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July 27th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Police profiling: The lost lesson in this teachable moment

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/27/gates.arrest/art.jim.crowley.wcvb.jpg]
Robert Zimmerman
AC360° Contributor and CNN Political Analyst

As I spent my rainy Sunday in New York watching all the well balanced, politically correct and diversified panels discuss the arrest of Professor Gates, I was struck by the glaring reality that no one on the panels that I observed was a member of or associated with the police profession.

Yes, there were political pundits, sociologists, media commentators, radio talk show hosts, the occasional academician and the inevitable author or two. Many sounded like they were reciting their favorite scenes from Law and Order as they tossed around phrases describing the arrest and their interpretation of why the charges were dropped. Almost all agreed that they did not know what specifically precipitated the arrest, the reasons for it or how race was a factor. However, there was a conclusion among many that race was a factor. This was a particularly stunning conclusion considering the exemplary career of Sergeant James Crowley. For five years Sgt. Crowley taught a class on racial profiling at the Lowell Police Academy. He was hand-picked for that assignment by former Police Commissioner Ron Watson, who is African-American. President Obama described Sgt. Crowley as an "outstanding police officer and a good man" and said that he has "a fine track record on racial sensitivity."

Racial profiling or biased policing is a well documented, shameful and tragic aspect of law enforcement history. It also exists in many other aspects of our nation's culture and society. In examining this issue, I took the daring initiative to actually speak to a respected member of the police profession on this matter. In fact, I spoke to one of our nation's most highly regarded and successful leaders in policing, Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton. In addition to his present position and serving as the President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, he formerly served as the New York City Police Commissioner and the Police Commissioner for the City of Boston.

Chief Bratton reviewed with me the extensive measures that police have aggressively taken to address the issue of racial profiling in the past 15 years. He pointed out that this issue is being confronted through changes in law that make racial profiling illegal and give the Federal government enforcement powers to combat it. In the selection process for new recruits, police are required and trained to look for signs of bias and prejudice. Additionally, new policies and procedures are continually being developed to strengthen supervision, documentation and the investigation of citizen complaints of racial profiling. Many police cars also now have video equipment to monitor police and their interactions with citizens. The police profession has been addressing the issues of race and bias more openly than American society as a whole.

The teachable moment from this experience should seek to raise awareness of racial profiling and bias policing, and the ways to address it. However, the lesson will be lost if we do not also address the dangers of police profiling- the automatic assumption that racial profiling is the issue when an encounter or arrest is made of a person of color by a white police officer.

soundoff (354 Responses)
  1. Race Relations

    Those that think the police officer was racially biased also think that OJ was innocent. I can guarantee that one.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  2. Polly

    Angela,
    Professor Gates didn't provide a license, he provided a Harvard ID that didn't show his photo or address, which didn't prove that he lived there. The lost lesson here is that "minorities" still think it's fine to yell racism for bad behavior. And yahoos like Al Sharpton feed the fire.

    Why didn't Professor Gates, a very successful man who is best buddies with our black president, stand up in front of his room full of young black men and say, "Look at us; work hard and be whatever you want to be." But no, he lectured about black people being vulnerable in America. Feeding the fire. Shameful. And I used to be a fan of Professor Gates.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  3. Tracy

    He did accept that Gates lived there. He called for back up because Gates was acting irrational and assumed the officer was out to get him.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  4. Ray

    Gates v. Cambridge police.

    One question that I have regarding the "so called" mishandling of Professor Gates by the Cambridge Police is, has anyone interviewed the african-american police officer that was on the scene when Mr. Gates was arrested? From various photos and videos in the media, it is clear that the all of the arresting officers were not caucasion. I wonder if the African-American officer that was present felt that the actions by Sgt. Crowley were out-of-line and inappropriate? Let's hear his side of the story.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  5. RICK

    Everyone should remember the countless videos we have all seen of cops being rude and applying unjustified force against citizens whether they are white, black or any other race. Cops act as if the average citizen is supposed to be subservient to them. In this case the officer should have dropped the argument once he was shown identification that person in question actually lived there and left it at that. I believe the officer felt disrespected because the person may have talked back to him. Big deal.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  6. Matthew

    I understood that Gates didn't show his license. Even if he did, he made a point to follow the officer out of his house and continually berate him for just being there doing his job. The encounter should have gone like this. Crowley: "Sir, we had a report of a break in, can I see some identification." Gates: "Certainly. Thank you for responding." Crowley: "Well if everything is ok Mr. Gates, I'll be on my way, sorry to disturb you" Gates: "thanks again for all you guys do". Its that simple, show some respect and be nice, get respect and nice treatment. Automatically go into some "you're a racist white cop and just harassing me" rage and you end up in the city jail.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  7. chad

