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July 24th, 2009
02:37 PM ET

Please, Professor Gates!

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/23/officer.gates.arrest/art.gates.cnn.jpg caption="Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested after a reported break-in."]
Sherrilyn A. Ifill
The Root

In an interview with The Root after the ordeal of his arrest in his home in Cambridge, this week Harvard professor (and The Root’s editor-in-chief) Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. announced his intention to make a PBS special about race and the criminal justice system. It would bring welcome attention to an important and still underreported issue.

Although Gates’ experience has been described as racial profiling, the problem of race and the criminal justice system is more complex. It includes police brutality (including the increasing and sometimes deadly use of Tasers), disparate sentencing, poor prison conditions, harsh and often racially disparate sentencing, and a range of barriers to the reintegration of ex-offenders. Any one of these issues would benefit from a thoughtful PBS special, especially one with the scholarly imprimatur of a Gates production

Gates has developed something of a franchise on PBS, particularly his specials on genealogy. In these programs, Gates and his research team have meticulously traced the lineage of famous black people from Oprah to Chris Rock to Quincy Jones. The segments in which Gates shares the fruit of his research with his subjects is always emotionally wrenching. The stories of the slaves, freedmen, teachers and soldiers who struggled and somehow made it through, reduce his rich and famous subjects to moments of speechlessness and often tears. In this sense, we learn about African-American history through the eyes of exceptional and successful African Americans. We share with them a kind of personal journey into their own family history.

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soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Darrell

    PJ
    where is your outrage at all the young black men who are killed by other young black men? Bill Cosby was right.
    Everyone is suffering in this economy, except maybe the fat cats who got bailed out by the govt.

    And Joe Secular, I think you got your descriptions of the two individuals backwards. It was the poor cop trying to do his job & the dumb/egocentric professor trying to prove something.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  2. 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”. Why?
    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 5:45 pm |
  3. Cheryl

    This is clearly another show of power. Police have weapons and the law on their side. I have known too many police officers in my time, they are not always the best and brightest. They have baggage that comes to work with them daily.Yes they have rough jobs-few could handle the situations that they deal with on a daily basis-all the more reason they should have been smart enough to recognize a high profile situation and walked away after the identity was made. Instead his ego said " I'll show you' and now he has a mess to clean up.The officer was trained to deal with diversity-but let his ego run the show.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  4. Gloria

    Police officers place their life on the line every day performing their duty to protect the community.
    That officer was answering to a call about a look like braking into a house. He had to investigate and ask identification of the person he found already in the house. He also had to take precautions once he did not know who the person was.
    Prof. Gates, who had done nothing other then enter his own house, had nothing to worry about,and ask why was the officer there, and assure the officer that he lived there, but might have given the wrong impression due to his need to force his door open. For other hand, it's good to know that the police was there when a breaking was suspected,.
    We all need to respect each other, and we need to respect the law.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  5. charmichael

    Have you all read the police report? If it’s an accurate representation of what transpired, then it was Gates who discriminated against himself by assuming racism from the start and acting so defensively during the incident.

    Someone called the cops to report a possible home invasion, and the cop was responding to this call. All Gates had to do was show his ID to confirm he lived there, thank the cop, and end of story. There was no need for such a spectacle…assuming the police report tells it as it happened.

    charmichael
    houson

    July 24, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  6. Kevin

    Most police officers are direct; they are not “customer service” orientated. I’m a 27 year old while male from Louisiana and I can’t recall very many instances that I have a pleasant encounter with a police officer!! Yet I do what is asked, with no resistance or attitude. Then again, I do not have a race card to pull out every time someone is rude to me. I have to take responsibility for my own actions. You can thank people like Mr. Gates and Al Sharpton for 90% of the racist white Americans!! Racism will always be an issue as long as there is money to be either made or given away!

