July 24th, 2009
03:44 PM ET

Obama, race and my arrest

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/24/officer.gates.arrest/art.gates.cnn.jpg caption="Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested after a reported break-in."]

Jeffrey Wright
Special to CNN

President Obama expressed what many Americans feel regarding the recent arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates - that the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police responded "stupidly."

Obama is catching some flak for that, but I applaud him for having had the courage to speak his heart and mind.

I wonder if the president himself has ever experienced the blunt end of racial profiling, or if he personally knows of anyone other than Professor Gates who has. Among African-American males in this country, the small minority is those who have not or do not.

Did some prior experience or knowledge inform his response about the Gates incident? I have no facts to back this up, but, to me, it seemed personal. If it was, I understand.

Keep reading...

soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Marymary

    My God CNN you are truly going downhill and Becoming Just a Tabloid News Station. I Expect Unfair Trash From the FOX Station, but you CNN have Blown the Professor Gates Issue Way out of Portion. Why did you send Mr. Lemons to the town to interview policemen/women that weren't even on the scene. Do you really think the Police were going to Say they were in the Wrong? Have they Ever? Why CNN do you Think that This President is Always Being Ask Questions Involving Blacks. Former President Bush Never Would Have Been Ask To Respond to This Issue, and I Knew absolutely it was going to be asked of President Obama. I'm surprised it wasn't the first queston the reporters wanted to ask. Mr. Bush Never Would Have Been Ask About Michael Jackson either. I wonder why the Reporters Didn't Ask President Obama to respond to Ms. Fawetts death or Mr. Ed McMann? When Mr. Bush was President He wasn't Even Ask to Respond to The Bell Incident that Happen on his watch In New York involving police officers, they ask the then Senator Obama Instead. Why is that CNN? So Here We Go Again, Now President Obama Answered the Gates Question as he understood it, with the information that he had. President Obama said The Police did everything Right up until the point when after the Police Officer Had Saw the ID of Mr. Gates, and he knew that Mr. Gates was indeed the ower of the home and that he was iin his own home. The Matter should have been Over With (That All The Facts That Were Needed), The Police Officer should Have Then Left the Property Because His Job was to Check on A Home Invasion, He did that and Found there was No Home Invasion, his Job was Complete In the Presidents View and in My view also. The President than when on to say that it was the ACTION that was Stupid of the Police Officer "Acting Stupidly" to then Arrest the Home Ower because the Officer Didn't like something that was supposely Said by the homeower (There is something thats called the "Freedom of Speech"). The President Was Not Calling the Police Officer Stupid just the ACTION that the Police Officer took in arresting the Home Ower, Again, the President only said he "Acted Stupidly" The President Could Have Maybe Used another Word to make his point, but I unstood what he meant and I knew He wasn't Being Disrepectful to the Police Officer or his Office when He was Making this statement. It Really peeves me off when I Hear John King of CNN State of the Union, Who Apparently Doesn't know How to Correctly or Truefully Repeat What A Person has Said. John King Did it on Purpose because He's Just Plain Unprofessional, and Its not the First Time He's Did This. John King would Say Something Different then what the President Actually Said and then add he own unprofessional and unwanted input. John King said the President Call the Officer Stupid (That is a Lie, He Did Not). CNN State of The Union Needs Someone Who Can Do a Honest Job of Reporting and John King is Not that Person. I would recommend that He goes Back to Map Pointing Only, But John King Even Cheated when He Did that. (Look back to When He was Adding Michgan and Flordia on the Map when it was Clinton/Obama, those states weren't to be counted but John King was putting them on the map anyways). Get Rid of HIm he' not Trustworthy . So CNN How Long Are You Going To Try And Milk This Issue, Is it about Gate and the Policeman or Are you Trying to Bash our President over and innocent use of words. Are Rating Getting Low? I thought the Larry King Show had been Changed to the Michael Jackson Hour. Tabloid Tabloid CNN. I Would Never Watch Fox, they make me want to Throw Up with their Vile, Vulgard, Tacky and Bogus Reporting, But You CNN are starting to make it very Hard to Believe in Your Reporting Techinque Also. MSNBC Leads the Way.

