Who acted stupidly, the police or the president?

July 24, 2009

The tussle between a black Harvard scholar and the white police officer who arrested him is turning into a quesion on presidential judgment. 

Did President Barack Obama really need to take sides in this particular case?

It was a bit of a surprise this week when he allowed himself to get embroiled in the debate on race sparked by the arrest of Henry Louis Gates right at the end of his prime-time “get healthcare done now” news conference.

OBAMA

The International Brotherhood of Police Officers is furious, accusing the president of alienating public safetly officers across the country. Online polls in Massachusetts also show strong support for the arresting officer.

And suddenly the media have something far juicier to chew on than an occasionally dry debate about the intricacies of public and private health provisions.

“I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don’t need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who’s in his own home,” Obama told ABC on Thursday, further fueling the debate.

“My suspicion is that words were exchanged between the police officers and Mr. Gates and that eveybody should have just settled down and cooler heads should have prevailed.”

People’s views on this incident are likely to be shaded by their own experience. Not only blacks and Hispanics, but anyone who has had a brush with an overly zealous police officer, will probably have some sympathy for Gates.

Others who believe the police are doing an extremely difficult job, a public service, under tremendous pressure, will probably see the point of view of Sergeant James Crowley.

The president obvioulsy has his own experience, and his own perspective on this.

Was it good to hear him speaking from the heart, or should he have stood aside and confined himself to the usual politician’s evasion: “I don’t know all the facts” and left it at that?

BREAKING NEWS: The president now says he could have “calibrated” his words differently. Obama popped into the White House briefing room on Friday afternoon to express regret for helping to  ratchet up the whole incident. Obama also said he hoped to invite Crowley and Gates to the White House for a beer.

Is this another example of the president overreaching himself and having to row back, or just a storm in a tea cup?

Are you satisfied with the president’s regrets? Can we all have a friendly beer together now, or do you think Mr Obama should have stuck to his guns?

Click here for more Reuters political coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama at news conference)

199 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I dont think this is a race issue. And I think the message Obama said is being misunderstood. I think he disapproves the fact that an old man is arrested in his house for no obvious reason. And the police overreacted in arresting a person who did no crime. Thats why he said that the police acted stupidly. I don’t think he meant to add race to the issue. I think the officer has to convince the people why he took the extreme step of arresting Gates.

Posted by Cash Sure | Report as abusive

Obama just needs to shut up and stop raising tax on middle class people to take care of less well-off black and hispanic people. America cannot afford socialism especially when you are fighting two wars.

Obama needs to apologize. If he had his priorities straight he would not have even commented. I thought we hired him to be president of the country, not a civil rights activist. This guy is showing that he couldn’t manage a flowershop let alone the US economy.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

I think Gates is the racist. If a stranger ever gets in your face you are gonna react as did the police. I hope the police officer is bigger than him and says sorry. Being a police officer is a hard job. I voted for the president and he should not have had that.

Posted by Lawrence | Report as abusive

Sorry folks….Gates was correct and so was Obama for actually providing his opinion. You all criticize politicians for not being honest and straightforward…well here is just the opposite.I don’t believe Obama said this purely because he is a friend of Gates.

Racial profiling occurs all the time. California jails are disproportionately filled with black and latino criminals. Do you REALLY believe that most crime falls across a racial divide?

The police were called out to a home to check on a break in. The resident produced proof of who he was. That truly should have been the end of it. The policeman simply wanted to bully an older black man with a cane who was upset for profiling. The officer arrested him for disorderly conduct in a public place. His OWN front porch! After he was ASKED to come out onto the porch by the police officer. He produced id as asked, he followed instructions to come out onto the porch when asked but was arrested when he got mad?

Sorry…the police officer really needs to revisit “to serve and protect”. The “serve” part here was noticeably absent.

Posted by Thomas | Report as abusive

The officer had a report of two men trying to break in to a home. And, two men had managed to break into the home that one of them rented — but the cop had no way to know that before getting there.

For all the cop knows, this could be a burglary in progress, a home invasion, or a domestic violence incident. The cop has an obligation to be wary. Breaking into a home you own is the least likely explanation when you see two people trying to bust in a door, and the cop would have been a fool for assuming that was the reason.

The cop asks the person who answers the door for id. Let’s say Gates provides the Harvard ID, which doesn’t show an address — that’s what some of the reports say. Is this enough to prove that the guy should be at the house? No way. Ditto for a passport, which doesn’t have an address. OK, what if he provides a driver’s license — well, that presumably eliminates the burglary theory, but doesn’t answer the question about possible domestic violence — the other likely scenario, and the most dangerous one for cops. Instead of cooperating, Gates becomes loud and abusive towards the cop.

Gates behaved like an entitled jerk who fails to understand that cops put their lives on the line every single time they respond to a call like this one, and Obama was far, far off-base defending his friend and attacking the police.

Posted by Ziggle | Report as abusive

The cop
1. Did not tell Prof Gates he was there to investigate a crime in progress.
2. Asked a law abiding resident to step out of his own home, without a warrant
3. Asked the resident how many people were in the home, a-la Gestapo

Since Prof. Gates DID NOT know that a crime was reported, nor, was told of the 911 call…
his reactions of
- surprise at being ‘singled out’
- anger to being questioned
- refusal to answer questions
- denial to come out of the home
- assumption and protest of this being racially motivated

ARE PERFECTLY FAIR.

Prof. Gates was arrested IN HIS OWN HOME without a Warrant without just cause … ONLY because he “dared” to be ‘uncooperative’ with a police officer.

Once Prof Gates showed his ID, uncooperative or not, the cop should have left. Plain and simple.

What have we become? Nazi Germany or Gestapo? That you can expect a cop to come to your home and have you answer ALL questions without asking who he/she is?

C’mon folks. This freedom is TOO PRECIOUS to give up on the altar of the Cambridge Police’ ego trip.

Posted by Jon | Report as abusive

Commenting on an issue such as this “without all the facts” (Obama’s words) is not the job of the President of the United States. He has simply added additional divisions within our country. Perhaps something he intended to do from the start. As for Thomas, your remarks are strictly driven from speculation…neither you nor I know what happened in or outside the home of Mr. Gates…we were not there, nor was Obama. I would like him to do his job, though he has proven simply that it is over his head when he turns to name calling. These are frightening times we are living in today.

Posted by Bern | Report as abusive

Prisons are disproportionately filled with black and latino criminals because blacks and latinos disproportionately commit the crimes.

Posted by Al | Report as abusive

This may not be the only case of it’s kind. As long as there are a few black sheep who go on tarnishing the good work of a force,nothing much can be said or done. There should be check and balance.Such things happen because some with authority go overboard. Good sense must prevail at all times.

Whether the president acted stupidly is self-evident and he’s paying for it in news cycles and lost support. I hope his friendship was worth it.

Posted by IM | Report as abusive

Obama words have embarassed him and they’ve embarassed me because I voted for him. He is starting to look like an indulged brat. I hope he can start doing something to show his worth to Americans.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

Obviously, people commenting on this did not rea the whole story. Mr. gates did not provide documentation immediately. He used the Patrick Kennedy “Do you know who I am? ” ( see blacks and whites both use this phrase , but not in the exact words).

Mr gates wouldn’t let it go and proceeded to kept yelling and did not stop. The officer was leaving, yet mr gates continued yell. 3 warnings were given.

How many warnings does a “scholar” need ? One think I have learned in my experience . The more degrees someone has, the worse that person has common sense.

Posted by booboo | Report as abusive

What ever the outcome, the President stepped on himself, down go his ratings and Russ has more dirt to throw!

Posted by bill | Report as abusive

What does the President mean “I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don’t need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who’s in his own home”?

Does it mean that a middle-aged man with a cane in his own home may verbally abuse policemen, act like a jerk, do not cooperate in investigation, throw racial comments cannot be arrested (probably)?

Does it mean that policeman now have to now look at age and what is in the person’s hand before deciding if this person need to be arrested,or if it is a cane and the age is middle then probably not?

Nice comment, Mr. President.

Posted by Immigrant | Report as abusive

Let us see – a respected Harvard professor, civil rights activist (they all are over there) – simply could not calm down and cooperate with law enforcement who answered over a reported burglary / home invasion situation? The burden was on Gates to prove that he was the rightful owner of the property being investigated in a calm and composed manner. I dread to be one of his students if this nut job can’t even maintain his ‘cool’ under what seems to be a legitimate law enforcement situation. As far as Mr.Obama’s comments – it is a simple case of FOOT IN MY MOUTH DISEASE that all politicians contract via associations. Simple as that.

Posted by dadio | Report as abusive

Um, how exactly did Obama inject race into this incident again? Didn’t he explicitly say that he “didn’t have the facts” to determine that the action was racially motivated?

I love how some people are jumping to put words into his mouth, but what Obama said was (1) he didn’t know that race was an issue here, (2) he did know that race has been an issue in policing generally, and (3) that this police officer’s arrest of an elderly and disabled man, who posed no threat, after learning that there was no “breaking and entering,” was stupid. I’m having a hard time seeing anything controversial in those statements.

Posted by stljd | Report as abusive

Obey a peace officer at all times. If he says “shut up”, then “shut up”

I have never had a problem with the officers after they give me a command.

Working at Harvard does not make you smart.

Posted by BeenThere | Report as abusive

Oops, now we see what happens when Obama doesn’t have his teleprompter.

Posted by bob | Report as abusive

I’m getting sick and tired of hearing Obama’s blathering oratory on every subject under the sun. Could you shut-up and get to work already — the election is over. You were hired to do the job, now get busy.

Posted by nota | Report as abusive

Hopefully, as this issue fades into the news headlines, more will read into the facts before blogging from emotions. Simply, once you have identified yourself as the owner of any property (house, wallet or toothpick), the case is closed. In this case, after the property owner is clearly established, it wouldn’t even be illegal to curse at an officer in YOUR own house.

In Dr. Gates case, he asked officer Crowley several times for his name and badge number (as required by officers to provide) without any response. The police report alleges that Gates exhibited “loud and tumultuous behavior in a public place.” The Gates home is not a “public place” — it is private property, including his porch and the yard around it — which Crowley and the other officers were now required to leave by law before deciding to press the easy button to get an arrest. That’s why Crowley asked Gates to step outside his home.

Now, though the charges had to be dropped, professor Gates has a police record which will be referenced in the future during a traffic stop or any other minor incident — get it?

In this case, considering the arrogance of incompetence being displayed by this individual officer, an apology has no value, won’t happen and is not necessary. That’s just the way it is.

REPEAT AFTER ME: Lawsuit, plus six zeros — and officer Crowley can keep his incompetent arrogance and apology — while Dr. Gates uses the money to produce a groundbreaking prime-time documentary on racial profiling in the so-called post-racial Obama era.

No point in playing the race card when a hefty civil lawsuit can best modify behavior and actions. As it was with the Montgomery bus boycott in the 1950s — to not patronizing businesses that discriminate in the 21st century — money talks. The potential for going broke in a capitalist society has always focused the bigoted or arrogant mind.

