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Open Thread: “The Cambridge Police Acted Stupidly”

Will Obama regret saying that? Personally, I think he’s right, but how will the Cambridge police react? Will there be pushback from law enforcement generally?

Sgt. James Crowley

Sgt. James Crowley

The arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley (who lives in Natick) says “I’m not apologizing.”

The Cambridge cop who arrested Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. told the Herald tonight he will never apologize.

“I know I’m not apologizing. It’s not that I’m digging in my heels, I just have nothing to apologize for,” said Sgt. James Crowley.

The 42-year-old officer spoke to the Herald on the porch of his suburban home. He said he feels bad about the fallout from last week’s arrest, but he’s not going to give Gates an apology.

This could get interesting.

UPDATE 1: There is a very good piece at John McWhorter’s blog at The New Republic about the Gates episode. According to McWhorter (a self-described “black conservative,” Gates is no “rabble-rouser,” and has been “assailed as an accomodationist” by more radical black writers.

And meanwhile, the idea that he should have exhibited “deference to the police” ignores the totemic status that black men’s encounters with the police have in the way countless people process being black and what it means. There’s a reason Gates told the Washington Post Tuesday that what happened to him was part of a “racial narrative,” and that awareness surely informed his angry conduct.

The relationship between black men and police forces is, in fact, the main thing keeping America from becoming “post-racial” in any sense.

Here is where many will object with statistics about residential segregation, disparities in car loans and health care, and most recently, the dumping of subprime mortgages in black communities.

These, however, are more news stories than things felt on a visceral level among ordinary people as evidence that racism is still virulent in this country, a defining experience of being black. As Newsweek’s Ellis Cose put it in his widely read The Rage of a Privileged Class, “in the real world such statistics are almost irrelevant, for rage does not flow from dry numerical analyses of discrimination or from professional prospects projected on a statistician’s screen.”

What creates the true rub is unpleasant live social encounters, and none have such potent effect as ones with the cops.

UPDATE 2: The police report on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates has been removed from The Boston Globe’s website. Interesting….

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368 Responses

  1. Politically I don’t think it was the smartest thing for Obama to say, but I think he’s right on this.

    • And, except for the “acted stupidly” part it was actually a rather carefully stated answer on his part.

    • I think he’s right too, but it’s going to keep the story going. Maybe that’s what he wants–to distract from the failure of his health care plan.

    • I think Obama was stupid to call the cops stupid. What a diplomat. Yeah.

      • I thought what was stupid was stating explicitly ‘I don’t have all the facts’ about what happened but then, stating unequivocally, the ‘cops acted “stupid.”‘

        • Exactly.

          (Imagine if Hillary said this!)

        • I completely agree! Gates is in the wrong according to the facts, and Obama was wrong for getting involved after the fact. Obama could have just shown support instead of making a judgmental statement that isn’t based upon the facts but his own emotions. The charge was dropped after all. The picture that was in the press showed Gates walking out his front door onto his porch yelling and a black cop was also near the porch (he’s visible in the picture). I think what happened is Gates did get confrontational due to his being pissed off that his door had jammed and the police had been called, and then had to respond to a request for ID (like they do in our neighborhood). The white cop walked out of the house and Gates trailed after him yelling. Since onlookers were witnessing a man confronting a cop the cop had to arrest him. Cops can’t just let people rag on them in front of other people because it is an example of a lack of deference to authority. We see this happen all the time in our neighborhood. I think why this is an uproar is because Gates lives in a rich neighborhood. I wonder if he would differently had it been the black cop who asked for the ID.

          The question for me is why is Obama bringing up the issue again?

          • Obama didn’t raise the issue – the reporter asked his opinion. He gave his views on the situation with the appropriate pre-cursor of “I don’t know all the facts” and that was exactly what was asked of him. Obama stated very clearly that he wanted the woman to get her question in before he left, which most likely means he knew the question beforehand, but that is easily debateable.

            My point here is that we need to stop accusing Obama of prolonging the situation when he was merely answering a question.

          • Considering that Obama has already been known to have prearranged questions for his carefully staged “press conferences” I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a set-up.

            First he says he doesn’t know all the facts and then he tells us his opinion of who was at fault. That’s called prejudging, or prejudice.

            He should have said something like “It was an unfortunate situation and I’m glad it has been resolved”

            He pissed off every cop in the country last night.

          • He pissed off every cop in the country last night.


            Too true!

      • Cambridge Cop To Harvard Professor Gates “No Apology” (Sgt. James Crowley)

      • Cambridge Police Commish: Sgt. Crowley Did Nothing Wrong (BREAKING NEWS)

  2. In my town, the cops have to to live locally.

  3. Um, WTF? While I agree with Obama, if he was going to weigh in he should have prepared a lot better. That’s just not smart.

    • There will likely be pushback, and perhaps even from police forces around the country. It’s somewhat reminiscent of when Nixon declared that Charles Manson was guilty during the trial–except that in Gates’ case, the charges have been dismissed.

      • All the MA pols who have been tiptoing around trying to stay out of this are loving him for extending the story.

    • Actually, I think this was Obama prepared to answer the question.

      • He seemed to understand the details of the Cambridge incident with Gates better than he understands the details of his own health care legislation.

      • Yeah, for Obama, knowing anything at all about the topic is amazing preparation, but I meant he should have related an experience of his own at Harvard or some of the history of bias there to get the point across instead of using the world stupidly and being so general. “no community is immune” or something strong, heartfelt, but not stupid. More prep would have made a lot of difference there.

        • He is not an elegant stylist of the english language the kool-aidistas imagine him to be… “I screwed up” “boneheaded” something about “mom jeans” (a silly controversy perhaps) and now “stupid”

          Now that is Presidential…

        • Eh, aside from the “acted stupidly” remark, which will just depend on whether someone makes a stink out of it or not, I actually don’t think his answer was that bad. It will play well to his CNN audience anyway.

          • *shrugs* I’m pretty sure he stirred up a hornet’s nest, if you’re gonna do it, make it resonate, make it mean something, make it matter. Instead of typical meandering dull mealy mouthed generalized.

  4. Blame the cop with no word for the outrageous behaviour of Gates? Typical Obama response. Wright could have written it for him.

    • I disagree that Gates’ behavior was “outrageous.” He was in his own home being hassled by a cop. He produced proof that he was in his own home and that should have been enough. Anyone would be angry in that position. The police don’t have a constitutional right to be sucked up to by citizens. Being yelled at is part of the job.

      • It seems clear to me that Gates was looking for a fight when the cop was only doing his job. He did more than yell, he followed the cop and asked him name over and over when the cop had already given him the info. When he had an audience, he seemed to be setting up his witness base for a possible civil complaint.
        My white guilt was burnt up last year. The cop did nothing to be yelled at for. He was trying to make sure that the guy breaking in to the house really did live there and Gates seems to think his shit smells like roses and got furious that he was questioned.

        • Amen.

          All of the earliest reports mentioned Gates initially refusing to show any ID whatsoever and then attempting to intimidate the police with his ‘Do you know who I am’ bullsh!t.

          Of course, all that got casually left out of subsequent reports. I guess it didn’t help the race-baiting agenda the typical media whores are pushing.

          • now even the POTUS is carrying water for this guy because “he is my friend”. Now Gates is all over TV and it is another reason for us all to wring our hands and worry about how racist we all are.
            Sorry, doesn’t work with me anymore. The national media bought hook line and sinker the nonsense rumors spread about racism here…people chanting to kill Obama and racist signs along the highway when Obama arrived. None of it happened.
            What did happen was that whenever there was a group of women with Hillary signs, young men of many different colors drove by in groups and called them whores and bigots.
            It is too bad that the cop wasn’t black. But then he might have been called an Uncle Tom and accused of having a slave mentality..or perhaps Gates just would have been happy someone responded to the call and checked his house out.

        • If Gates kept asking for the cop’s name after he’d already given it to him then the cop should have given Gates his card. Problem solved. Here, sir, is my card and badge number. IMO, the cop is the one who overreacted. Obama is right that the cop made a dumb decision in arresting Gates. But it was pretty dumb for Obama to word it that way. As a citizen I can call the cop stupid (and hopefully the Cambridge police won’t show up at my door in Virginia to arrest me) but Obama is POTUS and he needs to be a bit more diplomatic. I’m constantly amazed at how this man, who is hailed as a great speaker, bungles off the cuff comments.

          • I have a real problem with Gates’ version of the incident. He says he kept asking the officer for his name and badge number and the cop wouldn’t give it to him.

            The officer was in uniform and his badge and name tag were clearly visible on his chest. The badge number would be right there on the badge.

            I’m not guessing – I saw a photo of Gates getting arrested. All the cops are uniformed with badges and name tags visible.

          • A uniform is not a piece of identification.

            Adam Sewer nails the issue here:

            The significant issue here, it seems to me, is whether or not Gates showed both his Harvard ID and driver’s license as he claims — Crowley claims he showed only his Harvard ID. Yet, Crowley does not claim to have felt as though he was in danger, and says he believes that Gates was being truthful about it being his residence. So I don’t really understand why Crowley stuck around to be yelled at, and it makes me uncomfortable that someone can simply be arrested for the crime of saying nasty things to a police officer under the auspices of “disorderly conduct.” I’m not aware of the clause in the First Amendment that exempts police officers from angry criticism. Gates’ reaction, if the police report is accurate, may have been inappropriate, but it was understandable, given that he was being accused of breaking into his own home. But if he was arrested simply because Crowley was angry or embarrassed at being mistreated, I don’t think that’s a defensible reaction.

          • Take a swing at a uniformed cop and then try telling a jury you didn’t know he was a cop cuz he didn’t show ID.

            I’ve never seen a cop in uniform show ID to prove he was really a cop. Plainclothes officers and off-duty cops yeah, but not the boys in blue.

          • Take a swing at a uniformed cop and then try telling a jury you didn’t know he was a cop cuz he didn’t show ID.


            Seriously, you have the right to ask for ID, even to me, police officers have shown their own ID many times.

            Somebody could steal a police uniform.

          • Myiq2xu,

            According to the police report, the arresting officer was in an unmarked car. Do you know for sure that he was wearing his uniform and badge?

            Regardless, I find it surprising that people seem to have so little empathy for Gates, who had just returned from a long trip, was probably exhausted and in shock at finding police at his door. I would have been stunned if that happened to me, and I don’t know if I would have been able to keep my cool or not.

          • I posted a picture of the cops arresting Gates as an update to the original post.

            The cops are all in uniform with badges and name tags.

            BTW – they don’t send plainclothes cops to burglary in progress calls cuz they don’t want them to get shot.

          • myiq,

            When I try putting myself in Gates’ shoes, I’m not sure if I would have acted any better. I have not called the cop a racist. I simply feel that Gates’ behavior was understandable–to me anyway. I would be terrified if a policeman entered my home and demanded that I prove I lived there. And I can understand how a person might overreact in a situation like that.

          • I was on the cops side all the way up until he arrested Gates.

            He could have done a better job explaining and defusing the situation but I don’t think he was unreasonable in asking Gates to show identification.

            He did the right thing by walking outside too.

            But once he walked outside he should have kept going. Arresting someone for being loud and angry on their own front porch in the middle of the afternoon is ridiculous.

            “You will STFU or go to jail!”

          • If the cop had given Gates his card it would have diffused the situation. The cop, as the on the job professional, had that responsibility. If it were me, I would have wanted the cop’s card to make sure that I had his correct information. More than once, a uniformed cop has left me his card and didn’t assume that I’d remember his name and badge number. (I’m terrible with names and numbers.)