    July 24, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  7. hillnmiami

    The real racist here is not Obama and Gates. Black people endured slavery and racism from the 1400s here in America. America Created laws to prevent the prosperity of the black man Thats racism. BLACK people dont have the economic means to be a racist.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  8. Jo Ann, Ohio

    If all things remain as they seem, the MSM, especially CNN and Soledad O’Brien acted irresponsibly by giving Professor Gates a platform to spew his anger and his lies. They and Gates owe Sgt. Crowley and the Cambridge police department an apology for their sloppy handling of this story.

    Obama is equally, if not more, irresponsible for giving an opinion based on nothing but “friendship” and racial bias. It is obvious that he is not, as he claimed, a president that “transcends race,” but one who sees all issues through a racial lens. It is obvious that he never intended to represent all Americans.

    Obama clearly deceived the American people.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  9. R. K.

    Did Gates have specific knowledge of the officer's motivation (other than his skin color) to indicate the officer was motivated by racism? Did he make a racial comment to Gates, or something else that would indicate his motivations were racial? If so, then his accusations are justified, and he should sue. If not, then Gates is the racist here, and the officer should sue Gates for slander. It has gotten to the point that someone is entitled to justice, if not a simple (public) apology from the other.

    Assuming an individual’s behavior is motivated by racism only because they are a different race is racism. It simply takes more evidence to judge individual motivations.

    There should be an audiotape of the confrontation. Police often use such devices to protect themselves from such accusations. Is there one? If so, let's hear it? Then we can stop assuming things on both sides and make a reasonable judgment.

    If there is no audiotape, then we are left to believe what we want. But, why can't we then simply admit that we don't know, instead of assuming one of the two parties is the racist. Doing so to either of them is a racist act.

    It is time to stop perpetuating racism on both sides. Racism paranoia is also racism. Let's all stop assuming skin color is what motivates our behavior and racism will disappear.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  10. debbie

    what we seem to know....
    a neighbor of Mr. Gates calls 911 to report a possible break in –
    the police, white & black officiers repsond
    They find 2 men in the suspencted home – ask for identification
    at that point the situation seems to escalate ... why?
    Police officers are to investigate and thru that investigation determine an outcome.
    Aggressive solutions are being used becauses of unwillingness to cooperate in such instances. These men and women put their lives on the line for you & me and our families everyday. rookie ball players who sit on the bench get paid more ... but that's another subject.

    Why not just co operate – answer the questions, show id to prove you live there, expain what happened. it all could have been addressed at the door of Mr. Gates home. News articles indicate Mr. Gates may have been tired and agitated. Just anwer the questions, ask some your self... a good starter, "why are you here"?
    As far as the "title" of the man Professor – friend of the President – what ever, why should that matter.. the police were responding to a possible break in.
    As far as promoting an up coming PBS show – it will get alot more attention now.
    As far as the president speaking out ... we have a whole country of people – black – white – yellow – purple & blue ( I apologize if I left anyone out ) that would like President Obama to speak up for them too

    July 24, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  11. believer

    can we put first things first? there is no difference between us. excpet color, when God created us, he created us from all colors of sands of the world. As there are whites sands, beige sands, yellow sands, black sands, brown sands, peach sands, etc, we are all of the same mold. Look beyond the colors and feel what your neighbor or brother or sister might be feeling and have an understanding of what they might be going through. Hold back your judgements before you think about what your going to say or do. That is the way to treat your fellow human. God didn't want it any other way.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  12. Betty

    Obama said during his campaing that this is an America for all, did he change his mind? We are from all races and all colors, and all of us live in the same place, so try to make this better. We have enough with the economy problems.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  13. frank james

    police should know how to deal with all kinds of situations they go through special training i guess when it comes to black people that training goes out the window racism is alive and ever black man should be afraid because its dr.gates now and might be you and me tomorrow

    July 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  14. rhonda

    This isn't about race, it's about civil rights. The civil rights of ALL of us. Race is a side issue. Police don't have the right to handcuff and arrest you for nothing more than using the wrong tone of voice. The reason people of color react to this is because they are more often on the receiving end of this kind of bullying, and it distresses them when white people wont see it or don't beleive it. The issue has been shifted to color and that obscures the real issue.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  15. jd45

