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. Jane

    I don't know why people are mad at the president. He was asked for his opinion, and he gave it. He did not call Crowley a racist or say that racism played a hand in the events. He said it was stupid to arrest a man in his own home when you have been called out to investigate a possible burglary. I don't care about 'inconsistencies' in the police report, or belligerence on the part of Dr. Gates. I want to know, what constitutes disorderly conduct, and what gives an officer the right to enter your home?

    July 27, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  2. Lou

    All you hear about is racial profiling by the police. What about Mr. Gates having racial emotions in him. Maybe that is why he acted out towards the white cop. You never hear about racist emotions coming from the african american, it is always blamed on the white race for being racist. You can have racist on both sides, so report it that way and don't slant it only towards the white population.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  3. Don

    This is exactly the kind of thing that makes reasonable people want to scream. Why do blacks in this country beleive its impossible for them to be racists or assume that everything that happens to them is based on their color. Anyone with sense knows that looking like you are breaking into a home will bring the police. Everyone should know that they will ask you questions when they arrive. Most importantly, everyone should know if you follow them out of your house screaming at the top of your lungs and refuse to stop that your likely to get arrested. White or black!

    July 27, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  4. Michael

    Maybe the officer should have held Mr. Gates at gunpoint and handcuffed him then searched the house for the second suspect. After clearing the home, he could then question the first suspect (Mr. Gates) and confirm his identity and his right to be at or in the residence. In todays world an officer has to approach every person as if they are a danger or threat. This approach would have protected the officer while he confirmed the situation. This approach works with any sex, race or age. People need to realize that crimes are committed by all races, males and females, and all age ranges. The race, sex and age of the officer or the suspects should not matter.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  5. Alex

    Basically the cop lied – I doubt if Gates even said anything stereotypical ghetto like yo mamma- its sounds like the police officer lied..no surprise here..

    July 27, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  6. LEP

    Both are equally at fault.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  7. Roger

    For those that believe Crowley's version I suggest they listen to the latest news. Officers often engage in "creative writing" to cover their butts after the fact especially when they know they have screwed up!

    July 27, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  8. Mike

    It's really very simple. Don't yell at cops. Bad things often follow.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  9. VC,MD

    Lot of racist people are calling Officer Crowley a liar because the 911 call does not mention two black males. They didn't even read the report. The report never mentioned that the 911 call indicated two black males. It was told to office Crowley outside Dr. Gate's house by the caller. He has called the ECC to ask the caller to meet him so that he can get more details. This is in the record. Sgt. Crowley does not gain anything by falsely involving the caller especially if he was fabricating the charges, This lady is now afraid and pressurized by someone to come and undercut Crowley. I am pretty sure she and Gates are planning to sue the City and they can share the settlement money.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  10. sam

    well i will ask u to check the tapes that come out today he should not arrested him i would ask you to go on youtube check the state of oklahoma the polis stoped ambulance the driver was white and the guy inside was black when they where dealing with the white man that was speeding or something he was talking with the black man he was abuseing him pushing him to the ambulance and put his hands on his body that is what the video show and that is why ppl can see what the police do for them self no more lies and me and my husband drive trucks and i have seen it when my husband get in the weigh staion they try to find some thing to give him ticket when i do i push back they let me go, he is black me i am white women and can say what i want and i will tell u i have put camres in the truck so when the police come they dont know they are being filmed and u know what we have taking them to court 3times,2 times they said no belt he did have it on and all the lies all on camrea and we got it clearded in court 3 times and one time when our lawyer told then head off time that all that is on tape they drop the case before going to court , u see they see nice truck and think we can get some money out off him and judge will take my word bec i am the law.u know what i love geting it on camera i tell ppl put camrea in u car or truck... that is one way to teach them when they need to pay for trip lost of income to come to court and our lawyer is happy making money..

    July 27, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  11. Sean

    For those of you who are misguidedly saying the 911 call and the police report contradict each other...try listening and reading for yourself...You are being misled by those with an agenda to sell on race baiting or are simply not very bright...Their is NO contradiction.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
  12. Linda S Davis

    Unfortunaltely I have known many Police officers to profile my son...he is a 25yr old white male..but he likes to dress goth at times and is usually never without his black leather overcoat and stands about 6'1...they assume him to be a druggie or a bum (there are times he does not shave) or any variety of miscreants...what they don't bother to find out is that he has put his own life on the line to help others, that the overcoat is a much prized possession from an uncle who passed away..and that he would give his life to help anyone, including the police officers that wrongly follow him when he walks down the street. Serve and protect? Are there any that really follow that anymore?