        • What is that based on? You are assuming the police report written by Crowley is accurate. As someone who lives in the Cambridge area and is familiar with the actions of the Cambridge police, I don’t accept the police report at face value.

          Gates claims he did show his ID right away. I’m not defending anything Gates did or said. I think it’s likely that he also overreacted, as anyone might have when they were exhausted after arriving home from a long trip. It’s not a crime to be irritable and defensive. He shouldn’t have been arrested.

          None of the subsequent publicity would have happened if Crowley had simply left. If he had done that and then written up the incident and leaked it to the media, Crowley would have come off looking good and Gates would have looked foolish.

          • Have you noticed that a number of commenters who live n the Boston area have said the same things I have about the Cambridge police department? This incident fits a pattern we have seen again and again.

          • BB:

            You’re spot on. These guys like to win some perceived pissing contest, just show you who’s who.

          • BB, there is nothing special about the Cambridge police. We have bad police everywhere and good too.
            But you are assuming Gates is being honest.
            To me the real escalation took place when Gates followed the cop on to the porch and started putting on a big old angry act for the neighbors. I have a very powerful bullshit meter. Gates’ behavior struck me immediately as someone looking for a fight.

      • They don’t make near enough money then. There is a big difference between sucking up and being berated for basically doing your job. The guy had a report of a break in, it wasn’t unreasonable for him to ask for the person to produce ID in light of that.

        Which doesn’t mean that I don’t find it understandable that someone stuck on a flight for hours and not feeling well might be a little disgruntled about being asked to produce said ID.

        Can police be out and out jerks sometimes? Sure. Then again, so can the citizenry that they are paid to protect and serve in some instances.

        • Getting yelled at on the job sucks, but it happens to everyone. If you deal with the public, it’s a daily occurance. And most of us make a lot less than cops.

          • Frankly, had I had the ability to essentially place unreasonable people in” timeout”, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have been tempted to exercise it from time to time.

            Luckily for the citizenry, I’m not a police officer 😉

            I’ll admit to having a soft spot though. Two of my brothers are deputies. The idea that they might not only be expected to be berated for doing their job but in an instance be expected to take a bullet for one of the bozos that might be berating them for doing said job kinda rankles me. It isn’t like being suspicious isn’t part and parcel of being an officer for a reason.

          • Gates blew his credibility with me when he went to the press and called the officer names and accused him of being racist. Not one quote has been offered up by Gates to show the officer had said anything at all to indicate he had any animosity toward Gates because of his race. No slurs, no snarky comments…nothing. But, because he’s black, he gets to pull the card out and play it like a schoolyard bully. And, tonight, Obama showed himself.

            All those claims that Hillary was playing the card while Obama sat by passively….hardly. He played it then, and he played it again tonight.

          • it is different. You can not interfere with a cop doing his or her job. When that becomes standard our police forces become ineffective.
            And he was not arrested until he came out on the porch and put on a show for all the neighbors accusing the cop of being a racist.
            Now, neither one of us know the exact thing that happened. But on a web site full of people who got called racist for no reason other than wanting a better president than the empty suit in the white house, I am amazed that again everyone falls back in to assuming that the college professor is the victim and the ignorant arrogant cop is at fault.

          • And exactly how did standing on his own front porch “putting on a show” for his neighbors interfere with the cop doing his job? The cop had already confirmed that Gates lived there. The case was “solved.” The cop was wrong to arrest Gates and IMO it reflects poorly on the cop’s professional ability. Personally I think the cop should be fired, at the very least he should be written up. If he can’t keep his cool in such a minor confrontation, then he doesn’t have the right temperament for the job.

            FWIW, I don’t think this was a case of racial profiling. I think it was a case of a cop overreacting to an annoyed homeowner.

          • Do you mean ALL THREE cops who were there when the scene leading to the arrest took place?

      • BB,

        Since when is doing one’s job “hassling”?

        Being yelled at is part of the job. So is arresting persistent yellers. It’s disorderly conduct.

    • I don’t think he was outrageous. I think he was really pissed and annoyed, but citizens shouldn’t get arrested for being pissed and annoyed with a cop (though it’s usually not a good idea to be so.)

      Obama is right on this the cop was stupid. But as to whether it’s politically smart for him to say that the way he did, that remains to be seen.

      • Obama is full of shit and racial profiling is not possible when you are called to a possible break in. Obama sees racism in everything.
        Citizens should be arrested when they are threatening and uncooperative. They do not have the right to harass the guy for asking for ID.
        Gates to me, came off as arrogant and here is this whole web site, falling for claims of racism just like the ones that have been thrown at us for no reason.
        Asking for a cops badge is usually meant to be seen as a threat. Claiming someone is racist because you are black and they are white is a threat and slander.

        • Did I say I thought it was racism? No. And I don’t. I just don;t think the cop needed to arrest him – he should have let it go.

          Being rude or even accusatory is not a crime.

          • How easy for you to sit back and tell someone else how they have to deal with abusive or threatening people.

          • and he was not booked. He was put in time out and if you do not think he was threatening the guys job and reputation, fine, but I think he was.
            Do you know any cops in real life? Yes many of them are power junkies, but most of them are quiet reasonable and calm when doing their job.

        • The guy wasn’t threatening life or limb. it probably would have been smarter to let him stew in his own home after he produced his ID and proved he was indeed the resident of said domicile.

          The police officer would have been better served to have just blown his reaction off as the result of someone tired and sick after a long flight. considering we expect police officers to exercise judgement and to weigh situations it seems that arresting the guy was a bit of an overreaction on the officers part. The last thing we need to do is incarcerate people simply because they are upset and reacting to a situation rather than actually committing a crime.

          • I agree that the officer may have missed an opportunity to regain control and calm Gates, but I wasn’t there. It’s just as likely that Gates saw an opportunity to create a situation that would play well to his classroom.

            Gates is 58 years old, and has been teaching for years. He, also, has the training and maturity to maintain dignity in a tense situation. So, reading the post by myiq makes it even less likely that I will afford Gates more grace in who was wrong than I will the police officer.

            There were 3 police officers on the property when Gates was cuffed and taken in. Why didn’t the other two diffuse the situation? Gates hasn’t stopped fuming, and I find that a disturbing flaw in his character. He wasn’t frisked, searched, physically restrained by force (not talking about the cuffs).

            Cops can be real a$$holes…and there is plenty of video available to prove that. But, when we harshly judge or go out of the way to destroy the character of a police officer, I think I will make sure they deserve it. I won’t be assuming it simply because I have a story to tell about a time when I saw or experienced something.

          • No one’s going out of their way to destroy the character of the police officer. Nothing’s going to happen to him. But if it’s wrong to Judge police based on experience, why is it okay to read all kinds of things into Gates’ behavior based on his occupation and on our perceptions of the reasonable way to react to a situation most of us have probably never been in and probably never will? I can’t really put a timeline on how long it would take me to stop fuming over being wrongly arrested.

          • Gates was escalating the situation. He refused to let the cops walk away and followed them on to the porch. That according to the police. According to Gates he was guilty of being a black man in America.

          • Seriously – Gates is certainly messing up the officer’s character, and Obama chimed in happily.

        • Asking for the officers name and badge number is perfectly legitimate. Persistently yelling at him is not.

  5. Please define being “hassled” and show me the rule that says that officers have to tolerate being yelled at by a sober, educated professional man.

    I have already agreed that the officer should not have arrested Gates to avoid the fallout but Gates and others continue to ignore the fact that their were two egos invovled in this matter and one of them was not wearing a uniform.

    • That’s pretty much my opinion too. Personally, the MA police seemed to actually say it best. The situation was best served by having the charges dropped and neither person involved should have their charecter judged or attacked as a result of the incident.

      • They did the right thing, but Crowley embarrassed them. He’ll probably regret what he did down the road–not because of Gates, but his own career.

        • He’s a SGT with civil service protection. He might not ever get promoted again though.

          • I just think his superiors may see him as someone who goes off half-cocked. Bosses don’t like to be embarrassed.

          • Are we about to see a “Troopergate” that won’t face an ethics charge? 🙂

            Two additional officers were on the scene when the cuffs and transport to jail took place, right? Having their comments on what they saw would be nice.

      • The situation was best served by having the charges dropped and neither person involved should have their charecter judged or attacked as a result of the incident.

        Well, that’s not going to happen…Gates still hasn’t stopped throwing insults, and Obama tossed in a good one tonight to help out his good friend.

        • After Obama gave details of the incident, he admitted all charges had been dropped. That would have been a good place to insert “people make mistakes”, blah, blah, blah. But instead – Obama racheted up the issue.
          Because Gates is his friend?

        • Please excuse my lousy attempt at agreeing with you that last night Obama EXTENDED the discussion for a situation where “all charges have been dropped” – simply because Gates is his friend.
          Bad move for Obama.

          Also, Gates seemed to be foremost appalled that HE could be questioned by the cops — rather than thankful he lives in an area with alert neighbors.

    • …..continue to ignore the fact that their were two egos invovled in this matter and one of them was not wearing a uniform.

      can’t forget the egos…that’s the key

    • AND one of them was in his own home and was not on the clock. The other one was on the job, a job that requires a clear head and good judgment. One person didn’t do his job. The other person was arrested for speaking his mind on his own front porch.

  6. Obama’s comment was akin to his loathing comments about small-town, bitter people. His mind, and the minds of many on this blog were made up based on race and profession. It’s wrong.

    • Please don’t try to read other people’s minds. If you are referring to me, I didn’t make up my mind based on either race or profession. I detest elitism. But I have seen/read/heard about a lot of bad behavior on the part of the Cambridge police. Have you noticed that a lot of people who are from this area have said something similar?

      I don’t think Gates should have been arrested. I don’t think the cop was necessarily racially motivated. I don’t agree with people who say the same thing couldn’t have happened to a white person. But I think it’s clear that these things happen more to black people.

      • I was referring to your conviction, BB, that the cop was wrong because he was a cop. This seems to be based on the fact that you saw cops act like assholes as long as forty years ago.

        As a retired police officer, I’ve been on the other end of that attitude. it sucks to deal with it.

        I freely admit that I don’t know anything about the Cambridge PD. They’re not notorious like Chicago and New Orleans. i would suggest that you don’t know the particular police officer involved. I understand how incrdibly annoying it can be to be accused of being a racist when I know that I’m not one. When someone is screaming that at me and threatening my livelihood, that annoyance might be ratcheted up to anger.

        I have stated from the beginning that Crowley should not have arrested Gates. That’s not necessarily because Gates didn’t violate the law (he may have-I wasn’t there and I don’t know how much of a disturbance he was creating) but because I knew this would come back to haunt Crowley. Having arrested the mayor’s son for reckless driving, I have personal knowledge of how politics intersects with civil service.

        My concern is that so few people talk about demonstrating basic good manners when dealing with the police. I don’t wonder that police retreat behind a blue line when the president calls one of their co-workers stupid on national television for doing his job.

  7. It makes me think that this is a case of two male egos. Not worthy of an arrest but resulting in one none the same.

  8. Eh, lot’s of cops around here can be SOB’s, and I certainly would never yell at one and not expect to get arrested, not that they should be able to do so or whatever, but… I don’t necessarily buy that this was racially motivated. It’s fine, this guy’s upset, but this stuff happens to regular people everyday, white and black.

    • I agree. You yell at a policeman long enough and whatever the colour of your behind, you are playing with having your ass arrested. Since they are human, cops have breaking points as well. It’s unfortunate . Which is the word Obama could have used instead of “stupidly”. In such cases the understatement speaks volumes

    • Most of the police in my area have shown themselves to be very decent people. In fact, I’ve never personally witnessed anything I would say was out of line. My experiences, while just casual traffic stops, could have resulted in costly tickets had I not been civil and respectful.