The renown Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. has an opportunity to send a major message, coincidently in the Obama era — a time when the country has changed and progressed, but the nature of certain individuals haven’t. No political event or public policies will change the mentality of most individuals in one generation. Again, with human nature, that’s just the way it is.

It would be easy and wrong to broad-brush any local police precinct or the entire Cambridge police department. What will be most effective for professor Gates to do is to file a civil lawsuit for major monetary damages against the individual police officers (not the department or city) initially engaged in this incident. Gates has the time, legal resources, credibility and overwhelming public integrity to do so.

Strategically and politically, the department and city will be motivated to quietly kick the individual wrongdoers to the curb so as not to be embroiled in the liabilities and bad public relations that will come their way. Unless the individual officers actions are official and condoned policy, the department or city should not be penalized for any rogue or independent actions by an individual officer.

Every step and action the arresting officers took after identifying the actual owner, if all that the news reports and Gates’ attorney alleges is true, was a clear violation of Mr. Gates and his property under the Constitution, Bill of Rights and sections of U.S. civil rights law.

As it would be for the rest of us, make the officers understand the real dollar and career price for their personal decisions, and their lack of genuine professional discretion. Expose and sue these individuals as aberrations operating under the guise of a police department and city that does not condone or cover for officers that violate citizen rights.

If the facts are affirmed, clearly the officers acted as individuals rather than public servants — sanctioned and paid by the public to serve, protect and respect. Too often we forget that public safety policing is NOT a private or personal enterprise invested with unlimited authority that comes from beyond.

Six or more zeros behind a major monetary damages civil lawsuit against an individual will send a real message to others so inclined to manipulate regulations, or violate the law and citizen rights.

THE PRESIDENT SHOULD BE LEFT OUT OF THESE KIND OF ISSUE. NO ONE SHOULD BE ASKING HIS OPINION. HE HAS BETTER THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT / UNEMPLOYMENT, IRAG, PAKISTAN AND HEALTH CARE.

WOW of all the arrogance, whether or not the officer was in the right or wrong the president has no right talking like that in front of the whole country, especially when he doesn’t know anything about what happened.

This is a man who apologizes to all of our enemies for choices his predecessors made in defending our country, he apologizes for our great country which does more good for that world than any other, but if it is about something he says or does, no, he cannot apologize.

I am completely disgusted and ashamed of our president.

Posted by rachel | Report as abusive

When someone asks me for ID when I use my credit card, I say thank you. They are only doing their job. If a police officer checks my house because of a watchful neighbor’s phone call and asks for ID, I show the ID. I would consider myself lucky that the cops even had enough time to respond. I thank the officer. I also thank the neighbor. Too many people of color, like myself, are taking this way too far. It just happened to be that the person “breaking in” was black-black like me. Profiling would be more like a bunch of white folks breaking in and the officer only selects the one black person to stop. Let’s be real. The appropriate response would have been: “Thank you for making sure it was me and checking on my home, officer.” We just have a different worldview. Let’s give credit to the officer who bothered to check the house. Thanks Sergeant.

Posted by Amer | Report as abusive

If I had the option of 1)talking on the porch or 2)being handcuffed, I think that would be an easy decision — and I’m not even a scholar.

Posted by gerogejones | Report as abusive

“Does it mean that a middle-aged man with a cane in his own home may verbally abuse policemen, act like a jerk, do not cooperate in investigation, throw racial comments cannot be arrested (probably)?”

Yes, it does. I thought that was already pretty well established by the 1st, 4th, and 5th amendments, though.

Posted by stljd | Report as abusive

The fact is Obama is so full of himself that he couldn’t keep his mouth shut if his life depended on it. Just the person we want talking to world leaders about national security.

Posted by Karl Marx | Report as abusive

Obama was out of line for two reasons. First, Obama himself said he didn’t know all the facts and that alone should have kept him from commenting. Second, this Harvard scholar himself said on national television that he started the racial confrontation. Is it acceptable for whites to splash racial slurs and innuendo’s? NO. It is equally unacceptable for ethnic groups! Yes?
This “Harvard man” is a very big problem in why society cannot move on. It’s called FAIR and BALANCED RACISM.
Obama owes everyone an apology, where was the upset when the police tazered a minor 18 times when he fell off a bridge and could not follow police orders to stand up? Our president has a priority problem!

Posted by Dawn | Report as abusive

This isn’t about a racist cop. It is about an overbearing cop who wouldn’t back down when he learned he had made a mistake and decide to arrest Mr Gates for ANYTHING he could pin on him because Gates was upset. Wouldn’t you be upset? Haven’t we all met cops like this before? It is DISGUSTING that Gates was arrested in his own home in this way. The Cambridge police are making a big mistake: they should give Gates an apology and force Crowley to give Gates an apology, too.

Posted by G Osner | Report as abusive

Something happens to all of us when distracted or under pressure: our inner worldview kicks in to blurt what the heart believes. Obama is smooth, but his experiences with racial inequity and his racial bias (assumptions against Euro-Americans) came through loud and clear. The problem with this kind of remark is that it is reverse racism: any comments or actions against a person of color can be taken as racially biased; but they can say anything against Euro-Americans and it’s not racial but just a commentary or action.

I’m rooting for a good presidency, but Obama will have to learn to keep his personal views personal. And he’ll have to learn to think the best and highest of government servants until facts are known.

Posted by rosemaire | Report as abusive

@Thomas: “The resident produced proof of who he was. That truly should have been the end of it.”

The officers proceeded TO LEAVE. Gates followed with his continued accusation of the officers being a racist.

“The policeman simply wanted to bully an older black man with a cane who was upset for profiling.”

Is that your opinion or do you know the officer personally and was there on the scene? Sorry… you need to revisit other parts of the story, not just Gates’ and your own bias.

@Jon: “Asked a law abiding resident to step out of his own home, without a warrant”

You use a warrant to SEARCH a home, not to ask people to come out to talk to you. The officer was even nice enough to ask him to come out instead of barging in right away – ever thought of that?

“Asked the resident how many people were in the home, a-la Gestapo”

The officers were responding to a 911 call regarding TWO black males – they only saw one. Do you not wonder how many people are in the house? Even if the officers were able to confirm that Gates is the owner, isn’t it they’re duty to make sure that the TWO men were not hiding elsewhere and is a danger to Gates?

“Once Prof Gates showed his ID, uncooperative or not, the cop should have left. Plain and simple.”

Again, they did. Try getting BOTH sides of the story instead of acting like Obama.

Posted by DH | Report as abusive

this would have turned out better if the officer walked away. it would also have turned out better if Gates had cooperated without disrespecting the police. this officer did not show up for no reason with the intent to racially profile. i commend Gates for standing up for his rights as a citizen (although there MAY have been a more productive way to do this). at the same time, i would be happy that the police responded to a possible robbery at my residence (as opposed to not responding).

as this story is so muddled with different sides, the President should have simply kept his mouth shut, and said something to the effect of “I don’t have all the facts and therefore I am not in a position to comment.” Instead, he essentially threw the Cambridge police under the bus.

what would have happened if the police officer were black? who is this neighbor that called the police in the first place? and where are the rest of the witnesses? all of this information might help bring some clarity to this situation.

why do people refuse to cooperate with the police?…they are not the gestapo and this is not nazi germany. if i provoked a police officer on duty I would expect to get handcuffed, I don’t know why Gates thought there would be a different outcome (not to mention, the charges were late dropped) In my opinion (and say what you will), the only way to stop racial profiling is partially to stop crying wolf too.

Dennis, your taking a page from the Obama playbook. I guess you feel that if you blather along long-enough people will just give up and walk away – hence see Obama’s poll numbers.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

I’ll tell ya what – I am 62 years old and mostly disabled, but if a cop came INTO my house and started giving me grief, I would probably get real beligerent real fast. As for the President commenting on it, I DO agree with some of the comments here that he would do well to stick to “Presidenting”, and attempt to sidestep loaded questions like this one. I have great hopes for the Obama presidency, and curbing his verbosity would be a great asset.

To Jon: Amazing, you got not one fact correct. I am stunned to find that possible. The officer did tell him why he was there, the officer asked him to step outside if Gates wished to continue the discussion, there were two men seen allegedly breaking in therefore it is quite proper to ask who else is in the house.

Think about this… You are a middle-aged, well educated, black man who may have a certain feeling that the police would mistreat you because of your race. So your response to an officer asking you for ID is to be confrontational?

I am white but I was taught from an early age to be cooperative and respectful with the police. Because it simply did not pay to be otherwise.

The style and tactics of Reverend Wright are starting to show themselves in Obama. Gee, what a surprise. Post-Bush America has been so enthralled with Obama’s intellect and oratory skills they forgot to look closely for judgement and character. The evidence was there all along, like spending 20 years worshipping in the church of a racist, hate-spewing anti-white preacher or fraternizing with William Ayers. Now, suddenly, America is waking up to discover that the good-looking young president with the nice smile also has rather blatant biases and over-arching arrogance. Just wait. We are just starting to know Obama. It will get worse.

Posted by Rich | Report as abusive

i dont think the president should add fuel to this fire.. our police officers are under alot of pressure, being outnumbered and the fact that practically everyone they encounter has a firearm. i do think it is time for our national guard to help our officers on the streets of america. after all look at the jersey city police officers that were ambushed last week in a hail of fire

Posted by p.n. | Report as abusive

The President clearly is the one acting stupidly-the officer was acting in response to a call and the argumentative man in front of him. This is a classic example of how people’s prejudices bias their responses when it comes to race in this country, though. Not even the President is immune to that.

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

To: Dennis Moore

Hi Dennis, I also think a lawsuit is the best way to get to the bottom of this incident. But there will not be one. Why? The 911 call and the communication between Sgt. Crowley the CPD were recorded. CPD must have played this tape many times, and they are 100% sure they have the proof that Sgt. Crowley did his job by the book, and Prof. Gates was heard yelling in the background, including make references to Sgt. Crowley’s mother, an accusation Prof. Gates denied. Otherwise, CPD will not stick its neck out to support Sgt. Crowley. There will be no lawsuit from Prof. Gates unless he is totally insane and stupid. Just my 2 cents. Let’s wait and see.

Posted by Mi Wa | Report as abusive

Obama: good at campaigning — no clue when it comes to governing.

What a surprise. Nice work electorate!

Posted by Robinson | Report as abusive

I cannot believe the headline of this article basically calls a sitting president “stupid”. After all the mistakes of the previous administration which were not even allowed to be discussed in the open until nearing it’s term. For over 6 years no one dared to imply or had the nerve to call our prior president “stupid”! This screams of a double standard for people of color in this country.

Thank God in an Obama presidency free-speech is allowed with the persecution. Or do you not remember the Dixie Chicks!

Posted by anonymous | Report as abusive

I agree with Mi Wa.

At first when I saw the story, I sided with the victim thinking how stupid for the police to arrest a Harvard professor in his own home – just like some people here. However, I was very surprised at how fast the Police Department and the Police Union were to throw support for the officer. Organizations like that don’t usually risk a political and racial firestorm unless they know something else is going on.

It would be interesting, thought, to allow Gates to file lawsuit and then present the evidence and file countersuit.

