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July 24th, 2009
08:53 AM ET

Gates' Arrest

What are your thoughts on the controversy surrounding Henry Louis Gates’ arrest? Post your comments here.

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (676 Responses)
  1. Roseann

    I just don't understand why he was handcuffed. I live in GA and alarm went off in my house. Police came, I said oh I live here, they said ok, have a nice night – not ONE ? – no ask for ID! I am white, if they had come and I had opened door as a black person.....????

    I do wish BO had not used the "stupidly" comment – but come on – we know racism is still alive and well.

    July 24, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  2. Margaret

    Given the 911 call from a credible witness at the location and an identified man in the house–is it reasonable to assume that the police should return to their precinct without identifying the individual?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  3. po8man

    In the words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?" Reports clearly show that it was Prof. Gates who made 'race' the issue. Neighbors of Gates confirm his behavior was belligerent. My opinion is that it was Prof. Gates' mouth, not his race, that got him arrested. Gates knew his acquaintance with President Obama would get him attention and he sure got it. Shame on a college professor who intentionally acts to exacerbate 'racism' rather than alleviate the problem from society.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  4. Patti

    I don't think the President should have made any comment or formed any opinion until all facts were known to him. That would be the responsible thing to do.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  5. john

    it seems that everytime a black person does something wrong they claim racism. get over it ,

    July 24, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  6. Jonny

    roseann, responding to an alarm is different than responding to a live break where two black men were seen breaking into a house. Gates refused to cooperate and played the race card right off the bat. He shouldn't have been arrested but he was warned...

    July 24, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  7. Anthony Miller

    The solution to the Henry Louis Gates drama is quite simple. Disorderly Conduct is not criminal unless it disturbs or offends the public. Mr. Gates was on his own property. Nevertheless, to immediately assume the arresting officer's actions were racially motivated is both unfair and unwise. The court of public opinion must weigh both sides, not merely allow precedent to be the governing factor in its' verdict.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  8. jeff barna

    Am i the only one getting tired of this? Now if i saw someone jimmying my neighbors door and called the police, i expect some action and response. This whole thing isnt about black and white. Its about an arrogant professor who wouldn't comply with a police officer. As usual, instead of that being the issue it's another excuse to play the race card.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  9. Florina

    This incident would have not happened if the professor was white. And those who are so critical of president Obama's comment are just racists in the closet.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  10. Robert

    Common sense did not prevail on part of the police officer...thats why the charges were dropped so abruptly. What's so difficult to understand about this?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  11. Joe Peoria, az

    None of us were there, It is not fair to judge this Officer without the facts.
    "Just the facts ma'am, just the facts"

    July 24, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  12. Phillip

    If an officer asks for ID show it to him. Police have to investigate crimes, and there was a crime reported here. This is a situation where a man let his "pride" cloud his judgement. If he had produced a license we never would have heard about this and life would have gone on.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:12 am |


    July 24, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  14. Wayne in Avondale

    Why don't you ask about "false arrest"?

    President Obama said the Cambridge police acted stupidly
    to arrest Professor Gates.

    The police also acted illegally. Get someone on the air
    who knows the law. Gates was falsely arrested.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  15. Daniel Awalt

    This is ridiculous! The officer was doing his job...protecting Mr. Gates' home and safety. President Obama, God Bless him, is the one who "acted stupidly", sticking his uninformed nose into something he should have left alone.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  16. Natalie

    These poor guys are going at it at each other, the question should be who was the idiot stupid women who reported this false burglary? She should be arrested.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  17. Scott

    The incident was clearly a set up to stir up racial conflict. I am a big supporter of equal rights and support the efforts of all minorities. However, I do not support someone who plays games and continues to stir the fire as did this particular man. The officer was clearly trying to protect the individual and did not act inopropriately.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  18. Ms Knox

    Another sad depiction of how our society continues to sink in regards to race relations. Even with a black president in office and the "so called" evening of the playing field we still see police behave as though they are "Slave owners" keeping us in check. Absurd.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  19. Swirth

    The PRESIDENT OWES THE APOLOGY. He shouldn't take sides on any issue when he wasn't there and doesn't know the facts! He has just drawn the line between the races even stronger.

    The NEIGHBOR called the police...the home had already been broken into...there was NO RACIAL PROFILING whatsoever!


    July 24, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  20. Mark

    When the president said "the police acted stupidly" he was speaking about the officer...ANY officer of ANY race to cuff someone when he was satisfied that Gates was the homeowner, as the officer himself states. He said he was leaving the residence when Gates followed him out. Should the Professor have continued to shout his mouth off? No. But guess what ... he has a right to say what he wants anyway, even to police. There is no law against shouting at a police officer especially when the situation is clearly contained and the man is on his own property. Gates was wrong in making it racial ... the cop was wrong to arrrest him for what amounted to free speech. The president merely criticized the officer's judgment ... not his views on race.

    I wish his department ... and Professor Gates would stop making it about race, and I wish CNN would stop stoking the fires that it's what the President is doing.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  21. Derrick

    The blessing of this ignorant act, did in fact happen to a prominent individual, who is in a position to apply a greater impact, as well as focus the attention & care that this occurrence dictates, in potentially providing the fertile ground in which to grow, as a more yielding, formidable, catalysis in creating a deterrent for future unforeseen deliberate acts of misguided injustice demonstrated by these individuals.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  22. Craig Jollymore

    None of the comments by Officer Crowley change the fact that his decision to arrest Henry Gates was a judgement call. By his own admission, Crowley was "leaving" when the arrest occurred. In this sense, President Obama's comment about stupidity is insightful – the arrest was heavy handed, at best and fundamentally unnecessarily.

    I wonder how this would have played if Crowley were black and Gates was white?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  23. Spring

    The guy being arrested should have shut up, cooperated, and shown his id, instead of crying racism and being belligerent. He should have thanked the neighbor for being concerned about his home being broken into, and he should have thanked the officers for doing their job.

    And Obama needs to keep his lips shut, especially when he readily admitted he has NO DETAILS of the incident, yet preaches how its obviously racial profiling.

    I wish the police never dropped the charges, kudos to the officer for standing his ground even after being ambushed by reporters after a run, and the police department for backing up their man.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  24. D Keblys

    Pres Obama assumed the white police officer was in the wrong without knowing all the facts. Isn't this a form of racial profiling?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  25. Debbie

    I am white, live in the deep south, and have personally witnessed police singling out black Americans. Last week, my husband and I passed a stopped vehicle (I think it was a BMW) with 4 black Americans inside. There were 4 Police Cars surrounding it! A few minutes later, the BMW came by us very quickly. My husband and I could only conclude that they were pulled over because they were black in a nice car, searched for drugs, and then let go because there was nothing to find. I was embarassed to be a white southerner.

    How scary that even in today's world, African-Americans still feel the prejudice of 50 years ago. Let's all jump into the 20th century and realize that just because a person is black does not mean that they are a criminal!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  26. Patricia Evans

    Why are you still talking about the arrest in Cambridge of the professor?
    Move on... People are concerned about the wars, jobs, healthcare, buying/selling homes. Stop the insanity!!!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  27. Devlen Watkins

    I feel that Mr. Gates got just what he deserved, for whatever reason he feels that he can use he status as some sort of leverage to intimidate people. Now being a black man I understand that there are times police do abuse their power but in this case I don't think that is what happened. The officer was just responding to a call. Had they not responded I believe it would have been twisted to have a racial spin on it. Why would he feel the need to say is this because I am black in america unless he wanted some drama. Mr. Gates needs to rethink his actions and let this go because it will really put him in a bad light if the tapes show he was totally in the wrong and acting disorderly

    July 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  28. Thomas J Hudson

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr, has a history of seeing racism wherever he looks. In his book, Colored People: A Memoir, in which he described growing up in Westernport, Maryland, he claimed that our church, St James Episcopal, made his family sit in the last pew. That is completely false. Our parish welcomed his family and did not care where they sat. Gates' father, Henry Louis Gates, is a beloved former member who receives birthday greetings from our parish and a commemoration in our prayers every year. Henry Jr has a cause, and he seizes every opportunity to advance it.

    The Rev Thomas J Hudson, OPA
    Saint James Episcopal Church, Westernport, Maryland

    July 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  29. Jim

    From the reports I have heard, We have a racist here who I think should be held accountable to the highest standards of law, Including civil penalties. And the racist in this altercation IS NOT A WHITE POLICE OFFICER.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  30. Terry

    I want to see what the neighbor who called the police has to say now that this has developed into such a firestorm. I live in a condo where old-timers question new faces, but they don't resort to calling 911!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  31. Jeff Jackson

    I've just watched your review of the Gates arrest, and read on it in the paper. I believe it is Gates, and not the police officer, who brought race into the interchange, and that it is Gates who is the racist. I believe Gates owes the police officer and the nation as a whole an apology for his inflammatory behavior, both at the scene, and on the public stage.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  32. Pat

    I am in a minority group and I have a hard time believing the police officer's statement.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  33. Dan Heltness

    Once again, the President spoke before he had the facts if the matter, he now has egg all over his face, and as is typical of him, is unwilling to admit he's made a mistake.

    The President has set race relations back dramatically by his careless remarks over an Officer just responding to a routine break-in call.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  34. Eric G

    All Gates had to do was show his I.D., the officer was responding to a call made by a neighbor, I am siding with the policeman who was doing his job. And do you think Obama would have commented on this if Gates was a teacher at Yale or Columbia? NO.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  35. Amy

    I think the police officer did the right thing. The police officer would have arrested anyone (black, white, green, purple) in the same situation.

    If Gates is paranoid, we can't help that. But I think Obama was very idiotic commenting about it.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  36. William Sommerwerck

    The average police patrolman (not officer) is a tin-plated moron with delusions of grandeur. I've seen policemen turn minor problems into major altercations.

    When Crowley arrested a man for disorderly behavior in his own home, he showed, not racism, but an uncontrollable need to be absolutely in charge of every situation, regardless of the consequences. "Stupidity" is, indeed, the apt term.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  37. Lucy Creekmore

    I think this controversy on Mr. Gates is ridiculous. My brother was a Cincinnati police officer for 25 years and I know what the officers go through protecting the people. If Mr. Gates would have just gone off his porch and talked to the police officer calmly none of this would have happened. But no, he had to refuse anything that the officer wanted him to do and say is was all racial. How many times have we heard that. This could have all been taken care of if Mr. Gates would have been cooperative.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  38. Ras Disputin

    Step back for just a moment...don't ignore human nature. Both men may
    have been just a bit too terse perhaps the lateness in the day, exhaustion, lunch coming back etc. ...Ok so both men probably could have eased up a little and this would have never occured. A healthy straight forward solutions based analysis of racial profiling is necessary and overdue if it makes a better country for generations of Americans to come.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  39. santiago

    I think this president spends far too much time "shooting from the LIP", not only about this debacle, but about many other things, including health care-Gitmo-the economy--

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  40. Swirth

    I am white. I locked my own child in my car one time. The police came, they unlocked the door, but I had to show my ID before they would leave. The police did NOTHING WRONG!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  41. Realitygirl

    The policeman is lying. He did not get the id first and he provoked the professor. Asked him to stop outside with the intent to do harm – jail him. This happens to black men all over the country. The difference here is that this is a "handicapped professor" weighing fifty pounds. The policeman should get sensitive training for race profiling no matter what is in his past experience for racial profiling.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  42. Robert

    I think both parties are over reacting, President Obama stepped in and try to defend a friend. Someone in his position should not get involved in local gov. issues. This proves that he believes in big gov. and the people of the United States need to be aware that we are headed to socialism.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  43. countertop

    I truly believe the police officer emotions were elevated and he used his authority, this is an old story, to subdue professor Gates.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  44. Deborah Kellar

    I wonder what would have happened if the cop was Black and the "suspect" was white. Would the "good neighbor" have even called the police in the first place? One of the neighbors was quoted as saying that he didn't know that there was such a distinguished person living there. He probably only looked and saw a Black man and "assumed" he was nobody!! Maybe we should all go out and get to know our neighbors!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  45. Vicki Murphy

    The professor is a jerk. He should have been thanking the officer for trying to prevent a robbery at his house, but he was too busy being black and offended to appreciate it.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  46. tukss

    Seems it could have been handled in a different way by the police, even if the professor was irrate. Officers should expect this behavior from agitated people at times. Should be part of their training. Utmost restraint.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  47. APH

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr. shouldn't have been arrested. It's not like he's Rev. Al or Jesse Jackson...this is HLG, Jr.; a well respected, world renowned scholar. He was IN HIS HOME and showed ID. It seems like the cop was on a power trip. I've seen police officers walk away from lunatics b/c they just didn't want to deal with the situation.

    Also, BO was asked for his opinion and he gave it-rather bluntly. I don't understand why there's controversey. Yes, he's the POTUS but that doesn't change the fact that 1) he is friends w/ HLG, Jr. and 2) he's still a human being with an opinion. Give me a break and stop fanning the flames where there isn't even smoke.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  48. Debbie

    I am white, live in the deep south, and have personally witnessed police singling out black Americans. Last week, my husband and I passed a stopped vehicle (I think it was a BMW) with 4 black Americans inside. There were 4 Police Cars surrounding it! A few minutes later, the BMW came by us very quickly. My husband and I could only conclude that they were pulled over because they were black in a nice car, searched for drugs, and then let go because there was nothing to find. I was embarassed to be a white southerner.

    How scary that even in today’s world, African-Americans still feel the prejudice of 50 years ago. Let’s all jump into the 21st century and realize that just because a person is black does not mean that they are a criminal!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  49. jeff in dallas

    now that we're hearing the other side of the story (sgt. crowley's, mr. gates' neighbors, etc.) it sounds as if mr. gates brought this all on himself by being a jerk. at some point we have to get past calling every interaction between a black man and a white man a "racial" issue.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  50. Deb

    Quite frankly, I think you, the media, has blown this out of proprotion. When are you going to get back to real news again. It's time to model your news stories after BBC. This has gotten ridiculous. If you are trying to address the race problem we have in America, then have a real discussion.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  51. Joseph Marek

    I believe the police office acted out of protocol. You cannot follow and harass a police officer and expect nothing to happen. Black or white. This racism claim has went way to far. Anyone who opposes an African-American on an issue is not a racist. Of course there is still racism going on but it is on both sides.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  52. John Galligan

    I voted for President Obama, but i am very disappointed in his comments regarding the Gates matter. It seems to me that he (Obama) is stooping to playing the race card. He admits that he does not know all the facts, and yet accuses people of being stupid. Thje same people who protect him and all of us. I think when all the facts are aired, it will be shown that the president owes the police officers of Cambridge a huge apology.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  53. Linda

    Those of us who have jobs that do not require us to risk our lives everyday have NO idea what is involved in approaching someone, in todays society, and only having a very short period to time to determine the safety of that situation.

    "Walk a mile in my shoes ..."

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  54. Realitygirl

    Corrections to the previous comment: The professor weighs 150 pounds.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  55. Paul

    I think the main issue that I wish people would focus on is when it was determined that it was not a burgulary, then why not just leave. This should not have happened.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  56. Michael

    I think it is disgraceful that the professor is blowing this out of proportion!! I am also very disappointed in our "president" who jumps to conclusions when he admits he doesn't even know the entire situation!! I admit that racism is still alive!! Look at scholarships: why are there scholarships for African-Americans but the minute someone makes a scholarship for Caucasian people it is deemed RACSIST!! That is discrimination and racism NO TWO WAYS around it (if you can’t see that than you are blinder than a bat!) I find it sad that in this day and age Americans have gone from being racist to blacks to racist to whites!! I am confident that racism played NO ROLE in this situation!! If I was that officer I would have made the same decision!!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |



    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  58. Tony

    It appears that Mr. Gates was the "racist in wait" and finally found situation to take the national center stage. I am not a Law Enforcement Officer but I know that their job is difficult and people like Mr. Gates make it near impossible.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  59. Jaye

    Heidi...What is frustrating to me is when I'm trying to gather the information needed to make a quality decision, all I get are sound bites. These sounds bites are strategically cut in places that says what you want the public to hear. Stopping the President's statement in mid sentence is not the "no bias no bull" manner that CNN is known for. Show is complete thought, stopping at "like i said, I don't know all the details...." and leaving us hanging is not fair to those who would like to know the complete truth in this unfortunate situation for both individuals involved.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  60. Mark

    I think Pres. Obama screwed up commenting publically on a police matter which he has not heard all the facts on. That police officer looks pretty good on camera, and what he says rings true. What the president said sounds a bit racist and one sided leaning toward the professor's side rather than the side of truth and justice.
    He looks bad on this one.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  61. Sandi

    There is blame on both sides in this. Once Gates showed ID that proved he was in his own house the incident should have been over. That Crowley was sucked into reacting and then arresting Gates, shows he may have been overreacting.
    The question for me is how Crowley would perform and a really high tension situation like the one in South Windsor CT a few weeks ago. That situation needed very cool heads and someone like Crowley could have blown that situation sky high (literally).

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  62. Malcolm Tyrone Panag

    Its amazing how often blacks are stereotyped, being a black in Canada it is much tougher to be black.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  63. Lance Sluder

    I believe Obama is helping precipitate the stigma that any incident involving African-Americans and White authority figures is a racist incident. I can't help but imagine what people would say if this was an A-A officer with a white professor, and W. came out and said the police acted "stupidly." I would have to think this would not be tolerated.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  64. Sydney Chambliss

    I agree with President Obama when he said "police officer acted stupidly", its basic common sense. Once Prof. Gates identified himself regardless of the anger that was being displayed, and it was obvious why it was being displayed. White people aren't very smart, if they think that people other than themselves are going along with that intimidation tactic, and the flip the script tactic. Those days are over!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  65. ann

    I am so tired of looking at white men/cops sit there with a straight face trying to explain away why they choose to behave a certain way when it comes to minorities. The white people accept it, minorities continue to deal with it and nothing is done about it.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  66. Fela

    The Officer should understand why Prof. Gates was upset. If Gates wasn't being abusive or physical with the officers, there was absolutely no reason for him to be arrested. It's a free country and we are all entitled to our comments regardless of the tone. Police officer should be able to take criticism. A man should not be arrested because he alleged had an attitude or a tone. He was upset that he was questioned at his house. Anyone will be.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  67. Sandy

    I am sure that racial profiling does exist – however, I do think that was the case here. President Obama should apologize to the arresting officer for reacting emotionally without knowing all the facts.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  68. Rick

    Racism is still alive in America, but a harvard prof ought to be smart enough to know I can show this guy my id, show him its my house respond in an appropriate manner, everybody goes about their business and that would help race relations,
    Regarding the president's comments – way out of line

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  69. Cory Vendryes

    The arresting officer was wrong.Common sense ought to have prevailed : proper identification was shown,there was no physical confrontation as far as we know.I think the officer lost his cool plain and .What real harm could this elderly man pose ? It seemed as though it was a vindictive act in response to the verbal utterances from the professor.Otherwise,common sense really is not that common.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  70. Mike B.

    This thing reminds me of Tawana Brawley and Al Sharpton, it's another case that simply doesn't sound right. The cop was summoned to the home by a 911 call of a possible crime. He had to investigate. Entering the house alone would have been stupid, he had to ask Gates to come outside. Obama lost my support on this issue, he has shown himself to lack reasonable objectivity when it comes to racial issues.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  71. Betty

    What has just happened is a testament to being "Black in America". Of course the officer is going to appear on camera as this calm believable person....they appear like that everyday in America after flexing their authority in what should be simple to manage situations. Majority black males in To ask an officer for his name and badge number is "The Unpardonable Sin" even though it's your right to do so. I have a son that was locked up and held 48 hours for simply asking the same question while being acosted by an officer for an act his neighbor had done.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  72. susan

    I am white and an older female and if I would show disorderly conduct toward a police officer I would be arrested! I do not believe it is a race issue. The policeman was doing his job and Gates for some reason wanted to pick a fight about it. Unfortunately now everyone wants to make it a race issue; hurting the life of a good person.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  73. Ron

    I had the exact same situation as Mr Gates. I did exactly what the officer asked me to do. Once the officer was satisfied I was the owner of the house he said "have a nice day". I said "thanks for watching out for my place".

    If Mr. Gates had simply understood the officer was doing his job this matter would be a non issue. Instead, Gates decided to pull the race card.

    Obama stuck his foot in his mouth. I'd vote for him again though.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  74. Josh

    I believe that the officer acted properly and the professor should be placed on leave or in fact terminated from his position at Harvard. This is an example where he used his professional affiliation with Harvard to blow a situation out of control, (and his relationship with the President) talk about a misuse of power.

    If he is a professor on race relations he should have reacted with a sense of understanding and respect for the law. He was not arrested for break and enter...he was arrested for disorderly conduct- which means that race was not an issue....but attitude was.

    I am a black man in America and find Gate's attitude towards this only going further to create racism in America. He is using his color as a crutch for his poor lack of judgment.... I think a full investigation into Gates teachings, beliefs and backgrounds is warranted, in the same way we are investigating the officer.

    And wasn't the person who called in the break and enter...his BLACK next door neighbor...

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  75. Michael Ambrose

    I am sitting in a car service shop where CNN is on. Want to know what I think about the Gates arrest?

    How about reporting some actual news? This type of intense coverage of a manufactured story the prime reason why cable news has no real credibility. Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you went to journalism school?


    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  76. Art Frank

    First, even if Obama was right, we was way out of line in making the comment about anyone being "stupid" in the first place. Since when does a president on a national stage call anyone "stupid", or speak before he knows the facts?

    Second, I think Professor Gates injected race into this for his own benefit and continues to exploit this for all its worth. He has also exploited his friendship with the president; a more classy thing to do would be to not mention it.

    Third, iIs it conceivable that a similar interchange could have taken place if the races of the participants had been reversed or different?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  77. Victor Schneider

    I personally am sick of hearing about the race thing. I taught my children to respect the police, maybe black people should learn to do the same. And Obamas remarks were totally out of line, but considering the pastor that he had his children listen to for years doesn't surprise me

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  78. bigvoice68

    I hope these two men can resolve their differences amicably, but it appears Dr. Henry Louis Gates is intent on using this incident as a "teachable moment." I applaud him for doing so, but I also wish Sgt. James Crowley, the arresting officer, would put his pride aside and publicly apologize for making the arrest in the first place. The fact that the charges against Dr. Gates were ultimately dropped is evidence Sgt. Crowley used poor judgment, or made a mistake.. Sgt. Crowley's public apology may be the catalyst that Dr. Gates needs to acknowledge his alleged contribution to the escalation of the incident. If these men can find it in themselves to forgive and forget, they will be showing us, the American public, the collective steps we must take to move from a period of racism to a period of reconciliation.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  79. Scott Vish

    Quickly, the officer did the right thing for several reasons. 1st) where was the second man? 2) Why is the homeowner biligerent and so combative? Certainly not normal for a person in there own house that entered suspiciously.

    The officer is going to need his department and union now that the President nosed in and started the political correctness police.

    The Dr allowed his ego and position get the best of him and went to the method often used by these activists of the bully racist pulpit.

    What I envision is a normal response would to give id immediately, thank the officer for coming out and explaining he had diffculty get in.

    I hope an audio and or video tape are available. Should they show the Dr acted inappropriately are we going to see the same outrage that a man in his position was abusive to an officer?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  80. Joe

    You think this is racial profiling, you should see the cops in my hometown of Cedar Grove, NJ.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  81. Rick Wills

    If a policeman comes to my house suspecting a burgulary I would want him to insist I come outside the house. This making sure there is not a bad guy in the house even if I showed him ID.
    Don't care if I am a white or black person. Make sure my family is safe and no one bad is inside, that is why we have police!.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  82. Sandy

    I meant to say "I do NOT think that was the case here."

    July 24, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  83. Joanna Moorehead

    It shows how black citizens have to go over and beyond to prove their innocence in all matters. So that is racial profiling in my book.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  84. wayne

    I think this professor is totally out of line and was being a jerk and is now using the race card to cover for his juvenile behavior. This professor should have been happy that the police were doing their job protecting his property! It's simple you present proof that you are the owner and not the intruder and thank the police for doing their job! This officer is responding to a crime in progress with two individuals and he is alone risking his life to protect your property. Why have an attitude with him? He was not arrested for burglary he was arrested for being disorderly and acting like a jerk and the charge should have not been dropped but as usual the elected prosecutor gave in to political pressure instead of doing their job!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  85. Stuart

    This situation is escalating unnecessarily. It is understandable that Gate’s was frustrated but once an officer tells you that you are out of control and disorderly “everyone “ no matter the race, must settle down. This is one of the tools that our police force has to mitigate volatile situation.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  86. Samantha

    I dont know why people are making such a big deal about what Pres. Obama said he still is human just like other people they can not beleive what has happened to this man. He prepared everyone for what he was about to sai he said sorry i might be a little bias gates is a good friend to me and he feels that the PD ACTED a little stupid. Like Roseann said people have tripped their own house alarms off and police have come and it was not that serious. If he was that disorderly why were the charges dropped when you do something and you feel that it is right you stand by it.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  87. Kenya

    A few questions: Why did the officer proceed into the residence without invitation? When the professor provided identification, why didn't the officer leave? If the officer has extensive training with racial profiling, once he was accused as a racist, why didn't he establish at the onset that "no, I am not a bigot or racist, but I am a police officer here investigating a call about a B&E in progress"? Since when did it become a crime to be belligerent/angry/flippant/rude/obnoxious within the confines of your home?
    If race did not play a role, then I submit that the officer is not as good a police officer as he deems himself.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  88. Nephtuin Rosario

    Very simple, Police investigates breaking and entry violation #1 they come in contact with Mr.Gates at reported location # 2 police state their presence and buissenes to him #3 Mr Gates provides proof of residence confirmed by police #4 matter should it be over an done #5 police goes away.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  89. Sly, Michigan

    My thinking is that the Sergeant did acted "Stupidly" by arresting Mr. Gates, because the way the law states a person can only be arrested for Disorderly Conduct "Only" in a "Public Place". Mr. Gates was in his own home at the time. As you can see, the charges was drop, and that alone says that the sergeant had no reason to arrest him. That sergeant is a "Supervisor" and he should have known better.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  90. Marlon McCaulsky

    Let's look at the facts he was in his own house, he showed the police officer proof that it was his house, the police refused to give him his name and badge number, then as soon as he stepped outside of his home the police officer arrested him. What law did Professor Louis break?

    President Obama gave the same response every other American thought when they heard about this, "the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home."

    July 24, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  91. Andy Anderson

    I'm a conservative Republican and I'm going to stick up for President Obama on this one. The police like to use force and intimidation to manipulate and control people. Many are simply nothing more than bullies with badges. Well, now they can feel what it's like. Are they "deeply saddened?" Well, the love they receive is equal to the love they give. Maybe next time they won't act stupidly. Good for you for sticking up for the people, Mr. President!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  92. Mitch

    Hi Heidi,
    Police brutality against the minorities(i.e., blacks, latinos, asians, brown skin people,..etc) has a very deep and painful roots in America.

    For the first time we have an African-American (non-Anglo) President and we are all hoping this is the beginning of an end to mistreatment of minoritity masses of all color and background.

    I am glad Professor Gates stood up to the bully policeman (mind you, in his own house). Some of these guys with a badge think no different than the ayatollas in Iran, namely; they think they have a sort of supernatural power over people (espesially the minorities).

    We should all be proud of our President as well, for wanting to end this, and all other injust acts which have been/and are being commited against non-anglo citizens all over this country every day.

    Best Regards


    July 24, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  93. virginia thompson

    Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr was not arrested for breaking into his own home.... He was arrested because of his aggressive attitude toward the officers. Given his high intelligence, I wonder if he acted this way to force the police to arrest him so that he could make a statement to the country??? Looks like a publicity stunt to me.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  94. Rebecca in SC

    Even if Professor Gates said everthing the Officer claims–which is in dispute–it is certainly a stretch to call it disorderly conduct. I can see no justification for arresting him, taking mug shots, and holding him for four hours. I don't know if the problem was racial profiling. It may have been, but the incident could also have resulted from Town/Gown hostility or just Police arrogance. I am amazed that so many people on CNN imply that Professor Gates deserved to be treated in such a shameful way.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  95. Nancy G

    As soon as Professor Gates provided 2 forms of ID, Officer Crowley should have backed off and difused the situation. He never provided Professor Gates with his name & badge number which he is required to do. Holding a news conference in which you state "I didn't vote for him" shows his bias. It's pretty sad when you're handcuffed in your own home after proving that you legally have a right to be on you're property.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  96. Jean (Plantation, FL)

    The man in his house should have never been arrested on any charge by the police. This is his property and he proved it by showing his ID. He was not blasting noise distubing his neighbors. So Where does that disorderly conduct come from? The call came from a neighbor who pretends she did not recognize him.

    I can see a big fat lawsuit in the works. The guy was right to say to the police "you don't know who you are messing with" because way too often that happened to a regular back person and noone cares. He wanted to warn him that there was going to be consequences for his actions. I hope he sue the police department.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  97. Punkie

    That's totally weird. Police job is to make people secure. Now I am scared with any police who comes to me.
    I am Asian, ever stopped by police that said i was over speed, and I said look other drivers, they are driving much faster than I do. and Btw the speed limit was 70mph, and i was at 74, others were close to 80.
    Black,Asian,Hispanic are target of white police.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  98. Dan Lauer

    I believe Gates thinks he is above the law. It is the Officers responsibility to get all the information about any situation. If the suspect is not being cooperative for the Officers safety he needs to be restrained. Gates had a above the law attitude from the beginning and if anyone was being racist it was him. The Police are responding to a break in report and he immediately flies off the handle and start raging saying this is because he is Black. I look at this as being Gates trying to use his race as an excuse for him being out of control. If any other race was in this position and was not being fully cooperative to the Police they would be restrained and arrest if they did not calm down. It is sad that we have people in this country like this and are very quick to start an uproar and keep this Country divided on a non issue. Obama was out of line also to comment on this situation and he should have refrained form comment on this situation. His comment should not have been takin seriously due to him and Gates being friends.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  99. Michelle Stephenson

    I totally agree with President Obama's statement about the police officer "acting stupidly." Why would there be a need to arrest someone who is in their own home who is clearly not a physically threat? Even if he was yelling, he did not have a weapon. The police officer should have just walked away. What was he trying to prove? Why should Gates have to come out of his home if he didn't want to? The officer claimed that he wasn't sure if there was someone else in the house who could have harmed Gates. Well, if Gates didn't want to be protected, then that's on him. He still did not have to step outside if it had already been established that there was not a break in. And I don't know why there is so much controversy over Pres. Obama's statement.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  100. Joe

    I think Sgt Crowley act correctly. I believe Mr. Gates rushed in judgment.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  101. John McKenna

    So...police officer responds to a 911 call concerning a possible break-in at a residence.

    A residence that has had previous break-in incidents called in to the police.

    To secure the scene – as report mentions and briefly describes two possible persons involved – the officer requests ID.

    He also, I'm guessing, would prefer that the person who has/or has not id'd themselves wait outside as unknown parties may be present.

    So..racism/ "...acting stupidly...; Cop leaves, homeoner gets robbed or worse. Racist as, I guess, he didn't care about an Africia-American's safety.

    Racism does exist – black men are always busted for DWB. racism here other than perhaps a Professor who started thinking and seing only in Black and White.

    John McKenna

    July 24, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  102. G.F.Carlson

    I am with the policeman on this. Prof Gates is grievance oriented, not solution oriented, despite his words.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  103. rosa

    i think someone was planted in the audience when president obama was speaking on healthcare; that person asked obama about the professor/police incident. i think it was unfair to put the president on the spot like that. the president should not have to defend his comments over, and over, and over again. on the incident: i think egos got in the way of both the professor and the police office; however, i support the professor because racial profiling is a problem in our country and needs to be addressed, and if the roles were reverse or if it were a white resident and a black cop, the outcome would have been different. Finally, the cop was wrong for not providing his name and badge number; the situation may not have gotten out of hand had he given this information.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  104. Bob

    I have seen for years the race card played everytime something like this happens. Procedure calls for the person in the house to come out to the oficer and show there is no problems. If it had been a black police officer and the subject in the house white this would have never even made the news.

    For the leader of the free world to address this subject in a news confrence show that he is more about his agenda than the needs of the people he represents. "Stupidly" was avery poor choice of words.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  105. Andy

    I’m a conservative Republican and I’m going to stick up for President Obama on this one. The police like to use force and intimidation to manipulate and control people. Many are simply nothing more than bullies with badges. Well, now they can feel what it’s like. Are they “deeply saddened?” Well, the love they receive is equal to the love they give. Maybe next time they won’t act stupidly. Good for you for sticking up for the people, Mr. President!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  106. Marion Leep

    I support the police officer in this incident. If he hadn't followed procedure Prof Gates could be dead now instead of screaming racial profiling. The officer has no way of knowing what is going on behind the doors he approaches. An entire family in CT was held hostage and murdered by someone holding them. If this had been one of those cases, and the Prof was murdered, they would have screamed the officer didn't do his job by investigating things further. I totally support our Police force on this issue. I would much rather an officer take me out of the premises than have me found tied to a bed and burned to death in my own home the next day because the officer didn't investigate further a 911 call of two intruders in my home. Also, I think the President had no business commenting on a local police matter he knows nothing about! Marion in CT

    July 24, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  107. Lennard

    It's amazing that the President's comments about the Gates arrest is looked at so negatively.

    1. We know from the history of police actions, they are going to protect their own unless they have NO OTHER way to protect the police conduct.
    2. Minorities are targeted more than whites in this country and as a result minorities have more of a likelihood to resent and have a disdain for the police.
    3. Whites will NEVER understand meing targeted on a more frequent basis, so to say just go along with the police is BS.
    4. GATES was in house and he walks with a CANE.
    5. At no point in during the interview shown did the police-officer mention to GATES that he got a call that 2 black males were trying to break in the home.
    6. I personally feel the President's comments brings light to the BIG issue of race and police/minorities relationship, IT"S NOT GOOD.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  108. gregg alan smith

    I am a minister in Dallas who directs a ministry which provides assistance to folks from the homeless to those in the middle class who need help. My landlord referred a fellow tenant who was having trouble to me. I left a note on the persons door asking him to contact me. Long story short, the person saw me through the peep hole, thought I had come to rob him and called the police who subsequently showed up at my apartment. I and my landlord, who happens to be white, were incensed by the incident. There was no froth, but the responding police officer, also white, sized up the situation in seconds and deduced that there was "no 'there', there". The situation in Cambridge should have ended the same way. And by the way...are we to assume that the neighbor had never noticed Dr. Gates entering his residence before?

    Gregg Alan Smith
    Oak Lawn Community Outreach Center
    Dallas, Texas

    July 24, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  109. Stewart J. Lustgarten

    Dear Heidi

    I just wrote what follows to the Mayor of Cambridge.

    Dear Hon. Mayor Simmons

    I write from Holliston and have read the arrest report and heard Sgt. Crowly’s interview which are both consistent.
    My opinion may mean something for a similar thing happened to me a few years ago in Palm Beach and I’m a white man.

    I see both points of view and feel that the approach by the Police may have been wrong for the time of day. If it were 12 hours later that would have been a different story but this front door break-in occurred in full daylight, a very unlikely thing.

    As to the way both myself and Dr. Gates reacted was essentially the same. However in my case, I was the one who called the Sheriff. Sometimes knowing our civil rights comes back to haunt us. Rather then dealing with the immediate what’s at hand, we go topsy turvy in focusing on protecting our rights. This is what happened to me although I finally came to my senses and wasn’t carted off to jail for disorderly conduct and the Sherriff’s left rather friendly as all was forgotten.

    The racist charges are absurd as was racist charges once made against me by a Ph.D. recent immigrant Indian. Once he found out that my Internist for the last 25 years was an Indian he had no leg to stand on. Likewise for Sgt. Crowly and his past record.

    In summation, I feel both over reacted. Sgt. Crowly to the approach in daylight and Dr. Gates, not first dealing with the immediate matters at hand and then discussing where he may have been civil rights offended.

    I feel a mediated approach by you is now called for from your high office before this swells up anymore then it is.


    Stewart J. Lustgarten
    73 Dalton Road
    Holliston, MA 01746

    July 24, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  110. tom

    I really believe that the professor was out of line and not cooperating with police on a legitimate call. He was all too quick to play the race card and this is something that has been going on for years. If your black and you get pulled over or detained by the police, its automatically a race issue. The Presidents comments were wrong, and not very smart. Why did the professor throw a fit when police are trying to protect his property. Why did he feel the need to get badge numbers and names. Why couldnt he just comply and laugh it off like a regular person. The professor seems like the one that was wrong and he should apoligize to the officer and the Cambrigde police. I have never heard a white person that was pulled over by a black cop start yelling and playing the race card. It undermines the whole law enforcement concept. The professor should get a life, but instead im sure he will get Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton visiting him quickly and paying for any legal defense.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  111. Steve Stojevich

    Would you like a little cheese with your wine? Maybe this was "subliminal" racism, you know, when you are kind and understanding but judged as a racist because you are a white male. Why not address the REAL, problem, blacks hate whites-period. 45% of black crime is aggainst whites. 3% of white crime is against blacks. Who are the racists? These stats are similar all over the world.
    Why don't you do one of your pandering specials and address the real problem-blacks are racists! Did any white person help when civil rights legislation was passed? Have you EVER noted that? Blacks need an attitude change, then their plight might be different. Get your heads off your desks and read some real history rather than the convenient made- up crap of black teachers!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  112. Ron Meyers

    Gates should have cooperated with the police. The police were investigating a call of a burglary at his home. They were protecting him as well as the community. The police didn't know him. They had an obligation to investigate whether the person was black, white, or green. What if it weren't Gates at the house? What if the police would have not followed through? Then they'd have been crucified for being negligent. Sgt. Crowley did the right thing. Gates brought this to the level of racism. Gates should be prosecuted for disorderly conduct. When the police are conducting an investigation you cooperate. It's that simple. The president should have all the facts before defending one of his cronies. Is his "change" going to be that the police have to use Affimative Actionesque tactics when investigating crime if a black person is involved?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  113. Mike P

    Was the police officer really the racist here? What about the neighbor who didn't even recognize Prof. Gates as their neighbor. They just saw another black face and called the police!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  114. Marc M.

    As a minority myself, I support 100% the decision of the police officer. His decision to arrest this gentleman was based upon his feeling of a moderate threat and the professor's alleged "unruly" behavior. Police officers and other community and federal servants (such as military) are often put in positions where decisions like these must be made and they should not always be scrutinized based upon racism or discrimination. Additionally, although I support the President, I believe his remarks should have been withheld until the investigation is complete. It simply puts him in a bad position if the details are found that Mr. Crowley did have a reason to apprehend Prof. Louis.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  115. ralph mackey

    I think I see the almost automatic response of a middle to upper class blacks response to being confronted by a (white) officer.And the presidents response is also automatic. I have. While the cop may have been responding normally, the prof went into auto bigot mode

    July 24, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  116. Sophie Lyday

    How does one teach brother policemen NOT to racial profile? You cannot teach someone when they are in their twenties, thirties, and forties what has to come by a conversion of heart. Racial profiling comes about because our institutions, laws, and parents have taught children who are Caucasian that people of color (Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans) are less than human beings and are "not like us". While a policeman sees the human condition in ways that most of us cannot imagine, they still have to do what is right; not just going "by the book". This policeman was more interested in flexing his authority than in doing what is right - there is a difference.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  117. Betty

    Majority Black males in America live through this every day as "a way of life." To ask an officer for his name and badge number is "The Unpardonable Sin" even though it is your right to do so. My son was locked up for 48 hours for simply asking the same question while being acosted by an officer for an act his neighbor had done.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  118. Liza Valliere

    Why is it that when a black man/woman gets arrested, whether cause or not,they always have to bring up race? Then of course it turns into a monetary lawsuit.White people get arrested in their own homes being unruly should we expect a lawsuit and millions of dollars? Cops did what they thought was right at the time. I believe citizans should be barred from filing a lawsuit against the police.The police are going to be afraid to arrest anyone who is black for fear of being accused of racism.what happens then? You break the law guess what you get arrested. It has nothing to do with color.enough is enough.Look at those children that didnt get to swim,claim racism they get a free trip to disney world.All thats teaching them is if they don't get their way claim racism and you get whatever you want. Why can't there be white ain america?I am not racist.Im just sick of listeing to them whine when they don't get their way.And they always sue for money-get rich quick.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  119. Doris

    In my personal opinion there are 3 sides to the story Officer Crawley's side, Professor Gate's side and the truth. Not anyone else knows exactly what happened. I do believe that sometimes different actions are taken against Black individuals because people automatically believe that we are irate individuals who may cause issues. As far the statement President Obama made I was not surprised by all the fuss the media made. The media made a big deal out of him killing a fly now how STUPID is that. The President has his opinion just like anyone else. Key word it was his opinion, what's yours.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  120. RENEE


    July 24, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  121. Alexander Fella

    Seems to me too many accusations and not enough investigation so far on this issue. I agree with professor Watts on CNN this morning – let's investigate THEN comment. Unfortunately we have two credible people giving us conflicting stories and we mak never know the total truth.

    It appears to me we are too quick to jump on "race" and "profiling" as contributing factors. It sounds like the professor was the first one to mention race.

