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July 25th, 2009
10:25 AM ET

On the Police, the Professor, and the President

It’s not an apology, but the President of the United States extended an olive branch to Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley, Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates and to America—all torn after this weeks break-in response and disorderly conduct arrest. And now, days after the high profile incident, a new “can we all just get along” moment. This time it was President Obama who said at the end of his impromptu presser, okay , maybe we’ll all toss back a cold one together at the White House.
I’d love to hear from you. How can this be, as the president encouraged, “a teaching moment” for America?

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (237 Responses)
  1. Suzanne

    Wow – I wish everyone could watch the CNN clip by Don Lemon interviewing two Cambridge black police officers (one of which was at the Prof. Gates "incident") giving full support to Officer Crowley and one of them hugged him in an an emotional display of support.

    One of the officers is so upset at the President's statements she stated she would not vote for the President again

    This clip/story should be played constantly to give us all hope that wounds can be healed and I believe this clip does. Good story Don – A positive story too, which is so unusual in these days of bad news.

    We need more role models like this Police Dept. and these outspoken officers to lead us to healing wounds and such brave reporting by Don.

    The statements made by President Obama and Prof. Gates only seem to incite more misunderstanding and hurt and anger and increase the divide – we need hope and unity not more division.

    Keep up the good work Don.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  2. Stehen Marr

    Almost everyone could see the media milkimg the drama out of this story. The President is right, let's move and let those three gentlemen work it out without the hype and drama. Come on guys, we are in two war, our economy is on life support, civil rights are being dusted off and pit back to work as our national uemployment rate is still too high. All the drama surrounding this stuff could make a guy go see his doc, well if he can afford one and his insurance company hasn't closed its doors or the employer hasn't takenit away! The Media never admits its faults and never tries to be above any story. Even its a boring story, just throw in some media drama and the story is forgotten replaced only with the drama.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:20 pm |
  3. Esther

    The first reaction shown by President Obama was the one which came from his deepest soul. It is true that nowadays there is still racism, although it is played as it is not true. I live in Oklahoma and you can really tell that there is still a certain discrimination going around. There are many stories still happening and if you ask the public of the United States for some stories in reference to this subject you will be surprised what you will hear.
    The second reaction which President Obama showed is practically the corrected one. This is how we are supposed to behave and yes I do understand him and we should all respect us. Fact is that there is still racism going on and it feels so much better to deny it.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  4. jjohneh

    I believe Mr. Obama made the right call here. He brought down the situation and humanized the issue. Too many time people are taking sides about racial issues when it's simply ourselves projecting the issue. Regardless of color, Mr.Obama made the whole issue easier to deal with from both sides. The whole "Why can't we get along" comments reflect this back to an unpleasant time in our history I'd like to think we've moved past from. Perhaps I'm nieve but I chose to think we live in a better multicultural world today and cannot believe we still have to discuss this matter as a color issue. As a white male I have had other non white human beings make comments to me that I shrug off as not a color issue rather than an ignorance one. I'll take the high road everytime and not use color as a crutch. My friends are from other cultures and are not the same tone as my skin, yet we all to get along. Why can't we get along? No reason why we cannot. My favorite color is blue. Yet I see no blue people. What's your favorite color?

    July 25, 2009 at 12:04 am |
  5. al

    Sgt Crowley has outfoxed almost everyone.
    Boxers telegraph their punches. Sgt Crowley telegraphed his intention to arrest the Professor minutes before doing it.

    Sgt. Crowley wanted to arrest the Prof, but knew he couldn't legally do it inside the house. So Sgt Crowley instructed the Prof to come outside and the Professor complied with the order. Therefore Sgt Crowley chose the "public place" for discussion, it wasn't the Professor's choice.

    Sgt. Crowley's lie is that his reason for ordering the Prof outside was because the noise was too great inside the house. A weak excuse under the circumstance of only two people.

    Why after ordering the Prof into a Public place did Crowley arrest him? Simply to demean the Professor, or to show his authority over the Prof. "Public" was Crowley's choice not the Professor's. Crowley is experienced and clever, the Prof didn't know this finer point to the law. It is a teaching moment, don't leave your home if they haven't arrested you. To demonstrate no bias, I'm white with military service.

    Is race a problem in America – simply look at the racial mix in the Senate as proof that it is.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:25 am |
  6. sam

    The one person in this country that preaches against racism fuels a debate once again but i was wondering if the shoe was on the other foot and it was an african american cop and a white suspect would the president react the same. Here is my thought with racism when things happen to latino's, and african americans how come Jesse jackson and Al sharpton are there to preach against it but where are they when it comes to stick up for a caucasian, I don't see them coming out and sticking up for a law enforcement officer who was just doing his job.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:47 am |
  7. Bill Reynolds

    Just wanted to comment on Tony Harris's lack of professionalism after the Cambridge Police Dept. press conference. I was shocked by his remarks. (so where others at work with me) I don't believe I've seen an anchor take sides as he did. Very Unprofessional. Who is in charge at CNN these days? It seems that CNN is slowly slipping into the abyss of trying to dictate the news... instead of reporting the news as they used to do. Let the viewers decide... not the anchors.

    San Francisco

    July 25, 2009 at 2:16 am |
  8. riceroni

    Though I feel that the Police officer was totally out of line and in the wrong, and totally abused his authority. I'm sure he's learned a lesson from this. President Obama exempt much class and wisdom by saying basically saying let's learn from this and move on.

    July 25, 2009 at 5:03 am |
  9. rebecca peters

    I believe this micro incident, reflects the macro racial divide that persists despite our having elected an African American President. I am deeply disappointed by the Presidents' remarks. I feel Mr. Gates had a choice here. Officer Crowley was taking measures to protect Mr. Gates home, Gates should have been grateful that an Officer responded at all. We hear of tragic outcomes re: the Officers killed in Pgh in the recent past, and seem to forget that these public servants lives are on the line, even in the most seemingly benign situations.
    The pseudo apology from Pres Obama is not enough. Mr. Gates statement seems sincere, but in the end, it is about him and his disrespect for the law. It is just such a sad commentary, and I'm not sure throwing down a few beers will heal this wound.

    July 25, 2009 at 6:35 am |
  10. Victor Galloway

    I do not feel Dr. Gates over reacted to this incident. Dr. Gates acted normally under the circumstances. Dr. Gates established who he was and that should have been the end of it. The officer should have left the premises after that and there would have been no disorderly conduct. If the officer did not feel he acted inappropriately why didn't he give Dr. Gates his name and badge number? I'd like to know what is the proper procedure the captain claims the officer followed. He demonstrated the typical "I'm gonna show you" attitude that minorities, Blacks in particular experience.
    White America will never understand because they aren't subjected to this kind of treatment.

    July 25, 2009 at 6:48 am |
  11. Jerry Barton, from the South Poconos in PA

    I think that all this MEDIA Hype about the Cambridge PD and Our President is really "STUPID",,, Why not cover the Real issues like what is going on in Iraq and Afganistan?

    July 25, 2009 at 6:50 am |
  12. Ric

    The dream of a new era under President Obama could be coming to an end. Until he makes a real apology for his misguided remarks, he has exposed himself as more of the same; a president who is unwilling to acknowledge he made a blunder. If the President is really unaware he made a mistake in his comments about the Cambridge police, then we have an even bigger problem. He eloquently and rightfully preaches for a new age of racial harmony and understanding, then makes racially fired statements about a situation he knew little about except the top line that a white police officer arrested an African-American professor. Race should have had no input here; the police officer made a legitimate and LAWFUL arrest given the situation. That is the bottom line. But there is another sentence to add to the bottom line; as part of the racial tension healing process, we have to make sure we don’t see a problem where there isn’t one, for that is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    July 25, 2009 at 6:56 am |
  13. Craig

    This Gates v. Cambridge police officer case sounds fishy to me.
    I'm waiting to hear from the person who made the 911 call. I think hearing that call and hearing further statements from the 911 caller will clear up many questions for a lot of people.
    During the election campaign President Obama raised the issue of prisoners in American prisons being disproportionately black. I believe there are prominent blacks in society who will do whatever it takes to promote attention and dialogue to address racial profiling. In my opinion, I do not believe the Cambridge police Officer engaged in racial profiling or is in any way, shape or form a racist. Underscore "[they] will do whatever it takes".
    Too many prominent blacks have a boulder sized chip on their shoulder. Despite the great accomplishments they have made which have enabled them to rise to positions of power and affluence, they are still dissastified simply because they can't stop looking back. Like all people of many differing ethnicities, religions, cultures, they need to STOP LOOKING BACK and begin LOOKING AHEAD!
    The President is re-opening a wound, he is putting a wedge between the American people. He campaigned as a UNITER, but he is proving to be anything but.

    July 25, 2009 at 7:09 am |
  14. rbassett

    Teaching...yes for us all.Lets begin with the neighbor who called. Most neighbors are familar with each other if not by name, at least discription. Should this happen to me, and I see such an incident, I would make sure I was calm, try to see if it could be my neighbor. IF it were lighted enough to tell. Professor Gates being Black, his Neighbor being White... I am almost sure she knows this, and had seen him to be able to describe him. I would have given a description of this to the police. and the name of who owns the house so that way when the police came, and confronted Professor Gates, it would not have been a difficult thing to come to the conclusion that this Black man lived there. Only the professor knows what the officer said to make him upset, and I can tell you , there are officers who do prey upon minority folk, and try to upset them just so they can arrest them. But there are also cops who do their jobs, treat folk with common decency, as they would want to be treated. It is not a job everyone can do, I am not talking about just following the law to the letter, I am talking attitude, being a people person putting yourself in anothers place. Empathy....We all could take a lesson from this and exam ourselves. How could it harm to say I am sorry to Professor Gates. It shows anyone can make a mistake, its the greater person who admits a mistake, the first step to correction.