    July 27, 2009 at 1:12 am |
  2. Itai

    whats up?

    the police come to a house and there is a guy maybe a robber maybe not
    this guy give his identity to the police and the police proof if he is the owner of the house or not
    if not they take him to ... what ever they do ... proof who he is
    if he is the oner the police says "good bye" and the guy says "thanks to care about my house"
    thats it over and out

    but no
    the cop comes gets his identity knows he is the owner of the house and arrests him... what a wate of time!

    and it turns into a big story about rascim


    i know countries where such a thing never happens
    no one would think the cop is a rascit but maybe just a time wasting idiot
    and the cop would think maybe the neighbours were wrong and maybe he is only the owner of the house

    but no ... the cop comes and the first thing he got in his mind "a robber"
    and the other guy thinks "a rascist"

    the media picks it up and then we read on this blog "blacks are rascits", "white are rascists", "blacks hate us poor white guys", "the white guys think all blacks are criminals"

    maybe the officer was not a rascist
    maybe the black guy was not a rascist

    but it comes clear
    rascism is a gret topic
    many people dont think about humans but about races
    many people are still dividided by race

    people have to get over that!

    they should begin to practice equality between races!
    the media should not figure out who was a rascist or not in that case ... but try to change peoples mind so that we can accept thoese people as a stupid cop and a overreacting guy and not make it a big race issue

    sadly this is an optimal vision
    fact is KKK still exists, cops overreact a bit more on black then on white guys, and people still think in races
    "the black guy conspiracy in politic", "the white rascist clan"
    and people still act that way

    without any reason but idiotism

    July 24, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  3. Blondel

    The cambridge police arrested professor Gates because they got away with arresting people faslely all along, so it was nothing unusaul about their behavior, and the Black Officer has not shed any new light on the story because number one he has his Job to protect, he has conducted similar behavior like his colleage, as we know the blind cannot lead the blind. Hopefully the cops can learn to respect people's right to free speech. Professor Gates didn't even swear at the Police officer better him than me, because if he had they would have deserve it, and as for Lou Dobbs he is a born racist, and CNN need to fire him. Please leave President Obama alone, he is a real person, and he is honest and up right. As we can see Race is a reaL Big issue in America, we have a long way to go. Thanks

    July 24, 2009 at 8:08 pm |
  4. JIM S

    President Obama's comments only reinforces my belief that Eric Holder and Obama are racists. This was a local issue but it got a response from Obama. He still wants to play the race card every chance he gets. The only way the black community would stop crying racist at every altercation with law enforcement or the white community. If law enforcement agencies were to profile white majority, there would be no response from Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, NAACP and the ACLU.

    July 24, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  5. Ron San Bruno ,Ca

    I gotta tell ya, President Obama's fellow brethern do more damage to him then the GOP .

    July 24, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  6. Joyce S.

    The true element of racism,is playing on old fears.Wouldn't a simple computer check on who lived in the home would have provided the officers with a name,that probably would have allowed them to ask was he Dr.Gates and if so show some I.D.
    The woman who made the call wasn't she aware that a person from her staff was her neighbor and that her neighbor was Dr.Gates.
    Again racism feeds on history.

    July 24, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  7. Ishmael

    To all of the Skip sycophants how does it feel to be
    e America's biggest losers. Obama walked back those comments b/c he was about to get sued. And what kind of name is Skip for a brother any way?

    July 24, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  8. Kentucky Girl

    Why can't folks get this language thing correct? I, myself are far from "stupid". However, I do at times "act stupidly". Doesn't every human? There is a great difference between calling someone stupid and calling their ACTIONS stupid. Many of these folks being interviewed on TV/radio have NO clue!

