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Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates outraged at arrest at his home

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Harconen
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« on: July 22, 2009, 09:28:32 pm »

Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates outraged at arrest at his home
Ed Pilkington
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 22 July 2009 02.03 BST


 

Henry Louis Gates Jr is arrested at his home. Photograph: B Carter/AP

Henry Louis Gates Jr has devoted thousands of words over many years to the subject of racial injustice, as one of America's foremost authorities of its black history. But he didn't expect to become his own case study.

Last Thursday he was arrested on suspicion of breaking into his own home near Harvard, the university where he is an eminent professor. He was handcuffed, fingerprinted and locked in a cell for four hours for what the local police force said was "loud and tumultuous behaviour" amounting to disorderly conduct.

News that arguably the most respected scholar of African-American history had been subjected to the very treatment that he has chronicled over many years yesterday spread through the media, prompting accusations of blatant racial profiling.

Gates told the Washington Post: "There are one million black men in jail in this country and last Thursday I was one of them. This is outrageous and this is how poor black men across the country are treated every day in the criminal justice system. It's one thing to write about it, but altogether another to experience it."

Prolific writer, TV presenter, director of Harvard's WEB Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research, collaborator with Oprah Winfrey – the list of Gates's connections and achievements is long. But when he returned last Thursday to his leafy Cambridge, Massachusetts home from a trip to China filming his latest TV documentary, none of that mattered.

It was early afternoon when Gates, 58, reached his house by taxi. The front door was stuck, so he entered through the back door, disabled the alarm and then again tried to push open the front door with the help of the north African taxi driver.

A white woman walking by saw a black man trying to force the door, called 911, and hapless Sgt James Crowley arrived.

He asked Gates to step outside as he was investigating a report of a break-in. "Why, because I'm a black man in America?" Gates asked, according to Crowley's police report, refusing to leave his front room.

Asked to prove it was his own home, Gates showed his Harvard ID and local driving licence. In return, Gates asked Crowley for his name and badge number. "This guy had this whole narrative in his head: black guy breaking and entering," Gates told the Washington Post.

In his report, Crowley said Gates accused him of being a racist and told him he had no idea who he was messing with. The officer wrote that when asked Gates to step outside again, he responded: "I'll speak with your mama outside."

"I was quite surprised and confused with the behaviour he exhibited toward me," the sergeant said. Crowley called more officers from Cambridge and from Harvard's own police, and Gates was arrested.

Last night Gates said he was "appalled that any American could be treated as capriciously by an individual police officer. He should look into his soul and he should apologise to me. If so, I will be prepared to forgive him."

Facing a barrage of criticism, the force last night dropped all charges, adding the "regrettable and unfortunate" incident should not be seen as demeaning the character and reputation of Gates nor the character of the police.

Gates at least has one consolation prize: a new television project has landed in his lap. He said he intends to make a documentary about the treatment of black people by the criminal justice system, with his story as the focus.

• This article was amended on Wednesday 22 July 2009. Henry Louis Gates Jr was arrested for disorderly conduct, not for entering his home as the headline originally said. This has been corrected.
guardian.co.uk Guardian News and Media Limited 2009

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/22/henry-louis-gates-arrested-at-home
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Kaitlyn
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2009, 12:40:03 am »

You can't blame him for being outraged. In America, cops come down upon anyone who happens to be black.

Would a white professor have been given the same grief if he was found in the same predicament?  I doubt it.
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Harconen
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2009, 08:58:16 am »

You can't blame him for being outraged. In America, cops come down upon anyone who happens to be black.

Would a white professor have been given the same grief if he was found in the same predicament?  I doubt it.

Yes Kaitlyn,

It is like that all around the world.Nobody likes nobody, whites vs blacks, jews vs arabs, man vs man.
Only small minded people with no sense for others can hate somebody cuz he have different kind of: skin color, or religion, or political leader, or football team, etc.List is long.Love is at the other side of rainbow.Human kind makes small steps from cave age till today.
We live like sheep's and any neanderthal in uniform can play a God on us if he don't like us.It is not just in U.S. (and you have big ploblem with that).Most of the man in the world, if you give them a power over other people, will become egomaniacs.After you have wars etc.It is because our leaders love us, thay send us to die for them.
"One death is a tragedy, one milion deaths are a statistic".