    July 25, 2009 at 7:10 am |
  15. rbassett

    Suzanne,s comment. How else would a Black Cop respond, Think about it, its his career... Was there not a White cop,
    there too, anyone ask him to comment on it.. RACE card Sells, papers, makes news. News sells in all forms .LOL

    July 25, 2009 at 7:30 am |
  16. JM

    i too saw don's report and felt that it was exemplary. it sheds new light on this incident when we see that far from being 'a racist' sgt. crowley is well respected and admired by his peers; the two featured in the report being african american.

    it is sad that for a president who offered the hope of helping to heal the wounds of racism, the president, by wieghing in on this issue, has only exacerbated it. i find it unusual and disappointing that he did not excersice better judegment by simply dodging the question, rather than making the remarks he offered. in doing so, he, as one commentator observed, proved himself not to be 'the president of all americans'. it is also less that satisfying that he did not simply offer a simple apology to the officer and the department, but rather parsed his own words and generally implied that he is disturbed that it has distracted from what he thought was a more important discussion. much like the prof., the president should have simply admitted that he 'over reacted' thus allowing us to move on. his latest statements leave the matter unresolved and leaves one to wonder if he believes in his own mind that there indeed was some racial motivation on the part of the arresting officer. as some have stated, we've all said and done things that we later realized was just... well 'stupid'. as children we were taught to say 'i'm sorry' rather than ' i should have callibrated my words better'. the president could have done a better job on all of this.

    for some to continue to portray the prof as the victim is additionally diasppointing and disturbing as they continue to fan the flames of racial stress. some, including bill cosby, have suggested that it is equally important for the black community to look to themselves and their actions as a way to heal the wounds of racial relations. those who continue to suggest that the arrest was unjust and thus imply that the officer had other motives beyond performing his duties are not helping.

    it is impossible for this country to get beyond race if people continue to get hung up on it.

    July 25, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  17. Larry

    First of all in my eyes President Obama was speaking from his heart. He's always stuck me as being a very honest guy.

    It was a situation that got out of hand all the way around. I think the President handled it very well, and the invitation to the White House will speak volumes to straighten it out.

    In all fairness to the President emotions are running very high right now over health care reform and everyone in Washington is working very hard to address it.

    July 25, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  18. michael armstrong sr.

    The president can extend the whole burning bush I dont think these to guys are going to kiss and make up.

    July 25, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  19. Lenny, Dallas

    I am very disappointed that the president came back to kind of apoligize for what is clearly police abuse of power. It exposes him as a weak minded person that caves easily to opposition.

    We may never know if sgt Crowley is racist because no one typically admits these things, but to say that Prof Gates cannot be loud and unruly in his house is something even socialists or communists would probably not do. And if the arrest was just, then why drop the charges? sgt Crowley and all the arresting officers should be fired and the mayor should replace the police chief for not ensuring that Crowley keeps his mouth shut. The are public servants are paid with public funds (taxes) and their job is to stop and prevent crime and not to harrass law abiding citizens in their homes.

    July 25, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  20. kay

    Come on guys, kiss and make up. I don't think so. After being called a racist upon doing your job and trying to keep the public safe and then THE President of the United States calls your work "Stupid"; I hope Sgt. Crowley continues to do a great job and tell the Prez "thanks but no thanks". Sgt. Crowley don't put yourself in a situation where you can be further ridiculed.

    July 25, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  21. Fred dean Weaver Oklahoma city

    Rick S on Cnn said Obama said the policeman was stupid. Wrong!! Obama said the policeman acted stupidly Which the policeman did.The policeman went into a home without backup were policeman thank someone robbing the home. Then the policeman did not give his name and badge number whn professor ask for it then ask professor to go outside andi then arresred him, That is acting stupiply just like Obama said. obama a man for the time.

    July 25, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  22. Wendell

    Why are the police unions asking for the President to apologize when they themselves haven't apologized to Mr Gates? Do they feel they don't owe this man an apology. They're the one's who started this whole fiasco.
    I feel like this,if they want an apology,they should be the first to apologize.
    the truth is that was stupidity on their part,if it wasn't racial profiling. Stop
    targeting minorities and these kind of things would not happen.We all need to be treated equally.

    July 25, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  23. Christa

    Why couldn't Obama just apologize?!!!!

    July 25, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  24. Gayle Levitt

    The President can use this as a teaching moment for HIMSELF. Stay out of local affairs President Obama. You have enough national issues to worry about. And, by the way, please stop blaming the Republicans for your failing healthcare program. Both the House and the Senate are controlled by Democrats, so...if it isn't passing it is because even your own party has real problems with this plan.

    July 25, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  25. Christa, just like the president, are making statements without knowing the facts. Your account is nothing like the facts. Don't judge without knowing all the facts. People need to educate themselves before opening their mouths and taking sides.

    July 25, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  26. Beverly Sublett

    Don Lemon I am disappointed in you for your stance you took as a reporter especially with the comment you made about whether you would vote for President Obama again because you felt he would out of line because he should not as a President said what he said but it turned out be a teachable moment for all of us to see that by President stepping in he was able to create some calm and maybe having a Black President it might help to defuse some of these exploded racial issues in america. Maybe it might teach you that because you may not have had any problems in life as black man consider your self lucky.

    But their are lot of Black men that have not had the opportunies you've

    You have right to Vote for who you want but stop judging the President he has to deal with lot more that just racism.


    Beverly Sublett

    July 25, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  27. Gayle Levitt

    I hope the next time someone reports a robbery at my home, and I'm in it, that the police officer asks for my ID before leaving the scene. The officers did not know Mr. Gates... they needed to be sure he was who he said he was. Had they just driven off without asking for proof of ID, and his home was ransacked, Mr Gates would have sued them for not protecting his home. I'm guessing Mr. Gates was tired from his travels and feeling annoyed and impatient, but... a little respect for the law goes a long way!

    July 25, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  28. V Williams

    Mr. Obama owes NO MORE an apology to the police department than the officer feeling that he doesn't owe Dr. Gates an apology. Yes, he's the President but he has an opinion on situations as well. In any situation that makes news when Obama speaks out if his words are not tender enough for america then he owes an apology. The officer's actions were VERY STUPID because once it was determined that was the HOMEOWNER he should have dismissed the situation. In all honesty, had it been an elderly white male (on a cane) he would have helped him gain access to the home and told him to have a nice day. This whole situation has gone overboard. Let's get to the real issues that America has people!!!!

    July 25, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  29. mickie from Orlando, FL

    Please, we all know the alliance/brotherhood form by certain organizations. Only when officers are competing for same positions within the organization, will they tell on each other. We all know that there is police abuse in many instances, Maybe Ofc. Crowley is a good person, not a racisist and perhaps an examplary officer but that does not erase the decades and decades of cases of police abuse and brutality even when there are videos to prove it somehow and in most cases the officers manage to come out on top, they are always right. Did Don Lemons really expected to hear different from those two black officers? There are a lot of people glorifying Don for that interview. I think it was naive and yes, stupid. Neither Don, nor the two black officers realize that they were once again put on the spot. The comment that MY PRESIDENT made was just an opinion and I can't belief that a person that is supposed to be smart enough to be a police officer can make such a degrading comment on the very person that she supposedly helped elected to run our Nation. If she is capable of making such an incoherent remark as to not to vote for the President again because of a personal opinion, then only GOD knows what else she is capable of.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  30. Dick S.

    Since Professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr and President Obama will vacation on Martha's Vineyard and Sgt. Crowley is nearby, they should meet for "the beer" with their families there in the more casual, relaxed environment.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  31. Bob Watts

    Fredricka, you barely touched on this with a guess yet it may well be the most important issue:*************************

    The police do in fact get a lot of sensitivity training, as you know Crowley teaches a class.

    How much training did Gates have? Have much training to black have on relations with the police (both adults and/or kids)? My guess is about 1/2 of 1 percent.

    Now, if blacks truly, including Gates, care about this being a teaching moment then is it not time for the blacks to get some sensitivity training. We'll see!

    July 25, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  32. Scott

    I believe Gate's response was uncalled for. As a white male, I had a similar experience several years ago with a very different response. Several years back, I lost my house key and had to "break in" to my own house. In doing so, my home alarm was tripped which automatically summons the police to the residence. In very similar fashion, the police showed up and demanded identification and proof of residence. Rather than being indignant about it, I was appreciative to know that the police were quick to respond to a possible crime and gladly provided the proof that this was my home.

    My entire life I have been brought up to respect police officers, not to question their motives. Having read the police report, it sounds like Gates could have avoided this who experience by showing the officer due respect. I think this is less about race and more about Gate's sense of elitism and entitlement as a Harvard Professor. Gate's never should have hesitated so much to provide proof of residence.