    It seems the actions of both men, Gates and Crowley were justified, but to a point. I can certainly understand Gates' anger at being considered a suspect in his own home, but I can also see Crowley's need to protect himself. Although difficult, if both men had been able to put himself in the others' shoes, this unfortunate event wouldn't have happened. I believe Crowley was doing his job in being cautious about who was identifying himself, and in doing so, set off an already perturbed Gates who apparently was locked out of his house. Gates then went into a tyrade and played the "race card", and it escalated from there. What is disappointing is that they actually arrested Gates. The police should have had the sense to stop an obvious "tit for tat" racial conflict by NOT arresting Gates. Gates' tyrade, justified or not, only served to fuel more anger and likely his arrest.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  16. Gerald R. Everett

    What a American perfect storm. Race/Class/Testosterone. Rashomon on the Charles River.

    It reminds me of the old Hindu story about the Acolyte and the Elephant. A guru’ acolyte grew frustrated with his master’
    unwillingness to tell him the ultimate secret of life. One day he became angry with the old man and demanded to know the
    secret of life, or he would kill himself. The old guru said “very well, I will whisper it into your ear”. Overjoyed, the acolyte bent over and listened as the guru whispered, “I am God, You are God, all things are God”. Thunderstruck the acolyte leapt to his feet and screamed, “ I am God, You are God, all things are God , I must run and tell the world”. Immediately the acolyte started running down the road, screaming to everyone he past “ I am God, You are God, all things are God”. Presently, the acolyte saw an elephant and mahout coming down the road toward him. People were scattering to one side of the road or the other in order not to be trampled by the great beast. At first the acolyte started to do the same, until he realized that he had nothing to fear. He thought, if I am God and the Elephant is God why should I fear him as surely one God can not hurt another. So the acolyte continued to walk down the road toward the oncoming elephant. The mahout started to scream down from the elephants back saying “get out of the way you crazy fellow, this elephant
    will crush you like a bug”. Unperturbed the acolyte continued to walk toward the elephant confident in the security of knowing that he was God. At the last moment, the elephant reached down with his trunk and swatted the acolyte out of the way. Bruised and in pain the acolyte got to his feet and wondered back to the guru in great depression. Finding the Guru the acolyte sadly recounted his story and said to the Guru, “ I don’t understand it master. If I am God and the elephant was God, why did the elephant swat me into the gutter? “, presently the Guru answered, “ my son, why did you ignore the voice of God coming from the back of the elephant”?

    I am just worried that everyone will want to come to a conclusion about what happened, rather than choosing to live humbly, and with others, to more joyously experience the complexity of being human. That we will remain deaf to the voice of God coming from the back of the elephant.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  17. lige

    Look, the Officer was suppose to be responding to a possible break-in, once he established that the professor was in his own home then his job was done. And to say he asked the professor outside because he was worried that their may be other robbers in the house is ridiculous. This is why relationships between people of color and police is so strained, i believe that they actually believe the lies they are allowed to tell.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  18. isleofhopeand of hop

    Last night you hosted both Roland Martin and a Boyce ?? a professor at Syracuse University. While the professor was trying to project an unbiased slant on the Gates incident, Mr. Martin would have none of that. It seems that per Mr. Martin everything pertaining to the officer's side was "alleged" but all of Gates' accounts were facts. You missed the opportunity to explain to Mr. Martin that just because someone shouts to the New York Post, Today Show, shouts to the masses and to the Almighty does not make what he is shouting tru.. Somewhere in all this mess there are many shades of gray. Professor Gates, despite his reputation and his education seems to come off a little too much like someone just waiting for someone to tap that chip on his shoulder. I've heard him speak and he sometimes comes off more like an Al Sharpton than someone as erudite as he truly is. eHe could be doing a lot more for race relations by emphasizing the values and the habits and the behaviors that we should all aspire to possess. By the way, profiling doesn't just apply to blacks...it is done to many others within our population. And yes, I am Black.

