Thursday, July 23, 2009

Prof. Gates, Police, and Common Sense

It really showed bad judgement for Obama to have answered the question about his friend, Professor Gates being arrested, in the way he did. To say the police 'acted stupidly" without knowing the facts, brings the predicable reaction from the police in question:

The Cambridge, Mass., police officer who arrested Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and his union are slamming President Obama for saying they reacted “stupidly” to the incident at Gates house last week.

Obama was “was dead wrong to malign this police officer specifically and the department in general,” Alan McDonald, the lawyer for the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association, told ABC News today.

Sgt. James Crowley, who arrested Gates for disorderly conduct also chimed in today, saying Obama’s characterization was “way off base… I acted appropriately,” Crowley told WBZ Radio in Boston Thursday.

“There was a lot of yelling, there was references to my mother,” he added, “something you wouldn’t expect from anybody that should be grateful that you were there investigating a report of a crime in progress, let alone a Harvard University professor.”

Obama has qualified what he said:

The White House says President Barack Obama was not calling a Cambridge, Mass., police officer stupid when he criticized last week’s arrest of black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. …
On Wednesday Obama said the police “acted stupidly” when they arrested Gates even after it was clear that he was not a burglary suspect. Gibbs said that Obama did not regret the remark, but wanted to clarify that he was not calling the arresting officer stupid.

Huh? What kind of difference does that make?

In what I have heard from people I have known who lived in Boston, it seems to be a pretty racist place. I've heard that it's "worse than the south." But I hate using that term because I don't think the south is worse. I think racists are pretty spread out all over now.

The police report says Gates originally didn't show ID, and when he did he started acting belligerent. Don't you see that on COPS all the time? Over and over I see people who believe because they think it's an unfair incident, it gives them the right to be rude, scream, or otherwise show attitude with a police officer. I just scream at the TV "SHUT UP." Almost always, without question, if you show respect for the police officer and don't give them attitude, you will not get arrested if you actually haven't done anything against the law.

Now does that mean there isn't blatant racism in some police forces? Of course not. I've seen it myself. That is why I have always felt that police officers should work in areas they themselves live or grew up in, so that they they have a connection to the community. This may sound extreme, but I think cops who serve black communities should be black. It would help solve alot of problems with the urban black poor not trusting cops.

Now that wasn't the problem in this case, but from all accounts Gates was hostile and rude from the get go. It doesn't matter if you have every reason to be mad, YOU DON'T SHOW ATTITUDE TO A COP. Period.

I told my teenagers over and over, if you get stopped and you think you didn't do anything wrong...IT DOESN'T MATTER. You say "yes sir" or 'yes ma'am" and you show respect no matter what. Why? Because you cannot win. You will never win. That is just the way it is.

Finally, Pres. Obama should not have even been asked such a silly question. It wasn't a national story. It had nothing to do with the issues of the day, which were mainly healthcare, and the reporter should be ashamed. But Obama did not need to pontificate for five minutes about race either, especially when it has become clear that Gates was a jerk to the police officer. It makes it seem as if Obama was defending that kind of behavior.

Read this for one black man's view.

via HotAir