    July 27, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
  13. George

    The real issue is that someone broke into a house and assulted the owner. One was arrested for disorderly conduct. Guess who. I believe that the property owner should have control over their property and the police should respect their privacy. However today the police have the authority to do what they want and will not hesitate to do whatever they feel like. However they do not have the right according to the bill of rights. This is why law enforcement has very few backers. Are the police an assest or liability and do we need to change how our society is protected?

    July 27, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  14. Roger Carrillo

    As a retired police commander, who has trained and supervised hundreds of police officers, I would say that even without racial profiling the bottom line of this whole incident is that Sgt. Crowley made an unnecessary arrest of a man in his own home.

    Any decent cop knows that officer often use "disorderly conduct" charges as a means of showing someone who challenges their authority or "angers" them who is boss and who is in charge. This happens when officers are not able to detach themselves from their personal feelings and become "over-invested" or "badge heavy". The "disorderly conduct" arrest is then used as a "contempt of cop" arrest. I have seen this done by officers that were immature and/or unprofessional for other reasons.

    That is appears Crowley may have fabricated his report just makes matters worse. Crowley is supposedly a professional but it appears his conduct here has been less than honorable both for the arrest and the subsequent report. Police officers need to be accountable and they need to be able to take verbal abuse without resorting to "contempt of cop" arrests.

    It appears Sgt. Crowley was unable to take the high road here. He won't even admit he is the only one responsible for the arrest. No one was holding a gun to his head when he decided to make the arrest. He needs to accept responsibility for his actions and admit he made a mistake given the fact that the charge was dismissed so quickly. He had other options at scene and chose not to take them.

    Unfortunately, especially since 9/11 police officers do not admit wrongdoing even when it is evident and have become increasingly adverse to criticism and willing to violate peoples rights. Officers and their unions circle the wagons and defend their members in a knee jerk fashion/ Police Departments, including the one I worked for, have become more opaque and less willing to admit mistakes and truly need more civilian oversight of their conduct.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  15. Rob Again

    Officer comes to the house to investigate possible break in.
    He finds a person who acts suspiciously and refuses to identify himself.
    All Gates had to do is cooperate and show ID.
    Should Crawley leave Gates alone? No, he was probably thinking since the person behaves irrationally:
    a. he's an intruder
    b. there's an intruder in the house and there might be a hostage situation
    If he had left and there was an intruder (or Gates was one) and something would get stolen or someone got killed, Gates's family would sue police for improper handling of the situation.
    It was a loose/loose situation for Crawley.
    When police asks you to cooperate, COOPERATE, they are doing their job, they are here to protect us, if you behave irrationally, it means you have something to hide.
    You people should watch Cops from time to time and you would see what police has to deal with everyday.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:56 pm |
  16. Kay

    Based on the recording of the 911 call placed describing the concern of two men trying to gain access to the home, the caller offers the possibility that it could be a person gaining access to their own home. She does not state that the men she sees are black as Mr. Crowley states in his report. As well, she denies speaking with any police officer at the scene.–two inconsistencies with Mr. Crowley's report. The 911 call is proof to back one of her statements. Procedure should be that: when the officers arrived and were given proof of residency, the officers could ask Mr. Gates politely to wait on the porch while they run a routine check to ensure no restraining orders (for domestic violence, etc.) against that address existed and let him go unless there was further probable cause. An arrest would have been unnecessary.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  17. Syed Zaidi

    I do not understand this controversy. Prof. Gates should be happy to be alive.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  18. Bob

    Gates and Obama have shown their true racist nature.

    Obama should never gotten involved. He's dumber than Biden (IF THATS POSSIBLE).

    July 27, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  19. Blessed Geek

    Wow! Must be a really exclusive neighbourhood. The neighbours don't recognise each other. They probably don't talk to one another too.
    I don't like living in such places where your neighbour won't speak to you or recognise you.