    The "lesson" that should be learned here is that, regardless of your race, salary level, or gender, you need to be respectful and level-headed when dealing with the authorities.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  33. Mike

    From what I've read and heard and seen about the incident, there was nothing "racial" about it, until the Professor brought it into the equation, by his accusations.
    Up until that point, it was a simple police investigation of a reported possible break-in.
    It didn't need to get ugly.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  34. Andrew Winkler

    Everyone seems to be missing the point. What is not being disputed at all is that this is a situation where a citizen was arrested in his own home for exercising his first amendment rights to free speech. That should be a criminal offense for which police would be severely punished. Violating the constitution is breaking the law. Why is it not punished?

    The answer is that District Attorneys who cross the police union don't get re-elected. The system has no effective mechanism for compelling participants in the system – police, judges, DA's, even politicians – to comply with the law, and particularly to comply with the highest law, the constitution.

    It's good if this becomes a teaching moment about racial equality, but
    it has already become a very bad teaching moment for the first amendment. A cop who violates your constitutional rights might get an invitation to drink beer at the White House.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  35. Sandra Ballasch

    Would you please STOP interrupting the people you have on? Just this morning I saw you interview two people and never let them answer your questions.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  36. Kris Moore

    Nobody is talking about standard police procedure. A few years ago my husband and I arrived home to discover that our home had been broken into. We called the police and when they arrived they asked us to wait outside as they checked our ID and proceded to clear the house. They cleared the house to make sure no one was hiding inside. We are white, and probably because we are white, it never occured to us to be offended when they checked our identification. We knew they were just doing their job.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  37. Frederick

    I think it's time we move on from this story. we will never know what really happened, and should stop turning this into something that it isn't. Both parties may be in the wrong. But, if you want to use this as a talking point about police treatment of not just people of color, then do so. At some points the police can't admit to being wrong, and if you stand up for yourself in any way, then they will find a way to charge you with something. They at times, forget that they work for the people. It's all an interesting subject

    July 25, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  38. Dorcas D. Bowles

    The Harvard Professor/Cambridge Police incident is being overplayed by the media. There are rules, but there is also plain Common sense. It appears that common sense was lost by the Cambridge police officer. Once it was known that this was indeed Prof. Gates' home, the police officer should have used common sense and left. We all live by rules, but we can't let rules overshadow plain common sense. Meanwhile the news media, including yourself, are overplaying this incident to the exclusion of presenting important news. Let's use this incident as a teachable moment and move on. Please, no more commentary!

    July 25, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  39. Philip Cataldo

    I think everyone, especially the talking heads in the media, need to step back a little and recognize that the world is different than it was 40 years ago. Everyone offered an opinion on whether the arrest of Prof Gates was a racial incident based on the slimest of facts and knowledge. I know nothing about Sgt Crowley or his family, but what if after calling this a racially biased incident we found that Sgt Crowley had been married to a woman of color, maybe his children might have been children of color, would that have changed the context of the arrest? What if someone who had no knowledge of President Obama's background (before he was president) accused him, as a black man, of being prejudiced against white people would they have to change their opinion once they learned his mother was white and he was raised by his white Grandmother? Everyone has run off and offered opinions based on too few facts and too little recognition that the world has changed a lot in the last 40 years. Maybe it would be better to talk about why we believe we know what is another person's heart and mind so quickly. And what does it say about the people who did label this a racial incident and what is in their minds?

    July 25, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  40. Sandra

    We encourage folks to report crime, but I wonder if folks will think twice now before reporting what they think is a break-in at a neighbor's house–unless they really know the neighbor. Look at all the negative press the neighbor reporting the Gates break-in has received. Many untended consequences can come from this event.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  41. R Green

    My comments deal with two areas that no one is talking about:

    1. Prof Gates appeared to be an elderly man (not sure of his age) and slightly disabled. Do you think that Peace Officers should treat our elderly and disabled with the upmost respect? Regardless of what the elderly person may say or do? Do Peace Officers receive training on how to communicate with the elderly and/or disabled. Could the Prof Gates just been tired from his trip or a little out of sorts from medications or something??? Do the younger generation truly respect our elders and take special care in our interactions with them?

    2. I was always taught that I know who my "momma and my daddy" are – it doesn't matter with someone else says about them. This is what I teach my children. This is what I try to communicate to the juvenile delinquents that I encounter daily. Should not a Peace Officer be able to handle a few not so appropriate comments? Could not the Peace Officer just left the scene and then filed harrassment charges against Prof Gates. Is that not what we are instructed to do?

    July 25, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  42. Jenn

    At the end of the day, Obama gets it... probably because he has a wider perspective as a black man. Trust me..all black people do not play the race card and automatically side with other blacks...WE ARE NOT MONOLITH!!! There will always be other persectives and finding a black person that agrees in the police dept. does prove anything. It is offensive to even act like it does..we are individuals folks! Some white people and even some minorities rather not hear it or admit that racism and profiling is an issue that is alive and well. As you read over both the accounts, THE MAN WAS IN HIS OWN HOME AND THE POLICE MAN KNEW THIS...I don't understand what the debate is further then is...the cop should have walked away. THIS WAS AN ABUSE OF POWER..IF NOT PROFILING AT THE VERY LEAST.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  43. Ola

    The President's action is more guided by his political status and ambitions and not the interest of every black man in America. The question is, can the happen to a white student in his house? Not to talk of a professor. I still can't understand while Crowley's mouth is too big for an apology.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  44. John Hurlbert

    Yes, I do think that this is a teaching moment. And the lesson should be that no one is above the law, not even a hot-headed black Harvard professor with a chip on his shoulder who thinks he can go ballistic and call a white police officer an S.O.B.
    Bemidji, MN

    July 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  45. L. C. Murphy

    Before making a judgment on either party involved in the incident, I would like to Hear / See the video that most police cars/departments have installed for just such incidents.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  46. Dave Birdsall

    The President was WRONG to have gotten involved. This is tatamount to Congress passing a Bill which they haven't read. Only after the facts are in is a comment warranted. President Obama didn't just slightly inflame the situation, he undermined the police department ... without the facts. Why – because he was a personal friend of Prof Gates. Likewise, Sopha Nelson sounded like an airhead when she tried to say that it was "okay" for individuals to not be respectful towards police; therein lies the problem and the teachable moment. If there is cause to believe that the police didn't handle a situation acceptably, then there are legal recourses.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  47. Debra Harden

    I am a Native American/Irish American, I work in a health care facility with a very diversified group of people. The only people at work who complain of racial issues are GUESS WHO? Black Americans. I personally have witnessed inappropriate comments, workers refusing to fulfill their duties, no respect for others, and all from the black americans.Get off the race crutches, the race issue is abused far to often. I am very proud I had parents who taught their children not to see color, to embrace, learn, and respect other cultures. I never hear other cultures complain, so LOOSE THE RACIAL CRUTCHES.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  48. David Peppers

    Being a retired Police Officer from a small town in Mo. I guess I am seeing the Prof. Gates saga from a little different perspective than most of the people I"ve seen on TV. I do not see this as a racial incident. I believe that Prof. Gates does see it that way . I am a white man and I do not believe I will ever be able to see through a black mans eyes, because I have not been subjected to the same life lessons.
    I have no doubt that Prof. Gates feels that this incident came about because he was a black man. I believe the officer would have made the same arrest if Prof. Gates had been white, yellow, red or green. In my opinion the professor was arrested for contempt of cop. If I had arrested everyone that yelled and made disparaging remarks toward me I would have been wasting a lot of time that could be better spent on other endeavors.
    This should have been a non event and it’s time for everyone to get over it.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  49. Jewel

    This is to the comment Suzanne made and hopefully Don Lemon would see this comment as well and perhaps respond.

    I did not like the story at all that Mr. Lemon persented. I too normally think that Mr. Lemon does a great job but not this time.

    I can't believe he let a bunch of police officers hugging, crying and comforting each other get to him. It was all a facade. Mr. Lemon do you remember when those police officers (5 or 6) were "convicted" of killing a 72 year old woman in Atlanta? Do you remember them covering up for each other? That was devastaging.,,stragic act!

    The President was on point by saying that it was a stupid act. We must first note that the prosecutor obviously thought it was stupid too because he dropped the charges. If anything, perhaps the President should have said it was a "mistake" to arrest the professor. Professor Gates had every right to give Sgt. Crowley a piece of his mind after he realized it was Mr. Gates home.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  50. Amazed

    I am amazed at the comments here about Obama defusing the media drama. Obama was the one who, by his own admission, added fuel to the fire on this subject. I wonder why Gates threatened the police officer with " you don't know who you are messing with"? Perhaps because his good ole buddy in the White House and the Gov. were the ones he knew he could count on to add power to the payback he intended to serve up to this officer.

    The officer was called to the scene – he didn't just drive by and see a black man on a porch and start harrassing him. He was there to protect this black man's property and possibly his life. Normal people without an agenda to stuff down people's throats would have understood the officer was there to protect Gates' property. Are all police officers supposed to back down if a black man yells, becomes belligerent and screams racist? I sure hope not. By the way, if someone is yelling and refuses the officer's request to calm down and a distrubing the peace, he is breaking the law. The officer was there to investigate a possible crime. Why would he think he didn't need to cooperate. What if Gates was being held hostage by an actual criminal. People would have called him a racist because he didn't actually ask any questions or investigate as was his job to do. Can't have it both ways guys!

