Did Crowley call to check if Gates had a criminal records or any claims pending? Conventional wisdom suggests that the police department has made the same progress in computer technology as the rest of the world...

    Bottom line, Crowley knew that Professor Crowley lived in the house and was not a threat to him or anyone else and he should have been professional enough to respect that and diffuse the situation so he could walk away. It is his inability to do this that makes his decision to arrest Professor Gates suspect. I have seen cops on the TV show "COPS" walk away from a lot worse, but then many of the villians were Caucasian.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  34. christopher Shaw

    This is a classic case of ego collision with neither man wanting to "let it go" and it should never have escalated into an arrest. The only ones who know exactly what happened are those who were there and those who were there have very different lenses with which they view the world. A black man's perspective of profiling and targeting is undeniable and a police officer's receipt of disrespect from the public is also a reality. In this case perhaps the myopic lens of each man's own experience in the heat of the moment prevented them the ability to see beyond their own ego resulting in progressive escalation, the inability to stand down and the unwillingness to assume neutrality. As for President Obama response last night, he should have practiced the wisdom of Solomon and found some common good in both his friend and the Cambridge Police and challenged the police officer involved and Professor Gates to learn something about each others lives and to come together face to face, that is the kind of leader he can be and challenging them to rise above the accusations of racism, bigotry, elitism and any other labels the two attached to each other would have been an opportunity for tremendous healing. There is an expression in Zulu "umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu', meaning 'a person is a person through others and "ubuntu" is a word that captures the soul of a person's ability to recognize their interconnectedness with other human beings...

    July 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  35. Linda

    Listen guys–drop the story about Gates. As a Canadian listening to your discussions, since Obama came on board–have increased emphasis +++ on racially driven issues. In addition now it seems conscious efforts are being made of late to interview more black people. It's ironic-I sense Obama's Presidency as first black president, is increasing, racially driven tension, and divisions. Please.. get back to Health Care, the recession, economic recovery...

    July 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  36. VINCE CAMPBELL

    Mr. Gates felt victimized already by the break-in and then the police treats him as if he is a suspect, anyone " black or white" woulld become angry in this situation. The officer knew and I feel deceit in drawing Mr.Gates onto the porch where he knew he could arrest him.Instead of understanding the pain that Mr.Gates felt at the time. instead of teaching classes on racial profiling" by the way ,why do we even have classes on racial profiling? ", we should have classes on understanding the way a person feels when cornered and has done nothing wrong. i was walking by my home at 5:30 P.M. and I was stopped and pulled over by a policeman for no reason. I asked was they looking for someone in the area and they replied "no" , he just wanted to stop me because they never had any contact with me.I thought this is how you supposed to live your life- no contact with the police. The reason I was waliking , I was trying to comfort my brother on the phone because his two-week old daughther was dying. The police never asked me that.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  37. Carmen

    Thanks so much for having Professor Watkins on the show. I am an African American and I truly appreciate the research he did and his voice of reason to this incident.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  38. Bernie

    All concerned, let me inform you just in case you don't know. Incidents like this happen daily all over of country. However, if you have not walked in the shoes of others you really don't know, do you? Well wake up ! It's 2009 and the color of a persons skin to so many, is still a real problem in America.

    Bernie Texas

    July 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  39. Ron Marbrey

    I feel the President should have used the phrase "bad judgement" instead of 'stupidly' (which refers to an incident, not a person). I believe, once the police officer was convinced there was nothing to invesitigate, he should have left the premises. His training and teaching profiling should have kicked in before the situation got out of hand and into our living rooms.

    I would not dare ask the media or pundits to drop this topic and discuss the war, healthcare, education, joblessness or other important areas that affect americans.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  40. Jeff Hutton

    It is clear that this country is truly divided . The real problem began when Professor Gates asked for the officer's name and badge number, which in the state of Massachusetts it is mandatory for the officer to comply. The officer refused and when challenged on this point, arrested Prof. Gates for no lawful reason. This happens every day in minority neighborhoods, arrogant police officers reacting to lawful challenges to their misuse and abuse of power. The most aggressive, arrogant, abusive officers are assigned to minority neighborhoods to ride herd on the population there, criminal and non-criminal alike. That is whats going on America . In Philadelphia , Pa. in the last, 3 years, Black men have been shot down by police, for brandishing, a cane, a chair, and an iron . Now how bad can you be hurt by any of those items. A black mans life , or honor means nothing in America.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  41. Spencer

    I can't imagine how upset I would be in Gates position. Whether race placed a role or not, it confirms my belief about cops in general; they're jerks. The fact that he is refusing to apologize saids it all.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  42. Sean

    I am a black man and I believe Gates is wrong in this case. As the officer is a figure of authority in the community, Gates should have known and respected this and conversed with him in an authoritative civilized manner. The officer was there to help. There were no guns or clubs drawn, so who had the problem? Would this had of happened to a black officer? I think not. Gates black power mentality was speaking for him that day.

