"Obama Says Cambridge Police ‘Acted Stupidly’ in Arresting Gates"
President Barack Obama said police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, “acted stupidly” in arresting Harvard University African American studies professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his home after responding to reports of a burglary.
Disorderly conduct charges against Gates, 58, who had just returned home after a trip to China, have been dropped. The Cambridge police department called the arrest “regrettable and unfortunate.”
“The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home,” Obama said at a White House press conference, adding that he didn’t know what role race played in the incident. . . . .
President Obama raised the issue that race played a role in the incident. "There is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately," Obama said. Here is how the Boston Globe describes the police report:
The Cambridge police report describes a chaotic scene in which the police sergeant stood at Gates's door, demanded identification, and radioed for assistance from Harvard University police when Gates presented him with a Harvard ID. A visibly upset Gates responded to the officer's assertion that he was responding to a report of a break-in with, "Why, because I'm a black man in America?''
"Gates then turned to me and told me that I had no idea who I was 'messing' with and that I had not heard the last of it,'' the report said. "While I was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence, I was quite surprised and confused with the behavior he exhibited toward me.''
When the officer repeatedly told Gates he would speak with him outside, the normally mild-mannered professor shouted, "Ya, I'll speak with your mama outside,'' according to the report.
Gates was arrested after "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior'' toward the officer who questioned him, the report said.
I find it so expected the way that the professor said to the police officer that he had no idea who he was messing with.
Fox News has this: "Officer Who Arrested Harvard Scholar Not Sorry."
Bill Cosby was less than happy about the President's remarks:
“I’ve heard about five different reports [on the details of the arrest],” Cosby said on Boston’s WZLX. “If I’m the president of the United States, I don’t care how much pressure people want to put on it about race, I’m keeping my mouth shut.”
“I was shocked to hear the president making this kind of statement,” Cosby said referring to the president’s remarks during last night’s press conference. . . .
Obama defends his comments and gets his facts wrong:
"I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement, because 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 said.
In an exclusive interview with ABC's Terry Moran to air on "Nightline" tonight, Obama said it doesn't make sense to him that the situation escalated to the point that Gates was arrested.
"I think that I have extraordinary respect for the difficulties of the job that police officers do," the president told Moran. "And my suspicion is that words were exchanged between the police officer and Mr. Gates and that everybody should have just settled down and cooler heads should have prevailed. That's my suspicion."