                                       
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 11:35:58 am by Harconen » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2009, 01:02:08 pm »

Obama Comes Out Swinging at Cynical GOP on Health Care, Addresses Race Issues in Prof. Gates Arrest
By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet

Posted on July 23, 2009, Printed on July 23, 2009
http://www.alternet.org/story/141505/


At a press conference in the East Room of the White House, President Barack Obama came out swinging tonight at Republicans who would aim to make the debate over health-care reform the president's personal Waterloo.

He finished the night with a big bang, when he took a question on a racially charged incident, and responded with ironic humor. In between, he was all wonk.

If the president sought to inspire the viewing public about the need for health insurance reform, he most certainly didn't do that. If he meant to reassure them that he's smart enough to know how to make it work, he may have succeeded. What he seemed to think he was there to do was to answer reporters' complex questions about complicated issues in a way that wouldn't sully negotiations taking place in Congress. And that he did quite well.

In his opening remarks, the president spoke firmly, lightly pounding his lectern, as he stressed the need for reform.  Every day, he said, 14,000 Americans lose their health care coverage. Then, without naming names, he said of his adversaries across the aisle, "I’ve heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it’s better politics to 'go for the kill.'  Another Republican senator said that defeating health reform is about 'breaking' me." (Allow me to name names for you: The first reference is to Bill Kristol, and the second, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.)

"So let me be clear," Obama continued. "This isn’t about me. I have great health insurance, and so does every member of Congress. This debate is about the letters I read when I sit in the Oval Office every day, and the stories I hear at town hall meetings. …This debate is not a game for these Americans, and they cannot afford to wait for reform any longer."

An early question from David Alexander of Reuters repeated a Republican theme regarding the president's August deadline for passing health-insurance reform legislation. The theme goes like this:  "Hey, what's the rush?"

Obama repeated his refrain that nothing happens in Washington without a deadline. But then, citing the bills that came out of two House committees last week, and one in the Senate, as well as endorsements from a range of advocacy groups, representing "doctors, nurses, hospitals, even the pharmaceutical industry and the AARP," Obama got a little cosmic: "I think means that the stars are aligned, and we need to take advantage of that."

Fielding reporters' questions, the president sought to explain why health care reform would not actually drive up the deficit and said he understood that the American people might be a little "queasy" about what appears to be another spending bill coming on top of the bank bailouts and the stimulus package.

"We've just become so cynical about what government can accomplish," Obama said, calling that an understandable result of people not seeing much lawmaking that was helpful to them come out of Washington in the past few years.

The president contended that he would not sign any health care reform bill that would drive up the deficit, saying the charge that health insurance reform would push the debt and the deficit higher was a false argument that "has been used, effectively, I think, by people who don't want to change health care."

Two-thirds of the new system's cost would come from efficiencies and savings built into the plan, Obama said, with the final third coming from some sort of revenue-generator that would not come "on the backs of the middle class."

His plan, which he says he still thinks is the best, would rely on a reduction in itemized deductions allowed on the tax returns of the rich, but that mechanism does not appear in any of the bills currently being discussed on Capitol Hill.

As a revenue-generator, the House bill relies on a progressive surtax on people making more than $280,000 per year. Obama indicated his preference for the suggestion made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., of applying the surtax only on households earning more than $1 million, a gesture regarded as an attempt to placate the conservative Blue Dog Coalition of conservative Democrats who scuttled a committee vote this week on the current House bill. Obama also signaled that he might be open to a tax on some health-care benefits, as long as it does not fall on the middle class.

But when asked about the obstruction his plan is seeing at the hands of the Blue Dogs, the president punted, saying that some of the differences had to do with regional disparities over Medicare reimbursements. (He didn't explain how regional disparities added up to a scuffle over whether to tax millionaires or working stiffs with extra-good health insurance.)

From a purely political perspective, it's easy to see why the president doesn't want to diss the Dogs, since he'll need them to actually pass a bill. The Republicans, on the other hand, not so much -- so long as those Dogs are in his pen.

Obama expressed strong support for a public option, got down in the weeds about how the system would be made more efficient by reducing the repetition of similar medical tests by having doctors working in teams and explained the drag that escalating health care costs have on wages and income.

He took an interesting question on transparency from Christi Parsons of the Los Angeles Times, who wanted to know why the president had failed to release the names of health-care industry executives who had visited the White House. Apparently anticipating the question, the White House had released the list that very day to the organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Throughout the press conference, Obama appeared as policy-wonk-in-chief, showing little of his legendary charm and personality, until a question from Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times delivered the motherlode that broke through the Vulcan mind-meld in which the president had held the press corps all evening.