      It’s unfair to stereotype either of these men. None of us were there and so much emotion has boiled over that I doubt we’re ever going to get the truth.

      The video of the King County deputy who physically attacked a 15 year old girl while she was in a cell just because she mouthed off got less outrage and discussion than this. I find that really curious.

      • Well I have 2 siblings and a brother in law in law enforcement so I think we can safely say I am civil and respectful dealing with law enforcement.

        That being said I have seen police that have gone overboard. Alot of times situations can deteriorate real fast if you get into a peeing contest with them.

        If I am walking along and minding my own business and they stop me for general principle(which has occurred on more than 1 occasion) I give them my ID rather than rant about how I was just minding my business. Why? It’s easier and faster. If they get their jollies looking for outstanding warrants(which it was admitted to me that this is what they do when stopping pedestrains) and the SCOTUS ruled it constitutional it serves me not one whit to put up a stink.

        I did once put in a jab about how a country that has an obesity problem might be better served if folks walked more often once though. 😉

        • And a lot of times you don’t even have to get in a peeing contest. People get startled when they don’t see cops coming, and if they get flustered, or don’t quite understand what the cop wants them to do, Or don’t do it quickly enough, it can go downhill pretty quick.

      • Most of the ones I’ve run into have been decent. More often than not these days when they stop it’s to enquire if I need a lift or if things are all right. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth to basically have a police officer act as if you are a criminal engaging in criminal behavior when you aren’t.

  9. I think this case should have all of us, no matter the side that we come down on with it, really examining closely the state of our existence within the framework of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    The truth is, we now live in a Police State, and it is not going to get any better unless there is a widespread demand for change. The sexist slaveholding patriarch’s that gave us our system of government and the constitution should be literally rolling in their graves over the fact that this has evolved into a police state. In the interest of “national security” we can have all kinds of hell come down on us, for no reason whatsoever, but that some one in a shadow organization within our government has deemed we are a threat somewhere. Some goofball on here suggested my anti-authoritarianism leads to assassination of our President and whatnot. WTF? With people like that pointing fingers, its a surprise I was not hauled off last night…

    Anyway. The Sgt. overstepped his Authority. Did not read Professor Gates his Miranda, and maneuvered him out of doors where he promptly arrested him.

    Everyone should be required to study the Constitution and civics before getting a diploma. This brings me back to what a lawyer friend of the family told me when I was a kid “don’t admit to anything, and do not ever let a police officer or other executive branch officer lead you into a confession of anything. Not that I am a criminal or anything…

    • I agree!

    • The reading of Miranda rights is required before questioning, not before arrest. This is one sin that you cannot legitimately lay on the police officer.

      • Where is this “manuvered” meme coming from? The cop left Gates’ house and Gates’ followed him out and kept yelling.

        As far as Miranda, the cops can arrest and book you and never read you your rights.

        They can even ask you some questions, like your name and address.

        If they do violate your Miranda rights you don’t get a free pass, the court just throws out any confessions or admissions you made. If they have other evidence they can still convict you.

  10. Having recently been the victim of a bad cop, I have to say, it’s going to impact my relations with any police officer for some time. I almost have a knee jerk reaction to that blue uniform now. I want to gtf away.

    • It is hard. After a difficult run in I found myself almost reassessing how I taught my children that they are there to “help.”

      That being said, it’s just like everything else. You are going to find men and women who are good and bad at the proficiency their job requires.

      Two of my brothers are deputies and my brother in law is a state police officer so I guess that helps my perception though.

      • I’ve known some very good cops, and had encounters with a few ego-driven ones. And I’ve known a few good ones who turned into jerks after years, because they were just burned out and should have left long before. It’s a stressful job.

      • Heh – I never taught my children to completely trust a police officer….especially not my daughter. Both of my kids learned how to trust their own instincts. Thank goodness, too, or my son’s recent incident with 8 LAPD officers with their guns drawn on him could have ended really bad.

        Think about that….8 officers, and he had to trust that all 8 were trained well enough to not get tough without cause. They were. The instant they figured out the parolees had lied about where they were really living, the officers apologized and left.

    • That is actually the education we get from our parents. I have a serious paranoia towards cops and I always try to be the courteous I could ever be, but sometimes they fuck with me just because they feel like it.

  11. oops, forgot something…

    do not ever let an executive branch officer enter your premises without a warrant, no matter the pretext.

    Skip should have let Mr. Sgt. CPD stand outside until he produced one.

    • yeah, right. I got arrested for being pummeled by a felon on parole with the consent of a police officer on the 4th. Tell me about warrants and habeus corpus, and then the one about Prince Charming and that glass slipper!

    • You’re not gonna get rich trying to sue for a violation of your 4th Amendment rights. If they found evidence to arrest you you could get it excluded, but not until after you were booked into jail, arraigned and there was a case to file a suppression motion in.

      As the cops around here say, “You might beat the rap but you’ll still take the ride”

      • @yup, i took the ride AND I wore the orange jumpsuit

        what a friggin’ experience!

        • oh, and my orange jump suit said OPP, dig that

        • Wish there had been a reporter there tonight who could have asked Obama’s opinion on what happened to you. Gates was actually treated quite well by comparison. I doubt there’s a bruise on him.

        • Oh, Dakini, that sucks! It’s hard not to feel attacked when you’ve been in a situation like that. To take the ride and wear the orange must have been humiliating.

          I was arrested mistakenly for something in a bad neighborhood but because I was compliant despite my humiliation just endured the being handcuffed, hauled off in front of everyone while people jeered and fingerprinted etc. while the other cop checked the computer for priors and the “do you know you have an FBI record” [Yeah, I do cause I worked at a bank] questioning, I was not hauled off to jail, just issued a ticket then, but the cops made it clear that it was because I was compliant.

          I was also nearly arrested two other times when working at the polls during elections of 2004 and 2006. The fact that I had an FBI record came up both times then.

          I wonder if Boston allows for that type of arrest, or if you are immediately hauled off to lock-up? Anyone know?

          But, the thing is I didn’t let my ego get in the way even though I was very tired, angry and humiliated, unlike Prof. Gates, and my dad had been a cop many years ago in a different town. Where I live now, there is definitely a shoot-first ask questions later when dealing with minorities problem here in Milwaukee.

        • Oh, Dakini, that sucks! It’s hard not to feel attacked when you’ve been in a situation like that. To take the ride and wear the orange must have been humiliating.

          I was arrested mistakenly for something in a bad neighborhood but because I was compliant despite my humiliation just endured the being handcuffed, hauled off in front of everyone while people jeered and fingerprinted etc. while the other cop checked the computer for priors and the “do you know you have an FBI record” [Yeah, I do cause I worked at a bank] questioning, I was not hauled off to jail, just issued a ticket then, but the cops made it clear that it was because I was compliant.

          I was also nearly arrested two other times when working at the polls during elections of 2004 and 2006. The fact that I had an FBI record came up both times then.

          I wonder if Boston allows for that type of arrest, or if you are immediately hauled off to lock-up? Anyone know?

          But, the thing is I didn’t let my ego get in the way even though I was very tired, hungry, angry and humiliated (I have a sleep disorder too), unlike Prof. Gates, and my dad had been a cop many years ago in a different town. Where I live now, there is definitely a shoot-first ask questions later when dealing with minorities problem here in Milwaukee, and of course, the discrimination of the force that was revealed during the Dahmer case.

          I didn’t live too far from there after it happened.

    • No, The burglary report constitutes probable cause – no warrant required.

      • No, the burglary report only gives the officer reasonable suspicion. But that’s all he needs.

        Imagine if cops responding to burglary calls and alarms had to sit outside and wait for someone to bring a warrant.


    My God America, what have we done electing this BOZO????????

  13. What’s this “we” sh*t?

  14. BO’s comments stunk politically and ethically.

    Firstly and as usual he was self referential since everything is about him (Skip Gates is a friend of mine… I worked on legislation)

    Secondly he said that he didn’t all the facts but then recounted the story in way to make the cops look to be entirely in the wrong

    Thirdly he said the police acted stupidly… never a smart political move to suggest that police are stupid, but then implies that they were in fact rac*st.

    Fourthly, he’s an arrogant jerk and I don’t like him… okay that had nothing to do with anything, but I wanted to say it anyway.

    • Excellent points.

    • What I really, truly loathe about Obama is that he doesn’t give the slightest evidence that he cares about this country or the plight of the people in it. It’s always, always all about him. If there’s such a thing as the self referential gene, he inherited the super max mutant version.

    • I wish the guy would give me a reason to like him and or even defend him.


      Instead in the interest of intellectual honesty I have to berate. He really isn’t much better than his predecessor.

    • Best comment of the night 🙂

  15. Nice analysis; agree with you on all points, and of course #4!

  16. I pointed out the difference between Obama’s answer Gates and his answers on health care, and to Jeralyn at TalkLeft’s credit she’s put up a post talking about the same thing. To me that really is the takeaway from his press conference–how much more specific he was in talking about Gates vs. how absurdly fuzzy he was talking about health care.

    • Missed a word:

      the difference between Obama’s answer about Gates

    • They are going to have to continue to portray it as fuzzy if they want support for the piece of crap legislation that they are attempting to pass off as better health care.

      I personally don’t care if it is single payer or a public option but if it is a public option then it ought to be open to EVERYONE, not just a select few. Giving liscense for the health insurance to gouge people with incomes over $77,000 doesn’t seem like a big improvement to me.

    • It is sad but he left three point in the gates incident and in the Health Care issue none and FOX is busy telling people about patient dumping under Axelrod, Michelle, Jared and Obama as if that is part of anything any of us would ever support. Arrggg.

    • I’m kinda over talking about the Gates incident. The corporate media will focus on Obama’s comments about the situation for the next several days more than the main issue which is to provide health care to all Americans. I agree with you that his response to Gates was better than to any of the questions on health care. His responses to health care questions sucked IMO.

  17. What if the police officer doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. What if his best friend or partner is AA. How would it feel to be called a racist?

    Remember how all of us hated being called racist just for supporting Hillary when many (if not most of us) are old school liberals. Remember how angry it makes us to be called racist? If confronted in person with that charge how do you react?

    I really went after a young man during the primary – as it happens he was a PH.D. student from Harvard who was spending a semester at Duke. The bartender came over and asked me what the racket was. Why was I so angry. I told him the guy had called me a racist and a bigot and my big friend the bartender got very angry and promptly picked him up and carried outside, put him down in the gutter and told him to never come back to the bar.

    It seems many posters are assuming the worst about the police office – assuming he is a bigot. I know a lot of police officers in my city and they are not racist. They are not rightwingers. They are mostly moderate to left of the dial. Maybe this is unusual and most cops are racist and I just don’t happen to know any. On the other hand, I don’t know anyone who works for the sheriff’s departmeent who is not a total winger nut.

    • I don’t think anyone here has called this racially motivated. As a matter of fact, if I remember correctly the post that bought this up specifically said that while they disagreed with the officer’s actions that they felt it WASN’T motivated by racial profiling.

    • I haven’t seen anyone calling him a racist. There isn’t any real evidence of that. I think some of us think he made a big mistake arresting Gates–first because yelling at a policeman is not a crime, and second, because it made a national laughing stock of his department.

      • But, as I understand things, Obama did make the incident about race in his remarks tonight, clearly so.

        • Yes, but my comment was a response to someone who accused commenters on this blog of calling the cop a racist. I haven’t seen that.

      • My main point is that Gates was calling the officer a racist. How would that make you feel if its not true. It seemed to me that no one is thinking about how that label felt to the officer.

        Calling someone a bigot or racist is a bell you can’t unring.