    I am also disappointed that president Obama, whom I strongly support, chose to comment on a situation regading which he did not have all the facts.

    Thanks Heidi – you are great!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  122. Gloria Bardin

    President Obama should have stayed out of the controversy. He needs to concentrate on fixing the mess this country is in and stay out of local issues. And, he should refrain from commenting any further.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  123. ihilton

    I don't understand how none of the police on the scene knew who Prof. Gates was? Especially in that section of Cambridge. He is very well known, my 16 year old knew who he was when his photo flashed on TV. I lived in Cambridge for many years and attended Harvard. Many of our professors of color had shared many stories of how they have been treated by police and others when they are wearing workout clothes or are in everyday situations. I hope they come out with all the stories because they are making it seem like Prof. Gates was acting irrationally and that is one of their tactics. It happened to be when an off duty officer and I had a dispute over a parking spot in a supermarket. I was with my two young children and he called for back up saying I was acting irrationally. Hopefully this incident will shed light on the sad reality that people of color already know too well.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  124. JG

    I don't believe the president, any president, needed to comment on something local until he had all the facts. He, himself, said he was biased because he was friends with the professor. Bias goes both ways in America.

    The professor teaches racism at Harvard; doesn't it stand to reason that he would say he was a victim of it if it is what he believes to be true?

    The president should stay out of this issue...unless he intends to take over the Cambridge police department too.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  125. Vik

    I can give you two blatant examples of racial profiling that I've experienced when I worked and studied at Harvard, but I'd really rather not remember the anger and trauma and ruin my weekend for your benefit. But you can verify this; last year Cambridge police drew guns on a young black boy who had lost the keys to his bike lock. He was a little guy and tediously working on the lock in bright daylight after his supervisor at Harvard gave him some tools. It happened in front of my eyes and the cops drew guns before even announcing themselves to the poor kid. He never came to work at Harvard. It has been mentioned in recent AP articles as a 'confrontation'. Maybe because the cops lied and disputed that they drew down on the boy? I don't know.
    I've taken Intro to African American studies with Dr. Gates. There is no greater example of an unassuming teacher. I read the police report and I'm certain the officer lied in it. There is no way that Dr Gates would revert to 'your mama' taunts; no way on Earth because when he gets upset, Dr. Gates vocabulary expands, it doesn't contract. I'm not saying that Sgt. Crowley is racist or even engaged in racial profiling. He may have just been having a bad day. But the subsequent arrest is inexcusble. You are being completely disengenuous if you think that this would have happened to a white person. Cambridge police once again acted, STUPIDLY!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  126. Peter S.

    Assuming the officer acted appropriately after being invited in, and if that person then becomes irate while answering routine questions even in their own home the officers have an obligation to protect that person against himself and their selves as police officers.
    Let's take race out of this and look at the facts as they are presented in the days ahead instead of speculating.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  127. Delbert Harrison

    Before we get way off point on this issue I'll ask one question; the central question. Why is it we never hear about the same action being taken with a caucasian male in the same situation? Lets not focus on Obamas comment which was inappropriate, or whether or not the officer is being truthful regarding the actions of Gates. Let's stay on point. No one should be arrested in their own home. But sadly it does happen to black men. The question is why?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  128. posh

    I personally don't know the full story, as don't a lot of people including the president. If crowley is telling the truth and all he asked was that Gaines step out the house and speak to him for a minute, then out of respect for the officier that's what Gates should have done. Why did he call for help if he was not going to cooperate. However, I don't see why Gates would have been arrested? That's why it's important that the whole story be told then we can reevaluate. I don't think Crowley should have to apologize unless there was cause that Gaines should not have been arrested. I in no way approve of the work that the police do in some areas because there is evidence all the time that we are racially stereotyped. However, I side with the officier on the evidence he has stated and I believe that he's innocent until proven guilty!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  129. Mathew

    I have taught criminal justice for many years, and have consistently observed that police officers are too much into their own ego's rather than helping people. Because of this ego involvement police cause more problems than solve them.

    Mr. Crowley had no business arresting Prof. Gates once it was determined that he was in his own home. He arrested Gates becasue of his fragile ego. Mr. Crowley should show some humility and apologize.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  130. Richard Pignataro

    I believe the officer was following all the correct protocols and had there been a breakin he was risking his life to protect Mr Gates and his property.
    I am appalled that the president , who should be instilling in children, and the citizens, a respect for the law and law enforcement would make blatantly anti police typical racisit statements and sound like Reverend Wright. He should have known better and behaved accordingly.
    Gates and the President owe the police an apology

    July 24, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  131. Megan

    According to what I am hearing, the police officer was investigating a possible break-in in progress. He did what he was suppose to do as a law enforcement offical and I do not believe that it had anything to do with race. As an African American woman, I can see that. Proffessor Gate's behavior after the fact was completely uncalled for, and anyone who disrespects a police officer regardless of the title they hold (in his case a famous proffessor) deserves to be handcuffed and taken into custody. I do not know the full story. No one does, but the media seems to suggest the officer was simply doing his job and got in the crosshairs of a racist African American who was quick to use "race" as a means to explain everything. Could the situation have been handled differently? Of course, buy BOTH the Proffessor and the Officer. I am dissapointed in the Professor's behavior to so use the "race" card especially when in the beginning, one could argue that it wasnt the case. Racism is alive and well, it probably will never end. Having a Black President doesnt make these issues go away. Everyone seems to forget that the officer was doing his job by investigating what he incially believed to be a crime in progress in which he was CALLED to the scene. Regardless of what race the officer is, he needs to do his job. Him being white and the Proffessor having the belief's he held only made things worse. This isnt a Rodney King situation.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  132. Marc M.

    As a minority myself, I support 100% the decision of the police officer. His decision to arrest this gentleman was based upon his feeling of a moderate threat and the professor’s alleged “unruly” behavior. Police officers and other community and federal servants (such as military) are often put in positions where decisions like these must be made and they should not always be scrutinized based upon racism or discrimination. Additionally, although I support the President, I believe his remarks should have been withheld until the investigation was completed. It simply puts him in a bad position if the details are found that Mr. Crowley did have a reason to apprehend Prof. Gates.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  133. Catherine

    It seems that jerks come in all colors – Gates is a jerk. How would he feel if it WAS an actual burglary and the officer took the perpetrator at his word? Then we would be hearing him rant about how the police don't protect black men.........

    July 24, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  134. Wes Harper

    It's a sad state of affairs when the president of the United States gets directly involved in a LOCAL law enforcement matter. To make matters even more deplorable he admitted on your show that he didn't know the details of the case. His irresponsible intrusion is obviously racially motivated (the man arrested is black and so is the president...more or less....I think...who really knows) and should be publicly condemned!! I am SO thankful I voted AGAINST this guy.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  135. Ron

    I locked myself out of my house days ago....and yes I am black. Thank God the police were not called when I was trying to get in. I would probably be in jail now awaiting bond. Police can arrest anyone, whether white or black and charge them for whatever the police say happened and who's going to question the police, no one you sit in jail.

    This is the state of America today...where subtle racism still exists.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:24 am |

    Heidi, I believe that the news media is making a big deal about nothing other then to keep this circus to continue and to used the President comment about it. Lynn Sweet should never had ask the question, after all the news conference was to be about Health Care. If the police department believe that Sgt. Crowley follow procol, why not release the 911 tape. We all know that some policeman hide behind title. Just because he was selected by a black policemant to run this racial behavior program does not make him a racist. In one of his newsconference he was ask, what he thought about the President Comments, he stated that he didn't vote for him. Why make that statement, he wasn't ask did he vote for him. Many RACIST hide in sheep wool. As far as the commet that President Obama made, that this policeman acted s tupily, doesn't mean all policeman are the same.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  137. richard horodner

    President Obama, when asked about the incident did not know of what type of verbal exchange took place at the Gates house. Obama probably said something stupid by publicly saying the police dept. acted stupidly.

    The last president said something stupid every time he opened his mouth. There was no controversy every time Bush spoke.

    It's the old double-standard: A minority person has to do a ten-times better job in order to be "accepted." One mistake, "you're fired."

    Why is it that one stupid comment by Obama gets him raked over the coals? Might this overreaction to his one stupid comment be a bigoted response by "conservatives?" It's ok if one of "theirs" is an idiot. But if one black president makes ONE language mistake he deserves to be hung.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  138. Kenneth

    There are definitely 2 sides to every story, but the fact that as a blackman, I have to be overly cautious about what I say to the Police when I know that I'm being wronged is a symptom of a systematic problem in America. Blacks and Latinos endure situations in America on a daily basis, that Whites would never stand for.

    Can anyone explain to me why, because that's where the honest conversation should start.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  139. Don Collins

    Heidi, Seems to me that the officer was in his rights doing a complete investigation of the incident and because Mr. Gates was, I think, surprised and embarassed at that moment. In reaction, he took the path he did to gain composure and it was blown out of proportion from that point on. The President should have made no comment till he was fully aware of all circumstances involved. No appoligies should be made and this issue should be over.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  140. Rehema kennedy

    the media cnn included is just focusing on this officer words.why cant we hear more from Gates as well.fthis officer is not the victim.he is a racist suspect(sorry i forget he is white)from the early conversation i understand this officer refused to give his name and badge number and that is why Gates was following him.and now the media is feeding us with his FABRICATED version of how he introduced himself to Gates and his can we believe him?and those neigbors who are planning to come foward and explain their relatioship with this officer it doesnt make sense.of course they are white.the same people who called 911 on Gates breaking in his own house.and of course they dont have the same experience with a black man experience with a racist officer like this one.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  141. Anthony Ngu

    Is a policeman surely above law/ constitution. Someone in their house arrested after proving they live in the said resident. Come on, this is stupid, and the officer here i think he crossed the boundry. I have experienced this several time. A good example today in the department of RMV minority have been ticketed most than any other race, bear in mind they are majority traffic offenders. Hello does it take a rocket scientist to tell some of this law enforcer are bigot and biased. After wacthing the acussed officer his facial emotions tells all. I came to a conclusion he is lying and a have bad feeling about the whole incident. One he has a poor judgement and he need continous inservice inoder to be competent . NO WONDER THEY DROPPED THE CHARGES.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  142. Vik


    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  143. deb

    It is a very simple issue. Since when does calling someone a racist become probable cause for arrest? If the arrest was justified, why did both the prosecutor and the police drop the charges? This is an easy case for Gates' lawyer if he decides to pursue. Obama is right, the actions of the officer are stupid. Is he not trained to be the cooler head? I doubt the officer's credentials simple because as a veteran, he acted just like a rookie. We all should be concerned that this is the officer who is training other officers.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  144. mike

    Why are white people making such a big deal about what BO said; we all know that racism is still alive in america, look how we are treated every day by white people. Unemployment for africans in america is 15% and for white people it is 7%, now you mean to tell me it is not racism; come on stop trying to sweep this sh** under the table.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  145. Waylon

    Honestly, the majority of the problem is media coverage. Had this happened to a white person it would not have even been on the news, but yet let this happend to a black man and everyone, even Obama, is on top of it. The police were simply doing their job and I for one, am proud there are police officers out there willing to take risks ensure my safety. If any of my neighbors saw someone around my house that was unfamiliar, black or white, I would be grateful had called the police.

    As for the President's comment, I think it was completely uncalled for. His focal point was on the health care debacle, not this issue of race. If he wants to continue to push his stance that race is NOT an issue, then don't bring it up. All that he, and in some respects the media, are doing is simply adding fuel to the race fire.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  146. BoysieH

    From listening to the officers comment he appears to be a standup guy who was doing his job and got caught up in the moment. Why did he handcuff Mr.Gates on his porch and not in the house. Did he not establish the house in question was his residence. And if the officer followed proper procedure in arresting the professor why were the charges dropped. Something doesn't smell right in this case either the professor is not completely forthcoming or the police bungled the arrest.
    The presidents comment about the police department acted stupidly is a clear statement, stopped trying to create something that isn't there.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  147. joe

    Jumping to conclusions on partial facts is never the right way to go. The police reacted to a burglary. The professor got angry, understandably. The remainder of what happened is not known by us or the media pundits. The President should not have reacted, at least so quickly. Is profiling real. Yes. But in this case, it's to early to say that profiling raised its ugly head. Let the police department sort it out before we ll jump to conclusions.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  148. M. Smith

    Perhaps the way police officers are trained in this country should be reviewed. It seems to me something is wrong here.
    How many black men have to be killed or beaten by the police before we acknowledge the fact that white cops are ACTING RACIST against black people in this country. The statistics on this topic bear this out everytime.Yet when this happens we get the press and the police department making the same comments that they are not racist.
    There have been cases when white cops have shot and assaulted balck cops when they are off duty. How many cases of white cops do you have being shot or assaulted by their black counterparts? COME ON PEOPLE STOP BEING IN DENIAL . This country is like a child when it comes to facing and admitting the truth. about their racist behavior.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  149. NickyDrake

    I understand that Dr. Gates did produce his ID and confirmed that he was the homeowner. That the cop had him step outside so he could arrest him for disorderly conduct (now he was in public outside of his house) just screams racisim because 1) the cop didn't want to hear any complaints about his conduct, 2) he didn't like being asked for his name and badge number (though any citizen is well within their rights to do so), and 3) he was being vengeful because the black man was making a ruckus instead of taking his lumps like a good n***er. The overarching message here is that the cops can (and Do) whatever they want in the name of public safety and twist the laws to suit their racist biases. It Is Shameful that that cop thought nothing of arresting a man in his own home after he made the error of assuming that this man was a criminal. I'm outraged because this never would have happened to a limping, cane-holding, glasses-wearing, middle-aged white man. And I am glad the president said something, and "acted spupidly" is the least of it.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  150. Henrietta Williams-Gerald

    I had a very similar incident happen at our home. I was not arrested, but we were hanging Christmas lights on a second floor landing and a neighbor called the police saying a black man was sneaking into a window in the house. We were having a wonderful time decorating & celebrating when the doorbell rang. The door opened and a police officer walked in. We were upstairs of a 3 story home, he said hello, hello. I said hello who is it? I was shocked and shaken that someone had walked into my home. He said "mam, a black man is crawling into your window. Come down." I walked to the stairs and I said, "I hope he's black he's my husband." He asked if we lived here. He then demanded that we show I.D. I was insulted and angry! We have a very big beautiful house in Lynn, MA. I understand Mr. Gates' feelings.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  151. LYNETTE


    I am white. I do feel the officer would have acted differently if the gentleman in the same area had been white man with a cane. So the behavior on the part of the black man is an unfair comparison in the situation – it would not have ever gotten to that point.

    If I could hear the tone of voice of the officer – it might affect my opinion. But under no circumstances – once the police officer knew it was the gentleman's own home, did this elderly man deserve to be handcuffed and arrested.

    Did the homeowner hit the officer, push him, if so, then arrest him.
    Please get a grip here, we are not a police state.
    Sticks and stones may break my bones – but words cannot hurt me... do we not teach our children to walk away? I feel the situation got out of hand, maybe the gentleman should not have gotten as upset as he did, but the officer clearly felt he needed to show him who was boss, and who had the power.

    If the officer had arrested a white man in the same situation, then shame on him again. Unless the older gentleman got physical.

    I support our local officers, and am thankful for the many that protect and serve, including the one involved in this incident.

    An unfortunate incident, but one maybe we should look at, not to take sides but to try and examine honestly and grow – both interpretations.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  152. jm

    An African-American in the presidency is a proof that things are changing. Minorities need to be patient. Things are changing, but it takes time.

    The president needs to be more careful on what he says. He made a stupid comment and should say so.

    The white policemen needs to be sensitive when dealing with incidents involving minorities.

    I propose that the president invites the policeman involved and Dr. Gates and discuss the issue and stop "shooting" each other on TV.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  153. suzanne lonngren

    I find it disappointing that some 24 hours later, the President still, by his own admission, does not have the facts, and stands by his statement. In fact, he refers to Gates being arrested "in his own home" which is not true and ignores the explanation given for his step by step behavior by the officer. Obama is showing is true beliefs; those that do indeed echo his former pastor in Chicago.

    As for instruction by black parent to their children to be very carefull not to provoke or insult police when stopped, I gave my own sons the same admonishment. It's common sense, not racial.

    With all the rabid statements the professor made, if he wonders why race relations are still not openly acknowledged and discussed by white people, he need only look in the mirror.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  154. fred k

    Obama prefaced his remarks by saying " I don't know all the facts." But yet he stupidly goes on to comment on something he don't know anything about. Now that's truly the pot calling the kettle black. The first ID Gates showed to the cops was a Harvard ID. My work ID doesn't show my address, and I suspect his doesn't either. If Gates had only showed his license in the beginning, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. The cops should tell Obama , Sharpton, and Gates to go to hell.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  155. Doc225

    We all know why he was arrested...He ran his mouth and tryed to pull the race card. Just look at the charge, it sayes it all. He was mad because a white cop was telling him what to do. Because of this he ran that big mouth of his untill the officer had enough. He should be apoligizing to the cops for this whole mess. He should also be thankfull someone was watching his back making sure he wasnt being robbed. When blacks try to pull the race card like this, you just know they are a "closet racist" themselves. He needs to admit to his stupidity before it goes beyond what it allready has.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  156. Gabriel

    I understand Mr. Gates my wife and I are in our mid twenties, we just brought a home in the suburbs of NJ. Either my wife is pulled over on the way home by the local police,or I get dirty looks from the police when I am entering my house, It's sad to say that racism still does exits in America. It's like the elephant in the room that people do not want to see!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  157. mary

    I feel that the police department is being disrespectful to the President by saying, we not going to apologize. A local police department should not be bulking the President.This shows that they feel they are above the law themselves.Commisioner Haas was not there, however he is supporting his officer. The President is supporting his friend based on his friend's principles and research that supports racial profiling.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  158. Francine

    Many police officers respond differently when they approach a white man versus a man of color. This is evident based on what we have seen in situations that have escalated. I recall numerous encounters where white police officers gave white men "the benefit of doubt". If this were a white man, would this officer have responded in the same manner?

    Many people cannot relate to racism and wear "rose-colored glasses" since they do not know what it is like to be looked at, spoken to or treated differently based on the color of your skin.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  159. Marilyn

    People in this country are so used to receiving illogical, double talk from politicians until they are unable to deal with President Obama's straight answers. He said the police "acted stupidly" and that is true; based on the police report that Soledad read on air the other day, the officer went beyond what he needed to do. By the officer's own words, he (the officer) was leaving, but he was offended by what the professor was saying to him, so he arrested him. Nevermind that the officer offended the professor and that's why the professor was so upset. The officer said he was leaving; he should have just kept going.
    It's strange that this same thing happened to Samuel L. Jackson in a movie that was on TV three weeks ago.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  160. Lanette

    I believe the police were following their normal procedures. They were trying to do their job! Also it seems a bit sketchy that Gates would use the term "Black in America" so quickly! It's almost as if it were staged! I would hope that someone would call the police even if it were myself breaking into my own house, when they got there I would allow them to check things out. What's the big deal with them checking it out, asking questions, filling out their report that they are required to do as part of their job and leaving! I'm sorry Gates made it Harvard as I wonder if he deserves to be there teaching young minds.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  161. Christopher Snow

    It bothers me that the talk is all about race. The officer was an individual doing his job and the professor was an individual trying to get into his house. What happened between them during their interaction has not been made clear but it resulted in the professor's arrest. I find it hard to accept that the officer arrested the professor for no reason. Obviously, the situation could have been handled better. But they both need to accept responsibility for their actions in this incident. Could the officer been more sensitive? Could the professor been more cooperative?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  162. Robinson

    The main focus should not be viewed from the surface.Is this prof. new to that neighborhood?. If 'Yes", blame the cop, But if "NO", then tag it RACE Issue. Neighbors should no each other at least from a distance to know when to call the cops.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  163. Ann Rodgers

    I recognize the Commissioner's commitment to professionalism and his need to show support for Sgt, Crowley and stand by his men... However, with the obvious history of the way black men are treated in this country, Sgt. Crowley and the Cambridge Commissioner are extremely TONE DEAF that they do not recognize the inappropriateness of arresting AN OLDER BLACK MAN WITH A CANE who is obviously very upset with being told what to do in his own home. Crowley may have been following PROCEDURES in his mind, but he was TONE DEAF as to the assault his commands and mere presence was for this man who was being confronted in his own home. It was CLEARLY SGT Crowley's PRIDE that arrested the professor. It is EGO and PRIDE that can make Police Officers insensitive to people. They should be trained to be humble servants of society rather than raised above everyone else as a moral authority of some kind. It is an honor to be a police officer not a privilege.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  164. Diana

    I think that there are three sides to every story. In this situation, there is the story from the police, the story from Henry Louis Gates Jr, and then there is the truth. To me, the most important thing that comes from this confrontation is that dialogue is finally open to everyone to talk about racial profiling and the serious racial inequalities that occur all the time, in every city and state of this nation.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  165. carolyn gardner valentine

    I am getting increasingly hot under the collar for the fact that there is even a controversy and the Cambridge Police won't back down and admit they were wrong. Do you think that when they stopped a whitr man or white men in a house for allgedly breaking in, that when they said" this is my house", the police would even ask for id? Or, if they did, would they continue to bulyy the men, dragging them onto the front porch as they did Gates? I would have gotten loud, too. Think of your favorite white man,, and see if he would not have gotten loud under the same circumstances.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  166. Sandra Lee

    I do not believe, based upon the information provided, that the police officer is necessarily a "racist." I do believe though, based upon that same information, that this is an example of how officers don't necessarily always think before acting. It was very, very, VERY poor judgement on the part of the officer, especially IN THIS CASE. Henry Lewis Gates is very well known, very learned, very articulate ... and important to point out, is NOT a young man.

    Many in our society have lost respect for the aged. Let's call this ABUSE of the AGED. An elderly man (OF ANY RACE) who is clearly not in top condition, poses no threat (IN HIS OWN HOME) to a CLEARLY much younger officer. The officer was out of line ... NO MATTER WHAT Gates said to him. The officer should have just left. He was in violation of Gates "personal space."

    It also could be ABUSE OF THOSE WHO APPEAR WEALTHY. Our society has come to loathe those whom have reached a higher standard of life through hard work and lots of education. They are somehow supposed to be disrespected because they chose the high road ... with all its costs and time effort.

    The officer may be a specialist at not profiling based upon race, but he could perhaps need SENSITIVITY training.

    Police are supposed to walk with utmost integrity in the role they have taken in society. We are supposed to view them as protectors, not harassers. Yet, I witness police harassing people daily and wonder why they have become such mistreaters of their fellow man. It is an abuse of power and a sense of being higher than other.

    Thus, it was abuse not matter what the motive (age?, wealth? race? combination of all three?)! We'll never know what was in the officer's mind.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:28 am |


    July 24, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  168. George

    If the professor would have been white the police Sgt would have approached the situation with a more laxed demeanor, police officer's in general approach blacks more aggressively than whites...... however, I wish the President wouldn't have commented so sharply before the story had a chance to unfold. If it comes out that the Professor did indeed agitate the officer, then the President may have showed America that he too plays the race card. I would like to see Pres. Obama apologize to the police department.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  169. Genevieve Mishali

    Really think about it, where does this Gates guy get off, just because he is a "friend" of the President, he thinks he is invincible, the police were doing their jobs dealing with a suspected "burglar" who didn't like to be questioned because he is "black"! What if he really was a burglar and they didn't do anything about it, what would Mr. Gates say then, "the police did nothing because he is black"... I give up!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  170. ChuckE

    I watch and read media info everyday and I do understand both sides about the situation. Gates: his home and property. Officer: Job of figuring out burglar call situation. The difference is when the officer leaves my house after knowing I am the owner, the conversation between us is going to be gratitude for having concerning neighbors and the officers help in case my home WAS being burglarized. I am white and it wouldn't matter being a black or white officer in my conversation while leaving. I just do not understand why Gates was so defensive toward the officer with his conversation. This will come out later because the race card has been played and this will not go away anytime soon. I am not on any side, but the sidelines watching.
    Just a thought, I wonder what would have happened if the officer was black.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  171. Ephraim Ndemah

    It puzzles me why some ailing person, walking with a stick and most probably well cultured, would be arrested at their home for what a police officer determines is disorderly conduct. CNN should not also continue to air only the vues of the police but also the statements of the professor.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  172. Dan

    I am a blond haired, blue eyed Caucasian male.
    If I mouth off to a police officer, I will also be handcuffed and arrested.
    This is a perfect example of a paranoid black man who immediately draws the race card if challenged in any way.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  173. Stanley E. Amos

    The history of police behavior towards African-Americans and Whites in America is a story worth investigating. There is a disparity between the rate of arrest of African-Americans as compared to others for similar reasons. When citizens confront police officers, African-Americans are more likely to be arrested than while others are warned time and time again to calm down. When you listened very closely to the Cambridge Police Officers comments, he says that when Mr. Gates did not calm down, he arrested him. The original call was about a break-in. That matter should have been handled after confirming via Mr. Gates' identification, ... the campus police indicating that he knew Mr. Gates .... The question remains, did the officer search the house for someone else who may have broken into the house and was still hiding there ... ? Based on his interview, he indicated that there were two black males. What is the basis for dropping the charges if an offense was committed by Mr. Gates? The fact of the matter is that when it comes to police interaction with African-Americans and others, we have in the past and still today live in two different and distinct Americas....

    July 24, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  174. suhail khan

    more more states r becoming police state the police have to much power in this case mr gates must be blood pressure patient and the cop who does not bend

    July 24, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  175. rebecca

    This incident makes me sad and concerned. The professor's reaction and our presdident's comments and all the coverage of the incident sets race relations back not forward. The professor comes across as a snob with a chip on his shoulder. For his own protection he should have gotten out of his house and let the police search it for the possiblity of "real" burglars. That 's what the police do. How was anybody to know someone else wasn't in that house?? I saw the professor say he was glad the neighbor had called in the police as he had valuable art and books. Is he asking for a breakin? And how do you think the police will react when they get that call? Are they going to risk being called racist again?? I think it's worrisome when two high profile black men, one a Harvard professor and the other our president are so quick to use the race card. That card should be torn up and realize we are all God's children and love and respect our differences instead of having a hissy fit over a tired old man (from a trip, I assume) with a cane and a police office putting his life on the line to protect all of us. The continued reports of this is stupid, get these two people in a room to repair the rift privately and work toward good not lawsuits!!! But at least it's no longer Michael Jackson!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  176. Cleo Bonnell

    For the President to make any comment about something that he wasn't fully informed about is STUPID in my view. He should have given a no comment response. From what I can see based on the police officers remarks, he was justified in his response to the situation. Mr Gates sounds like he is the "don't you know who I am" syndrome. I was very disgusted that the President should make a comment about this . He just added to the racial divide issues with his shooting off his mouth. Cudos to the officer and he should not apologize.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  177. William Herndon

    Both Black and White Officers need to be respected in America they do a tough job ,when asked you should respond with a proper answer ,smart talk will land you under arrest.this is what should be taught to our children then we would not have the Gates problem.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  178. carolyn gardner valentine

    Racism in any form is stupid , and this was a stupid act on the part of Cambridge Police. How humuiating and embarrassing for him. Where was the civic-minded neighbor who reported the "crime", and then didnt show up to say she recognized him, he lives there?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  179. Tymecka

    I am terribly disappointed at the amount of media attention that is being given to what President Obama said. It is clear that he did not agree with how the Cambridge police officer handled the Gates situation, and it should be left at that. It appears that just b/c he is the president that he should not have his own opinion and that is not fair. And further more, there are three sides to this story Gates side, Crawley side, and the truth. Being a black woman, I too disagree with Gates being arrested. I feel that after it was established that this is Gates' legal resident and it was clear he did not want it searched or any further assistance from the officer he should have left. As far as the neighbor is concerned, how neighborly can she be if she can call in a burglary but can not intervene when she sees the homeowner being arrested at his own home.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  180. Reggie C.

    Racism is not always a conscious bigoted act; it's systemic. Clearly, the officer eventually understood the 911 call was a false alarm. But just as clearly, Skip Gates' arrest was a matter of putting him "in his place". I honestly can't imagine the exact same thing happening to ANY white man with Skip Gates' credentials.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  181. Drew

    Mr. Gates at first wasn't complying with officers requests he wanted to rant and rave. Not complying with the police can get you cuffed and arrested we all know that, it doesn't matter if you are black, white, green, or purple. There were a lot of "unknowns" when the officers arrived, the officers were just doing their job, and Mr. Gates not complying for some time just elevated the matter.

    I'm also a huge Obama supporter I wish he wouldn't of made the "stupidly" comment.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  182. Gail Johnson

    The police officer's actions were inappropriate. I think he overreacted. What happened to FREE SPEECH in America? The officer was already walking away so clearly he knew there was NO crime committed. He then decided to take the comments personally that's why he reacted personally instead of professionally based on his training. I'd be interested to know how many prior arrests does this officer have of non blacks for this same bogus offense. The content of someones heart is displayed in their actions and not what they say from their mouths!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  183. Gary Broyles

    The Presdent is correct ...the officer is stupid and needs to be fired.This man has no business walking around with a gun acting like a real Police Officer.
    These people come into your home and attempt to take over...well remember " A Man's home is his Castle."

    July 24, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  184. Shemier

    This situation is not only about racism, but abuse of police power. After Professor Gates showed his ID proving that he lived there, that should have been it, and the cops should have been on their merry way. But no, that cop kept questioning him. If I were professor Gates, I would have been upset too.

    There's no doubt in my mind if that same situation happened to a white professor at Harvard, he wouldn't have been asked to show his ID, and if he was asked, the police would have left promptly after seeing it and would probably have apologized for the inconvenience. I am proud President Obama spoke his mind and isn't afraid of being "politically correct," he's real.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  185. Devan

    I am pretty disgusted with Gates. Being a prominent, law abiding citizen, how hard was it to present identification, allow the officer to do his job, and move on? Unfortunately, police officers' jobs are becoming harder and harder in the fact that they are under a constant microscope. Being able to approach an officer and continue to be belligerent, screaming about race from someone you would think could look past racial lines, an officer has to make a decision on whether the situation could escalate. The officer made a decision and he is paying for it dearly. Being a model of argumentative, non-compliance with a police officer sends a message that this type of behavior is ok. And the fact that Obama is supporting this behavior could place our officers into a grave predicament, but had this been an African American police officer or had Gates not been a prominent friend of the President, would the same situation or reaction have ensued?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  186. David Sessoms

    I voted for Barack Obama. I feel like his early statement on this case will haunt him and hurt him as being effective as a president. Maybe the question is was he tricked in to commenting so early. Regarless, it will hender his effectiveness and he has already lost support

    July 24, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  187. Makarios

    Every one who reads this comment please take to heart I know exactly whats going on with this situation I once lived in an area were the police department runs on unwritten rules of engagement with peolpe in general,the police officers when in certain situations use small charges in a factitious way drunk in public,disorderly conduct,blocking a side walk I have also seen peolpe go to jail for urinating in public when it was clear they did not but for that charge they were able to use due to the regional location(tourisim city).I believe that some type of review of the arresting power that is given to the officers by these charges.And why does it seem that officers get angry when asked for there badge number is it not the right of a U.S. citizen to ask for this information? I believe an all around review across the country needs to take place by the justice department and an independent group on law implementation by officers on the beat , work environment in police stations,and also community lawinforcement relations because if you don't trust the police then your not going to aid them in there job of protect and serve. I'm old enough to remember the officer friendly programs of the early 1980s.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  188. Vijay Mehta

    If white man would have hand cuffed by a black policeman under the same circumstances wll black policeman be called racist ? If policeman in Cambridge followed the correct procedure let us not talk about racism. President says he did not look at all facts. He should have looked at the facts first. His comments fuel more racist attitude by creating more hatred feelings in black community.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  189. Shemier

    Professor Gates can say what he wants and whatever he wants in his own house, and in public, that's our 1st amendment rights! The reason the officer arrested Gates is he asked for his name and badge number, and the officer refused to give that info, even though by law he is required to. The cop arrested Gates out of spite. Police are not above the law and this abuse must stop!

    The officer tried to say he "tried" to give Professor Gates his name and badge number; yeah right! You don't try, you either gave the requested info or you didn't. The cop is lying. If the cop had good reason to arrest Gates, the charges wouldn't have been dropped and the mayor wouldn't be saying this situation shouldn't have happened. Gates is a distinguised, intelligent, professor, he has no reason to lie.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  190. Tony Sadberry

    I am (1/2) black in Boston. I recently moved from the black community to a suburban Boston community. I feel sorry for black communities in America because the President has condoned citizens to disobey police investagatory questioning and commands. If I were a policeman, I would now protect my reputation and personal safety by apathetically answering and investigating calls of "non children" related incidents of burglary and domestic violence in black communities.
    I've been loving the Presidents "tough love" talk to NAACP and African countries. This statement has set him back.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  191. Jill

    I think that the police officer absolutely did the right thing. He is no better than anyone else and is not entitled to be disorderly and verbally attack the officer that came to his home to HELP HIM. Just because he is Obama's buddy or because he is black does not entitle him to do or say whatever he wishes. What will he cry when his alarm goes off and nobody come to his aid? His cries of racial discrimination and threating a lawsuit is disgusting. People like him do nothing but promote racial discrimination as wel as abuse the legal system thinking he has grounds to sue.

    President Obama is an idiot for making the comments he made and is also guilty of promoting racial discrimination. His claims to want unity among all people is absolutely bogus.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  192. Lynette Malphrus

    This officer had every right to act as he did. If Gates had complied with the officer's request and shown him some identification everything would have been resolved. But Gates had to let his ego get in the way and cop and attitude and that created his problem. As for Obama's statement about handcuffing a man who walks with a cane ... that was a STUPID STATEMENT. This officer was trying to protect this man's property by asking for that identification. If I had been in Gates' situation, I would have been impressed that this officer was smart enough to ask for identification rather than just taking the word of a stranger!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  193. marilee meyer

    Too bad the photographer didn't have a recorder on site. Indications are that the officer could have handled it better, that is, as soon as he saw the identification that should have been the end of the issue. But Gates set the tone when asked for it, he said "why, because I'm a black man in America?" the police were responding to a call. the house had been previously burglarized. they asked for ID. simple.

    I have had the privilege of speaking with Prof. Gates at various events. With all due respect, I have witnessed perceived self-importance, entitlement, lack of engagement and even dismissal, intended or not, leaving this one fan disappointed with his behavior. I find him both charming and a bit rude.Gates tends to see everything through a racial lense. this is not to say he is not justified by his experiences.

    the question is whether Prof Gates can distinguish between his personal behavior and that being the posterchild for being black in america.

    people forget he was arrested for disorderly conduct. His status gives him a platform and, based on my personal experience, he is not being totally honest.

    Cambridge police serve a huge multicultural community and transient student population. They tend to be very tolerant. While there may have been missteps on both sides, I bet Prof. Gates is hardly the innocent victim.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  194. frankie

    The thing that bothers me is the fact that Mr Gates showed Mr Croely his ID. THis indicated that he lived in the house.Why did it have to escalate to national proportions something could have been done in that exchange that could have healed instead of hurt.
    My question to Mr Croely: What would you have done if this had been the president of HARVARD trying to get into his house? If you can honestly say that you would have acted the same then I will buy your story.
    You have a middle aged man using a cane coming home in the dead of night and no keys. The professor was already in a negative frame of mind. Someone calls to report a break in police shows up and makes a demand for ID, ID is shown but instead of the policeman telling have a nice night, they laugh about the comedic potential of the scenario they turn it into a national debate on racism. What is wrong with that picture.
    With every encounter that we engage in everyday, we are given the opportunity to heal or hurt. In this case a great opportunity was lost to heal.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  195. nitza maldonado

    I think the basic most important issue here is that the president did not follow "innocent until proven guilty" that make me thinks, is he so quick in taking decisions, or his comments were based purely on his believes? Would he have interfered if this would have been a white guy? Is this the way he is going to run the country? I am very surprised. I honestly admire him a lot and I am a little disappointed.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  196. Susan Andrade

    Hi Heidi

    This type of behaviour from the police department is nothing new. My brother was arrest in our home at 18 years old. A robbery took place in our condo building on the floor below our apartment and my brother was hanging out on our balcony not knowing what was going on. While on the balcony he saw a fleet of police cars approach the condo so he went inside. A few minutes later the cops came knocking on our door. They came inside and search our apartment without a warrant, and we had just moved into the building so we still had unpack boxes. The went through all our personal items and arrested my brother. The falsely arrest my brother without any proof and then later released him without an apology. Thanks Susan

    July 24, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  197. david

    As a police officer at a university, I want to put my support behind the Cambridge Police Department and all officers at the scene that day. I have dealt with similar situations. Officers are called to a burglary in progress to protect a potential victim and the victim is so unappreciative that they are beligerent and disorderly to the point of forcing the officers to arrest them. As I understand it, the report was of 2 people trying to break in. Even if contact is made with someone who claims to be the owner, whether inside or out of the house, according to the original information, there were 2 people and a possible threat still exists which must be dealt with by the officers. Besides that, how many homeowners have broken into their own houses to beat, rape and or kill their ex-wife? This is possible regardless of the color of your skin. And I believe he was handcuffed after he became beligerent which is totally justified. I wasn't there and I'm sure there is information I don't have, but from what I've seen, the officers were well within their duties to respond the way they did. Unfortunately, we live in a litigious society that will condone this rediculous law suit when it is filed and, more often than not, it is cheaper to settle than to fight it. Thus, it is perpetuated. Congratulations and happy pay-day professor Gates. As far as Obama's comment: He should be ashamed. I'm an Obama supporter but that comment was uncalled for and inappropriate. Get the facts and put your personal feelings aside before passing judgment. You may be acquainted with and impressed by Professor Gates but you obviously know nothing about law enforcement techniques or how Gates reacted that day at that moment.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  198. Charlie

    This is a problem in America. It’s not just a race thing either; I live in L.A. California and am a 32 yr. old white male. In the last 2 months I have been stopped by the police 3 times for simply walking down the street. I do have tattoos (professional tattoos) but am very clean cut and dress very proper. One officer actually told me he stopped me because "he knows everyone in the area walking the streets but doesn’t know me". The police have repeatedly abused their power as well as violate several civil rights. They profile and racially profile individuals regardless of what the law says they can do.
    I explained to one officer that I know my civil/federal rights and this stop is illegal, he proclaimed "are you an attorney? Then shut your mouth", I replied "no, but I know my civil rights and this is illegal". He then started badgering me about where I live, where I am going, and where I am coming from. All illegal questions. I told him I don’t have to answer these questions and he became volatile and started cursing me in foul language. I also explained that this stop is illegal, as the police MUST have a REASONABLE SUSPICION that you are either committing a crime, have just committed a crime, or are about to commit a crime. Seeing as I had been walking for some time and there could not be any possible reason for this stop, or any APB's matching my description this officer felt he had to abuse his power with a citizen he was sworn to protect. Remember coppers, you are civil servants and work for the people, to protect the people and uphold genuine law. How many cases of police brutality and police abuse of power have we seen on CNN in the past 3 to 4 months???? How about the last 1 to 2 years??? Think America, these officers have to much power at their disposal and several comrads who will back their every play to ensure no officer is reprimanded of fired. Makes me sick!!
    Absolute power corrupts absolutely!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  199. Douglas Phelan

    If this is the perfect case of racism in America by all means seek out justice. But if this is a case of two pround and passionate men, who do not back down from a fight, coming together, and acting imperfectly then it should not be the perfect example of racism. If if were just two men letting their emotions getting the better of them it could do more damage to race relations in this country if it is made out to be something it is not. The eyes of the nation are upon these men. If it was a heated moment I would challenge both individuals involved not to back down from a challenge but accept a new one as good will ambassadors for race relations in America. If members of our society who hold positions of trust and respect can not set a good example for the rest of us what hope for change do we have then?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  200. Judith Bruder

    I am not racist, but I am tired of blacks claiming "racial profiling" every time they are questioned, stopped for anything etc,
    Professor Gates should have been glad someone was checking to see if his house was being broken into. All he had to do was provide his ID and proof he lived there, be polite and thank the officer for checking. He had no reason to be beligerent.
    Maybe the Officer didn't need to handcuff him but maybe the Professor refused to be quiet and go back into his house and anyone else would be handcuffed and taken to the police station.

    The police and eveyone else are afraid to say anything to blacks. They have a chip on their shoulder which is annoying. Everything is racial profiling and they are being picked on.

    Maybe they should check and see if they are to blame for any of it.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  201. Larry

    It's an unfortunate incident all the way around for everyone.

    The fact is that racism is still a problem in this country, as is racial profiling.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  202. samuel

    People might not believe Gates' story, but for sure whenever the police come across an African-American person they treat them differently. On 4th July 2009 (USA's "Independence day") I was treated the same way Mr. Gates was when police officers were called on me (by unknown person) for being in my own car park, in a white neighborhood. If the sgt. used the same approach officers in Lyndhurst NJ used on me, to approach Mr. Gates trust me, there was no professionlism involved there, it's racial profiling! Police approach matters!!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  203. Mrs. Jones

    I simply do not understand why Gates' arrest has to be labeled as a racial incident or labeled as anything. Is it because Henry Louis Gates, Jr. says the police officer's behavior was racially motivated?