    The above note by chuck about "disorderly conduct" is the issue, too many policers use their unwise discretion to arrest someone they belive to challenge their authority or stand up to police officers acting outisde their positions. Its about time we really define this law. Too many police oficers have a "higher then thou" attitude and at their discretion use this law to instill fear, and it needs to stop. I am not black but I have seen this happen time and time again. We as the people need to back society from the criminals wether they have mask over their face or wear a blue uniform with a badge.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  8. nick

    Come on, Chuck.... Really? You just unconsciously made this article's point. Thanks for the chuckle 🙂
    Reread it and try again.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  9. James

    What's wrong with police profiling. They are the ones with the badge and the gun. We have no power over the police, so it does not matter if we think a police is gay, racist, Catholic, Jew, sadist, or from Mars.

    They are the ones with the power and have a higher code to which they should conduct themselves. The surface-thinking should stop.

    Chuck, you are 100% correct. We should be able to express anger, joy or disgust at a police in our own yard without being arrested, as long as we're not threatening to hurt the police or another person.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  10. larz

    This is and will always be a "unfortunate" incident were I believe, emotion became the key ielement............Gates as well as Crowley let the best of emotion become the culprit..........this could have been a laughable moment, or a good service to the community, and reviewed as such....but it did not. nobody took a step back here, two educated ,professional people jumped to conclusion and abated a situation way out of hand................................maybe these three (President Obama, Crowley and Gates) should have more than a few beers together., sit down, hash it out, and come out and admit all three overreacted as humans do. and tell the nation as well................................................

    July 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  11. Karen

    And now we're discovering that Crowley NEVER had the conversation with Whalen (the caller) that he claims to have had. Crowley, in his police report, claimed to have spoken with Whalen. Crowley states that Whalen said there were two black men with backpacks shouldering their way into the Cambridge home. If you check out CNN.com, you'll see that Whalen said that conversation NEVER took place. She and Crowley NEVER exchanged a single word. In the end, I have no reason to doubt Whalen since a portion of the phone call made to the Cambridge police was released. She never mentioned black males, so why did Whalen put that in his report??? That's the million dollar question.

    Now, I would never argue that police always make these terrible mistakes. But I would really love to see the police admit when they do. That would be the first step to healing this problem. Admition!!

    July 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  12. Race Baiter

    When you make your living on race baiting or victimhood mentality, Gates hit a goldmine. Whether or not it's your home, and a neighbor is looking out for the homeowner's best interests and see's a potential burglary; you thank the responding police officer. You don't question him when he's in uniform or say "yo mama." Is this what a middle age professional man says to a police officer. Why would Gates ask for his name when its on a name tage? Why yell profanities to get other's attention? During a police investigation you don't have civil rights, you have miranda rights. These race baiting slicksters (gangstas, thugs) lose ALL creditability when they disrespect a uniformed police officer that only responded to a potential crime in progress. Thank them for their underpaid service to the community; they don't do it for the pay because it's not enough to support their families. Most police officers and fire fighters are forced to have 2nd or 3rd jobs to make a living. Look at the percentage of minorities in prison and then tell me about racial profiling. Respect is earned not given.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  13. Hello there

    According to this cnn report today (http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/07/27/gates.arrest/index.html), it is obvious that Sgt. Crowley lied in his report about his non-existing dialog with the caller. He lost his credibility and I have every reason to believe he also lied in stating that Gates yelled repeatedly because he needed to make a reason to arrest this man who has doctor's writing evidence that he could not possibally yell due to his branchitis.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  14. Tanner

    Does it worry anyone else besides myself that now in this country if you are caucasion and report a crime or what is thought to be a crime being perpetrated by someone other than another caucasion there is a good chance you could be labeled a racist. I am sure this will cross my mind the next time I report something to the police and they ask me to describe the individual.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  15. Stuart