    If the honourable police officer feels venerated because he followed procedures – then let us inform him the unfortunate news: the procedures failed. The procedures smell of rotten eggs. Like hydrogen-sulphide, the procedures kill all surrounding life and incentives towards having a cooperative neighbourhood.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  20. CB

    I agree with you Eric! The caller never said anything about two black men. Why did Crowley modify the report? Crowley lied. The police department did act stupidly. This crap happens all the time.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  21. manny1955

    obviously, most of you have not heard the tape of the neighbor calling 911 which did not show Prof. Gates being not unruly. Prof. Gates came be heard in the background but he was not being unruly. The neighbor also said to the dispatcher that they may live there because she saw 2 pieces of luggage on the porch. They are chosing not to investigate what really happened tells you something. It appears that Prof. Gates did nothing wrong. He was a tired man who had just come home from a long trip but aggravated that he was having a problem opening his front door. Then he looks up and a police is asking him to come outside. Anyone would be upset but the tape does not show him as unruly.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  22. Jimmy

    Racial profiling will always exist and does exist with or without some form of ANTI-PROFILING attempt. Law enforcement attracts one type of individual. The power hungry. Judges don't have the final ruling in the court room. The police do. It's our word versus theirs. There is no way to prove racial profiling. He may have had an excellent track record, but that proves nothing. Obama apologizes for speaking his mind. He should have let his feelings stand true. He probably experienced the same form of profiling in the past himself and was enraged. No matter what, Crowley should have remained professional. He did not do so. Crowley, regardless of how Gates was acting should be held responsible. Crowley forgot he was on the job. Boot camp is far too short for policing agencies. They should be introduced to psychology and be required to take the courses. I had excelled and won awards in the courses I took in order to be a cop but I chose not to continue on as a police officer due to the propaganda they were flooding my brain with. We were trained to profile people. I know cops who use the 'N' word and are racist toward various races. Cops do not save or help. Firefighters do. They take an hour and a half just to arrive at my home and expect us to depend on them. "Yes, let me just sit around as I am stabbed repeatedly because I am not allowed to defend myself."

    July 27, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  23. Josh

    Mr. Gates' ego couldn't handle the fact that he was being ordered to show his ID and prove he was the legal resident of the house. Add to that the fact that it was a younger "white boy" (officer) who he felt was "disrespecting" him.

    Initial reports indicate that Mr. Gates first provided his Harvard ID when asked for identification. This would not have his home address on it. The only conclussion I can take from this is that Mr. Gates felt the need to prove to this white cop what a big shot he was dealing with. Add to this Mr. Gates' comments such as "do you know who you're messing with", etc.

    Mr. Gates would love to think he's opened up a national dialogue with this ridiculous eposide. The truth is, all it does is reaffirm what so many believe to be the truth – not just here, but all over the world: that blacks in America will scream racism at the drop of a hat when it stands to benefit them; that they refuse to take responsibility for their actions, and that they demand an inflated level of respect even when none is warranted. And even worse, when they outright refuse to show respect to themselves or to others.

    Don't believe me? Take a trip to Africa some day. Any country. You'll find most believe "African-Americans" to be a pathetic lot.

    While far from pathetic, the black community has to find ways to accept the horrible hand they've been dealt through history and stop making enemies of those who would otherwise be more than happy to help mend fences. Instead we help through guilt, fear of lawsuits, or extortion by the likes of Sharpton and Jackson.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  24. Cyn Rockwell

    I'm a white, middle-aged woman and Mom. I've never even had a traffic ticket. But if I didn't say, "yes, sir" and "no, sir" and show respect for the police...I would be in trouble.

    If I acted up and said, "your momma", or yelled ANYTHING at the officer....I guarantee you I'd be in handcuffs on my way to jail! Why does the "esteemed" professor think he is any different than any other citizen?! It sounds like he acted like an elderly Alzheimer's patient (like my grandmother...believe me, I know what Alzheimer's pts are like...God bless them).

    And yes, I voted for Obama...but he did America, himself, badly needed healthcare reform and race relations a bad turn by getting emotional and "defending" his friend. It's degrading to the Office of the President to call police officers "stupid" at a national press conference....with or without the facts. He's supposed to be a Uniter.....but right now, he's definitely shown his stripes as a Divider. I really thought he was smarter than that....