"Recently, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested at his home in Cambridge," Sweet said. "What does that incident say to you? And what does it say about race relations in America?"

Obama is often knocked as being too careful on questions about race. Critics recently faulted him for not wanting to address the NAACP convention in a larger venue -- say, Yankee Stadium -- than the ballroom that was eventually chosen.  But here, Obama's response seemed instinctive, heartfelt and entirely reflective of the complexities of race relations in America.

"Well, I -- I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here," the president said. "I don't know all the facts. What's been reported, though, is that the guy forgot his keys, jimmied his way to get into the house; there was a report called into the police station that there might be a burglary taking place. So far, so good, right? I mean, if I was trying to jigger into --"

Then he stopped and smiled, suddenly realizing where he was. "Well, I guess this is my house now, so -- - it probably wouldn't happen." The room erupted in laughter, with Obama joining in. "But let's say my old house in Chicago --"  He stopped, and paused a moment, and turned his head to the side of the room. "Here I'd get shot."  Another big laugh.

He went on to recount his understanding of what happened in the altercation between Gates and the Cambridge, Mass., police department -- that Gates showed the investigating officer his I.D., proving his address, and was then arrested for disorderly conduct (after yelling at the police officer, according to the police report).

"I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that," Obama continued. "But I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That's just a fact."

The president recounted his own work in the Illinois legislature on a measure to curtail racial profiling by police officers. "That doesn't lessen the incredible progress that has been made," Obama said. "I am standing here as testimony to the progress that's been made. And yet the fact of the matter is, is that, you know, this still haunts us."


And for just a moment, everybody forgot about the legislative battle over health care, having just been reminded that we are witnesses to history.

Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's acting Washington bureau chief.


http://www.alternet.org/politics/141505/obama_comes_out_swinging_at_cynical_gop_on_health_care%2C_addresses_race_issues_in_prof._gates_arrest/?page=entire
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2009, 01:05:21 pm »

Massachusetts policeman who arrested Gates won't apologize
 

Bob Salsberg
Associated Press
Thu, 23 Jul 2009 03:40 UTC
Natick - A white police sergeant accused of racism after he arrested renowned black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his home insisted Wednesday he won't apologize for his treatment of the Harvard professor, but President Barack Obama said police had acted "stupidly."

Gates has demanded an apology from Sgt. James Crowley, who had responded to the home near Harvard University to investigate a report of a burglary and demanded the scholar show him identification. Police say Gates at first refused and then accused the officer of racism.

Gates said Crowley walked into his home without his permission and only arrested him as the professor followed him to the porch, repeatedly demanding the sergeant's name and badge number because he was unhappy over his treatment.

Obama, during a prime-time news conference, said Wednesday he didn't know what role race played in the incident but added that police in Cambridge, a city neighboring Boston, "acted stupidly" in arresting Gates even after he offered proof that he was in his own home.

"I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry," Obama said. "Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three - what I think we know separate and apart from this incident - is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that's just a fact."

He said federal officials need to continue working with local law enforcement "to improve policing techniques so that we're eliminating potential bias."

Crowley said Wednesday he's disappointed by the heated national debate triggered by the incident and insisted he followed proper procedures in arresting Gates last week on a charge of disorderly conduct. The charge was dropped Tuesday.

Officers were responding to the home Gates rents from Harvard after a woman reported seeing "two black males with backpacks" trying to force open the front door, according to a police report. Gates, who had returned from a trip overseas with a driver, said he had to shove the door open because it was jammed. He was inside, calling the company that manages the property, when police arrived.

Gates was accused by police of "tumultuous" behavior toward the officers. But Gates countered by saying Crowley was clearly responding to racial profiling and "couldn't understand a black man standing up for his rights, right in his face."

In a region with a tortured racial history, two overarching arguments have emerged about the incident. Police supporters charge that Gates, director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, was responsible for his own arrest by overreacting. Those sympathetic to Gates counter that the officer should have defused the situation and left the home as soon as he established that Gates was the resident, not a burglar.

Crowley said he's grateful he has the support of his police force. He said he's not worried about any possible disciplinary action.

"There will be no apology," he said outside his home Wednesday.

Cambridge police and the police officers' union have declined to comment.