        I don’t think the officer should have arrested Gates. He had the right to arrest him but he should not have done it. I think his emotions got the better of him but aren’t we holding him to a higher standard of behavior than Gates?

        • Yes we are. But I believe that with the authority that we give public servants like police officers comes the need to hold them to a higher standard.

          I completely understand that Prof. Gates’ reaction(or overreaction) may have upset the officer. The appropriate response from the officer probably should not have been to overreact right back. Gates didn’t pose a threat, not a real one anyway.

        • He’s a Cambridge cop, I doubt this is the first time he’s been called a racist. To the extent we’re holding him to a higher standard, cops have a lot of power to mess up people’s lives, plus guns. If they get their feelings hurt so easily and can’t detach from acting on it, they’re probably going to have a hard time handling such a stressful job. I’m sorry his feelings were hurt; I’m a lot sorrier if he abused his position. Arrest records are mighty hard bells to unring too.

      • I wonder whether the officer’s decision to make the arrest was in any way impacted by the number of onlookers that had gathered outside the house, and their reaction to comments the man made while on his porch with the officer.

        • I somewhat wonder that too. The fact there were 8 or 9 onlookers could have been very well a mitigating factor in why the officer chose to exercise his authority rather than just let Prof Gates vent.

          • I’d like to know why there was a big crowd of cops outside for breaking and entering report.

          • BB,

            A routine traffic stop where I live can result in five or six squad cars. My husband even once commented at what a waste it was when they had 6 squad cars for a single van that had a young teenage aged kid crying outside it because he was busted for pot.

            My husband usually has to wait when he gets stopped because he has a concealed carry permit. Evidently they figure they should have back up elsewise he might go all Chuck Norris on them. I don’t think it even crosses their minds that the real bad guys probably wouldn’t have taken the time to actually register and notify the police they carry a weapon on their person.

          • Yes, that’s what disorderly conduct IS.

        • What I also find interesting is that the person who called in the “break in” seems to be missing from the story. I wonder if she/he showed up with coffee cake the next day and apologized for not realizing that the who the professor was. I wonder if they engaged in a “get to know our neighbor so this never happens again” moment.

          • I’d bet she’s praying he never figures out who placed the call. She’s white…and since people here claimed they saw her as the racial profiler on yesterday’s blog post, I doubt she wants to hear what Gates will say publicly against her.

          • I find that interesting too. The name of the woman who called 911 was initially in the news stories, and now it isn’t. But apparently she is the editor of Harvard Magazine–another embarrassing fact.

            In addition, the police report has now disappeared from the internet, scrubbed by The Boston Globe. I assume the police requested that it be taken down.

          • I don’t understand how she didn’t recognize Gates if she was his neighbor. Even I know what my neighbors look like.

          • The woman who phoned in the attempted break-in might not have recognized SG as the resident of the home because she was not his neighbor. Rather, she was a resident of the city of Malden, MA, on her way to work, at Harvard, in Cambridge.

    • Nobody said he was a racist, but a) the Cambridge PD has a rep all over the state for being racist, meaning it behooves these officers to keep that in mind and walk away and b) Tye cop overreacted. It doesn’t feel good to be called a racist for no reason, it also feels bad to be chilling in your house and find out you’re a robbery suspect. That probably feels even worse, and while everybody was angry no one should have gotten arrested.

      • Gates did.

        • The accusation was that people on this blog said he was a racist.

          • Please re-read my post and subsequent post.

            My point is how it feels to be called something you are not. And, how we react.

          • This is the part of your comment that I was responding to:

            It seems many posters are assuming the worst about the police office – assuming he is a bigot.

            I said very clearly in my post that I didn’t think the arrest was racially motivated and that I thought Obama made a mistake to say what he did.

      • Where do you get that about the Cambridge cops? They have the best affirmative action program in the state. I have never heard this racism claim. Anyway, I’m reading this is the guy who tried to save Reggie lewis. He doesn’t seem like a racist to me. Further, you get belligerent with a cop, you do run the rick of arrest. I think most people know that.

        • I don’t have any reason to think Crowley is a racist and I have said so repeatedly. I think Gates overreacted because he was tired from a long trip and understandably shocked by being treated like an intruder in his own home.

          I have lived in the Cambridge area since 1967. I actually lived on Ware Street then–the same street where Gates lives now. I have with my own eyes seen Cambridge cops beat up defenseless black kids. MABlue has said that he has been repeatedly hassled by them.

          It’s nice to know that they have a good affirmative action program, but over the years there have been many nasty incidents involving Cambridge cops. Just a year ago, I dealt with a Cambridge policeman who treated me horribly during a routine traffic stop, and I said almost nothing during the incident. It took me a couple of weeks to recover from what happened. My experiences have led me to take what was in the police report with a very large grain of salt.

          Again, I don’t think racism was necessarily involved in this incident. Talking back to a policeman is not a crime. Citizens don’t lose their first amendment rights when they are interacting with cops. Is it smarter to clam up? Sure. But being irritable and defensive about being accused of breaking and entering in your own home is not a crime for which you should be arrested.

          • Yeah, I had a nasty incident with the Newton cops. Cops can be jerks. But, a) Gates said the incident was racism, b) it seemed like Governor Patrick and Obama insinuated racism, when as we have both just said, we’re white and have had run ins with cops, and c) I think there is a fine line as to how much one can talk back to a police officer. I think this is somewhere in the gray, not black or white.

        • Everyone I know who’s ever dealt with them can tell you horror stories. Between Harvard and Cambridge, let’s see, there was the professor who was walking to class and harassed because he supposedly resembled a robbery suspect, and about a million other incidents that are well known. I didn’t say he was a racist (although the Lewis thing is just stupid. Being a racist doesn’t mean someone belongs to the Kkk and bombs churches. It’s pretty common for very prejudiced people to make distinctions between “good” and “bad” POC and point to a select few they like. There’s no indication that this guy is a racist, but Lewis has nothing to do with it.) I said there is a widespread perception that CPD has a racial problem, and arresting people for no reason doesn’t help that. Yeah, you can expect to be arrested if you mouth off to a cop, so? It’s still wrong and an abuse of power.

  18. West needs to grow up. The cops did their job.

  19. bb – Did you read the police report? The officer called the campus cops so he could remove himself from the situation once he determined that Gates was faculty.

    • P.S. to my own post.

      That is why there were so many squad cars there. City police were trying to leave.

      • Correct, Dee. The officer in question, after he finally got an ID (Gates initially refused), called the Harvard University police to take over the situation, since Gates was faculty. When they arived to do so, the officer was leaving, but Gates followed him out on the porch (for the benefit of the gathered crowd), screaming “This is how Blacks are treated in America!” over and over.

        The officer asked him to please calm down, but Gates was “working the crowd” and didn’t do so.

        It’s all in the police report, and everything the arresting officer said happened, was backed up by the Black officer who filed his own report.

        But Obama was too stupid to wait and get all the facts before he claiming those officers “acted stupidly.”

        Not a single mention that Gates acted stupidly, too.

        • Bingo.

        • It’s one thing to act “stupidly” on your own front porch. It’s another to do it on the job. The cop blew it. He made a dumb mistake on the clock.

          • sorry, but you have an attitude about cops and do not seem to have read what anyone said. Gates had it coming for trying to make race an issue and he is lucky the cop is as reasonable as he is.

          • I have an attitude about bad cops. Everyone should. Cops who abuse their power are a danger to our democracy and the ideals that Americans hold dear.

            The cop in this instance was wrong. If he’d been right then the charges would not have been dropped. Gates did nothing illegal and the cop abused his power by arresting the man. The fact that the cop won’t apologize speaks volumes about his lack of character and excess of ego.

  20. Huh? Krugman liked Obama’s health care presentation. Has Krugman given up on the liberals fighting for single payer?

    • Seriously, it’s really good to see how much he gets it.

      Paul Krugman

      Get what Paul ?? What does Obama get? Please tell us. Seriously, I’d like to know.

      • You know, “it” 😉

        I wonder if Krugman has read the 1000 page travesty yet or is just going on Obama’s cliff notes version.

    • Et tu, Krugman?

    • I gave up on Paul the other day.

  21. This is interesting. I just read a tweet by emptywheel that

    Rupert Murdoch’s yacht showed up in Juneau late last week. Early Saturday PM his 737 landed there. 737 still there.

    Do you suppose he’s offering Sarah Palin a TV gig?

  22. Obama is a day late and a dollar short and his comment at this point does nothing to to make the situation better. In fact, he probably just made it worse. What he’s showing is not wisdom or leadership, it’s inexperience and arrogance.

    Of course the police are going to be resentful, the president just accused them of being racist which they well may be, but Obama did it without talking to them or even trying to get their side of the story. That’s not how you handle things when you’re supposed to be leading the country.

    • Yup. Just another sign of his inexperience.

      • And, that chip on his shoulder. He can’t claim his comment tonight was Hillary playing the race card.

    • I think it’s a mistake for a President to use the term “stupidly” to categorize a group of people (in this case the Cambridge police). One officer made a wrong decision and overreacted to Gates’ “disorderly conduct”. He could’ve phrased his response differently to show his dissatisfaction with the police officer’s decision but the word “stupidly” really stuck out for me. And it is very much like the stereotyping he made of working class whites in PA last year. It is always bad for a politician to stereotype of categorize anyone even if one person in that group has poor judgment. I don’t think the comment is going to hurt his chances in 2012 but it’s just another distraction for the media that will allow Obama to continue to dodge questions on health care.

      • Yep. And it will certainly drive away more of the Independents he’s already losing.

        Obama behaved stupidly tonight.

      • I gotta tell you, I’ve had mixed feelings about the police all my life (being a black man in america will do that to you) but he should have never used the words “stupidly.” If I were a PR person, I would be all over this with ads geared up for the next election.. The law & order electorate won’t like this a bit, and Gates certainly doesn’t make for a sympathetic figure.

        “In Barack Obama’s America, elitist professors are more important than the men and women working hard to secure our cities”.

        “BO thinks police are ‘stupid’ for working hard to prevent crime.”

        “Welcome to Obama’s America, where one false move is enough to get you branded a r@cist… and end your career”

        I can see it all now

        • Most people have mixed feelings about the police. Believe it or not people who aren’t black but don’t live in the best neighborhoods don’t get treated exactly well all the time.

          That being said, a lot of people feel that a certain amount of respect should be afforded to people that may be called upon to put their life in harms way to keep the peace.

        • Yep, that’s why I think he made a big mistake. He would have been better off to just make the general comments about racial profiling and say he needed more information before commenting on the specific case. But it looks like he set up the quesition himself–which was asked by a friendly reporter from Chicago.

  23. Here’s a lovely story about police behavior. Anyone want to defend these cops?


    • I know people who have had one or two bad experiences with black people and so hate all of them.
      What does this new link have to do with the Gates story? All cops are bad because some are?

  24. This is another very good piece.

    The good news about the Henry Louis Gates fiasco

    So the Gates story makes me thankful that it’s not 1945 anymore, the year when, on Dec. 22, Cab Calloway was “slugged by a city policeman” in Kansas City and needed “eight stitches … in his head.” Hallelujah that the incident did not result in Mr. Gates’ lynching, death and dismemberment (followed by a hefty fine), though the worst-case scenario of conflict between blacks and the police has followed this pattern too often in the past — and still flares up, but not to the same degree, and blacks have considerably more recourse under the law. I’m reassured that the public, the police and the media no longer officially condone racial profiling and violence against people of color even if we still slip into the pattern, or echo it, from time to time. There is even some debate among letter writers on news sites about whether Gates-gate constitutes a case of profiling at all. In the past such bias would go without saying and never create a ripple, much less an outrage — like the stories in “We Charge Genocide,” which, if anything, only convinced the U.N. to define genocide in a way that would keep the U.S. from facing our race problem.