Posted by DH | Report as abusive

It is not the position of the president to get so personally involved in private and civil issues. This could cause civil unrest. We rely on the president to make sound advise and not to cause discontinuity and unrest.

Posted by Pete | Report as abusive

I think the president just spoke too soon without knowing all the facts, just as he did immediately after the Honduran presidential coup. Whatever the outcome is on this situation, I think some good will come out of it after everyone does a post mortem on this. Some important and healthy discussion points are being raised here.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

Obama was almost racist in commenting on “the White cop-his friend so the cops are stupid?”We expect him to get the facts then be fair,not a Black President,knee jerking like so many Black leaders do-Why didn’t the media lay out the facts?Oh they didn’t search either.
Now coupled with his decision on Honduras,again without the facts,we are going to support a man that defied his own Congress and was ruled out of order by their Supreme Court and we are supporting him,again he is knee jerking.This is more serious than his speechifying.Quit meddling in other country’s affairs they are no threat to us.
He should apologize to the cop,but he won’t

Posted by anabasis | Report as abusive

I would have never believed it could happen but we have elected someone who is even more arrogant and unqualified than Bush. God help us.

Posted by gerogejones | Report as abusive

Anonymous feels hurt that the headline asked if Obama is stupid. How could he call an police officer performing his duty stupid? Gates could have answered the door under duress from a real intruder. Stupid is as stupid does so if the shoe fits Obama, then he should wear it! And you can’t blame Bush for Obama’s ignorance.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

I’m guessing there is enough fault to go around on this one. Gates should have produced his ID when asked if this was his house and if he needed to yell at anyone, it should have been the neighbor with the cellphone who saw “two black men” breaking into a house. Cops don’t like to be yelled at any more than you or I, but yelling is not a crime. If the cop
tried to make it a crime by goading Gates outside so he could try for a disorderly conduct arrest, that would have
been an abuse of power and bad judgment. The more I hear, the more it sounds like two alpha dogs trying to out-growl the other. I think there was enough bad judgement to share the blame.

Posted by SF | Report as abusive

LETS LOOK AT THIS PROPERLY:

1.) Professor Gates has lived in this House for over 7 years. His neighbors know who he is and what he looks like. Who made that call to the Police Department?

2.) A Police Sergeant should have reached the point where he does not respond to shouts of “Pig”,”Cracker”,”Fascist”etc. It’s part of their training.

3.) A Police Officer cannot arrest an individual for “disturbing” his peace. Nor can he arrest an individual for disruptive behavior or disorderly conduct alone in his own home on his own property. The home owner can “shout”, “yell”, run around naked in his own home. The phrase “A man’s home is his castle” comes to mind.

4.) TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242 states that “Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”

5.) The Police Officer in question broke a federal law, he should know better. It’s called “KIDNAPPING UNDER COLOR OF AUTHORITY”. He can be sued and/or charged with a violation of Professor Gates civil rights. I would apologize just to keep the FBI from knocking on my door.

I just want to understand why I cannot yell at a police officer in my own home, or even my own front step. Posts above have stated the police officer gave him ’3 chances’ to stop his rant (if it was in fact a loud rant) but what right does he have to then arrest me?

This is a dangerous slippery slope that sheep (yes, all of you who blindly follow the orders of the police without question) are leading us down. Can I talk back to the police officer in my own home when he wasn’t invited? So they are allowed to insult me, invade my home and then arrest me when I shout back (shouldn’t MATTER what I shout back except threats, I have a right to express myself freely, especially in my own home!)

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

Personally I am glad that this has become the subject of public debate, regardless of the President’s comments. The issue is not so much race based but more on the scope and definition of the authority used to justify the arrest after the Professor was identified as the Homeowner. As far as I know, being indignant with an officer is not grounds for arrest. These kind of arrest are laughingly referred to as “contempt of cop” charges, obviously no such thing, but gotten around by claims of disorderly conduct. Officer should have taken his leave politely. End of story.

Posted by child | Report as abusive

Officer Crowley, had he been doing his homework (and if he is indeed a “local” cop, as he says), should have known who Gates was and at least should have known where he lived.

The fact that several white spokespeople for various cop organizations rally around one of their “brothers-in-arms” shouldn’t come as any surprise, except to clueless reporters reporting about clueless cops.

Pay police more money and you’d get better police, rather than a gang of dumb control freaks whose flawed “procedures” are accepted and supported by ignorant citizens.

Posted by Gustav | Report as abusive

A black man in a upscale neighborhood. He should either be taking care of some resident’s yard or he is trouble. This scenario is very common… My colleague was in front of his new house in high middle class neighborhood when a police car stopped and asked him “where is your truck?” This could be the only reasonable explanation he could be there other than doing anything wrongh at least in the white officer’s mind! you have a truck I’ll confirm you’re here working for someone. The officer could never conceived he could be a resident. If there is a crime look for a black man. If you cannot find one that you could at least accuse than you gather evidences to conduct an appropriate investigation.

Posted by Jomar | Report as abusive

As noted elsewhere it is Classism not Racism. Scholar Mr.Gates felt he is above the law ( a class above the normal citizens who show their IDs and thank officer for visiting) as he is friend of the president. Police officer is little bit overboard. He could have ignored all the rants but chose not to. It is a lesson that nobody should think they are above the law.

Posted by Selva | Report as abusive

No apologies needed. Both sides have acted stupidly. The police even when given a driver’s license verifying Gates’ address, still acted stupidly. And by the way where is the idiot who called in the call. You don’t know your neighbors; blacks don’t live there? Just keep acting stupid America, the rest of the world is kicking our butts because of racism. And the President should apologize because of some idiots? Never!

Posted by barrett hays | Report as abusive

when black president and black governor are taking side of a black person without knowing any facts of the matter ; it is racism .

Posted by al | Report as abusive

Cambridge police did “act stupidly” by arresting Gates and not figuring out a way to de-escalate the situation. I agree with the President that this is “a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don’t need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who is in his own home.” Given “Keeping the Peace” is a top local policing goal, “cooler heads should have prevailed.” Why was the disorderly charge dropped if it was Gates, and not Officer Crowley, who did something wrong?
There really is no legal line to be drawn between free speech, which is guaranteed by the Constitution, and “verbal assault,” which doesn’t exist except as a convenient term to be applied to someone who says something we don’t like. In theory, you’re free to say all manner of unpleasant things to civil servants, such as police officers. In practice, not so much.
“Disorderly conduct” is an offense against the public peace, and it is difficult to fathom how it ever properly could be charged for one’s behavior in one’s own home. “Disorderly conduct” is a charge for acts occurring in a public setting. I cannot conceive of a case in which a prosecutor would pursue a charge of “disorderly conduct” occasioned by tone or speech in one’s own home.

Posted by Tower | Report as abusive

I find it interesting that he ‘commented’ on this. Did anybody actually watch the press conference? The last reporter he called on asked him about how he felt about it. Under handed really because I was under the impression that press conference was about Health Care reform which to me is far more important. Why would you ask about something like that in that forum? When you read about this it seems like he just came out and started talking about it. But the simple fact is that it was a stupid question. Don’t think so, go listen to it. Then try listening to the entire response. I seem to remember him saying things like,I do not have all the facts and who could forget, I may be biased becasue I am friends with the man. Amazing what happens to a comment like that when you take most of the words out.

Posted by aman | Report as abusive

Obama admitted that he did not know the facts of the case. Then he proceeded to state that the police acted “stupidly”. So, by his own admission of not knowing the facts of the case, the only thing he had to base his following statement on was that the officer was white and Gates is black. That sounds pretty racist to me.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

Admittedly “not knowing all the facts” but making life/career-damaging comments about a law enforcement officer and entire police department on public television? And then being so arrogant as to not even retract the statement with an apology? This is the type of leadership that people selected to be our nation’s #1 diplomat to the world? That is scary. Isn’t the president qualified enough to be an expert lawyer? Because by saying those things, and jumping to conclusions he sure didn’t show it.

Posted by Mak | Report as abusive

It just proves Obama is a as racist as the next guy.
Did you know the Officer in question teaches an anti-profiling course?
How many racists teach those courses?
Obama just took the White man vs Black Man ball and ran with it.
He’s exactly like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton…. the heck with the facts lets get some attention !!
The President was stupid for getting involved in affairs on this level.

I think this Officer has grounds for a lawsuit against Mr.Obama.
Obama’s involvement and reverse discrimination posture will surely effect this officer’s career negatively.

Did you really think that all the Reverand Wright teachings were not going to show up sooner or later with Obama? seriously?

Posted by Shawn | Report as abusive

Gee, but as an African American who has had his own similar situations to Professor Gates, I am exceedingly supportive of Presient Obama’s comments. I am so sick of white Americans and their total ignorance of racial problems in this country. Their denial of racial issues is frankly an indication of their own racism. White folks seem to have decided that as long as you don’t call me the N-word nothing is racist. Bull. By the way where is this woman who called the police. It is time for the media to get to her for she is the one who did the initial racial profiling. But its funny, originally she was a neighbor, now I’m reading she was a passerby. Seems the police are changing their story which really makes the police report suspect.

I have to say I think Obama made a mistake on this one. He called the police stupid without having all the facts. Just because a man is older and has a cane makes no point except to try and make the professor seem more sympathetic. The professor probably has never been in the trouble with the law before, He is a professor in African American studies and has probably read a lot about police discrimination. In his own life may have been discriminated against in the past.

I have empathy for why he might have been upset. However if you are talking smack about the cops mom and not following the officers instructions to show id, then you get what you deserve. A trip to jail for disorderly conduct. Not for you race but for your attitude.

I have had my car searched when I was young because I had dead stickers on my car. I also had a friend(white) in high school that locked himself out while his parents were on vacation and he took a trip to the station until the cops could prove who he was.

I believe the professor after he calmed down still got this outto the maedia claiming racial bias. That makes it look like the professor has an ax to grind.

Remember the cop risk his life to protect the professors property.

Instead of this being a teachable moment about racial profiling I think it should be about having some respect for law enforcment officers which the majority of the timer are there to serve and protect.

If Obama wanted to speak out on racial profiling he picked a bad example. Obama should admit that, apolgize to the police and get on with the nations business.

Posted by joe | Report as abusive

Obama is half black and half white! What if he said that the police officer acted properly? Nobody would scream racism. Everybody keeps on forgetting that he is half black and half white. For a country so “evolved” in their racism issues, it is not.

Posted by Ruth | Report as abusive

How can a man in his home got arrested because he is in his house? only if the arresting police officer is an undercover stupid officer. Watched three stooges act lately?

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

Obama showed his stupidity, racism, and arrogance as did the uncooperative name calling low class professor. The policeman was the only professional and acted the most presidential.

Posted by Liberty | Report as abusive

Professor Gates acted ‘stupidly’. He was looking for trouble and found it. Congratulations Prof. Gates, this will be your legacy.

Posted by Deb | Report as abusive

@aman, I saw the press conference. Agree, stupid question. He starting by saying “I don’t know all the details. He should have ended it there by saying “so I’m not going to comment on it”. I expect our president to act like an executive during a national news conference.