    Once again, a predominent factor in this issue is the media hype and sensationlism that generate various levels of responses, including that from the President. Millions of people are commentingn on an incident in which only a handful of persons were present at. First and foremost, this was not racial profiling. Sgt. Crowley was not driving down the street and approached Mr. Gates for the heck of it. He was dispatched to the house due to a 911 call from a neighbor. How unfortunate the neighbor did not recognize who was entering the house. A stereotypical socially structured response is, while police officer, african american subject, thats it, has to be profiling. The fact that Sgt. Crowley did not know Mr. Gates, and Mr. Gates did not know Sgt. Crowley, is crucial in this analysis, as Mr. Gates was dressed in plain clothes and Sgt. Crowley arrived in a marked police car and in uniform. It was easier for Mr. Gates to identify a police officer than Sgt. Crowley to automatically " know " who he was dealing with. So many people have been conditioned and trained to respond negatively to authority, that the mere question of residency becomes a matter of contentious debate. Had Sgt. Crowley not verified the identity of Mr. Gates, and it was NOT Mr. Gates, then he would have been criticized for being incompetent and departing the scene leaving behind burglar number one. Also, if Mr. Gates was belligerent, it may have alerted an experienced police officer that something else may be occuring in the house that the resident does not want discovered, the police officer has to be inquisitive even if for no other reason his safety and the safety of others. When Mr. Gates launched personal attacks on Sgt. Crowley's mother, only because he was called to the scene and doing his job, it becomes obvious that he is much less of a pillar of the community, than Sgt. Crowly is a pillar in the law enforcement community. To demand police protection, and then resent it when you encounter it, is grossly counter productive to civility and sets a poor example for others. And this, from a Harvard Professor? Along with the President, Mr. Gates should apologize to Sgt. Crowley, and thank his neighbors for being observant and alerting the police to what they believed was an intrusion to Mr. Gates home. If that is all it takes for Mr. Gates to criticize the Police dept., then the next time someone observed a person breaking into his home, Do Not Call the Police and let the criminals have their way. I'm sure Sgt. Crowley will have other 911 calls to go on, and won't miss going to his house. This is a deplorable situation caused by an out of control media and an attention seeking Professor who will no doubt revel in the shadows of publicity he gets, and will probably write a book. But I'll be he will be the first one to scream for help from the police if and when he is the victim of a real crime, and according to his reaction to the police, any suspects should not be challenged or identified. Perfect. You will live in the society you create. This was not racial profiling. This is exploitation at its finest, at the expense of race relatioins from a professional educator that should know better. He must be proud of himself, very few others are. Nice going Mr. Gates.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  16. Debbie

    More than having the police take racial sensitivity classes, they really need to learn how to control their tempers. Arresting someone for "disorderly conduct" seems to mean you got under the cops skin.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  17. Tehran

    This is true but not in this case. The tapes speak for itself. The nice neighbor just saw one unknown person going in and was unable to id the first person who entered. She never said Black but it later turned into they were Black. He said Gates didnt want give ID but called in on radio with ID.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  18. chuck

    The one thing that no one has talked about is the fact that Mr. Gates probably just thought the police drove by and saw him breaking into his own home. He probably never thought that someone called in the alleged break-in. Therefore he thought that he was targeted and started in on the one thing that has been on his mind for most of his adult career – race relations. He probably puts every encounter in his life in context of this lifes work of race relations. But I think he missed the ball on this one. The chip on his shoulder got the best of him on this day and it is clear to me now after reading everything possible about this day that Gates was in the wrong for not following immediate orders from this cop. This cop had a series of rehearsed possibilites to exclude in order to secure the area for the safety of him and Mr. Gates. Mr. Gates made a mockery of the cops training and therefore made a mockery of himself, especially when the racial profiling allegations started spewing. He has accused the wrong cop. He has cried wolf. He was dead wrong. Plenty of people are arrested in their homes everyday. I.D. or not, if you are belligerent with the cops, you are impeding an investigation and you should go to jail. It would be great to have a conversation about relations between white and black. When do you think blacks will be ready to have a conversation about blacks and gays. We all know that as a group they are hostile towards gays. Seventy percent of eligible black voters in California voted against proposition 8 in California. Now lets all talk about our biases. All of them.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  19. Erik

    Chuck is right. The race issue is a canard that Gates was silly to bring up. However, this in no way exonerates Crowley. The REAL issue here is the all-too-common attitude among cops that if they don't like the way someone is acting, they arrest them with a BS Disorderly Conduct charge (aka "Contempt of Cop"). That's the real issue. A true professional officer would have realized the situation was escalating, and after seeing Gates had an ID that indicated he resided at the home, apologized and left. Unfortunately, Sgt. Crowley blew this chance to act professionally and fulfilled the unfortunate stereotype of power-tripping jerk cop. It's too bad that all the race-baiting will bury this equally serious problem with police behavior.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  20. Joe

    Hasn't anyone considerd the posibility that the racial profiling involved was that of Prof. Gates on the officer?
    What would have been his reaction if the same scenrio occured excepting that he was lecturing at the time and how could the officer know the difference when he walked to the door?