    Very well said.
    This is usually the ambivalence we feel when something like this happens to a prominent Black: On one hand we are sad and frustrated, on the other we are happy that it happened to someone who can call attention to it, because stuff like this and worse happens to Blaack Joe-Schmoe on a regular basis.

  25. Someone should ask Obama what roll race played in his being elected.

  26. I’ve said it many times here since the incident, I have a tough time believing the police officer because I know Skip Gates fairly well.

    I’m happy everyone who knows him shares my opinion. People are sometimes to fast to label blacks as “whiners” and “race-card” players:

    Professor is down-to-earth, friends say

    Acquaintances challenge police picture

    • Maybe so, mablue. I don’t really think there is enough here to rule it out or rule it in. It’s all opinion, but yours is valid too, if you know the guy well.

      People, even very reasonable people, who have been subjected to racism may be a little quick to assume it’s there. By the same token, people who are fresh off the experience of having “Racist!” unjustly yelled in their face for 2 years by Obots may be, as you say, a little quick to respond badly to the accusation.

      Shit like this is one of the reasons we kept saying that Obama’s abuse of the race card would in the end be so damaging to race relations in this country.

      • And BTW, I hope I’m not out of line here, but I get the sense from your posts on various threads that you are finding this whole thing just….. painful.

        I’m sorry for that, and I do appreciate your honesty, as well as the honesty of many here on TC. It’s hard, and it’s complicated, but we are never going to get anywhere in this country if we’re afraid to talk honestly, without knee-jerk pigeon-holing each other, and without papering over what we really think.

      • That’s why it does more damage to “analyze” such a situtation. Speculation and assumption are sport and I don’t think we should be in the game.

  27. Not sure if it’s been posted alread (didn’t see it)y in this thread but in case there is still interest, here’s the original .pdf police report from Gates arrest.

    Click to access gates-police-report.pdf

  28. I don’t get all the brouhaha on either side.

    • Well, even though cops can be and often are jerks to ANY race, I don’t think one can deny that black men get treated badly by police more often than white men do.

      The problem comes when you try to extrapolate that fact to every individual in every situation, and assume that any time a white cop is an asshole to a black man, it is automatically racially motivated. Nope. Sometimes an ego-driven jerk is just an ego-driven jerk, no matter what color.

    • I don’t get it either. If I had a problem getting thru my own door and a cop showed up because someone noticed I might be shocked at first, but I would be glad someone bothered to notice and the cops came to check. Not only would I produce ID, I would thank them (and whoever called) for caring.

      • GAgal, that’s what gets me, neither Gates himself nor via his attorney have even hinted that they were thankful that the cops responded so quickly to his home being broken into. I would think that if your true intention is outrage at the behavior and not trying to make some other kind of issue about it, a humble acknowledgement of ‘police doing their jobs yet their behavior was egregious’ would factor in somewhere because at the least it would make Gates look better.

      • Actually, I’d be wondering why my “good” neighbor didn’t come out and offer to help me with the jammed door.

  29. I live in NH and have been listening to Boston talk radio (WTKK) and Michelle McPhee report on this story. From the sounds of it, it was more an issue of a rich friend (Gates) of the Governor Duval Patrick thinking he was above the law. The cop was only trying to do his job and if anyone else was in the same situation they would be in trouble for not complying with a law enforcement officer but, because he was a rich person he was all pissy about it. Doesn’t matter what color he is OR how much money he has, the law is the law.

    • Even WTKK’s restaurant show is right-wing, they’re not exactly neutral.

    • There are two sets of standards though. One for rich folk and one for poor folk. Apparently, the poor officer got confused about which half of the population he was dealing with. Gates was supposed to get a “I can be disrespectful free card” because he knows the right people to pull strings. Noelle Bush got the same kind of treatment as did Rush Limbaugh and a host of other wealthy and connected folk who appear to have the same bad habits they always seem to project and use to explain why people in poverty are more likely to end up incarcerated or repeating the cycle of poverty.

    • Doesn’t matter what color he is OR how much money he has, the law is the law.

      What law was it?

    • Michelle McPhee? She’s a bit of a wingnut, if you ask me. Her opinion is about what I’d expect, but not likely to be accurate.

  30. Yes, his home had been broken into before, so he’s pissed that the cops showed up and asked him for ID. It’s a tough world for a Harvard Professor.

    • I wonder what his reaction towards the police was the first time when the police were unable to catch the people who broke into his house?

      • He’s probably wondering whether his neighbors were napping during the break-in, or whether they came over and asked the robber, locked out? Need some help? 😉

        • I think we can pretty much guarantee they’ll continue their siesta next time that they see someone entering his residence. If informing the police they see suspicious activity is going to lead to a brouhaha and a raucous round of “who is racist” then I know I might be inclined to just let whoever the heck wants entry to his residence have at it.

          The police and the neighbors probably were figuring they might have caught them the folks who broke in prior back for a repeat performance.

          • Regardless of what anyone tells you, Ware St. is not a big place for break-ins.

    • Ok I see.

      Gates is automatically here the evil one.

      There are some people here who wouldn’t even give him the benefit of the doubt. He is the privileged Black guy who keeps bellyaching.

      You don’t have the experience we have with the police, and I speak as a proud Bostonian and someone who screams on top of his lungs when the race-card is played gratuitously.

      • I believe his conduct was unwarranted. I find it perfectly reasonable to expect that a police officer responding to a call for an alleged break in to ask for identification from the person who was seen entering the residence.

        Screaming at the man “this is how black people are treated in America” seems particularly unhelpful to the situation.

        • We don’t even know if Gates “screamed” anything. He had just arrived home from a long trip and was probably exhausted. I think anyone would have a tendency to respond defensively in a situation like that.

  31. The report is interesting; particularly the admission by Gates that his home was previously broken into leaving the ability to secure it hampered.

    • It’s not just the one cops word on it though. There was another cop (officer Figueroa) who filed in the report, that seems to back up parts of what Crowley said happened inside the home and on the porch. I’m interested in hearing what the 7 or so people that gathered outside the home saw when Gates was arrested.

      • Thanks for posting the pdf!! The Globe has taken it down from their website. It does include the name of the (white) woman who called police. Lucia Whalen is the circulation and fundraising manager for Harvard Magazine. This is going to be embarrassing for her too. Maybe that’s why the Globe took the report down.

        • Glad I could help. I was surprised when it went missing on Boston dot com.

          I also notice that the version being shown on other sites isn’t this one, but a supplement version.

          I’m guessing Lucia Whalen won’t have much to say on the subject for a while.

  32. Yep, all cops are bad and scary until you need one. What an intense, high pressure dangerous job. You wonder who would want it. Around every corner, you might find yourself face to face with a gun or a drug induced maniac out of control.
    I will not judge a police officer. If I encounter one, I am respectful and cooperative. However, I do know that racial profiling does exist. But this does not sound like its a case of racial profiling, instead, it sounds as if the cop was doing his job and the professor took it personally and had a chip on his shoulder.

  33. None of us was there. Not even Obama. None of us knows if the cop “acted stupidly” or if Gates was simply being a jerk.

    This event will further divide us along racial lines, though. And prevent any “post-racial” anything from happening.

    That is a terrible shame.

    • The one aspect we really miss out on would be nonverbal cues. Body language probably was flying throughout this whole situation.

    • Doesn’t really matter. The purpose was served. No one is talking about anything contained in last night’s presser except this short few minutes worth of talk. How surprising Obama insisted this be his last question and it come from the woman who would stoke the fire to create the great smoke screen and prevent healthcare/insurance from being the subject. How suspicious.

      I fear we may be in for a second round of the greatest speech on race evah!! Obama is slipping in the polls and needs to remind people what they are when they don’t worship at his feet.

  34. I tend to think that probably both parties were at fault to some degree. The officer over reacted and so did Gates IMO, but like you say I wasn’t there and at this point it seems unless there’s audio from the officer talking to dispatch or a recording to whoever Gates may have been trying to reach on the phone that can shed more light on this, we will probably never know what happened. It appears to me it should have been left the way the Cambridge PD tried to end it as both parties not being blamed for their actions and letting it go. I do think that Obama getting involved probably made it worse then it’s already gotten, unless he has some info none of us could know about, (which he indicated he doesn’t)

  35. IMHO, this is the problem with attempting to analzye the situation from either perspective. We don’t really know what happened.

    • He didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not like he was trying to get out of some wrongdoing by confusing or muddying tHe issue, he had no reason to. He may have been wrong about tge cop’s motivations, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to assume he was anything but sincere in his belief, and it didn’t come out of nowhere. There have been tons of racial incidents at Harvard over the years, he’s in his own house, he’s not doing anything, all of a sudden the cops are at his door asking him if he lives there, like other people have been asked before him. His assumption may be wrong but it’s not bizarre or unreasonable considering.

      • I mean he hadn’t done anything wrong when the cop first approached him.

        • The police received a call alleging that the house was broken into. I daresay that just driving out to the house and not asking any questions would have ascertained that it wasn’t a break in.

          • Heh – I can see that report.

            “Responded to a call that a break-in was underway. Found man inside the house, who called me a racist and said he was the resident. Satisfied that was true, I left.”

            Gates still would have gone into a tirade, though. Something like, “as a Black man in America, the cops didn’t even investigate because they didn’t care if MY house got robbed.” Still, it would have allowed him to advertise his new plan to make a documentary and design a class around racial profiling.

            I have no idea if the police reports are accurate. But, the woman who called it in, stayed around and was witness to the entire event. I’m going to wait and see what she says happens.

      • The officer was responding to a call from his neighbor that alleges the house was being broken into. The house had already been broken into on a prior occasion.

        While I can understand that it was probably not alot of fun to have to answer a few questions after a long flight home it wouldn’t have killed him to have done so in a civil manner.

        Nor would have killed the officer to cut the guy some slack after he had ascertained that he was who he said he was.

        • I was responding to whether he “gratuitously used the race card.” my point is, Whether he was wrong or not, I don’t think he was playing anything. It’s possible to be mistaken about someone’s motivations without having malevolent intentions.

        • Why wasn’t the door repaired after the 1st break-in? This would never have happened had it been done.

          • You really would have thought Harvard would have taken care of that. And, since Gates had been traveling, without an alarm system in the residence, it would have been smart for him to make sure the house wasn’t vulnerable to a second attempt.

            Although, right now, the house is really vulnerable. I’m guessing any calls to the police on a problem at the Gates house will take hours to respond to.

          • Hah….I wonder if it’s been taken care of since Gates became a black man with a prison record 🙂

    • And again, I do not believe his behavior warranted arrest.

      • I looked at the Massachussets disorderly staute for giggles and I think they would have had a hard time convicting him. They would be stretching “threatening” a bit which was really the only part of his behavior that fit the statute. they make it pretty clear that insulting and being profane is not enough to constitute disorderly.

        • I was under the impression the law he was supposed to have violated was more than just disorderly conduct, and was based on a crowd gathering and their reaction because of his action that was the violation. I know nothing about law so I don’t know how that gets determined.

          • The fact that the crowd was gathering might have been used as cement to help shore up a disorderly conduct charge. I still doubt they would have succeeded though since he wasn’t inciting the crowd and seemed to be basically content to harangue the officer who asked him to identify himself. Haranguing isn’t enough though. He basically needed to constitute a threat. It didn’t seem to rise to that level even if I were to use the police report as my measuring stick and not take into account Professor Gates view.

          • In my experience, crowds tend to gather when there are multiple police cars and cops milling around on a usually quiet street. Why should that lead to the arrest of the innocent homeowner?