    One more thing...I've lived 50 some years and have run into good and bad cops. They didn't care about my race or gender or age. The good cops showed respect and professionalism. The bad cops did their best to bully me and intimidate me...unprofessional, rude and in the wrong line of work! Unfortunately, the gun and the badge and the power attract certain types of people who aren't suited to the job. Police work
    also attracts heroes.....of all faiths, colors and gender. We all need to get along and treat others well in order to get through this horrible recession/depression. America is full of too much suffering, stress and violence right now~~~ We need to help each other...one person at a time. Peace.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  25. Thomas

    The problem is not race. Police in a whole have a tendency to think they are above evryone else. They treat people no matter what race as if they are better than them. Thats why I show them lots of respect until they disrespect me.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  26. Mary Malachowski

    The way I look at this is that Gates was treated exactly like a white
    man would have been treated. Prove to the officer who you are and
    what you are doing. Just because Gates was extremely frustrated
    by the fact that he was unable to open his door. He was rude and
    would not cooperate with the officer. Black or white if your actions
    are suspicious it is your place to convience the officer that is investigating a 911 call of a suspected burglary to proof that they are
    innocent. Just because you are innocent does not give you the right
    to be uncooperative. The officer should have recieve an explanation
    and apoligy for the unncessry call. They had other things to be doing

    July 27, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  27. Mark

    What I have not noticed is anyone discussing the good professor and what he was doing prior to returning to his home. I have heard on various news reports that he was returning from a trip to China. I don't know about anyone else, but if I just got off of a plane after close to 20 hours of flying, I would be extremely tired and suffering from jet lag. My tolerance for any interaction with someone I did not know would be minimal to say the least. This is simply being a human being regardless of what ethnicity you are. It is my OPINION that the good professor was not as civil as he attempted to portray a few days later.

    As in most cases the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  28. ketan shah

    How many times we come to know about lies told by cops, tempering evidence, wrong accusations, made up stories, wrongful arrests,
    serious crimes commited by police and all wrong doings are supported and covered by their superior and unions. Power corrupts and absolute
    power is the wrost form of humanity.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  29. Thomas

    As my prior post demonstrates, Gates had his own narrative in his head "the police are racially profiling me", and acted upon it. The police are responding to a report of two men breaking in. The first officer sees one through the open door and asks him to come outside. Gates does not, and retreats to the kitchen instead. To get his ID, sure, but the officer asked him to come out... not to go deeper inside the residence. Gates admits harboring anger and resentment of the officer at his first appearance... hardly reasonable under the circumstances.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  30. Bill

    I think there is no evidence of racial bias here. I do think the officer was ticked off with the demeanor of Gates, who did nothing to cooperate with the officers basic requests.

    Where do people see race as a factor? Nowhere. Some people WANT to see it, or assume it must be there simply because the officer is white.

    Maybe Gates just ticket off the officer and the officer decided to "stretch" his authority by having Gates cool off downtown for bit.

    Race issues are not helped, and are set back, when leaders in a community cant conduct themselves like civilized members of society.

    Gates should simply have complied with the basic request for ID, as I (a white male) would have gladly done. Cop shows up at my door for the same reason and I'm showing ID, and thanking him for looking in on my house, not giving him a ration of grief he doesn't deserve, and then cry about it, go to the media with it, write a book about it, milk it all the way to the slaughter house.

    Racial balance will never be achieved if the minority doesn't want it to, or wont let it happen. Gates WANTED this to be about racial profiling, only he chose the wrong cop to accuse, and its going to discredit him going forward.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  31. Dave K

    The police represents authority. If Crowley has backed off after Gates said, "You don't know who you're dealing with", then he's no better than a solder who threw down his rifle and ran after being fired on by the enemy. The bottom line is, right or wrong, if you are smart, you don't threaten a police office. It becomes more apparent Gates got his job at Harvard because he's black; he sure doesn't have the brain.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  32. Larry

    What photo id did Professor Gates provide to prove that he was the current tenant of the premises on lease from Harvard University?
    Did the police question him about the 2nd suspect?