    Consider this explanation: two people were simply reacting to a situation. Prof. Gates was tired from arriving home from a long trip. Sgt. Crowley was trying to do his job. The truth of what transpired is probably somewhere in the middle of reported events. Oh, wait! That's too boring of an explanation.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  204. William

    In the next few days we are going to be able to judge ALL of those involved in this incident by "the content of their character", their conduct and NOT their color.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  205. Bob

    It appears that the Cambridge police department is actually a model for the country.Respect must be shown for poltce performing their duty'.People with influence,Black and White often imagine they are above othe citizens and have a special privilege to be abusive. A retired policeman and neighbor of mine often said a policeman's worst dread was being fired over arresting someone who was influential.This frequently deterred them from performing theie duty to protect the community.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  206. Smalls

    I am a huge Obama supporter, I am an "american of color" of 28 years and live in the 'mayberry' south... Georgia. It's not uncommon for blacks to feel as though they are being profiled. However, as you approach and respond with respect, you'd get a better response. He (Gates) acted out of frustration and should have been disciplined so that he won't feel that this is proper behavior.

    Now, when a call to dispatch forwards information to help Gates at his Cambridge home in the future, do you think they'll respond promptly or...?

    Obama, you are my role model of sorts. Sir, you've got bigger fish to fry. Because he's a friend of yours you may have asserted your presidency before your time. Wait for the facts.

    We have issues down here in the "hood" trying to help our younger generation to remain positive and believe in themselves. When we allow individuals of color that live in "high society" Cambridge to pull his black card on officers and get backed by the president... will you do the same for every individual that you don't know? Age is wisdom. Professor Gates should know better.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:35 am |

    Mr. Gates felt victimized already by the break-in and then the police treats him as if he is a suspect, anyone ” black or white” woulld become angry in this situation. The officer knew and I feel deceit in drawing Mr.Gates onto the porch where he knew he could arrest him.Instead of understanding the pain that Mr.Gates felt at the time. instead of teaching classes on racial profiling” by the way ,why do we even have classes on racial profiling? “, we should have classes on understanding the way a person feels when cornered and has done nothing wrong. i was walking by my home at 5:30 P.M. and I was stopped and pulled over by a policeman for no reason. I asked was they looking for someone in the area and they replied “no” , he just wanted to stop me because they never had any contact with me.I thought this is how you supposed to live your life- no contact with the police. The reason I was waliking , I was trying to comfort my brother on the phone because his two-week old daughther was dying. The police never asked me that.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  208. Lance

    I love the cry of racism in the comments...maybe the people who use racism as a blanket claim are themselves indeed racist. Maybe it is not the ones who listen to the content of an event and arrive at a conclusion, whatever that may be.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  209. Orfa

    It seems it was clear that Gates said he was the resident. The officer should have recognized that not every situation will not be smooth as in a textbook or what is taught. Some people react angrily and some act very courteous. An officer should be ready for every reaction and act accordingly. Dont try to "bait" a person for confrontation. Do your job. Get an ID immediately, tell the person that you are going to look around just to be sure. Tell the person that you are just doing your job and then LEAVE!!!! You have to be the bigger person when someone yells or embarrases you with just words. Youre not there for a personality contest. Eat up your pride and move on. The officer wasnt gonna take a citizen yelling at him with "just words." The officer should have just walked away. If Gates acted like an idiot, that is not probable cause to cuff him and send him to jail. If we had a prison for idiots then it would be packed to its maximum. Get over it officer! You should have walked away.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  210. Edwin

    We are all challenged by the actions in Cambridge, MA concerning Dr. Gates! Especially since it was clear that he was in his own home!

    What a Police State we have become here in this country .....

    As a Black businessman who drives and rents nice cars .....I have had to deal with White Policeman on several occasions who simply stopped me while driving recently a newly Released Enterprise Rental Car on I-485 in Charlotte, NC. ...after the stop they ask to see your driver's license and they see that everything is in order, Insurance, etc..... (I always drive dressed well...) ...They then make the comment which seems to be the CODE Response for their action when wrong! "....sorry, a car like this was reported stolen!"

    Go figure! It would be interesting how many "Black men" are being stopped with this one!

    There are countless situations like this and others everyday we feel that are unjustified in the life of just being a Black man!

    Peace and Grace,

    An Elder

    July 24, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  211. Martone Detroit, MI


    I can totally sympathize with Mr. Gates, as an African-American man, I too have been racially profiled by the Lansing, MI Police department in my teens. Now that I am in my thirties I realize, unfortunately this is something that happens on the regular and I have no sympathy for the Cambridge Police Department or the arresting officer. I would like to know for what reason did the Commissioner hand pick the Officer to oversee a class on Racial Profiling? Was it something so that the Officer could learn from and develop more sensitivity for people of color or was it mandated as a form of punishment?

    Furthermore, the President like anyone else in America has the right to offer his opinion when asked about this situation. Racial profiling is not a local issue it is a national issue and as much people of color try to explain this to others of non-color it still fails their comprehension.

    Martone Williams, Lansing, MI

    July 24, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  212. Barb

    The police officer was doing HIS JOB! Why is it in America that every time a black person doesn't like what is going on they start screaming racism? It's apparent that the gentleman was irriated and that he was looking for a reason to scream racism. The officer probably didn't have any other choice but to arrest the man because of his conduct. What would have happen had the officer not questioned him to a certain degree and there was actually a robbery going on. I guess that would have fallen under racism because the officer did not investigate because he was a black man. Come on America, LET'S GET OVER THIS!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  213. Tony


    I am a black former Police officer in Canada and I can tell you this racism is not limited to the US.

    I have heard the N word more in the Police staion than I did on the street. Let us TRY to fix the problem or God help us. Does the NRA really want to give guns to all who need them? This may come back to haunt the US and the NRA with all the angry young blacks and latinos out there.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  214. J. Travis

    I think BO "stupidly" comment was unpresidential. For a guy who's known for his eloquence in speech, he not only sounded unpresidential in my opinion, but inflamed a controversy for which he admittedly lacked details. I think his "rush to judgment" undermined the police dept. involved, especially the officer.

    As for Henry Louis Gates, I think if he'd refrained from inflammatory remarks to the officer, this would never have happened. Respect is a 2-way street, Mr. Gates.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  215. George Sidler

    I have always considered myself personally "regulated" -neutral, if you will, in forming hardline opinions regarding racial issues in this country. I've seen the rise of rebellion in the Sixties, to the challenge of affirmative action in the Seventies (and quotas beyond). I've also seen the conversion (or is that perversion?) of a country as well in our current times.
    It wasn't until this recent incident with the professor in Massachussettes that I realized just how out of balance we've "allowed" ourselve to become.
    The facts -as we know them- is that a police officer responded to a situation that required, FIRST, to secure the scene (to include the professor) until confirmation was in-place that the entire scene was under control.
    The professor's racially-motivated (and targeted) comments point to the larger problem in our country; that of FIRST calling everything racial, andn only then allowing the process to continue.
    In this case, the president was so totally in the wrong for weighing-in with his personal (bias?) comments that it has (in my opinion) done more to damage race relations (or tensions) throughout the country then any one single person could possibly have.
    Now, people across the country are speaking-up where they remain collected before. The "president" pushed this issue of bias to the forefront, and NOT in a positive/productive way.
    The validation of this is simple... take a look at the media, across the globe; they are all over this. They know he screwed this up and that this WILL turn into something much larger, as so many of the "silent majority" comes out to share their opinions (Read: "Votes")!
    The professor is only an inconsequential cog in this wheel... the president... now can be seen (classified?) as the culprit!

    My views...
    George Sidler*

    July 24, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  216. Deborah

    I feel all of this could have been avoided. Mr. Gates proved it was his home. Of course he was upset, I would have been also. Evidently this officer realized this was a mistake and turned to leave. Mr. Gates had a right to vent. At this time is when the officer took Mr. Gates comments personal. He wanted to teach him a lesson. If someone didn't tink the arrest was absolutely wrong, the charges wouldn't have been dropped. We all know charges are only dropped when there's no evidence of wrong doing.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  217. michael armstrong sr.

    Gates handeld this situation stupidly by being a terd to the officer and the officer should have grit his teeth and left after the fact.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  218. Stephen Zatylny

    Stephen Zatylny
    Montreal, Canada

    It was with great pride that I supported President Obama during his campaign last year but it is with deep regret that I have decided to withdraw my support at this time.

    I am appauled that the leader of the US can publicly humiliate the police force of Cambridge MA. The President's comments were a direct attack on the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect and serve Its residents. President Obama's comments were way out of line and should be retracted. The President should put himself in the position of an American police officer who must respond to a call, alone and in a culture that is obsessed with guns. Professor Gates should be thankful that an officer had followed police protocol to ensure his safety and the safety of himself. The reporting of the facts of the incident were one sided and I am deeply concerned that a man in the most powerful position in the World can come up with such a hasty response. What does this say about his descion making?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  219. txlawdawg62

    As a ex-police officer of 13 yrs I feel that every situation has at least two sides. In this instance it is unfortunate that race is the focal point of the contraversy. The thing that bothers me is that at some point this incident should have ended after proper identification was obtained. No matter if the officer wanted to stay and "continue" to investigate the scene, when the poperty owner who did not call you does not want you on his property the officer has no more obligation to be there. THis is why it appears to be a deliberate attempt on the part of the police sgt. to establish who was "in control" and thus due to the ranting of very angry property owner (rightly so) a questionable arrest was made. I don't believe the officers were ever in any danger, and they fail to realize that if they simply left the scene all Dr. Gates behavior would have subsided thus defusing the situation.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  220. Wayne K. Portlock

    I am a 60 year old Black Man. I do understand Professor Gates' feelings. As a law abiding individual. The police, especially the White Police Officers generally use the badge and uniform to intimidate Black Men.

    I would like to hear the 911 call and the dispatch call to the force. That may shed more light on the officers position. Also, is that area, where Professor Gates lived plagued with trouble?

    What is the ratio of Officers of Color within the Cambridge Police Force, break it down by rank?

    I as a former US Navy vet. I have traveled all over the U.S. I had a very bad experience in New Haven, CT while just trying to get something to eat, with 5 white guys, on our way back to the Navy Base in Newport, R.I. The white police officers anywhere always use their badge, hand cuffs, black jacks, tazers, and black gloves (not to mention 9mm guns) to demand respect. Respect or Intimidation?

    Respect should given from good action and good deeds. The police were at one time thought of as piece officers. What happened to that concept?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  221. troy

    heidi- its amazing how some people (white people) never think anything can be racial. until it happens to them. i guess because the majority of u all think we are criminals. but u the media has a hand in that. everytime a black person commits a crime his picture is immediately plastered on the frontpage or tv screen. but any black person knows when that person is white . alot of time in the newspapers there are no pics. and on the news sometimes its 2days or so before the picture surfaces. it gives the appearance that blacks are the only ones committing crimes. if you're not safe in your own home where are u safe at. ok in the case of the newhaven firefighters i think the case should have been overturned. but do u see how upset white people were about that? did u hear alot of blacks disputing that. we can be fair! just want the same respect.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  222. Rick

    Three thoughts:
    1. Prof. Gates has decided to "boil the ocean" over this case.
    2. I am reminded of Hamlet, "The doth protest too much, methinks."
    3. This should not be the watershed event from which the issue of racial profiling gets national attention.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  223. John

    I was once stopped by a black policeman in Philadelphia and beaten by him and as he was hitting me on the head he kept saying "you white rich kid" I had just moved to this country from Ireland and working two jobs while going to school and I was driving a Ford Taurus for goodness sake. I made a left on Market Street and that was why I was pulled over...come on, you always see the one side!!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  224. LeAnn Hickox

    I have friends from nearly every background and lifestyle that exists. I don't judge people by their cover, only by their attitudes and body language. But this professor did what I have seen others in the black community do, judged the officer by the color of his skin. If you are disorderly, the color of your skin should not be a free ticket to skirting the law. The law states that an officer can arrest you for disorderly conduct. It sounds like this guy was making a royal spectacle of himself in the presence of his neighbors and that officer had every right to arrest him because he was being loud and disorderly. And for what, to make a point that he is better than the officer just because he is a black man?

    Not every white person is a racist. Those of the black community have been diligent in keeping a dark spon in our country's history alive in the stories they tell their children but they deliberately leave out the stories of white people who took in, cared for, hid and died for slaves during the civil war. Predjudsim is prejudism. It's that simple. I do not judge black people because of the color of their skin and it bothers me when they snub me and glare at me and are rude to me for the same reason. Everyone just needs to let the past be the past and get into this new cenury. In other words, GROW UP!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  225. Lask

    This does not appear to be a race issue, but the facts are not in yet. We should keep in mind that men can quickly become hot heads when marking their territory.

    If the police officer followed protocol, then he absolutely should NOT apologize. If he provoked the professor, then he should apologize. On the flip side, if Professor Gates behaved in a manner which has been reported by the police officer, then the professor owes the police officer an apology.

    President Obama overstepped his bounds and I'm quite disappointed in him.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  226. Rashaun Burgess

    There is going to be an investigation taking place to look into what happened but they will not find anthing conclusive because the problem here is not external. It is an internal issue we cannot physially grasp with our hands. It is an issue with how we are taught/ programmed to view and/or judge other people of different races and cultures. It is known that black men are viewed by law enforcement as being more aggressive and irrate in certain situations than men of other races. So when law enforcement encounters black men they are immediately inclined to be on the defense; this is seen by cops having there hand resting on their firearm when dealing with black men. Now lets correlate this idea to Henry Louis Gates being arrested. The officer said that Gates was being irrate as he (the officer) was leaving the home. Not saying its true or not because I was not there, but even if it were true the officer should have continued to leave the home inspite of what was being said by Gates. After all, he was still in his home on his property and should not have been arrested for not being humble to law enforcement. This all goes back to the idea mentioned earlier of how we are programmed to see people of other races. This also illustrates a point, that needs to be talked more about, in that it is seen as a crime for a black man to not show deference to law enforcement.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  227. Claudia Roberts

    Why is so much coverage given to this police department about how great their race relations are? I read in the Washington Post last evening, about an investigation for racial profiling in 2008. This is just seven months into 2009. I am I to believe that a complete change in racial attitude has happen in seven months. It is difficult for this over 70 Years old African American to believe.

    It was interesting to watch the officer try to clean up his act. Why not
    think how any individual might be upset with all of the police in their home, with all of the lights and every thing. All African Americans are not use to being exposed to police officer.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  228. Andy from Boston

    Professor Gates wanted this. He wanted to get himself arrested and turn it into a racial issue and now he has his publicity and his book deal and wants to do a documentary. It amazes me that Professor Gates, an expert on civil rights and advocate of equality, is causing such harm to those goals being achieved. It exemplifies how this playing of the race card every time something happens to a black person keeps the national wound of racism ripped open. In my opinion, most white white people (excluding the very ignorant) have accepted black people as equals and are cognizant of their past pain and suffering.

    I think the problem is that it is black people themselves who cannot accept themselves as equals and I wish I knew why that is. Black people have to realize that they've won: they have their civil rights, they have gained equality and now they have to work hard just like the rest of us. Instead, they cry racism and that white people are oppressing them when things get difficult, I think those black people who actually suffered through slavery and fought in the civil rights movement would be ashamed of their current behavior.

    There is discrimination in the country, but now it mainly comes from black people who are labeling and stereotyping white people and saying all kinds of negative and vile things about us. When Chris Rock hosted the Oscars on MLK's birthday he said, "It's nine o'clock, so white people only have to be nice to black people for another three hours." While that is funny it's also a serious problem because I believe that is just the way black people feel.

    I think everyone should know that civil rights isn't just for black people, it's for everyone. It's not PC to talk about reverse discrimination but discrimination is a two way street and black people can be every bit as racist and ignorant as any white person ever was. And by the way, labeling Cambridge or Boston racist is ridiculous; we're the most liberal place in the nation and if you don't think so try your luck in the cities of the South. And lest everyone forget, it was the North who freed the slaves at a time when that was not popular to do and all we get is grief. Black people should try having more courtesy and less of a chip on their shoulders.

    If I have a lot to say on this issue it is because not many other people are. Why doesn't CCN do a program called White in America? White people have issues and a culture too but no one wants to hear about that and that's a shame. Think of where we'd be if white people didn't want to listen to the black people who wanted their civil rights. You have to heal and move on sometime.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  229. ron levine

    Heidi, I'm outraged by this whole siuation. What I see here is Professor Gates using his position and his race as a platform to rekindle the history of racism in America. Clearly this officer used professional judgement to diffuse a situaion that he thought was becoming murky. Profrssor Gates'comments toward the officer was clearly unwarranted. Even the President should have refrained from saying anything about this incident until all the facts were known. We cannot allow any individuals no matter what their standing is; to exploit such a sensitive subject as racial disparity .

    July 24, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  230. Dave Nations

    As a white american I feel very strongly that Mr Gates was treated unfairly by the law enforcement officer! I myself would probably react the same way if I was in my own home minding my own business, and to turn around and see an officer standing in my home I would react in exactly the same way, get the heck out of my house!! Did the Officer call out upon entering Mr. Gate's house to Identify himself and that he was enetering the home?
    Also what was the neighbor that called in the report thinking? they could see someone "breaking into" his neighbors home, yet I guess he does not recoginize his own neighbor?
    As for President Obama's remark on his FRIENDS arrest, I believe his answer the the reporters question to be completely correct and honest! I stand by my presidents answer, and support him 100 percent.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  231. Phil99

    President Obama began by saying he didn't have all the facts and then proceeded to criticize the police for acting stupidly and linked the situation to the broader issue of racial profiling. Such reckless and inflamatory remarks are hard to fathom from a president who is so intelligent and keenly aware of the power of the spoken word. Meaningful discussions of prejudice and racial profiling are harmed, not helped, when they are automatically assumed in every situation involving police and minorities. The root of prejudice is "pre-judging". President Obama admittedly pre-judged this situation.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  232. Tony

    Unrelated to this incident, but what was Gates doing on assignment in China? opportunity for him and his daughter to get a free vacation?
    Aren't there enough problems in America and Africa for him spend his "expertise" analyzing?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  233. Brian Foster

    Sgt. Crowley arrested Prof. Gates AFTER understanding the mistake. Both overreacted and both could acknowlege that. It was simply a stupid mistake in a society still charged with racial tension.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  234. a.s.b

    One should not make a comment without knowing facts. However president's comment is understandable when you use your logic withouth facts present. You can ask for ID in or outside of the home and it should stay at that. Professor was probably stressed out and frustrated during police intervention. If the officer used better judgement -instead of trying to be a hero- all would have been avoided.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  235. Hmmwaitaminute

    I think everyone needs to be very clear on what this issue is truly about. It is not an issue of legality, but one of necessity. What the officer did what completely legal but also unnecessary.
    Now I'm not calling this racism, but I'm pretty sure that there are certain demographic groups in America that receive a disproportionate amount of unnecessary treatment when it comes to law enforcement.

    Hmm...Kinda makes ya think

    July 24, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  236. The Almighty Storm of New York

    Dear Heidi

    I think the whole thing was between was a battle of egos not of racial profiling.

    For one, if you see two breaking into your neighbor's house, regardless of their color, you would call the cops. Its a no-brainer. the neighbors did a good job and thats the only right thing that happened that day.

    However, the situation could of ended when the ID was produced. I feel there was a struggle of egos. I can see Gates being angry from the police presence and he might of said some words to anger Sgt. Crowley. I can also see Sgt. Crowley taking the anger of Gates personally and he reacted to that.

    Both men didn't want to give up their ground and in both of their minds, they felt that they had power over the other. In the end, it was the Sgt. Crowley ends up losing the battle because he looks foolish for arresting a man, in his own home, that needs a cane to walk. Sgt. Crowley could of tried to diffuse the situation but he chose to be the stereotypical aggressive police officer.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  237. Patricia Howard

    Cooler Heads could have prevailed. If this officer has taken classes in diversty and racial profiling then he has only learned the script but has failed to captue the ability to commiserate with any human. Had the professor been white, native american or hispanic; a Professor of Law or a Factory worker, he would still be outraged at the officer's intrusion and arrogant attitude. The officer should have felt the senior citizen's outrage at arriving from a long and stressful trip from Across the ocean and most assuredly a long and tiring experience at the airport and to come home and be unable to get his door open and to finally get into his home probably visualizing about the chance to sleep in his own bed and to relax. The officer appears to be young and inexperienced ( my opinion based on his potrayal in his tv interview) He should have felt the embarassing situation the professor must have felt when the officer opened the door and walked out without addressing the audience outside. The officer should have been apologizing profusely instead he seemed only concerned about his image and how he would write this Report?? for as soon as he opened the front door and saw an audience he should have explained to the audience that he had made a mistake and that he was very sorry for the intrusion on this mans privacy. He further crushed this elderly gentleman's dignity by losing his temper ad slapping handcuffs on the gentleman in front of his students and neighbors. How Crude and debasing can a Servant of the community be ???? The entire force should be apologizing and the officers should be given further classes on conflict resolution .

    July 24, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  238. Johnnie Tatum/Woodbridge Va.

    I think this whole encounter was driven by huge egos. You have a afro – American Harvard professor which some thinks demands respect and on the other hand you have a police officer which we all know don’t tolerate disrespect . Racial profile is a real issue for black Americans but I think this is not one of them Johnnie Tatum/ Woodbridge VA.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  239. Esther

    I am equally surprised by all the additional drama surrounding this case. I find it very difficult to believe that the Police Officer followed protocol after Mr. Gates provided him with his identification and told him that the house was his own, yet the Officer still felt the need to arrest him. The fact is, if the Police Officer would have done due diligence he would have not had the need to arrest Mr. Gates only to later drop all charges, which only proves the point of inappropriate behavior. I also find it hard to believe that a Harvard Professor with such impeccable background would have any reason to mislead the entire Nation about the details surrounding this case. It is truly regrettable that we are so quick to criticize President Obama’s comments forgetting that we founded this Country on Freedom of Speech, which applies to us all.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  240. Sherry

    I think Professor Gates is showing a little too much bombast over this whole episode. Not everything that happens in a black person's life is about race. To imply otherwise just strengthens the tendency of some African Americans to rely on their "victimization" to avoid accomplishments such as Professor Gates has acheived.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  241. Ed

    I think this story is getting too much exposure. All it's doing now is perpetuating racism which everyone knows is alive and thriving. The sooner the media stops reporting it every 2 minutes, the sooner it will be resolved

    July 24, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  242. John Haugh

    Sad, very sad. Mr. Gates was not arrested for his color, but due to his behavior and the circumstances. A white person, yellow person, brown person or green person would have been arrested too if they exhibited this irrrational behavior. Mr. Gates wants this to be a race issue, he is very bitter and has an axe to grind. This incident allowed him a forum to do so. Obama compounded the situation with his comments due to Gates being his friend. Very disappointed in Obama who professes to be a healer of the racial divide, yet his comments perpetuate racial disharmony.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  243. J Stanca

    Have you checked to see how many officers are killed each year, both black and white, while handeling a call such as this. At the end of the day each and every officer wants to go home. What if their were bad guys inside holding a wife, child and this officer walked away and they were killed, what would be said then. Why did this intelegent man give the officer such a hard time. Because he's black and the officer was white? We all get asked questions in a situation such as this. Mr Gates created this situation not the officer and the President should have waited until all the information was out before making a comment. Keeping everyone safe is not a black and white job, everyone needs to work together too many crazy things happen to hurt us and the ones we love.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  244. Vvs1blue

    This situation is clearly a collision of many factors. First there is we have a police officer answering the call of a possible break-in. He is in a mixed state of adrenaline, caution and procedure.
    On the other side we have a civilian who doesn't grasp the fact that he might be in danger and begins to argue with the officer.
    At some point the officer will try to establish his authority and is faced with continuing argument and at some point belligerence and ego of both men come to the surface.
    Of course the situation falls into the hands of the media, commented by the President, exploded by the media and picked up by the opposing political parties and gets out of control.
    Civilians in this country must understand that at some point when confronted by authorities they must comply with instructions. The time to argue must be set aside and perhaps this shows a need to instruct the general public on how they should react in a situation like this. One could imagine what would have happened if there were indeed suspects inside the house.
    Sgt Crowley is not a racist. His actions with the basketball player is a reflection of this. He simply applied what he was taught to do in this situation.
    If anyone should clear the air on this is the professor. One of the questions asked is "How would a black police officer react to a similar situation?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  245. Barbara Maccaro

    (As a white women) I believe the abhorrent history of racial profiling in this country absolutely would justify Professor Gates to become greatly distressed by the officer's questioning. The facts as they have been disclosed clearly indicate the officer acted without the appropriate empathy required of a true professional. There is no information to support that Professor Gates threatened the officer with bodily harm. Therefore, in this case the officer should have made every effort to calm the professor down including apologizing for the intrusion on to the professor's property before handcuffing him and worse, actually taking it as far as processing an arrest with "mug' shots. Even if the officer wasn't acting from a racial bias, Professor Gates did have a just cause to be upset and the officer should have understood that.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  246. Andrew

    I think that Mr.Gates' arrest was the best thing to happen in America for race relations and equality since Dr. Martin luther King's August 1963 "I have a dream” speech, far too often we black men are unequally pitted against law enforcement agencies and nepotistic judicial systems. Had Mr. Gates not been who he is with his distinctions and title, this situation would not have stirred up as much controversey and legitimate debate as this FORTUNATE situation has. Had Mr.Gates been of a different race or religion maybe similiar to the arresting officer, I don't feel that this situation would have had the same outcome, after all, it was proven that he lived in the residence. I think ego played a big role in the aftermath of the initial call on both parties behalf. But the bigger picture here is what happens here out, this has sparked a well deserved and legitimate debate about race. Finally black men have legitimate and acceptable representation in race relations in America. As for Mr.Obama’s statement, I think he spoke correctly it did not make any sense to arrest a man or woman for being in his or her own home after verifying that he indeed lived there, but again some police have this mentality that they possess the gun and the badge and no one dare speak to them in a way that they don’t want to be spoken to. Does that constitute being arrested? Should everyone who has ever questioned authority and fought for respect deserve inprisonment? Ask yourself this from both sides how far have we really comeracially in America.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  247. J. Reid

    This officer is a life long resident of Cambridge, Prof Skip Gates has a deep history here since the Harvard department for African-American studies chaired the Department from 1991 to 2006 and continues a connection with Harvard and that department. I say this because my residency in Cambridge began only about four years prior to 1991. I am a Black adult female, retired, and I must tell you there was such coverage and coverage in the news when Harvard announced this department and the Professors who would fill the positions that were the buzz and hum for several years.

    If there is anyone who grew up in Cambridge who was not aware of who and where Prof. Gates Jr. lived and worked they must be those in a coma. This Police department is the strangest group of police of any city I have lived in–the thin Blue line is thick and more cohesive under the leadership of the new ‘white’ department head than when the Black police commissioner (who was totally inadequate) served Cambridge.

    I trust and confide in only a few officers who I meet while walking my dogs. I do not believe anything the police say their reports. What they write on and into the record is so scripted and specious that when I read a report I had made I did not recognize the issue. I was assaulted in a park while walking my Beagles–the officers turned the issue around making my attacker the victim. I went to court and the magistrate heard my side and warned the other parties to stay away from me –the detective became angry, had some strong words for the magistrate and left. The Police choose not to let go of an issue which gives me pause as to my safety and the safety of a community which has more resident immigrants and school year college students from around the world than any city (6 sq. miles in size) I am aware of today.

    POTUS was correct and accurate–they did act stupidly, an overly exaggerated since of force and power is my descriptive of the attitude of this current police dept. under the new commissioner. No human is faultless.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  248. Daniel Nelson Lafayette,IN

    I think that many minorities believe that they are victims when confronted by police and they in turn act out in a provocative way that leaves the police with no other choice but to arrest them. If Gates had acted with respect to the officer I do not think he would have been arrested.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  249. Jan

    In this case I believe Prof Gates over reacted. He should have been grateful someone was watching his back. Because he is a Harvard scholar and knows the president does not place him above the law. He should have calmly responded to the officers request once it was a known fact neighbors called the police. He turned this into a race issue and should not be allowed to treat the police officers with such little regard and respect for doing their job in an appropriate fashion. Shame on the president also. WOW. Who is flaming racicism here???? I hope and pray the officers are not forced to apologize to this incredibly arrogant man. HE should apologize as should the president for making such a rediculous comment on air. SHAME ON THEM!!!!!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  250. Susan

    It is irresponsible for the president of the USA to refer to officers as "acting stupidly" when he admitted that he did not know the information behind this. It makes our president sound very racist and too quick to comment an event without the basic information required to understand the situation.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  251. Sharon Waters

    I am a resident of Massachusetts. After President Obama was elected and took office I truly thought that we had a great person leading our country and was encouraged by his actions until I heard his comments,during a speech on healthcare,about the police in Cambridge.Until that remark I felt he had handled every situation that came at him in a very thoughtful and disiplined way,and did a good job.This remark was made without knowing both sides of the story.I think when all the facts come out,if they really do,BO is going to wish he didn't get involved in this situation,at least not on national TV.I feel that the Professer caused his own problems in this case and I would have been thankful that the police were making sure that my home and myself were safe.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  252. Ellen Frances

    The President simply said what millions and millions of Americans think - it was stupid, not necessarily racist, but definitely stupid, to arrest the man. Does anyone think it was smart?

    The Cambridge Police agreed when they immediately dropped the charges. This isn't about one officer, either - we all saw the crowd
    on the front porch of Gates' house. It was group think - and stupid.

    The President speaks to us as if we were adults and tells the truth.
    When will the media catch on and stop acting like right wing bloggers?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  253. Connie

    Who was the so called neighbor that called who started this mess? After the police officer determined that this was Gates’ house this should have been the end of this. End of story. Unfortunately, this is a form of racial profiling, if the shoe were on the other foot the police officer, I’m sure would not want to be arrested for entering his own house.

    Connie Tampa, FL

    July 24, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  254. kofi

    Now, whose story are we accepting as the truth? Is it Sgt. Crowly's version, the Cambridge police statement written by an officer, or Mr. Gates version? I think the cop acted stupidly. Why didn't he produce his badge number or name when asked? Lest we forget that law enforcement is a profession, hence, officers need to exhibit professionalism in the line of duty. It was stupid for the cop to arrest an elderly man who uses a cane in his own home for acting disorderly in his own home. It just does not make sense.

    In recent months, similar cases of cops flexing their muscles have surfaced. One was in Texas, where an NFL player was blocked from seeing his dying in-law. A second incedent was in oklahoma where a white cop stopped an ambulance carring a black acutely-ill woman and held the vehicle and the patient for several minutes.

    The fact that Crowly has taught a racial profilinfg class does not mean he may not be guilty of that. After all, republicans who preach morality are the ones always caught cheating on their wives.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  255. Jorge

    For all those saying that this wouldn't have happened to a White person... GET OVER IT!

    My son is a cop in Atlanta. He has told me time-and-again that ANY time they have to make this type of approach, that, until the facts are all known, everyone is suspect; that means, if necessary, cuffed, arrested, even booked.

    To make a statement that "the White Man would never be handcuffed, or arrested" is so over-the-top ignorant that it baffles the mind.

    The professor would have been well-served had he kept his mouth shut rather than start with racial comments, which only set the stage as a non-compliant "suspect." It doesn't matter if he had a cane, spoke a different language, or just came out of his bathroom having colored himself purple... he was suspect in what was then under investigation.

    The president was dead-wrong and has created a MUCH bigger problem in our country and the newspeople are going wild over this... because they know it!

    Stand by, America... there's more to come (from a very low-key segment of our population).

    July 24, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  256. Robert

    Being a 41 year old educated Black male, I have been pulled over for "no" reason. I was taught growing up that you respect the officer do not make any sudden moves and answer all questions to quell any confrontation. I teach my boys the same lesson. This is regardless the race of the officer. I was outraged at first but after hearing both sides. This situation has gotten overblown. Gates could have handled this better knowing the history of his neighborhood and not getting the "big head". There is a time to be humble and a time to be strong. Gates timing was off. The officer was doing his job. I am a decent judge of character based on his background this man is no racist.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  257. Josh Michaels

    While nobody would argure the fact that racism exists in more ways than most of us who are not black can imagine, it seems to me that every time a public event like this occurs, it is the accuser that is racist and not the other way around. Look at the hatred that was spawned over the Duke race case and the public figures that flocked to Durham and made things worse by raging about racisim about how the white boys treated the black girl.

    Another example is when Omarosa made a racist accusation the simple expression 'the pot calling the kettle black'. Time and time again the person raising the issue is the person that seems racist.

    I myself have sued for discrimination for telling guests to leave when in fact they were yelling at other guests for complaining about the service of one of their friends.

    Professor Gates clearly is an intelligent man with experiences and exposures greater than most of us in regard to racisim, and African-American history and culture. But to believe that he spoke the way he said, when confronted by a white officer, at his own home, is ridiculous. I firmly believe that Professor Gates opened the door with a beligerent attidute (as many of us might) but to make racist accusations when the officer was responding to a 911 call simply makes things worse, for everyone.

    If you want to make things better in America, don't stop talking about racisim but DO stop playing the race card.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  258. Vince

    I'll bet Obama is pissed that he spent an hour talking about health care reform and the only thing people seem to care about is "acted stupidly".

    July 24, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  259. peggy

    Yes we all know that racism is still alive and well. The definition of racism doesn't mean (treatment of black people only).As long as some black people continue to use the statement "Why because I'm black" there will always be racism. I'm not racist but this comment makes me believe that those who continue to use it are racist themselves no matter what race they are. Some black people need to quit useing this as an excuse for their behavior because they are not helping their cause. A couple solutions to the racism problem would be to not require employers to have a certain amount of minorities on the payroll. A job should only be based on qualifications and the second would be to stop defining us as white, black, asian, etc. but just as an american because isn't that what we all are in the end. Why are we showing programming about being a certain color in america. make sure you protray everyone in america.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  260. Tobias

    I really think that this is a case of the officer not wanting to be “questioned” by some black man..even if he was in his own home. White cops want to make sure you know that they are in charge and are not to be questioned and it doesn’t matter if you’re in your own home. If this officer was trained in profiling, he could have diffused the situation and simply walked out of the man’s home once proof was provided. White cops don’t know how to deal with educated, articulate black men. When Gates began to question his authority it quickly escalated to “how dare this uppity n*** question me, I’ll show him who’s boss”. I have experienced it first hand as have many African American males. It doesn’t matter if you are with your wife and kids, in your own home or car etc. When black men deal with white cops there is a tension in the air that can quickly escalate if the “suspect” does not bow down and submit immediately. Contrary to the constant barrage and media images of black men, we are not all animals and thugs. Most of us are hard working family men and want to be treated fairly like everyone else. Based on reports, this officer is a good cop and I would think that the majority of the police are. However, when dealing with blacks the a routine stop can quickly turn into a situation like this one and we find ourselves under the baton, handcuffed or tasered because we didn’t properly answer or be submissive to the “boss”.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  261. Reggie C.

    People are tragically missing the point. It seems the officer did EVERYTHING right in dealing with a possible break-in and an irrate homeowner (which any of us may have been under the circumstances). The point is: Skip Gates broke no law, presented no real threat, and was proven to be the homeowner. THERE WAS NO REASON FOR THE ARREST!!

    July 24, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  262. Wayne - Edmonton, Canada

    I believe this situation could have been resolved simply and fairly if Gates had co-operated and shown his driver's license as requested by officer Crowley.

    Instead, Gates chose to turn this into an incident and worse, a racial incident. To top it off he chose to play the "Do you know who i am" card. He truly brought this upon himself and should have known better if he is truly the scholar he claims to be.

    Instead of asking for an apology, he should thank officer Crowley for promptly responding to reports of a possible burglary in progress.

    As for President Obama, he was out of line and, as a lawyer, should also have known better. He made a mistake and did more harm to his friend Gates by wading into the controversy without knowing all of the facts.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  263. Joe Taxpayer


    Before an arrest ever took place. Mr. Gates produced identification. Why was it necessary to arrest Mr.Gates? Having been in law enforcement, it became personal and the officer couldn't lose face in front of his boys. One of the greatest divisions of racism in America is: The like of respect police show African-American males. It doesn't matter the country or state they live in nor the level of education. Until this " like of respect " is dealt with in America. You will continue to see what you saw with Mr.Gates

    July 24, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  264. Derrick Fields

    This incident is unfortunate and there is always two sides to every story. Hopefully, the truth will be revealed to the American people free of race and prejudice.

    Historically, African-Americans in this country particularly in the South have been antagonized by whites sworn to uphold the law. Personally, I wish that I could say that incidents such as this are confined to our past.

    The reality is that we have more than several investigations pending across the country in relation to police bruality and wrongful death of African-American men. I am glad the Professor did not get hurt or worse.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  265. vin

    the best way to deal with cops is to smile and nodd otherwise they will take you to jail. As a proffessor he should know that they were only out there to protect and serve. I guess everybody wants some airtime.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  266. Patsy S.

    I am a black educator, and I KNOW just because the police officer is teaching others about race does not mean he does not have racial feelings in his heart. All of this could have been a non-issue, if the officer had turned and got in his car once Gates identified himself ,the officer knew at that point Gates was in his own home. Gates was right when he told the officer that it was not his business if someone else was in his home. At that point the officer KNEW there was NOT a break-in. The officers job was complete, he should have gotten in his car and went about his business. The officer is showing the world that he has a bad attitude by saying "I will not apologize." I truly believe something was said to make Gates sooo angry, and I am also sure the officer was not as cool as he would like the world to believe. I truly think what President Oboma said was in order, the officer did "ACT STUPIDLY". Remember he did not say the officer was stupid, it was his actions. Now I do not expect the white commentors to understand, because until you walk in a black persons shoes, you are not expected to know, so it would serve you well if you would STOP talking as if you get it. Let's just keep this whole thing "REAL", most white people cannot get past color. That is really the reason Obamo is having soooo many problems with this health care plan, he is just not the right color. Sooooo sad.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  267. Elizabeth

    I believe Gates was tired, got wrapped up in his racial identity, and consequently probably did not react the way whites would have if a cop was in the doorway responding to a possible break in. Most whites and maybe even most blacks would have pulled out their driver's license and shown it. I believe Gates was verbally abusive. I think the cop too felt as offended as Gates and should not have arrested him. No one was hearing Gates' abuse and the arrest was a show of power. Both men were wrapped up in "you're not going to treat me this way."
    Obama was extremely wrong in commenting without the facts. He should apologize to the Cambridge police department in a clear way without trying to softly save his own image. He blew it! It bothers me very much that Obama did so. Crowley is now the one with the least power in this situation and the one most likely to suffer negative consequences. I hope he keeps his job, keeps a clean record, and not find this as a career breaker.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  268. Freddie Gavin

    This is nothing new. Regardless what African-Amercans do in this country, they (I) will always be targets of racial profiling. I read a good book, "White like me",by Tim Wise, which truely explores the phyche of how White-Americans see or don't see (view) Black-Americans. I have been in law enforcement for many years and I think that sergeant Crowley followed his depatments protocol. People are missing the point when they think race don't play a part as it relates to police making an arrest. We bring all kinds of cultural backgrounds and experiences to our workplace. It doesn't matter if you are a doctor, lawyer or even a policeman, the viewpoint of people you encounter will always first be driven on your cultural experiences–not procedual protocol. So who was wrong–Professor Gates or Sergeant Crowley? I guess it truly depends on whos perspective validates your viewpoint. I think all White-Americans should read Time Wise's book.

    Have Time Wise on your show

    July 24, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  269. pappachan

    No explanation can justify handcuffing a middle aged physically weak man walking with the help of a cane in his own home.Minorities who actually have experienced racially motivated ecessive use of police authority ,including our great president , understands the horrible effects of such unjustfiable police action.Whites cannot understand it even if they try.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  270. Robert Perry

    I think President Obama was correct in calling the officer actions stupid. The arrest picture shows Prof. Gates in handcuffs as he was being escorted from his house. Why did the officer who supposedly instructed others on racial profiling seem so insensitive to the outrage of Prof. Gates? So Prof. Gates was arrested for actions within the residence that had shown ownership. I would think that Prof. Gates had every right to express his anger in his house and on his property. It is the offiecr who acted inappropriately. Would the officer have arrested Gates if he were White?

    July 24, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  271. Kayla

    If the cop wasn't in the wrong then why was the charges drop. That would not have happened to a white professor, and yes that officer needs to be a man and simlply say I'M SORRY.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  272. PATRICE


    July 24, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  273. Mitch Dworkin - Dallas, Texas

    My thoughts about this controversy are that President Obama made a very stupid mistake to publicly comment on it when this was not a national issue (at that time but it definitely is right now) and when by Obama's own admission he did not have all of the facts. That was just very poor judgment on President Obama's part in my opinion!

    Further, I think that President Obama's objectivity in this matter is in very serious question when I saw ABC News reporting that "Obama acknowledged that Gates is a personal friend." I will definitely take anything that Obama says about this controversy with a grain of salt because of his friendship with Gates. So Obama had may as well just have his spokespeople make comments for him about this instead of making any comments about it himself.