          • I agree a crowd gathers when police are present, but as I mentioned it wasn’t just the crowd gathering but also their reaction to the actions of the person being arrested that may constitute the arrest. I’m trying to understand it myself.

            I also know from personal experience when a cop gives directions if they’re not followed, you can be arrested, and not sure how much that plays into it too.

  36. it’s also not fair to the cop that he’s being portrayed as such without really knowing the truth.

    • I’m squarely on Skip Gates’ side on this (I’m probably biased because I know him). He is absolutely not a jerk or a professional bellyacher, far far from it. It this were Al Sharpton, I would tend the be on the cop’s side.

      I don’t think the cop was a racist either, only that he tried to show Gates who is the boss, just for the hell it. That’s something every black could tell you without exaggerating, especially those of us who grew up in Boston.

      SOD, you tend to put waaay to much stock on the police report, don’t give it the whole 100%. They are countless cases of police severe abuse where the police report was completely false.

      • Obama: Cops acted ‘stupidly’ in Gates’ case

        Asked about the incident during a White House press conference Wednesday – one day after charges were dropped against Mr. Gates – Mr. Obama took sides.

        Mr. Obama joked at first that if he was caught “trying to jigger” his way into his home in a similar situation, but then caught himself and noted the White House is now his residence and that if he was an intruder, “I’d get shot.”

        Reporters in the room laughed as he kept making his point that police acted properly until Mr. Gates had proven he resided at the home.

        “I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that,” he said.

        The president went on to say anyone would have been angry and “that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.”

      • SOD, you tend to put waaay to much stock on the police report, don’t give it the whole 100%. They are countless cases of police severe abuse where the police report was completely false.

        MaBlue — that’s just not true. If you read my comments, they are all conditioned on the premise of IF the report is true.

        I have a problem with the underlying premise that the cop is raci$t where there is insufficient proof. Simply because this is a problem in Cambridge is insufficient to paint this specific guy. He may or may not be, but calling him that (and to assert that he was “profiling” is calling it that) without proof is not different than failbots calling Hillary supporters raci$t. These are labels that can follow someone the rest of their life. Show me some proof he’s a raci$t. I see proof he’s an asshole, but not proof he’s a raci$t.

        That is the point. Not whether Gates was a good guy or a bad guy.

        • I keep seeing people insisting that we can’t trust the cop. None of the people saying it know anything about the man except he is a white cop.

          I have a problem with this because it seems like they are calling him a liar because if he is telling the truth then this was not a case of racial profiling.

          Nobody can point to anything the officer said that wasn’t true. The only person at the scene that is contradicting the officer is Gates, and his story has several inconsistencies.

          He denied he was shouting, but his yelling was heard (and recorded) over the police radio. A picture of him being arrested appears to show him yelling. He said he only asked for the officer’s name and badge number but both of those were visible on the front of the officer’s uniform.

          Why are so many people emotionally invested in “proving” that racism was involved? The ONLY reason to suspect racism is the fact that the officer is white and Gates is black.

          Stereotyping white people as racists is both offensive and racist.

          • Agree 100% with your comments! No amount of rational debating is getting anyone to say, “I hadn’t thought of it that way, you could be right.” The stereotype of police officers each person has developed through their life experiences and training seems to be so deeply entrenched (and harsh) that they can’t give this officer an ounce of room.

            I am especially surprised at comments on other blogs that are !! tell Crowley he needs to just shut up!!. Well, which of these men is doing the talk show circuit and aggressively slamming the character of the other? Hint: it isn’t Crowley!

            Gates has made his LIFE SECURITY on the topic of his being black. He’s already said he plans to take this experience into a new class and a documentary. So, there’s a gold lining for him by investing energy into making this as big as he can get it.

            Who stands to gain?! Hint: it isn’t Crowley!

            I’m really saddened by the way so many people are not taking the facts of this situation and parsing them for logic and an unbiased/fair assessment.

            I have absolutely no idea what happened at Gates place of residence. I do know what Gates is doing now, though…he’s doing the circuit.

  37. This had been advertised as a Health Care session, they even went to the trouble have changing the time slot to hopefully have more audience, why in the hell was this question even allowed to be asked? I think we all know the answer to that. As far as the word
    “stupidly” well, to me, Obama should have to sit down with gates and the officer and here their stories.

  38. Harvard professor on arrest (video)
    CNN’s Soledad O’Brien talks with professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. about the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

  39. We have a bit of gallows humor locally about profiling white women. There were some problems, sexual abuse, assault, cops using their position to terrorize women. It’s a rural area and women around here are quite reluctant to pull over for cops until they reach a public area, and for good reason. “Profiling” locally means stalking. He’s profiling me as a potential victim.

    The Tacoma police chief shot his wife in the head. Drew Petersen used to drive around as a cop and terrorize his girlfriend. Now his 4th wife is missing and his 3rd wife died under suspicious circumstances.

    My point being, racial profiling and the harassment of blacks by cops is legendary and sparks public outrage, but it isn’t just black people who are abused by police misuses of power. We need to shift so that race is not the main focus. Whether they are tasering children or kicking a 13 yr old girl in the head, it’s all the same thing, it’s unrestrained power and police who believe that badge puts them above the law.

  40. I think the point you are discussing the gates arrest instead of the health care debate is proof enough this was a planted question that conveniently happened at the end of the forum …what a manipulator this guy is.
    Ok a Harvard professor has degrees, makes a very nice living and was probably in China filming a documentary on taxpayer’s dollars from a grant they all seem to get and pay themelves for heftily for. Kind of like a vacation doing fun things and getting paid to do it.
    The officer gets what? hmmm 40,000 a year, i dont know the salaries there. So, you tell me, who should have used their freaking brains here?
    This Gates guy wanted to show that officer that he was
    an important man, and he has accomplished his goal.
    He will probably make another documentary on this and write a book, any bets?

    • We have discussed the health care bill extensively at TC. We aren’t going to turn the entire blog over to discussing it. You probably could find lots of blogs that do discuss health care exclusively. Try the google blog search.

      IMHO, the Gates arrest is a serious topic and an opportunity to discuss important and relevant issues about race as well as police power.

      • And if Gates wants to make a documentary about racial profiling, good for him. It happens to be a serious problem that needs more attention.

        • I wish people would quit putting the racial spin on it and treat as something more basic – abuse of power by law enforcement.

          It’s part of the same issue that includes tasering of people because they are “uncooperative.”

          Cops abuse their power far more often than they act like racists.

          Not all cops, but too many of them. And the code of silence ensures the bad cops keep their badges.

    • Dakinikat writes lots of posts about the economy and we have other posters who write about the swine flu and other important issues.

      People comment on the posts that interest them.

  41. I keep hearing people ask why the cop didn’t leave as soon as he saw Gates’ identification.

    In lots of places it’s SOP for the cops to call in the names of people they “interact” with in the course of their duties. The dispatcher will then check to see if the person has warrants or anything.

    There are nefarious reasons a person might break into “their own” house. For instance a guy who got hit with a DV restraining order might have been ordered to leave the home and stay away. Or the person could have been recently evicted by the landlord.

    Cops are supposed to check those things out.

    Strangely though, Gates wasn’t telling the cop to leave, he was supposedly asking for the cop’s name and badge number.

    • Apparently he immediately asked for the cop’s badge and id number, which says to me he was annoyed, irritated, and had just returned from a long trip. The last thing he wanted to deal with was a cop and he was angry about it. Gates could be the greatest man in the world and it would be perfectly natural to feel this way, however no matter who you are, immediately getting in a cops face and accusing him of things, demanding his badge number (so you can report him) is just a really bad idea.

  42. First of all it’s not his home it’s Harvard property – according to the police report and eyewitness accounts he refused to produce id and started calling the police racists off the bat and continued during the entire investigation. I’ve got a good non-racebaiting headline that could be used – Cambridge police arrest Harvard asshole – they could use that one every weekend.

    • If that’s where he lives it’s his home. You don’t have to own your home for it to be your castle.

      • Your home is where you lay your head to sleep, whether it is a rental, your own property or you live with your parents. There is never any distinction made as to who owns it, only do you reside there and can you provide evidence that you do, if you can’t then who ever provides the abode (home) will have to say (state) that indeed you do reside there and that they have control of the property.

  43. CNN Watch: HENRY LEWIS GATES Story Of Being A Good Neighbor=Racism pt 3

  44. Henry Louis Gates Demands Apology From Arresting Officer july 22 2009

    • Interesting point, in the above video (audio only) Gates’ attorney Charles Ogletree admits that Gates used some strong language, and below is the statement on Behalf of Henry Louis Gates which he released.

      Lawyer’s Statement on the Arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr.

      Charles Ogletree gives Gates’ side of the story in controversial arrest of The Root’s editor-in-chief.

      UPDATE: The disorderly conduct charges against Henry Louis Gates Jr. were dropped on Tuesday.
      By: The Root Staff | Posted: July 20, 2009 at 7:26 PM

      Statement on Behalf of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. — by Charles Ogletree

      This brief statement is being submitted on behalf of my client, friend, and colleague, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This is a statement concerning the arrest of Professor Gates. On July 16, 2009, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 58, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor of Harvard University, was headed from Logan airport to his home [in] Cambridge after spending a week in China, where he was filming his new PBS documentary entitled “Faces of America.” Professor Gates was driven to his home by a driver for a local car company. Professor Gates attempted to enter his front door, but the door was damaged. Professor Gates then entered his rear door with his key, turned off his alarm, and again attempted to open the front door. With the help of his driver they were able to force the front door open, and then the driver carried Professor Gates’ luggage into his home.

      Professor Gates immediately called the Harvard Real Estate office to report the damage to his door and requested that it be repaired immediately. As he was talking to the Harvard Real Estate office on his portable phone in his house, he observed a uniformed officer on his front porch. When Professor Gates opened the door, the officer immediately asked him to step outside. Professor Gates remained inside his home and asked the officer why he was there. The officer indicated that he was responding to a 911 call about a breaking and entering in progress at this address. Professor Gates informed the officer that he lived there and was a faculty member at Harvard University. The officer then asked Professor Gates whether he could prove that he lived there and taught at Harvard. Professor Gates said that he could, and turned to walk into his kitchen, where he had left his wallet. The officer followed him. Professor Gates handed both his Harvard University identification and his valid Massachusetts driver’s license to the officer. Both include Professor Gates’ photograph, and the license includes his address.

      Professor Gates then asked the police officer if he would give him his name and his badge number. He made this request several times. The officer did not produce any identification nor did he respond to Professor Gates’ request for this information. After an additional request by Professor Gates for the officer’s name and badge number, the officer then turned and left the kitchen of Professor Gates’ home without ever acknowledging who he was or if there were charges against Professor Gates. As Professor Gates followed the officer to his own front door, he was astonished to see several police officers gathered on his front porch. Professor Gates asked the officer’s colleagues for his name and badge number. As Professor Gates stepped onto his front porch, the officer who had been inside and who had examined his identification, said to him, “Thank you for accommodating my earlier request,” and then placed Professor Gates under arrest. He was handcuffed on his own front porch.

      Professor Gates was taken to the Cambridge Police Station where he remained for approximately 4 hours before being released that evening. Professor Gates’ counsel has been cooperating with the Middlesex District Attorneys Office, and the City of Cambridge, and is hopeful that this matter will be resolved promptly. Professor Gates will not be making any other statements concerning this matter at this time.