    July 25, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  51. Jessy

    I think Mr. Gates is pushing this issue for his own notoriety. He's a Harvard Professor and personally knows the President. It doesn't seem like he's being held down by 'the man'. His behavior, no doubt fueled by his ego, prompted the police to do what they were trained to do. Maybe Mr. Gates would prefer the police to disregard any possibility that someone is breaking into his property.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  52. Ed

    Fredricka, it is almost certainly a false assumption that opinions on this incident divide along racial lines. It seems to me that almost all blacks and most white Democrats see the incident as an instance of racial profiling and that most white Republicans see the event as an unreasonable challenge to the authority of the police. In my view this was a classic execution of priviledge.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  53. Ola

    Teaching racial profiling doesn't make you black. It a different thing in and out of the classroom, mostly especially when you think you're important like sgt. Crowley.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  54. Beverly

    I congrad the President for pouring water on this fire, but in my heart I believe Officer Crowley should have presented more control than what he did; once it was verfied that Professor Gates was the owner of the home in question then officer Crowley should have apologized for any inconvience and left or kept walking to his car; just because Professor Gates made some angry comments of which I believe was wrong on his part doesn't make those comments true it is called being professional. I believe if Officer Crowley had just walked away it would have defused the situation, and a arrest would have not been necessary.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  55. Bruce

    a quote from Mr. Gates via his website,
    "Now it’s clear that he had a narrative in his head: A black man was inside someone’s house, probably a white person’s house, and this black man had broken and entered, and this black man was me. "

    ... paranoia and speculation when confronted by police is a problem in the black community. Mr. Gates despite his credentials is an example.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  56. Josh

    I think it was an intellegent move by the Professor to make comments about the officers mother. How mature and educated, my 6 year old cousin makes those kind of comments. He should have shown identification the 1st time the officer asked for it, and once shown the officer should have said have a nice day and went on his way. If it was someone indeed breaking into his home he would have wanted the officer to do the samething to an actual criminal, proof that you live there and if not arrest them.

    They both acted wrong.

    The race card is thrown out there alot as a scare tactic. Its becoming a lot like the boy who cried wolf. When it really happens people aren't going to believe it anymore.

    The President had no buisness sharing an opinion on the matter, it is a state and local matter, just more proof of him wanting a super sized government wanting to be invovled in everything.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  57. Bill

    Let me get this right, the police can now arrest us in our homes for being racist and angry? Next will be the "Super" police that monitor our cell phone and everyday movements. Plain and simple, the Cambridge police were wrong, regardless what the Professor yelled. In the professors defense we have been held to this requirement that when we are confronted by police we must be kind and respectful, this should be the rule for all. Obama was spot on, this officer was "Stupid" in his over reaction and just moved on and left. Go catch a criminal and protect, not this nonsense.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  58. Kenneth E. Hilliard

    The Gates" issue has me upset..Black people in particular have been conditioned, by law inforcement officials, and the to a greater extent, the white community...that we must behave in a certain manner,while being questioned by a police officer.Asking an officer for his name, and badge number, have never been an option for a person of color. That type of behavior, even in 2009, can get you cemetery dead, or an uninvited guest in ER . Officer Crowley impress me as the type that teaches his children all the ills of discrimination ,and that we are all equal....but the very first day his daughter brings a black person home...she learns that he did not means a single word of what he taught her..Teaching, is a lot different from being in the heat of the moment.....that is when the real person stands up....

    July 25, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  59. Jim, Ok.

    You know what a person says does not you can arrest him if he is on his property or in his home. I am a white man but I don't think color matters. Even tho I think Gates should have treated the police better, He has the right to tell them to leave. Police (most) do believe that everyone has to do what ever they and if you don't they WILL arrest you. They will gang-up on you. I believe constitution or what ever say a mans house is HIS castle. From the picture it looks like they handcuffed him in his home. Yes they even will lie for each other. If a officer tells on another officer the rest will shun him. They break the law all the time. With this said I do hold high respect for the good ones, all that risk their life each day. But as anyone should accountable for their actions.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  60. Gale Nichols

    Prof. Gates stated that he wanted the public to know that "this could happen to anyone", well, it has been happening to us all (all races) and we already know. Because Professor Gates is not poor, and he has powerful friends – he has so far been skipped over. I would say to Prof. Gates that the experience of being treated like a common piece of trash is very disturbing when it first happens to you, but the good news is that after a while you get used to it and then you can come to terms with the fact that this is not about the citizen or his race at all, but rather about the power over us all that is given to the police. People in my small town are treated like common thugs all the time and they have to post complaints in the local paper because the Police Chief refuses to hear them – this means ultimate power to the cops who carry guns and tasers. I say that Gates should just be glad that he wasn't tasered or shot for his resistance. That is exactly what would have happened to any of us "regular" guys. So see, Professor Gates, you were still treated better that the average joe, so relax and continue to walk with your head held high!

    July 25, 2009 at 1:16 pm |

    Hats off to the Chief. We're all in this together and together we can make it work. We are part of a great nation and He has taken major steps at home and around the world to heal and repair this country. We have enough enemies. The man next door and the policemen are not our enemies.Let's show the world what they know and probably resent. We are a great and diverse nation.....

    July 25, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  62. Steve R

    Interesting is the Presidents remarks about the stupid officer. This is what brings this matter to national attention... we all know that there is racial & economic profiling this was or was not the case however should not be the only discussion we should also want to discuss why the President took the initial position that the officer was stupid. I took offense to statements made by then Senator Obama towards Don Imus, that he was a racist, bigot and that he should lose his contract and air time, however I never once heard Senator Obama take offense to the disgusting language used on MTV, Rappers, etc. It discouraged my intelligence to see that mentality. Neither, Imus or MTV style of racist choreography and Rappings Outlandish Language are decent material to broadcast however if you are the President you cannot jump to Racist Conclusions. More rational thought and understanding of all sides to the issues should be thoroughly analyzed before passing judgements. I am happy to hear that both the officer and the professor will meet to discuss this entire situation with our President for the public to hear and listen and perhaps understand & learn. As Rodney King has already stated "Why Can't We All Just Get Along"?

    July 25, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  63. Linda Farrington

    I think you are disgracing the hard work and reputation of police work everywhere by giving President Obama and Professor Gates a pass on their "olive branch". This officer was just doing his job. If he had not demanded identification, he would have been negligent in his duty, indeed even liable if Prof Gates was not who he claimed to be. There is no race card here. Professor Gates was rude and out of line. The indignities suffered by the police, our protectors, is completely lost here for the seeming over-sensitivity of the african american race. It is not OK to assume that every conflict is due to race, even if there is a history of injustice somewhere. The call for self control in this situation should be applied to Prof Gates who should have been grateful rather than hurtle insults about the officers mother. Your coverage of this story would inflame me if I represented the police in this matter, since it allows the possibility of their "taking the case too far" or acting inappropriately in this matter. Although there are incidents of police officers misusing their authority, clearly this was not the case here. In fact, this officer has a sterling reputation that your dialogue is tarnishing. The lesson here is that we should treat officers with respect when they are just doing their job.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  64. vinnett

    I beg to differ this is not a teachable moment, it's a shame what Blacks and other minorities have to go thru in this country. Mr. Obama had a great opportunity to address this issue, he started a great dialogue when he stated that the Cambridge Officer acted stupidly and sadly he retreated. Truth be told, if Mr. Gate was a White Male we wouldn’t have been arrested. It’s sad what’s taking place in this country who constantly recites liberty and justice for all.
    Shame on the Black Cambridge Officer who was there and believes that the way Gates was treated was fair. I would like for him to have gone thru what Mr. Gate went thru. He is only covering his own butt, in fear that if he speaks out he will be alienating by his peers. SHAME ….SHAME….SHAME…

    July 25, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  65. Amazed

    Oh well, it's all good. Let's just have a beer in the White House. Is that supposed to heal America's racial divide? Let's make jokes and just schmooze it all away. Would anyone who has ever felt they have been discriminated against feel better after that?

    The officer is the one who was accused of being racist for doing his job; the officer is the one who was discriminated against and the President of the United States of America wants to smooth it all over with a beer in the White House!!! Is that acceptable to all those who have been falsely accused of something?

    Wait until it is your house and the crimminal yells and becomes belligerent to the officer and tries to intimidate the officer by his associations to people in high government power (the highest in this land). Will it be OK for the police officer to "just walk away" without doing his job of investigating a possible break in because someone yells racism? Hmmm. The media is not blowing this out of proportion, Obama did by interjecting himself into a situation based on one of his good buddies word only.

    Shouldn't our President, the big guy, find out the facts first? Don't say this is all media hype. I am just an average citizen that has not blogged since before the election and I am insulted by my President's lack of restraint. If healthcare was to be his big focus, why did HE go off on a tangent then try to blow it off when it blew up in his face? He was the one that made me pay attention to this by coming into my living room and spouting off about racial profiling where there was none. Again, the officer was responding to an alleged breakin .....people.

    If the President wants people to focus on important issues, maybe HE should stay on task first!

    July 25, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  66. Dianna Green

    This entire fiasco could and would have been non-existent if the police officer simply addressed purpose of the 9-1-1 call & left once the appropriate ID was shown and proved the Professor was not a "burglar" but the owner of the house. The Sargent first entered the home without being invited in which caused the beginning of a negative anger.Then when asked for his name and badge#, he turned his back and walked away from the professor which caused more anger. Any adult, male or female, white or black, would be angered if they were disrespected like that. I understand how the professor felt since this is what many African-American males and Latinos have had to endure for years from law enforcement officers. Law officers, especially those who are supposed to be diversity trainers and specialists, should already know this!