But there was plenty of blame being spread around by the public, through talk shows, blogs, newspaper online forums and water cooler chats. Even the hosts of a sports radio show in Boston spent much of Wednesday morning faulting Gates.

Gov. Deval Patrick, who is black, said he was troubled and upset over the incident. Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons, who also is black, has said she spoke with Gates and apologized on behalf of the city, and a statement from the city called the July 16 incident "regrettable and unfortunate."

What happened between Gates and Crowley at the professor's home remains in dispute.

Police say Gates yelled at the officer, accused him of racial bias and refused to calm down after the officer demanded Gates show him identification to prove he lived there. Gates denies that he yelled at the officer, other than to repeatedly ask his name and badge number, and he says he readily turned over his driver's license and Harvard ID to prove his residence and identity.

Gates said he was "outraged" by the arrest, wants an apology from Crowley and would use the experience to help make a documentary about racial profiling in the United States.

"This isn't about me, this is about the vulnerability of black men in America," he said.

Gates' supporters cite Boston's history as a city plagued by racism as an underlying reason why this could still happen to an esteemed scholar, at midday, in his own home.

"That stain on this city - as far as persons of color are concerned - is a real one," television and radio commentator Callie Crossley said.

She recalled the case of Charles Stuart, who caused a citywide manhunt in 1989, when he said a hooded black man shot him and his pregnant wife as they got into their car. Stuart eventually was labeled the killer, but not before a black man arrested on unrelated charges became the prime suspect.

Stuart committed suicide the next year by jumping off a bridge.

Perhaps nothing epitomizes Boston's struggle with race relations better than the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken during the uproar over forced busing of public school students in the 1970s. The photo shows a white man swinging a large pole with an American flag at a black man during a protest against the desegregation plan at City Hall.

Black students and professors at Harvard have complained for years about racial profiling by Cambridge and campus police. Harvard commissioned an independent committee last year to examine the university's race relations after campus police confronted a young black man who was using tools to remove a bike lock. The man worked at Harvard and owned the bike.

Michele Lamont, a sociology and African-American studies professor at Harvard, said she understood why Gates reacted angrily to the police officer in his home given that larger history of confrontations with police - as well as his own.

"Certainly when someone like Gates finds himself in this situation, he has in mind this baggage," Lamont said.

Crossley said many people criticizing Gates for overreacting or for losing his cool have never been profiled by authorities because of their race.

Richard Weinblatt, director of the Institute for Public Safety at Central Ohio Technical College, said the police sergeant was responsible for defusing the situation once he realized Gates was the lawful occupant. It is not against the law to yell at police, especially in a home, as long as that behavior does not affect an investigation, he said.

"That is part of being a police officer in a democratic society," Weinblatt said. "The point is that the police sergeant needs to be the bigger person, take the higher road, be more professional."
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Harconen
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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2009, 02:30:33 pm »

One friend send my this, and I think it is the truth.

"Mmmmm,

I don't know how to tell you this without sounding RACIST, but there is
more to this story of the professor here than you know

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,20022.0/topicseen.html

I have been following it closely because of what's been going on with the
blacks in this country since the messiah was 'selected'......

Everything was fine after this man produced the proper identifications, but
he wouldn't shut up and kept harangueing the officers and attacking them
verbally.  That's why they arrested him and that's why the cop will NOT
apologize.  SIMPLE AS THAT....ANY MORON knows you don't do that with
any cop.

BUT:

1.  This man is like all the 'professors' elite' who are obama's cohorts and
way far left.  This one is 'black' also....

2.  Obama, by his silent incitement of all this for all the campaigns, is the
one to blame. 

HE HAS SET RACIAL RELATIONS BACK FIFTY (50) YEARS!!


THERE IS GOING TO BE A BACKLASH FROM WHITES THAT IS GOING TO
BE UNBELIEVABLE!!!"

What do you think people, what is the truth in this case?

Do anybody have to say something, or all of you are on the
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2009, 03:44:12 pm »

Why I don't feel sorry for Henry Louis Gates
A battle of two egos and why I don't feel sorry for Henry Louis Gates
COMMENTARY
By Dr. Boyce Watkins
The Grio
updated 12:49 p.m. ET July 22, 2009

I am not Al Sharpton. In fact, I never could be and I don't want to try. I am also not Henry Louis Gates, a man with an undeniable contribution to the legacy of Black Scholarship in America. I am simply Boyce Watkins, the son of a 17-year-old mother and a father who happened to be a high-ranking police official for the past 28 years. I've argued with my father for decades, as his Bill Cosby-like views of the world have often made my face twist with confusion. But I listen to my father, because there is value in seeing other points of view.