    As for what really did happen regarding this incident between Gates and Crowley, I think that it is unknown right now because it basically comes down to the word of Professor Gates versus the word of officer Crowley. That is why I think we should wait until the investigation of this matter is completed before making any firm decisions as to who was right, who was wrong, or if there was some fault on both sides.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  274. Ed

    I guess we won't all agree on who was right and who was wrong. All I know is that if someone reported that my home was being broken into I would be doing everything to cooperate with the police thinking maybe someone was still in there. Instead Professor Gates decides to shout "racism". I believe the officer and what he was doing was for the safety of Prof. Gates. If Gates just shut his mouth, allowed the officer to do his job, we wouldn't be talking about this now. And as for Mr. Obama, he should keep his mouth shut especially if he doesn't know the facts. I don't think this looks good for him, whether he knows the Professor or not, he should not have commented on national TV. Would he like to comment on Michael Jackson's situation? Or Michael Vick or any other headline out there?? nHe has bigger fish to fry and should concentrate on running the country.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  275. Antoinette McGarry

    I believe that President Obama owes this policeman and his department an apology. It was absolutely ridiculous that he made such a comment. He didn't have all the facts and even if he did, to make such a public announcement saying that they acted STUPIDLY was not a great thing for a President to do. This professor in my mind used this situation to further his cause and he is certainly doing that with the help of his friend the President. I most certainly hope that an apology is not made from this policeman and that everyone sticks behind him.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  276. Frank Lee Speaking

    A case of reverse racism!
    Automatically crying racism because a white person in an authoritative position tries to do his job.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  277. Sanaa Castillo

    I grew up between Newton, MA and Longmeadow, MA. Newton, MA is about two towns over from Cambridge, MA.

    Based on my experience, this officer’s reaction to Professor Gates is the norm for most of Massachusetts. I love Massachusetts because it's all that I know and, but I'm not blind to what takes place there.

    My brother would often walk through Cambridge,MA, because he worked the overnight shift there, and the officers in marked vehicles would stop him about once a week and ask for his ID.

    When my family first moved to Newton, MA the officers would circle the block in their marked vehicles because there was a Black family (1 of 2) in the neighborhood. As children, we would walk down the street and a marked police vehicle would follow us.

    In Longmeadow, MA, I recall driving my new car and just pulling up into a parking lot, with an officer pulling up beside me in a marked police vehicle to tell me that my car looked as though it had been in a fender bender. I told the officer that I got into an accident two days ago and it's scheduled to go into the shop tomorrow, but the officer continued to stand there. It didn't click immediately, but eventually I got it, so I offered the officer my license and registration. The officer accepted my license and registration, ran a check, returned the items to me, and pulled off.

    I get this treatment as a Black female (5' 3", 110LBS) and I can not imagine what it's like for a Black male that doesn’t' belong to one of the New England sports teams.

    Prior to Ed Bradley's departure, he commented on a property that he had purchased in Lexington, MA, (right beside Cambridge, MA) and how it was necessary for him to visit the local police station to identify himself, provide his property address, and any other information necessary as a preventative measure. This was an effort to ensure that he's not harassed, or possibly shot entering his residence as a Black male.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  278. joe seefried

    I think Mr. Gates should be thankful for alot of things. He should be thankful that his neighbors are looking out for the neighborhood that he lives in. He should be thankful that the police dept. responded so quickly to risk their lives to protect his property. These cops that defend us and our property have no idea if a person is a good guy or a bad guy. I would have cooperated and thanked all for their help.
    Mr. Gates should be thankful that there are so many people out their looking out for him, his property, and his well being.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  279. Marilyn - Florida

    Too bad there is no video on this. As an academic professional myself, I find it bizarre that someone of Dr. Gates' professional level, age, and physical condition could have been overly intimidating to a young police officer. I think it was probably a situation of Dr. Gates, highly educated, feeling outraged that a police officer would confront him in his own home in a manner he perceived as disrespectful. The officer was feeling "dissed" too by Dr. Gates comments, and as we all know most police officers aren't psychologically secure enough to deal with being dissed and just turning away from it. It was ... probably ... just another case of what is oft called a male "p***ing contest" gone wrong.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  280. Roberta Kerr

    Whenever a person of color is confronted by authorities they start out shouting "prejudice" hoping to frighten the authorities away. When it doesn't work they go to the media and it gets blown out of proportion and they walk off scott free just to get rid of the hassle.
    If these folks want to be treated equally then start acting equal. Quit expecting authorities to back down because you are a different race. A beligerent citizen is arrested for disorderly conduct no matter what his race. When you start screaming discrimination you only draw attention to your race – when it may not have even been considered.
    Stop expecting to be treated "special" or "better" than anyone else because you are a person of color!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  281. mike

    THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT FOR WHITE PEOPLE ON THE BACKS OF OTHER PEOPLE; so I can see why so many white people agree with the white cop. stop being so oblivious to the racism in this country...

    July 24, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  282. Lynette

    The officer did the right thing. I am proud of him and his courage.
    Professor Gates and now our president have acted stupidly.
    I need to see Mr. Obama's courage and his ability to lead.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  283. Smalls

    Ok Heidi,

    In response to some of what I've read...

    Blacks are not minorities! Minoritiy means lesser of the few! I'm equal... STOP SAYING MINORITY!!! It's degrading!

    I have been to jail several times. And I have seen an 85 year old white man with diabetes in there for stealing 1 beer to serve 365 days. Does he need to be there?

    Racism is STILL prevelant... get over it!

    Blacks might be more racist than whites AND we are selfish! stop blaming the "white man"

    Education shows no prejudice!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  284. Dr. Ralph E. Ioimo, Ph.D

    As a professor or criminal justice, a former deputy chief of police and having conducted significant research on racial profiling and biased based policing I do not believe that this case meets the standard of racial profiling or biased based policing. In reviewing this case, it appears that the sergeant acted appropriately. Professor Gates is the one who acted inappropriately. In review of the police reports it appears it appears the police did everything right.

    Just because a person is black and a white police officer takes some form of action based upon that persons behavior does not make the police officer a racist. The officer's would have been negligent had they not asked Dr. Gates for his ID. They were acting on a citizen complaint.

    The fact that Dr. Gates was handcuffed is a standard practice of police everywhere. It is a safety issue. Subjects arrested are typically handcuffed with their hands behind their back, Dr. Gates was handcuffed with his hands in front of him, which shows the officers did respect his handicap.

    Trust me, there are plenty of incidents of true biased based policing practices, but this was not one of them.

    Dr. Ralph E. Ioimo, Ph.D
    Auburn University, Montgomery

    July 24, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  285. Jeb

    My "gut instinct" after getting both sides of the story is that Gates minimally had a bad day and also has an "attitude", likely intentionally provoking the situation looking for the resultant controversy. He seems to inwardly be an angry person while outwardly attempting to project a conflicting rational presence. This "revenge" attitude is one that I have noted becoming more prevalent among Americans of African ancestry, to the extent that I have noted the actual word, revenge, on t-shirts, indicating revenge on caucasions... Conversely, the office and police department seems to be completely innocent in this incident.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  286. michael armstrong sr.

    next time send a black cop.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  287. Robert W

    The controversy surrounding Gates and Crowley is to vague to form an opinion on whether Professor Gates was the subject of discrimination or did Crowley act inside the scope of his field. My question is. Why is,t that the only people that receive national attention in a case like this are prominent or wealthy individuals who rarely go through what thousands of people go threw on a daily basis and nothing is being done. The topic of discussion is not Gates, but everyday people that carry on normal lives being stereotype or discriminated on just because he or she might be a person of color. The truth is out there and it is as transparent as you can get it. Keep it real CNN.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  288. NickyDrake

    @Mark: Amen! That's exactly what it was – an incident of free speech, and it had racist overtones. Gates had already produced his ID and was mouthing off.

    To those of you who said he should have just kept his mouth shut and cooperated, he DID. But he didn't need to shuck and jive too (thass right, thank you, officer. Of co's you should be hasslin' me, just a black man, with a limp and a cane too. Nevamine that this is my home, been my home fo yeahs.) He had a right – in his own home – to express his dismay and anger over this incident. It was more than stupid for this cop to extend this by arresting him.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  289. Top


    Professor Gates: Violated the requirement of compliance with what was being asked of him, not to mention spewing his racial hate opinion.

    Officer Crowley: Did what was required of EVERY law-enforcement officer by controlling what could have been a hostile suspect; even after he asked Gates to answer questions and comply by walking out with him... Gates took a stance.

    President Obama: Got involved where he should NOT have been! His (public) opinions have opened-up Pandora's Box regarding race relations in the country. This one single comment has set back ten years of progress.

    Stand ready at the firing line, because this incident will create a tremendous release of pent-up anger by many that have felt abused, overlooked, and exposed to reverse-discrimination for years. The pot has been stirred... just watch!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  290. Martone Detroit, MI

    I believe that only good can come from this and this is exactly what Professor Gates wanted. A conversation about race, it allows us to look at each other to see how we are apart of this problem.

    In my opinion President Obama need not offer any apologies he said what he felt, unscripted, it was real and raw No matter if it was eloquent or not. Most people seem to want things sugar-coated and pretend that important issues do not matter.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  291. John Graham

    , Was fascinated by conversation about Gates arrest issue. I guess we are all products of our past. Sounded as though a white woman outside on the sidewalk has more credibility with this officer than Prof Gates who showed his ID in his house. I was once stopped by an officer in my car and questioned about verbally addressing women. I didn’t have any idea of what he was talking about. I told him I just dropped my son off at school and yes I suppose there were some women or girls around but I didn’t know who they were and I didn’t speak to them. I gave him my license and registration. I heard him radio in a comment that there must have been some kind of screw up on the complaint and description. He then returned my ID to me, apologized, and I accepted. I don't understand why this officer feels an apology to a citizen is such a surrender of his authority. It smells of an unhealthy version of some kind of supremacy. Regardless of race, police officers are here to protect and serve and it is a tough job. After credentials were presented, I didn't see evidence of that. All I think I'm seeing is “I can show you that I am the boss because I can”.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  292. tyvmdude

    Wow, he got arrested for disorderly conduct not B @ E! U yell at a cop and don't stop, you get arrested, no matter what color your skin or the cops skin. Been there done that. Have seen it happen more than once with mixed races on all sides. Cooler heads should have prevailed on both sides.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  293. jchris

    Professor Gates who is obviously quite educated, displayed a total lack of common sense. He showed absolutely no respect for the officer who was trying to do what is a difficult and sometimes dangerous job. I question whether he even knows what racial profiling is. He did break into the home. If anyone had a racist attitude in all this it was Professor Gates. He succeeded in turning a mole hill into a mountain.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  294. Woody

    I cannot be portrayed as a fan of the police. Better than most, I know of their abuses personally, vicariously and historically and I have engaged them in assaults, armed confrontations, robberies, shootouts, crosstown car chases, roadblocks, attempted murder and experienced the "Rodney King" before the advent of video cameras after I had critically wounded one of their number. However, when I examine the information that is shared about the Gates' arrest the feeling I get is one of bruised and conflicting egos. It appears that Sgt. Cowley went there with the best of intentions and the atmosphere got poisoned early on and what resulted was a testosterone contest. Racial profiling exists as does police abuse but this may be a testosterone moment and not a Rosa Parks'.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  295. shannon, fl

    Im not sure what brought law enforcement to this mans house, had to be something... & if you act "stupidly" with the law enforcement in my town, they to will arrest you no matter who you are or if your on your property or not. anybody ever watch cop reality shows???? from what I've seen, the only person who has made this about racial anything, is the professor, but thats typicial for black in america these days. I'm sure jesse jackson & al sharpton will speak as well... The black man has brought it on themselves, nobody makes them go out and commit these crimes.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  296. Jacqueline Oberlander

    Its sad to think that the President saying what the police officer's did was Stupid in Boston made a such a news break. I think because of what he said after is the problem. Having went to a co- workers father funeral on Tuesday .A man killed by a police officer in New York City, This man was also in his own home so the President's comment of the Police treating African Americans a bit diffently is just a fact in America. They shoot first and come up with a story Later. Racial profiling happens it is not a myth I feel the professor should sue he was in his home. Why are we even having this discussion. We should be talking about California going broke, our health care situation and 15% employment for African Amercians. And how my 401K seem to be back on track and how the President got the economy going in the right direction maybe I am Biased JPO.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  297. Anita

    This is a situation where everyone involved over reacted. Gates and the Police Officer need to sit in a room and talk this thing out and then come out shaking hands on national TV. That would be the responsible thing to do.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  298. Lisa

    Happy for the guy who has a great career and lots of money but he's human.,,There are people who had wealth and great careers in prison.. It should be said and followed through matter if you have money or a great career.. you are equals when it comes to the law. I can exchange ugly words..have a fight with a white person(for I'm white ) everyday life its a clash of personality not color... ..I can exchange ugly words.. and have a fight with a person of color about the same things and its called prejudice.. not a clash of personality.. what about white profiling in America.. What about a show of White in America..... I'm herein just because of this guys job and wealth..... he should of not been put through what he was! does he and others think he's above the law because of who he is? but no matter it's called black profiling.. AND I'm not saying black profiling doesn't happen...but so does white profiling....If the cop..was doing his job..not being swayed by Career and wealth.and went by the book. no matter who the person they say men break into their homes all the time ,..killing wives.. etc.. really did the cop go beyond ...or was he doing his job.. and did the professor think he was above such treatment.. being a man who knew right from wrong.. why wasn't he more helpful with the police him what he needed to do his job and let him be on his way..and not make it difficult process for the cob..for if it had been a break in.. and the robber was of color or even white... I think the professor would be thanking the cop...for doing his job.,..

    If it was a normal black persons with a average job and wealth..would they say the same..

    Just some thoughts:
    Just because 1 person of color does a bad thing.. breaks the law, kills. etc.. doesn't mean all people of color are like that...

    Just because one white person .. shows their ugly prejudice doesn't mean all white people are prejudice..

    Some people no matter of color..are just ugly people with ugly personalities... doesn't mean we all are....and it's not just people of color who are feeling it...


    July 24, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  299. Carlos

    As a lawyer, President Obama should not have expressed any opinion or make any comments before having all the facts before him. As the President he should have refrained to make any comment or take any party on the case.
    Now, once you have the 2 sides of the story, you find out that Prof. Gates was arrested because he kept harassing the policeman on comments regarding his race and the way he was treated. Whaterever background or ethnic origin you are, police should be respected in its work ( which in this case seems to have be done following the rules) and any kind of verbal harassment is not excusable and should be handled as provided by the law.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  300. Jon

    As a CNN reported Twitted, I would like to hear both the 911 tapes and the radio calls that started all of this.
    The more I hear about this, I have started to wonder just who said what to whom and when and in what kind of tone and frame of mind and with what kind of body tone.

    Many years ago, I was profiled and pulled over as a drug smuggler.
    I was in up-state NY driving a XR-4Ti.
    I am white and at the time I must have been in my high 20's.

    Could I have gotten mad? Yes. Did I? NO, I did not.

    While I thought it was rather funny, I understood what the State Trooper had to do and let him. The Trooper asked me questions about my id, where I was going, from where I had come from et al. He went thru my entire car and when he asked me a question about something he found, I answered it.

    After about 20 minutes, he was done and explained to me what he had done and why.

    I shook his hand, wished him a safe tour and was on my way home.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  301. marilee meyer

    Too bad the photographer didn't have a recorder on site. Indications are that the officer could have handled it better, that is, as soon as he saw the identification that should have been the end of the issue. But Gates set the tone when asked for ID when he said "why, because I'm a black man in America?" the police were responding to a call. the house had been previously burglarized. they asked for ID. simple.

    I have had the privilege of speaking with Prof. Gates at various events. With all due respect, I have witnessed perceived self-importance, entitlement, lack of engagement and even dismissal, intended or not, leaving this one fan disappointed with his behavior. I find him both charming and a bit rude.Gates tends to see everything through a racial lense. this is not to say he is not justified by his experiences.

    the question is whether Prof Gates can distinguish between his personal behavior and that being the posterchild for being black in america.

    people forget he was arrested for disorderly conduct. His status gives him a platform and, based on my personal experience, he is not being totally honest.

    Cambridge police serve a huge multicultural community and transient student population. They tend to be very tolerant. While there may have been missteps on both sides, I bet Prof. Gates is hardly the innocent victim.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  302. Dan

    What about the black officer seen in the snapshot of Gates in handcuffs?
    Was he racially profiling?
    Anybody who sees this as anything other than a black man with an understandable chip on his shoulder jumping to conclusions and effectively being the only one in the story who did any "racial profiling" at all.
    He saw a white cop asking him questions and immediately assumed that he is a stereotypical white cop who has a problem with black people.
    Turns out, he picked the one cop LEAST LIKELY to be racist, based on his selection by a black man to lead race-relations classes.
    If these two men met under different circumstances, they may have become friends.
    This is yet another aftershock of the damage made by racism in America. Stereotypes still linger and many black people use the race card as a crutch for their own personal pride.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  303. James Wall

    Heidi, How many times have we read police reports that were perfect,
    only to see the video that shows the policeman had selective memory..NO video FOR PROFESSOR GATES

    July 24, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  304. Dan

    I understand that many black people see a story like this and WANT to take the black man's side because they know the issue of racial profiling truly exists and is a major problem.
    I only encourage each of them to consider that a man's reputation is on the line and if he is not a racist and only treated Gates as he would have treated any other person verbally attacking him while on duty, then he does not deserve to be a scapegoat.
    This isn't Mark Furman being recorded spewing N-bombs left and right. This is a case of one proud black man who was challenged on his property and drew his own conclusion that Crowley is a racist. We have literally no evidence at all that Crowley has ever done anything racist in his entire life.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  305. Dale

    Is the President going to come to the aid of any minority he thinks has been wronged? This is not his job. I am sure Sharpton and Jesse Jackson will get in on this soon. And this guy teaches at Harvard? I am glad I can't send my son there.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  306. Elizabeth

    The only question that need be asked here is 'Was Dr. Gates treated differently than any other person would have been under the same or similar circumstances?' If an person is belligerent and resists law enforcement officers, he/she might be arrested. We seem to know what the officer said/did – we have seen the outcome. What did Dr. Gates say/do in this encounter?

    African Americans or any other racial group for that matter, cannot and should not expect to be treated any differently that any other race or group. Dr. gates was angry – outraged – but it appears that he lost control of his anger. There are consequences for that.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  307. Makarios

    Some law enforcement officers act with tactics of the Gestapo or the SS. When most people go to jail for minor incidents it's mainly for revenue or to get as many people in the system as possable finger prints, photos etc. Trust me post 911 big brother is always watching and looking for opportunities to know how you are?

    July 24, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  308. Hassan Bazzi

    I think that the police has too much power...sometimes they act like they are GOD..few years back I was in a holdup situation with my 3 kids luckliy we got out of it safe we called the cops no body showed up few days later I went to make a police report and I was trearted like I am the criminal.. I know their job is though one but they should consider not everone is a criminal out there..

    July 24, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  309. Shirley

    Everyone seems to be OK with the fact the call was made to the Cambridge police department in the first place. I am not sure. The caller identified the two men as "black". My question is...would that call have been made if the two men were white? I suspect the answer is no.

    I am a African-American female who has been a victim of racial profiling. My incident was without grounds, demeaning and scary. The only thing I was guilty of was being Black and driving through this GA county in a car with an out-of-state license plate. The first police lied about why he was stopping me. Another policeman showed up with a German Shepherd to search the car. I was completely innocent, in a rent-a-car and on my way to the Atlanta airport. The first policeman stood with a sarcastic grin on his face when I confronted him about racial profiling. He grinned and waved at me as I drove away . I heard later that this GA county was stopping Blacks and Hispanics in out-of state cars because they were looking for drugs.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  310. Tracey

    The officer did his job by asking for ID. Had he not asked Mr. Gates for his ID he would not know if he is the owner or the perpetrator. It had nothing to do with color but "procedure", I'm sure this is what the cop is trained to do. OB shouldn't have commented until he knew the facts.
    When my daughter didn't want to go out with a black guy, he called her a "racist". She just didn't like his personality, it didn't have to do with his color. By calling someone a racist, it's also a way of intimidation to whites.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  311. Kim-Ha Albert in Seattle

    The President is ABSOLUTELY correct!! Police in the United States have become OVERWHELMINGLY heavy-handed and those in college and university communities especially so, with their arrogant and air-of-superiority attitudes, expecting and DEMANDING "deferrence" from the unoffending citizenry! Quelle Outrage! This kind of thing happens all the time! We have an American GESTAPO mentality in America, and when I viewed your report from Ivan Watson, in Afghanistan, embedded with the Army, I noticed on your TV program, that the Army is flying a black flag with a skull-and-cross-bones symbol, the exact same symbol used by the Waffen-SS in Nazi-Occupied Ukraine and in France! Why are we using a HATE SYMBOL in our military? Why are we NOT flying just the stars and stripes? Does that ugly HITLER-like flag represent our intentions in a muslim nation better? Why are we, as a nation, celebrating a legacy of a defeated enemy, using their Nazi technology in Space, in "law enforcement" and occupying other weak nations?? Fie on that Cambridge police officer! I have met MANY like him in AMERIKA!!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  312. lemaye

    Gates behavior looks like Cynthia McKinney's exploitation of a racist out of control. From clips I've seen of Gates orations about racism and racial profiling it looks like he came across an opportunity that he just had to exploit. Knowing that he was one of Obama's homeboys, he probably felt comfortable in taking advantage of a situation in which he would play the race card. It also makes me flashback to Jeremiah Wright's rhetoric. I'm feeling that as the pieces of the puzzle come together I see how Gates is exploiting racism with the backing of his good buddy behind him, but does he remember where Wright, Obama's other family friend ended up. Games these boys are playing are not intelligent or mature, act like men, not racists. Don't tread on me.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  313. Jerry Walrath

    I don't understand the difficulty that the U.S. Congress confronts with respect to putting forth a health care solution.

    I offer one of two:

    1. Make available to every U.S. citizen the same health care that the U.S. Congress enjoys.


    2. Cancel the health care that the U.S. Congress has and challenge them to come up with health care that all Americans, including themselves, are entitled to. In other words, the members of Congress should be entitled to no better health care than its constituents.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  314. Waylan Jones

    I think that people (including President Obama and Congress) should realize that a federal health care option like many other government programs like infrastructure,education,tax subsidies for businesses cost money and cannot be paid for while at the same time supporting trade policies that undermine tax revenues by putting the american people out of work by the millions.

    Thank you

    July 24, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  315. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    People need to realize that anyone can make a fake ID on their computer in half an hour. The Police need to remove an individual from a Home to verify the ID and to control the situation.

    It was the Prof who caused the problem, not the Police. What would the Prof think if he came home and found that the Police allowed a thief who had fake ID to stay in his home and rob him?

    July 24, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  316. Lesa

    I think it's stupid to make such a big deal out of this case. This happens to black people everyday and I don't think it will stop any time soon. I think Mr. Gates just needs to move on and be thankful the charges against him were dropped.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  317. wanda brown

    when the officer was shown documentation that the house did in fact belong to professor gates, END OF STORY!!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  318. Tone

    I am harassed by Cobb County police officers who STRICTLY target black men all the time. Some say that we should simply "move on", as if the problem doesn't exist. I was pulled over while PARKED by Cobb and threatened to be stunned and beat (I HAVE IT VOICE RECORDED!) Shall I too just brush this under the rug?

    I think the professor has a legitimate claim and I am also frustrated with our treatment because of prejudices and our skin color.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  319. Jennifer

    I think the Professor got into trouble because of his attitude, not race. But in response to President Obama's comment about racism still existing...Of course it still exists, it always will. But not just from whites towards blacks, but from any one group towards any other. There will always be judgmental people who dislike another group due to a belief, color of skin, or other personal decision.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  320. George LaValle

    I think that the police acted appropriately by investigating a reported break-in – even one that was mistakenly reported. The problem comes in when officer Crowley confirmed that Gates was the owner, and arrested him for asserting his fourth amendment rights.

    Sorry, for having a smart mouth. Sorry, I mean "disorderly behavior in a kitchen."

    July 24, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  321. emccord

    Some white men especially law enforcement officers, guards, or white men in a position of power many times use their position to include not only the enforcement of the law but often a way to put black people's attitudes in check.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  322. Nathan

    Pres. Obama's reaction to the arrest has no validity. They only reason he commented on the situation is because there was a black man involved. Obama admitted that he did not have all of the facts. HOW CAN HE PASS JUDGEMENT BEFORE THE FACTS ARE KNOWN.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  323. aimee

    another case of our newly formed Divided States of America. Things are going to get worse! We have an inexperienced president with his own personal agenda and was sneaky enough to get people to actually vote for him Trouble's brewing here in the DSA!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  324. Christian Ricks

    I believe that the Gates situation brings up an issue that is core to all Americans and has nothing to do with race. It appears more and more that an American Citizen has no voice against the police until after the citizen is arrested, and their rights violated. Regardless of race, any citizen who raises their voice to a police officer or has any dissenting opinion can be deemed a threat to the officer's safety. This excuse to arrest citizens has to be addressed.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  325. wanda brown

    when documentation was shown, the officer should have retreated and left the premises.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  326. Joe Hope's Daughter

    Each of us comes to any given situation with our particular frame of reference. Henry Louis Gates, and the police officer are no different. The officer is looking for a "offender" he sees a Black man, no problem. Never mind that this person is over 50, crippled, and showing identification. He is yelling, so get the handcuffs out. How can that be justified?

    For the life of me I cannot picture that scenario with a white Harvard professor yelling and placed into handcuffs. I have even thought that had the police walked up when Professor Gates was attempting to enter his house, the officers would have offered assistance and "jimmied" the door to be helpful. The collective experiences of Blacks with police officers in this country tends to be "guilty" until proven innocent. Regardless of education, locale, and income Black citizens are regarded with less respect and dignity as white citizens. That is a fact. Whites tend to want to debate how Blacks are treated by law enforcement. They cannot relate to our suspicions and distrust. What professor asked of the officer is reasonable . He should dhave provided his badge number and name. er I think that the officer did not like his "tone". I feel he wanted to teach this "uppity Negro" a lesson. I also feel that class had something to do with the decision to arrest Professor Gates. A Black Harvard professor inside of his home was not likely to "bite his tongue" when challenged as to his right to protest his treatment. This working class white officer was probably enraged, feeling provoked and reacted thusly.

    He states that he will never apologize, pretty rigid, given the situation. Afterall he is a public servant, and a citizen feels that he was not treated fairly by him. The powers that be should MAKE him apologize just becauseof his arrogance. He needs to understand that he can be held accountable by the Justice Department if Professor Gates feels that his civil rights have been violated. This officer is not the ultimate authority unto himself. He can and should be made to bend.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  327. desertantediluvian

    this issue is more a question of authority and how that implementation actualizes in real clashes between police and civilians. and frankly freedom of speech is all that the professor was practicing. It is his right as a home owner to act as he did, and escpecially since there was no warrant and the man is obviously a HARVARD PROFESSOR. IF we cant trust harvard professors then who can we trust. Does big brother own me?

    July 24, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  328. marcie

    What if this had been a white individual acting this way to this police officer. I'm sure we wouldn't even hear about this. I think this has been blown out of proportion. The officer was doing his job. Do you want his job? What about all the times he has put himself in danger.
    Let's move on.
    Rochester, MI

    July 24, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  329. Pato

    I think the police was just doing his job and this incident had nothing to do with race. Prof. Gates got arrested for smart talking and disrespecting the official. It is sad why race has to be involved in every police and black incident. I also don’t agree with the President’s remark and I think he could have chosen his word better. I think the whole incident was disrespectful to police officers around the country. So, I don’t see why the Police should apologize to Prof. Gates.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  330. Ellen Martin

    All Gates had to do was cooperate instead of bringing up the racism issue. The office was just doing his job.

    BTW, get off this subject. There are more important things to report.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  331. Angela Newton

    I side with the professor. I've met a few policeman in my life and I have often found them to be proud and arrogant. One or two have been kind, but the majority left a bad taste in my mouth and I'm white and middle class. Maybe if the policeman had been kind and gentle with him the professor would have been more willing to talk. I also am glad the President stood by the professor. I think President Obama is doing a great job.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  332. David

    I think the problem here is that this issue is being made a racial issue. I think it is more of a typical police over reaction regardless of race. We need to address the issue regarding police abusing their power, over all races, that's the REAL issue here. I'm just dissappointed that the good doctor didn't take this opportunity to unite the races and rather chose to divide the races.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  333. jim

    This is not an act of racism! This officer was doing his job. I do believe the professor was out of line. If he acts like this in public, I can't imagine what he does in his CLASS!!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  334. cv

    Bottom line: we weren't there. We don't know what happened. We can only project our own attutiudes onto this event (and that includes me).

    Racism will be dead the day that people and situations are judged on their own merits. This incident indicates that we're nowhere near that point.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  335. andy

    Firstly, I am a huge Obama supporter and voted for him. However, I think he made a big mistake by commenting on the events withouth knowing all of the facts. He did a disservice to the police and to himself. Officer Crowley has no record of racism, bigotry or anything of the like and from what I have heard in the news reports the past few days, the professor was beligerent and basically goaded the officer to do something by continuing to harras him verbally, attacking him personally and ignoring the officers warnings to stop. A belligerent person who is verbally accosting an officer is capable of doing worse and for the officer's and the professor's protection, taking him into custody is what should have been done and I am sure is protocol and he could not have just walked away, which is what he was trying to do. But was continually followed by the professor. Obviously the professor was upset about something beyond the officer stopping by and checking to make sure there was not an actual break in in process. The officer was just doing his job and the professor went crazy.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  336. Eva

    I am white and one time my son was in back yard at night with a flash light looking for night crawlers to go fishing and the cops came by and put him against the police car and asked for Id and made sure he lived there. Did I scream that it was police brutality or that they were picking on my son.....No, because that is exactly what I want them to do if someone is running around in my yard in the middle of the night. That is their job. If Mr. Gates would of showed his Id and gave the policeman time to do his job, all of this would of been avoided. This policeman obviously did not know who this person was and was trying to find out when Mr. Gates went off. Just for attention I think. Is there some racial profiling in this country, yes there is but in this case I think that was not the case.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  337. Stephen

    I think that once the officer discovered that Gates was the lawful resident, he should have defused the situation. Is it illegal to protest against officers who you believe are racially profiling? Even the police department admitted that the incident was "regrettable," after releasing Gates. The arrest shouldn't have happened.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  338. Suzanne

    Police officiers can no longer do their jobs without being accused of being racist. Racism in the country has now gone from what used to be whites against blacks to blacks against whites. Who will step up and be the Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton of the white race?

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  339. CM

    If the police officer did his job correctly, he would have waited for the professor to bring his ID to the door, as he was about to do, instead of walking into the house without the professor's consent. It was stupid of the police officer to over react.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  340. Stan Klkein

    Although I do think profiling exists and it is something we need to be vigilant about, I don't see where this is a case of racial profiling. Sounds to me like two men got into something where neither knew how to defuse the situation and it resulted in an unfortunate ending. No one was hurt, no one was was singled out because of race, it was two people who each got their backs up! Let's get over it and move on.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  341. rick

    I am african american, but I perceive that he overreacted and made it into more than it really was. I believe it was his attitude and disposition, and not necessarily his race, that got him arrested.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  342. Suzanne Richard

    As a person from a minority group, I can tell you that you have to swallow your pride and put up with the conscious or unconscious prejudice that happens to you daily. And then sometimes, if you are having a bad day or, as Professor Gates was, you are tired after a long trip, sometimes you just snap and over-react to percieved predjuidice. I'm a little disappointed that his cop who supposedly teaches a class on racial profiling didn't understand that and let the Professor vent ON HIS OWN PROPERTY with NO PHYSICAL THREAT TO THE OFFICER.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  343. nadine

    I am flabbergasted by Sgt Crowley’s insistent denial, and then his bigoted audacious and self-righteous reprimand directed to the President. The President in indeed right when he said the Cambridge Police force acted stupidly! Here are the facts… Professor Gates was in HIS OWN HOME… Professor GATES is a significantly smaller man than this bigot is… Professor Gates has a disability and needs the aid of a cane simply to move around; clearly he posed no threat to this officer or anyone else…
    Why then was it necessary to arrest a man who made a forced entry into his OWN HOME? (His keys would not work) Did he not show this bigot proof that he was in his home? Why then handcuff this respected man of the community who has a physical impediment and obviously is no threat to this bigot officer and the many others surrounding his home…
    Then, it is reported in the media, that this bigot is a racial profiling expert, who lectures against the evils of racial profiling...! OMG, If this is what we have lecturing our men and women on this very relevant topic, then God HELP us ALL, as we are in very bad shape!
    This man is a Bigot who got caught; engaging in acts of hatred and contempt towards a highly respected BLACK man in our society. Now what Crowley and the Cambridge Police force ought to do is humble themselves, admit wrong and poor judgment here.
    Sgt Crowley, do the right thing, stop using the media to spread your shameful denial, but use it to heal a nation that is racially divided, use it and apologize to Professor Gates and all people of color who have been subjected to the indignities of racial harassment by the police. Let this apology begin the healing process of race relations in this country… Your denials are an insult to all people, especially people of color. I am almost sure if you showed up at that house and it was a white man, with similar disposition as Professor Gates, you would have turned away and that would be that. You know it, the Cambridge Police Force knows it, and the entire world knows it…

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  344. Joe

    Not sure exactly what went on with the Gates arrest and apparently neither is Pres Obama, which is exactly why he should wait until he knows the facts before making comments. Right or wrong, our highest ranking public official needs to be well informed before making public statements, particularly those with potentially serious consequences and that effect the ability of others to do their job.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  345. Lisa

    I believe it was Gates own fault he was arrested. As a white women, I was arrested once for talking back to an officer in NYC. I also believe that Gates made this a race issue. I think the officer was just doing his job.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  346. Kerry

    Are the police to assume that all African Americans, and persons for that matter, witnessed breaking into homes have forgotten their keys, come on! If I broke into my house, I would fully expect the police to assume that I was trying to rob it, and if I answered questions disrespectfully, I would know that I am going to jail. Stop being the victim and take responsibility for your actions.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  347. Faith Frankel

    No one seems to remember that Professor Gates was arriving home from China and was most likely jet lagged. Anyone would be upset under those circumstances when accosted by a policeman in their own home. Given Professor Gates' particular sensitivity to racial issues and his undoubtedly exhausted condition, it is no wonder he may have reacted strongly to the policeman's request. To me, the key question is, when during the interaction did Professor Gates show his I.D.? If it was almost immediately, the policeman should have left.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  348. WayneP

    It is really unfortunate that this famous African American professor is destroying the reputation of an upstanding professional law enforcement officer and igniting racial tensions just to "prove" a point regarding racial profiling. While it is acknowledged that racial profiling is repugnant and should be stopped, this is NOT the way to make a point. It's about making process change not hurting individual people, who are trying to do their job to protect the public. The longer African American people keep playing the race card, the more divisive Americans will become. It's time to integrate not segregate, harmonize not emotionalize and show each other some love.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  349. Henrietta Mitchell

    Speaking as a 'middle class' american female of is apparent to me that black men have long been the target of white police harrassment. So when black men are stopped by an officer, naturally they are defensive because this, as well as blatant racism has been going on for so long. People are just tired and wondering when will you be able to live and work in a society, and not be the subject of the ignorant institution of racism!!!! It's as if an officer can say whatever they want to a citizen, and the citizen has to take it. People are just tired. And not all officers are wrong or bad, but unfortunately a large porportionof them are and we all know about their 'code of silence' and how they support each other. I have seen situations where the black man said absolutely nothing, and was treated like he was a serial killer–thrown to othe ground, beaten and spoken to like he was an animal. Wake up America before it is too late....

    July 24, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  350. Nastassha Brice

    Listening to how some white americans just brush off this obvious act of racism just lets us know that racism will never end. They have no Idea what racism feels like and they should be ashamed to just brush it off.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  351. Linda B

    The professor was apparently acting guilty when the officer apporached him so what choice did the police have. The average person would appreciate the fact that the police responded to a potential break-in. The professor should be the one to appologize and not the officer.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  352. Ashley

    I am outraged athow this simple, procedural event has been blown out of proprtion. My fiancee' is a police officer and faces opposition like this all the time. It seems nowadys to arrest a black man, wrong or right, it is racism, You CAN be arrested for your behavior. The police didnt just decide to go to the home on their own, they were called out. They tried to do their job, he instantly screams racism.. as so many people do, and acted belligerent. He was legally arrested becuase he acted the way he did. Maybe if people would stop making constant accustaions of racism, they would see that the same result would have happened if the professor was white. A sad day in America when the president, as busy as he is, comments on something he knows nothing about. What has happened to America..... Change perhaps?

    July 24, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  353. Fredrik Wanger

    I applaud President Obama's comments on the Gates affair. He supported a friend, while acknowledging that all the facts were not yet known, but also pointed out that this subtle racial profiling is a fact of life in America that still needs constant attention. I am still amazed by the lack of intelligence by the Cambridge police in dealing with potentiallyt explosive situations. Has Harvard not raised anyone's IQ?

    July 24, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  354. Mickey

    I can't believe that some one could think that this is a racial incident. The professor should be ashamed of his behavior. The professor should just own his screw up and apologize for it!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  355. tempo

    What's surprising is the fact that this story comes as shocker to some people. America slaved black people and continue to demoralize black men , it has never changed and it will never change.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  356. Subbaiah

    In this case there was racism and also a petty police officer showing off his powers. Racism exists, I am a brown man who gets stopped all the time by the cops while driving and get tickets . I refuse to argue with cops and just pay up the fines fearing rodney king like situation. I remember the time when an 8 yearold was handcuffed and put on the floor for eating in a DC subway..ofcourse she was black.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  357. George Ferrell

    It is sort of a shame that all of this could have been easily prevented if only he had gone to Home Depot, purchased a "key safe" for $30, and installed it somewhere around the outside of his home. He would have been able to simply punch in his code, grab the key, and open the police. Maybe it is something to consider as he moves forward with his life.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  358. Raquel Newton

    Your continued coverage of this story and your "Black in America" series is making me sick. This further sensationalizes the division between blacks and whites. Who do you think watches "Black in America"? African-americans! You're just highlighting all the injustices toward them- why don't you share positive stories. That would probably do more good than your "poor me" stories.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  359. Tone

    Margaret, your question is flawed. What you don't realize is that racist will take an opportunity to do something ignorant and use a situation to cover it up. It's kind of like (in an extreme case) when the officer in the South couldn't stop a black man from coming at him, so some southern states instituted larger caliber bullets to be used against blacks. lol Surely you can't be serious to think all situations are cut & dry as you propose in your question?

    July 24, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  360. Ellen Martin

    I get sooooo tired of seeing the same stories for 3 or 4 days. MOVE ON FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!!!!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  361. Carroll E. Gant, JR.

    Heidi, of all the comment everyone is taking the officer could be not telling the truth in that report. Why is everyone taking what he put in that report and in comments as fact. But not me. He could be trying to hide the fact that the officer entered DR. Gates home. Thart officer could not enter that home without any reason. Remember DR. Gates would not step out of his home for no reason. It is his right!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  362. Jose Antonio

    The way the "scholar" acted doesn't show any education at all, maybe knowledge. President Obama implicitly show racial profile with his stupidly comment. Mr Gates is suppose to be equal before the law.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  363. Musico220

    I think a new law should be made for video or sound recording always to be present when such visits are done because he said or she said will never get anywhere, but a tape or video will really show what happened and eliminate racial profiling for good.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  364. Jules

    It seems absurd that this case has been taken to such national fame. The police officer had every right to ask for an ID after a neighbor called to report a break in. Cambridge is a large city with a significant amount of crime. I would be thrilled that an officer followed through with identification. The professor was acting disorderly and likely saw an opportunity for a lawsuit. In addition, the President was completely out of line with his comments. He is supposed to be a role model for our nation and he is name calling the men who serve for his nation's safety! If he disagreed with the officers, there are more articulate manners that he could share his uneducated opinion.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  365. nick

    there's no question that the professor's mouth is what provoked his arrest.
    if this was a white professor arrested by a black police person whose side do you think our 1/2 white half black president would say acted stupidly?
    i believe he would defend the arrest as a necessary action by the police.
    you can't have it both ways.
    the cambridge police did the right thing and it has nothing to do with color except to the professor and the president.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  366. Steven

    I am a white male from Canada and I have to say I can understand the Professor's response to the police, he was afterall in his own home!

    Even if the officer was in the right to arrest him, which I don't think he was. He's the professional in this case and should of stepped back and let the situation difuse itself.