    July 25, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  67. Anne Peterson

    Two question (1)
    If the caller had seen a white man trying to enter the home would she/he call the police. (2) Once the officer realized this white man was in him home would he have ask for back up and would he have reacted the way he did. Please ask these question. Then it is about race.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  68. Dave McPherson

    Just don't see problem with reporting seeing 2 Black Men. Keeps police from looking for 3 white women. Just don't see why it's an issue. What description should one use not to be offensive?

    July 25, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  69. Mary

    Apology? "I did not mean to malign..." Your article says "THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES extended an olive branch to Cambridge Police Sgt. Steve Crowley, Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates and to America." Obama could have extended the WHOLE TREE, and it still would not have been enough. Obama is NOT the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, he is PRESIDENT TO THE GROUPS HE REFERRED TO, THE "BLACKS, HISPANICS, AND LATINOS." I DIDN'T HEAR AN APOLOGY. The last time I checked an apology is saying 'I AM SORRY," and I DID NOT HEAR THIS.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  70. Andrew Winkler

    Under the 14th amendment, violations by the states of first amendment rights is not a local matter.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  71. Christine

    I'm so sick of the idea of a "teachable moment". It's so incredibly condescending. The President made an idiotic statement about a situation that he knew nothing about. He would never had said anything if he wasn't friends with Gates which is an even bigger reason why he shouldn't have given a biased opinion. It's inappropriate for the President to use his position of power to help out his friend. There are lawsuits being threatened by both sides and having the President tainting a possible jury pool is unethical. This incident was not something that would have even risen to the President's attention except that Gates is a wealthy, famous elitist Ivy League professor as was Obama. It's more of a class issue than a race issue. "Do you know who I am?" No one cares. Cooperate with the police and they'll go away alot faster. There are much more serious, inflammatory racial incidents between average black men and the police on a weekly basis, if not daily. Violent and deadly incidents. Obama never comments on those incidents b/c he doesn't know them. Anyway, Obama tried to ignore the mess he caused for 2 days until the Cambridge police called him out in their press conference. Once it was obvious to Obama that he was coming off badly and that this was taking away attention from his healthcare peddling, he was forced to retract not apologize. It was purely politically motivated for Obama. But of course the liberal media gives him gushing credit for attempting to clean up the mess that he blew up in the first place. This was very predictable. Obama simply converted back to his race-baiting roots as a community organizer. Apparently the man doesn't get the differences in standards of behavior between an agitator and a President. This is the real Obama. When he lets down the well-disciplined mask and lets his real self peek through briefly. The same guy who in a 2003 speech, before becoming a Presidential candidate, said that he is a "big supporter of a single-payer healthcare system" and now claims he isn't. This man has nothing to teach me except how to be a phony and a liar.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  72. John Leitmeyer

    To; Fredricka Whitfield" I was watching your show today and saw your interview with a woman friend of professor Gates; I don't recall her name. One thing that she said was regarding how professor Gates called the policeman's MaMa some names. You both laughed and thought it was funny; I didn't. First of all the respectful name is Mother, not MaMa. How would you like it if I called your Mother some name, like a h**e, - not very funny. I'm a 76 year old, white male. In the past, I've have had many black friends, but you two laughing at the professor calling the policman's Mother names just wasn't funny, and I think you should appologize to your audience. You sure didn't help race relations in our contry by your comment.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  73. Jewell

    Please do not downplay this issue. President Obama is spending his precious time as the leader of United States of America to defend his black friend without finding out the facts. What part of healing does this pertain to?

    I am sure there have been unjust arrests, racial profiling and corruption in the past. If we ever hope to rise above this we need people to take each CURRENT situation and investigate the facts before inflaming the issue. President Obama did NOT do this. Is this very Presidential? If he is so intelligent and smooth, blah blah blah, why didn't he get the facts instead of just hearing his buddies side of the story? Quit living in the past and trying to make us pay for all the unjust and illegal actions of other people that there are laws and enforcement against now.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  74. Ty

    cop is wrong ...dead wrong point can say what you want to a cop so long as you dont threaten him, verbal abuse is not a crime people and we have freedom of speach in this country, this cop knew that this guy was the home owner & that there was no crime in progress so that cop needed to exit the property at that time..but no he cuffs the guy for giving him lip and we all know what happens when a black man gives a white cop a little lip, he gets the cuffs and charged with a crime!!.. why is it that black men have to BOW-DOWN and act as if we are in the slave days when we come into contact with cops

    July 25, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  75. Eunice Gathoni

    You would expect the police have received training on exercising restraint. What threat did an old guy with a cane, being arrested in his own home, pose to the officer? The police carry lethal weapons and cannot afford to get carried away protecting their ego. Here is an example of a highway patrol trooper that Sgt. Crowley can learn a few things from. In this case, the irate motorist even physically assaulted the cop. You will not believe the result. Please go to YouTube and search for Angry Driver Pulled Over. PLEASE air clip on CNN

    July 25, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  76. George Kennard

    Should Pres. Obama apologize? Yes, for calling the arrest a "stupid" act when it was instead a silly act once residency was confirmed. It probably had nothing to do with race but rather the fear and sensitive feelings of the officer being complained against by the indignation of Prof. Gates since the officer has taught classes about race profiling. There was no justification to arrest Prof. Gates in his home, "...his castle," or outside on his own property and being booked for practicing his 1st amendment constitutional right or "freedom of speech" calling it "disorderly conduct." Instead of taking his revenge or protecting his reputation, the officer should have been more sensitive to the professor's age if nothing else and let the matter drop under the peculiar circumstances. Instead, the professor and the president are blamed for the professor's arrest and booking while being Black in his home. Those criticizers should be arrested in their homes for doing nothing illegal and see how they like it. –George in southeast Texas.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  77. Amazed

    How can someone say that Gates had a right to tell the officer to leave? The officer was there to investigate a possible crime. Did you guys know that Gates' home had been broken into before? What if the criminal demanded that the officer leave? I read the police report and I don't think Gates acted that maturely anyway. It reads that Gates threw out racially inflaming threats and told the officer he would meet his mama outside. This guy really is not portraying an educated, law-abiding, respectful member of society. That is not the kind of respect that our laws deserve. If he can't respect the white officer, surely he can respect the law the officer way trying to investigate (breaking and entering).

    Obama, quit acting like the big intimidator. We must pass this now, no time to read it, just do what I say, I know best. How dare someone arrest my friend? I will take advantage of my power and privilege of getting on TV and therefore into every American's house to tell them how "stupidly" our police are because they arrested my friend. Egg on your face!

    July 25, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  78. mira simic

    Dr. Gates affair is a call for citizens of any race to learn about their rights under the law when approached by police. I know I have to have my hands visible on the wheel when stopped by police. I do not know what constitution, laws and procedures are for police and me when I am in my own home. This is a teachable moment for all of us. Why is your station talking about it without looking into the law and how it was followed, rather then this one said that, that one said this? The way this is happening is a third world country approach. The police is the boss. Well, I would be infuriated if a policeman came into my home (I am 68, and white) uninvited. They have to have a search warrant. And this policeman invited Dr. Gates to come out of his home so he can be arrested. What a devious behavior. It should definitely be investigated. Let's have a factual discussion. Educate the country of what citizens rights and police rights are so we know how to defend our freedom from arrogant police officers. And President Obama is inviting this testosteron jerk to have a bear with him, praizing the policeman! I guess police lobby is to strong to touch. Thank you. Mira

    July 25, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  79. Chris

    Well, this doesn't have anyting to do with the Prof. Gates incident. I just wanted to say to Frederica Whitfield that I think you are great at what you do (anchoring the news). I just love to see you, you are just beautiful and intelligent. Keep up the good work and always keep that beautiful personality!

    July 25, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  80. Frank Parris

    I voted for Obama (half Black/White man)... why is he a "Black" man?... He is an American with parents from Kenya and Kansas ? I overlook the BS, we need HIM for the Man He is for us. Dis-respect of a Police Officer in the line of duty, IS "disorderly conduct"... and can get you locked-up. I have Six "good cop neighbors"... 4 black and 2 white... and guess what? They are Good Police Officers and "Family People". I see them in "BLUE Uniforms". Can't say all cops or college professors are good... We all are humans who can over react and make mistakes. I'M A WHITE GUY WHO DIDN'T KNOW WHO PROF. GATES WAS AND DIDN'T KNOW SGT.CROWLEY... UNTIL NOW. I DON'T THINK HE'S LOOKING FOR FAME OR PRESIDENTIAL FAVOR.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  81. vinnett

    This a response to Amazed positing.

    Amazed ......Mr. Obama was responding to a question from a reporter at the end of his News Conferences in reference to that situation. He did not just got up and spoke about it....duh

    July 25, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  82. Jim M.

    If this a “learning moment” as Professor Gates and President Obama say. Then lets talk about police procedure when “called out” to a possible burglary in progress.
    When an officer arrives at a possible burglary (2 men were reported), everybody in the house, around the house is a POSSIBLE suspect and maybe even a threat. The office doesn’t know who anyone at the scene is. He or she arrives and finds 1 person in the house. That still leaves 1 person unaccounted for, possibly 2 if the first person turns out to be the owner. The office is trained to control the scene by calling the person out of the house for the safety of the person in the house and for officer safety. The reason Police all around the country are so upset is because the Cambridge PD followed standard procedure completely focused on Public and Officer Safety.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  83. Steven

    Watching TV today, I laughed when the comment was made that there was "some testerone in effect." While I agree, I also understand why. I can understand the humiliation and the anger that Professor Gates felt because I had the same thing happen to me.