When I hear about a Black man being mistreated by police, I take a moment of pause. I think about the horrific statistics on Black males in the criminal justice system, in which we are more likely to be arrested for the same crimes, more likely to be convicted, more likely to be incarcerated and expected to get more prison time than our White counterparts.

I think about my uncle, an older brother figure who was pressured into pleading guilty to a case that he wanted to fight, and who is psychologically damaged to this day from the trauma of going to prison as a 17-year-old kid. I also think about my own graduate school experience in Kentucky, when I was rudely questioned by an officer after falling asleep in my office the night before a final exam.

But I also think about the experience of good police officers, who put their lives on the line day in and day out, and are constantly forced to grapple with the confused society that comes from 400 years of historical oppression. Whenever a Black man is shot, officers are typically accused of racism, sometimes by those who don't even know the facts of the case. If a crime goes unpunished, we complain about police not doing their jobs. But when officers arrest the wrong person, we complain that they are being overzealous and perhaps racist. Sometimes they are being racist, even when they don't intend to be; racism is a disease that affects us all. All of this is compounded by the officer's fear that he/she might not come home for dinner that night after taking on the most dangerous elements of our society.


I might be kicked out of "The Black scholars club" for saying this, but the truth is that I don't feel sorry for Henry Louis Gates. America is far more capitalist than it is racist, so a distinguished Harvard University Professor like Gates is likely to get more respect than the average White American. The idea that he is somehow the victim of the same racism that sends poor Black men to prison simply doesn't fly with me, and Gates should be careful about appearing to exploit the plight of Black men across America to win his battle of egos with the Cambridge Police Department. At worst, Gates has been a victim of racial profiling by the woman who called the police, as well as the officer who may have interpreted his protests as being more belligerent than they actually were. The same thing happens to Black boys in the school system, who are suspended at astronomical rates for bad behavior. The fact that the charges have now been dropped against Gates shows that a mistake has clearly been made.

One can reasonably argue that Professor Gates would not have had this experience if he were a White woman who seemed to "belong" in the neighborhood. I've heard officers refer to the "invisible" line in our city, where the rich are protected from the poor, and those who don't seem to belong are arrested. By being Black, Gates surely crossed the invisible line in his community. However, once Gates proved to the officer that he was the owner of the home, the officer should have simply said "thank you" and left the premises.

One question that can't be answered is whether or not the officer was being verbally abused by the stereotypical Harvard arrogance of a man who felt that he was above being questioned. Dr. Gates, in all of his frustration, might have been served well to remember that the officer has a gun and that this situation could have been dealt with at a later date. Perhaps telling the officer that he "doesn't know who he's messing with" (as the officer alleges) was one way of making sure that the officer knew his place in the "Haaa-vad" (Harvard) pecking order. If that is the case, then I cannot sign off on Dr. Gates' reaction to the officer who may have been simply trying to do his job.

Basically, this situation may have been a battle of two egos: One of them from a Harvard professor who seemed to feel that he should not be disrespected by a lowly police officer; the other from an officer who seemed to feel that a powerful Black professor could be treated differently from a powerful White professor. What is abundantly clear is that this is NOT the case of a poor Black male being exploited by the racist, classist power structure. Perhaps the next time there is another Jena Six incident, Dr. Gates will fight as diligently for poor Black men as he is fighting for himself, and his fight will go beyond writing papers for academic journals that hardly anyone ever reads. I also hope that Cambridge police officers will give the same credibility to wealthy African Americans as they do to their White counterparts. This situation should never have happened.

This article, "Consider this before crying 'racial profiling,'" first appeared in The Grio.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32085686/
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2009, 03:57:02 pm »

Cop in Gates case teaches about profiling
White House: Obama didn't mean to call officer in Gates arrest 'stupid'
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 3:50 p.m. ET July 23, 2009

NATICK, Mass. - The white police sergeant criticized by President Barack Obama for arresting black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his Massachusetts home is a police academy expert on understanding racial profiling.

Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley has taught a class about racial profiling for five years at the Lowell Police Academy after being hand-picked for the job by former police Commissioner Ronny Watson, who is black, said Academy Director Thomas Fleming.

