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Cambridge Police on Obama's mind?

Posted by Arkady K. On 7/23/2009

Really? Truly this must be a mistake! With an economy in crisis and unemployment projected to worsen, does mentioning an incident in Cambridge, MA really solve any problems? Or does it instead escalate a story onto the national stage that should have been buried days ago, adding fuel to the fire of race relations.

After doing diligent investigation, Obama recited the story to the American public in the following fashion. "My understanding is that Professor Gates then shows his I.D. to show that this is his house and, at that point, he gets arrested for disorderly conduct, charges which are later dropped,." finally adding "Police Acted 'Stupidly' in Gates Case". How presidential, no?

According to the Boston Herald, Sargent Crowley - the officer involved in the arrest filed his official report and clearly stated that Professor Gates did NOT show his identification upon request. Refusal to show the ID immediately escalated the situation as officers suddenly had probable cause. However story does not stop there, as witnesses and the police officers further allege that the Professor berated and shouted at the police in ways that would result in the arrest of anyone, black, white or striped. To Obama's second point, assuming that Gates was in the house already - who cares? If a burglar was trying to break in, then it's probably very likely that he would be in the house already by the time police arrive. Duh?

According to the Herald's poll, eight thousand people voted on the question of who is likely at fault and 45% voted that Professor Gates was out of line and only 8% felt the police were out of line. Even Boston residents figured out that this story is a joke and that Professor Gates purposely turned this non-event into a racial issue, even bringing in a pathetic windbag such as Al Sharpton into the picture.

My take on the story is that of an ego gone wild. Henry Gates is indeed a very accomplished individual, a scholar and someone who spent his entire life in academia. One could say that in certain circles, this man is probably very well known and respected. Most likely, Gates is well aware of his own significance and what he has accomplished as a "black" man (although he claims he is 56% white). When the police arrived and questioned him, demanding his ID, my guess is that his first instinct was frustration and anger that he was being asked for identification, thinking instead - "I am professor Henry Gates, why in the world do the Cambridge police not know me?!". Unfortunately for him, it seems his thoughts spilled out and according to the Herald, Gates was heard shouting "‘I’m a Harvard professor . . . You believe white women over black men. This is racial profiling.’” Apparently Cambridge police have to be familiar with every Harvard professor. Upon realization that Gates is going to be treated like any other citizen, during an absolutely routine police call, he flipped out. After all, would a Harvard professor be that stupid as to forget his own keys and find himself breaking into his own house? Yes, he would be that stupid and he decided to take his anger out on the police instead.

Accusing Sgt. Crowley of racism is at this point just reaching for straws and now that the leader of the free world has found this story to be important, imagine for a second how many people across the country will turn everyday misunderstandings into national debates over race. Instead of telling an ego maniacal professor to shut the hell up and show the police some respect, Obama has instead encouraged, without fully understanding the details of the case, for every "victim" of race to stand up and shout as loudly as humanly possible.

As a side note, Sgt Crowley's history shows a hero, NOT a racist. A man who performed mouth to mouth in an effort to save then Celtic star Reggie Lewis. Crowley said in an interview with the Herald “I wasn’t working on Reggie Lewis the basketball star. I wasn’t working on a black man. I was working on another human being".

This is the man who supposedly acted stupidly. Nice going Obama.

Read official police report!
"It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.” - M. Rothbard