    July 24, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  9. lisa

    The no ideas republicants wants to turn this health care bill to racial matters, leave the first black president alone and fix the health care problem,

    July 24, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  10. Hector Salgado (Berkeley, California)

    One day I went to pick up my daughter from school. In the way back to my house she mentioned that the police had been at the school talking about their work and the help they provide to the community. She was very excited and proud of the Berkeley police. Minutes later I got to an intersection with cones and police cars. I didn't know which way to go so I continued slowly until a white cop approached me screaming and yelling obscenities and dirty words in front of my daughter. I couldn't believe what this policemen was saying until he asked me if that was the way we drove in my country of origin. He asked me for my driver license and I asked him for his batch number. I wrote a complain letter to the police chief and to the mayor. I also asked the police review commission to ask the cop for an apology, not to me, but to my daughter. Did I mentioned that this takes place in Berkeley, California!!

    July 24, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  11. Annie Kate

    Just a note – in the subdivision where I live I doubt anyone on my road could identify their neighbors. We all keep to ourselves. No one visits around or has coffee with the neighbors – you leave in the AM to go to work and come home in the evening straight into the garage and your house. Not every neighborhood has people in it that try to get to know the others. If I saw someone acting suspiciously around one of the neighbors houses I would call it in and I wouldn't know what the owner looked like. A lot of neighborhoods are like this now; more and more of us are loners.

    July 24, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  12. Tim Gibson

    On this issue, is it not perhaps Obama who has acted stupidly?

    July 24, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  13. Larry

    The cop should be strung up as an example to other racist pigs!

    July 24, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  14. Denise

    I hope sumone read my previous comments BEFORE President Obama made HIS statement or recanted his....I knew it...overall even though this was a sad incident.. I still have a gut feeling that BOTH parties overreating, and apparently I was right, bc even the President said what I believed all along. 'NUFF SAID...now can I say please CAN WE MOVE ON..!!! No, thats not to belittle what happened to Mr Gates, because that could have been me. Sadly Mr President Obama has waay bigger things on his list to do..aka "HEALTH CARE REFORM"?? It is not his job to recant his opinion all because perhaps "certain people" got "bent out of shape". I love Mr and Mrs President Obama and I know unfortunately people are just waiting for him or her for that matter to say something in "their" opinion "wrong". This scenario has been dragged through the mud. Again, enuff is enuff. However, I am GLAD that President Obama did NOT back down on where he stand in regards to this issue, and technically he DID NOT apologize and why should he? I guess for the sake of it all he recanted a little, but make no mistake about it, he did NOT back down or out of what he said..again he just recanted ......and good for him.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  15. Beryl

    The verbal assaults by Professor Gates did not warrant the officer's reaction. Officer Crowley did not demonstrate the training we expect from our police. He should have done this once he ascertained that the citizen was in his own home.

    1. Apologize to the ranting citizen for his inconvenience.
    2. Offer to help him in any way by giving up his name and badge number.
    3. Leave the premises.

    Men of color and the police have unique relationships that women and white men cannot understand. I am not a man of color but I am intelligent enough to recognize this as a fact.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  16. Stacie

    re: privateyogaclasses – LOL!! well said.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  17. Billy J (I have been arrested before)

    Call it like it is.... a spitting contest between a cop and a professor. They both are used to being treated better than the rest of us.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  18. Billy J (I have been arrested before)

    It is all about mouthing off too loud and too long at the cops. You do that, and you get the cuffs. I honestly think that's what happened. Do other cops mess with blacks for no good reason?Absolutely. Would this cop have arrested anybody that yells stuff like 'do you know who you're messing with'? Yup.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  19. Efeson Alemayehu-California

    Please give me a break...I am an African-American Male...College Student.....

    Let’s stop exhausting the race issue here….Please lest lead once more in our economic and social problems, Mr. President Obama…Racism is going to come in many form and color. Racism gets too sensitive especially with this kind of economy…therefore please let’s not get destructed by it…lets think Big…Professor Gates: please don’t sale sort…let your intellect to reach so many lives….