“I have nothing but the highest respect for him as a police officer. He is very professional and he is a good role model for the young recruits in the police academy,” Fleming told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The course, called “Racial Profiling,” teaches about different cultures that officers could encounter in their community “and how you don’t want to single people out because of their ethnic background or the culture they come from,” Fleming said.

Obama has said the Cambridge officers “acted stupidly” in arresting Gates last week when they responded to his house after a woman reported a suspected break-in.

Crowley, 42, has maintained he did nothing wrong and has refused to apologize, as Gates has demanded.

Crowley responded to Gates’ home near Harvard University last week to investigate a report of a burglary and demanded Gates show him identification. Police say Gates at first refused, flew into a rage and accused the officer of racism.

Gates was charged with disorderly conduct. The charge was dropped Tuesday.

Gates’ supporters maintain his arrest was a case of racial profiling. Officers were called to the home by a woman who said she saw “two black males with backpacks” trying to break in the front door. Gates has said he arrived home from an overseas trip and the door was jammed.

Obama was asked about the arrest of Gates, who is his friend, at the end of a nationally televised news conference on health care Wednesday night.

“I think it’s fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry,” Obama said. “No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And No. 3 — what I think we know separate and apart from this incident — is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that’s just a fact.”

Obama did not fault the actions of Gates, who he said is a friend.

The White House said Thursday that Obama did not intend to call the officer "stupid."

Spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters that Obama felt that when it was clear that Gates was not a burglary suspect last week, "at that point, cooler heads on all sides should have prevailed."

"Let me be clear, he was not calling the officer stupid," Gibbs told reporters. He said Obama felt that "at a certain point the situation got far out of hand."

In radio interviews Thursday morning, Crowley said he followed procedure.

“I support the president of the United States 110 percent. I think he was way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts as he himself stated before he made that comment,” Crowley told WBZ-AM. “I guess a friend of mine would support my position, too.”

Crowley did not immediately respond to messages left Thursday by the AP. The Cambridge police department scheduled a news conference for later Thursday.

Gates has said he was “outraged” by the arrest. He said the white officer walked into his home without his permission and only arrested him as the professor followed him to the porch, repeatedly demanding the sergeant’s name and badge number because he was unhappy over his treatment.

“This isn’t about me; this is about the vulnerability of black men in America,” Gates said.

He said the incident made him realize how vulnerable poor people and minorities are “to capricious forces like a rogue policeman, and this man clearly was a rogue policeman.”

The president said federal officials need to continue working with local law enforcement “to improve policing techniques so that we’re eliminating potential bias.”


Fellow officers, black and white, say Crowley is well-liked and respected on the force. Crowley was a campus police officer at Brandeis University in July 1993 when he administered CPR trying to save the life of former Boston Celtics player Reggie Lewis. Lewis, who was black, collapsed and died during an off-season workout.


Gov. Deval Patrick, who is black, said he was troubled and upset over the incident. Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons, who also is black, has said she spoke with Gates and apologized on behalf of the city, and a statement from the city called the July 16 incident “regrettable and unfortunate.”

The mayor refused Thursday to comment on the president’s remarks.

Police supporters charge that Gates, director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, was responsible for his own arrest by overreacting.

Black students and professors at Harvard have complained for years about racial profiling by Cambridge and campus police. Harvard commissioned an independent committee last year to examine the university’s race relations after campus police confronted a young black man who was using tools to remove a bike lock. The man worked at Harvard and owned the bike.

The Associated Press, Reuters and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32092715/ns/us_news-race_and_ethnicity/

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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2009, 08:37:56 pm »

Police union condemns Obama's comments
By Sam Youngman
Posted: 07/23/09 01:58 PM [ET]

President Obama's Wednesday night criticism of Cambridge, Mass., police has drawn a rebuke from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).

The criticism comes after Obama said Cambridge police officers acted "stupidly" when they arrested Henry Louis Gates, a friend of the president's, after he broke into his own home. Gates was arrested on disorderly conduct charges, which were then dropped. The president said it highlights ongoing problems with race relations in the U.S.

 
Jim Pasco, executive director of the FOP's legislative office, noted that before Obama made the remarks, the president acknowledged that he was only vaguely familiar with what happened.

"That being the case, it's unfortunate that he chose to say anything," Pasco said. "He wasn't there, and he doesn't know what happened."

Pasco said it appears that Gates was the "provocateur" because he called Officer James Crowley a racist instead of producing identification as requested.


On Thursday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs sought to walk back the president's comments.