    Shame on you Anderson. If someone in this country is biased....it looks it may be Mr. Martin, as his attitude about this case is tyipical of his attitude regarding others. He's finally lost all credibility with me.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  19. Joe Secular

    When the dumb /egocentric seargent came to know about Prof gates identity why is there a reason to arrest poor Gates.....what is the police guy trying to prove here..... he is just wasting time......big slacker.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  20. LIZ

    when a police officer responds to a call for service for a possible burglary in progress, the officer will ask for Identification from an person or persons he comes in contact with at said residence. From everything I've read, the good professor refused to show identification. I don't care if his picture was posted all over the house, it could be his ex wife's house for all the officer knows. For this gentleman (and the President for that matter) to immediately throw the "race" card out there is ridiculous...

    July 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  21. PJ

    I am seeing these incidences happening to often in the United States of America. A Police officer arrested a young man and then shot him by mistake because he thought he was using his tazer. Our brightest Young Black Men shot a few feet from their own homes, because the police made a mistake. I am seeing these things happening too much lately. The last time I looked I was supposed to be in the land of the free. Where everyone has the right to speak. Not a Country where I don't have the right to speak just because you are wearing a badge. The Police are really out of control as far as I am concerned. And if the Police Officer is trained in Racial Profiling: He needs to go back to school, because he has shown he knows nothing about the subject. Blacks are suffering in this country, with the high unemployment rate and Poor schools for our children etc. etc....... Stop this Racism now.
    And how dare you ask the President of the United States for an apology.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  22. Garat

    We waist words on petty things. So the President said the Police acted stupidly. He did. Professor Gates was in his own home in a FREE country and can say whatever. He did not pull out a weapon on them and therefore the Police should have just apologize and turned and left, but they had to show a black man who is boss. It is stupidity why people act like racists. The President is human and is just back from Ghana where he experienced the sadness of the Gate of no return. We are forgetting what happened in Boston with the Police and Minister Williams, an Antiguan residing in Boston. A female officer told the swat team that it was the wrong address and yet they went in and found this old man and frightened him to freiling against a wall. They knew it was wrong yet they floored him, cuffed him and killed him. Yes they killed him and someone should have been suspended and jailed. Mr. Williams vomitted while on his stomach and they allowed him to die ... a poor old man and then they tried to brush it and eventually did, brush it under the rug. Anderson, you need to look at this again. This happens all the time. When you are Black in America you are a target for everyone. It is appauling when one who was not born in the States and cannot even speak English look at you and tell you who were born there fourth generation to go back to Africa or when you are told that you do not have a brain like a white person. Anderson take a deep look.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  23. Alex

    This is a no brainer. The real "Racists" here are Gates and Obama!

    July 24, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  24. Linda B., Ga.

    Correction....There are 3 sides to every story....His side, His side and The Truth.....

    We should all be getting on the neighbors tail for not recognizing their "neighbor" and reporting a break in to the police. This could've all been squashed IF the neighbor was using their head, in the right way...

    July 24, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  25. george

    racism will always be with-us in all it forms , as for Mr. Gates hi should be very lucky, if hi was 30years younger it will have been a different story , the officers would shoot-ed the young black man and than mush latter ask questions.
    Mr. Gates as a professor should have known batter as a black man to answer questions with yes Sir no Sir and stay alive.
    As for race is in road of improvement that is way we as people (white open minded and color people) have elected a color man in the highs office.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  26. Gilby-HI

    This is a look at the underbelly of the RACISM INDUSTRY. (sorry I was following sista kARLA fun type).
    The whole arrest and actions that lead up to it will be on the air very soon. Mr. Gates is a professional racist and the police acted as other professional racist have suggested with respect even though they are being treated with no respect.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  27. Maria, New Orleans

    My question is for the media, "Why is it that the media is not showing the clear disclaimer that Obama made prior to making his comment regarding the professor issue?" It is obvious that the officer did not hear the president make this disclaimer because his reaction was disappointing because the president did not know all of the facts. In the presidents disclaimer, that the media refuse to show, President Barrack Obama states that he doesn't know all of the facts, Skip Gates is a friend so he may be a little bias. Everyone is criticizing the president for making such strong remarks when he didn't have all of the facts but, but if the media would play the disclaimer he states that he doesn't have all the facts. PLAY THE DISCLAIMER MEDIA!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  28. Daniel, Boston

    I am glad it happened to Professor Gates. Now the world will give some attention to the issue, and may be think more on how to get rid of racists and biggots out of our police departments. For God's sake, why would anyone arrest anyone in his own house when there is a proof that it actually is your own house? Sgt Crowley, what do you teach in your racial profiling class? Do you teach the white cops like yours how to treat old-young-black men and women the way you treated this old man, walking with a cane in his own house?