    This type of behaviour on behalf of law enforcement will be the main reason race continues to be a issue. I would like to see what would of happened had it been a white professor.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  367. sabrina

    I think there are times when police are rude and assume they have someone on the hook and are plain rude and make innocent people feel they are being intimidated. This could be the case. You can usually tell by if they come up and are rude or polite. When they are right they are polite when they are looking to harrass people it is a different story. I realize statistics are the reason blacks are harrassed, it is hard to say unless one witnessed the way the prof behaves and the personality of the cops. I think we will not really know, it does not seem likely to me that the police were going to "stoop" to being talked rude to by anyone , whether black or white, it seems today there are too many cops that need to be investigated with the reasons they are wearing a badge, this is not new and it is another example of our lawmakers,enforcers acting above the law instead of having some people skills rather then acting like combat aggressors.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  368. Carolyn Patterson

    I dont believe this incident was racism. I believe that it was more of a power trip between an experienced cop and educated black professor. The two strong willed men wouldnt back down and it is just easier to yell racism as an explanation.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  369. Felicia Alingu

    The lesson to be learned in this case is don't jump to conclusions. Professor Gates jumped to the conclusion that the police were at his house because he was black, rather than to protect him. I can't blame him; many black people distrust police, and many times they have good reason. This, however, was not one of those times. Should Gates have been arrested? Probably not. But this entire situation would have been avoided had he just listened to the cop before reacting.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  370. Peace@TheBeach

    Cooler heads should have prevailed...#1) if fhis gentleman is indeed "an instructor of racial profiling" in his particular precinct – then, he of all people should understand Prof. Gates "agitation" at the situation + been much more sensitive to how to diffuse it rather than escalate it.

    Why didn't he simply EXPLAIN TO THE PROFESSOR all the insight he is now sharing with the press. Tell the professor WHY he was there...and perhaps there might have been other people in the house...and the professor could have continued to show him that everything was fine.

    In my opinion, you have 2 MALE EGOS in the way here.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  371. Terry

    It seems to me that almost every time a black person is confronted by a police person it's racial profiling and utlimately harassment. I can't wait for Sharpton to get involved in this Gates ordeal.

    My only question to these guys would be: have you checked the racial makeup of the prison systems in the US? Black to caucasion occupancy rates are nearly 6 to 1. Black to Latino occupancy rates are 3 to 1. Yet every time a black person is approached it's profiling. Go figure........

    July 24, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  372. GJ_in_NJ

    There are three sides to EVERY story. In this case, the officers, the Professors, and the truth. None of us were there, but there's plenty of rush to judgement from both sides. Time to take a step back.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  373. Nikki in Greenwood SC

    I think egos were the issue in all that were involved. The police arrested him because they could and because Mr. Gates used his first amendment right of freedom of speech. Police have power trips all the time and this is surely nothing new in the Black and Hispanic communities. Mr. Gates was probably insulted because he was at his own home and the thought of police coming to question him about being on the premises. I am certain Mr. Gates was not polite handling the matter because I wouldn't be either.

    Mr. Gates should be upset with his nosey racist neighbors instead of the police. The police should by now be culturally sensitive and understand how minorities feel when they are approached by law enforcement (law abiding citizens mind you). I think the President spoke too hastily and inappropriately but I am sure as a attorney and a minority in the country, he too can identify with the matter. It's ugly all the way around, but America must address minority feelings and the ugly things that have been done to them. Not just over the last one-hundred years, but even today. Hidden racism exist and power and positions do allow for these character flaws to flow freely.

    It's a bad situation all the way around. All parties I am sure have some fault, but the police should have let it go once they found the man lived at the home and understood that he was insulted that someone said he was breaking into his own residence. Flexing power because you have it isn't doesn't always make you right and the laws can be bent when they desire to do so.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  374. Chris

    I think this college professor has a race issue himself. He provoked this incident with his behavior. Had he acted like a respectful citizen the officer simply would have verified no crime was being committed and left. Remember he was called to the residence to investigate whether a crime was in progress. I believe this man wanted some press time and realized an opportunity was presenting itself. I believe this whole situation will come back to bite him when the all the facts not allegations are revealed. I would offer no apologies either.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  375. Justin

    If the police officer involved did nothing wrong by making a VALID arrest and if Professor Gates was actually "disorderly" or "sassy"......then why did they drop the charges? What is disorderly? This is an unfriendly reminder of how Blacks/Latinos in this country have been criminalized and discriminated against for hundreds of years. However, I do commend our progress as a nation, Black men are no longer killed or arrested for "eyeballing" or "looking at white women"...instead we are arrested for "disorderly conduct" in our own homes AFTER showing proper identification.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  376. Loree

    People of other races always think black people overreact to issues involving race. That's because they've never experienced racism directed towards them. However, when it becomes a regular part of your life, you too would be irate. This man was in his own home = he had every right to be there and not have to prove who he was. I understand someone called the police and maintain had it been a white person, the police would have approached it very differently. That's a fact! You see white people are afforded the privilege to go about this country and NOT, under any circumstance, have to prove to anyone who they are and why they should be allowed to be any place. This was a clear case of why are you in this neighborhood. The officer couldn't conceive of the fact that they might actually BELONG there. So sad, so very sad!!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  377. Mary

    As soon as Obama spoke about this during his news conference, I knew immediately that the mainstream media..and of course the nutjobs on the fringe of the media world.. would jump on that as the big story out of that conference and would laser in on that one word, "stupidity". Never mind that Obama spoke with great knowledge and passion about what is going on in this country with health care. Never mind that black men are constantly profiled, harrassed and arrested without cause in this country. Never mind that cops abuse their power regularly and are supported by their unions and their superiors and keep getting away with it. Never mind that this country is going down the tubes financially. Never mind that millions of people in the richest country in the world can't get basic health care. It was all going to be about Obama daring to utter that one word. And of course, you didn't let me down. As usual, the media is STUPID. You people are shamefully embarassing and disgusting and unprofessional. Remembering Walter Cronkite this week has reminded me what real journalists were like and they are few and far between these day. You all need to go back to Journalism 101...and maybe Ethics 101 too.

    And by the way, Obama was absolutely right. The whole mess with that professor was stupidity on the part of the police. But no one can handle the truth in this country, especially if it comes from the mouth of a black man. Oh, my, the horror.........

    July 24, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  378. M. Lewis

    I think we should give them both a "pass". Clearly the situation got out of hand. If Gates really "crossed the line" they would not have dropped the charges. And at the same time, if the officer really "crossed the line" he'd be suspended with pay until an investigation was completed. Neither is the case. They both had a "bad day". Given the opportunity to do it over, I believe there would be a different out come.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  379. James A. Wood

    As a retired 30-year police veteran and licensed academy instructor, I was appalled that an officer would take such action against a person who had shown him a picture ID proving that he was the resident of the home. This was something a rookie might do, not a seasoned police officer who was surely trained that an officer should never take any comments from someone personally.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  380. bob

    this is obsered that this issue is even getting headlines! sgt crowely did nothing wrong. mr. gates should be ashamed by his behavior and sahould be the one to appoligize. i read the other day he is working on a book about racial profiling and wants to use his own experiane. how sickening! As for our president making his comments – now that is completly out of line! police officers have a very dangerous job and part of it is to investigate all calls for service, which is clearly what sgt c. was doing and now because someone pulls the race card sgt c. career will never be the same. he is forever labled a racist and he didnt do anything wrong. people need to open there eyes and move onto more important and WARRENTED issues!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  381. Antonia DePasquale

    Hi Heidi, I do think Obama used a poor choice of words, but at the same time I do not think many white people get arrested on the porch of their own house , unless they are commiting acts of violence. So it can be difficult to understand for us white people. We need to walk o in the shoes of the police officer and the homeowner.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  382. EUCLID


    July 24, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  383. Teo

    This was a terribly unfortunate situation and the truth probably lies, as usual, in between the two sides. It is also another example proving we have a long long way to go in creating more positive race relations in this country.

    It would be refreshing for Prof. Gates and Officer Crowley to sit down together and discuss what went wrong. The blow up between them was probably a result of the misunderstood history, attitudes and emotions of people living different personal experiences.

    This is an opportunity for learning and acknowledgement that we all have lived through personal struggles that shape us today.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  384. Nirmal

    It is easy for some people to say to "move on" and live your life but for the people who have been harassed and profiled based on their race by law enforcement it would be difficult to do so, knowing that it is their race is got them in the situation to start with. Professor Gates' neighbor did not see her neighbor as a black scholar rather saw him as another black man trying to commit a crime at that particular moment hence the reason for the 911 call. The police is there to serve and protect. In this incident who's interests did they serve??? prof. Gates' or the neighbors' who thought a black man is commiting a crime in their neighborhood??

    July 24, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  385. Charles

    Gates was and is the only racist here. The officer was doing his job and had a duty to protect or apprehend any victims orsuspects. Gates could not keep his mouth shut and kept on yelling at the officer. Once outside his house he was in public and that is why he was arrested because he was disturbing the peace of his neighbors. A police officers' peace can not be disturbed so it has to be the public. The president did not know what happened but he interjected his own view. I thought he represented all Americans. Maybe just the ones' he knows and likes.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  386. John - WI

    Why is this being turned into a race issue? People are way to quick to play the race card!

    What would the public out cry be if there was a break in and officer left the home without check things out? The officer was told that there were two men. What if someone was being held at gun point in the house? If that would have been the case, and the officer would have left...can you imagine what type of claims would have been made? The police department would been sued so fast and criticized for not doing a thorough job.

    The home owner went off on the officer, when the officer was only trying to access the situation and determine if the home owner was in any danger....enough said. It's not profiling.

    Still waiting to see Rev. Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson post their face all over the media crying about the injustice this man has suffered.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  387. Ann O'Hara

    I wounder what the outcome of this incident would have been had the homeowner been Professor Lawrence Tribe - a nationally recognized white member of the Harvard faculty - rather than an African American? It is highlly likely that initial exchange between Professer Gates and the police established an environment that was not helpful to Professer Gates, and the situation went quickly downhill from there. While Professer Gates may have over-reacted to being asked to produce identification while in his own living room, it's hard to imagine that the Cambridge Police would have arrested a dignified white 58 year old Harvard official while they were legally present in their own home.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  388. ansar durrani

    It is shocking to hear the arrest of an honorable professor and the way he was treated was very painful.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  389. Audrey Rojas

    Gates, you know that you was wrong, so why don't you just admit to it, and stop using your race for an excuse. Who care's that you are a black man, (NO ONE)

    July 24, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  390. joe

    what this issue proves is that we have a racist or a moron or both in the white house. this guy has proven himself to be the worse president at least in my lifetime of 46 yrs. as the facts come out this appears to be someone (gates) who wouldnt shut his mouth after problem was solved.he used "you dont know who you are dealing with." does that ever work when dealing with the cops.

    about 10 yrs ago my mother was babysitting my two nephews and didnt know how to turn alarm off in my sisters house. the alarm company called and she didnt know the password or code they asked and they sent the cops out to the house.cops came and had their hands on their guns when she answered door.she had to go upstairs as kids were there and she got her id. cops saw it they said we were just doing our job. she thanked them for checking in case house was really being robbed and they left that's it

    people better wake up to what is happening in this country or in 5 yrs we will not exist as 50 states and one union. i encourage all people to read RULES FOR RADICALS BY SAUL ALINSKY IF YOU REALLY WANT TO SEE OBAMAS GAME PLAN. Also, start watching out for the new doctor of death ezekial emanuel.this guy is giving alot of advice on the new health plan. read his writings. a dangerous guy with nothing positive to contribute to our society. a person with alot of degrees and thats it. oh, yes he is the chief of staffs brother.

    also, do you think martin luther king would act this way? i don't think so. please, read king's writings if you want to see a person who knew how to motive people to do the correct and positive things( BLACK AND WHITE)

    July 24, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  391. donna wilkins

    Calling this "racial profiling" is ridiculous. Should the dispatchers begin asking callers to 911 if the possible burglars are white, black, or hispanic so that they can only send the matching color of officer in order to not have "racial profiling"? Soledad O"Brien suggested yesterday that the officer should have realized that Professor Gates would feel threatened by having a white police officer in his home--so as a white woman–should I call it racial profiling and threatening if a black or hispanic officer responds to a call trying to protect my home and family and asks me questions to ensure the situation is under control and all is as it should be? Ridiculous.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  392. Michelle (CA)

    When did it become a crime to express your opinion??? What happened to freedom of speech??? Prof Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct which is defined as an individual or group’s pattern of acts that has the effect of creating a public nuisance or threatening safety.

    In my opinion, Prof Gates struck a nerve with the officer by yelling at him and stating that he was being harassed because of his race. That is his opinion. It may or may not be true but is certainly not disorderly conduct. I believe that ANY man, in his own home would be upset if an officer knocked on his door and asked him to show ID. I am in my OWN home!!! Come on America, wake up!!! Racism is alive and thriving in this country!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  393. Tracey

    Happy Friday Heidi!

    I feel that the testosterone levels were in huge factor in this incident. When the officer realized that the professor was in fact the home owner it should have stopped there. The situation got way out hand and though not as simple as I have stated it is a case of boys will be boys. The situation with black men and police is unfortunately ugly in America but I beleive that had the officer been female the situation would not have escalated to the point it has. It seems that personalities and boy vs boy took over.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  394. Robert

    Although the officer was probably just doing his job, I think that law enforcement officers over the years have moved from "to serve and protect" to "intimidate, harrass, and arrest". This is most likely more evident depending on race. I've had to break in my own house before and was extremely aggravated to have to do so. A visit by an officer would have only added to my aggravation. Since we will never know every detail of the incident I think it's time to drop the issue and get on with more important issues. I think the statement made by President Obama was also blown out of proportion. He knew the man and obviously had some idea of his personality. He tends to joke with the press on a regular basis also...

    July 24, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  395. Ron

    I have watched police treat me in an unlawful manner many times in my life. Some police do not uphold the law when they are not being watched.
    Did the officer enter Prof Gates' home w/o permission or a warrant?

    July 24, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  396. same30

    Either Professor Gates is lying or Police Collins is lying about what happened in this case, I tend to respect the Professor’s account. Police are known to lie about situations like this one. Goggle police misconduct.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  397. Jerry

    As a former police chief, and a Harvard graduate, I was not surprised to hear about this incident. I don't have the facts, but I can guess that this was a situation related to a Harvard professor who thinks he is very important and was not being treated with due respect, and a police sergeant who became angry at what he probably saw as an arrogant elitist. Either way, these situations occur all the time and usually work themselves out after people calm down. What is infuriating is that the President of the United States was "stupidly" getting involved and making this a racial issue. Well Mr. Obama, you certainly wasted a prime-time opportunity to sell your health care bill. Maybe your teleprompter should constantly flash a message to you, "You are the President, act like it!"

    July 24, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  398. Steven

    People SHOULD be talking about this regardless of where you are from. Everyone that wants people to focus on the war. Isn't the war supposed to be in defense of ALL peoples freedoms regardless of skin colour?

    July 24, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  399. Art

    I had the same experience as the professor, I came home one night and a neighbor mistook me for a burglar and called the police. When they arrived I was just entering my home and they asked me to immediately step outside and when I did I saw several additional policeman with guns drawn. The officer asked what I was doing in the home and I told him I lived there and asked why there were police there in the first place. He explained that there was a break in reported and asked me for my driver's license to prove that I indeed belonged there. I carefully reached into my pocket for my wallet, showed him my license and after confirming that I indeed lived there, he departed with the other officers. Now I am white, about the same age as the professor and I don't have a chip on my shoulder, so the incident was uneventful. The professor may be a highly educated man but to mouth off to police under any circumstances is not too bright.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  400. Dan S.

    A reported break-in in progress is serious business and the esteemed Harvard Professor should not have used the opportunity to create his 15 minutes of fame. An officer who shows such great dignity as he responds to these accusations is incredibly level headed and incapable of what the professor claims.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  401. Loree

    @ Shannon, fl...really? What CRIME did this man commit?? Was it a crime to forget/lose his keys? That kind of thinking is part of the problem. All black people do not commit crimes. Shaking my head at sad!

    July 24, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  402. heather

    I believe that there is legitimate concern regarding the treatment of African Americans by our police department in this country; however, I also believe that this instance can be likened to most racism and discrimination in this world. We tend to take shortcuts when we encounter a situation and generalize based on past experience instead of evaluating each individual situation. We are humans – animals, really, who once needed this instinct to survive dangerous encounters when we were hunters and gatherers. Now, it is more of a disservice, as it leads highly educated men to make generalizations, which may be true in many circumstances, to falsely evaluate this specific confrontation.

    It is sad that African Americans have become so defensive, but there are so many instances where it has been warranted. Unfortunately, this was not one of them. It's not about who was right or wrong here, but what we can learn from what happened.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  403. Jake

    Why can't our society just state the facts. Racial profiling exists simply because a vast majority of random criminal acts are carried out by key demographics. If those sectors would police their own, stop making societal exuses for their crimes and stop using the race card, equitable treatment would exist for all. I had arrogant professors like Gates in college who thought they were above reproach. Sad state of affairs. No one is above reproach.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  404. Anne in Bethesda, MD

    Gates and Obama did a disservice to the black community by their accusations. And the commentators and White House are fumbling and bumbling in their attempt to explain them. I would have expected better of Obama than to prejudge. Obviously he can talk the talk but apparently he can't walk the walk. And Gates should thank his neighbors and the police dept. for protecting the community.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  405. Rich from Philly,PA.

    I'm a blackman in America, and I know that the police officer in Cambridge was just diong his job. I am 33, looks young, and dressed like hip hop so I get stopped and harrassed all the time in philly. And all young black men today knows if you are reported breaking in to a house and the neighbors don't recognize you and the police are called, they are going to react like that officer did. It may have been racial profiling that day, but it wasn't the officer, it was the neighbor! A suggestion to Profeesor Gates is to get to know your neighbors, or do things the right way, like call a locksmith. The situation was honest because if it was really someone breaking in, the Professor would have been thanking them all. If the neighbor didn't recognize him, he reacted properly, the Professor over- reacted, I'm almost sure of it! He was just mad because he was in is own home, and he was already mad because he had lost his keys and had to break in, then he just took it out on the Police.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  406. JC fromVA

    As a african american I am ashamed that Mr Gates chose to go down this road, after listening to Mr gates on Black in America 2 wed night, I saw an opportunist who should have known better I suggest he take the time and understand police procedure when they are investigating a potential break in, iI think he immediately got defensive at the officer because he felt like he should not have been asked to show ID. I think the other gentleman with him probably, knows how Mr Gates reacts in certain situations, that is why he is staying closed lipped. this officer was clearly doing his job and has nothing to apologize for, but you Mr. Gates should apologize, you have made it difficult for legitimate claims to be ignored or viewed with doubt

    July 24, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  407. Makarios

    Shannon,fl so I guess us black folks brought slavery,segregation,jim crow laws,being hung from trees,beatings,dog bites,prison time,unfair banking practices,unfair housing desricmination,and the KKK on ourselves. These things have never happend to any of your ancestry tree. you need to do some reasearch on why things are the way they are this is part of the legacy of the civil war and inequality. how can you judge any african american for being a victim of terrorism by there fellow countrymen.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  408. Debbie

    I am sick to death of hearing about Professor Gates arrest. The neighbor did a nice thing. If heads stayed calm, the arrest wouldn't have happened. The Officer did his job by responding. What if it wasn't the Professor, the Professor would have been thankful to his neighbor. I don't think this is a "race" thing. I'm tired of hearing how often things are related to race, particularly from the black contingent. Do they have nothing better to do than try to make things a big deal when they are not.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  409. angie

    this needs to end now! gates' should be smart enough to know that this was not only for his protection but also for the protection of others as well. gates' should have kept his mouth shut and do as the police officer asked of him. just because of his race doesn't mean he doesn't have to follow the law, he is no better than the next person. the officer was doing his job by the book. what if gates' would have been a bad person and the officer would have let him remain in the home without proving that gates' really was still living in the home? they would really have a mess and something to talk about. i do know that tv has made a way for most blacks, what more do they want from us? no one will ever fix or make a difference when it comes to race in this country, seems like a waste of time. this officer WAS doing his job. now that the president had his say about this, we are doomed for sure! president should stick to his agenda! gates' showed the world how stupid he really is. i am sure a black officer would have handled this the same way. they protect and serve!!!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  410. Thameea

    Heidi, I have seen and known of other people who got annoyed and was "belligerent" to police officers and they weren't taken to jail for "Disorderly Conduct". In my opinion, the Officer's 'expertise' in race relations, should have already made him understand the sensitivity and perspective a person of color may have in a cituation like that. Who wouldn't be taken back and maybe astounded if you got a knock on the door like this.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  411. Little Wolf, Southwest US

    If the Police Officer was an expert in racial profiling, why didn't he apply his knowledge and experience. He should be well versed in dealing with situations as he alleged Mr. Gates displayed (misconduct, etc.). He needs to be professional and admit that what he did was stupid and uncalled for, if he was a rookie it might be understandable. This situation could have happened anywhere in the US, with White, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, whatever. It is a fact that Police Officers, not only White Police Officers, but all other ethnic groups do the same, it just depends on what part of the country you are from and who the minority is. We, as Native Americans, experience this every day in the Southwest, racism will never go away. All I can say is that if you don't like the other races, then take the next boat to the country you originally came from.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  412. Bonnie Moreno

    Could this have been prevented to begin with? What about Professor Gates' neighbors?? It looks like they do not know each other. Did the neighbor making the 911 call know the professor? This is part of a disconnect in many neighborhoods throughout our country. Maybe Neighborhood Watch would be helpful for them, so that they know who their neighbors are, what they look like, and so on.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  413. po8man

    Take it from me: "If you keep hitting your thumb with a hammer, the thumb will never stop hurting!"

    July 24, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  414. Tammy

    I am tired of this country being divided, an I feel the president has made a bad judgement by adding his comment on this subject. Would we be hearing of this if a black cop would of arressted the prof.? No ! This is sicking and I am sick of hearing that white people are prejudice,when I have ran into more black people that are prejudice, but that is okay.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  415. Mikael

    Out of everything that is happening, this is not a situtation we should be concentratin on...
    Gates was out of line, and acted irresponsible and reckless..
    This was not a case of race, but Gates made it into one. We black people need to realise, that even tho the president is black, does not mean he's goin to make our lives easier. Situation like this just makes the america seems like a racist country. In this case the officer was a caucasian man, and the other an african american, if it was two people of the same race, we wouldn't even be talkin about this right now.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  416. Rich from Philly,PA.

    It's possible the Police Officer could have shown some a little understanding and not arrested him, but it was a judgement call, maybe a bad one, but it wasn't racism.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  417. Brendlun

    I think the whole episode was about male egos gone wild.

    Mr. Gates was tired, having just returned from China, frustrated because he couldn't get into his own house and because his neighbors apparently don't recognize him at all, even tho he is a world reknown black scholar and historian and angry because Sgt. James Crowley apparently didn't believe his ID.

    Officer Crowley was hyped because he thought he had encountered a possible burglar and was still trying to maintain a safe surveillance of the house.

    I cannot believe that Sgt. James Crowley teaches sensitivity classes;
    he certainly didn't show any in this situation.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  418. Kumi

    The President called a spade a spade, and once again, critics seize the opportunity to feed on it. Call it what you like, but it won't erase the fact that racism is the lifeblood of White America!

    Who cares how saddened and deeply disappointed the PD is because they made the national news for adverse behavior against a prominent man of color? No one expects the cop to apologize.

    So what else is new?

    July 24, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  419. Robert H Sarasota, Florida

    Bottom line is – no matter what color or race you or the cop are – you are required to obey the lawful orders issued by a police officer – I cannot see anywhere that the officer made any rude comment or unlawful request. Police have a very hard job that requires split second judgements – if there HAD still been crooks inside the Professor could have been in great peril had the officer just left.

    The unwritten rule is simple – always ALWAYS be respectful to a police officer and things will not get out of hand as this did.

    Also, I am a HUGE Obama supporter but the President needs to retract his comment. This cop is one of the good guys – there are plenty of REAL bad cops to go after – this guy is not one of them.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  420. scotte

    A police officer is a public servant. He is trained not to let personal feelings provoke him to lose control of a situation. This officer appears to have let the accusation of being a racist inject his personal feeling and the confrontation elevated , and he continues to inject his personal feelings by saying he will never apologize. He must be a racist. This is the problem with white male policemen in our cities, They are abusing and killing blacks and see nothing wrong.

    Did the policeman submit/write the report also?

    July 24, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  421. alice

    What would have happened if Dr. Gates was really a burglar and the policeman had just left without verifying his identity?
    Dr. Gates should be thanking the policeman for doing his job and protecting him.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  422. Makarios

    My last comment is a different isssue from the current Prof and Cop situation.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  423. Cynthia

    If someone appeared to breaking into a house, regardless of race, I would call the police to investigate. Obama seems to be fanning the flames of racism by justifying "disorderly conduct" based on race. If race continues to be an excuse for belligerent or criminal behavior, we will never realize true equality.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  424. greg

    Why are you not interviewing the neighbor who called police in the middle of the afternoon to report a burglary in progress? Why did the neighbor fail to recognize Dr. Gates? As a retired prosecutor I know three things: 1. Most blacks do not commit crime. 2. Most crime is commited by blacks. 3. Most crime victims are also black. These facts are what make law enforcement so difficult!

    July 24, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  425. Lynne Mullis

    I am a "white middle class female" among other things. I donot care if Prof. Gates swore, called the police racist pigs or any other angry words and demands he might have made. Why are we focused on the racist issuee....what does the law say??Can you be arrested and taken away for cursing and being mad?? Is it truley legal? Dosen't it have to rise to the "fighting words" doctrine? Arent the police trained to handle angry people????
    If they cant calm down a educated man in his own home how will they react in a more difficult and deadly confrontation? The arrogance of refusing to apologize!

    If everyone was arrested who yelled and cursed at police (and many are, I know a few myself)
    our courts would be more full then they already are and the police would be tied up with all these minor problems instead of being available to deal with life and death situations. Why are we focused on race... Stop debating race and please, please
    Please tell me why this man was arrested and taken from his home instead of getting an immediate apology on the spot for the mistake. HELP ME UNDERSTAND PLEASE
    You may publish my name

    July 24, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  426. george

    I am not surprise about what happened to mr.gates it happens alot in my community i am hispanic and i live in a white neighborhood in staten island n.y. my teenage son gets harrased by police constantly.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  427. Zak Sabih

    It is completely outragious tha the police would arrest a person in his own house when no crime is committed. Once it was determined that he was the Professor, and he was in his own ouse, the officer should have left immediately. Handcuffy a Harvard professor and a respectable elderly man is shameful on the part of the Cambride police department. I think the police officer who arrested him has a lot of ego.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  428. Floyd in North Carolina

    Based on the coverage thus far, only 2 of the persons in attendance of the arrest are providing details - the professor and the arresting officer. Gates didn't help his situation with his verbal assaults of calling the officer "racist" and goading him by saying 'he didn't know who he was messing with.' Because he is a Harvard professor, should he be allowed to have free reign?

    July 24, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  429. Al Sheppard

    How could that police officer be in charge of teaching other about the law ans sensitivities of profiling?! ...if he's NOT even intellectually capable of diffusing the anger of a man in his own home who feels he's being roused by the cops because of his race. How simple does it get? The cop was stupid. Instead of supporting him, superiors should be asking, how should this have been done better. I'm an African American man who has constantly achieved in life from my early years to now. I've tried to respect the law and myself. I'm over 45 yrs. old and I still hurt deeply when I recall the many times that I have been accosted by insensitive rogue police who have no respect for people and use the violate the law by twisting the law and their authority to threaten, hurt, or arrest people... especially African Americans. It happened as recently as two months ago when a policeman followed me in his patrol car for over a couple miles before stopping me to ask if I'd been drinking, which I had not AT ALL... and he lied and said that I had crossed a dotted line in the street before getting on the freeway. He and his back up let me go on my way but it was an abuse of power. His assumption was that I had NO business to be out at that time of the night... that's more like the way that Nazi Germany or Soviet repressive society operates. I've also been stopped twice in earlier years and had police shot guns and pistols pointed at my face because the police had a report that a black man somewhere had committed a crime... and it goes on and on and on... and I'm not an unusual case.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  430. Marcia

    This is a clear example of racial profiling. The police responded in a judicious manner to the 911 burglary call. Once Mr. Gates provided ID with his photo and address, the matter should've ended with an APOLOGY to Mr. Gates for the inconvenience, to say the least. Aren't Civil Servants which include the police, working for US and paid with our/Mr. Gate's property taxes? The police officer after this point behaved in an arrogant manner to be polite.

    If Mr. Gates was only irate , after continuing to be harassed by this civil servant I congratulate him, because if it was me, I would've been outraged being interrogated and harassed in my own home!

    I fail to understand why so many people, and my guess is they're caucasian, as am I, do not comprehend that it is Mr. Gates who became a victim in this most unfortunate event. We've come a long way, and apparently we have to go much further in our fight against racism.

    In terms of President Obama's referal to the officers action as "stupidly", I would've used stronger language. I am proud he addressed this issue and didn't run from it as most "leaders" would've. Go Prez!

    July 24, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  431. Vince Courtney

    The arrest was neither necessary nor warranted. When the Professor adamantly protested being treated like a criminal in his own home, the officer's only focus was on defending himself against the suggestion that he was motivated by racial bias. His pulic statements attempt to portray the Professor as having acted unreasonably. But that's not the issue. Adamantly criticizing an officer who comes into your home, demanding that you prosent evidence showing that you are entitled to be there, does not constitute "disorderly conduct." Once Professor Gates presented his I.D. and it was clear there was no threat against anyone in the home, other than to the Professor, the only reason the officer had for making the arrest was to punish the Professor for adamantly questioning his mootivation.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  432. Lajuan, New Jersey

    I believed the professor was profiled and the officer moved on an assumption that the professor was guilty of a crime before gathering the facts. This raises so many questions like: who made the call? Was there a description of the alleged suspects? Did the call come from that residence and did they gather any information about the owner of the house? All valid questions when conducting an investigation. The truth of the matter is this, all information was ignored or not gathered and presumption was applied instead of the rule of law. How soon they forget that their oath of office doesn't enable enforcement of law but to uphold the supreme law of the land and prevent crime.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  433. Al

    It's a shame that it has to come to this point. Noone was there and no one knows how it started. We are all making our opinions based on assumptions and it looks like majority of the people are going with what the police man is saying. Not being there and not knowing what happened, I think if the police officer had said " sir we got a call of a break in with 2 african american males and we need to make sure everything is okay ...." I guess we wouldn't be talking about this. also if we all pay attention to all the words of the President and not just take 2 words out of it this shouldn't be an issue either. I believe the Pres. said if the Prof showed his Id to prove that he lived there, and the officer arrested him , then the off. "acted stupidly". Let's face it once the officer got the call he knew who lived there by inputing the address in his system, so once he got the Id he should have walked off. If the Prof. also acted agressively or whatever that's a shame. I think both parties could have handled this differently. You can make it about the Pres. as much as you can, at the end of the day he is protected by the best, what about US?

    July 24, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  434. Matt, NJ

    After Professor Gates produced 2 forms of ID Sargeant. Crowley should have said have a nice day. Gates didn't match the ID made by the 911 caller (besides his ethnicity). Sgt. Crowley's first mistake was entering the home unasked. Any uninvited guest in my home would draw the same reaction, regardless of who it was. Crowley may have been within his rights to do so, but was he afraid that an elderly man who needs a cane to walk was going to try and flee the scene? Absurd. I think that what really got Prof. Gates going was the continued interrogation after he produced ID. At that point I'd become irate as well.

    I have trouble believing that an elderly white professor would have been treated the same way...

    I'm not absolving Prof. Gates of responsibility, rather the Sgt. Crowley should have shown a bit more respect. Maybe he would have gotten some back if he had...

    July 24, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  435. Jean

    Funny! Whites see policemen as the Calvary coming to the rescue to make things better.

    Scary! Blacks see policemen as the enemy coming to harass, annoy, and arrest at the most minimal opportunity.

    Why does this opposite view of law enforcement exist in the first place? Oops! Could it be that historically that is the way law enforcement operated in this country?

    My, my! It is so difficult to gain trust and respect after a history of abuse. It’s like a bad marriage and you can’t get a divorce. Misery at its finest.

    Does Gates have the right to be annoyed? Yes.
    Does he have the right to act belligerent? Yes.
    Is he a jerk? Probably.
    Should he have been arrested? No. That was an abuse of power by the police officer.
    Why is this story newsworthy? History, history, history.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  436. Linda Schafer

    Most intelligent people realize if you make a comment that you "do not know the details of the event" you should be smart enough to keep your mouth shut about the episode! My greatest fear with BO is that he will continue to pour fuel on the fire of the scenario of "race issues" and make them worse rather than better. This is a prime example!
    Not only did he fuel that fire, but he insulted police everywhere!
    I ask you..........who acted "stupidly?" BO with his mouth!

    July 24, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  437. Jim Silks

    What happened to a man's house is his castle. He was in his home and his property. He had the right to get mad yell at the policemen, it may not be the right to handle the problem but it is home. The policemen should have left Gates broke no law. In fact the policeman broke the law for False arrest. He can be anuance in his home. They had no search warrant. That is why they wanted him to step outside.

    Jim, Ok.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  438. H. Kathryn Lamat

    Law enforcement says "his behavior was odd for someone who has nothing to hide . . . ." which means: "his behavior fits our presumptions regarding human behavior which underlie our profiling policies and, because he acted defiantly, I decided he must have something to hide"

    That's BS! "something to hide" is a kissing cousin of "something to fear" or "something to protect from existing threats"

    Non-white people have long-standing, well-proven, legitimate reasons to fear law enforcement; non-white people exist in a sea of existing threats from which they must constantly attempt to protect themselves and their family/friends.

    Professor Gates may well have acted defensively/defiantly; the law enforcement officer may well have acted according to policy. THAT'S THE PROBLEM! The policies are based upon presumptions against which non-white people have to fear and must protect themselves against.


    July 24, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  439. sonia nixon

    I really am beginning to hate the broadening divide that is allowed to happen because of this unfortunate incident. No doubt there are many old wounds and issues revisited but I think we need to avoid hurting each other and invite these two intelligent men,who both feel victimized , to sit in a mediatory environment and work this issue out for America to see that blacks and whites must transcend the the scourge of history. Time we communicate clearly and avoid further pain.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  440. Guy

    It's very disappointing that the professor, an educator of our citizens, chose to behave in such an ignorant, belligerent and shameful manner.
    Just as disappointing that the Sergeant , the protector of our citizens, couldn"t have been more thick skinned and made such a poor decision to escalate this situation by making an arrest when it really wasn't going to accomplish anything.
    Finally, the most disappointing fact about this incident is when the leader of the free world addresses the american people and calls the behavior of the officers stupid without knowing all the facts. The first apology that needs to be voiced is from my president to the american people. You're wrong Mr. President, take the first step and be the bigger person here!

    July 24, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  441. Paul

    Its sad that our beloved President chose to speak out against the Sgt actions without having al the facts. As a 15 year veteran, I can surely tell you that some people inspite of color, race or gender, who holds a higher position in the community feels that they are above the law when ever dealing with a Police Ofiicer responding a call.

    The focus of the story should be on the actions of the proffessor and how he responded to a public servente under the color of law attempting to protect people and property. Shame on Obama and bigger shame on the proffessor.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  442. Cyndy Hallam

    In my opinion the President had bad taste in commenting when he did and not even hearing all of the the facts! I would think he has much more problems on his plate that concerns all of us who are struggling right now with our livelyhoods!!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  443. Sam from Globe AZ

    There are two questions I have not seen addressed, that to me are common sense. First, who called in the suspicious person breaking in report? A neighbor who doesn't like Professor Gates, or just a concerned citizen in that upper middle class neighborhood who doesn't know who his neighbors are? Second, in what I perceive as the wealthy enclave of Cambridge, How is it that the police do not who lives where, especially when this "who" is a highly educated, Black, 60 something Professor from a prestigious university.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  444. j

    I think there needs to be a level of respect from both sides. Both sides became heated. Let this situation escalate. Both parties could have done a better job talking with each other, instead of yelling at each other. Shame on both of them.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  445. Debra Davis... Chattanooga , Tn

    Are you kidding me? The only problem I see here is not only the president royaling digging himself a hole screaming racism in a civilian situation that he didn't have but only a one sided story on, but here we have a professor ( i don't care if he's purple with pink poka dots) that got his self in trouble with police and got arrested due to running his mouth. I don't know what time this guy thinks he's living in but where i come from if you mouth off or break the law...guess what? You go to not pass go and you don't collect $200 You know I've lived all over this country and have seen true racism.. this is nothing more then an idiot who ran his mouth at police officers and got locked up. Suck it up Gate's..this is your own fault! I bet if you were a white man you wouldn't be screaming this be saying dang i messed up!
    That comment i hate to throw in there because i believe that we are all equal. I don't care your color or where you come from all i care is that people are people. It sickens me to see such nonsense from educated people. This is something that uneducated people use as a crutch( an excuse ) not as excuse to get in the lime light and thats all this is. How Pathetic!

    As for you Mr. president:
    You should have all the facts before you bad mouth our law enforcement agencies. These men and women have a job to do. i don't care if this man is your father, if that we're the case...Guess what? HE BROKE THE LAW! get over it.

    Finally to the Sergeant. Crowley
    To you my hats off sir.. I stand behind you 100%... This is not a case of racism but that of a wind blown old man that thinks he is above the authorities because of whom he is friends with. NO there is no apologies to be made on your part the only apology to be made must be made by not only the president but Gates as well for his stupidity and poor judgement.. You did your job and handled it very well.. I'm so very happy that you have the support of not only your own police department but by those across the country and the american people.
    I think the mayor of your city needs to get the boot. When a person that we the people vote in to office turns their( his ) back on his own law enforcement agency because of a little heat. That person doesn't deserve to be in office there or anywhere else... now i hope the people of Cambridge see just what type of people they have put in office!

    July 24, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  446. Manelle

    I just heard sgt Cowley's statement of what happened when he went to Proffessor Gates's home.When the Proffessor opened the door he the Officer should have first explained why he was there instead of asking him to step outside which kind of implies a wrong doing. After all the Officer should have realised that burglers who break into houses are not likely to open the door especially to the police !

    I also want to comment on the President's remarks that seem to be taken completely out of context . When he said that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting Mr Gates, he is not saying that the Cambridge police is stupid. Acting stupidly is a momentary thing that can happen to the smartest and the nicest people.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  447. Mike Lance

    At the core of this issue, I’m sure, will be found that both parties, Gates and Crowley, were at fault; as is usually the case. Our nation and its racial divides would be better served by these two gentlemen sitting down and discussing it rather than continually airing remote accusations. Face-to-face is the best way to resolve it. Maybe you could air that as a debate between these two articulate, intelligent individuals instead of assisting in this continued remote sniping at each other.

    A greater disappointment is that our president acted stupidly in making such a forceful comment when he lacked the facts. He stood up for his friend and took a page from the Bush era where loyalty weighed more heavily than competence and reality.

    An even greater disappointment is that his timing was such that it overshadowed the really important issue of change to our healthcare system. This is one time I have to say he tried to do too much at one time.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  448. Paul


    July 24, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  449. Gia

    Is Martha's Vinyard a high crime area, particularly for burglaries or break-ins? Statistics will disprove this. Dr. Gates has the right to be in his home regardless of what crimes are committed in homes anywhere. Does freedom of speech go out the window whenever a police officer is dealing with a citizen? Some intellectualize and use language to defend decisions to bully citizens at home minding their own business. So Dr. Gates emotions turn out to be his probable cause that criminal activity might still be underway? Thorough is one thing and goes hand in hand with gut feeling and instinct. You mean to tell me that a seasoned police officer doesn't sense immediate danger or threat. There was no probable cause because there was nothing tangible that would cause the officer to look beyond Dr. Gates' ID. A very tired, jet-lagged, very busy, grumpy middle aged professor in the know that he's being invaded by police was his probable cause? What is disorderly conduct? Anything an officer doesn't like? What is beligerence? Talking back? And how about miranda rights?
    This case amounts to abuse of authority by police officers and it seems like a gaggle of officers stood by and watched Dr. Gates not being mirandized. Clearly they wanted to man-handle an old man with a big mouth and that is exactly what they did. If Dr. Gates couldn't demand that intruders get out of his house and leave him alone in this instance, then when could he? Absent probable cause, when is it legal for a police officer to leave someone alone? And how is President Obama getting tangled up in this, through public opinion? My opinion is by the time young African American males are old they all will have been treated like criminals by law enforcement. When will it stop? How much longer must black people and brown people wait? It seems like it will amount to fight every step of the way towards equal treatment.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  450. Timothy Grady

    It seems to me that Officer Crowley should've been a little more understanding to why Professor Gates would be upset with being suspected of being a burglar at his own home. As for Professor Gate's comments about being a black man in America... it's not as if racial profiling has not, and does not continue to happen in this country. Bottom Line: Officer Crowley abused his police power because Professor Gates questioned his motives. As for his story of Gates maybe being in danger, why did Crowley ask Gates if someone was in the home? It goes to say that Gates would not of known if someone was hiding in the home that should not of been there. So, there is no logic in him being questioned in this manner. Gates was made to feel like a crimminal in his own home and he responded as most would in getting upset. Crowely needs training in police power abuse.

    Tim G.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  451. Downes

    I have to agree with Obama's "stupid" statement. I was not there so I can't comment on Gates demeanor but aren't police trained to de-escalate situations. Instead of putting Mr. Gates in handcuffs and taking him to the station, why not check in the house for identification and verification that Mr. Gates was only trying to enter his own residence.