"Let me be clear. He was not calling the officer stupid, OK?" Gibbs told reporters on Air Force One. "He was denoting that ... at a certain point the situation got far out of hand, and I think all sides understand that."

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/police-union-condemns-obamas-stupidly-comments-2009-07-23.html
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2009, 08:39:10 pm »

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723092gates1.html
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2009, 09:30:40 pm »








OBAMA ON THE ARREST




Obama was asked about the arrest of Gates, who is his friend, at the end of a nationally televised news conference on health care Wednesday night.

"I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry," Obama said. "Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three -- what I think we know separate and apart from this incident -- is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that's just a fact."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------









                                                    Obama stirs racial passions in Harvard case





 
Jason Szep
BOSTON
July 23, 2009
(Reuters)

- President Barack Obama plunged his presidency into a charged racial debate and set off a firestorm in one of America's most liberal bastions by siding with a black Harvard scholar who accuses police of racism.

Saying he was unaware of "all the facts" but that police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, "acted stupidly" in their arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Obama whipped up emotions on both sides of an issue that threatens to open old wounds in America.

His comments marked his biggest foray into the hot-button issue of race since taking office in January, and underline how racial issues remain very much alive despite advances embodied by his election as the first black U.S. president.

"Unfortunately, the racial divide is still there. It's still very raw. I think he was trying to let the majority of non-minority Americans have a sense of what it is like to a black or Latino," said Boston University professor of politics Thomas Whalen.

But many in Massachusetts said he crossed a line by passing judgment on police while acknowledging he did not have all the facts. Online polls in Massachusetts show strong support for the white arresting officer. A police union and his department's chief also came out strongly in his defense.

"Based on what I have seen and heard from the other officers, he maintained a professional decorum during the course of the entire situation and conducted himself in a professional manner," Cambridge Police Department Commissioner Robert Haas told a news conference.

Obama's comment stunned the city's policemen, Haas added. "They were very much deflated." He said he has appointed a panel to review Gates' arrest.

Others questioned whether Obama should have so strongly backed Gates, a friend, over the police without knowing fully what took place.

"He should steer clear of it if he doesn't know all the facts," said Patricia Lynch, 49, a consultant and graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, as she emerged from a Boston cafe. "For any specific case, you have to go only by the facts of that particular case."

Gates, 58, director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African & African American Research, is a potent cultural force, listed as one of Time magazine's "25 Most Influential Americans" in 1997 and friend of talk-show star Oprah Winfrey.

His arrest outside his home last Thursday prompted a moment of national soul-searching, but the facts of the case are far from clear. Gates says the incident underlines the persistence of stereotyping, or racial profiling, even in liberal America.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 09:34:52 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2009, 09:37:12 pm »









'DISORDERLY CONDUCT'



Police say Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct, accusing him of being uncooperative, refusing to initially provide identification and "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior" by repeatedly shouting at a policeman in front of people gathered on the street in front of his house.

The incident began when a woman caller reported a man trying to force his way into a home. Gates said he was unable to enter his damaged front door after returning from a week in China. Haas said he understood the home was broken into while Gates was away. Sgt. James Crowley arrived to investigate.

The charge was dropped on Tuesday but Gates is demanding an apology from Crowley and has threatened to sue the police. Crowley has refused to apologize, saying he did nothing wrong.

"I support the president to a point," Crowley said after Obama's comment. "I think it's disappointing that he waded into what should be a local issue," he added on WEEI radio.

A lawyer for the Cambridge Superior Officers Association, a union, told ABC News Obama was "dead wrong to malign this police officer specifically and the department in general."

Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said the president was not calling the police officer stupid. "He was denoting that at a certain point the situation got out of hand and I think all sides understand that," he told reporters.

Still, the comments infuriated some Obama supporters.

"I may have voted for him, but I'm really disappointed he's decided to inject himself into the middle of this BEFORE getting both sides of the story. And to do so by making such an outrageous accusation against the police," wrote one Boston Globe reader on the newspaper's web site in a comment that was ranked most recommended by fellow Globe readers.

Some questioned whether the issue will mark a setback for a state where only 35 years ago black school children were pelted with rocks and bottles as they were bused into Boston's white neighborhoods in court-ordered school desegregation.