    I am a teacher and a few years ago I was working in my classroom on a weekend. As I drove out of the parking lot, I noticed a police car. It followed me up the street and didn't do anything until I parked in front of my mother's house, that is when he turned the siren on. (She lives two blocks away from the school.)

    I sighed, got out my registration and license and asked the officer what I did wrong. He wouldn't answer, I asked again what I did wrong, he still wouldn't answer. Finally, I had enough and said that since he wasn't going to answer me I am going inside. That is when things got heated between the officer and myself.

    He threw me against the car, handcuffed me and created a scene. Luckily, the shift supervisor arrived, knew who I was and who my family was, and stopped it from escalating. I never received an apology from the arresting officer but later on the supervisor and I talked.

    Now I know I was wrong in getting out of the car, but I was frustrated and angry because the only thing that I know I did was drive away from the school and to be black. That was when the testerone got into my system and the anger at being harassed for no simple reason.

    So, testerone (I love that phrase) had something to do with it, but it was because of the constant fear that as an African American male, we all are more closely watched than are peers who are of a more lightly complexion.

    It will be good to get this out in the open and I do agree that when President Obama said that it was a stupid action, I agree because in my case and in the case of Professor Gates, it was a stupid reaction and emotions got in the way.

    PS Where was the supervisor who should have been the calm voice of reason? What about the person who called to report a burglary? It reminds me of the Nicholas Cage and Samuel Jackson movie about the author who moved to an island and was black which the locals did not like. Things haven't changed that much have they?

    July 25, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  84. Steve

    It's amazing. We pat ourselves on our collective backs, stating that we've elected our Country's first Black President; however, whenever The President speaks as a Black man, he is accused of race baiting or playing identity politics.

    In regards to the Sgt Crowley's actions. He stated that he was shocked at Mr. Gates reaction in the police report. I don't understand how one can be a teacher of a racial profiling class and not identify when you are in a situation that clearly is the result of racial profiling.

    I won't even get started on the "neighbor" who called the cops (who also was a Harvard employee, btw) and doesn't even know who her own neighbors are, yet alone one of the more distinguished professors at Harvard. We must all look the same, still.

    It's a shame, really. Everyone acknowledges that there is racism...but will only acknowledge it when there is a dead Black man; otherwise, it's "no harm no foul".

    July 25, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  85. Kenneth E. Hilliard

    After reading over some of the blogs submitted on this issue, it certainly does make it clear why American still have a Race Problem .The blogs that irritated me the most , are the ones that suggests Prof. Gates should have trusted , or should be more trusting in the law . Others attack President Obama for speaking about the incident ,they think he should have just stayed quiet about...

    Here is a reality check....The American justice system has never been , not even remotely fair, or just to African Americans ,and even when there is a favorable ruling for a black person, he or she is still persecuted,we are still waiting for that...To the ones attacking the President....This is the very first time, in the History of America , a sitting President is truly,a representative of all of the people..and one of the greatest obstacles to achieving equality, is no action from the so called leaders .The ones that stays quiet, and goes with the flow. Racial discrimination towards African Americans , and other people of color, is a....White people's problem . It is their creation ,and before America can move forward ,as one... white people must fix thyself , and stop blaming Black people for their transgressions...

    July 25, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  86. vinnett

    Thank you Manfield Frazier......eloquently spoken.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  87. Jennifer

    yu should just let them confront with each othr. racistism is not rite. esecipally if this is gunna effect da nxt generation. after this is ovr, we should just let it go and nvr bring it up again.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  88. David

    The incident has more to do with abuse of power by the police officer than it did Mr. Gates' race, although I'm sure his race didn't help. It seems that freedom of speech on your own porch is evidently dead in this country. One more blow against the Constitution. Police abuse has to be addressed. Race in this case is more of a distraction to the central issue.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  89. Charles Harris

    The man that made the argument that when he meets a white man, he has to make a decision if he is meeting a racist. Does he not think a white man meeting a black man has to make that same decision. That decision is not just a black mans decision. So to me his agrument is totally flawed. This whole thing to me was blown out of proportion by both sides.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  90. Mehul

    I wonder if the reaction to this controversy would have been similar if a white president had stated the same words the current President has stated. How about if a black police officer had arrested a white man in Kansas who woul have been in a similar situation? Lets go back in time...if a white man had locked himself out of his house an tried to jimmy in through the back door, would the person have called the polics to report a robbery?

    July 25, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  91. Dave

    Racism does not exist.
    It simply is how a person explains the misfortune they have (things are like this because I'm black...I'm female...I'm jewish)

    Racism can easily be wiped off the map if blacks stop using it.
    Please do not confuse racism (the mind of a black) with ignorance (the words of a white)

    Pgh. PA.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  92. Keith

    CNN taking the side of the President and trashing Law Enforcement...typical

    Around 2:25 PM you had a guest who stated that all of his life he has to ask if the person he is meeting is a goes both ways. You can call it reverse racism or whatever you want it is still racism and it is wrong. But you will not hear that on CNN.

    If President Obama had backed the police officer (yeah, it would never happen but still...) CNN would praise the Sergeant. Instead, you take every cheap and rude shot you can.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  93. Michael

    It saddens me to see that the arguments are about race. This is because emotions are high and logic and reason are out the door. It is not about race, but rather about police bullying and their inability to listen, for whatever reason. Everyone is wrong until proven innocent. I have witnessed this all over the country to all citizens. The police need to learn respect for ALL citizens!

    July 25, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  94. George Kennard

    All three (officer, prof., pres.) messed up. However, the officer was the only one to break the law - 1. He had no warrant to enter Prof. Gate’s home and 2. For the false arrest. Prof. Gates brought up the race question and threat to complain that was not wise. Pres. Obama should not have commented in response to the question not related to the Health Care issue. Well, we should crucify them all for being human, right? Way to go, people of America. –George in southeast Texas

    July 25, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  95. David

    I believe the Press is giving this situation to must coverage.
    What if this was a white Professor and the police offers were of color would the President be putting his two cents in the matter or would he just let the local law officers handle the matter?
    We are now in the Twenty first Century and as I a white middle age male believe that all races and genders have basically equal opportunity in America. Yes there are some people of of every race and gender that will try to prevent those they do not understand to fail but over-all the Laws in our Country are written EQUAL OPPERTUNIY for ALL.
    The PResident needs to stick the business at hand and not play Favorites. Let Him SPEAK for ME a FAther WHO IS AND HAS been FIGHTING for CUSTODY of HIS TWO CHILDREN for over 10 ( TEN YEARS)


    July 25, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  96. John Schubert

    Thank you to the two guests you had for having the best dialogue I have heard in decades. In California racism is harder to spot in my opinion. I had forgotten as a white man how bad racism still was until a black employee of mine told me about his drive from California to Florida. One merchant in the Southeast even went so far as to pit a gun on the counter and say," we're all out of gas," and then sold gas to the next customer. On the flip side as a sportbike rider I see extreme heavy handed behavior from police so I'm starting to tend towards an anti-police bias.

    All of this said, dialogue is what moves us foward and your show shed a great beaming light on that fact.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  97. Mike

    I am a white married male, 37. I do believe that black people are subjected to racism at times, but I also think that white people are subjected to it from black people as well. This Cop may have just been acting like a "tough guy" cop, with no racism behind it, there really was not any proof either way, he may just as easily have been a racist, but again, no proof. There was, however, proof that the professor has some racism in him, based on his own words. He immediatly called someone a racist. Black people, please understand that not ALL white people are racist. Just like I don't believe that ALL black people are gang members.....

    July 25, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  98. Sharon Wise

    The black gentleman on your show 7/25/09 at 2:15PM EST said when a black meets a white he/she does not know what to expect. Surprise, it works both ways.

    Obama stepped over the line and showed his true colors regarding blacks and whites. Blacks have been using the old "if i was white ets" forever and they always will.

    Obama needs to apologize to the Cambride police and to white people. Obama just assumed the professor was in the right because he is black.

    You know what happens when you assume? I think Obama has learned that the hard way

    July 25, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  99. RW Burkett

    Roland Martin, one of your featured guests, continues to get it right on the subject of Professor Gates, and Officer Crowley. You've got to walk in a persons shoes, if you want to achieve some measurable or desired result. This case has everything to do with poor communication by both parties, and it isn't about racial profiling as some would suggest.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  100. David

    Here's my reply to your guest, Sophia Nelson...

    Stop lying. He didn't arrest him in his home. Gates FOLLOWED the cop OUTSIDE and kept yelling at him and to the onlookers. If the cop couldn't calm him down, then YES he should have been arrested for public disorderly conduct. Also, you failed to mention that also "on page two of the police report" that Gates had not yet produced photo identification which was needed to PROVE he was the owner of the home.