    I don't necessarily see this as only a 'black issue', this is a citizen issue. I certainly wouldn't want to be treated in this manner.

    Even if Mr. Gates became angry and acted on that anger, it's stupid to be driven by the emotions of the moment when very obvious options were available. For goodness sake, where was the professionalism on the part of the police officer?

    July 24, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  452. ga girl

    There are 3 sides to every story: the police, Gates and the TRUTH. The police report is the officer's version, not the TRUTH. We will never know what happened or if it could have been prevented. But the charges were dropped and BOTH parties should take away some lessons from the incident. The police should re-evaluate their training to maintain control and avoid escalation when responding to a call....and Gates should use the incident to teach others since he is an educator.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  453. Michael

    Mr Obama should understand that he is no longer a private citizen, he is the President of the United States. his casual comments are taken as implied commands to many in the country. The President has set the bar, Blacks are now above the law. Law enforcement across the country has been undermined by the Presidents comments.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  454. Jahdai

    All of the facts need to be presented. but how can they? Is there a camera that recorded the events without bias? Apparently not, or it already would have been brought forth. National legislation requiring dash-cams on every police vehicle needs to be enacted.

    In march of 2007, two months before graduating Howard University, I was arrested after asking repeatedly for the lead officer's badge number. There were five officers present and I was on my BICYCLE on my way to a concert. Asking for a badge number is a civil right, but many officers view it differently.
    I had, among reading and academic materials, a fork and knife. When they arrested me, they charged with a carrying a concealed deadly weapon, a felony charge over a kitchen knife that I did not wield but simply had in my backpack.

    I cannot fully comment on the situation with Dr. Gates, but I do know that steps need to be taken to protect both sides, especially the citizen. I can say that arrest of Dr. Gates seems unwarranted provided the time of day, Dr. Gates age, and his status in the community in regards to recognizance. 'Justice for all' cannot and will never occur when situations come about that pit officers words against a citizen.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  455. John Cohn

    Sgt. Crowley did not speak on the issue until, with the aid of his Uniln and Chief, polished his story to acive a positive assessment of his actions. Does anyone truely expect that Sgt. Crowley would write a report that would place his actions in a negative light? Secondly, why is white America ( mostly southerners) ready to accept the Crowley's version ,without question. Racist policeman exist in every department across this nation. To reject that fact is to deny that the earth is round. What is-is! If the police behavior was taken aginist any other racial group, action would have been taken at a Federal level to impose penalties aginst offending police officers. Such is the state of blacks in America.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  456. nan pearl

    Most of the commentary on the Gates-Cambridge Police imbroglio has missed the real point of the conflict. It was not race that lead to the distressing confrontation between an apparently decent police officer and the distinguished professor. It was really something many in the Cambridge and Boston communities have come to know, namely "Harvard Arrogance."

    As a Harvard alumnus myself, I do know that drifting over the college "Yard" is an air of superiority, especially to the citizens of the surrounding communities - that one breathes in with the very air. If students feel this way in the few years they study there, how much more must the professors absorb that attitude, in their many years of faculty status?

    July 24, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  457. wheelchairman67

    The more this becomes an issue the more you hurt law enforcement and the more enlarge the gap between races or keep it open. This will not help to close the gap at all, this will only hurt it. Law enforcement becomes fearful to do anything because of someones race or color, rich or poor. I know for a fact you can find that the same thing has happened to a white person but no one wants to point that out. Does it happen more often to blacks; well I am sure it does but there is far more crimes done by blacks vs whites (based on prison numbers). This is do to the past not the current. This problem is only going to make things worse.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  458. Ronald

    This is exactly the reason why racism still exists, everything that happens to someone is not due to race, I would have been happy that someone reported a suspected break in at my house, yes HE knew he lived there but the officer didn't know that, so now if I see something like that going on I'm just supposed to think "oh well it might be the owner" and not report it? this kind of case does not end racism, it creates it, very sad.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  459. Edward Drabczyk

    Concerning the arrest of Harvard Professor Gates by a Cambridge P.D. police sergeant, one of the President Obama's comments I heard on CNN was that the professor should not have been arrested because he was in his own house, and questioned the handcuffing of the professor, because he uses a cane.

    If accounts of the police sergeant are accurate, he said he was first leaving the premises without arresting the professor, but when the professor followed him outside, he eventually was arrested for disorderly conduct...not for what the original call was, which was a neighbor's report of a break-in-in- progress.

    Concerning the cane, I would be surprised if a review of Cambridge P.D.'s arrest and custody policy and procedures manual did not state the requirement for any person placed under arrest by the police to be handcuffed.

    Going further, as an example, more than once during my private security career, I saw people in police custody who were completely immoblilized and even unconscious as a result of gunshot or stab wounds, but in accordance with police arrest and custody policy and procedures, still had to be handcuffed while being transported to the hospital.

    As the late Walter Cronkite used to say, "And, that's the way it is."

    Yes, the professor had a cane, but who is to say he could or would not have used it as a weapon against the police, if he were not handcuffed?

    If the police opted to take that risk, we might also be debating the issue of the proper use of physical force by the police, regardless of the amount of restraint the police may have shown.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  460. Bruce

    I wouldn't go as far as calling the police "stupid", but I agree that cooler heads could have diffused this incident. Gates over-reacted, but so did the Police Officer. Gates' mouth got him in trouble, and the police shouldn't have handcuffed the guy. It was HIS HOUSE, he needed a cane to walk. He was rude and disrespectful...annoying, but not a crime. Finally, as an educated African American male myself, I cannot align myself with Gates' cause. Both he and the officer should get off of the camera and talk to each other – resolve this like the honorable men they claim to be. Both were culpable and should have some good hind sight.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  461. Lindsay Lu

    I think this incident is being blown way out of proportion and is getting too much attention. I feel there are two ways of looking at the situation. 1) The current situation in which the Professor should be offended for being arrested when trying to enter his own home; 2) On the other hand, perhaps if the Professor looked at the incident from a different perspective, I think he should be thankful for the cops action. The cop was simply doing his job and trying to protect the Professor. It is understandable to be surprised that you're having to confirm it is in fact your house, but what if someone was actually in the Professors house? I think the cop did the right thing. He was being extra cautious to ensure the Professors safety.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:38 am |

    Years ago I lived across the street from a womans college dorm. One stromy late afternoon dressed in a rain coat and big umbrella I went to the end of my driveway to better enjoy the rain (my favorite thing to do). Within minutes two squad cars arrived too interregate me. I was reported as a suspicious character lurking. Mind you I had live there for 12 years. I was horribly offended and it affected me for a long time. It is important for all of us to keep a watch in our community. Better safe than sorry. From my personal experience I would say that Mr. Gates brought his own understandable due to past history "racial issues" to his situtation. Embarassment should be the only result. By the way, did I mention that I am a woman.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  463. Jim

    Since none of us witnessed this altercation, all we have is two sides of the story. I guess it is time to create an Officer Cam, just like a Dash Cam so that whenever an officer deals with the public it will be on tape, or the activity could be beamed back live via collar mounted web cam wireless uplink from patrol car to HQ where the incident can be taped. This will prevent lies from being told by either side, and we will hear and see the actions, attitudes, and accusations of either party as they actually happened. End of Story.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  464. Roger B.

    What motiveated the woman, who is a neighbor(and must know of Bates) to call 911. Why does the Cambridge Police Chief refuse to make public the name of this good citizen(sic0 who acted in the public interest. Under any other circumstance her name would have been made public and hailed as a concerned citizen. Something smells in the Cambridge police depatment

    July 24, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  465. Dianne Johnson

    My son has a saying that he lives by. It is that cream always rises to the top.To me, this simply means that wisdom, right, and good shall prevail. Should we not "appeal to the better angels of our human nature" as President Lincoln said in his attempt to avoid the Civil War? I sincerely believe that Professor Gates, Sgt. Crowley, and President Obama are good-souled human beings who are trying to do and have tried to do the best that they can with the strengths which they have been given. If each of these individuals will move towards the center "just a hint", it might possibly prevent any furthur harm to either of these men and the furthur "ripping away" of OUR Nation. May GOD give WISDOM to those in power and Power to those with wisdom! I DO NOT BELIEVE ANY ONE NEEDS TO BE CRUCIFIED IN THIS SITUATION...MY son has another saying that he has to use on his family often..."LET IT GO"!

    July 24, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  466. mike

    This is not a black or white issue. This is an attitude problem of most police officers. They believe they are little gods. You are not allowed to speak your mind and anger them, or they will arrest you, no matter what your color, even in your own home. Ridiculous

    July 24, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  467. CDOG

    It was reported that Officer Crowley taught other officers how to deal with the issue of racial profiling. If this report is true it seems odd to me that the police officer would think it is odd for a black male to ask the following question: "why am I a suspect? Because I am a black man living in America"? as he said Professor Gates asked him. These should not be surprising question to a Person teaching others how to be racially sensitive as I am assuming the racial profiling course he taught would be structured to teach. The Police officer offered no words in his interview to indicate he was trying to help minimize Professor Gates suspicions. As a person teaching other officers how to deal with racial profiling he should know how to deescalate the anxieties of black men who feel that law enforcement is targeting them unfairly. I did not hear Officer Crowley say that he attempted to do anything that was remotely respectful to Professor Gates to make the error of considering a suspect of a crime an unfortunate situation which would have been the professional thing to do.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  468. Doug Crow

    I am confused Heidi. Would you please have legal expert on to discuss what a citizen should do if the police come to our home and demand identification for some unknown reason.

    I (20+ year military veteran) for one would be inclined to refuse!

    What are a citizens rights in their own home. Can a police officer come to my house and ask me to step outside?

    July 24, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  469. Timothy Grady

    As for black men being angry, it's not like our ancestors were not dragged from their homeland, put on slave ships layered on top of each other with approximately 30 million out of the 45 million captured never making it alive to America. Then the 15 million making it here alive were treated like property and farm animals. After slavery was abolished, it was an all out struggle for many years to get the same legal rights as whites. Even so, undercover racism and discrimmination along with profiling has continued to this day. It's konw wonder black men in america have an attitude problem. Please forgive us for our inability to heal in a timely and efficient manner from all of the travesties and injustice done to us over the years. But, know this... Black men will heal one day, and when that day comes, we will meet if not exceed societies views on how a people should conduct themselves. Until then, just try to be understanding that our anger is a result of years and years of cruel and hateful treatment.

    Tim G.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  470. Kathie

    This is a case of two men with gigantic egos not race.
    The Prof. was upset at being made to feel like a criminal in
    his own home and was going to show this officer who he
    was dealing with and the power and influential people
    he could call because of the injustice he felt.
    The officer being a Sgt has his own ego and wanted to
    instill in this Prof. that he would not be talked to in the
    way he was by the Prof. He was going to show him the
    power he weilded and arrested him .
    I’d be surprised if they didn’t have to shovel the testosterone
    of that front porch.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  471. David Lee

    I am a 59-year-old African American born in the state of Alabama. I know what racism is. As for the Mr. Gates event, I believe that Mr. Gates overacted. When Sgt. Crowley initially approached Mr. Gates to inform him that he was investigating a possible break-in, I believe that Mr. Gates immediately played the race card. In fact, a typical person would have been delighted to have such security in their neighborhood. For a moment, let’s remove race out of it. You have two professionals whose primary responsibilities are to serve the public though in a different capacity. When Sgt. Crowley made his announcement why he was there, Mr. Gates response should have been positive, informative and non-confrontational. First by stating to the officer that this is his home to which he is having difficulties with the entrance door, immediately present his identification and cooperate with the officer and give the officer an opportunity to ascertain his (Mr. Gates) information. Instead, Gates was irritated by the presence of the officer and he (Mr. Gates) failed to extend professional courtesy to the officer even if Crowley failed to reciprocate. Personally, I hold Mr. Gates to a higher standard than what he demonstrated during this incident. Mr. Gates attempted to resolve his issues with the officer during an investigation. If Mr. Gates truly had issues with Crowley's conduct and behavior, he should have reported it to the appropriate authority at the appropriate time for resolution. Crowley was simply doing his job and it is incidents like this that make us all look bad. President Obama erred badly by inserting himself in the middle of an incident to which he did not have the facts. It is not racial and both parties need to seriously reflect on the incident to see what each could do to insure that an incident of this nature doesn't happen again. Such avoidable incident serves only to further divide this country. Can we all just move on?

    July 24, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  472. Matt, NJ

    I see there is a complete lack of understanding here...

    911 caller says two black men with backpacks are breaking into a house.

    Neither Gates, nor his driver had backpacks.

    Gates did not break in, he opened the back door of his home with his KEY.

    His driver left before the police showed up.

    Sgt Crowley confronted Prof. Gates at his front door, asked him to step outside (presumably to arrest him) which Gates refused to do asked for ID and followed Prof. Gates into his home when Gates went to get his wallet from the kitchen.

    Gates produced 2 forms of ID (Harvard University ID and Drivers Liscense), both of which were photo ID with the correct address.

    Crowley continued to question Gates and treat his as the perp...apparently 2 forms of ID weren't enough.

    After Sgt. Crowley was satisfied that Gates actually lived there he went out onto the porch, with Gates following.

    Crowley arrested Gates on his porch for being disorderly.

    Crowley was within his rights to do so as an officer, but it's just a petty move bordering on abuse of power. Charges were dropped because it was a bonehead move...white cop arrests black Harvard Professor...where did he think this story would end up?

    July 24, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  473. cliff skalba

    I am one American who believes the laws of our country were enacted to protect us.To protect us in our homes.The police used to have motto`s like Protect and Serve.Unfortunately,We have adopted the Jack Bauer school of policing.Almost weekly the police have been found to violate human decency somewhere in this country.From tasering a grandmother one week to gang rape in jail.In for a penny,in for a pound.When we endorse torture anywhere,we endorse it everywhere.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  474. Ralph Green

    This racail profiling has gotten out of control. A black police officer would have acted the same way. Would there have been so much fuss if that was the case.

    He should have been glad the officer responded. What if a break-in was in place and the officer did not respond.

    Whatever happened to respect for the law and police officers who put there lives in danger on each call ? How did the officer not know if there were more than one person ,with guns, waiting for the officer to arrive.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  475. Stacey Mott

    A guest on your current program is repeating the same problem that Pres. Obama had, namely judging the situation without having heard all the evidence, saying that Gates should not have been arrested. I haven't heard the testimony of those present and I doubt that your guest has either, as Pres. Obama had not. This is a poor case to argue concerning Profiling. That should be discussed when a case is proved to result from profiling.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  476. M Sims

    As a police officer of 23 years(retired) I experienced similar instances many times.
    I was verbally aassaulted and called everything under the sun. Seeing that I was dealing with someone that could not be reasoned with, I removed myself from the situation. I DID want to reach out and touch or arrest the person but knew the ramification of such action.

    Sgt Crowley is a supervisor, a leader, and a role model. He set a GREAT EXAMPLE. Didn't he.

    The Police Unios will and should defend all officers in such situations but Commissioner Hass should have been a realistic leader.

    The situation was not neccessarly racial. I might have been as simple as a bruised ego. I am Black.


    July 24, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  477. Marci

    The fact that this story has gotten so much attention and press to me says more about race relations in this country than the incident itself. The reporter who chose to ask President Obama about this issue may have sensed the story would grow to this level because ANY comment AT ALL from the President would be scrutinized and judged and no matter what he said, some racial group would feel he either went too far or not far enough. I listen to talk radio – both conservative and liberal and one common theme I hear on the conservative shows is the protection of one's property and the rights associated with owning property. I think we would all be better served if we stepped back, took a deep breath and without emotion think rationally about this issue. ANYONE who is in his/her own house would be offended if someone asked to see an ID...period. IF, in fact Professor Gates (who I've actually met before and I can admit he can come across a bit arrogant) said something to the police officer – there is no crime in being arrogant. I also find it interesting that NO ONE has bothered to note that there were 2 other police officers present – one Latino and one African American but the Caucasian officer is the one getting all the press and the one who will do a news conference today. Bottom line – common sense was not common in this situation. I also think it would be refreshing to see a Caucasian male come out and say publicly that arresting someone IN their home after it was established that no burglary was being committed (the reason the police were called in the 1st place) was stupid no matter what words were hurled. Again, clearly race DOES matter STILL in this country and its evident that this story has grown to this level.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  478. Stuart in Phila, PA

    There are 2 separate issues w/ this incident. First is w/ our President- he stated that he did not know the full story, after which he should have kept quiet and shut up. I'm not comfortable w/ our President acknowledging his ignorance on a matter and then 2 seconds later making a personal attack on a single individual who spends his days protecting citizens and saving lives. Plus, what kind of names do you think school children are calling his kids today? After all, the President says your Dad is stupid. The President owes ALL policemen an apology. He was/is clearly wrong, so do the right thing and apologize.

    Second is the matter itself, and let's face it, we don't have all the facts yet.

    Stuart in Phila, PA

    July 24, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  479. Donn

    As a Black Man in America I have had numerous encounters with policemen in my 66 years. And I know like most Black Men know it is an unwritten rule that you don't talk back to the police, especially white policemen. Some of them seem to take the attitude of "how dare this Black person speak to me like that". Believe me if the owner of that house had been white and said the same things to that officer he would not have been treated the same way.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  480. L.McGraw

    It's time for America to decide what way we are going to go with this race issue? We want the police to take care of our safety and when they try to do just this, they are condemmed for it, depending on who is on the the other side of that badge. I give nothing but the highest praise to the Mass. officer, who was attempting to do just what he was sent there to do. It was not an issue of race but one of concern for safety by a neighbor. What did they want this officer to do, risk the chance of not checking out the entire situatioin. Had it been a real burgulary, would not Md. Gates, have been the first to say that the police officers did not do their job in checking it out??? No one injected race into this matter except Mr. Gates. I propose the following: let all the white officers take one 3 months off with pay, hire only black officers and put them in the entire city for these 3 months. Then let what will happen(crime) happen. Let's see how cries racial profiling then. There is no way, I would have my son goe into law enforcement theses days with everyone crying profiling, it's just not worth it white policeperson to ever be sent on these call, they CANNOT win!!! A very concerned citizen L. McGraw

    July 24, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  481. Makarios

    I think we should all take a pause and realize that regardless of any americans color we are all americans al qaeda and the taliban dont see us as black or white or of asian decent mexican, african, italian, russian etc. they want us all destroyed the worst enemy is the one from within the enemy at the gate is easily identified.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  482. Julie, Canada

    Police Officer are well trained professionals who follow well established procedures and face an increasing difficult job every day. For the most part it takes special individuals who deserve respect for serving their communities in this important duty.

    I would hope and think most citizens of the US realize this and know they should assist, cooperate and and listen to Police Officers, especially when they are involved in an investigation or incident.

    I also feel that the President should have made comment or given an opinion on an issue when all facts were not known to him.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  483. george

    look at tthe news conference how many blacks you see there none.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  484. leofficer

    Mr. President, you sir were reckless and irresponsible in your comments regarding the arrest of Mr. Gates. Regardless if the accusations are true, you have permenantly condemned this officer not in the legal courtroom where such judgement should be made, but in the courtroom of public opinion. As an ardent supporter of yours throughout your entire campaign, I defended you and your policies even in the face of most other officers who did not. I find that support I once gave you may be no longer. Being a Chief of Police, I recognize that my comments and actions may interfere with due process. I would have expected the same respect of the legal system from you.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  485. Arlena

    Aren't we past racism issues??? For goodness sake we have a black president, what else can we do to convince blacks that we are ONE and no longer see color. We see people and in this case saw what could have been a break-in of a well respected black man's home. It's the same thing as American Express stopping my next purchase while they make sure that the last one for $3000 was really mine. I call them and thank them for their diligence in watching my back.
    Discrimination is wrong either way!!! Stop playing that card, you can't keep using it, it no longer exists and it only fuels the fire of the few who still like the controversy. Our president should be ashamed to play into it and in fact state anything other than "I don't know all the facts" and let Cambridge handle it. This isn't Birmingham or Memphis.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  486. Carlos

    It's just such a same that Mr. Gates entered race into this controversy. I just wonder what the response would have been if the officers had not taken the measures that they did to ensure that there was not actually a burger in this house? Would we then be questioning why the home of an African American in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood was not protected as equally as the neighboring homes might have been? Please leave race out of this!

    July 24, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  487. Christine

    There are several disturbing aspects to the Gates story…the first is the misinterpretation or lack of the facts by our President, the Governor of Massachusetts, reporters, commentators, and so many viewers injecting their observations and opinions.

    There was one question I would love to know the answer to – it was a question that immediately came to mind when I saw Prof. Gates was on CNN’s Black in America2 Wednesday night. Was his appearance already scheduled prior to the arrest incident transpiring? If in fact he was already scheduled to appear, could his reaction to Sgt. Crowley have been a calculated response?

    Bottom line to all of this: If one is responsible, they meticulously gather substantiated facts and react/comment accordingly. With that in mind, it appears there is enough blame to go around in the Gates story. Professor Gates should have been appreciative of police investigating what they believed was a break-in. The Police should have walked away from the disgruntled Professor. The President should have been the leader I had come to respect and commented appropriately. The Governor of Massachusetts should not have thrown out his blanket racial statement “…every black man’s nightmare” into the ring of public opinion.

    We should all invest more time in constructive versus destructive comments and behavior.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  488. Michael

    From what I understand, the police officer entered Mr. Gates home without an invitation. Officer states this was because of a call.
    If this it true.
    I would like to know who made the call and what gives the officer the right to enter anyone's home without a warrant.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  489. moore


    July 24, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  490. Natalie

    I use to live in a rough neighborhood, my dad had just parked his car as he was getting home from work as he was getting out of his car he was mistakenly arrested in front of his neighborhood and all the neighbors started screaming no not him, he is not the one, let him go!!! They let him go. We are of hispanic decent.

    In Mr. Gates case he was singled out and obviously did not have any support from his neighbors.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  491. Andrew

    Are the Cambridge police willing to do a count of how many are white and black etc. as for the support from the people across the count

    July 24, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  492. MARY

    The whole premise of this is that cops profile balck men in America! How about an apology to all the black men and boys in America that have been harassed, jailed, beaten and even killed in some instances. These cops have some audicity. All this cop was told was that he acted stupidly, so what big baby!!!!!!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  493. JudgeU

    The Cambridge police department is churlish, President Obama needs respect, he has no reason to apologize for being a realist. He has answered the question asked, and he has done an articulate job doing so. The president needs respect. Cambridge Police department are covering up the facts, hidden racism. You all are acting stupidly, right now. You cannot arrest someone i there home for being upset over not believing that he owns the home. Gates, was not acting disorderly, Crowley has was the one who was at fault.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  494. Betty Phillips

    I can not believe this article, I personally would LOVE to shake the hand of Crowley, why is it that every black man that thinks they are above the low, tries to hide behind the Racist card? Now they feel double secured, they have OBAMA to go to bat for them, little do they know that Obama himself has shown lots of racism in his life, He once thought he had no reason or right to pay his parking tickets,(he finally did in order to try to clean up his record for running for the high office,) it is a shame that so many people out there are duped by his smooth talking, wake up and start checking on Obama himself. Lets leave the handling of Gates to the law enforcement, isn't that way they chose to protect the laws, now let them do their job, afterall Obama is without a doubt not even an American citizen. It would benefit us all if Obama would just keep his comments to himself. Betty Phillips

    July 24, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  495. Omar Arouna

    I am watching this instant the conference press of members of different police association of the Cambridge PD and what is astonishing is that no officer of color is part of the group of representative on TV.

    I read the incident report that the police office produce after the incident and my opinion is that he is a disgruntled officer that went on power trip because he could stand that Pr. Gate was calling someone on the phone to find and was reporting him.

    I know that many pundit and defender of the Police officer are arguing that he is not a racist base on the fact that he taught other officer how to avoid racial profiling so he could not possibly do that. Well the fact is we have priest teacher and youth leader that are pedophiles and so on...

    July 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  496. deborah wiggins

    we all know that police stick together no matter what, they still have this code of silence. i know first hand. the cambridge police department probably have good officers, but thereality is there is racial profiling going on in every aspect. why do people try to hide this fact. i have experience first hand where a call was made in which the police canme to my door and it was a wrong call. i showed them my identification and they apoligize and left, now what i believe is the professor probably overeacted and perhaps a little upset, and i think the officer got a little agitated, but the fact remains that the officer should not have arrested the guy for speaking his mond, they could have calm him down. president obama did not call the police stupid, but said the act was stupid. he does not need to apoligize. we all know how some people twist words around.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  497. The Anti Racist Carol R. Ellis

    What everyone is missing here is that incidents such as the one created in Dr. Gates case is that racism is so deep rooted and insidious that one may not even realize they are in fact racist. People who lock their car doors at a stop light when they see a group of young blacks are being racist whether they recognize it or not. If you asked those folks if they were racist in thinking they would be horrified and deny any thoughts of racism. We whites have been inculcated with non-verbal, subtle racist attitudes for many generations without realizing it. I was raised in an extremely racist environment, from a white perspective, and it has taken a lot of work to try to overcome it.

    Eric Holder is right, we ARE a nation of cowards when it comes to discussing racial issues, not in our own ethnic group, but face-to-face with 'the other.' It can be extremely rewarding to discuss racism with African-Americans because they want to talk about the pain, the isolation and the lack of understanding. Whites, in general, are a lot more difficult in that they feel since Obama was elected, there is no more problem.

    President Obama, instead, has become a lightning rod for racial angst.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  498. Carolyn Waller

    Is it correct that Prof. Gates had just returned from a trip to China? Has anyone thought of how fatigue would have been a cause for at least some of his behavior?

    July 24, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  499. Annette of Aurora, CO

    Oh yes, this news conference just reinforced my view of this matter. Who comes forward to yield support of the police officer involved in this case? A white woman and bunch of white men! Quite a group that reflects the diversity of the force, right? Where are the police of color, male and female? Why aren't they lending their support to the officer? Give me a break! Not to mention that it appears the police investigated themselves and have now biased any potential jury should this case go to trial. They have played investigator, judge, and jury.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  500. anonymous

    I hope the President isn't cornered into an apology. The fact is this was a situation that was handled "stupidly". I think his word was a perfect choice. I think anyone who would be in the position of Prof. Gates would agree.

    I am looking at the press conference right now, I see no African-American leaders within that police department. The police feel they do not have to answer to anyone when they do wrong. I understand that they have a tough job, but in situations like this, banding together does not make the public feel better.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  501. JVN

    I'm going to have to side with the cops on this one. I can totally see this guy, an admitted activist, immediately throwing down the race card and acting like a jerk. Even I'm smart enough to know if you get in an officers face, for any reason, you're going to get cuffed no matter what color you are. Unfortunately, Obama's comments kind of blows his "Equality for all" mantra in the tank–I'm disappointed–

    July 24, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  502. Charles

    It is obvious that Mr. Gates wanted a confrontation and he had control of the situation, he did not have to make it a racial issue. Rogue cop, judge for yourself as more information is disclosed about the Sergeant . Gates did his Officer profiling rather poorly for such an educated individual.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  503. joe

    hey scotte,

    do you even know the facts of the case? obviously not. if you did you wouldn't have made your comments. racist is not just white to black . from your comments i can only presume you are a racist. go read both sides and make a clear decision. you are wrong

    July 24, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  504. john cole

    Did he say colored ,then say not race base?

    July 24, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  505. Andrea in Raleigh, NC

    This story has been blown way out of proportion! Albeit, it does deserve some recognition. Mr. Gates was breaking into his own home, and after a certain point, the officers knew that it was his home. However, they still arrested him for some charge similar to disorderly conduct. Arresting him, for any reason, WAS STUPID! Of course the man would be upset and irritated! He was probably already upset that he was locked out; then, to top it all off he gets arrested for breaking into his own home! These officers didn't have to do anything but leave him alone. I understand that they had to evaluation the situation, having been called by a "witness," but they didn't have to arrest him. I just wonder what would have happened if he was an older white man. Somehow, I think the situation would have differed.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  506. george

    no apologie is needed people have the right to challenge a cop especially if the cop is wrong.he should of never been arrested the cop took it personal.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  507. Greg

    The first thing that was wrong with this whole situation is that Gates assumed he was being questioned because he was black. Why is it that when a black person is questioned they immediately throw out that they are only being questioned because they are black. Maybe it was because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Gates was not cooperative and was beligerant to the police. He should have been arrested, whether he was black or white was not the issue. Gates should be happy that the police were there to protect his property and should appreciate their thouroghness in checking the situation out. As for the president, I do not feel he needs to get involved in matters not concerning the White House.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  508. Brian Hoy

    I just saw the interview of the officer. I still don't understand why he arrested Mr Gates. Once he confirmed that he lived there the matter should have been settled. A person has the right to say what he thinks in his own home, whether the officer likes it or not. Mr. Gates probably used some very harsh words but he did not assault the offiicer or do anything else that would be considered a disturbance. In addition the Officer says that he was concerend for Mr. Gates, that others might be in the home but he never says if he checked the house. Finally if the the Department stands by his actions why did they drop the charges?

    July 24, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  509. RUTH


    July 24, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  510. Les Stowe

    Hello Cnn,
    I think that Professor Gates was treated with no respect and it was completely without merit to arrest the professor. The Police involved here were wrong and should be held accountable. There is no way I would have been as nice as the professor.. If someone comes into my home and tries to arrest me, I will try to beat the living daylights out of them.. Dont come into my home and tell me i am under arrest ! for trespassing !!!! no way.. The Police were completely out of thier minds.. sorry,
    L. Stowe

    July 24, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  511. Gloria Tellschow

    I witnessed the question posed by the reporter to Obama & wondered what that had to do with the important topic everyone else was questioning him about. And which most of us listners were interested in. Now I know. It was a trap to get him to respond w/out knowing the facts and to generate a news cycle of everyone under the suns opinion of the event. Now it's disected endlessly, and the real topic of health reform is again topic B or maybe D. Whoever formed the reporters question obviously wanted the air time to be shortened for health reform, & diverted to another topic of outrage, since now everyone is talking about Cambridege, MA. I'm 78, I do not think fairness in health care will ever be achieved, because we allow reporters to stir us up to create news for them, & derail our focus.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  512. bigxav

    Stupid Police, Dishonest Doctors, is that what we are supposed to take away from the President's news conference?

    July 24, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  513. Laurence

    I completely understand both parties' view, Mr. Gates and the police, but I have a question: If the same thing would have happened with a white professor, would we talk about it that much?
    I know it's difficult to not talk about race, but was it really a factor? Don't we make it a factor because Mr. Gates is so respected? The police officer would have acted the same way with a white person, in that case is it a problem? controversy?

    July 24, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  514. mike

    Everyone has to step back and let the two parties handle this situation. We all know as americans that racism is still in full effect in this country. BlACK or WHITE; we are all americans and when it comes down to it we all stick together, so let's just end this right now and stick to the real situations at hand. Thank you and GOD BLESS AMERICA PLEASE!!!!!! 😉

    July 24, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  515. Brad Glover

    Sgt. Crowley did nothing wrong. Cambridge police did nothing wrong. Gov. Patrick and Pres. Obama should apologize. Why is that so hard to understand? The fact that Prof. Gates is black does not mean that race was a factor.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  516. Terri Walton

    The reason this episode has escalated is because the president made an inappropriate statement. He is the one who should apologize.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  517. Red Baron

    Sgt Crowley was strictly following protocol and did the right thing. I believe Gates was very uncooperative and beligerant to the officers.
    Gates must think that because he is a black Harvard professor and he is friends with the President that he is more special than other people. I believe Gates is the one that is "racist".

    July 24, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  518. Kraitman

    President Obama should not be in the business of commenting on ordinary arrests of no consequence to the running of our country. The fact that he did gives support to a growing number of citizens concerned our President's slick veneer is wearing thin. And with that they're beginning to glimpe his own reverse-racist thoughts. Had Mr. Gates not been a Harvard prof. and black, there would be no story. The only stupidity related to this incident was Mr. Gates acting like a jerk, and our President for publically commenting on the incident.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  519. Spring

    Michael Armstrong, did you not notice the BLACK COP in the picture that is strewn all over the internet?

    Maybe we should start sending out black cops for every suspected black burglar/rapist/etc? That way, they won't be able to seriously use the race card anymore. Same with Latinos, etc.

    By the way, blacks need to stop pulling the race card. If you are caught doing something illegal, it is because of that act and NOT the fact you are black! If you are suspected doing something bad like Gates, here's a word for you: COOPERATION. Show them your ID, shut up, sit down, and be polite. NOT cuss, insult people's families, and be an overall douchebag.

    I'm glad to see that the Union and Police Department are backing Crowley up.

    Gates and Obama are two of the many that are keeping race cards and racism alive in this country.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  520. Jim in Indiana

    I don't think the cop was being racist. He did however allow his ego effect the way he did his job. This officer probably arrest people often for standing up to him. Why wouldn't he give his badge #?

    July 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  521. rosetta glasper

    Hi Heidi,

    Do you know if Professor Gates has an alarm system? Was it triggered? Did someone from the alarm system call the Professor's home?

    Do you know who responded to the previous break-in at the Professor's home?

    Since Professor Gates is a well-known person in Cambridge, why did Officer Crowley not recognize him, especially since the officer was chosen to teach a racial profiling class to other police officers?

    I would think that the Professor's expertise on race relations would be evidence that Officer Crowley would use in his classes.


    July 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  522. Bob T

    I have heard that the officer in the "Gates" affair has been involved in training Racial Profiling, for five years. What does that consist of in this specific reference?
    Is good for minoritys or bad? Is it supposed to make the students
    more sensitive to individual rights?

    July 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  523. Wayne

    It seems there was a racist involved in this incident, but "political correctness" seems to keep anyone from pointing out that he happens to be a black, politically connected, university professor who saw a "teaching opportunity" the instant he saw a younger, physically fit, white policeman in front of his house. He saw a person that represented in his mind the type of person that Prof. Gates has built his career yelling about. He seems to be an "educator" that finds himself late in life jousting with windmills.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  524. Joseph

    President Obama was wrong and the officer in the Gates matter and the American people deserve an apology. In his own admission he did not have all the facts and yet made a terrible comment. It sickens me when people of all races hide behind their color of skin. I as a minority who has experienced racism agree with the officers action. this arrogance by the President and Mr Gates is what fuels anger. They wrong!!

    July 24, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  525. mike

    The charges have been droped, the officer still has a job. The country is still broke so let's stick together and fix the real problems, Im tiered of always going back to the past and im a young AFRICAN AMERICAN!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  526. Quinn

    I agree the police should have responded to the call, but the outcome absolutely was handled poorly to say the least! This press conference held today has made the situation worse and has created a greater divide! Isn't this the same police department that rounded up African American males like cattle when Mr. Stuart said a black male tried to car jack them and killed his pregnant wife!?!? Do not act as if it is not plausible for Officer Crowley to committed an act of profiling!

    July 24, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  527. Pat Collins

    One's home is their castle, haven if you will. It should go without saying that a man, black, white or orange, would be offended by the police officer's behavior. The fact is that black men have historically been assumed to be engaged in criminal behavior, regardless of the circumstances or evidence. The ultimate question is whether Prof. Gates would have been treated differently if he were white. A mistake was made here. If the police department is fully supporting the police officer where were the black police officers and black supervisors during the press conference (are there any with this police department?). Dropping an Hispanic name to show multi cultural support (someone so committed he can't make a personal appearance) proves nothing. Now who is acting stupidly?

    July 24, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  528. Michael George

    A Black man cries "racism", and a Black President backs him up, and Black reporters wonders why the rhetoric isn't lowered when the facts seem to show that racial attitudes all came from the Blacks and certainly not from the arresting officer. This is progress?

    July 24, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  529. Daniel

    I just wanted to offer my support and to say that I believe that your officer had reacted in a professional and diplomatic way ( the best way officers can – obviously even police officers are not perfect ) but in this case even though I supported Pres. Obama in the run for president, I believe that your officer is in all rights not to apoligize for the situation... I am finding that people of color are starting to use the race card liberally and much too often. I realize that it is not an easy job being a police officer, under paid for what they do, and the risks that they face each and every day ... day in and day out. Please forward my thoughts to the police officer in question and keep pressure on demanding apologies for the officer.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  530. rick

    Some people don't get it. You start to have a attitude with a police officer, that's the beginning of the problem. You will lose. Most of the time a police officer's attitude depends on how you act. The professor became belligerent, that takes it to a new level. When it gets to that point, the police can take you away.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  531. julie thueson

    Do you think if Professor Gate was not a friend of President Obama there would be such an ado over the news? If this were Chinese, Hispanic, muslim etc., would you take it as far as it has gone. And, as for President Obama's remarks, shame on him (and yes I am an Obama supporter). It is one thing to support your friends when you have all the facts, but another to let your mouth over load your brain when you don't. I am sure there is enough blame to go around on all sides, so why don't we all act like adults and sit down and talk about that without the news media or the President. I thnk all sides 'doth protest to much'.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  532. Debbie

    I am a white female, 5ft 118 lbs. and have been mugged twice by young african american males, once in front of my 7 yr old son. for years he would cringe everytime he walked by a black male. I have permanent shoulder damage, my mother-in law 100 lbs. was beaten so badly her mother was wired shut for a month by an young african male he did this in the kitchen of her home. Her sons had to clean up all the blood. When will black males stop attacking innocent defenseless people, guess who sees the results of these attacks, the police, time after time.
    Cause and effect are proven human motivators. I am so sick of hearing about the poor black male.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  533. sandi

    This is not about race. It's about police powers. I find it scary that the police can arrest a person for being in their own home. Sounds like a police state.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  534. Dao Zi

    I am a minority, but not African American. I am very disappointment with President Obama's comments which revealed that he is not a race-neutral president representing all race of American. I am very sadden by this.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  535. Tina Mendoza

    Everyone, who has not been discriminated on a daily basis seems to be an expert on this case. I live in Orange County, CA. I get racially profiled on a daily basis, just by my looks and my Hispanic name. Even with emails, the Internet and with my resumes, solely because of my Hispanic name.

    It is obvious that professor Gates was discriminated. All of you critics just observe a "White" police officer, how they approach a "White" person and a Black or Hispanic person. I have observed this thousands of times. You will see that an officer treats a "White" person with respect, friendliness and with, the "White" person can do no wrong attitude. Therefore, if professor Gates had been "White," he would have NEVER been arrested and humiliated. Besides, as far as I'm concerned the police officer was trespassing on his property. And then you will observe an officer that when he/she deals with a Black or Hispanic person, the officer/s will treat them with disrespect and even arrest them for the littlest of things. Come on, Professor Gates is a Harvard professor. Since when did you see Harvard professors disturbing the peace? HE WAS ARRESTED AT HIS HOME! Besides a Harvard professor is much more highly educated than a police officer.

    Of course, the Cambridge "White" police officers are supporting their "White" police officer. HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF SOMEONE COMMITTING A CRIME ADMITING TO COMMITING A CRIME? Come on, the Cambridge Police Department are only trying to cover up for the officer's misconduct and the "pocketbook."

    I have lived a lifetime, 99% of the officers have profiled me due to my race and gender. Of course, these type of so called officers, they are always abusing their power, and even have the power to cover up and get away with it. An officer accused me of hit and run in 2001. And, so the officer would not get found out, after I complained, everyone involved including the judge found me guilty of hit and run, even when I had witnesses. The witnesses were not even allowed to testify. The judges had a quick trial, and mislead the jury. I am talking about a case that there was not even any damages, and the accusers would not even allow my insurance investigator to look at the car. It was a case of road rage, by two Vietnamese gang members, girls on drugs. However, I live in a city where 90% of the residents are Vietnamese.

    In addition, on a daily basis, most people by just looking at me they try first to speak in Spanish to me. I speak more English than Spanish. I have been called many racial slurs and have been told to go back to my country. I am a U.S. citizen and never have been a wet back, one of the racial slurs I have been a victim of.

    Therefore, racial discrimination is very much alive. Unfortunately, the discrimination is done by those who have the power to abuse their power and then to deny it, and cover up.

    However, I'm am confident that we will all "reap what we sow," since we have our ultimate judge, who will judge us at the day of judgment. Therefore, it doesn't matter how much we are discriminated on, they will get their true judgment. Thus, to our creator there is absolutely no chance that He will believe our lies.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  536. Lee

    Wow! I just watched the Cambridge Police Force press conference. Previously, I was on the fence – two equal perceptions but watching this long line of white men providing absolute defense infuriated me.

    Mistakes were undoubtly made by BOTH sides.

    Personally as a woman living alone I wouldn't open the door without the officer providing identity. The professor was right to ask for ID.

    The officer was right to demand ID from the professor while on a break in call. Once proof was provided that the professor belonged there, the officer should have left.

    I expect the professor was very upset and not presenting himself in the most positive manner. That is completely understandable.

    The incident could have ended in an undramatic fashion by the officer simply leaving the residence. The would have been the PROFESSIONAL

    July 24, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  537. A. Brown

    With what Police everywhere have to deal with, Mr. Gates could have ,and should have accepted this action as an act of "protection" of his property.–had it been a home invasion he may have had a different attitude towards "police protection". NO Police Officer is STUPID, it is those they try to help that sometimes act that way!