I hope he can get focused on the job at hand.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

obama should have kept his big mouth shut. after “stupidly” admitting he did not know the facts, he”stupidly” made his “stupid” comments fanning the fire of a “stupid” “professor” (?, really, aren’t they supposed to be smart?) making even more “stupid” comments including how he was gonna talk to the officers”mamma”, (what she had to do with it i don’t know). the dumb butt got out of hand and he got what he deserved. and of course, he had to go with the race card to cover up his bad behavior. well, i hope the officer turns the table on this idiot and sues his racist butt, and officer crowley’s “mamma” should sue the “professor” as well!!!

Posted by robert coffey | Report as abusive

Gates probably over reacted but it does seem to me that police have far too much leeway in arrests for “disorderly conduct”.
Police in someones home need to quit acting as though they are in charge.and enter into an equal exchange.

Posted by jim | Report as abusive

just a “community organizer” doing what comes naturally…

Posted by mike hensgen | Report as abusive

Apparently in the new “Obama-nation” (say it fast), if your black you can follow a policeman, screaming verbal insults, and any response from the police is just “stupid”.

Anybody that thinks Gates isn’t responsible for this is a racist.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

BREAKING NEWS: a beer at the whitehouse: This guy is priceless. He strips the Cambridge Police naked in front of a national audience and now says We’ll have a beer at the whitehouse and that will reverse time and it’ll all go away. I wish I could do that on my job.

Posted by bart | Report as abusive

I think the person created this blog acted stupidly with the topic.

Posted by Will | Report as abusive

The law said that the police can arrest you if you challenge them. Yup, i know why hate it but the law allow them to do so.
My friend got arrested because he refused to sign a citation. Does that racism? Nobody cares. Why is it different for a black man?
Gates set the whole thing up.

Posted by simply stupid | Report as abusive

This is the Mel Gibson getting pulled over by the cops, but this time the shoe is on the other foot. This time you have the self-important celebrity demanding of the officer, “Do you know who I am?”, and then hurling racial abuse. Seems Mr. Gates has been caught in the act of his own ingrained bigotry. Seems like the President, Mayor of Cambridge, and the mainstream media are guilty of a little racial profiling of their own, and could use a little sensitivity training before jumping to conclusions.

Posted by Mark D. Shark | Report as abusive

What punch are all you folks drinking? He was asked to produce ID and didn’t. The professor and his President (Barack Hussein Obama) should IMMEDIATELY apologize and come off their high horses. They two have set law enforcement back and they need to come clean with their racism. Uppity.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

The President is to be forgiven for speaking so stupidily, he his being influenced by Joe Biden.

Posted by Timothy Sullivan | Report as abusive

This is a very interesting issue that says a lot about our country. All parties involved are decent men. Apparantly the officer was following procedure, and I don’t believe it is racism for innocent black males to suspect a white policemen of profiling because it happens all the time. I do wonder about the neighbor who called this in. Was he/she profiling? Who knows? Obviously, this incident will add grist to the mill for both liberals and conservatives in their neverending contest that contributes nothing to the improvement of humankind.

It appears that errors were made all around. Gates got hot because he felt he was being profiled. Crowley got upset with Gates and arrested him for disorderly conduct. I find this especially disturbing that someone can be arrested for this from their own home. The president made an unfortunate comment that is filling his detractors with momentary ecstasy. The police are now overreacting to the president’s statement. I think the fact that charges were dropped is an admission that the arrest should not have happened. And so it goes.

I hope that Gates,Crowley, and the President have that beer together and that the good neighbor who called this in and the reporter who asked the question have a beer with Joe the Plumber just to balance things out.

Posted by David Hughes | Report as abusive

There are are some very very silly people out there. I have read people say Obama is a racist, that now people see what the Rev. Wright was key; that the FBI might get involved?! This is all just very very silly. Its true that the President should have had someone else such as his press sec comment ( never fight down ) but given that there is so much venom out there when the country has so many other problems certainly points to the fact that many white americans are still filled with a sense of entitlement and arrogance.

The best thing for any minority to do in dealing with a majority is to compete on the basis of strength and not appeasement. Given that the majority have never experienced racism to ask for their understanding is pointless. In fact, at some point it becomes just noise.

Lets move on….world issues ( local and community as well) awaits,

Posted by Michael M | Report as abusive

The Professor, followed by his friend the President played the race card in this incident. Our narcicistic President feels we all should benefit from his opinion on a wide range of topics some of even when (by his own admission) he does not know all the facts. Makes one wonder what he really knows about a lot of other topics he pontificates about.

In un-scripted moments – when not guided by a teleprompter – the true measure of Mr Obama slips out for us all to see. What a shame.

Posted by Rudy | Report as abusive

Obama admitted from the start that he “did not know the facts”. But he then proceeded to draw conclusions anyway. Now that is *stupid*.

Posted by Red Skye | Report as abusive

““Disorderly conduct” is an offense against the public peace, and it is difficult to fathom how it ever properly could be charged for one’s behavior in one’s own home. “Disorderly conduct” is a charge for acts occurring in a public setting. I cannot conceive of a case in which a prosecutor would pursue a charge of “disorderly conduct” occasioned by tone or speech in one’s own home.”

Read the police report on The Smoking Gun. The alleged disorderly conduct and resulting arrest took place outside his home, where bystanders started to gather to watch.

As for the cuffs… It is pretty much the norm for a person to be cuffed when he is arrested, even if he his middle-aged. The officer accommodated him by cuffing him with his hands in front of his body, and by retrieving his cane for him.

Posted by Nate | Report as abusive

It seems odd that both the media and the president of the U.S. would be aware of such a non-event as this, unless they were in on it from the beginning. It is highly probable that this was a planned “mike-check” for something much bigger that will be coming down the road. Racial tension is a likely area for exploitation by enemies of the U.S., both at home and abroad – which would certainly include Jesuitism on both counts. Harvard is a jesuit school, and professor Gates’ relationship with it and the sitting president certainly paints a vivid backdrop for what is happening. If a recording of Gate’s tirade ever surfaces in this, it is 90% probable that all this was a set up from the beginning, and the media is allowing the “theater” to be promoted in front of the public eye. At the very least, this “crisis” is being exploited to take attention away from the healthcare debate, another money-grab being implemented by the socialists.

The officer was responding to a possible break in – it wasn’t personal. He was protecting Gates’ property. Why does he deserve to be insulted and cursed? If the police decided to not address disrespectful verbal conduct toward them, I can promise you that the indecent public will lose respect for the police and they would stop cooperating, leading to increased danger for the police and diminished safety in our cities and towns.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

Gates would have been beaten half to death if he would have said “Yo Momma” to a cop anywhere else but where he lives….. And Obama should not have said “I don’t have all the facts but….” That is what get’s me. He should have just repied “no comment”. I am sure that the tapes will tell the tale, and Gates will look like idiot.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Most of the comments above are way off. I agree that the only outrage here is that the charges were dropped because 1. Gates is black and cried racism, and 2. he’s a friend of the president. Disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace will get you arrested, whether you are on the street, in a store, or, yes, on your front porch. But if you’re black and Obama knows you don’t worry, the charges will be dropped. We have a black president whose middle name is Hussein, not to mention that Gates is professor at the most prestigious university in the country. Yes, they (Gates and Obama) certainly have reason to cry racism, don’t they? Give me a break!

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Has everyone forgotton that the police were called because someone reported a possible break in of one or more perps, and the police were trying to help????

Posted by Beth | Report as abusive

The president acted stupid. He could have refused to take the comment. And people have called Dubya dumb from day one – and he is, but so is Obama – so yeah, the title of this article is just FINE! But leaving all that whose the dumbest stuff aside, it’s clear that Gates was out of line. He should have thanked the officer for his concern, showed his ID and not gone off on a stupid, “OOOooh, I very ‘Portant Big Shot”, toddler-type tantrum. I’m Hispanic, and I do get stopped for driving while brown, and yes, I resent it, but this is different. I remember once we were planting a tree on the front lawn at about 11 PM. (My dad had come home with this maple sapling and demanded we plant it at once, because he had to catch a plane the next day, and of course we’d screw up the chore if left without supervision.) Ten minutes later the cops rolled up with lights and sirens! (We kids just stood around with our shovels gawping at them.) They asked for some ID; my dad produced it, and then they explained that our elderly neighbor had called 911, saying “The de Silva’s have all been murdered and the villains are burying them on their own front lawn!” My dad just smiled, thanked the officers, and walked next door to our neighbor to reassure him, and to thank him for his concern. That little sapling ended up planted at a 45 degree angle and never did straighten out during the 20 years we owned that house.

Posted by Shirin | Report as abusive

Well, Obama’s politican handlers suggested he defuse this by getting in front of the press core on Friday. He started the fire storm, and now he is trying to quiet it down. I accept that.

Perhaps Obama learned a lesson, perhaps not. In Friday’s address, Obama mentioned several times that African Americans are sensitive to certain situations. Yes most of us get that. But he never once mentioned he understands the other side. I don’t think he gets it.
I don’t think he is sensitive to how others feel about being called a racist and the using of the race card.

Now, let’s put it behind us and move forward.

Posted by ed scott | Report as abusive

Both Gates and Obama acted stupidly.

Posted by mandaue | Report as abusive

Mr. Gates has a right to remain silence. Why he not doing so? Mr. Gates also said to officer that \”the does not know who he is messing with.\” Yeah! Gates is a friend of President Obama. Obama actually over re-act and not even knows the facts. He should stay away from that kind of controversy. Just like Mr. Cosby said.

Posted by Peter T. | Report as abusive

Were Police officers around the country paid to troll the discussion boards on this many news websites?
Or how come most comments were posted by repeat names with such STRONG feelings toward one side. I’ve only seen this kind of almost one-sided comments when we’re talking about Iran, China, N.Korea.
This is truly amazing!

Posted by Police Neverwrong | Report as abusive

What should have happened..
-Police respond to call from a neighbor that sees to black men attempting to force themselve into a home
-Police arrive state that they are investigating a possible burglary at the home and ask to see ID
-Gates gives his ID respectfully and cooperate with police request to insure his safety.
-Police are satified that all is well and thank Gates for his cooperation
-Gates thanks the officer for keeping the neighberhood safe.
Unfortunaely Gates flyes of the handle as soon as he is asked for his ID… Gates is carrying a large chip on his shoulders based on years and years of abuses of his people…

Incident like this will continue untill the black people learn that its all in their hands now… Yes they have been enslaved and wronged by the white man. But the barriers for success have been removed… All structural changes that needed to be made in the US have been made. Its time for black people to look in the mirror, to look internaly at what can be done to improve themselves, to get away from a culture that is truly enslaving them to poverty and a lack of education. They have to fight the forces within their midst that call their women hoes, buy $150 sneakers and gold chains instead of books, and father childrens without raising them. Gates getting irate over the officer doing his job and investigating a burglary is unfortunately misdirected anger and energy… The last mile to the promised land, the black man has to walk alone..