    July 24, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  20. Brown

    Well if a ploice oficer is going too arrest me in my own home meanwhile that I showed him proof that I live here then he is a daam stupid idiot period. Thier nothing wrong with that.

    Its you stupid media people on CNN that are bringing this out and keep on talking about it. Ofcourse your going to have other police officer defend one another, thats just the way of the game

    The Cambridge police Department want an apology, had they apologize to the professor they had arrest....NO.....So why should they get one.

    Get out here....

    July 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  21. margaret

    you americans are so funny and especially the black amricans
    the are so arrogant and think like this world rotates on them
    president obama is both white and black and i dont think tthat its a bib deal...as an african i hate the so called african americans and i alyways wonder why they call themselve african-americans....

    July 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  22. Susan in Ill

    Suggest you do a little background.
    1) it was Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times who asked the question. Lynn and Obama know each other "well." Not only did Sweet cover Obama's relatively miraculous US Senate race, she has also covered him and the Illinois Legislature (and all the shenanigans of the leaders down in Springfield.)
    2) Listen careful to Obama's FULL answer for those NOT in the know. Yes. Obama did introduce legislation in the Illinois Legislature relating to Racial Profiling. Even though Obama lived in Hyde Park, one of the more fully integrated neighborhoods in Chicago (and home of the University of Chicago, the major player in the SouthEast Chicago Commission which instigated one of the earliest versions of "urban renewal"). I believe Obama drove down to Springfield rather than taking the train. That route is full of speed traps in addition to just rural counties in need of money. What do you think?

    July 24, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  23. Concerned American

    One of our sons (white) was often profiled for what he wore, how he spoke, what he drove. His mistake was thinking that because he was doing nothing wrong he didn't have to give in to an officers demands. He was arrested and spent time paying for standing up for himself. He's learned when you are confronted by a police officer, show total respect and no matter how right you believe you may be in the situation, the police officer has the authority. There's always court to settle differences.

    That said, where is the Professors responsibility in all of this. Now that he knows why the officer was there, why isn't he more understanding? The officer should take responsiblity as well for loosing it in the end with an arrest. I believe these two men need some time in a counseling session. Sounds like they both have some things to learn about respect.

    I'm an Obama supporter but I believe he should have said no comment until he had all of the facts. Speaking early on a situation this volatile shows favoritism. In his position, we should not have to question his bias. I voted for him as a person, not because of his race. I believed that's what he stood for and that his decision making would follow that goal in working toward all equal. I have a dream about that too.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  24. Mihai-Robert Schwartz

    As a white Jewish European working for a top Cambridge company I had the misfortune to experience a few times during my business stay at the HQ the behaviour of Cambrdge cops when facing African-Americans. I can't help, it was clearly induced by racial profiling, deep in their brains and hearts.

    Cambridge policemen are certainly as good or bad as others in other comparable American cities. However, in Europe most of those guys wouldn't get a police badge or would get rapidly fired.

    No matter how the homeowner Gates behaved and what he said, it's clear that the Sargeant acted either stupidly or deliberately as a mad cop. Something we do not wish to experience, dead or alive.

    Mr. Gates was lucky that he was arrested by a cop sgt. in USA, not by an ary sgt. in Abu Ghuraib. Imagine Professor Gates naked, blind-folded, menaced by a dog and a wild, wild small young lady ...

    July 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  25. Nancy

    This police officer did not just stop Mr. Gates in his car and harass him. He was called to a burglary in progress. If he had found and
    stopped a burglary he would have been praised. He also could
    have been shot or killed if this had been a "real" robbery. It was an
    unfortunate ending, but the police officer did not just look for a black
    man to harass. He was doing his job. Mr. Gates was insulted that
    he would have to identify himself in his own house. That is also
    understandable, but if he could have seen the situation in the eyes
    of the policeman instead of thinking he was being picked on, it
    would have had a more favorable outcome.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  26. Chris

    What about the 2 other officers that were there?