    July 27, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  21. Kevin

    I think the police were correct, they responded to the report of a breakin. Even after Evedence of residence was established, the search the residence to make sure it is clear.

    I am speaking from experience here, about 15 years ago my grandmothers house was broken into while she was in her backyard. The police showed up, took our ID, then asked us to stay in the yard until they swept the house just incase someone was still in there hiding.

    they swept the house and let us in, then we went room by room with them letting them know is anything was missing or out of place. If out of place it was dusted for finger prints.

    I have Great respect for these offices who risk their life everytime they put thier uniform on. What can we ALL learn form this, cooperate with officers, and recognize that 99+% are good honest men and women willing to put themselves in danger to protect YOU and your Property.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  22. Jane

    "The sucker law — Disorderly Conduct — is the issue here. Police seems to apply this law as if it is “Contempt of Cop” law. This law should be defined and specified more narrowly — or else in its present form, it will continue to be interpreted by cops as “people as servants to the cop” law instead of the other way around."

    Eloquently worded and I agree emphatically.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  23. Matt

    Can someone please explain why this was racial profiling? The police were called to a residence on a suspected break-in attempt. The officer was just doing his job and trying to determine the occupant's reason for being in the house. A simple misunderstanding turned into an ugly incident because Mr. Gates chose to be uncooperative and confrontational with the police. If you fight with the police, they are going to fight back.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  24. Kalvin Lathan

    Although I wasn't in Cambridge as an African-American(Black) I can say that this wasn't a case of profiling. This was simply an officer doing his job or as they say in the profession good police. I believe this was a perfect example of an overblown urinating contest between two proud men. One fella a noted celebrity in his culture and the other a highly regarded Officer of the Law well respected in his profession. I'm trying not to take sides but as all police have told me you control the situation.
    I believe Gates may have went to far and flapped his gums a little to much. Gates crossed a proverbial line of questioning the officers authority and Crowley had to save face in front of his colleagues or else face some serious backlash by his other fellow officers. Simply put this was a case of two men with Jupiter sized ego's. I would love for we Americans to have an honest discussion on race. Let's put it on the table get it out in the open so we can move this great republic forward. We can learn from but I believe now that it's political nothing good will come out of this.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  25. John

    Angela,
    First of all, according to Crowley's description of events, Gates did not provide him with a "photo ID" (i.e., a drivers liscence, but with a Harvard ID with no photo). Keep in mind that he (Crowley) was there to investigate a possible burglary, so how was he to know that the ID was not just something that the burglar found in the house and was attempting to pass off as his own? Secondly, even if Gates had adequately identified himself as the homeowner, how was Crowley to know that there was not some sort of restraing order baring him from the house, or, again, since he was originally called to the scene for to investigate a possible burglary, how was Crowley to know that the burglar wasn't hiding behind the door saying "you better get rid of that cop"? The answer is that he didn't, and it was his job to ascertain these facts – a function that was made more difficult by Gates being uncooperative and yelling at him the entire time. Gates himself said something to the effect that "Crowley appeared confused while he was trying to review the ID, talk on the radio to his dispatcher, and deal with an irrate Gates all at the same time". Finally, after Crowley did satisfy himself that it was Gates' home and he belonged there, he was trying to leave, but Gates followed him outside and continued to berate him and make a public scene. According to Crowley. he warned Gates twice that he was making a disturbance and should stop, but Gates kept on, at which time he was arrested. So, for those who contend that Crowley should have left, he was attempting to do just that, but Gates' would allow him. Do you really think that Crowley should have still just gotten in his car and driven away and left a raging lunatic behind to continue to make a scene in front of the crowd that had gathered?

    July 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  26. Valerie

    I don't think is illegal t be rude,yell, call a police officer name. So what was the reason for the arrest?
    Also, people keep talking about the race when the real issue here is about our right to be able to speak our mind in OUR own house.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  27. Steve

    Professor Gates came of age surrounded by the tragic legacy of the treatment of American blacks as far less than full and equal citizens. Sergeant Crowley's legacy is a different one, that of police officers having been viewed as "pigs" and as abusers of government authority.