Posted by Majolie | Report as abusive

i think the point Obama was making is that “the police” need to stop arresting people when its clear no crime has been committed.

the cop obviously wanted to teach the guy a lesson by yielding his power and force on an educated black man. the real racist however is the neighbor that called the police… thats the problem with america.. people dont even know their neighbors

Posted by dvictr | Report as abusive

Obama said “…I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically.”

I am thinking he misworded again. I think he gave an impression much more like a hammer smashed into drywall.

Nice one Obama; way to show your true colors by the way.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

The problem is here is a lack of understanding the English language. The president started his remarks by saying that Gates was a friend and he would be biased.

If the arrest was legitimate then the charges would not have been dropped and that’s why it was all so stupid!

Posted by Donna | Report as abusive

I am a little ashamed of seeing so many anti police
comments posted concerning a supposedly refined, educated Black man. The whole problem seemed to be the police did not recognize him. I definately think EGO
was the greatest peoblem and not lack of any Police
training or any overly agesssiveness by the police.

Posted by Jerry Queen | Report as abusive

Having read the full text of the Police report on this incident, I think all parties can give reason for their actions: the woman who called the police, the Professor, the police officer, and the President. Each, from their own life experience was doing what they thought was right, and each was looking at a different piece of a convoluted puzzle. What does bother me — and I see this more and more — is that President Obama does not seem to truly admit he was ever wrong about anything. Worse still, his words and actions seem to be entirely crafted for political expediency, rather than being open and forthright.

In another Reuters article, the headline indicates President Obama regrets his original remark. But if you read the quote in that article, the President seems only to regret that this incident has gotten out of hand, not that he questioned the police. He said, “I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley ….. and I could have calibrated those words differently.”

To me, this smacks of “newspeak”, and a clear pattern seems to be revealing itself over the last two years: President Obama tends to try to get himself out of every bind by saying, in effect, “I didn’t say what you heard me say.”

But, sir, we just heard you say it. You said “Cambridge police acted stupidly.” Can’t you just level with us? We would probably understand, and we might trust you a little more if you did.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

Calling all criminals…..It’s ok to break into the Gates’ house. No police will be stopping by there again.

Posted by Karen Whitehead | Report as abusive

First of all, the poster who said Harvard is a Jesuit school is wrong. That’s Boston College.

As far as the incident, it appears to me Professor Gates and Sgt. Crowley lost their cool, but there’s no need to turn this into a national preoccupation.

Posted by Daniel | Report as abusive

Obama revealed himself for who he really is. He is one of the black community with eternal greivances. While he backpeddled away from Rev. Wright, his knee-jerk reaction is to assume the police were bullying his friend. How could it be racial profiling, when the officer was responding to a call from a concerned neighbor? I’d love for just once a “black leader” support the police.

To Lew White:

No, it’s not a conspiracy, just an over-sensitive black man ranting after a long trip. Charges should not have been dropped.

Oh, and Harvard is ANYTHING but a “Jesuit school.” Perhaps you’re thinking of Georgetown University, in Washington DC.

Posted by Dorkyman | Report as abusive

i don,t think that race was as big a part of the incident that people think.the guys remarks,”do you know who i am?,and do you know who i know”?the guy is an elitist it is the harvard professorship not the color of his skin that caused the problem,he has an inflated ego.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

I welcomed his comment. I am white but am well aware that racial profiling is quite real and needs to stop. In this case, it appears that problem was not racial profiling but both sides unwillingness to drop it. I agree with the President that both sides should have calmed down.

However, as to the larger issue. It’s about time we had a President that recognized this issue and felt that something should be done. Another generation of minorities doesn’t need this type of aggravation and injustice.

Posted by julie kreutzer | Report as abusive

Guess what. I’m white, I get pulled over too. For not wearing seat belts, for speeding or whatever, and they would drag me off if I got in their face and shouted them down.

I am sick of the race card. Character has nothing to do with race. This was a pompous, loud mouth, kick and scream to get his way, don’t you know I’m special, move to the side of the hall as I walk past kind of person.

The President… geesh. He truly showed the depth of racism in this country by taking racial sides while admitting he had too little info.

This officer was hired by a Black superior for his proven lack of racial profiling. Good for him for not taking this guys belligerence regardless of color.

I am sick of the race card.

Posted by sickoftheracecard | Report as abusive

The only difference between this time & a thousand other times each year is that this person was a prominent member of the community.This police officer should be fired & not be allowed to have any job where he is in a position of authority over anyone

Posted by walter smith | Report as abusive

So Obama makes a mistake by not getting all the facts before merely talking, then gets all the facts and tries to make amends. That’s far better than Bush ever did. Obama’s mistake isn’t going to cost us $3 billion.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

Make that $3 trillion in borrowed money.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

Obama was the fool here. After stating he did not KNOW the facts, he proceeded to make a determination based on race that the officer was wrong. Obama is the true racist.
I hope the police to not answer the next call from the Gates residence for any break ins. It”s one way to avoid any appearance of seeming to be racist.

Posted by TexGal1836 | Report as abusive

Nobody knows what kind of language went on between the cops and the professor, but he was arrested for what reason? not cooperating with the police? in what way? reports says he did showed up his ID as proof of residence so he has the legal right to do whatever he wants with his private property(including his door lock). Or now you are telling me that cops are “locksmiths” and professor REFUSE to cooperate by let them pick on his door lock?
Should the professor were a white dude, we will not be writing any comments.Should the professor were a mexican he will be deported already!

Posted by The Mexican | Report as abusive

This is all absolutely crazy! I don’t care if Mr. Gates and President Obama are black, purple green or pink! We are hearing more of this and Michael Jackson’s death than any other news around.

What about the soldiers that have been recently killed overseas. Do you all think the BULLET cares what color you are? No, everyone is human to it!

Get over it already, support our troops and show respect and mourning when one of them takes the bullet for you all to sit around and argue who is being treated unfair for being any color!!!!

Posted by Army mom | Report as abusive

Mr. Obama was totaly wrong in that Mr. Gates is a “Pal” of his and for that reason alone Mr. Obama should not have made any comment comment. Mr. Obama did not act in a Presidential manner but like a thin-skinned individual who is more of a racist than the officer involved.

Posted by Gary R. Frye | Report as abusive

In all fairness, it was probably premature for him to take sides without having all the information. As I see it if a police officer is asking me for my ID for verification in case it’s not my house, the last thing I will do to agitate the situation is to react out of emotion due to personal bias and resist, but that’s me and I’m Hispanic. I suppose Gates would have preferred the Police Officer to simply take his word for it for who he is and leave the premises. With this overly-sensitive society we’ve become who in their right mind would want to be a Police Officer? It’s sad but it doesn’t seem that it’s worth the headache.

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive

The racists in this case were Professor Gates and President Obama. They were the ones who immediately pre-judged a man’s intentions based solely on the color of his skin.

Posted by Cass | Report as abusive

We have three observations about the Harvard professor incident:

1. We find it interesting that the fact that this was the professor’s home was evidently not established early on way before the dispute escalated;

2. We find it fascinating that the versions of two members of society, who most would ordinarily view as responsible and honest citizens (this obviously does not include politicians), would vary so dramatically from a factual point of view.

3. Finally, considering that the reading and viewing public were not present at the scene (and thus have no first hand knowledge), and that there is no video tape to our knowledge of the sequence of events and what was said, how so many have formed conclusions, and made assumptions, about who did what and who was wrong.

There are some things which Professor Gates might have considered upon the arrival of the police, no matter how incensed he may have been.

The President should not have said anything. If someone was breaking into my house and a neighbor called the police and the police questioned the party, I would be happy that the police did a thorough job. If the party called bias and hide behind his race and the Police did nothing then I would be very worried about the police and whether they can can do the job they are paid for.

Posted by RME | Report as abusive

Mr. President: I would love to see those days when people around the world trembled approaching our President. With all due respect, don’t get involved with insignificant things.

Posted by Manny | Report as abusive

This is what America has come to? This is absolutely pathetic! We should be concerned about our economy and one another’s well being, whether we are white, black, or yellow! When are American’s going to get the WHOLE picture?! Obama! Shame on you for not encouraging this!

Posted by Chris Phillips | Report as abusive

Obama will unfortuantely have to walk a fine line which is too bad.

Crowley could’ve been calmer and more cooperative, no doubt. The officer could’ve walked away from someone who was probably jet lagged and frustrated over a jammed door.

As for that neighbor, how do you not know people who’ve lived in your neighborhood for 7 years? Come on. Maybe next time instead of spying and creating drama with 911 go outside and see if your neighbor needs some help.

Blacks AND whites really should refrain from the name calling that is “racist.” We all have biases…maybe it means you’re a racist, maybe it doesn’t. But name calling puts everyone on the defensive. Find more creative ways of expressing how a bias is making you feel. No, the other person might not accept it right away but at least no one’s getting arrested (like Gates) or getting their feelings hurt (like the Cambridge PD).

Racism will never go away until the media allows it to go away. Obama never said anything about color while defending his friend. Why does this have to be about race. Because the media knows that all you followers who are easily manipulated will attain your opinion from their reterich. Funny. It never fails. The media doesn’t even have to take “calculated risks” anymore when dealing with racism. Your all goats. If it were my friend, I would probably give him the benefit of the doubt. Yes, it probably wasn’t very smart of him to admit to not knowing all the facts, then calling the polices’ actions stupid, but this should not be a race issue. BTW, I am a 36 year old white mail who voted Obama.

Osama Bin Laden takes credit for attacking New York and the United States attacks Iraq. Don’t look now but we’re still there……You stinking sheep.

Posted by Ron Wolfe | Report as abusive

Thomas Paine said “these are the times that try mens souls.” I have been a NYC Police Officer for twenty-three years and have had ocassion to observe a level of professionalism that warrants praise. Notwithstanding, there have have been regretable acts of police misconduct that have tarnished policing. The recent events at Cambridge demonstrate routine policing that encounters citizens who are juxtaposed in uncomfortable situations and channel their discomfort toward responding police officers. The President’s rush to judgement is alarming and warrants a sincere apology. Good leaders are informed and make informed decisions and statments. On behalf of all police officers, I request a formal apology. More important, our country is in a critical period and needs to move on with the buisness of America.

Posted by John G. Comiskey | Report as abusive

Much ado about nothing! Until we treat every act the same we will always find something special about every act. We,(everyone) all want the police there when we need them, and yet when they are there to question us we are indignent. Shouldn’t they(police) just KNOW that we are-law abiding(is anyone totally)citizens and that if we say it it’s the truth, Huh????, it must be. Well, if indeed there were someone breaking into our house and they said “this is my house I live here” shouldn”t the police just take them at their word, and let them go about moving out all the contents? If they say it’s their house it must be true, and how dare the police ask me to show proof. Ain’t that the way it is these days. Hell no!!! We, all citizens chose to hire people to protect and police our communities to keep us and our posseions safe. We no longer live in a world where the police walk a few block “beat” where they know all who live and belong there. We, again decided we can’t afford that. Soooo, we now have police in cars covering areas that are humanly impossible to even view in a twenty four hour period of time, but God forbid the police should question me, a law abiding citizen, who they don’t no from Adam, by the way. You can’t have it both ways, either you(we, all of us)let the police do their jobs as they have been trained by asking all for PROOF of identity, insurance, not being drunk while driving, OOOh and “show me the contents of that suitcase to make sure there is no bomb in there so these inicent people who are traveling with you can reach their destenation and not be blown to hell”. Come on think about it!!!!!! And when we get indignent because we are being singled out because of our race, sex, religion, and the way we dress, let those without sin be the only ones that judge. And one last thing, my only son is a Policeman, and I know why he goes out there every day to do the best job he can. It’s certainly not for the money or the thanks his fellow citizens give him for putting his life on the line when he walks up to a car that he has stopped because he has clocked it going 50 miles an hour(with quit a safisticated tool that has cost the tax payers quit a pretty penny I might add) in a school zone with children present, knowing very well he will not be met with a pleasent conversation, and could quit possibly be the last person he ever speaks to. There I’ve said my piece, now all I want is that you “just think about it”. I’m thankfull to allowed to have my voice heard.