    They said the same thing as the white office!

    July 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  27. privateyogaclasses

    Seems like a classic male 'pissing contest' to me more than race. The fact that Gates was handcuffed and arrested to me is the cop saying 'I'm a bigger dog than you'...( I couldn't believe it when Crowley said 'he said things about my mother'...) That's doesn't justify locking a man up. I suspect they both reverted to approx 4-5 years of age during their encounter...now boys just apologize and move on.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  28. Anthony Ching

    Let's stop the commentary and move forward.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  29. maryanna.

    but yet i wonder if the officer was african american and arrested a white man, would obama call him stupid?! and would it be getting this much unneeded attention!? yeahhhh..doubt it! SOME african americans think that since we now have a black president, that gives them some higher authority or something...so everyhting bad that happens to them they are going to blame it on race, and think obama is automatically gonna be on their side..which he probably will be! and you know, blacks arent the only ones to have to "deal" with race issues!

    July 24, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  30. Donnie Edwards

    If a black does something to a white is is pay back if a white does something to a black it is racist when does all this stop what is going on are they trying to do away with the police and by the way Obama is not the first black president he is the first byracial president. this Professor needs to get a life and not try to get a book or movie deal

    July 24, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  31. S

    This is a perfect example of why people are still racist because anytime a black person is approached by a white person they automatically pull the race card. The professor was out of line! Every TV cop show has had officers doing the same thing because that is standard procedure for officer safety. This dumb ass would probably scream racisim if he was stopped for speeding by a white cop. Obama should have kept his mouth shut! He clearly didn't have all the information if he had then he would have known even the witnesses stated that Gates was out of line. Next time the cops get a call to his home about a possible break in hopefully they take their time or ignore it, would serve him right if in fact there had been burglars in his home without his knowledge. He should have thanked the officer for being thorough. This is just another example of reverse racism, its pretty bad when the President is guilty of reverse racism and refuses to acknowledge it. Another reason why Obama should NOT be president. If a white President had pulled that crap he would be asked to step down guaranteed.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  32. princess williams

    I don't understand why some people can't believe a person is racist.?? It still exists and its worser with the younger generation.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  33. Betty in California

    Am I the only person who thinks it's pathetic that we seem to care more about what Obama said about the police officers than what he did about health care?

    July 24, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  34. Jalanda

    I am glad that President Obama stepped up and apologize because it really takes a bigger person to do that and he just show us that we have a great leader. Unfortunately the police man's pride will not allow him to do the same and it is sad. We all know pride comes before a man great fall. Thank You Obama for stand up us and the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  35. Anonymous police officer

    This is an excellent example of the code of silence in the law enforcement profession. Arresting a black male because he had a attitude problem/issue....The arrest of Professor Gates is what we in law enforcement call an “attitude arrest”, meaning that if it was not for his attitude, he would have been let go and noting would have happen to him. The problem with the Sergeants Crawley story is this, the officer admitted that he was walking out of the house and when Gates followed him out into the public area (outside of his house) the officer arrested him. It is oblivious that the officer was satisfied with the information given to him and believe that Gates did in fact live there at the home, that is why the officer turned his back and walked away (officer safety, never turn your back to a suspect). The charge of “disorderly conduct” is an “attitude charge and arrest” used by officer’s to justified arresting someone when there is no other reasons to make the arrest. It is also a charge to show, “I don’t like your attitude, so I will show you who is in charge here.”

    July 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  36. cassie

    First of all, the President of the United States has no place in interfering in local police situations. Seriously, he is setting an unhealthy precedent as a President of a country. The question that needs to be asked here, is whether Obama would have done the same thing had the man in this case been white?

    July 24, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  37. Patty Louise

    Obviously, the professor Gates is angry and police force in many urban areas across the nation have a large cloud of doubt that haunts their reputation. This issue of race relations in this country is going to break us apart , and make us appear weak and unruly to other nations. We must put this act of evil and hauntiness to a stop and work together to uprise a nation that is drowning in a deep dish of ignorance, injustice and foolishness.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  38. Adrian Cornist

    The President was right to comment on the question about arrest incident, but I ask you to look at the report.