    July 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  538. Moonstonerl

    Obama wants to help race relations well he just did! This has set it in motion reverse discrimination and it's time that the blacks like sharpton get what commin to them.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  539. Lee


    The incident could have ended in an undramatic fashion by the officer simply leaving the residence. That would have been the PROFESSIONAL thing to do.

    Just because the officer had the RIGHT to charge the professor with disorderly conduct does not mean that he SHOULD have done that.


    July 24, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  540. Chris

    How could our President be that stupid and add fuel to the fire!?! I was not there and I am not going act like I know what happened and neither should the president.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  541. John in Seattle, WA

    Finally! A white man who has enough spine to stand up to a false accusation of racism. I thought Don Imus was going to be the one to stand up. But he demonstrated the lack of strength in his spine. No apologies this time Al Sharpton! You don't accept them anyway.

    It is time for this bs to stop. A white man has his career ruined over saying something like "nappy-headed"; a phrase whose origins are within the black community. But rap artists can sing about "kill whitey", and continue to make millions.

    The playing field has been leveled. No more special treatment for black people, or anyone else for that matter. That includes you feminists and your false accusations of sexual harassment. Everyone is on equal footing in America, and it is time we stop allowing Jesse Jackson to make money off of pretending that this isn't the case. The vast majority of claims concerning discrimination have a profit motive behind them, not a moral motive.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  542. Pat

    Andy from Boston mentioned a bigoted comment made by Chris Rock when he hosted the Oscars. I have another – he hosted Saturday Night Live a couple of years ago on St. Patrick's Day. We had had a major ice storm that day in New York. He said that all the Irish were too drunk to even realize that there had been a storm. Yet he is hailed as a major comic and is frequently a guest on TV shows. (A big difference from the Don Imus incident.)

    As far as police stopping black and Latino men, the sad truth is that the crime rate in those groups is extremely high. Many times descriptions given by witnesses indicate that the suspects were black or Latino, and therefore the police will question them. That may have been the issue in one of the postings where four black men were pulled over by the police, yet the person who posted the comment assumed it was just racial.

    Members of those group should concern themselves more with reducing their crime rate, rather than complaining about treatment by the police.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  543. Derondela

    Here we go again. Let's really get this thing into full swing and get Al Sharpton & co. on the show!!!! Unfortunately there are racial divisions still in our country, however it appears as though the African American community is waiting with baited breath to jump on any and all opportunities, whether right or wrong, to declare a racial injustice has occured (including the President who admittedly did not have all the info). The media is fueling this fire.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  544. Stewart J. Lustgarten

    Folks! Please understand this incident occured in braod daylight. Not at night which u may think! The plice approach was wrong and so was Dr. Gates.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  545. Dee in sunny (and somewhat wet) Florida

    What if the cop had come to the door of the home, identified himself, and immediately explained that a neighbor had reported seeing someone trying to get into the home.

    Then the Professor could have said it was his home.

    Then the cop could have said, just as a matter of procedure, and because I must fill out a report, could I please see your ID to confirm that you are the homeowner.

    And the Professor could have said, sure, here it is.

    And then the cop could have SMILED, shook the professors hand and thanked him for being so cooperative, and left.

    I am SURE that is not how it played out. And I am BETTING that the problem was caused by a smug, smart-butt attitude on the part of the cop. Why am I sure? Because I have SEEN cops treatment of black people before and it's usualy the same. And I hate to say it, but even black cops sometimes have that in-your-face attitude, even when whoever they are talking to has done absolutely nothing wrong!

    And how come ALL those at the press conference, who were defending the cop, were WHITE! What, is the Professor the first person to integrate Cambridge?

    July 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  546. Steve Buck

    Tony Harris,

    Your bias-driven indignation towards the police union press conference once again shows that journalism is dead in this country. You openly displayed your disgust towards the police officers, yet tried to mitigate it by claiming that you thought this was an opportunity for the police to "turn down" the rhetoric. Where is your indignation towards Professor Gates for threatening to sue the police department? Like President Obama, you were not at the scene and did not hear what transpired between the two men. Unlike Sgt. Crowley, you do not have a job where you put your life in danger every day. What kind of society would we have if a police officer could just be dismissed by an angry suspect – mistaken or real? You have hindsight to make your judgments, officers do not. Lastly, your attempt to bring in another reporter’s own experiences with racial issues is way beyond the boundaries of what journalism is supposed to be. It was obvious that even he did not see the appropriateness of your action. If we ever to get to post-racism nation, then we need to be post-racist.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  547. Merlin McCormick

    Crowley is the fox who cried wolf when caught with the chicken!!!
    Gates, having lived a lifetime of discrimination and being subjected
    to it again at this point in his life,latched out verbally.Crowley,stuned
    and embarassed, reacted with his upbringing rather than professionalism. Both men should be polygraphed. The results will
    show that both are being untrue. And thats the truth!

    July 24, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  548. Linda

    I think everyone on stage at the MASS. News Conference acted STUPIDLY!!

    For one...not one black man was on stage defending the officer.
    Number 2....why won't this tape be released?

    Number did the officer get inside the house? The picture shows the prof being escorted out of his own house for causing a disturbance!

    This has become a National problem now over one Police Officer.

    Let's all act STUPID and believe nothing is wrong with this picture!!

    July 24, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  549. Robin

    Just heard the exchange between Tony Harris and Don Lemon immediately after the police union press conference in Cambridge. Tony should remove himself from this story as he is obviously biased, or maybe just "acting stupidly". He's fanning the flames and Don Lemon did his best to approach the story objectively. Shame on you, Tony!

    July 24, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  550. Al Garza

    Although CNN is trying not to pick a side the question as to who was right or wrong in this situation should be based on whether the individuals did the following;

    1. Did Police officer followed standard police procedures for the situation? The answer seems to be Yes,

    2. Did Professor Gates overly react to a police officer questioning his identity and whether he should be in the home? The answer seems to be Yes.

    3. Did Police officer explain to Professor Gates he received a report of two people were breaking into the home and that he may be in danger? The answer seems no.

    4. Did Professor Gates cooperated with the police officer instead of using the race issue? The answer seems to be no.

    5. Did Professor Gates show any respect towards the police officer? The answer is No.

    6. Did the Police Officer show respect to Professor Gates? The answer is Yes.

    Although I support the President, he should not have said the police acted stupidly.

    Gates made this situation worst an is blowing it out of proportion.

    Al Garza, Colorado

    July 24, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  551. Cheryll Hannaford

    I thought that the United States had finally confronted and conquered the ugliness of racism with the election of President Obama. Black kids can't swim in a "white" pool; the arrest of Professor Gates....racism at its finest.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  552. matt

    let's move on please!!

    July 24, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  553. Bobby McMillan

    I wonder if Officer Crowley were black and Proffessor Gates were white would we be seeing all this media coverage of the arrest? If Mr. Gates had been white and started screaming about racism would anyone have reported it? The media is responsible in a large part for the ongoing racism in this country. If they would stop inflaming incidents by sensationalizing them the rest of us, balck, white, red, and yellow would be able to get along just fine.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  554. Ann

    I fully support the Cambridge police officer(s) in this incident. In my opinion, the professor used this incident to grandstand and make a name for himself. Thank goodness there are neighbors who look out for each other in Cambridge......what would the professor think if his home was actually being broken into and the neighbors and police officers didn't respond? The professor would be singing a different tune than the one he is singing now! I think the professor should spend a week working along side the police officers in Cambridge and see what they encounter each and every day maybe he'll be a better person for it.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  555. BOBBI

    I'm sorry I don't believe Sgt. Crowley should get an apology.




    July 24, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  556. Ms. Stafford

    What everyone fails to realize is Sgt. Crowley is no different from a lot of other white males in America. He probably tried so hard to be loving, respectful, and supportive of his black peers, community, etc. With all of the extra efforts being made to show his love and concern for the black man's struggle, he probably really thought he making a difference. Especially after refusing to part and walking away while derogatory comments from his co-workers pertaining to blacks and being made. Life appeared to be great because he felt like he was on the right course, until a black man questioned his authority and boldly disagreed with him. It was at that moment when he felt like not only his authority and his manhood was being challenged, but everything that he stood for was on the line. After looking around and seeing that a white audience had gathered, standing and waiting to see if he was going to just allow this 'NEGRO" to raise his voice at him while making demands for him to identify himself. He probably felt like everything that white America stood for was at stake and the weight had been placed on his shoulders. It was at that moment when his white superior nature, which had been lying dormant in him for such a long time like a sleeping bear, finally surfaced. Yes, his grandpa's teachings are still there. Along with a host of other whites in our country, he probably didn't think hearing and absorbing all of that crap would have an affect on him at all. You've got to realize that just shaking your head and working hard to prove that you like blacks just isn't enough to get rid of those old demons. He just suppressed them and we all know that he's not alone. He really should know that we are not defined by our acts alone, but how we react to acts reflect our true identity and progress. Now it's time to go and pluck up all of that madness from the roots so they won't have another opportunity to sprout up when least expected. He, along with a lot of other whites here in America really need help with those deep issues that their parents and grand parents had with African Americans being aloud to co-exist as their equals in society. So no, I personally don't think he started his day as a racist rogue cop and I most certainly don't believe he went on that call looking for a confrontation with a black man. Yes, I do feel the person who made the 911 call is going straight to hell for planting the negative information about the men wearing back packs and hoods or whatever she said, if she doesn't repent first and get some counseling second. Her false dramatization and fear of "COLORED FOLKS" possibly created a chain reaction of unfortunate circumstances. Mental state and preconceived notions are everything when we approach situations. When he was faced with making a hasty decision between believing a call from a citizen who appeared to be concerned about their prestigious neighborhood being robbed, or believing the story of a black man standing in his presence explaining that this is his home, unfortunately the latter lost. The deck was already stacked before the officer even got there because grand pa's teachings finally surfaced like herpes, when it was least expected.

    On the other hand, I don't feel like the professor was totally right because he had to have recognized early on that he was dealing with a confused individual who was obviously abusing his authority. After seeing the demeanor that was being demonstrated by the officer, he should have made a greater effort to be the bigger person. Even after the officer refused to give his name and badge number, he should have just demanded to speak with his supervisor or had his driver to call 911 for additional assistance. Some body's got to be level headed and it should have been him because of the example we have to set as leaders for the struggle. Let's not get it twisted and think that anyone has the right to judge the professor for his actions and please don't take this as an excuse, but until you have walk an inch, not a mile in a black person's shoes, you couldn't possibly be able to comprehend all of the hurts and pains that we've had to endure for generations. We know that everyone has been at their breaking point and I feel like the professor was at his. People need to stop judging and search for some compassion to try and understand how it feels when you work so hard trying to help people and have something to call your own. Giving and doing your best, but it doesn't ever seem to be good enough. When you have to work twice as hard with triple as less to begin with. Constantly being judged by a totally different set of rules than your counterparts. Trust me, being a black female here in America, it can get very interesting. But what the professor needs to realize is when two people are arguing, it's hard to tell which one is the fool. You should only go down to a person's level with one goal in mind and that is to pull them up to your level. Now that's Dr. King's teaching but I personally know that it's easier said than done, especially when you're "BLACK IN AMERICA" PART 10.

    Thanking you advance for taking the time to see another person's view
    May God continue to bless you Heidi

    July 24, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  557. hazmaq

    To robin:

    You obviously didn't listen to Tony's full remarks.

    He was as surprised as I was shocked that the Police didn't try to calm the situation.

    It was the police force gang-up that "fanned the flames". Tony merely reported that fact.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  558. Bruce Guillian

    It has been alleged that taking Prof.Gates out of the house was to create the condition that allowed an arrest. Was Gates required by law to comply with the demand to go outside where his legal standing immediately changed? Is it against the law to make a statement to a police officer that the officer finds annoying?

    It has been stated that Prof. Gates complied with the demand that he produce identification. Was this done in a timely manner? If so, what right did the officer have to stay in the house? Would it be unreasonable to assume a little humility might be appropriate, considering he was in a private residence? Officious behavior is often and easily used and difficult to demonstrate later, without a video tape.
    The police defend the officer, but are avoiding a specific and factual version, with a time line, of the events. This would go a long was to allowing a person to make an objective evaluation.
    I hope everyone gets their fifteen minutes in the sun so we can get on with an accurate and OBJECTIVE description of the events. We might even find broadcast time to honor the soldiers getting killed Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Lots of people have to make lots of decisions every hour, day, week, month and year. Most humans make some of them wrong. That is human and forgivable.
    From the vague and incomplete info from both sides, so far, it seems like both sides over reacted. Maybe everyone should just go back to work.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  559. Gene Goodwin

    Lets put things in there proper perspective.

    Just look at the personnel pool most cops come from? Most were in the bottom 20% of their H.S class.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  560. David

    What seems to us to be an ordinary situation, to the police officer responding to a call may seem different. Officer Crowley's point that he thought there might be two suspects in Prof Gates house and thus a danger to himself and Prof Gates is a sensible concern. Personally, I had not thought of that. There could be some reconciliation here, I think. Probably just a matter of getting together and calmly talking it through.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  561. Rahman

    I heard one blogger mention that the police have tapes of the incident regarding Gates and the Officer. I think that the tapes should be released to the public for all to get a clearer view of the incident.

    I would like to say however, that based on the circumstances that I have heard on the news, and based off of my personal experience in dealing with racism injustice, I do believe that Gates has been mis-treated because of the color of his skin.

    Yes, the Police have a job to do when they are called out to a location, but I am sure that it only took a moment for the Police officer to establish the fact that this was Gate's home. The moment that he found out that it was his home he should have made it known to Gates as to why he was called out there, and then apoligized to him for thinking that Gates was a burglar.

    Since this was Gate's home, the officer should have been less defensive to Gate's displeasure that he was being hassled in his own home. He also should have been more tolerant considering that Gates is a Senior citizen (respect for the elders).

    Some questions that I have for the officer is why didn't he disclose his name and badge number when Gates requested it from him? Aren't the Police supposed to be public servants? Also, why is he refusing to apologize to Gates now after it is an established fact and humiliation to the Police Department that they arrested an innocent man in his own home!

    The bottom line of this case I think boils down to blatant disrepect by a Police Officer because Gates is a black man. Had this been a white professor from Harvard, then the Officer would have never escalated the situation to this point.

    Some people are saying that President Obama took his comments of this case too far. I say that this Police Officer took it too far by unecessarily arresting an innocent man in his own home, just because his ego was challenged. I would be mad as h___ too if it were me being arrested just because I had some dignity to challenge why I was being hassled in my own home. Gates did not put his hands on the Officer, so why didn't he just apoligize for the mix up and leave?!

    July 24, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  562. Leo Hu

    I am a minority biut not Aferican American. I do not know what exactly hpppend bit I know if anyone is rude and un-cooerative with the police then he or she is asking for trouble and possible jail time. President should never make any comment on the situation. I believe both parties are at fault. This is not a black and white issue. It seems both parties have too much ego and a simple case got blown out of the propotion and wasting everyone's time..... My comments to both side is to look at mirrow and review themselves, be a man and admit your mistake.....

    July 24, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  563. T.

    I am saddened by Florina's comment, "This incident would have not happened if the professor was white." And more than simply saddened, I am quite disturbed by her second comment, "And those who are so critical of president Obama’s comment are just racists in the closet." Neither of these two remarks has been in the least bit supported by the blogger. She may very well be correct concerning her first remark that race played a factor in Prof. Gates' arrest, but the simple truth of the matter is that, at this point in time, we just don't have all of the information to make such a rash allegation of racism. As for her second comment, I'm afraid to say that Florina, try as she might, will never be able to provide proof backing up this rather bold statement. We may as well say that if you are critical of Sen. Clinton then you must be a misogynist, or that if you are critical of Rush Limbaugh then you must just really hate fat, balding white guys. My apologies to Mr. Limbaugh and his fans if, since the last time I saw him on television (probably about 16 years ago), he has lost weight and/or became a client of the Hair Club for Men. Regardless, I'm sure you get my point. If you don't agree with something I might have said, I will take at face value that it is due to the content of my message and not some personal bias you have against me. To accuse my opponent of unsubstantiated bias would make me either very childish or worse–underhanded. You must trust me on this one, Florina, the critics of Pres. Obama are not racists. In fact, many of those who are currently angry with his comments concerning the Gates arrest are the same people who elected him their leader–I'm one of those people. I voted for him, I still stand by him and his commitment to help this country and her people, but...I do feel he spoke too hastily, especially considering that he, himself, said (and right before he made those comments) that he did not have all of the facts. At that point he probably should have concluded with, "And so I apologize, but I am unable to comment at this point in time." That would have made life so much more simpler for him.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  564. Prince David AmaGEDOn

    I have not agreed with just about everything that President Obama has said, until now, he only said what we all know to be true, cops are stupid maybe not all of them but the majority are, considering their experience of a two-week course in the police academy and then they call themselves professionals? maybe professionals in stupidity, I'm glad that President Obama finally set the record straight, cops are stupid, there is no doubt about.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  565. regina

    i live in Memphis, TN area. If you want to know what racism is, go look at the Mayor of Memphis. If this isn't racism, i don't know what is. He has abused his power as mayor and if a white person doesn't agree with him and let him do as he pleases, it is racism. I know very few white people who are racist but almost all black's are. When is this going to stop. Look at the crime rate in Memphis and who commits it. I am tired of the excuses used to justify their committing crimes. I, as many white's grew up poor as church mice and we didn't use it as excuse to commit crimes. The school system is full of students, no matter how much help is offered, that disrupt the classroom, show no respect for anyone and are definitely not there to learn and better themselves. Why don't we live as one nation under god and stop this racism against white's or black' s who would like to help.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  566. Charles

    Clearly and understandably professor Gates was having a bad day from the start. We have a highly respected black college professor at an equally respected ivy league college. Imagine how much resposibility comes with that title. And so what happens next, he loses his house keys, or is locked out of his house and has to have his driver aid him in breaking into his home in what I can only imagine would be a middle-upper class neighborhood. How embarrasing this must have felt. Then we have a respected police seargent doing his job by responding to a possible breaking & entering, acessing the situation, and by his report inteded to walk away was then challenged. This is where I believe the breakdown in understanding and respect began to errode. I am a black man and I have felt the unfortunate lash of racism and it hurts; and it is so neccessary to grow beyond and redirect such a negatively embeding energy. However the reality is, I believe, though the professor -as enraged as he was- was finally identified as the homeowner; you have to respect law enforcment on or off the clock, know when to be quiet and if you have a legitimate beef call your lawyer.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  567. Kris

    Forget racial profiling. Why did the officer not accept the professors identification and say have a great day. The officer went to far because the professor ask for his name and badge number. The officer was the one who escelated this matter by arresting the professor.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  568. Felix Vega

    I believe the President commented without really thinking about what he was saying! He reacted as the Professor's friend and on his own background. I am a Latino and from everything I have read about the Professor's background and causes as opposed to what I have read about the Police officer's background;his appointment to the Police Academy by an African American Police Chief to teach police officers about not using racial profiling in the performance of their duties ; I would have to say both President Obama and Professor Gates owe the Police Sargeant , and the American Public an apology!!

    July 24, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  569. Chaz

    Now that you have TJ and don Lemon carrying water for the poor police department, how about featuring how black America feels about this and your framing of this issue. Get some black bloogers on your show. Start with Jack and Jill, and the like.

    You think that just because you bring a black face on your set, some supposed spokesperson, that you've done your due diligence? How about those of us who are pissed off. And i can tell you that black folks are royally pissed off. And not so much because of the Gates/ police officer sanfu but HOW YOU FOLKS ARE COVERING IT AND HOW MUCH TIME YOU'RE DEVOTING TO IT.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  570. Emmanuel Vaughn

    The President never said that this was a case of racial profiling. He said that the Cambridge Police acted stupidly by arresting a person in his house once knowing that it was his home and wasn't causing a serious disturbance. Cooler heads should have prevailed, but stop saying that the President said this was a case of "Racial Profiling".

    July 24, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  571. Joy


    the prevailing and continuing history of racism, discrimination and profiling in this country means that the police/law enforcement have FORFIETED THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT! We live here in Metro ATL. My parents live in S. Fayetteville & my 60+ yr old dad was pulled over one evening @ 11pm on his way home. When my dad questioned the white female officer, saying " I wasn't speeding, my headlights are not out, what's the problem, why are you stopping me?' she replied “Because I can."

    A young neighbor of ours who owned 2 mortgage companies and took very good care of his young son was stopped in Clayton Cty GA because the officer didn't think a young black man driving a nice car could be legitimately driving such a vehicle. Another neighbor in his sixties was stopped & harassed in the same county for driving "2 miles" over the speed limit. Another friend was accused by a young white female clerk of stealing some lotion, was held for questioning by a white officer at the store and told he was banned from the store for life EVEN AFTER the officer would not provide his badge number & couldn't produce the supposed video he claimed show the young man using the lotion.

    I believe two things have converged here: the arrogant abuse of power by many officers (BLA CK, WHITE & OTHERWISE)across the country who can not tolerate someone questioning THEM- AND- the undeniable history of shoot first ask questions later, especially when someone of color is being stopped, sought or questioned by police.

    I won't even go into the "white damsel in distress" syndrome. If the woman who called police was a neighbor, as some have reported, why wasn't she familiar with at least the physical appearance of Professor Gates? Is it that she ignored him because he was black or just not one of her friends? If, as others have reported, she is a writer for the college newspaper, are we really expected to believe she had no clue who he was?

    My other question is: in this case & around the country, do police have the right to show up at your door & treat you as a suspect based on someone's "call" and expect or require you not to be irritated, ask questions, demand an explanation? Why do our rights as citizens always seem expendable in the light of an officer's feelings, lack of information or perception of a situation?

    I agree with you that it would be better if the rhetoric and sound bites around this could quiet down, and actually things would be less chaotic if those who’ve never experienced or been subject to being profiled would stop interjecting their disbelief of Prof. Gates perception. But when I consider that there's a knot that resides in my stomach, always at the ready to explode for fear of my husband, brother, father, nephews or black male friends could lose their lives just from a simple traffic stop, I say let's have the discussion.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  572. Felix Vega

    In regards to Cheryll Hannaford's rececent comments? I also believe the two (2) incidents are unrelated! I do believe the "Pool" incident wasRacis, but not the Gates incident!!

    July 24, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  573. Martin in Shoreline, WA

    OOPS! Premature click-ulation. Before anyone gets to me, I meant "possibly" and "butt".

    July 24, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  574. Eliza Neufville

    This incident played out in a movies called "Amos & Andrew "- 2001, starring Nicholas Cage and Samuel L Jackson. Samuel L Jackson was mistaken for a thief while moving into his house due to the prejudices of the community. The policy realizing their mistakes later and tried to cover up. Fast-forward to 2009 and the movie plays out in real life, you get that de ja vue feeling.

    I believe that mistakes were made at both ends. I can understand why Mr. Gates was not cooperative with the officer as he should had been. When you've worked hard to attain certain levels in life, respect yourself and others, you certainly expect some respect coming back your way, especially people in authority. I guess you believe that people in authority should know better and follow the law, making no assumptions of your race, etc, when responding to incidents.

    My point here is that I really want you to check out this movie and see what parallelism may exist.

    The question is would the results be different had this been a white man?


    July 24, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  575. Bob Franzese

    Dear Tony Harris,
    I have always enjoyed your broadcasts and really do appreciate your professionalism and at the same time your sense of caring.

    In your discussions regarding Professor Gates I sensed that you were conflicted and at the same time really wanted to reduce the rhetoric. I can really appreciate your position.

    I'd like to relate a similar incident which happened to me. About 15 years ago, I drove up to my house in a car which was a loaner from a car dealership because my car was being repaired. When I got to my house I realized my house keys were still in my car. Rather than driving back to the dealership I decided I could "break in" to my house by going through a window which wasn't locked. A neighbor called the police and said my house was being broken in to. When the police arrived I was in my house. The officer first knocked at the door. I answered the door and this police officer was standing there gun drawn. Did it freak me out at first? Of course it did. The officer clearly explained that there was a emergency call about a “break in” in progress. I explained to the officer it was my house and the circumstances. He asked to see my ID, which I felt was totally appropriate. He looked at me ID and said something like, be a little more careful next time something like this happens. I thanked him for his prompt response to the emergency call. It actually gave me peace of mind.

    It never occurred to me to refuse to give the officer my ID. He was doing his job of serving and protecting.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  576. Shana

    The arrest of Professor Gates has unveiled how race continues to affect America. I find it rather compelling to understand how we, as Americans, whether black, white, or Hispanic can allow this disease to continue infesting our minds. It is difficult to understand how Americans can willingly choose to let race divide the nation again. Now, I do acknowledge the existence of racial profiling, however I believe that neither myself nor other Americans can justly judge this case as one involving racial profiling when the truth remains untold. I, personally, am sick and tired of hearing these two parties blame one another. What I long for is seeing the party at fault taking responsibility and putting an end to this dilemma.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  577. bill bethke

    The comment made by the President is accurate. The actions of this officer resulted in this bruhaha because, in my opinion, he could not back off and it resulted in a needles confrontation. This is exactly the point. There are times when it is better to walk away from a non violant confrontation and to le things cool off. We all have at times not made the best judgement when the adrenalin rises and our ego is assaulted. This is unfortunate but a fact of life and the officers have to get ahold of thier feelings and start to deescate this nonsense.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  578. Lydia

    I am a huge supporter of President Obama, however, he was unquestionably wrong to step in and make such a statement (assuming) without the facts, that his friend, Mr. Gates, should not have been arrested. It seems as though The arresting officer followed every proper procedure. It also seems as thought Mr. Gates acted as if just because he is african american, he should be given a free pass and not approached...even thought anyone else...of any color would be. He should be ashamed of his disrespectful behavior to this officer of the law. If in fact, someone were to break into Mr. Gates home next week, regardless of color, I think he would be thankful to have the police come to his aid.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  579. Maria H.

    The president should not have answered this question; he did not have the FACTS!

    It is sad to see America split up by a racial divide. This president was elected by blacks and whites, but by his comments and actions it is clear to see on what side he is on. The comment made by the president “The Cambridge police acted stupidly”, will make their jobs harder to perform. It is already seen that a certain group of people feel that they are above the law …after all they are protected by the President of the United States. We have criminals of all colors and races. I cannot imagine how the police may perform their duties if they are verbally abused and the people they must protect show them no respect.

    America wake up! Let’s stand to protect our policemen against this type of abuse…black or white give them the respect they deserve.
    They put their lives on the line everyday to protect us. Without them our country would be a place no one would want to live in.

    President Obama needs to know that he works for us…he is not a lone star!

    July 24, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  580. Darrell in Des Moines Iowa

    For two years I was an instructer in a diversity training program for law enforcement officers (I am not a law officer although my father was).

    During that time I encountered on a very personal level hundreds of police officers and had very frank discussions that are often not held outside of their ranks.

    First, many if not most law officers believe that profiling is a valuable policing tool and they justify it to themselves and others as necessary to protect themselves. Even when faced with compelling arguments against profiling they do not change.

    It is important to distinguish racial profiling as distinct from being racist. Black and Latino law officers are just as likely to be quilty of racial profiling as are white officers.

    To a lessor degree racism is still quite prevalent among law enforcement officers, particularly among those who work in areas with large low income minority populations.

    And then completely outside the issues of race, many law officers possess personalities who crave power and authority and have no tolerance of it being challenged. In my opinion that is what happened in Cambridge.

    Its not about black and white…its about a cop not wanting his authority challenged by an uppity college professor.

    And the President is correct. It was stupid of the police to arrest him. This entire bruhaha is because the police acted stupidly. Absent the arrest there would be no public discussion of any of this

    July 24, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  581. Parthenia

    The incident that happened to Prof. Henry Louis Gates is idiotic and ridiculous. As for the President, he should apologize to no one for his comment that the Cambridge, MA policeman, Sgt. James Crowley, acted "stupidly"! The President is right! Prof. Gates was in his own home and whatever was said between Prof. Gates and Sgt. Crowley could and should have been resolved right there without an arrest being made.

    The Professor was no less on notice of racial profiling by policemen in Cambridge and elsewhere in the U. S. than the policeman was on notice concerning burglaries that have occurred in that area and the people that have committed them. The policeman had authority to challenge Prof. Gates at the time he didn't know who he was, regarding the forced entry to Prof. Gates' home. But after Sgt. Crowley knew it was Prof. Gates' home he definitely lacked sensitivity considering racial profiling problems and apparently didn't give Prof. Gates the benefit of any consideration that a fellow citizen acting well within his rights had just had the peace of his home disturbed! That kind of consideration was due on the part of Sgt. Crowley and he did not show it! I wonder why!

    As for Sgt. Crowley's demand of an apology from our President and the Governor of Massachusetts, he is way off base. Our President has a country to lead from the highest office in U. S. A., with the justice, dignity, honor and sensitivity he has always shown in the office. It's time out for living in the past, looking for bowed heads.

    Things will continue to be resolved as time goes on. Remember the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you. No one will compromise their position for what they know is wrong! It is Sgt. Crowley who needs to apologize to Prof. Gates that the peace of his home ended up being disturbed as a result of a mistake. The security provided by the police couldn’t be more appreciated, but it must not come without sensitivity of one’s rights within one’s own home. The prestige and honor our country enjoys because of men like Prof. Gates should not be treated with such insensitivity and disregard for his privilege in his own home.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  582. observer

    America needs to get past this racism, and the media only promotes it the way they sensationalize 'racism' stories. Racism comes in all colors, shapes, sizes and languages. It is obvious that this country will never get past it. Thank you American media for keeping us all divided so that you can have a story that you believe will keep revenue coming in.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  583. Katherine De Justo

    It should be fairly clear from Henry Gates's continued belligerence toward Officer Crowley just where each person stands in this
    situation. CNN's leader on this story should read "White Officer
    Racially Profiled by Black Harvard Professor" since this is exactly
    what is happening here. Dr. Gates projected his feelings about white
    officers and black men onto Officer Crowley and in doing so felt
    privileged to behave outrageously and interfere with the officer in
    the performance of his duty.

    As for President Obama, he is doing likewise. While the president
    in his role as "Papa Obama" is so free to lecture the rest of us about
    what he sees to be our "moral responsibilities," he should not be
    hesitant to point his moral compass toward Henry Gates and his
    responsibility to behave courteously to officers in the performance
    of their duty, despite the color of their skin. At best, it was Henry Gates
    who was acting "stupidly" by being belligerant in this instance. For
    President Obama to continue his defense of Henry Gates sends a
    dangerous message to all those who feel privileged by their race to
    hold themselves above the law. Since the president has chosen to
    weigh in on this issue, he would do better to use his considerable
    influence with his "friend," Henry Gates, to urge him to accept
    responsibility for his part in this matter, and to call the dogs off from
    Officer Crowley. Henry Gates exhibited "disorderly conduct" and
    deserved the arrest he got. No apology is due him. If anything, both he and the president owe one to Office Crowley. In fact, the president
    owes two: the second one to the Cambridge police department as a
    whole. Let's see if the president will step up and assume those
    "moral responsibilities" he projects so readily on the rest of us.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  584. Randy Pyles

    DISOBEY A LAW OFFICER ... GO TO JAIL!!! White, Yellow, Green, Purple ... AND BLACK!!! Does anyone know there is a "LAW" that states "you MUST obey a police officer?" Mr. Gates is prejudice and broke the law ... ARREST HIM! Oh wait ... they did ... 🙂 I'm so proud of ourt police officer for ENFORCING the LAWS. GREAT JOB!

    July 24, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  585. Joe Badu

    I strongly believe Dr.Gates pulled a Stunt to cause attention to national police profiling, he set the police officer up with his neighbors.

    I am a black man, but I think officer Crowley did what he was supposed to do, if anything we should commend officer Crowley and rebuke Dr. Gates for his behavior. Someone called the police that they were witnessing a burglary in progress in Dr. Gate's house, the officer went there to investigate as peace officer are supposed to do. The occupant of the house was invited outside to identify himself so that they can clear things up, the officer did not go there guns drawn and breaking down doors. Why does Dr. Gates have to be angry? In a normal situation Gates should have been thankfull to the officer that he responded to come and protect his property or his life.

    This is a very bad taste for Dr.Gates to draw national attention to racial profiling, whether it is a experiment or whatever he tried to pull, very poor taste. Even the worst of this Dr.Gates expirement, is the media trying to trap president Obama into this mess, while he is trying his best to solve our national biggest problems and dealing with the GOP knuckleheads.

    May almighty God bless president Obama with long life,good health and wisdom to solve our national mess he has inherited and God bless America

    Joe Badu

    San Diego

    July 24, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  586. Selene

    To all who think the Pre., the Gov.,and the Pro. are wrong get a grip. The sad truth is that there is a problem in this country. We as Black People know it and have always known it. White's for that matter if honest know it too.
    What I as a Black person in this country want to know is: If when the police come to your home and you show proof that you belong there. Do I have the right to be angry after asking for the Officer's name and Badge mumber and I am completely disregarded? I, we know that a certain amount of arrogance comes with wearing a Police uniform. I know first hand that they feel they have the right to tell you were to look, how to talk and when to shut-up, other wise you will be arrested. Forget disturbing the peace. Actually it's not disturbing the public peace, it's disturbing their peace. Do I respect the police? To a point. Do I sympathize with the diffculty of their job? Yes, it's a job I would never do. Do I beleive what the Officer is saying, not all of it. Do I beleive that the Police will stick together? Always, so no I am not surprise that the Police Union and other officers are on his side. Do I beleive the Professor should have tone it down? Possibly. Do I feel race played a part in all of this from both sides? Absolutely. So, until we hear from both the Officer and the Professor together in the same room everyone needs to shut-up. And no I am not a Black Man, I am the Wife and Mother of Black Men

    July 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  587. florence cowan

    I cannot believe how the Cambridge Police Dept has DISRESPECTED THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

    Also, why were Sgt Crowley's first words to fox news "I didn't vote for him"?

    July 24, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  588. kofi

    Policeman claims he followed protocol. Well, does the protocol say a policeman should refuse to give his badge number and name? Oh America. Since when did the police's side become the absolute truth.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  589. wally

    Not knowing the facts , who really acted stupidedly ?

    July 24, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  590. Debra

    I was so disappointed by the President for taking sides in this matter and saying that the police officer had acted "stupidly." When the President talks, it's national news and he should have stayed out of this local matter.

    At the same time, according to everything that has been revealed in this case so far, it appears Mr. Gates was the first one to have race enter the conversation and with all due respect to Mr. Gates, this police officer is called to the scene and he needed information to resolve the matter – he did not need to be berated about being a racist. Police face dangers every day and it appears this police officer followed procedure to protect himself and Mr. Gates had there been a criminal in his house that he was unaware of.

    And of course the requisite law suit may be filed by Mr. Gates. It appears the only way we resolve issues in this country is to litigate – is that really the message he wants to send? It's a shame that a man of his intellect can not find another way to bring closure to this matter.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  591. Barbara

    When the homeowner proved that this was his home, why didn't the police ask the caller/neighbor to identify the homeower. The police could have left knowing the homeowner was the homeowner. WHAT ARE NEIGHBOR FOR - THEY CAN SAY THAT MY NEIGHBOR.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  592. Von

    I see several points that need to be made regarding this situation:
    1) What about the neighbor that called the police when they saw 2 black males attempting to "break in" to the Prof house; were they racially profiling?

    2) While the Police Officer was within the "letter of the law" arresting the Prof, I think once he established his identity the Police Officer should have left the residence (after giving the Prof his name and badge number as was requested). Common sense should have driven the Police Officers decision at that point and I think he let his ego get the best of him. If he had simply left the residence this would not be a national topic.

    3) As a Democrat who voted for Obama, I think he was WAY out of line
    making any comment on the situation. He did not know the facts and he was not there. Friend or not, it sounds like the Prof was having a "meltdown" (probably due to his long trip and his recent illness).
    I would bet that was one of the comments that egged the Police Officer on was "Do you know who I am? I am a friend of the President of the United States!" It frightens me when a President shoots from the belt and allows his emotions to rule his tongue. I want our National Leader to be calm and collected and NOT capable of SNAP judgements.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  593. wally

    President Obama has now commented once again on something he had few facts on . Not long ago he commented on an ousted hondran president not knowing that is what their own law reqired.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  594. Anonymous

    A question that no one seems to be asking is whether Gates's conduct, either as relayed by Gates or by the officer, constitutes disorderly conduct. I believe that Mass. law prevents application of the disorderly conduct law to language and expressive conduct, even when it is offensive and abusive. The one exception would be language that falls outside the protection of the First Amendment, "fighting words which by their very utterance tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace."

    It doesn't seem that Gates's conduct, even if he acted as Officer Crowley suggests, would rise to the level of fighting words, which tends to suggest that Crowley overreacted.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  595. Mary

    Obama was shameful. He needs to apologize to Officer Crowley first and then to the American people. I came to this "speech" to learn about healthcare, not his views on Gates and race. He could have declined to answer. He admitted that he knew little about this incident, but did that stop him? No, he just continued on talking about something that by his own admission he knew very little about. Did Officer Crowley act "STUPIDLY?" I do not know because I was not there. Did Obama act "STUPIDLY?" Yes, he did. Was Obama "PROFILING?" Yes, he was. When he said this still "HAUNTS US", I waited to hear WHO HE MEANT BY "US." Then, he told me. He MEANT "BLACKS, HISPANICS, AND LATINOS," HIS WORDS, NOT MINE. Then, I realized what he was saying was that he is the President of the United States, but that he was ONLY PRESIDENT TO THE "BLACKS, HISPANICS, AND LATINOS," in the United States, not the rest of "US," because you see, I am WHITE, and I do not fall into the groups he mentioned. I waited and I wanted him to either retract or amend this statement, but he did not. Obama is the REASON FOR THE RACIAL UNREST in our country today. He has taken the United States back to the 1960s. I can only surmise that something "far greater" must have DRIVEN him to make such statements, but STUPIDITY DROVE HIM HOME!

    July 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  596. Yosi

    I'm a Republican, but I have to said that the president show humbleness and leadership in calling the officer to clear the issue.
    It show that the president is a person that can listen and compromise
    C'mon fellow REPUBLICANS this president is leading from the front not from the rear. PASS the health care bill

    July 24, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  597. christa

    At first I thought, okay another white officer who is racist. But after hearing the whole story, I thought maybe the professor would have shown his license and let the poilice officer do his job. Our president should have waited to offer his opinion untill all of the facts were disclosed to him. Just because you are black, you also should adhere to the laws. I bet if someone really will break into his house, the next door neighbor and the police will stay away and just let the thieves go and take everything. If it would have been a white person this story would not be in the news. Laws were made so all people can be protected and it makes no difference if you are black or white as a citizen of this country, but you have to follow the law and not get belligirent with the police. Maybe a little alcohol was involved.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  598. Anne

    I once had a security officer (studying to be a police officer) tell me the public should treat cops like 'Gods'. I thought that was interesting and very telling. I also think that's the way police officers would like to be treated. It's a pity they don't know how to command respect in any other way than by intimidation and self delusion. In this particular instance – I also think there was a lot of testosterone in that room.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  599. Andrew

    I am a black man , I stopped at a market store around the block from where i stay where i go aften, I received a phone call and was parked out of the way of the flow of any traffic and in a well lit area where i could be seen by anyone. I witness two police officers in separate cars come to the store in which they came rite by me coming into the store parking lot, I had already been there for about 30 minutes before they got their, They stayed there about 40 minutes, It's about 1:00am est. time. Still on the phone, I see the two police cars pulling up behine me and i am only about 100 feet away from the front door to enter the store. they could see me the hold time as i could see them the whole time. They went into the store fore about ten minutes after thirty/thirty five minutes of doing whatever they was doing on the other side of the parking lot. They came out got in their cars drove 100 feet in single file and stopped behine my truck. I say to the person i am on the phone with, let me tell them i am on the phone at the same time one of the officers is exiting his car. I thought to myself when i get out make sure they can see all of me so i turned my body feet and hands out of my truck in plan view, The officer then pull his gun out and said get back into the truck, I was amazed and shocked, I couldn't believe he had his gun out, thinking to myself, He is going to shot me, I'll admit even though he was saying get back into the truck, I still took about 10 to15 seconds to respound to his command. When he came up to the door and asked what was i doing, I said i am on the phone, Now check this part out: He then says their was complaints from customers that i was looking at them at the fuel pumps and went on to say that it was no law agaisnt looking at folks, note the fuel pumps are off to my left and at a angle slightly behine me and that late at night maybe about three or four cars came there and the officer were there also. Now he wants my ID and still asking questions but before i can fully answer anything he is cutting me short and still acting as if i am a threat and being hustol in his speach, so now I am getting frustrated but i can tell he's trying to get me to respound in a angry manor and it almost worked might i say, The two officers are Black. My heart goes out to the men and women who protect us and risk there lifes for us, But not all police officers use good judgement and are correct in all they do or say to the public at large. This happened to me in Knightdale, North Carolina by the Wake County Sheriff Department. I did not report it because he was a Black man and i didn't want that to be on his record. To me he had no reason to pull his gun on me and treat me with disrespect.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  600. Chaz

    Now I'm pissed off at you, Mr. President.