    July 27, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  33. Thomas

    Tola, people aren't mind readers. If they were, maybe Gates would have known someone had reported a break in in progress and been as respectful as you claim he would have been.These are the professor's own words from his interview with the Washington Post:
    Gates's home is owned by Harvard so he picked up the phone to call the university's real estate maintenance office. Before he could finish the conversation, a police officer was standing on his porch and asking him to come out of the house. "Instinctively, I knew I was not to step outside," Gates said, describing the officer's tone as threatening. Gates said the policeman, who was in his 30s and several inches taller than him, followed him into his kitchen where Gates retrieved his identification. "I was thinking, this is ridiculous, but I'm going to show him my ID, and this guy is going to get out of my house," Gates said. "This guy had this whole narrative in his head. Black guy breaking and entering." After handing the officer both his Harvard and Massachusetts state identification, which included his address, Gates said he began to ask the officer this question, repeatedly. "I said 'Who are you? I want your name and badge number.' I got angry."

    July 27, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  34. Rob

    This so called professor knew what he was doing. And what was he doing? Well, I will tell you what he will do. He will do Ophra, he will probably do some reality show, he will make a lot of money off of this case. He's already in Hollywood!
    People like him, keep racism alive.
    In fact, African-Americans don't want racism to go away, because they will loose an excuse for things that happen to them.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  35. Stupidity

    My suggestion to all who involved in this Gate_Crowly incident:

    1)Plociement should always be calm and paying respect to any citizen including any suspects including criminal suspects.

    2) Professor should always be calm ___No Yelling__and acting in the professional ways.

    3) President should not have been involved in this local stupid matter. US Citizen are deeply regreted by voting for a racist President-Obama

    July 27, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  36. Scott-Rancho Santa Margarita,CA

    This is getting ridiculous! Why did the 911 dispatcher only ask if they were Black, White,or Hispanic? Aren’t there Asian males in Cambridge? What about people of mixed race like Obama? How do we define them in 911 calls? Like they did in the late 19th century United States?

    July 27, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  37. VC,MD

    Wow! It's racial to call someone black but it's ok to call someone white racist. It's racist to assume a minority of crime when they are found at the crime scene and fit the description of a suspect but it's perfectly normal to assume the white officer racist without having the details!!!! Where does constitution give right to people to abuse other persons? Isn't it a disorderly conduct to abuse a police officer? Why should someone work in the police force for a petty salart, risk their lives investigating a potential burglary and then expect to take abuse from someone who thinks he is above the law because he has been writing documentaries on racial relationship.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  38. Walker

    Race, in this case, was NOT factor. However, it is sad that this situation occurs more often than not. As a fellow police officer, I, too, would have arrested Gates. It doesn't matter where you are, if you're going to make a fool of yourself and not cooperate with my investigation, I'd take your butt to jail too, regardless if it was your house, or in a church, or a local restaurant. Disorderly conduct is a legitimate charge, and I believe it's unfortunate Gates' charges were dropped by the police department, as if they were scared of being sued because he was using the race card. It's just plain ridiculous. Gates is obviously the one who is racial profiling. Wake up America, blacks have all the rights everyone else does, so stop complaining and quit making excuses for your inability to live the way you want.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  39. janet

    I'm a bit fed up with the whole argument, and think that our black friends often use the race card for whatever they perceive as a slight, imaginary or real.

    It's impossible to criticize a black for any lack or tardiness (buses for example: impossible to find one in the Bay Area that runs on time), as you're immediately "racist". It's a lame excuse for work poorly done. Then too, this argument I've often heard, that "blacks have to be twice as good as whites to succeed". I've heard this from blacks innumerable times, but have never in my entire life heard it said by anyone from any other ethnic group, referring to blacks. I think it's their perception, period. As I said, I'm a bit tired of the whole shee-bang, and often ask myself why hispanics and asians don't likewise complain. I guess the hispanics are too busy working and the asians too busy studying.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  40. indi