      • Sgt. James Crowley, cop who arrested Henry Louis Gates, denies he’s a racist

        BY Brian Kates
        Thursday, July 23rd 2009, 9:52 AM
        New York Daily News

        The cop who arrested African-American scholar Henry Louis Gates refused to apologize and denied he’s a racist, saying he once gave black basketball star Reggie Lewis mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

        “I wasn’t working on Reggie Lewis the basketball star. I wasn’t working on a black man,” Sgt. James Crowley told the Boston Herald. “I was working on another human being.”

        Crowley, 42, was referring to his actions after the Boston Celtics forward suffered a fatal heart attack in 1993 at Brandeis University, where he was a campus cop.

      • LOL, WV, there is a lack of logic to that statement. It sounds too much like an explanation my husband would give. “I was just minding my own business, politely saying please and thank you sir, when this raving psycho came out of nowhere……” Uhmhmm, was that before or after you gave him the finger? How many times did the F word come up in this so called polite conversation? 🙂

        Gates is a human being, he was tired, annoyed his door was broken, and the cops showing up was the last straw. Not an offense worthy of arrest, but neither do I believe that he simply walked onto his porch and was arrested with nothing but polite words having been exchanged. From what little is said in this saintly report, you still get that he refused to listen to what the cop asked and to come out onto the porch. Then he demands the cop’s badge number to report him, so you know he’s already pissed off that the cops were even called at all. What Gates did is a bit like getting pulled over, rolling down your window and asking, “WTF do you want?” Do you know who I am?” Now a good cop would bite his tongue and remember he’s there to serve and protect and that working with the public sucks, but apparently Gates did not encounter a good cop.

        This just sounds like a pissing contest between men. Gates is insulted the cops dare to question him and the cop is insulted Gates doesn’t have more respect for him.

        • Do you know who I am?

          If a cop is doing his job correctly the answer to that question is irrelevant.

          Cops are supposed to treat everyone the same.

          • Off course they are supposed to treat everybody the same. But lets get real here, they don’t. A poor person in a bad neighborhood isn’t going to be treated the same as a Harvard professor. I’m sure that’s probably part of Gates complaint, he’s a Harvard professor, an educated professional man, and he expects to be treated accordingly.

  45. Ok, so we won’t vote for Corzine because he disenfranchised us – Christie is a Republican who won’t commit to anything – hmmmm, that Daggett guy is looking better and better. 😐

  46. What happened to this person is not the business of the office of the POTUS.

  47. Can someone remove the above comment link, the content is most offensive. Thank you.

  48. div><iframe height="339" width="425" src="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/32094116#

  49. Henry Louis Gates Jr. cries racism; Amanda just cried.


    • Gosh, what a horrid story and the female ticket agent helped in the fiasco (harassment) and then the court appointed attorney did nothing. I also, think it goes to community policing and that police are there to protect and serve and we as a community are there to support them (this also places citizens in their committees for good interaction and complaints).

      One thing that has bothered me is this over zeal of prosecution and how this keeps the vicious cycle going and no one seems to be interested in what happened. The one thing is that it only takes one person to stand up and stop something that is going on (like the harassment/groping) , only one voice can change things and we must encourage those voices to speak up. The system failed this woman and she should file a complaint with the ACLU or a women’s help organization and should consider filing a civil suit. Victims of sexual assaults or groping should have recourse, especially when the system fails them and protects the perpetrator(s) ( the train staff acted as a gang).

      • While all this is going on, there is amazing commentary about how this affects black women and girls. The following blogger is a guest poster at What About Our Daughters which is on the NA blogroll. She says Gates was grandstanding when he could have been humble and this will continue to obscure what is happening to black women and girls. These are amazing blogs. Gates, Cornell West et al historically have not spoken up for black women and girls.


        There’s still this prevalence for assigning the white oppressor as the Big Bad and the “black man” as the number one target. It completely shuts out black women and is sexist. Black women, specifically AA bw are getting it from all sides.

        To even mention this brings out the charges of “hating black men” when they know this is true but it benefits them to continue their victim dance instead of doing anything to help. They can use the “I’m oppressed” excuse to justify all of their discrimination against black women and try to blame us..for everything. Because they can’t retaliate against white men directly.

        Don’t fall for the okey doke. While some people are patting themselves on the back or digging in their heels we still have black girls in peril that NO ONE IS SPEAKING FOR.

        Case in point: An 8 year old is gang-raped by four boys between the ages of 9-14, some of whom live in her apartment complex. As if that wasn’t bad enough, CPS had to remove her because of her parent’s attitude towards her.

        In other words they’re blaming her for getting raped and want to punish her some more. Just like the so many other black girls and women are blamed for the things that happen to them as a result of the DBRs wrecking havoc on their lives.

        Now if anyone is still confused about whether there’s an all-out assault on black girls and women snap out of it. Let the President weigh in on that!!

        .S. I just checked my sidebar and The Field Negro is standing up for us (as he is one of the few black male bloggers that do by the way). He asks if the good Dr. Gates spoke up for Chanequa Campbell. He discusses the sexism, the skin shade racism and classism. Something we black female bloggers have been discussing and being derided for of course.

        • I highly recommend these two bloggers and associated bloggers.

          • It’s exactly the same dynamics in the Asian community. I know ALL ABOUT THIS MENTALITY that’s killing Asian women and girls.

          • Thanks donna darko.

            I have hundreds of stories of women of all races being horribly abused by police officers. They don’t even make the news, let alone engender public sympathy or receive a comment from the prez. At worst Gates had his ego bruised. This isn’t police brutality and those who are not Harvard professors have the scars to prove it.

        • Amen Donna Darko,

          Remember when the trolls called me crazy…when I brought up the fact that an African American was burned ALIVE (while tied up) and later died of her injuries and NO ONE SPOKE UP (national leaders). They never caught the killer (s?) and that is when I said; We Must Divest From Misogyny and then was labeled CRAZY!

          I remember that I noticed they had finally paid attention, not because of the brutality but because they were hurt, that I had taken aim at what they care about, THEIR MONEY! Yup, sex sells and they depend on debasing women and making money off of women and so the attack was on.

          We Must Divest From Misogyny

          • Feminists/feminism in comms of color are considered “crazy.” This has been going on for as long as I remember.

          • Sgt. Crowley also does training on racial profiling.

          • “Crazy” is constantly used against Cynthia McKinney. It’s a dismissive and denigrating tactic. And, unfortunately, it’s very effective.

        • I read about that rape case today. It’s beyond heartbreaking. It’s soul crushing. And, yes, I’d like to hear Obama weigh in on it. Something tells me he won’t.

          • She has some good neighbors who went and stopped the sexual attacks. I was glad to see that the police really took it seriously and that they are working with social services to insure the welfare of the eight year old little girl. It is a shame that in Liberia rape was only outlawed in 2006 and it is clear that some of the old attitudes are still alive within the community even here in the US.

      • Guessing the female ticket taker gets more than her fair share on a daily basis.

  50. CNN Watch: HENRY LEWIS GATES Story Of Being A Good Neighbor=Racism pt 1 (Police Chief interview on police incident)

    • CNN’s constant use of question marks makes one wonder if they are just making stuff up or just like to hear themselves talk.

  51. Margery Eagan interviewed the very bright and reasonable Mass AG Martha Coakely (D) on the Gates incident today.

    Coakley said that both parties had initially agreed to drop it and move forward, but that it was now Gates insisting on perpetuating the situation by demanding an apology.

    She also called Obama’s “stupid” comment “ill advised,” based on the fact that he was not at the scene and had no way of knowing all the facts.

    PS Coakley will most likely seek Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. She’d be great.

  52. Obama is right. The police acted improperly.
    Once they saw his ID, the cops had no right to be on the property.

    I am greatly disappointed in those around here who are simply taking their disproval of President Obama to the extent of ignoring the facts.

    We must never tolerate abuse of power, no matter where it comes from.

    • That’s the problem — no one knows the facts so your support of one person over the other is also inappropriate.

      Also, myiq2xu explained very well the process that the police must follow and simply viewing the ID did not end his task. Please read it upthread.

      • There is no evidence to suggest Officer Crowley is a racist.
        I agree and do not like this language.
        That does NOT dismiss the fact that the officers had no business arresting Mr. Gates after he produced two forms of ID.

        I was a strong Hillary supporter too.

    • “We must never tolerate abuse of power, no matter where it comes from.”


      Yelling indignantly in your own home is not a crime. (We’d all be in jail!) And a cop who teaches “sensitivity” classes should have been able to empathize with Mr. Gates’ reaction to a request for ID in his own home.

      I do think that Obama blew his statement, even though I agree with him, but he is the POTUS and should have been a bit more diplomatic.

  53. There is a very good piece at John McWhorter’s blog at The New Republic about the Gates episode. According to McWhorter (a self-described “black conservative,” Gates is no “rabble-rouser,” and has been “assailed as an accomodationist” by more radical black writers.

    Maybe, maybe not. Or maybe, having committed the outburst as reported by the police and confirmed by onlookers, Mr. Gates issued that joint statement with the Cambridge police the next day, calling this incident “regrettable,” so as to block attention from his financial dealings, including his Inkwell Foundation, Inc., undergoing scrutiny by the MA AG.

  54. Obama Defends Criticism of Cambridge Police in Arrest of Gates
    ABC EXCLUSIVE: Obama Says ‘Cooler Heads Should Have Prevailed’
    July 23, 2009

    This has a video within from their preview of tonight’s show. Thanks to NQ for the tip via their post.

    • I had mentioned in an earlier post wondering if there was any audio from Crowley’s communication with dispatch. Apparently there is

      “Law enforcement sources tell ABC News that the conversation between Gates and Crowley was transmitted over Crowley’s open police radio and Gates can be heard yelling.

      “Mr. Gates was given plenty of opportunities to stop what he was doing. He didn’t. He acted very irrational. He controlled the outcome of that event,” Crowley told WBZ”

      I still think it should have been left how the Cambridge PD tried to leave it, but apparently Gates decided to take it further, from what I understand and now the POTUS has entered an opinion on something he didn’t have all the facts on, but so far is sticking to what he said (kinda). To be fair though, I had an opinion of what happened, and admitted I didn’t know all the facts since I wasn’t there, but I wasn’t saying it on national TV, prime time, as the POTUS, and I think Obama should have taken that more into consideration.

      • Should al say I’m not saying this makes either man appear at fault at this point, (still haven’t seen anything that says one way or the other) this is more about how Obama should have come to the same conclusion with the same info at this point.

      • The ABC video (above just posted) has a neighbor (the one that took the photo) bolstering Sgt. Crowley’s statement, and the Cambridge Police Dept., just finished a press conference and so the facts are still coming in. I agree if they had an agreement, they should have stuck to it, but now it all has to be aired otherwise it leaves a sense of a cover up, since the POTUS has taken sides.

        Gee, I don’t think we are going to get to that Health Care Reform… 😦

  55. White House Robert Gibbs qualifies Obama remark:


    • Just put the latest video I found and the Secret Service and Cambrige Police were not laughing. There are three up including ‘Sweet’ who asked the question and the just release one from the press conference from the Cambridge Police Dept., who said they were ‘pained’ by the comments.

  56. Castellanos Dubs Obama “Reckless” For Gates Arrest Remark

  57. Good Morning America / Henry Louis Gates Jr.: I’m Outraged

    • He should look into his heart and know that he’s not telling the truth and he should beg my forgiveness. And if I decided he was sincere I would forgive him.-Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

      Goodness gracious, since Obama addressed this last night it has become a national story and Professor Gates is not coming off as an expert in race relations, but then what do I know?!? Who is going to mediate this?

  58. Sgt. Crowley is the officer that does sensitivity training for the department. This just keeps getting more, complicated.

    • OOPs Left out… Sgt. Crowley also does diversity training.