    July 24, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  29. Gabriel

    If you look like a criminal then the police officer can always claim he was protecting himself. Statistics show that minorities "look like criminals" more often than others. The issue is not the process followed by the police officer, but the fact that if a prominent scholar "looks like a criminal" in the eyes of the law, then the rest of us minorities do not stand a chance to look like normal citizens.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  30. Joan

    Why is it that it becomes racial profiling when a black man is asked for his identification? And why is it that when he refuses and becomes further defiant to law enforcement and gets arrested it is always race related? I am a white woman in America and the same result would happen to me if I was so defiant towards the law. Its time to wake up and smell the roses people...

    July 24, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  31. Pablo

    We here in New Haven Connecticut had almost a similar incident. Were as a judge was intoxicated and ran over a cop, killing him. They kept the incident low key because of his who he was. For most we only knew him as a judge in New Haven. But he wasn't just another judge he was ex President of the U.S George W. Bush's Cousin. Who came to his aid and nothing was pretty much said nor done. It seems because we have this first black president we want to see him fail, so we can say " I told You so". Most of those who agree with the police officer have never been on the other side of fence. It does happen white police officers tend to push black and hispanic victims to the limit of provocking them to act in a violent manner. It's not that we want to act violent but rather we want to be heard, we want to be treated as anyone else.
    By the way the judge was never sentenced and is still a judge.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  32. Kathy, CA

    What a waste of TV time. This professor should have shut up and been cooperative.

    Seems he provoked the whole situation.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  33. James Jarrett

    The problem with all polices they see themself as the law, as apposed to en-forcing the law. they use provoke'n words like shut up, dont say another word, people like Mr. Gates is not going to let anyone talk to him in that manner.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  34. James, Detroit

    I'm sure that if Steve, the white construction worker, had conducted himself similarly to Professer Gates he probably would have been arressted also.

    But would a white Harvard Professer Gates have been subjected to the same reponses under the same exact circumstanses?

    What is the larger injustice, to be treated differently because of the color of your skin, or to expect and be granted preferential treatment for the same actions because of ones social status?

    Paul says in Col 3:25 – "But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.", and I say whats wrong with that?

    July 24, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  35. Troy Crumbley

    In the midst of this Gates-Crowley hullabaloo, what I'm wondering is: How did this happen in the first place? Where is the neighbor who made the initial call to police? Two black males, wearing backpacks? Where are the two suspects? Did they ever exist? If not, then what did this woman see? Was she hallucinating? Where is her interview? I have yet to see a reporter bring this up. So far, we have heard nothing from this "witness," not so much as a, "No comment." Why is this aspect of the story being overlooked? I have a hard time believing I'm the only one in the country bothered by these questions...

    July 24, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  36. Michele

    Prof. Gates did not act like an educated man when the incident happened. From what I understand, he over reacted and treated the officer with no respect. He was on the defensive as soon as he was approached, maybe he was tired from his trip, however, this is not how an educated man should have acted in this situation. No matter what color his skin. Is this really the example he wants to set for anyone let alone black America? Making a PBS special is ridiculous, lets move forward in a positive way and not focus on the negative.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  37. HURKAMUR

    Has anyone thought enough to say that maybe this officer just made a poor decision? You don't have to be a racist to be an idiot. Once he (the officer) realized that Gates was in his own home the incident should have been over, regardless to what Gates was saying. The situation almost certainly would have de-escalated if the officer would have just apologized and been on his way and he didn't and for that he may not be a racist but for sure may have an issue with his decision making skills...