    I find in the report that Officer said there maybe someone else in the home that could pose a threat, well did they check to see if someone else was in the house? No, he did'nt. Once the Professor ID himself the police officer should have left.

    Both men were disrepectfull to each other, The Professor should have talked to the officer without screaming. It's okay to be mad, but you do'nt have to yell, scream, or be biligerant. The Officer used the power of his position to make someone shut up or punish the Professor, because he hurt him, to control and punish him.

    Even the Prosecutor said it was not an arrestable violation, that's why he dropped the charges.

    It's not against the law to use bad language, yell, scream or even talk dirty to anyone including the Police, as long it is not a threat to cause bodily harm. Especially in your house or outside on your porch.

    Example of what the Officer did; If someone was yelling all kinds of hurtfull things to you and calling you names, you react by hitting that person to either hurt him because you did'nt like the comments, to shut him up or embarrass that person.

    (Stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.)

    July 24, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  39. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    I also praise President Obama's statement, and sincerely hope he does not back down from what he said. Because I have brown skin, I have been stopped twice while out walking, in two separate instances, by policemen. One officer patted my legs, and the second time the policeman made me put my hands on his car while he looked through my purse. I had done nothing wrong. My two brothers have also been stopped while driving more than once, asked a barrage of questions, been forced to raise their hands in the air, and been arrested. They have never committed a crime. This is still a huge problem, and the Federal government needs to address it, since law enforcement officials insist on covering up and defending the corrupt deeds of fellow officers. It does not matter what the nature of your job is; if you abuse your authority, your actions should be exposed and there should be consequences.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  40. Christine

    We should all invest more time in constructive versus destructive comments and behavior – objectivity is a great tool for bridging the gap of understanding between each other’s perspectives.

    I am encouraged by President Obama’s appearance this afternoon – he restored my faith in his judgment, ability to admit when wrong (others should take cue from that) and caring about how this issue has been taking such a bad turn – much needed medicine to hopefully begin the healing of this new wound.

    There is still one nagging question I would love to know the answer to – it was a question that immediately came to mind when I saw Prof. Gates was on CNN’s Black in America2 Wednesday night. Was his appearance already scheduled prior to the arrest incident transpiring? If in fact he was already scheduled to appear, a follow-up question would be: Albeit, an amazing coincidence, could his behavior have been a calculated reaction towards Sgt. Crowley – igniting the firestorm that has ensued? There is an account from Professor Gates on a website called The Root that made me wonder about his story when I first read it earlier this week, but I wanted to wait for more of the facts to emerge.

    The following post on one of the other CNN blogs today by The Rev. Thomas J. Hudson of the Saint James Episcopal Church, Westernport, Maryland, caught my eye as well:
    Henry Louis Gates, Jr, has a history of seeing racism wherever he looks. In his book, Colored People: A Memoir, in which he described growing up in Westernport, Maryland, he claimed that our church, St James Episcopal, made his family sit in the last pew. That is completely false. Our parish welcomed his family and did not care where they sat. Gates’ father, Henry Louis Gates, is a beloved former member who receives birthday greetings from our parish and a commemoration in our prayers every year. Henry Jr has a cause, and he seizes every opportunity to advance it.

    Now from my perspective, there have been several disturbing aspects to the Gates story…the first is that national and local leaders, reporters, commentators, and so many viewers injecting their conclusions and opinions, many with a significant dose of bias, most without adequate facts.