Posted by Jackie | Report as abusive

I am a minority myself and I still think the professor should have just shown his id. This was a police officer in uniform responding to a legitimate call–He is not out of place in asking to see an id. The professor himself played the race card, and who knows, maybe staged the whole thing to become more popular.

Posted by Deepak | Report as abusive

again, obama proves that he is stupid

liberals have to getting sick of defending their racist incompetent/corrupt president

Posted by Jack Kennedy | Report as abusive

Both the president and Gates jumped the gun… the police need to determine that Gates wasn’t being coerced by a burglar… if he would of responded without stress… it could of gone down more successfully… the cop could of discretely confirmed he was safe and left… did he want the cop to say… is there anyone holding a gun on you?

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive

Obama should have stayed out of this…if it had been a white man handcuffed.. Obama would have thought it was the right thing to do …but this was his friend and we will be seeing more of the race card coming out with the Obamas

Posted by phyllis phillips | Report as abusive

Unless you can see a video of the interaction between Gates and the Police all comments are irrelevant!

Did Mr. Obama see a video?

Posted by sothonod | Report as abusive

I agree with Obama, which is a rarity, with the caveat that the gentleman in question probably didn’t react properly or intelligently either. The police could’ve explained themselves better. Why didn’t they pull the homeowners I.D. on their computers in advance to look at a picture prior to even knocking on his door. People have a right not to be bothered in their own homes. No police officer has the right to come into my home and ask me to identify myself. On the other hand the gentleman in question could’ve been polite and maintained control of himself. Personally I just wouldn’t have answered the door.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

Who acted stupidly? Obama of course. He spoke about something he knew nothing about (what else is new?) and instead of being diplomatic or not commenting he took sides. So every time one of his ‘friends’ gets in trouble it is never their fault and everyone else is stupid. Way to be professional Obama. You owe this officer an apology. ‘Skip’ started a ‘race war’ from a non racial incident. Racism IS alive and well and not from a low income area… but from an ‘educator’. Shame on you Skip. All that education and you’re still stupid.

Posted by typ4dox | Report as abusive

Storm in a teacup. Unless you need to get out more.

Posted by KD | Report as abusive

Great. First we had Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson claiming racism every time an African-American got in trouble, and now we have a president doing the same stupid thing. Maybe he should hold a press conference and demand that Sharpton apologize to the Duke Lacross team for calling them racists when they were innocent.

If someone reports a break-in and the officers ask the person going into the house for ID, they are doing their job. Playing the race card has not a thing to do with it.

Mr. President, maybe you should just focus on bringing socialism and fascism to America as you have been working so hard to do, and leave race relations alone for the time being. Al and Jesse got it covered for you.

Sharpton, Jackson, and Obama appear to be the biggest racists in the public eye.

Posted by IndependentVoter | Report as abusive

If the Police Officers had NOT asked this righteous, holy-then-thou individual for identification then would Mr. Gates be claiming racism because the police did not ask for identification because they don’t care who comes and robs the black man??????

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

I totally support the police officer in this matter base on what I have read. The Crowley and Gates incident is a local matter and should have stayed that way. However, the more imporant issue here is Obama took sides and reaveled his black racial bias.

How did this man get elected? Come on America, is this the Hope and Change you wanted… not me.

Posted by Chris M | Report as abusive

Gates is a racist. Any white Harvard professor would have been fired for resisting arrest but Gates will be portrayed as a martyr.

Obama is an enabler of racists. He may be a racist himself.

The president of the united states needs to have good judgment – this guy doesn’t – he should be impeached.

Posted by gfr | Report as abusive

The President and his Haavard friend are both racist idiots. Those two have such massive (and unjustified) egos it is amazing that they don’t both just explode.

Posted by MITmike65 | Report as abusive

The President

He should not have waded into this situation. No one is above the law including the President’s friend. He should have let normal processes work. Mr Gates or his supporters could have asked for an investigation into the police handling of the situation. Such incidents take place every day at many cities in the USA. The President wasted his influence in this situation

Posted by Gopal | Report as abusive

I would have asked the arresting Officer these Questions:
-Did you or one of the two other Officer’s look in the Entry Hall, Living Room or Den to see if pictures of the man you were ordering out of the house were on display?

-Did you seek to deescalate the situation, to understand what would prompt such a reaction, if the situation was nonthreatening.

Imagine the feel of humiliation, shame and anger of being ordered from your home, when you have sought to be a decent and upright citizen. You have sought to encourage others to obey the laws of the land and live their lives productively and with dignity. This had to be an unrecognizable moment in the Professor’s life.

What if this had been a more inflammatory situation, would this Officer be the one to send on the call.
No matter who backs the arrest, his judgment skills are called into question. I am positive he went to work on that day to do a good job.

Posted by Raven | Report as abusive

I find myself embarrassed that the most powerful/important man in the world would let himself become embroiled in such a mundane occurrence.

Posted by Ed | Report as abusive

President Obama can no longer say he didn’t listen to Reverand Wright over 20 years. Was what he said “stupid”? No. It was honest – no teleprompter and he couldn’t hang on to the “act”. President Obama, you are no Ronald Reagan.

We’re beginning to see Obama’s true colors. A racially-motivated, socialistic, elitist president after all. When he’s not reading off a teleprompter – you get a glimpse of the man behind the curtain.

Posted by Daniel | Report as abusive

As a peace officer with 2 decades of service; I take pride in the selfless acts of compassion and bravery I have witnessed. But for my pride to have honesty and value, I must also regretfully admit in the history of law enforcement there have also been acts of bigotry and hatred. No one can deny either fact; whether we’ve witnessed officers of all races and genders combatting body armor clad and assault weapon wielding thugs in North Hollywood, or have witnessed officers turning police canines and fire houses on peaceful marchers in Selma, Alabama.

Having said that, I’ve responded to numerous burglaries in progress with scant information received from a citizen calling 911 and the dispatcher relaying that unconfirmed information to me. For the safety of all concerned-officers, alleged suspects and members of the public-a street saavy, procedurally sound officer will demand compliance and confirm the identity of those involved. The suggestions posted here that the officers should have ‘looked at pictures posted in the hallway’ are ignorant at best. There are numerous names etched in the National Peace Officers Memorial of those that-perhaps-failed to act aggressively enough, quick enough. And there are many more names, without ceremony, of those that have sustained catashrophic injuries that were equally less aggressive, equally less quick and equally less procedurally sound.

As for President Obama, I didn’t vote for the man and I support very few of his policies. But he is my president. And for me, I don’t want man or woman that governs from a vacuum. I want to hear their unvarnished opinions. If I wanted fluff, spin or misdirections, I’d continue to watch Fox News or MSNBC (frankly Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann are equal baffoons not deserving of air time).

But that’s just my opinion…

Posted by Ruben Navarro | Report as abusive

The Preseident should have never gotten involved in a problem that he did not know all the facts, his job is
to enforce the law, and he called the police stupid.
WRONG, WRONG! Mr. Obama.

Posted by Mercedes Cass | Report as abusive

It certainly was a thoughtless comment from the president. Most likely because of jet lag,same for Mr.Gates who just arrived from China most likely tired and grumpy.

Posted by bolewees | Report as abusive

I am glad you are reading emails to post. I made all kinds of mistakes to see if someone is checking emails.
Proud of you!
My sentiments are the same the President should have not
gotten involved in such a minor incident . . . when the
nation is facing so many problems with the economy, the
President must focus on issues that affect “We the people”; not one of his friends.

Posted by Mercedes Cass | Report as abusive

If you weren’t at the scene, you really don’t know what happened and therefore cannot make a judgement on what happened. Although I have my own view, I personaly would be stupid to say someone acted stupidly. I do however, know a lot of people who voted stupidly and that is why we are where we are.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

The president is the one who acted stupidly. He has absolutely no business interferring or making remarks about Cambridge P.D. business. Or any cities business. He did so because he and Gates are friends. Come to your own conclusions

Posted by R. West | Report as abusive

The President should have waited until he had specific information from both sides before entering the discussion.

Posted by milton andrew | Report as abusive

Obama showed his true nature. As Bill Clinton commented he has the mentality of a Chicago thug and is nothing more than a shoddy community organizer in $2000.00 suits.

Posted by Fiona Baines | Report as abusive

The President has got more important things to deal with right now, but if we’re talking about it lets get real: The police arrested a home owner – for being in his home – if it had happened to you would your opinion of events have changed. It proves that no matter how trained an officer is sometimes they fall back on race. I do think this gives Americans a great chance to talk about the race issue – I mean really talk about it – to be open and honest with themselves and others. I’m troubled that police never want to assume their share of the blame in this incident. The cop screwed up – admit it, try to learn from it and move on – usless the officer is a racist and then he should get the help he needs.

Posted by catherine bowman | Report as abusive

I agree with the president. The police officer did act stupidly. In my opinion, the officer only arrested Gates, because his ego was bruised. He didn’t like the things that Gate’s said to him, and wanted to abuse his authority. Once the officer verified that this is indeed the man’s home, he should have apologized and left. If Obama feels like the officer acted stupidly, he is entitled to his opinion, as the rest of us are. I don’t want to hear a “politically correct” answer, I want to hear your true opinion. In response to one of the other bloggers, there are plenty of INNOCENT people, who have died or been wounded, at the hands of some overly zealous officer, who shot first, and asked questions last.

Posted by angela | Report as abusive

Way to go King Obama; continue dragging the Office of the most powerful and (used to be) respected position in the world down into your little, prejudice, bias, muck-raking ghetto that you live in. We got the change alright, with all its glorious, little-minded, classless STUPIDITY…you’ve certainly got the audicity, indeed.
Good luck…and GOOD-BYE, sir, …sooner than later, we must hope.

Posted by Jose Fullerinski | Report as abusive

I’m withholding my judgment on the matter until Paris Hilton weighs in on it. I’m still not certain if I like her with short hair but her opinion on these things matters to people who find it important.

On the one hand Paris came out for the Old Guy but on the other, she has had her share of run ins with the police. Certainly her opinion is the most important one in biggotgate.

What does Paris Hilton Think?

I’m waiting for that article and will follow the leader.