      • Apparently Crowley also has taught a class on racial profiling for five years at the Lowell Police Academy

        • Yea, just found that out, but for some reason it posted up above and not here. 😳 I wonder is Gates is going to consider a suit, given the latest developments.

          • None of these “developments” have anything to do with what happened as far as I’m concerned, but Gates is getting a little ahead of himself in these interviews–assuming that it all happened just because he is black.

            I never thought Crowley was a racist. I simply thought he should not have arrested Gates. But the Cambridge police have already escalated this again today by holding a press conference. The entire mess is going to get really ugly before it’s over. It’s too bad these two men can’t just sit down in a room together and talk it out.

          • I suspect Gates is going to do more harm to his own reputation than the Cambridge PD.

            The cops will end up releasing the recordings of him yelling that were picked up by the officer’s radio, and Gates’ media campaign is taking on a “methinks he doth protest too much” aspect.

            He’s not coming across as a sympathetic figure.

          • BB I think Obama escalated it last night when he made the comment he made,. Would you really expect the PD not to repsond to that?

          • I said in the post that I thought Obama had made a mistake. I thought the WH would walk it back today, but apparently they just defended what Obama said.

            I assumed this kind of escalation would happen, and I think it is disappointing and unnecessary. I watched a couple of the videos of Gates being interviewed and I was disappointed in his attitude. I think he is going way too far in characterizing Crowley as a “rogue” police officer and saying Crowley had “profile” in mind when he came to the house. That kind of mind-reading isn’t helpful at all, IMO.

          • I just read that Gates is considering a lawsuit.

            And ITA that Obama escalated this situation. It’s unbelievable that he worded his statement in such a negative way towards the PD. (And I’m the one who’s supposed to have an “attitude”!)

    • LOL. Now that’s funny.

  59. Yes I understood you felt Obama had made a mistake, IMO the PD wasn’t escalating things, but reacting to what Obama had done, which I thought was their right, even expected, to voice their take on it, since it was about them and their officer.

    • Of course it’s their right. But what they said doesn’t make any sense. If the arrest was justified, why did they dismiss the charges and apologize to Gates? Even the mayor called him to apologize. So now is it about treating him differently because of his social status? The whole thing is a terrible mess!

      • Yep. Everyone involved seems to keep doing the “stupid” thing instead of the civil, gracious and wise thing. What a freakin’ mess! It started off sloppy and keeps getting sloppier.

      • Yes, that is a whole other issue, because again IMO, that’s probably what happend. The didn’t want to deal with the possible fallout that would have come from prosecuting him. Especially at a time when they’re trying to rebuild their reputation in the community. But again, I wasn’t at the meeting that decided this, and so just an opinion that makes sense to me with what’s available ATM.

      • The dismissal makes sense because they would have spend a fortune prosecuting it and it would have been a media circus too. the decision to file charges is the DA’s, and he has to run for reelection.

        The mayor apologized but the police chief didn’t. The chief is appointed not elected. The cop has civil service protection and a union behind him.

        • Call me a Pollyanna, but it seems to me the best thing that could happen is for Crowley and Gates to get together and have a private talk, come to a meeting of the minds, and then have a joint press conference if they think it makes sense to do that.

          I had a lot of sympathy for Gates, but seeing him go on all these shows is a real turnoff to me. I don’t think he’s helping himself.

          • I wish we could go back in time, (say maybe when they all had a deal to drop it) but with our POTUS injecting himself into that, I don’t see the Republicans dropping it, let alone some of the nation.

          • The last time they chatted it didn’t work out so well.

          • Probably should also say, that if it were reversed, I wouldn’t envision the Dem dropping it either at this point.

  60. Cambridge Police Officer To Obama: Butt Out of My Arrest

    Crowley, however, has refused to apologize, and he told the radio station he did nothing wrong. He added he was surprised that a man as educated as Gates would start yelling epithets about Crowley’s mom, part of the incident that never made it into the police report.

    He was saying epithets about his mama?!? 😯 Lordy!

    • That was in the police report. The report claimed that Crowley told Gates, “I’ll see you outside” and Gates said “I’ll see your mama outside.” I wouldn’t call that “epithets.” Now it sounds like Crowley is going too far. The Cambridge PD should tell Crowley to stop talking. Both of these men are making themselves look bad.

      • epithets about Crowley’s mom, part of the incident that never made it into the police report

        Since I heard with my own ears (on the ABC video) Professor Gates say he wanted the officer to ‘beg’ for forgiveness days later, when he is ‘calm’ and ‘collected’ I am now stepping back and looking at this from a different perspective. Now more than ever (POTUS taking sides), there needs to be an investigation to get to the bottom of this incident and the findings presented so that we can learn from it and put it to rest and move forward.

    • Sometimes these academics believe they are above the law. Just because you have an ivy league degree does not give you the right to talk down to a police officer. The first rule that everyone should follow is to be respectful and cooperative when interrogated by a police officer. This is the best way for anyone to protect themselves from arrest or police abuse.

      If Gates was angry because he was being questioned at his own home, this is understandable too. But he should’ve shown ID the first time he was asked, cooperated with the officers, then filed a complaint at the police station later that day.

      Regardless of whether or not you side with Gates or the officer, I think it is pretty clear that this was not racial profiling. I even read that the officer tried to save the life of a black basketball player nearly twenty years ago. The officer does not hate black people but Sharpton, Obama, and Gates are trying to paint this guy as a KKK member.

      • Gates getting angry because he was questioned is not understandable.

        If Gates got home and opened the door with a key and the witness assumed that they (Gates and the driver) were burglars because they were black it would be understandable.

        Gates and the driver had to force the door open. This happened shortly before Crowley showed up. To a passerby it would look like a possible burglary no matter what color the men were.

        Gates should have realized what happened and not assumed it had anything to do with racism. Why would he think that it did? I haven’t heard Gates allege that the officer said anything remotely racist when he questioned him. He didn’t say the cop accused him of anything either.

        Gates got mad because the cop insisted on seeing identification, but cops aren’t supposed to take anyone’s word on who they are.

  61. A must read from Hillary is 44

    Jeremiah Wright Obama Race-baits At “Stupid” Press Conference

    • Can we have Hillary back now? But really, this is so draining I have to walk away for now.

      • I feel the same way. With Obama I get drained from all the unimportant issues like Gates, Wright, and how he bamboozled liberals and progressives.

        Do you see how all of this distracts us from the important issues like universal health care, the economy, the unemployment rate, gay rights, women’s rights, and ending our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Obama flim flams the press with his grand tours and speeches to distract us from his incompetence and broken promises.

  62. I’m almost reluctant to weigh in here cuz I’m detecting some racist attitudes and plain hating on Obama for no discernible reason (I have reasons for having misgivings but they’re nothing compared to Bush) but I saw traffic from here to my blog so I’ll say this:

    The woman who called the police Lucia Whalen is NOT a neighbor or resident of Gates. She lied to the police and said 2 black men with backpacks were breaking into a house. Gates is not a tall man and his car & driver was there with his luggage. So the cops would have responded expecting a bit of trouble and I would’ve been pissed off BUT since Gates has no one less than our President publicly defending him and the black elite will kick in their support I’m not investing any more time into this.

    My concern is for the defenseless black girls and women being ignored. I’m not sure this is the forum to discuss that but I will put it out there. All black people do NOT rally around every black male potential or real criminal. All black people do not make it there #1 priority to be concerned with the protecting behavior that runs opposite of the norms of average society. I don’t like racism but I also don’t like discrimination across the board: that includes sexism, homophobia and transphobia. So I’m just putting it out there.

    • “I’m detecting some racist attitudes and plain hating on Obama for no discernible reason”

      You obviously haven’t been reading here for long…there are plenty of discernible reasons, going back to at least January 2008 (and much earlier if you study Obama’s record/history). As far as “rac*st attitudes,” you need to be specific about who/what or do not make that claim. It’s thrown around as a general attack to shut people up regarding legitimate criticism of policy, character, hypocrisy etc. and has been used to great effect in the recent election. We could also have a long, detailed discussion about the similiarities between Obama and Bush. Again, you can check the archives.

      • p.s. There is no “hating,” as it is simplistically called. We examine policy, character, rhetoric vs. action etc. and stick to actual facts, instead of personality infatuation. How can I “hate” someone I do not personally know? Object strongly to his manipulative, dishonest and self-serving behavior–you betcha.

    • She did not lie.

      The witness told the police she saw two men forcing open the door to Gates house. And that’s exactly what occurred.

      It makes no difference where she lives or works. She could have just been passing by and seen them.

  63. Duplicate comment removed

    • {Interview} Cambridge Cop Who Arrested Black Harvard Prof.

    • Geeze

      • Are you going to be on blogtalkradio?

      • This could have happened to a white professor as well and by golly it has happened. He responded to a call, Skip became Drama King, and he got arrested. This could have been anyone, except it wasn’t.

        • After watching Gates on the teevee, I’m starting to agree with you that he is a drama king. He seems to be enjoying his moment in the sun.

          • When did Al Sharpton, Henry Gates, and Barack Obama become the authorities on race relations in America? All three of these men have played the race card to advance their careers in the spotlight while leaving behind the majority of African-Americans they exploit for their own monetary gain. Especially Sharpton. He’s ridden on the backs of African-Americans for decades and uses anyone he can to be on television and run his mouth. It’s embarrassing.

          • Obama is already beginning to backtrack on his statements from last night. He now says that Crowley is an “outstanding police officer”. Huh? Just last night he called him stupid and compared the situation to racial profiling.

          • [quote]”Obama is already beginning to backtrack on his statements from last night.”[/quote]

            I imagine soon we’ll hear that’s what he’s been saying all along.

          • More so Sharpton and Jackson are the proud papas of the black race. They speak for us all. Now a new da da is in town. Obama. The black patriarchy is very oppressive.

          • Afrocity,

            Oh my!


    • Your blog is amazing. Thanks for stopping by.

      I think it was racial profiling and under no circumstance should something like this have happened to Gates. This is however given so much attention, it’s obscuring what’s happening to women and girls of color even more than usual and that’s a scary thought. Gates, West, et al have historically ignored what happens to women of color.

    • I’ve never heard of your blog, but be aware we don’t take kindly to being accused of racism here. We don’t support any kind of bigotry. To be honest, your comment doesn’t make a lot of sense to me–maybe it’s part of some conversation you had on your own blog?

      • I think it has to do with the eight year old being raped and the family blaming her, which took place in Arizona. Donna Darko may know this person and she is checking out the blog.

      • Boomer as you know I have lived in Boston and Cambridge. I never had a problem. The only thing I noticed was that it was very homogeneous, and I had a hard time finding hair care products.

        I met the nicest people in Boston.

    • AoF,

      There are no shortage of good, substantiated arguments to ground a solid, social democratic dislike of Obama as POTUS. Searching through the archives will provide such reasons, some of which are probably part of your misgivings. That Bush lacked is not a reason to not critique Obama’s conduct.

      Given the deserved approbation that racists receive, it is proper to be careful about making loose accusations. Naming non-racists as racist is immoral. It runs counter to the principles that ground social justice and like crying wolf, it undermines the aims of social justice.

      It is not abnormal for people to sense things that are not present, because their framework of prejudgements is so hyper-attuned that they read false positives. To quote Edward Said, if your tool of analysis is power, you will see power everywhere. Accordingly, such things lead to unjust persecution.

      I also take it as given that the battle for social justice is far from over and many people suffer deprivations on a more than daily basis. Notwithstanding, my experience of The Confluence is that people who visit and make blanket essentialist statements about others, such as “all green people do x”, don’t stay long. I do not sense that people here need to be told that everyone is not a cultural caricature.


  64. New Open thread up on this topic. Comments closed on this one.

Comments are closed.

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