    We are collectively far better as a nation than both of those legacies now.
    We can rise above and trust.

    President Obama's teachable moment is about how we transcend the weaknesses of our past and forge together our common future. This is a very fine public moment for a new point of departure.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  28. dean

    police profiling??? nice try mr zimmerman

    July 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  29. greg

    Teachable moment.

    This appears to be the new catch phrase. So what have we learned.
    1. It is ok to jump to conclusions without knowing all of the facts. (obama)
    2. It is ok to be as beligerant as we want with the police as long as we don't take a swing at them.

    I am saddened by this whole ordeal, because the lessons learned are the complete opposite of what they should be. Understandably a significant majority of the african american population have a disdain for the police and react negatively to the presence of any white officer.
    However, not every situation is an attempt to squash the black man.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  30. JOHN IN NEW YORK

    Im glad the president realized he should retrack his statement, , certainly wasnt the time and place to discuss it durning what everyone calls a rough time for his health reform. Who knows maybe he used this to distract himself and the public since his own party can not come to terms with what he wants. Dont get me wrong there is a fine line on racial profiling, but this is not it. We all no how professors can make any situation all about them , thats why are kids are even more troubled then any other time, so im glad the president did the right thing , there will be rougher times ahead.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  31. Mike in NYC

    The policing is biased because reality is biased.

    Blacks are disproportionately represented among violent criminals, so it's only reasonable that police take that into account.

    Of course, It's not permitted to take this into account, so it's no surprise that a professional like Bratton toes the accepted line. He'd be out of a job if he didn't.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  32. Kat

    The officer explained that he was trying to ensure no one was in the house. He was called because of a Break and Enter – IT WAS HIS JOB to ensure the building was safe. Can you imagine if the officer left and there was someone in the house and Gates was injured – what would people say about the officer then????

    Interesting enough the poor woman who called the police has been under heavy fire for racial profiling. She is of Portuguese descent and the 911 tapes prove she NEVER used the word black to describe the men.

    Sad state of affairs when people do the right thing and everyone rushes to judgment. I have lost a lot of respect for Obama for his reaction. He added fuel to this terrible event instead of being impartial and allowing the facts to speak for themselves.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  33. Steve

    Angela,

    Did it occur to you that once Sgt Crowley discovered that Gates was the homeowner that he wanted him to step out of the house because the burglars may still be in the house? Police work is not rocket science, but it does require a bit of common sense.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  34. Mike

    Just my opinion, but it appears to me that not only is Crowley innocent of racial profiling, but Gates is guilty of it. Would Gates have made such a baseless accusation if the arresting officer had been black- I think not.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  35. Paul

    My real problem here is the arrest itself. It's not a racial question though the media likes to treat it that way. Does the arrest for disorderly conduct in one's own home constitute an abuse of power on the part of the police? If the police seem to agree that this was a legitimate course of action but the general public does not then there needs to be a much bigger dialogue than a simple discussion of racial police. What are the rights and powers of police? What are the rights and powers of property owners? These issues have come up before with more tragic results (Ruby Ridge for example.) What amazes me is the complete flip-flopping of the conservative echo chamber on this issue.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  36. Tim

    There may be plenty of blame to go around but we have a President who states that he doesn't have all the facts, but the officer was wrong. The charges are dropped through some unstated political move and then the President appoliges. Hmmmm-not very Presidential. What if the race card was reversed and Bush would have taken the Presidents position? The media would not have been so forgiving.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  37. Jason

    Chuck hit the nail right on the head. The real issue here is the "contempt of cop" law. In no other profession is there a legal avenue for someone to just completely screw over anyone they have an issue with. Cops aren't the only people that have to deal with upset jerks on a daily basis. That call center employee and that ER nurse have to deal with just as many angry and belligerent people as cops do but they don't have the legal recourse to just screw anyone over that gives them a hard time. Anyone outside of law enforcement would get thrown to wolves for that kind of vengeful behavior.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  38. pmm

    Thank you. After all this, being a police officer must be the most thankless job in the country!

    If I have a problem, I want to know I can call the police for help. After all the racial profiling, stereotyping by Gates and Obama, and commentators, they should not even bother to show up unless they check ahead of time that they won't be attacked by the President of the United States!

    I know the police are better than that and that I can count on them. I don't know that I can count on Obama and his judgment of situations. More's the pity!

    July 27, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  39. Ben

    Prima facie obvious?