    July 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  38. Bobby Brown

    Im not saying in this incicdent that police acted stupidly. But i myself have been arrested on the same incident except it wasnt a break in. I was standing on my own porch watching my step father being attacked by stokes county sherrifs dept. He had just got sprayed with mace and i took off my shirt to let him wipe his face and they said i was going to attack them . That would have been stupid on my part because the whole dept was at my house . There would have been no way possible i could have won. While i sitting at the magistrates office in the car in handcuffs we heard the officers all makeing up the story they was going to stick on us . It was like it was in dispute of what they was going to say. Im not black or latino im white and i do beleive that some cops out there beleive they are above the law and have the right to do anything even if its not the right thing. I beleive its time for them to be put in there place. And now we have a President that is standing by us that just might make that possible So that doesnt happen again . We never got an appologie all we got was a criminal record.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  39. Richard Tibbetts

    Ref: The arrest of Prof.Gates

    I am a staunch suporter of President Obama !!
    I am truly disappointed in his public dressing down of a Police Officer in Cambridge .
    I have been around law-enforcement a good part of my life.I have worked with all types of nationalities and religious beliefs in law-enforcement .
    This is one area , I am truly disappointed with President Obama !!
    H e,without having all the facts, I beleive he was dead wrong on even answering that question with the reporter.
    Has he heard the statements from the African American Sgt that was also on scene with the Cauasian Sgt.?
    He needs to remember,that he is The President of ALL Americans,not just,Minorities !!!!!!!!!!

    I will be waiting for his apology to THE Nation,for being drawn into a subject,he admits that he did not have all The Facts and he should
    have known better ,as a Harvard Law School Graduate !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  40. William Brown

    Anderson,
    Sergeant Crowley was the trained authority at the scene. With this power he could and should have averted any need for an arrest once the professor's identity was known, which, should have been by sight., however, if he did not recognize the professor, upon the presentation of his identification. The sergeant's ego got in the way of his training and sound thinking when the professor asked for his badge number. My training taught NOT TO RESULT TO USE OF YOUR POWER IN SUCH A SITUATION.
    The reporter raised the question of racial profiling when she asked the president her question and he responded appropriately in my opinion.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  41. Karla

    It may never be determined to what degree racial profiling is a factor in this case, if at all.

    What IS of importance is the HUMAN issue – Professor Gates' conduct may have been disorderly, however, just because the PO has the right to arrest based on disorderly conduct, and there is protocol to follow when doing so, does NOT mean he SHOULD arrest. After being shown the ID, the officer, or ANY other officer that was there, should have taken a step back and listened to why Mr. Gates was so upset. It should have been understood ( I am sure he verbalized he felt he was a victim)- what PO's are not fully trained in is dealing with the CIVILIAN population in a CIVILIZED manner.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  42. Joe G. (Illinois)

    Jeremiah Wright was Obama’s preacher for decades until after many months of no shows and "careful considerations" chose someone else. Now this Harvard University professor (Henry Louis Gates Jr.) is Obama’s friend. But for how long once things come to light? And why is everything about Obama an enigma? Is it because that’s what makes him a fantasy hero?

    July 24, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  43. President focus should be in Washington

    President Obama must remain focused on governmental affairs in Washington vs. local issues. President Obama over step his boundaries by making his personal opinions prime time news of the Henry Gates, Jr situation which was very inappropriate for his position.

    The American people are becoming more concern of our leadership in Washington and I truly believe our President is losing his focus as to why he was voted into place and should be more verbal and focus as to tracking the monies being distributed from the stimulus package along with the issues in Iran. Our Presidnet behavior is becoming a big concern for many americans and we have every right to be worry at this time!!

    July 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  44. Freda

    Why must President Obama apologize to the police but the Police officer doesn't have to apologize to Professor Gates? Of course, the President is a bigger man. This thing is out of control. President was correct. After Mr. Gates acknowledged who he was, the police intervention and concern should have been Mr. Gates' security and safety. This is exactly what would have happened if the home owner was white. Besides, I am sure that the police already knew who stayed in the house. Anytime a black person lives in an elite area, we all know that all the local police officers know about it.