Many felt such issues were finally put to rest when Democrat Deval Patrick became Massachusetts' first black governor in 2007. At a news conference on Thursday, Patrick called the case "troubling and upsetting."
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 09:42:42 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2009, 09:48:19 pm »











                                  Obama remark on black scholar's arrest angers cops






Melissa Trujillo,
Associated Press Writer
July 23, 2009
BOSTON

Many police officers across the country have a message for President Barack Obama:

Get all the facts before criticizing one of our own.

Obama's public criticism that Cambridge officers "acted stupidly" when they arrested black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. could make it harder for police to work with people of color, some officers said Thursday.

It could even set back the progress in race relations that helped Obama become the nation's first African-American president, they said.

"What we don't need is public safety officials across the country second-guessing themselves," said David Holway, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, which represents 15,000 public safety officials around the country. "The president's alienated public safety officers across the country with his comments."

Gates was arrested July 16 by Sgt. James Crowley, who was first to respond to the home the renowned black scholar rents from Harvard, after a woman reported seeing two black men trying to force open the front door. Gates said he had to shove the door open because it was jammed.

He was charged with disorderly conduct after police said he yelled at the white officer, accused him of racial bias and refused to calm down after Crowley demanded Gates show him identification to prove he lived in the home. The charge was dropped Tuesday, but Gates has demanded an apology, calling his arrest a case of racial profiling.

Obama was asked about Gates' arrest at the end of a nationally televised news conference on health care Wednesday night and began his response by saying Gates was a friend and he didn't have all the facts.

"But I think it's fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry," Obama said. "No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And No. 3 what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that's just a fact."

On Thursday, the White House tried to calm the hubbub over Obama's comments by saying Obama was not calling the officer stupid. Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama felt that "at a certain point the situation got far out of hand" at Gates' home.

Crowley said he still supports the president, who attended Harvard Law School in Cambridge and garnered 88 percent of the vote there in last year's presidential election.

"I think he was way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts as he himself stated before he made that comment," Crowley told WBZ-AM.

Cambridge police Commissioner Robert Haas said Obama's comments hurt the agency.

"My reponse is that this department is deeply pained," Haas said at a news conference Thursday. "It takes its professional pride seriously."

Fellow law enforcement officers across the country sided with Crowley.

"To make the remark about 'stupidly' is maybe not the right adverb," said Santa Monica, Calif., police Sgt. Jay Trisler, who has been in law enforcement for 24 years. "When an incident occurs with a police department, we're not quick to judge."

He lamented negative opinions being directed at police.

"It's unfortunate because there are so many other police cases where an elected official has made a comment that wasn't correct, comments that could have been better worded," he said. "Look at Rodney King. It's a high-profile case, and everyone is entitled to an opinion."

Obama's comments could diminish work done by law enforcement to address racial issues, said James Preston, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Florida State Lodge.

"By reducing all contact between law enforcement and the public to the color of their skin or ethnicity is, in fact, counterproductive to improving relationships," Preston said. "To make such an off-handed comment about a subject without benefit of the facts, in such a public forum, hurts police/community relations and is a setback to all of the years of progress."

Other officers credited the president with using Gates' arrest to highlight the ongoing national problem of racial profiling.

"It wouldn't make any difference whether it was Barack Obama or John McCain. It's appropriate that the leader of this country should still recognize there are still issues in this country in regards to race," said Lt. Charles Wilson, chairman of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers Inc. and a 38-year veteran of law enforcement. "This is an issue that occurs in every single place in this country, so it is not a local issue."

Trisler said Obama's remarks ultimately would not affect how police officers do their jobs. Police have weathered problems before from the King beating to local corruption cases and still find ways to work with their communities.

"I think police officers are going to be professional enough not to be affected by his comments," Trisler said. "Not even getting into the race issues, police officers are professional here in Santa Monica, regardless of when a comment comes from an elected official. We're going to do our job for the community."
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2009, 10:08:41 pm »

Of course, his remark angered the cops.  Cops are right all the time, don't you know that?  And if you dare contradict them, you are disrespecting their badge and they want to take you in. I'm a white guy and even I know that! 

Just imagine how much worse things had been had the Prof been in a southern university.  He would probably already be framed, sent up the river and on his way to death row for the crime of being black.   Cheesy
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2009, 10:14:44 pm »

Gates should sue. This picture clearly contradicts the cop's own police report:



The cop said that Gates came out of the house and was screaming at him.  Why then are they taking him out of the house with cuffs on?  And were the cuffs even needed for a short middle-aged man who had to walk with a cane?
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