I’m not understanding the comments being made. No one is denying the officer was right for asking for identification, but once he received proof of residency, there should not have been an arrest. I use to work in a police department, and heard plenty of stories where the officer deliberately provoked a person, just so they could arrest, or cause bodily harm. Heard it straight from the officers mouth.

Why are you calling Obama a racist? He didn’t say the officer was stupid for arresting a black man, he said he was stupid for arresting a man who identified himself as the home owner. There’s a difference.

Posted by angela | Report as abusive

The president prefaced his statement by saying Lewis is a friend. He expressed his opinion. These type of things should not be scrutinized by the media or whomever. He is entitled to an opinion as is everyone. He is human and he brings a very human side to the office of the presidency. Many, many presidents including there moms and other relatives has said worse.

Posted by MO | Report as abusive

The fact that a NEIGHBOR of the esteemed Mr. Gates called the cops on him while he was entering his own home is the first offense to Mr. Gates here. If his neighbor was so observant as to see him struggling to open his jammed door and care enough about the house’s and resident’s safety to call and report it to cambridge police, shouldn’t this same neighbor really have recognized Mr. Gates as her/his OWN NEIGHBOR? I mean, come on.

Secondly, the police officer should have shown his badge to Mr. Gates and/or told him his badge number and name. The fact that the officer refused to give Mr. Gates this information is clear indicator that the officer knew he was in the wrong, was acting in a manner innapropriate to the situation, and was avoiding accountability.

Posted by duh | Report as abusive

The police not only acted stupidly but abused their power. And that is apart from whether or not you think race played any role. Or whether or not Gates lost it, which he probably did. Don’t be so sure how you’d react if treated like a burglar in your own home.

It’s not 1955 and you can’t arrest people because you think they are “uppity.” The cop should have DEFUSED the situation once establishing that it was Gates home (which the cop said he did in the police report) by simply saying sorry for the mixup and goodnight.

This kind of arrest must occur everyday. This time the cop picked on the wrong guy.

Posted by jimmyJam | Report as abusive

I was very disturbed by Obama’s reaction and comments. His reaction was wrong on so many levels, its truly flabergasting..
- He is the president, as such he should not get involved
- He did not have all the facts, as such he should not get involved
- He pulled the race card, a president of all people should never do that
-This episode is making me think that his association with reverand Wright is not an aberation.
- This was an ungarded true insight of the president’s thinking and mind.
- I remember thinking highly of Nelson Mendela and his statesmanship, then one day he made a couple of comments on an event similar to this… And his true colors came out. He was a racist.
I beleive that botth Obama and Mandela are racists, not because they are bad people but simply because they are still victim of their past and still carrying a huge chip on their shoulder about what the white man did to them… Because of that, neither are ready to be leaders of all people..

Posted by majolie | Report as abusive

oops! forgot this line:

I don’t think Obama has misjudged the situation at all. It may be that it would have been more politically prudent not to express his views about it, but as a former attorney and community organizer, he does know what he’s talking about. I think it’s great for people who hold office to express their views, and I think it’s really a shame that our country is the kind of place where a person is attacked by the media, corporate interests, and various other groups for doing so.

I hear LOTS of conservative people in office expressing very strong and unfettered opinions. Why is it so scary when someone a little bit left of center does it?

Posted by duh | Report as abusive

This may be the weakest comment of all :

“If you weren’t at the scene, you really don’t know what happened and therefore cannot make a judgement on what happened. ”

Really? What the heck do you think occurs every second of every day in the justice system. People not at the scene make judgments about what happened. Like the DA that dropped the case did.

I read the police report. And news articles. Those are the only facts I have recourse to. And I discount the news reports. Reading the police report in a light most favorable to the cop (assuming everything he wrote is true) leads me to conclude no arrest should have been made. The cop acted as stupidly as Gates. But the cop is the one that should be trained to deescalate.

Posted by Ditto | Report as abusive

The police. The police are freaken morons. They break the law all the time. I saw one cop do this crazy illegal left turn.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

sensorship of comments is very left wing of you reuters.

Any hope that I had of obama being a reasonable man with a shot at becoming a decent president was lost this week. He has proven that he is nothing more than a racial huckster who uses the race card to elevate himself and get his way. This time he, and his affirmative action race baiting pal from harvard, picked a fight with the wrong white guy.

You can only cry wolf “racism” so many times before folks get wise to your game. Just look at Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Does anyone take these frauds seriously anymore?

This professor obviously tried to provoke racism out of the officer but could not do it. The professor became further enraged when the officer treated him with the utmost respect before slapping the cuffs on him for being disorderly. Even a fellow Black officer agreed with teh arrest 100%. To make matters worse, the president fell right in line with the race baiter by siding with the professor and commenting before he had the facts.

Sadly we are stuck with a hybrid Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton race huckster for a president who, incidentally, has never really experienced what is truly is like being black in America. Born in Hawaii? Raised by white parents? Lived in Indonesia for 7 years? Affirmative Action given Harvard degree? Can anyone identify one experience that can point to obama’s experience as a black man? He has been handed everything in life by guilty white liberals.

Posted by Perry | Report as abusive

“I hear LOTS of conservative people in office expressing very strong and unfettered opinions. Why is it so scary when someone a little bit left of center does it?”

Because Duh, Every time the left of center comments on something like this they inject the race card into it. They always end up calling someone a racist even when it is unwarranted, which 9 times out of 10 is uncalled for. This time, they picked a fight with the wrong white guy. This time the president of the united states wrongly got himself into the middle of it and the multi-racial police force stood shoulder to shoulder with the office. KUDOS to the Cambridge police for sticking up for their own who was falsly accused by the president of the United States.

It is very unprofessional and unpresidential for a president to play politics by attacking citizens. This kind of behavior is expected out of a left wing race baiting harvard professor but not the president.

Posted by Perry | Report as abusive

He is our #1 Human Being responsible for USAll He is Human,He drinks Beer than God.
He Makes mistakes thank God ,He is Right most of the time and as far as I know
COPS ARE NOT LEGALLY GODS as yet…

Posted by stuart lawson | Report as abusive

I was a white man working at an important civil service job in a city that is 98% black and I can picture this exactly as I saw it time and again where I worked. A large fraction of black people who have done well and hold important positions (say school principal, for example)have this “Don’t you dare mess with me” attitude.

It’s an attitude that makes it alright for them to park in a handicapped spot (because they’re important). One black woman who didn’t appreciate me asking her to back up rose up in indignation to tell me I couldn’t talk to her that way “because she was the Mayor’s sister”.

While we haven’t heard all the bits and pieces of this situation in Cambridge, I think we can all agree that this wouldn’t have happened if Gates would’ve calmed down and followed the police officer’s instructions as he is bound by law to do. But it sounds like Gates was having a “you don’t mess with ME” day.

Posted by Douglas Collins | Report as abusive

There was a high level of feeling that we as a society had moved past racism to a greater extent by electing Obama, but by his comments about the police officer acting stupidly, this was a major setback. It is encouraging to see President Obama wants to mend fences by inviting Crowley and Gates to the White House. We are a forgiving society and should forgive Obama for making this more of a racial issue than it should have been.
The racial wounds have been healing for the most part since the painful case of O.J. Simpson. His case should have never been about racism, because most people admired and loved O.J Simpson when he was a football hero to blacks as well as white people. Many aspiring young running backs wanted to wear number 32 on their jersey like O.J.. The issue should have been about whether O.J. was guilty of the two murders or not; many felt he was guilty and hoped he would be more forthcoming and asking for forgiveness.
While there is still some racism on both sides, we have come a long way and should move forward in a positive way to eliminate racism.

Why do people on the internet not know how to spell or use appropriate grammar and syntax? I understand that shortcuts are easy and save time, but everyone seems to not care enough about what they are saying to take the time to proofread (or even spellcheck) their comments. Do you people really have opinions? Or are you simply fueling the fire? On both sides of this argument, every comment I’ve read is nothing more than so much inane rambling.

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

WE told you so..This is your change..isn’t he a nice guy…He has only Good things to say about the Police… now…Spoken like a Great American President that he is …isn’t everything just hunky-dorey ..he has brought such a great feeling for america a round the world.. he should be the WORLD President…yea Comrad Obama….

Posted by Cabmaker-1 | Report as abusive

As intelligent a man as he is, The President should not have commented about the incident the way he did.
Anyway, President Obama was magnanimous enough to invite both men for a beer in the Whitehouse.
We should move on & let the President sell the Health-Reform bill.

Dev Akhbar

Posted by Dev Akhbar | Report as abusive

Perry,
good post… I don’t agree with all that you said but with most of it… Although I was weary of most of his policies, I was rooting for Obama to succeed. I was particularly heartned by his take on blacks and how time had come for them to shift focus internaly to their own culture and comunities. Boy was he telling white people what they wanted to hear. As it turns out, Obama is just a better educated and smarter version of Jessy Jackson and AL Sharpton, who knew!…
Anyway, when I add this episode to his association with reverand wright, I have no choice but to say, President Obama, you have lost my support…
Its going to be along 3.5 years…

Posted by majollie | Report as abusive

The President acted stupidly in this case. I’m a minority, but I believe the police did his job profesionally and correctly.

Posted by Noel Tran | Report as abusive

To be a president does not mean that what you do is right.
He has the right to do wrong and behave as an idiot.He has right to drink a little more and to take part in one of the most important international meetings deciding on human destiny.He is right to have a few lovers while he is officially married.He has right to marsch towards his own land to re take his lost position.He is right to take part in corruptions.He has also right to resign if he thinks ” no! this is not my job “.just kdng

Posted by mani naim | Report as abusive

I (and I’m sure millions of other people want to know), why Obama even had the time to comment on the issue. Other than the fact that Obama is friends with Gates, he needs to be concerned with doing his duties. The campaign propaganda hasn’t stopped and it’s time to show some results, not showboating around at baseball games as millions of Americans starve and lose everything they’ve worked for. And as for his friend Gates, “When the police tell you to do something, just comply, believe me, it works quite well.”

It sounds to me like he had Jesse Jackson on speed dial and the race card in the other hand waiting for cops to do something that would create a stir. Never mind the fact that he was breaking into his own home (technically a crime until proof of deed) and had police called on him in an upscale neighborhood. Never mind the fact that he resisted while throwing up the race card, with a black officer on scene.

And Obama wants to damn those police who acted “stupidly” because he knows what it’s like being a black man harassed by racist cops all the time right?

Harvard just isn’t what it used to be!

Posted by judd | Report as abusive

Gates screwed-up. Period.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

What a mess!

Posted by grw5459 | Report as abusive

Pres. Obama ONLY has about 10 major problems to deal with, INHERITED from Bush and evil Cheney. Already it looks like he has helped to avoid yet another Republican Depression.

Obama mis-spoke about this incident and has admited it. It appears Prof. Gates, the cop, and Obama will share a beer soon and discuss it in a civilized manner.