    I am surprised the police officer's feelings were hurt. I guess the police can talk to people in any manner or tone. The Bible says, " you reap what you sow". Why did the police feel the need to trick Mr. Gates out of his home? Of course, it was to charge him with that stupid charge. Mr. Gates deserves the apology for being treated as anything but a man.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  45. jenny

    Number one, those three boys will NOT have a criminal record when school starts back. It will be a juvinile record that will disappear when they turn 18 years of age. Number 2 – Maybe the cop went in to "over kill" to drive home the point to the boys that they cannot take things that are not theirs. I do not know, I was not there. Had there been other problems with the kids? I can remember a social worker for DFCS once took her client on a tour of the local YDC to show him where he could end up if h kept up the behavior. The worker got into trouble BUT the kid changed his behavior and became a responsable adult. 3. I bet those boys will remember not to take things that are not theirs. 4. Cops are there to protect you and help you BUT they are also there to enforce the laws. They like parents should be respected
    and are not there to be your "friend". Follow the law and behave and cops are just fine.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  46. Mari

    There are two sides to every story, we have not heard Mr. Gates.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  47. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    That's what I thought! You sir, are just trying to make a name for yourself through somebody else's misery. You sir, are no better than the hate mongers. How dispicable! I sincerely hope your PBS special flops! Are you sure you didn't stage that whole scene just to benefit your future 'special'? I think you did, sir! O.k. somebody, might as well break out those shovels and start digging. Looks like there may be more to this story than Mr. Gates wants known! Please start digging because I think it will be well worth it!

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    July 24, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  48. Mr. Rice, Sr.

    Commenting in reference to the Cambridge Police officer, Sgt.Crowley, Prof. Gates, and President Obama; this is a serious matter but not the most important matter to get the news coverage it has. There are many crazy things that are happening around our country let alone the world. For the reporter that asked this initial question to President Obama; look what stir-up you caused; some questions should be kept for a different time and place- that press conference was not the proper time to ask that question..!. Being a black male in America can be difficult at times, when one does not know if law enforcement officers of a different ethnic background are there to protect and serve or to do something offensive toward them because of their ethnicity. Reflecting on past events involving police officers and ethnic profiling- the track record is not one to be proud of. Although I can understand the prospective from all parties involved, the police officer for doing his job that he was sworn in to do- only he and God knows what his true thoughts were at the time of this incident. Prof. Gates from his perspective may have felt violated if had shown the proper identification of his residency and the officer enter his home without his consent. President Obama may have used a poor choice of words that offended some people, but I respect him for commenting about the matter that he has probably witness, experienced, or even is just tired of hearing. It seems like this President has been under the knife when he first took his oath- he inherited the problems of this country and of world, and regardless of ethnicity we should support him. When are suppose to be one people in one country the United States of America, setting the standard for world. So when are people in this country going to realize that? Here is a couple questions for the reporter that asked the question to the President; how come you haven't asked if anyone is going to go after the young man that slander Michael Jackson's name, in a civil lawsuit? Michael Jackson paid several million to this young man and his family, you want some news check into that..!. How come radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh can make or say anything out of that Mouth of his without any real recourse? Are we really one people as our constitution states?

    July 24, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  49. Trav

    As more facts come out I think that it is obious who is the real racist here. I hope the facts do come to light and that the recordings of the incident are released. However, I doubt the president or the esteemed professor would ever apologize if the tapes show evidence for disorderly conduct and the officer giving his identity.

    Considering that Gates has a book and a PBS special to promote he is no better than Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton who use every opportunity to get their mugs in the limelight. Officer Crowley is the real “victim” here.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  50. Fritz the Cat

    The police officer claims to be an expert in racial profiling, yet claims to be surprised that the professor would act irritably to his unexpected and uninvited intrusion into his home. The “stupid part” comes when the Stanford Police are unable to diffuse this unfortunate incident and decide that the right thing to do is arrest this man, who had his whole day, his privacy and now his life turned upside down in an unexpected instant.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
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