    Don't be giving your biased opinion on racial profiling if you are not willing to go were the facts lead. Are you passing judgment on the cop because he is white? Obviously, you did or you wouldn't be writing about "Welcome to the 'new' Post-Racial America" and calling the cop an ignorant liar. Nice hypocrisy there! You prejudged the cop because he's white, then you want to preach about racial profiling of blacks. Apparently, you want a one-sided argument, not a collective discussion.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  101. Shannon

    President Obama exacerbated the "racial" aspect of this case by calling out a "white" police officer arresting a "black" professor. How can America have open discussions or move on from the racial tensions and hurts in this country when even the President is exploiting the races of the people involved in this? He totally ignored the "black" officer that was there, Leon Lashley, during the arrest. Not to mention, there was a reason the police were called to Professor Gates' home – why have we all forgotten that? This was an unwarranted racial circus that only served to inflame tensions.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  102. Dustin

    First of all I am still trying to figure out why the President is commenting on local affairs. I understand that race is a national topic, however there is no benefit to the President publically commenting on this incident.

    Second of all, I do not know intimate details on the story, however every citizen should reasonably believe that if someone if breaking into their house, the police will respond and take action...action is expected. Police cannot take someone's 'word" that they are the homeowner, because criminals lie all the time. It is reasonably expected, but white, black, asian, hispanic, etc. races that police will do their job. Maybe the professor was upset because police did not recognize him, however, with all the calls for service and people the police deal with, they should not be expected to recognize every citizen.

    I think the police should be commended for doing their job, because if he was a burglar, they would have caught him and not let him lie out of the situation.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  103. Randy

    One of your guests said every black person has to judge a police officer everytime they see one as to whether they can trust the officer or not. Sounds just like when a police officer has contact with people daily they have to judge as to whether that person is going to harm them or not. Sgt. Crowley was most likely trying to judge whether someone was making the prof. get the police away from the house because they were burglarlizing the house and the prof. took it as the Sgt was not leving just because he didn't want to. Why do minorities still thinking they are being watch by police all the time? Police look at everybody to see if they are breaking a law, not just minorities. When are people going to stop throwing the police under the bus?

    July 25, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  104. Greig Derry (Toronto)

    I believe the encounter between Professor Gates and Sargent Crowley was rruly providence. These two people were destined to meet. It is my hope that both they and the President will work in concert to improve race relations throughout The Americas. This is a golden opportunity where we can tap into the knowledge and experience of these two men at the top of their respective professions.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  105. AJC

    You are ALL missing the bigger issue !!! This is an issue that transcends RACE ! This is issue is more important than Race.
    >This is a CONSTITUTIONAL issue !!! This is a CITIZEN's issue of FREE SPEECH !!!
    >Since when is it appropriate and/or legal for the police to arrest a man on his own porch for the crime of "piping-off" on his own soap box ?!?!
    >If a citizen does not have the right of Free Speech on the soap box of his own property – then WHERE does he have the right of free speech ?!?
    >I don't care if Prof. Gates was spewing ugly words or even hateful words at Officer Crowley !!
    >Hateful speech is still PROTECTED speech per SCOTUS !
    >If anyone went wrong – it was Officer Crowley for not letting Prof. Gate pipe-off on his own soap box on his own property. Officer Crowley should have walked away – case solved !
    But let's move on and just forget about our RIGHTS !!

    July 25, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  106. Don

    I'm a 25 year-old, college educated, white male in the SOUTH and even I am weary of police officers. I've never been in trouble with the law but one of the last things I would do with a police officer is get an attitude with them. I did that one time before and was told I could sit in jail for a weekend (by a white officer) - learned my lesson.

    In this situation, my hands would have gone in the air and I would have asked permission to try and get any form of identification I could then explain the situation to the officer.

    The police are the authority and if you show them respect they will most likely return it seeing as how they are people too...with emotions that run into dangerous situations all the time and don't know ahead of time if their current call will be any different. This doesn't change if a person is a white bum to a black Harvard friend-of-the-president professor. I don't see this as a racial issue, merely a respect and bad judgement issue.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  107. lisa

    After the proffessor showed proof that he lived in the house, the police officer had no right to arrest him. I also do not agree with people that believe that this issue needs to end and everyone can just move on with their lies. This type of incident happens everyday and it is sad that in the year 2009 these incidents are continuing to happen all over the place. This needs to end.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  108. Alfonso

    I can't believe the media has blown this incident so far out of proportion. As a retired minority police officer, I have experienced another minority playing the race card without merit. The facts are out, the president has chimed in, and this incident is over.
    Gates was not arrested without cause and there were two black officers on scene to verify this action, lets not make this another racial debauchery. It was simply officers responding to a specific threat with specific suspects, encountering one of the suspects and engage in fact finding questioning with Prof. Gates taking offense to the questioning,period.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  109. Nathan

    I'm a professional (architect) and I get profiled all the time by police. It's typical when you're a black man. Even when you drive a car that cost more than most people can afford and riding around with a white woman, who happens to be my wife of 15 years.
    White America doesn't understand when you're repeatly pulled over againand again for the color of your skin or you're in an area that black people don't belong, like the nice neighborhood we live in.
    I was pleased to see the President speak out on this issue. This issue will never change for black people and needs to be discussed!!!

    July 25, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  110. Bob

    I think the professor has inflamed race relations. He touts himself as a teacher who should teach everybody something. I think he had a chip on his shoulder and took it out on this policeman. On the other hand, I think the policeman should have shed the professor's comments and just left without arresting him. I do resent the fact that this African American with a chip on his shoulder has the audacity to "teach" whitey.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  111. Mike

    One more thing. I read a few of the comments, lets get something straight.
    1. There were 9 break-ins on that street this year alone!
    2. The cops were copletely justified for going to the house
    3. If the only ID the professor showed was a college ID, I wouldn't accept that either.
    4. The cop may have been on a power trip, but based on his past it seems unlikely it is race related.
    5. There was a black cop there, and he has backed the officer.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  112. Mike

    Oh, and by the way, I recieved this kind of treatment as a white kid growing up in South Boston. I do understand the profiling.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  113. Jan Mc

    I am listening to your guest talk about how every Black has to decide when he meets a white whether he is talking to a racist or not, every day of his life. I am not a racist, but white and have many black friends, but I find his statement unfair. He needs to know that Whites face the same problem, we are afraid that every black we meet looks at us as a racist and are afraid that things we say may be mistaken as a racist comment so we walk on egg shells. This fear of personal perception works two ways. I have been in a group of blacks with my friends and have over heard statements that were anti white and anti my friends who brought me to the group. I agree with him that it is an issue, but it goes two ways. And we are all professionals, so it needs to be acknowledged that it is a two way fear and communication gap.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  114. David

    How is it that CNN keeps parading black guests on the show to defend Gates?!?

    July 25, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  115. Darrell Smith

    Just wanted to say that this is all been blown way out of proportion. Yes the officer over reacted, yes the professor over reacted. But to use this event for a battle cry about race relations when this was not a race motivated event IS WRONG!! There are too many other things that happen all the time that are racially motivated that never make the news. This was something that happened between a professor and on officer, not a black man and a white man. If you want race to stop being an issue stop making it the centerpiece of every confrontation between men of different color. Sometimes men just disagree.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  116. LaTonja Coleman

    As an African american living in the south I know there are times when the race card should be played, this simply isn't one of those times. I'm speaking from experience. I had a similar incident happen to me in my home. I accidentally set off my alarm,the alarm company called and could not get an answer so they sent a police officer out to investigate. When the officer arrived, I explained the situation, he asked for proof of my address, I showed it to him and that was the end of that.The professor was wrong for reacting the way he did and he has blown this situation way out of proportion.
    Thank you.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  117. Jeff

    Fredricka, your coverage is extremely one-sided. CNN has been taking the one perspective and has been spinning this into an agenda item. Your recent segment ca. 2:30pmEST featured NOT one law enforcement official. Instead, you're seeking commentary from Roland Martin, who is a great journalist, but certainly has an agenda to spread.

    I feel the president spoke too soon without all the facts, and definitely created a firestorm with his negative comments. I think police around the country feel slighted to a massive degree and rightly so.

    It's unfortunate we as a society are plagued by such matters which are important to dialog, however, not at the expense of throwing law enforcement under the bus.

    The president should never have mixed his personal feelings for Gates...with his professional thought process. Shame on Obama for this!

    July 25, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  118. John Wilson

    Fredricka, as a black man born and raised under the tyranny of the LAPD. I know how the professor felt at that time. If he wasn't so connected they would not have dropped the disorderly conduct charge. I wonder how many black men have been arrested and convicted of that crime in similar curcumstances? Well you can start your count with me. Resisting arrest should not be a crime unless you have committed a crime to be arrested for, it doen't make sense. Once they change that law, the police will treat people with more respect.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  119. tommy & ethel chatman

    Just change the race of Gates for a different outcome. Had Gates been a "White Guy", the cop would have searched his home looking for the burglar &/or to make sure the would-be burglar was'nt there. By Gates being a Brother, is the only way it would have & could have played out the way it did.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  120. Amazed

    Fredricka, I was still watching your coverage a few monents ago when you had the one-sided support on. If you want to have a dialogue, both sides have to be represented. I noticed that you jumped right over my comments and mentioned those that supported Obama or you read someone else's that you appeared to not understand.

    If you think everyone is just a Fox News nut that doesn't agree with you then you are misinformed. Doesn't CNN (Black America's News Station) get it. We see through it. One-sided opinion is not NEWS!!!