    I'll disagree with your interpretation. I got pulled over once in Texas and asked if I had recently "crossed the river". I'm Asian and probably got mistaken by the state trooper as a Hispanic as I drove by. I just don't think that white people are pulled over an a whim of color. I'm going to assume that Robert Zimmerman is white (and frankly, it's amusing to see the lengths that white people will go to in explaining how a black man got arrested on his own front porch for disorderly conduct).

    July 27, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  40. Dave

    One thing i hate is when people of race accuse the white officers of racism when there was nothing to suggest that. The simple fact is that people of race throw around the race card when ever they dont get there way. That in itself creates bigetry and creates the problems we face today. Who knows.... maybe the professor didnt have a current drivers license?! And when did he show his license ... after he ran off with the mouth and refused to cooperate with the officer? Probably so. Most well to do blacks act like this and then throw the race card around just to give them an excuse to say " see race is stilla problem" even tho it isnt. And shame on our president for feeding into this kind of behavior.. He is no better and should resign.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  41. assael guzinski

    That the problem with CNN they are using most of the time people who are not expert in the the subject they are presenting

    July 27, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  42. brian

    The media's portrayal of this officer is just another example of how police officers are the most disrespected men and women in uniform that serve our country.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  43. Happy to read this

    Thank you so much for daring as you say, to bring this to the attention to all who have been pontificating on this issue. You are dead on accurate in your assessment. It's about time someone had the stuff to mention the dangers of police profiling, as Mr. Gates clearly did when in his statement following the incident he mentioned that he "knew what was in (the officer's) head". Thank you thank you thank you!

    July 27, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  44. Cody

    My only queston in all of the discusions of this issue is - when did being a police officer become a "race"?

    July 27, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  45. George

    Chuck is correct about the Disorderly Conduct charge which is another way of saying that Gates didn't submit completely and kiss officer Crowleys behind enough. Police are servants of the people. We should never have to say "yes master" when within the law to a policeman. This is obviously a case where the officer wasn't satisfied with the level of respect being shown. Unfortunately that is enough to arrest someone for being "black while home." Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  46. fed up

    Racial profiling is just as healthy today with the police population in America as it has ever been and this case proves it. American police still cant grasp the fact that there are successful blacks in this country, even though we have a black president. The point is not whether or not the caller identifed the possible suspects of any race, the point is the way the homeowner was treated when the police arrived. He had an ID, and he was not believed. You put up with it being an affluent black person but you never get used to it. It happens to me pretty often.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  47. Joe G. (Illinois)

    It seems to me like next time you see a group of police officers responding/investigating a scene of a crime or that on an accident one should start waving harms up in the air and snapping fingers.. Start cursing at them.. Basically become belligerent and impede their further progress in whatever they are chasing or investigating.. Never mind being collaborative and considerate to the police officers for the good cause. And if they cuff you, sue them.. Especially after all this...I think it would be a sure win in court. But let’s get rid of the Doctor/Medical Malpractice suits because Obama doesn’t like them for some explanation of his.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  48. Lisa

    Did Gates show proof of residency? He showed a Harvard ID, but not a license. Work IDs don't generally include one's home address.

    Good piece, though. Most Causasians know what it's like to be accused of racism merely for Existing While White, but it's always been taboo to mention it. Perhaps the silver lining of this entire affair is that we can all now acknowledge that racism is a two-way street.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  49. Bob Ramos

    The only teachable "moment" of this whole sorry incident is to cooperate with the police especially when they are trying to protect you and your property which was what Crowley and Fuegieroa were trying to do.
    That Gates failed to do in spades.

    This issue of race, as it pertains to this incident, is a lot of huey. The folks who are injecting race into it are doing so for their own agenda(s).

    July 27, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  50. Joe H.

    The problem is that the Professor wants and expects "respect". Yet he failed to give that himself to the officer. Professor Gates let his bias and disrepect for police in general affect his response when the officer first made contact.

    The professor still believes he deserved respect. That his race should have no factor in the incident, and based on his position, and accomplishments. And yes, he deserves respect.

    But so does the officer. Since January 1st of 2000, in the good old USA, on average, 13.9 peace officers have died in the line of duty each and every MONTH. Two more were killed in the line of duty yesterday trying to serve a warrant. (http://odmp.org/year.php)

    Not sure on where to find the stats of professors who have died in the line of teaching in the US ... but don't think it's close to peace officers.

    Everyone deserves respect ... and maybe one day, Professor Gates will realize that and start giving instead of just demanding it for himself.

    July 27, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
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