    Obviously, you caved into political pressure from the media coverage - which has been framed in such a way that could hurt you politically. I understand the politics of it. But I'm profoundly disappointed in you! And the fact that you reached out to Crowley before Dr. Gates is also unfortunate.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  601. Stephanie Gordinier

    Oh, Come On!!! Now a white law officer cannot question or carry out his duties on a black man? Mr. Gates sounds like a typical condescending elitist using the race card. Employers, the government, even the Michael Jackson media are scared to death to criticize, or fire, or otherwise question people of color out of this fear. Just ask the firemen who had to go all the way to the Supreme Court! And I'm disappointed with Soledad O'Brien for immediately using this incident to incite an apparent racial profiling problem. What's next? We can't inspect "Mexicans" crossing our borders? I am proud of the officer for holding his own. I've had it with Obama for his "stupid" comment. By the way, how many interviews does Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have lined up now?

    July 24, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  602. michael white

    Profiling is part of everyone especially the police and more so when the report comes in that 2 black men are breaking into a home. The officer acted stupidly and the case would not have been dismissed if Gates was in the wrong. Teaching racial profiling only means he knows what to look for when approaching what may be a life threatening event. That is what survival is all about: understanding your environment.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  603. Jack

    This Is all a total misunderstanding with people taking statement out of context the president stated he spoke with gates was giving an answer on his behalf on what gates had said to him watch it listen to it with open ears he stated that if gates statement to him was true then he believed the officer acted stupid im sure he wished he said hastily or some other word i think this is a total misunderstanding and should be reviewed by everyone.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  604. Gia

    I read the officer's report. He wrote that he saw Prof. Gates standing in his foyer standing outside through the window.Even if Crowley thought he may be a burglar, he soon found out he wasn't. Why didn't he just leave? He was madder by the minute at what Prof. Gates was saying, thats why. All Prof. Gates had was his voice to combat his humiliation. Crowley had a gun, handcuffs, and police procedural authority to arrest to combat his humiliation. How this would have played out in a court of law would have been interesting. I wish it had! Of course, charges were dropped. Prof. Gates was arrested illegally.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  605. D Simpson

    Lets stop this runaway story..the incident proves that there are problem in this country and probably beyond, that RACE does matter. The fact that the police offcier and the neighbor did not know who Prof. Gates is proves that WE have problems. A polic officer in Cambridge that teachs race relations in Cambridge that doesn't know the professor proves that we have divisionsthat Need to happen. As the President said lets move on to personal disucssions about black and white!

    July 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  606. victor

    interestingly, the president of the united states continues to amaze me with his level of maturity and seniority over his opponents in this matter. He has done what a real man does and may the good spirit continue to be with him but his opponents tend to pride themselves for having achieved a motive –now it about drinking beer. what these opponents dont seem to understand is fact that some just like the president are not asleep and can read between the lines–there is the real issue and if they care should pay attention to but they wont and you know why ? because it will only give them away to thier folly. why on earth are we not interested in why the charges against the professor dropped–there evidently must be a reason for which it was dropped and if we would not address that fact then i am clear to say that all this unneccessary plenty talk is nothing but noise which is obviuosly an act of zeros and negative twos. what we pretend not to know is the fact that everyone is capable of mistakes but a better man admits to it and say it wont happen again.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  607. Mary

    This is a race issue and Obama is the one who made it an issue on NATIONAL TELEVISION. "Step back" and listen to his "speech, " the part where he says this still "haunts us." Don't we all wish we had a "friend" in Obama. There is nothing like having friends in high places, as now we have all learned.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  608. Derrin

    O.K. now the "OBAMA DRAMA' starts ,why would a man of Obama's intelligence even make an ill informed comment like he did unless there is also a touch of racism in him as well as Gates..Obama's immediate siding with Gates only goes to prove that the ones yelling racism are the most racist.Obama has turned his back on every police officer in this country!! Gates and his conceit along with being a friend of Obama has allowed himself to think he is above a white officer or any laws..As a 40 yr. old white man I have never heard of Gates,and the assumption that the officer should have known who he was ,or that he should have been given special treatment only goes to show the arrogance and conceit that has been displayed by both Obama and Gates..As an unwaivering Obama supporter I am now forced to think about what kind of undertones this will create...Are all of the rest of the" Bitter Black Men" now going to also display their racism ,,are black officers now gonna racially profile white people in retaliation.????Obama has just racially divided this country more than it has been in over 20yrs.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  609. Henry

    The professer should have just cooperated with the officer and this situation could have been avoided.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  610. Derek

    In regard to the arrest of Professor Gates, the posturing by the Cambridge Police Department is laughable. Officer Crowley should apologize for his actions or face disciplinary action.

    Professor Gates did absolutely nothing wrong.

    Your President (I'm Canadian) does not need to apologize or parse his statements in any manner, shape, or form.

    I am a white person, and up to this point did not fully realize how sensitive this issue is in the US.If I were faced with a similar situation I dare say that I would have reacted in the same fashion as Professor Gates.

    It is important to have a full and complete airing of the issue of "racial profiling" in order to ensure that it never occurs again.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  611. Dr. G

    It is clear by many of the comments here that our society has a problem with forming conclusions based on little to no knowledge of the actual facts. Unfortunately, Obama made that mistake as well and should not have commented on the issue. At least he is making a sincere effort to correct his previous statement. I hope all three have that beer.

    I have a question: You have stated that it is a fact that many more latinos and blacks are stopped by officers. I believe that is true. However, are there data to show that crime rates are higher among latinos and blacks as compared to whites? If data shows that crime rates are higher among latinos and blacks, then the fact that more latinos and blacks are stopped by officers may not be based completey on officers being you have implied.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  612. Judy

    It seems to me that we have a President of this United States of America that wants to CONTROL everything but what he should! One more thing, it seems as though the news reporters see more of black and white in America than the average citizen. Personally I would not care if a Black or White Police Officer came to my house if someone called and reported a person breaking in. I would be thankful that one or the other showed up!

    July 24, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  613. marie

    Obama has to stop bringing race into everything. He is dividing the country even more. It makes me wonder why he so desperately wanted to be president – is it to resolve his childhood traumas and low self-esteem?

    July 24, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  614. Loree

    I really want to move on CNN. After riding high on the wave of Black in America, this is a BIG let down!! It's almost like canceling it out. I literally had to turn the TV off because I was getting so angry at the over the top coverage of the President's "apology". The media is just jumping on the bandwagon like they won something because they were able to hear Obama say "he was wrong". All of this is not helping the situation. He said it was a "teachable moment" but no one is trying to learn anything from it. From all the comments and the media over coverage it's clear that people are just picking sides. They are glorifying the police officer but he said "I did not vote for you and I'm not going to apologize." Now how mature is that? What did voting for the President have to do with the issue at hand?? I don't care what anyone says, there is an arrogance that goes with being a cop. I'm not going to say all officers are bad or think that way but many have the God complex. It's simply going to be the way I say it is and that's it and they can always stand on "I'm just doing my job". The human side should have said, I understand your frustration, but understand I am here for your protection. Now that you've CLEARED UP that this is your home, I'm going to leave. That's what should've happened but I need to show you who is the boss...

    July 24, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  615. Charles Thornton

    Gates should not have been arrested once it was determined that it was his residence. The officer as a professional could have done more to explain to Gates his actions. Gates was tired and upset. I would have been too and he obviously pushed the officers button. But the officer should have had more compassion.

    Pres. Obama words did not bother me and I considered his words consistent between yesterday and today. But you must listen to Obama's words carefull. He suggested that "cooler heads" should have prevailed. He was referring to two heads, Gates and the Sgt, not just the Sgt. Sure he said the action to arrest Gates was stupid. It was stupid. Does that mean that Gates was not yelling? No. But the officer is trained to handle these situations. I can't believe that Proffessor gates was a serious theart by any means.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  616. Betsy Horton

    It seems to me that Professor Gates and the Cambridge policeman who arrested him have a lot they could teach each other. Professor Gates could help Sgt. Crowley understand what black men feel like when encountering police, and Sgt. Crowley could help Professor Gates understand better how police approach such a situation.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  617. Dean Havens

    This is not about race? Puhleeze! Gates is a farce. He racially profiles a white cop doing his job...then loudly and belligerently proclaims "IT'S 'CAUSE I'M BLACK"...It's an old strategy, but it still works, doesn't it? Anyone remember the Duke U "scandal"? Tawana Brawley? Same ole same ole...

    July 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  618. Valarie

    Enough of the blame game and sensationalizm of this story in the media. This was a terrible thing for any black brother or white man to experience, so now do something good about it. Can't two intelligent men, who are in a public dispute have the fortitude to settle the dispute privately. Use the media to be an good example that bad situations can be used to insure a better outcome for us all. I pray for all involved.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  619. Grace Nelson

    The President was right when he said the officer acted stupidly.When the officer found out that the homeowner was in his home he should have apologized for disturbing him and left the man's house. Policemen in America are arrogant and rude and they make you feel like a criminal when you have done nothing wrong. There is no doubt academics can be arrogant and rude but the policeman is experienced in race relations so he should have ignored whatever Gates said and left his home.
    The news conference that was held by the policemen suggested to me that the speakers at the news conference should apologize to the President. They are free to support their colleague but attacking the President is too much.
    Finally, I like to see them beat up prominent black people in ou societybecause these black people forget where they are coming from and they forget that although they are comfortable there are many brothers and sisters who suffer on a daily basis from the treatment of these same policemen.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  620. Charles Thornton

    I read some of the comments left on this blog. What I find is many who left comments don't understand the sensitivity around race and as a result, left stupid comments.

    Others left comments about how Gates should have showed his ID. He did and was still arrested.

    Race was not the primary issue in my mind. I did not mention race in my prior comment. The fact that the officer arrested Gates was the issue and poor judgement. But I do understand the role race has in this issue.

    I am a 52 yr old, black male who had a lawyer consider me guilty of a crime that I did not commit before he even met me because I was black. Race is an issue in the country. My lawyer appolgized one he met me and discovered that I was not the monster the he thought a jury would see because of the color of my skin.

    It is not something we can "just get over".

    July 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  621. steve

    i have noticed two rules that seem to apply when you deal with the police,if you act guilty,you probably are! and if you just cooperate with them,they will be nice and leave you alone,unless you are guilty!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  622. Willa

    Yes! racism still exist and will always be here. Nobody has mentioned the person who called the report into the police department. Doesn't he or she know their neighbor Professor Gates? Why didn't they run to the door and shout out to him before they called the police? The reporter who asked the question during the health care conference was out of order, because this had nothing to do with health care. Whose to say he wasn't paid extra to mention this just to put President Obama on the spot? People are so cure, jealous and such haters that they will do anything to bring our President down just because HE IS A BLACK MAN. They just can't stand the fact that we elected a black man as president of these United States of America. Yes, racism is still here.

    No matter what our President Obama says or does, he will never be good enough. So often I hear the news media refer to him as Mr. Obama instead of President Obama. I never ever heard them say Mr. Bush. What dose that tell you? Yes, racism is still here.

    The big problem is, Professor Gates pissed the officer off, so he made the arrest just to show him. People you need to get over this
    and stop making a mountain out of a molehill. We have the military fighting for these United States of America trying to protect us, getting killed everyday. That's who you need to focus on and pray sincere prayers that the war will end so they can all return home safely. Grow up America and get some GOD in you.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  623. David Lee

    I am a 59-year-old African American born in the state of Alabama. I know what racism is. As for the Mr. Gates event, I believe that Mr. Gates overacted. When Sgt. Crowley initially approached Mr. Gates to inform him that he was investigating a possible break-in, I believe that Mr. Gates immediately played the race card. In fact, a typical person would have been delighted to have such security in their neighborhood. For a moment, let’s remove race out of it. You have two professionals whose primary responsibilities are to serve the public though in a different capacity. When Sgt. Crowley made his announcement why he was there, Mr. Gates response should have been positive, informative and non-confrontational. First by stating to the officer that this is his home to which he is having difficulties with the entrance door, immediately present his identification and cooperate with the officer and give the officer an opportunity to ascertain his (Mr. Gates) information. Instead, Gates was irritated by the presence of the officer and he (Mr. Gates) failed to extend professional courtesy to the officer even if Crowley failed to reciprocate. Personally, I hold Mr. Gates to a higher standard than what he demonstrated during this incident. Mr. Gates attempted to resolve his issues with the officer during an investigation. If Mr. Gates truly had issues with Crowley’s conduct and behavior, he should have reported it to the appropriate authority at the appropriate time for resolution. Crowley was simply doing his job and it is incidents like this that make us all look bad. President Obama erred badly by inserting himself in the middle of an incident to which he did not have the facts. It is not racial and both parties need to seriously reflect on the incident to see what each could do to insure that an incident of this nature doesn’t happen again. Such avoidable incident serves only to further divide this country. Can we all just move on?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  624. Maryann

    These comments are interesting to peruse, mainly because they illustrate so starkly the different world views held by white Americans and Americans of color. As for the situation in Cambridge, it's pretty simple – once Professor Gates provided identification, why didn't the police say "thank you" and leave? There was no crime in progress and no reason to arrest the professor. Since when is it a crime to hurl accusations of racism at the police? The fact that the officer at the scene "followed police protocol" only means that he covered his butt with his superiors; it does not mean that he handled the situation sensibly and professionally.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  625. George Thomson

    This incident would not have occured if either the officer or the Professor were not so arrogant. Shame on both.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  626. Derrin

    Thanks for your honesty Charles Thornton,I'm sure Obama and Gates share the same sentiment !!! "Reverse Racism " is real folks!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  627. sharon

    A policeman is called to a home for a possible burglary. Are we to believe that Mr Gates, would think it is appropriate for the policeman to just take someone's word and not ask for an ID? What if a stranger had broken into Mr Gates' home and the police left without even verifying his identity? I am sure that Mr Gates would not have been pleased on returning home and finding his home emptied of it's belongings. I am so tired of hearing the cries of racism. He could have shown his ID just like anyone else and it would have been finished. Some people are just fanatics and like to turn every situation into a problem. Enough!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  628. mansa

    I think this is another case of the police thinking that they have to right to violate the rights of any person of color including the president. They have the nerve to say that the president of the U.S. owes them a apology. I don't think that if this was Bush of any other president of non-color they would demand an apology, they seem to feel that because the president is a black man that he also does not have the right to speak his mind.

    It just goes to show that no matter how much you achieve in this country they still want to treat you like you are less that they are...which is what they treated professor Gates.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  629. Dr Ogletree

    I certainly hope the president made a more direct apology to the policeman when he called him today. I think the president's news conference comments were totally off base, especially linking the Gates arrest to racial profiling in general. As a doctor, though, I was even more offended by the president's insulting comment about the doctor consulting the fee schedule when he decided how to treat the youngster with a sore throat. I literally screamed at the TV when I heard that! Where have the AMA and other responsible doctors' groups been in response to that blunder?
    By the way, I turn off FOX to watch you every morning.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  630. Dean Havens

    This is not about race? Puhleeze! Gates is a farce. He ...racially profiles a white cop doing his job…then loudly and belligerently proclaims “IT’S ‘CAUSE I’M BLACK”…It’s an old strategy, but it still works, doesn’t it? Anyone remember the Duke U “scandal”? Tawana Brawley? Same ole same ole…

    Yeah Mr. President...stupidity was an issue. It's the height of stupidity to talk about a police officer's mama. But you didn't mention that did you?

    Post racial society? Multicultural society? They can try to sell it to us but it's never worked anywhere in this world throughout human history.

    The lesson demonstrated here? It's not that racial hatred towards "people of color" lurks under the surface of every white police officer (and by extension white people in general)..but instead the reverse.

    That racial hatred towards whites lurks just underneath the surface of blacks!

    Believe it.

    Wake up white America!

    July 24, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  631. Nephtuin Rosario

    Yea right, like this does not happen almost every day in the USA.
    #1 Police investigates braking and entry #2 they come up to the residence in question #3 they find MR. Gates inside # 4 Police ask
    questions # 5 Mr Gates produces ID verifying he is the owner # 6
    Police needs to go and not wait around for a reason to arrest him.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  632. Audrey Philpot

    Sounds like the police officers need training in Non Violent Communications in addition to Racial Profiling. It seems he was unable to diffuse the experience is that police officers tend to be heavy handed and combative in their approach. Not always appropriate in every situation. I also believe that Police officers often suffer from PTSD and that this causes their responses too!

    Lets use this incident as an opportunity to transform the lives of our public servants.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  633. Joe Hohenrieder

    I think President Obama acted "stupidly".

    July 24, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  634. Chaz69

    Now we know how a police officer with a 'credible track record,' earned or otherwise, can get a trip to the White House. Just arrest a high-profile black man. Then watch the emotional reactions and the media take over with their culturally-biased hegemonic stranglehold over public discourse, and bingo - the President of the United States will capitulate and cave into white pressure and invite him or her to the White House.

    Now, this is only works for white police officers. Black and Latino officers, don't you try this on whites. You'll lose your job!

    July 24, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  635. Chaz69

    There's another lesson in the Gates/ Crowley episode.

    It is a classic example of how blacks must lose their sense of self and suppress who they are just to assimilate and be accepted. Legions of White America are incensed that Obama recognizes that he's black, that he speaks from his cultural experience. They don't want him to be who and what he is. He made the mistake of expressing himself from his historical and cultural stream.

    Another lesson is for young black and Latino kids - you know those that should aspire to be president one day.

    No matter how hard you work and play by the rules, no matter how many degrees you earn, no matter if you marry white and move to the suburbs - you are still black. Black under a racial caste system created by Europeans and developed into a global system of white supremacy and European domination. The moment you forget this, you'll get a rude awakening. Even if you're an esteemed Harvard scholar; yes, even if you're President of the United States.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  636. Michael

    I am a white professional male, mid 40's who voted for Obama. Gave him the benifit of the doubt. However the more he gets farther into his stay, the more we find out that he is part racist. You would hope your president would be above that and set a good example for the country. It is a shame. I wasted a vote on him. When will this country learn and when will both black and white and all group stop using race as a playing card. My family is from England and we are very mixed and yet we don't look at people that way.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  637. Everett Rupert

    I have several questions abut the Prof. Gates situation:

    1) Is it true that the Gates residence had been broken into before?
    2) Is it unreasonable to expect someone to call the authorities if it appears someone is breaking in to a residence?
    3) If true, is there some reason that Gates didn't just identify himself, show proper identification, and take up any perceived inappropriateness with his attorney?
    4) Is it a possibility that Gates had a chip on his shoulder for some reason before this incident?

    July 24, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  638. AMD

    The report says the professor showed his id, hence he proved the house was his. Unforunate also that his neighbor did not know who lived in the house. The police officer had the wrong attitude – he claims he was concerned someone else could be in the house because of the eye witness. But we all know that eye witnessed get a lot wrong and this would have been part of the police officer's training. (special 60 minutes report several weeks ago).

    Does anyone travel? The professor had just gotten back from an international flight, was dead tired, wanted to shower & go to bed. If he is like my husband, he never sleeps no matter how long the flight. Who does not get irritated when they are up for a couple days and going through a few airports? Most of you would be belligerent if you were tired, back from long travel, door won't work, then you are harrassed by some policeman at your front door.

    If the policeman had been correct in his actions, the charges would not have been dropped. The Dept. just has too much pride to say they were wrong and pushed things to that point. If they were right in their actions they would have stood behind their charges.

    July 24, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  639. rusty

    Obama needs to man up and admit he was wrong. Someone needs to explain to him that he and professor gates demonstrated more racism that officer crowley. Obama is proving to be the most divisive influence on race relations we have seen in modern history. Not the great savior, not a chance.

    July 24, 2009 at 8:29 pm |
  640. Alan D Simpson


    I think the racial comments can be heard in many different ways it depends on your up bringing.I don't think Mr.Obama meant any harm or disrespect to either side.America is the melting pot of the world.The fact that the difference in people and some people hate just to hate.The racial tension is still alive.It's a shame at this time in history of financial strife we have to see race as a major issue.


    July 24, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  641. Don@dabeach

    I was absolutely ecstatic to see Obama win the election, and with it I knew our country would make leaps and bounds in all areas including race relations. But, here only a few months into his rise to leadership, we are seeing LOTS of changes.... meaning more false accusations of "racial profiling". Look, if don't care if you are purple folks, if you break the law, then expect to be treated by the power of the arresting officer. And that includes all people... no matter if you are a college professor or just a Joe on the street. It's very apparent that blacks in this country now can whine and make all the accusations they want and have full presidential approval. I think Mr Obama's comments and decisions are now bordering on reverse discrimination, an I for one am sick of the whining.

    July 24, 2009 at 8:50 pm |
  642. benard chuba

    I still don't understand all the fuss about president O's comment. True indeed, it was better for him not to comment, but don't you think a police officer acts somewhat stupid for arresting someone for buglary or disorderly conduct for that matter after they show proof that they're at home?

    July 24, 2009 at 8:53 pm |
  643. J Newport

    Cambridge Mass Incident
    If I am correct, part of the sentence from the President reads – The Police acted stupidly – meaning the Actions of the police were stupid. Stupidly is an adverb which answers the question how, when, where or why – in this case "how". If he had said The stupid police acted... then the inference would have been made. Stupid is an adjective which describes a noun. It all boils down to the question of English grammar, which by the way is not taught in the public schools. Ask the teachers, they will tell you.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:03 pm |
  644. A Arthur

    It doesn't matter how intelligent, how smart, how many degrees we have, doctor's lawyer's professors, racial profiling exists and only those of us who walk that path would understand how sad it is to live a life where you are aware of that everyday. If anyone has friends of color, this situation does not surprise you. Any competent person would be upset to know you are not safe even in your own home. Why isn't there more outrage at the arrest?

    July 24, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  645. colossick

    Hey, hows every one? I'm just wonderin,' me being a tax payer wil I be paying for Mr.Gates beer at the White House? if so, I want to see his I.D. And why do I have to pay for the beer if I can't drink with them? Let me guess, I'm white in america, and I'm not racial

    July 25, 2009 at 12:15 am |
  646. Gene Goodwin

    I repeat, Sgt. Crowley was not doing his job. No cop has the right to ask for ID anywhere. It's your cvil rights. Driving a car or drinking is different, those are rights given to u by the state. They can only ask for your name. Which u don't have to tell them and its their burden to find out.


    July 25, 2009 at 7:25 am |
  647. patricia a lewis

    What if Prof. Gates gave a seminar on Race Relations and invited Sgt. Crowley. Then Sgt. Crowley did a seminar on Race Relations and invited Prof Gates. Even if it was one on one, I think they would learn a lot from each other.

    July 25, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  648. Chris J

    I think that we're all just missing the most important point that makes this particular argument distinguished, and worthy of consistant discussion. It's not about whether this one specific police officer committed an act that may've been of a racial aspect (or tone). It's about whether racial-profiling happens, and/or will it continue to happen (in areas, or against people who-are of a differant ethnica nature...And mainly those of African decent)? Nevertheless, what's even more tragic (about this event)...Is that you can't get a credible account (of the truth) from the mainstream media in this country. My only suggestion too black people is that you watch closley...And lisen (and I don't just mean with your eyes and ears...Or just white people). Eventually deceit, trickery, wrongness and disinformation will play-out to rightfulness and legitimacy.

    July 25, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  649. Herman Cain

    Gates is an opportunist. He was clearly waiting for the opportunity to make race the issue with any confrontation he might have with law enforcement.
    He knew exactly what he was doing. He wanted to be arrested and make this a huge spectacle to get picked up by national news. It seems to the outside observer that he decided not to comply with the officer's wishes to the point that he would be arrested.

    He is not a role model.

    July 25, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  650. Sandra Ballasch

    I am disappointed (if not surprised) at the number of people who seem to believe that police can arrest anyone for talking if they don't like what they are saying! If there was any public disturbance (which I doubt) could it have happened because the officer kept insisting that Professor Gates come outside where he could claim he was making a public disturbance? Once he realized that Gates was the homeowner what would have been wrong with explaining that he was concerned and wanted to check to make sure no one else was in the house. IF at that point the owner wanted him to leave and stated there was nothing wrong he should have simply left and documented that he left at the request of the homeowner without checking. The concern for domestic terror is a little late from posters considering the way most people (including police) react to domestic violence calls to this day.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  651. NOT AGAIN,

    If you push the color issue aside. The owners are treated the same. In fact, some have been placed behind the bars whatever the color. Now, if you look at the situation, owners who get mad because they forgot their keys and broke in.With the police investigating at that house, they assume that a crime is being commited.
    Now, the psycho effect, The owner who's super mad and the cop that's super confused and ready for action. When the owner blows, the cop can react. Well, they can pull an act and do an arrest for whatever comes to mind!

    Blacks and Whites unite. Let's check the books and we will see that it has happen in every state and city. I can remember one from Alabama,California, N.Y.,OH, and MA too. Why is this one not funny?

    Professor, "You have the right to remain silent, so Cool down!"

    I hope they don't use Federal Money for this trip to D.C.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  652. J. Reid

    From the issues with the PA pool incident, and the Texas man dragged seven miles under a pick-up truck to the Cambridge Police Dept. racial issues are revving up and pushed under a 21st Century carpet while expected to leave no trace. We need to take a stand and call these incidents what they are without fear of reprisals from anyone. Make the law work for everyone and stop placing it in the hands of those who perpetuate the horrors by dismissing them. Call or write to local and Federal officials asking them to support parity in America and stop sidestepping the issues. Make all of American citizens equal and valuable to this country’s strength.

    I cannot tell you what it is like here in Cambridge since the police began countering the Prof. Gates issue. Most of my neighbors believe they should have remained mute if they were so much in the right. Gov. Patrick and POTUS remarks are what they are to continuously countermand statements and voice outrage has made many here feel nervous and unsafe.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  653. J. Reid

    FYI about Cambridge Massachusetts

    * The Police Dept. head, white.
    * His direct boss: Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Black
    * Massachusetts Governor: Deval Patrick, Black
    * POTUS, Black

    To Blacks reading this it will clear some assumptions and for too many whites, sadly, it is irrelevant. Languages spoken by residents 47+ and the mean education level for head of household = 4-5 citizens of 100,000 population hold graduate degrees, every 3-5 citizens hold a graduate degree and every 2-5 citizens hold a Doctorate or post doc. Cambridge fell in the top 10 cities where services for children were above average and beyond Time Magazine. Cambridge has more private grade schools than public schools, public schools are adept at educating multi-lingual and the children who speak a foreign language. The only H.S., Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School students can and do take Harvard classes during their Junior and senior years.

    The police department, as a unit, is not staffed by the best and the brightest–mostly they are not college material and fight to stay on Gov. payroll because it is a life-long-paycheck. Harvard U. has its own police–not security but police department which does not sit well with many City police.

    Cambridge boasts a multitude of baseball fields, 7 within a 5 min walk from my address. There are rules for using these spaces and that includes drinking alcohol–the police ball teams are the only violators of this rule. They have, and I have witnessed them say, to parks staff: “Go on call and report us and I will make your life miserable.” The climate here with the police, in general, is guarded especially during the summer and for people of color. If you do not live in an unstable environment surrounded by highly educated citizens then you must keep your opinions as they relate to your situations in your yard and we will deal with ours.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  654. Kathy Smith

    One should not comment on a situation until all the facts are in. Pres. Obama and the Gov. of MA should hang their heads in shame for the disrespect they have put on display towards every law enforcement officer across the USA. This courageous young Sgt. risks his life each and every day to "protect and serve". He followed protocol and performed the duties of his office. It's a very sad day when the aforementioned leaders didn't have the guts to follow suit. Until you have been a "Public Safety Officer" and carried a weapon, fire hose, or driven an ambulance to protect and serve those in danger you need to think long and hard before uttering disgraceful comments. Or simply ask the young daughter or widow a fallen hero left behind because all he ever wanted to do was "PROTECT AND SERVE". I truly believe that every elected official should have to serve in our armed forces prior to being eligible for election. Just maybe, the words honor, integrity, justice and truth would become more than just words again.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  655. Beth Brinker

    The controversy over the Gates' arrest is ridiculous. If many of those that talk against it lived in the shoes of a police officer for even a day they couldn't do it. There are policies to follow and precautions to take for the safety of the police officer and the citizen. Sgt. Crowley was there investigating a 911 call. He didn't stop by because he noticed a black man there. If a police officer is investigating a call and comes across an individual who is not corroporating is he supposed to just leave? If Professor Gates acted appropriately during the situation it wouldn't have escalated to an arrest. Sgt. Crowley did exactly as he should have.

    July 26, 2009 at 12:17 am |
  656. Nephtuin Rosario

    Many police officers are decent, hard working, law abiding servants.
    I was one of them for 5 years. But is the truth never the less that they work under heavy pressure trying to apply the law that most of the time they approach a situation at the offense w/o balance not difusing but creating a much bigger issue. PTSD is also a factor.

    July 26, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  657. Jermaine

    This whole notion that it was fair to arrest Prof. Gates out of his own home b/c he was using harsh language towards a police officer is baffling to me even though it doesn't surprise me....There are countless online video feeds of incidents in which a white man would curse a police office out and nothing happens, maybe a ticket, I've seen an incident in which a white man had pulled out a gun on a group of white officers and the officers did not react at all except still try to talk the man into giving up....Now everyone knows if a black or hispanic man was to pull out anything (like a wallet) they would be shot down or if that same man was in an officers face cursing at him that person would be arrested and/or beaten. The only difference is a white man knows that he has the right to excercise his rights but a person of a minority group does not.

    July 26, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  658. Kathy Smith

    For those who don't appreciate the job our law enforcement officers are doing then why don't you take positive action and do something about it instead of just sounding off on CNN blogs. Local, state, and federal agencies are always looking for a " few good men/women" to staff the ranks. Can YOU pass a rigorous background check, drug screen, polygraph, and meet the physical fitness requirements necessary for the job? And, believe it or not, LEOs in the modern day world, more likely than not, have a college degree. More importantly, they have that deep rooted desire to "PROTECT AND SERVE".

    It's not a Black, White, Latino, Muslim, Jew, Christian, or any other kind of thing. It's all about honor, duty, sacrifice, and the humility to serve others regardless of self.

    Unfortunately, our generation has failed to realize that the greatest pleasure comes when we dare to step over the line, rise above the danger, and seek to serve something greater than ourselves.

    May God bless and keep safe each and every Public Safety Officer that is keeping watch over me today. My sincere hope is that the continuing dialogue going forward re: Gates/Crowley will serve to better race relations in the USA. Pres. Obama, the ball is in your court.

    July 26, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  659. David

    Kathy Smith, I agree with you that police officers, or peace officers, in this circumstance did not intitially have their concerns heard fairly. I agree that the President should not have weighed in without the facts fully in hand. Having said that, the President owned up to what he did wrong and reached out to both parties in a hard situation to relieve tensions and when he did that the situation immediately started to become better and more reasonable. Your passionate defense of law enforcement is well taken on this blog I feel, but the first amendment right for people to express themselves is essential to a democracy like ours.

    What you say about rising above the danger to serve something greater than ourselves is completely on point. I would only say that the danger is not only physical danger, but the danger of being wrong, of holding an unpopular view, of even looking stupid or embarrassing ourselves. At times we have to get through the complications and embarrassment, the various pts of view, to work things out.

    July 26, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  660. Sonia Vivar

    I find this "skip gates" incident, the Presidents worst move, one I think will haunt him for a long time. But what bothers me the most is his betrayal to all those honored at the white house, by inviting an opportunist like Gates, as if rewarding him for his pompous attitude.

    Inglewood, California

    July 27, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  661. misheharu

    the good upstanding officer most white people encounter when they get pulled not the one black people encounter. see police departments have been used to enforce hateful government policies my father remember the police it is not like police have been the great protectors for blacks like they have for whites.i personally i could care less if white people do not like me. it is when you use laws like "disorderly conduct" to make the point harvard professor or president white always trumps other words, stay in your place.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  662. William Sommerwerck

    Several years ago I held a long conversation with a stranger in Fry's. Like myself, he was white and middle-aged, with a beard and long hair. He told me that on one occasion, when he had been stopped by the police for a dead turn-signal light, he was told in no uncertain terms that people "like him" should not be hanging around Redmond (Washington).

    "You people" are unbelievable. There are too many police out there who think their principal duty is to "strut their stuff", to prove to the world just how much they clank when they walk. They aren't interested in "serving and protecting", but in showing everyone how much bigger their gun is.

    Did Mr. Gates have a huge chip on his shoulder, which this incident provided an opportunity to toss at the police? Almost certainly. Did Officer Crowley fail to handle the situation correctly from the get-go? No question about it.

    The police are invariably given a free ride. They do something stupid, and their excuse is "Things happened so fast it was impossible to judge properly." Well, that's what they're paid for - making good judgements. Part of making a good judgement is using common sense, which includes (but is not limited to) anticipating how people are likely to react to what you say or do.

    I ask all of you who rush to defend the police - How would /you/ have handled the situation so that it didn't get out of hand? You know what? I bet most of you /could/ have. Here's my approach...

    "Good evening. I'm officer Crowley. I assume you're Mr. Gates, the homeowner?" Gates nods. Crowley looks at this scrawny, middle-aged, cane-weilding, pespectacled geezer, and profiling him, decides it's highly /unlikely/ he's a burglar.

    "If you find anything missing, please contact us. If you don't need any assistance at this time, I'll be going."

    "Thank you, officer Crowley."

    Done. Finis. Ended. How difficult was that? How much common sense does it require /not/ to provoke a situation when there doesn't appear to be any reason to?

    You think that because you're white, you're safe from police abuse. You're not.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  663. misheharu

    it always surprise me when the media choose to believe police never make up false statements in police reports gates make his statement then the police send out a police report and the media treat the report like it is the bible.let's just say ignorance is bliss.

    July 27, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  664. colossick

    THANK YOU, SGT. CROWLEY FOR DOING YOUR JOB. It's a shame that a lonely black man has to blame yourself and Mrs. Whalen for HIS MISTAKE. Between Mr. Gates and Roland Martin THEY are the BIGGEST racist in the U.S.A. Mr. Gates and Mr. Martin quit cryin' like TWO little KIDS! BOO-WHOOO!

    July 27, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  665. Roberta Kerr

    Talk about making a "Federal Case" out of it. It is NOT the President's place to get involved in a local police case. Will he step in and comment on the dog barking next door to you?
    It is totally wrong for him to have a beer with these two men when it involves this case.
    This is he same man who wouldn't comment on the Iran protests over their election – yet he gets involved in a local law inforcement dispute?
    Get your priorities straight. Take care of the country NOT your personal friends Mr. O!

    July 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  666. Jack Love

    This is what can be learned from this incident. Always comply with the oders of an armed policeman. Rodney King did NOT comply. Professor Gates did NOT comply. If you have done nothing wrong, why don't you comply with orders? If a policeman says "Freeze", why not? If a policeman says, "Put your hands where I can see them", why not? You get a chance to explain your side AFTER the policeman makes the situation SAFE for you and him. Safety is the primary concern. The policeman goes into a situation where he does not know who he is dealing with, and does not know if the suspects are armed and dangerous. Gates was in his own house, true, but the policeman did not know that. Gates was not armed, but the policeman did not know that either. Gates may have been an armed burglar who knew the home owners name from mail laying around.

    July 28, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  667. AC American Citizen and taxpayor

    The arrest is a reflection of the growing problem in our justice system of brawn outgrowing brains. Power, greed, perversion and more power win at the close of the day. Where is the balance.
    The general acceptance of aggressive measures has opened the door for misuse of power.
    Now about the CDC opening a research lab in Manhattan KS? What about that? I strongly believe the entreprenurial spirit is amiss in this case. Err on the side of caution... not cast cares to the WIND.... I was there driving through last year as the twin twisters passed by the highway in front of me... trust me... we are powerful people... but we need to be a bit more humble when it comes to investing money in research.

    July 28, 2009 at 11:56 pm |
  668. gk

    One incident million of views. Look at the solution instead of adding wood to a fire. Saying that President Obama acted stupidly because he backed Professor Gates by saying that the officer acted stupidly, I think we are not helping to come up with solution. Here are some questions. First, Mr. Gates' neighbor who called Police Office Post Station, he(she) doesn't know Mr. Gates. If he (she) did, I think he (she) is one who acted stupidly by calling police officer without identifying who was opening his (her) neighbor's home. Second, if I was a police officer , can I get an emergency call then get on car and start driving without verifying all informations if they are correct. I am confident when the police officer got a call, he also got the address of Mr. Gates' house. Why the police officer didn't verify information received to know the individual who live there before he got there. It could be easy to open dialogue with Mr. Gates. Two questions appear: "Are you the owner?", and, Are you Mr. Gates? The first question makes a circumstance very difficulty because the police officer ignored the owner of home. Therefore, Mr. Gates ought to know the reason police officer was at his home. But if police officer asked the following question: "Are you Pr. Gates?" I think everything could be going normal and Mr. Gates could be cooperative. I think If police office station of a county doesn't have data about home owner of its county, it is time to start to gather those data. You can't protect someone you don't know. Police officer make a mistake when he trusted the person who made the call. We have to think Mr. Gates' relationship with his neighbor, is it good or bad? Please do not point out the President, let's write down a courteous judgement.

    July 29, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  669. colossick

    Being as how there is a black history month, how come there is no white history month? Wouldn't that be equal rights?

    July 29, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  670. gaka

    Professor Henry Louis Gates and Police Officer Sgt James Crowley. Mr. Gates a scholar professor who teaches at Harvard University. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., is one of the nation's pre-eminent African-American scholars, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in. The incident raised concerns among some Harvard faculty that Gates was a victim of racial profiling.
    Police arrived at Gates’s Ware Street home near Harvard Square at 12:44 p.m. to question him. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, had trouble unlocking his door after it became jammed.
    Gates accused the investigating officer of being a racist and told him he had "no idea who he was messing with," the report said.
    Gates told the officer that he was being targeted because "I'm a black man in America."
    What we learn from circumnstances alike. Of course, there is invisible root. I just thank God for this circumnstance. Here is my thought. If any society have to define human beings by color, I think that mistake will still be made forever. We always focus on individual appearance, a superficial world. The day that the world will know that animals have same red blood, it will be the beginning of a new era. The case of Michael Jackson death and his private Dr. Murray has inspired me a lot. If Mr. Murray was a white doctor, the incident could be called "racial" instead of the mistake. I would suggest that gender black or white have to end. I never see a white and a black persons. I always see human beings. We usually tend to divide this world in two parts: white and black worlds. Rudolf Steiner wrote: "As white tends to point inevitably to black, so carbon points to the transparent."

    July 30, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  671. Glenn Johnson

    Heidi, I have found from experience that the only way to change racial tensions in this country is "ONE ON ONE". You can't legislate it, wish it, talk it, hope for it. It's really quite simple. You start with one person to another person . A simple "good morning", opening a door for someone, shaking hands with a newcomer at church, a smile, and on and on. There's always those who are going to be mean and nasty, but the only thing one person can do to change the atmosphere is by treating another "ONE" person to dignity, respect, and kindness. Making this a national debate is never going to solve this problem.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  672. Jami Harris

    I think the incident involving Henry Louis Gates was eye-opening for Americans. I think we hide racism behind the poverty and crime perceived to come out of the Black community. However, as this incident shows, a Black man in American, no matter his education level, his privilege, or his infiltration into the exclusive Ivy League White male dominant culture, he is still a Black man, dangerous, threatening, criminal and uncontrollable.. This is not an isolated incident, it is an example of the systematic oppression faced by people of color in our society. I do think that Prof. Gates had the right idea when he stated that he would like to use this instance as a learning or educational opportunity for dominant culture/mainstream America. The Boston officer, who following this highly publicized incident, called Gates a "banana eating jungle monkey," then following it up with the cliched statement "I'm not racist, I have a lot of racially diverse friends," is a prime example of the denial that runs rampant in America. I ask you, Officer Justin Barrett, if you're not racist, then who is?

    July 30, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  673. paulette paul

    that happens in nashville tn too.some police officer arrest me for no reasons.they came to my house and arrest me theyu just enter the house looking for daughter didnt know what to do. i think the government needs to give the police officer lessons before they goes and barrest people. the police officer tellmy daughter she can stay home by herseft if she a problem or emergency call 911

    July 30, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  674. Lucy Creekmore

    I cannot believe that the president is meeting with these two men because of Gates' arrest. Is this because Gates is black and a friend of the president? Would the president call a meeting if this was between a white man and a black police officer? I can never remember the president of the United States meeting to settle a disagreement on an arrest and of all things publicize having a beer. Give me a break!!! Isn't there more important things going on in the world for the president to handle!!! Maybe we should again who we elected for president.

    July 30, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  675. David

    President Obama deserves credit for seeing a difficult situation through and giving directly to the parties who were suffering, not being distracted from that. I guess presidents do great things, kind of mind blowing to me, and ordinary things too.

    It would be nice to sit around and have a beer sometime.

    July 31, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  676. Harris Morison

    It was cops acting stupidly.There is no reason why Obama shouldnt express an opnion.He just shouldnt have appologized for saying it.

    As for Gates playing the race card,Whatever brings this type of stupid behavior by these or any other public servants to light works for me.

    Try to imagine yourself,reguardless of what race you are, in Mr.Gates position.

    August 5, 2009 at 8:13 am |