Those who make this into a big deal too easily forget the Biggest Blunder in US History that Obama is trying to deal with, the Bush/Cheney Iraq War !!!$$$

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive

Mr Hossayn Obama is the best president United States has ever had.
Mr Obama is an honest man capable of communicating at all levels.
Mr Obama is surrounded by people who constantly try to discredit him.
Mr Obama has every right to feel angry discussing the WRONGFUL ARREST.
If you are a decent American, then you should believe and support your president.
If you are not a decent American, then you will continue supporting hatred and intolerance and end up like Bush (Mess).

Posted by Razmik | Report as abusive

I think the President acted incorrectly when he referenced this issue the other night during his press conference. Likewise, I think Mr Gates and the police officer could have performed better, as well.

Obviously, the proverbial bell has been rung and life does not provide us a do-over. Having said that, however, the President — as I think is indicated by his latest comments and actions regarding the matter — has given all parties involved a way to recover with their dignity and honor intact.

Indeed, no one has to be a loser in this. Instead everyone simply needs to follow the President’s lead. Each party needs to acknowledge that if they had it all to do over again, each could have chosen actions that would have helped defuse the situation rather than inflame it. Subsequently, all three parties would vow to learn from this unfortunate incident, while offering it up to everyone as a lesson from which all of us could learn.

By the way, or for what it‘s worth, while I am a lifelong Democrat, I did not vote for Mr Obama and I have remained quite critical of his presidency to date. This incident will not change this fact, but I felt compelled to give him credit for doing the magnanimous thing after initially “blowing” the handling of this matter.

Posted by Bristol Mercheson | Report as abusive

At least those of us on the right can admit Bush made some stupid comments, but it amazes me how the left defend Obama like they do. Is there anything this man can say or do that you people will admit is wrong? For people who claim to be so open minded, you certainly son’t seem to be able to think for yourself.

You can all have your hope and change back cause this guy is terrible!!!!

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

SAME THING HAPPEN TO ME!! A HISPANIC LADY POLICE WAS WAITING AT MY DOOR WHEN I ARRIVED TO MY HOME, THE FIRST THING SHE SAID WAS I NEED YOU TO TURN AROUND, SO SHE COULD PUT HAND CUFFS ON ME, I DID NOT KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON, AND WAS NOT READ MY RIGHTS,AND I DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO SUE. SOUNDS UNBELIEVEABLE RIGHT! WELL BELIEVE IT. VERBAL MISCONDUCT NEEDS TO BE TAKIN OFF THE LIST OF THINGS POLICE CAN ARREST YOU FOR. THANKS AND HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.

Posted by robo | Report as abusive

There is – in a civil society – a necessary jousting of civil liberties and civil conduct. I would say the eminent Dr. Gates could have maintained the high ground had he stuck with complaints about his individual rights, rather than class injustices. He could have been “everyman,” instead of just another minority with a chip on his shoulder. And still, it’s not even remotely clear that his individual liberties or civil rights were abused in any way.

Now to the President… To start a statement with “I don’t have all the facts” – then proceed to pontificate anyway shows a lack of impulse control. It also indicates he believes “in the absence of concrete information, I’ll side with the black man.” That smacks of racism, no?

Besides the flap over racism, what has infuriated so many decent people out in fly-over country? That the President insists on rhetoric containing useless words like “calibrate” and “regrettable” when he should have simply apologized. His original words did – in fact – impugn the motives and actions of Officer Crowley.

Posted by Bram Floria | Report as abusive

Winning the war on racial profiling is very important to President Obama. If this is the truth, why would the President say what he said, when he did not have the facts of the case. I believe that Mr. Gates was wrong, and I believe President Obama was incredibly reckless in the comments he made. The position of the President of the United States is a position of tremendous power and responsibility. Making comments as reckless as this, in my opinion, can not be forgiven. In this country, you have the right to freedom of speech, to basically say whatever it is you want to say, but as President of the United States, every statement you make has an overwhelming reaction.

I don’t believe this was a racial incident until Mr Gates brought the matter up, which was re-enforced by President Obama.

Posted by Kyle | Report as abusive

The President of the United States should choose his words carefully as he is held to the highest standard. Unfortunately his teleprompter must have been on the fritz.

The true persona comes out when his personal opinions are open to the public without editing from his staff.

Posted by TOM | Report as abusive

MR PRESIDENT,
STOP DIVERTING THE AMERICAN PUBLIC FROM THE IMPORTANT ISSUES. LIKE HEATH CARE

Posted by DONNA | Report as abusive

Let’s call a spade a spade here. President Obamma was right on the money when he said Crowley was stupid. If it were me, I would have said stupid idiot and a few other adjectives that I’m not allow to use in this blog. Thanks for the honesty Mr President!

Posted by Lori | Report as abusive

I am reminded of the old saying: “There isn’t a problem in the world that can’t be made worse by calling the cops”

Posted by Jim Wilson | Report as abusive

Obama, who was portrayed in the liberal press as the “Messia who will unite the country” has once again shown his true color; black. He has devided this country more than any President that I can recall. His fiscal policies will bankrupt this country and as the dollar slides into the toilet his “change” is worth less daily.
For those of you who can recall the Carter years with 13% inflation, 12.4% unemployment, and the prime rate was 15%,may want to consider the consequences of putting an AMATEURE in the White House.

Posted by Joe Novak | Report as abusive

I believe we should find out just who the neighbor was who called the police when Prof. Gates came home. Why did this neighbor do this? Did (s)he not know him? Not recognize him? I guess in our neighborhood we know each other well enough to recognize each other, and if we weren’t quite sure we would call out, “Who’s there!” and check it out, cellphone in hand, before we called the police. It just seems strange that if the professor had lived in his house long enough for the address to get on his license, his neighbor ought to have recognized him or at least have been reasonably sure enough to give a holler. I am curious if this neighbor could possibly have used this as a way to harass the professor.

And yes, it is a tempest in a tea cup, but if someone shows you their license with the address on it, you back off, and if the police are doing their jobs, you don’t go all postal on them. As my dad used to say, this is six of one and a half-dozen of the other. Since we weren’t there and don’t know for sure what happened, we really don’t have the right to judge for or against, and President Obama should know that. He slipped up this time.

Posted by JayPea | Report as abusive

The author should not minimize the fact that the USA is still a racist society with racist institutions, despite the much-celebrated election of a 50% black man as president.

The main issue here is racial profiling by racist officers, which happens to blacks and Latinos everyday, and not the language used by Obama.

Yes, Obama should have been more diplomatic, but it is fair to say that institutional racism continues unchecked because of such diplomatic approach and attempts by authors such as this one to shift the focus from the real problem: racism and inequality in the USA.

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Obama is denigrating the highest office of our land. The teleprompter is off and he cannot resist showing his true biases and his snap judgments that are themselves totally racist. We put him in this office — will we learn? Hopefully he will be a one-term president, since he is not representing all of us, but just a slim group of people. The officer, by all accounts, followed protocol, did an admirable job with a bizarre situation and what a week he has had.

Posted by Heather | Report as abusive

American friends, why do you ask for all this perfection from your presidents? To me, Bush’s slips of tongue made him a bit more sympathetic, balancing some of his arrogance. Now Obama has demonstated that he too can make stupid remarks. So what? Judge your presidents not on their very human imperfections, but on their policies!

Posted by Peter Helby ( Copenhagen, Denmark) | Report as abusive

It’s quite worrisome when the president of the United states is so reckless as to make a determination like this after admitting that he hasn’t got all the facts.
Is this what he is really like without his teleprompter?
Yikes!

Posted by Davi998 | Report as abusive

as latino many times I been profiled,just because I own my business and drive a mercedes benz,it depends in wich city of Birmingham,AL. it happens very often, both white and black police officers are the same.

“So Obama makes a mistake by not getting all the facts before merely talking, then gets all the facts and tries to make amends. That’s far better than Bush ever did. Obama’s mistake isn’t going to cost us $3 billion.”
- Posted by borisjimbo

That’s right. Obama’s mistakes have cost us 7 trillion. So far.

Posted by Whoopsie | Report as abusive

Are police “over-zealous”? Yes, of course. My experience is that today police have very little tolerance for citizens who “get up in their faces”. I believe that’s a general problem for police forces, period.

On the other hand, you have a man (Gates) who has made a very nice life out of being a victim. Does anyone have any surprise that upon being arrested on the nebulous charge of “disorderly conduct” that he would claim the role of black victim of system? It’s what he does, it is how he makes his living.

The notion that 2 Harvard educated black men are going to sit down with a white blue collar cop and “have a beer together” is a joke, an elitist fantasy of class harmonies. (Anyone talking about economic profiling these days?) Bottom line: Racial profiling does still exist here in the USA but this case is not one of them. Reading the police report (even if one assumes bias), it’s clear that Gates was offended that he, in his exalted status as a well-known Harvard personality, wasn’t being deferred to. The cop did his job by the book–and for the record, I’m not a big fan of cops, having had my own issues with them. Gates was behaving exactly the way privileged white men used to behave, except that in 2009 instead of being let off the hook for obnoxious behavior like his white counterparts had been in the past, he was arrested. These politically correct days, a white man would have been arrested also…Gates, get over yourself! And the Prez, knowing one of the people involved, in this particular case, should have kept his mouth shut and let the matter sort itself out on its own…

Posted by kushka53 | Report as abusive

There was absolute Racial Profiling going on. The President profiled the arresting officer based on his race that HE must be in the wrong simply because he was a white officer arresting a black male.

End of story. It goes both ways and racism is alive and well and the President proved it by his statements based on no information other than a black man was arrested so of course the white officer was ‘stupid’.

If the situation were reversed I doubt that he would have felt a need to call the police stupid. Of course I suppose when his buddy the Terrorist was arrested for blowing up police buildings and later arrested those who arrested him were probably ‘stupid’ too.

Isn’t it a little scary that the message is out there LOUD AND CLEAR? Don’t mess with Obama or his friends or you and your family will be attacked? Look what happened to Joe the Plumber for asking a simple question that Obama accidentally answered truthfully.

Americans… be afraid. Be very afraid when the result of a perceived insult to Obama or one of his friends of ends in you being in the hot seat. It is just the first step…. Not unlike Germany in the 30′s… It always starts with an egomaniac and small steps then leaps and bounds from there.

The first sign is Obama’s inability to apologize for his behavior. It is easy for him to apologize for everyone else’s behavior but his must be beyond personal review for how could he possibly do anything that would require an apology.

So the question isn’t whether Obama was stupid or the police officer… The question is. How Stupid are “We the People”? Or have we just been duped?

Posted by Tweak | Report as abusive

Officer Crowley should be fired for refusing to give Prof Gates his Name and Badg#. He thinks he doesnt have
to answer to or apologize to any Black man. Pure and simple.

Posted by Jerry | Report as abusive

I am glad the president stood up for the common’s man rights. We have to many police officers that think that they are judge dredd. They are almost always slanting the truth in the situation to favot the state…aren’t police officers supposed to tell what happened without bias or predujice (to serve and protect…it appears that many of our law enforecement officers are incapable of performing their jobs less often than not). If the officers of the law are unable to bring people to justice without influencing their bias….would we really have justice? I think not, and with that said we have a bunch of ignorant A.H pointing our judiary system in the wrong direction and will not do anything but punish the punishable (which is not justice!).

Posted by Jeff C | Report as abusive