    Racial profiling is a crime? It is fundamental human survival instinct. What should be a crime is using racial profiling to discriminate and violate ones right. We all do racial profiling in order to avoid trouble. Whenever we go to the big cities, we were told to avoid certain areas of the city because there are a lot of criminal activities. White parents told their kids to do this, so do black parents telling their kids to avoid white thugs. So the racial profiling goes two way. The professor obviously profiled the white policeman to be "bad" and came to get him. So racial profiling he did. No questions about. So why are we all accusing the police doing the racial profiling in this case? Because it is politically correct to say so. Until and unless we are honest about this, there is no peace between the black and the white. To this Asian, I see no race issue involve here. At best, it is whether or not the police handle the situation properly. The professor certainly did his part to aggravate the policy. For that, he deserved to be taught a lesson. The worst that came out of this is that this highly regarded professor allowed the use of race card by himself and by those who are more than happy to jump to the bandwagon and use the race card to further inflame and divide the country. He has degraded himself and ruined his life long reputation as a race healer. Sue the police if he misbehaved. But don't use the race card like that, for by using it, you admitted that you are a racist in the first place.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  41. Sean

    It's painfully obvious that their was a racist in that house making judgments based on skin color..That person was Gates...plain and simple..Racists come in all colors and creeds and it's time we stop pretending they only come in one shade...

    July 27, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  42. gpv527

    OH, and BTW, I want someone to claim racism against Dr. Murray for killing that poor white boy, Michael Jackson. This is a perfect example of reverse discrimination and racism when a black doctor gets away with killing a white boy with drugs and NOBODY is up in arms about it! Why not?
    Oh, that's right... MJ isn't a white boy... only sorta.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  43. Darrell in Iowa

    For more then two years I did diversity training for law enforcement officers and as such have had considerable contact with many, many police officers.

    A few years ago I had an occasion to chat with a retiring veteran police officer. He was bemoaning how different today's cops are then those of his generation. He related how "back in the day" the police motto was "protect and serve", but he believed that motto had been abandoned in recent years if favor of a new motto "protect your ass".

    He also comment to me how law enforcement in the past decade has become quasi-militaristic and that among the casualties of that change was a abandonment of cops using good judgement and common sense. He said these days everything is by the book and these rookies just can't wait to taze someone.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  44. Marjorie

    Can't we all just get along???!!! So how is the Health Care issue??

    July 27, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  45. Gary Tierney

    If the current 911 call, and follow up has been heard/seen, we have several embarrasing comments and takes on the situation. The supposed victim was definitely not cooperative. The 911 call was not made by a resident in the area. The 911 call did not mention black, african-american, but made a comment as to may be hispanic and did not clearly see but was worried about entry. How would anyone expect police officers to respond to such a call, and a non-cooperative response from the person in question? I am even embarrassed at the remark from the President, that I voted for, which I still am proud of, without obviously knowing the exact details before the comment. Hopefully his staff will remind him to hold off before verification.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  46. shorty long

    i would think that if what is being reported by the news, of the possibillty of fasification of a police report signed by the arresting officer turns out to be true, (the beer date may be off!)

    July 27, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  47. momplantingberries

    also...Professor gates might want to write a new book about his recent trip in China entitled: "My Most Unforgettable Trip BACK FROM China", hopefully with a happy ending.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  48. JAY JOHN

    Profiling and racism is not just a one way street.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  49. david

    I'd love to know what coverage you were watching. There were plenty of articles and interviews with police and former police on this issue.

    The problem with this instance as with most other news coverage is in a rush to judgment, the press and the country usually gets it wrong. How many times do we hear about a black person being killed by a white cop and the black community is screaming for his arrest and removal. Being black doesn't make one automatically innocent any more than it makes them automatically guilty.

    On the flip side I believe this arrests highlights how police (using this "disorderly conduct" charge) have way to much power to harass people. There is no way someone should be arrested for protesting abuse (or even perceived abuse) on their own property.

    This cop may have been a great cop, but that doesn't make him perfect. How often have we heard people say "I can't believe he would do that" when someone is convicted of murder or theft.

    What I find most appalling in this situation is the quick reaction the statements that Gates was wrong, or Crowely was wrong (not probably wrong or possibly wrong) when there is still information coming out daily.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  50. Leena

    Is the black men with the backpack, the misinformation of the day? If the armchair cops listen to the audio, there are two women. Since the names were blacked out how do you know he wasn't talking to the other woman?

    I'm a Democrat and I think the vicious attacks on this cop is disgusting. I'm glad common sense and not emotion prevailed in this situation.

    July 27, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
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