    Bottom line: If one is responsible, they meticulously gather substantiated facts and react/comment accordingly. It certainly appears there is enough blame to go around in the Gates story. Professor Gates should have been appreciative of police investigating what they believed was a break-in and, by Gates own admission, not immediately think he was in danger because a white police officer was at his door. The Police should have walked away from the disgruntled Professor if all he did was rant about his perceived injustice. The President, admittedly, should have been a little more sensitive with his choice of words. The Governor of Massachusetts should follow suit and admit that he should not have thrown out his blanket racial statement “…every black man’s nightmare” into the ring of public opinion. As the President said this afternoon in so many words, there is a lesson to be learned here. I hope we don’t ignore that lesson.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  41. Francisco Abreu

    1. Was the arrest lawful? Yes? So President Obama should apologize to Cambridge police, and I think Professor Gates may be able to sue whoever reported his entry to his own home to the police as a break-in, unless he is new and unknown in the neighbourhood.

    2. The arrest was not lawful? President Obama was right on his comments, police officer involved should apologize to the professor who may be able to sue Cambridge police dept.

    Easy to solve the problem, no need to be a rocket scientist. Plain facts, no politics.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  42. Sonja Gibson

    Hmmmm to be Black in America. As a matter of fact to be Black anywhere, including Africa is hard.

    I am not sure why one “race” of people can truly believe that they are “superior” to another “race”, because of skin color. When a blood transfusion is required, does one stop the procedure and demand the blood of a particular race? If a heart is required, does one demand the organ of a particular race? No, race at the moment, is irrelevant because it’s important. So why is race such an issue?

    Most Caucasian people state that they are not racist and believe that the police behavior was “permissible” and that Professor Gates’ behavior was “belligerent”.


    Well, perhaps we as a people could use a little help from the late great Elvis Presley and take a lesson from his song, “Walk a Mile in My Shoes”.
    "If you could see you through my eyes
    Instead of your ego
    I believe you'd be, I believe you'd be surprised to see
    That you've been blind".

    Acknowledgement is the first step to healing, racism

    July 24, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  43. Ikaika

    Pretty sure this wasn't racially charged. It was simply a police officer who was not smart enough to see the situation for what it was, OR, he did and wanted to exert his power. This is not uncommon among police officers – they show aggression, they incite anger from innocent citizens, then point fingers, accusing the innnocent of being "belligerent". I've been on the receiving end of such behavior from police officers, and I'm not black. Racial or not, it appears to me that this was simply a mattwer of a police officer using his power to bully still another citizen.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  44. Alice Geier

    For goodness sake "get over it" The Professor should have been acting like the gentlemen he is and not have been mouthing off to a police officer and just stepped outside. The police are always on the defensive if they have to go to a call where there could be violence. Also there is a large immigrant population in the North East that could care less about Mr Black or White American. Also if you look back at history, one of the safest havens for the fleeing slave was New England. Just get back work all of you.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  45. Andrea King Collier

    If this incident just shows that there is a possibility that we are not so color blind and we are not living post racially, maybe it will make people more aware.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  46. John Sakura

    Jim Crow (Crowley).

    Ironic even misplaced.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  47. Clifford D. Grannum

    Is the press trying to keep alive a story that's undergoing self-putrification?
    The professor Gates story amazes me not so much for the issue of racial profiling as for the fact that it never should have taken on a life of its own.
    When the police seargent responding to a phone call from a neighbor of professor Gates arrived at the scene and called professor Gates outside his home, it seems only logical that his first action should have been to ask the accusing neighbor to identify professor Gates as the intruder that she saw, at 12:30 in the afternoon, or as her neighbor ;end of story. Without a doubt I think this was a case of poor police work..

    July 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  48. MEB

    Mr. Cooper,
    I hope I didn't just see that you were going to delve deeper into the Prof/Police problem tonight.
    Deeper would be to dig a big hole and bury the story.
    We all get it, they both have their sides but unfortunately it is being driven by politicss and race.
    The police were doing their job but they carried it too far with ther arrest.
    The professor carried it too far with his anger and tantrum,
    Our President was siding with his friend but shouln't have called them
    " xxxxxx".
    WE GET IT PLEASE stop beating a ded horse...PLEASE !!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
1 2