    President Obama, repeat after me, "No Comment."

    July 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  43. Mark Stevens

    I have contacted professor Gates office asking Henry to become that lightning rod for all of our civil rights, not just the one to bear arms.

    Eventually we will have no rights due to the sheep that believe that policeman are righteous and can't do no wrong!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  44. Jim

    I can imagine myself in the same situation, breaking into my own home after losing keys. I would probably get irritated by the police officer challenging my position that I'm in fact the homeowner and might even get a bit testy in the heat of the moment. However; I would not start the "do you know who I am" routine and would definitely apologize after the fact realizing that the police officer was acting in my best interest and doing the job my taxes pay for; serving and protecting! Then again, I'm not an over-educated big shot with low self esteem and a chip on my shoulder so I really shouldn't judge the professor.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  45. Roy NY

    I believe the police officer was wrong. Even if Gates was white, he would still be wrong once ID was shown. Police officers are supposed to be trained to handle situations like this, not quickly slap cuffs on someone and arrest them. The charges were dropped right!
    Food for thought: A co-worker of mine and I were driving home from work. He is white and I'm black. He was driving and in a 10 min span, I pointed out about three different cop cars. He turned to me and said that he didn't see any of them and how come I'm so aware of the cops. I said because I'm black! Black men always know where the cops are, even the ones like myself who are college grads, and never been arrested or did any crime. Thats is a norm for has, we expect to be stopped for no reason.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  46. Sean

    The sergeant showed extremely, extremely poor judgment. The professor was in his own home, and, if you read the report that the officer wrote, the officer asked the professor to exit the home. The officer should have simply left after he confirmed that this was the man's home. The man is obviously not in any shape to rob a house. Per the officer’s report, the professor had a cane that he was using to walk. Per the officer’s report, the man was upset. Per the officer’s report, the professor’s identity was confirmed by another police department.

    Although it is my opinion that the officer should apologize, it is the officer’s decision. However, the officer acted inappropriately at best, and, in my opinion, he should be sanctioned for his actions. He should not be fired, but he should get a few days without pay. It was too easy for the officer to just leave the situation, and a trained officer would know that if a person is not a threat, then he should have just let the person talk. The officer abused his authority. If you do not believe what I have said, just read the report. It is clear that the professor was upset, but the officer should have just left the house, because the initial call from the woman was for a robbery, the professor was obviously not in any shape to commit a robbery, and the arrest occurred after the identity of the professor was confirmed. Yes, the officer acted “stupidly.”

    July 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  47. mike in CO

    It appears that Gates is another professor that sees himself as a victim as did Churchill in Colorado. I would not want either of these guys as a teacher to my sons. My take on Gates is that if the police did not show up for the reported robery it would have been because he was black. Most likely he is know by his associates and none seem to be supporting him.

    Now how does our president "leader" comment on a situation that he has no knowledge of? The president owes all of a apology for his comments.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  48. Mando, Laredo,TX

    Very Interesting Black in America2 to say the least. I couldn't help but wonder............Did I miss Brown in America 1 ? I mean afterall, Hispanics are the largest minority in the US. Anderson, what do you say? Thanks

    July 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  49. Jay, New York

    Bottom line prof. Gates has a right to be upset and express it, I wonder did this officer feel threatened or was he upset at the manner in which he was being spoken to by prof. Gates? Was an arrest really necessary, were we really serving and protecting the public from prof. gates in this instance???? I'm a black man and I've always been taught to maintain your cool with the police because I know I could end up on the wrong end of the stick (pun intended), So I don't agree with yelling at police even if it's only a safety precaution. But again was an arrest really warranted in this case? Both parties can take some of the blame for this escalating to where it has.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  50. elaine thomas

    This cops is a trainer for race relationships. That's a joke. No matter who was wrong in the situation, this cops demonstrated he has no skills not only in race relations but in everyday crisis.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
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