    July 25, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  121. Diane

    Until blacks stop using the race card for every situation in their lives, there will always be racial tension in this country. For a black man to say he never knows what he faces when he meets a white person, are you kidding me. It goes both ways pal, whites never know when blacks are going to play their race card, so whites have to be on guard all the time.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  122. Kathy

    My believe is that God created all mankind equal. It seems like everyone wants to jump to conclusions about blacks and whites. If a african american is arrested by a white man, the blacks automatically jump to conclusions that it must be because he was black. I'm tired of hearing about the blacks and whites. Why can't we all live together in peace and harmony. Let's remember that Pres. Obama is also part white – let's not forget that. I think this episode with Prof. Gates was taken to far. Let's get on with life and don't take up time on the news, let's gets to more pertinent things.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  123. Natalie Burrows

    The columnist for "Root" got it right – "Too much testosterone." That goes for the president, the professor and the police officer. Like the African-American studies professor at Princeton, my heart sank when the president said "the police behaved stupidly" (even though they had) because I knew the focus would be taken away from health care. Professor Gates is feisty and outspoken (which is okay) but it never works with police officers (whether the comment is coming from a white or a black person). The Cambridge police officer probably took some insults from Prof. Gates but he should certainly have had more sense than to put him in handcuffs. I do agree with the black police chief in Michigan (who teaches at two univeresities) that the Cambridge police do need more training in how to deal with these incidents.
    For now, let's get back to healthcare.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  124. Anthony Laccetti

    I do not see this as a race issue. It has been made into a race issue by Prof. Gates and The Media.

    If Professor Gates had been a white man in the exact same circumstance, caught breaking into a house. Then became defensive and non compliant when the police attempted to identify him. He would have wound up under arrest just as Prof. Gates did, end of story.

    The police were called to his home to investigate a felony in progress. They did not show up on their own without cause to harrass the black man.

    But Prof Gates is black, and based on his interviews feels he did no wrong. I believe he believes that if he was white and told the police it was his home they would have said ok thanks for your time I don't need to see ID.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  125. Rachel

    President Obama was indeed correct in stating the police officers in Cambridge acted "stupidly" in arresting Professor Gates at his home.
    I just read the entire police report and Officer Crowley stated Professor Gates appeared to be a resident, but was uncoopertative. At that point of recognizing that fact, I would have expected the officer to offer apologies to Professor Gates for any inconvenience he (Crowley) may have caused.. Additionally, upon showing respect to a citizen and a taxpayer within the community, Officer Crowley should have presented a business card, when Gates requested the officer's identity. This simple service would have "closed this case" and no further action would have been required.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  126. Cate

    I have a lot of issues with the Gates arrest. First, tI think their was a sense of entitlement displayed by police in general and officer Crowley in particular that is typical. It seems as if the presumption is "I'm a police officer, I risk my life, therefore anything I do or say deserves more consideration than your actions or words. If challenged, I'm going to react strongly and negatively because to do otherwise makes it possible for me to be perceived as 'weak'."

    Well, most police don't risk their lives every day; there has been a disproportionate response to any police injury or shooting "in the line of duty" to the actual number occurrences. Quite frankly, with police unions that back every action a police officer may take regardless of the circumstances and officers who also are too quick to defend their "brothers", it is not unreasonable for the average person doesn't have a predisposition to respect police officers words and actions in all circumstances.

    Second, Officer Crowley does not acknowledge that most white people still have an ingrained prejudice that does form a basis for one's immediate actions or assumptions. Without acknowledging that innate prejudice, one can never move beyond the "knee-jerk" reaction to one that takes into consideration cultural biases. Hence, once Prof. Gates questioned his actions, he reacted as if the African-American presented a threat.

    I'm glad for this conversation. I'm an older, white woman who has dealt with living as a minority in an African-American society and has been forced to confront my prejudices, make allowances for them in my actions and reactions, and I think has become a better person for it. I suggest we, as a society, take a good look at the Gates arrest and use it as a departure point for examining our attitudes towards cultural differences, including the police culture versus civilian culture.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  127. Yolanda

    True enough the President commented with the wrong verbage however its really pathetic and immature and disloyal to this country to critize the President the way the media does. To have a meeting at the white house only vaidates he made a mistake and that his leadership is in question which it is not in my eyes. Mistakes happen this event hit home for the President. The response of the officers once he came on TV to somewhat apoligize is ridiciulous as if they've won the lottery. Come on people we have enough worries than to make this event Breaking News unbelievable this issue is not a white house issue. The meeting should take place at the police station with the Sgt and the professor not the president and come up with training Hello what a concept. And oh to the professor get to know your neighbors. I live in a predominately caucasian neighgborhood and I'm the only african american in my cul-de-sac and I know my neighbors which is probaly a good thing Grow Up Everybody

    July 25, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  128. Kona

    All I can say is lets reverse the situation...(All the unbelieving whites)who know it (RACISM) exists..lets darken there skin by taking psoralen and friz their hair put them in a fancy car or maybe a not so fancy car and give them a taste of what blacks go through on a daily basis and then let them come back and give their opionions ...this was tried by a white man years ago and he only lasted for one day...maybe the media can find this man and let him tell his story..

    July 25, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  129. Mary

    Teachable moment? Hmmm. You two who are obviously impersonating reporters, should apologize as well. "Mama." I believe Officer Crowley said, "Mother." Didn't he? You both imply that you are educated. I could not tell from your "reporting" and CHILDISH GIGGLES. Well, I wish both your MAMAS well.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  130. suz

    Are police officers public servants or are they there to exert their authority in every situation? If police officers consider themselves as public servants then they should approach every situation with rendering assistance; particularly, when some house is suspected to be burgalerized. The main question then becomes what officer Crowley offered in the way of assistance after it was established that Professor Gates was indeed the legal resident in that house? The police officers go through lots of training for public safety. Why Dr. gates was arrested if public safety was not threatened? What was the state of mind of the officer Crowley when he entered Dr. Gates' house? The behaviour of officer Crowley is troubling for the safety of the public at large. Why do they not have public service in mind?

    July 25, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  131. Keith

    I watch CNN about as often as I watch FOX News...can not take the partisan politics from either side (libertarian here) but I have to tell you CNN has not played it down the middle – not by a long shot...not that I would expect it to. As I noted earlier, CNN will back whatever the President says each and every time. But what gets me is that CNN is acting as if it wants to stir the pot even more.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  132. Parthenia

    This is a golden opportunity for Americans to come together and make our country a stronger, more free and a better place for all after the incident resulting in Prof. Gates’ arrest. We can go forward and make this a better place, a friendlier place and a wonderful country to live in accepting and respecting each other's cultures. Finally America can be how we are meant to be, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  133. Bill Gee

    Everyone is asking what is the learning to take away from this?
    First, focus on what the officer was originally called for an ongoing breakin witnessed by a citizen who called into 911. That peron reported two black males with backpacks trying to force open the front door. Since all of the racist hoopla started everyone forgot and even the professor that a good citizen called in the situation to protect the home and homeowner. I have never heard or read about a thankyou to the police or the neighbor who started the whole call by seeing and thinking someone was breaking in to the professor's home. Instead the professor jumped the issue and brought up race and did not listen to the Sgt. that was there to check his house for a breakin. He (Sgt) never even, I guess to this day due to the situation presented, checked the house for the alleged second subject (the driver).
    That is the lesson learned.
    I am still trying to figure out the race issue here. The Sgt. is doing what he was trained to check out a crime that was called in by a citizen. He did not just drive by the house and say " let me stop and check the house because there is a black man there".

    July 25, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  134. JD Plus

    The president has ruined this police officers career. There is no excuse.

    July 25, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  135. Bob

    I heard in presidential Campaign Obama said (I do not work with people doesn't make a mistake)He said to the nation and I believe He (OBAMA) made a mistake so He recognize and try to create peace between the professor and police officer.Everybody make a mistake.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  136. Genesis S.

    i have black in me and white but i appear white. i have both races crammed into one body, so i know what both races go throw. i dont think that everything should be based upon our races, it whould be based on what we do. if we insult each other then what are we doing toneach other as human beings. as a person that struggles with poverty i know not to look at skin but at what the person says and does in his/her life. all of this is truely wrong!

    July 25, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  137. Josh M

    let's be serious here professor gates is the one who acted out of line here. he could of cooperated with officers and been on with his night. I think President Obama was wrong with his first statement. the Cambridge police department was doing their job and if someone hadn't shown up to the call it would have been racist not showing up to the home of a black man. I am dissapointed by the way CNN has reported this I believe you are taking a one sided veiw. lets get a white and a black on to debate this issue instead of two african americans that have the same ridiculous veiws!

    July 25, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  138. Carol

    Have you ever been backed into a corner by 3 young black men when you are all alone and being demanded money from you? I wish there would been an officer around. To this day when I see 3 black males headed my way I turn and walk the other way looking for an officer I don't care what color he is. How much abuse are our officer"s of the law supposed to take. I am 77 years old and what happened to me will stay with me the rest of my life as I value everyday I have left.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  139. Cynthia

    It is disturbing to me that this event is being used as a teaching point solely on racial profiling. It creates the assumption that the officer blatantly used racial profiling when that fact is quite debatable, and it disregards Gates' racial misconceptions of white policemen. I would like to see a discussion on the proper way for any suspect, regardless of color, to interact with police officers – specifically, when the suspect feels his rights are being violated. Gates should lead the teaching point by highlighting that becoming beligerent towards any officer of any race is unacceptable and will only make situations worse for all parties involved in a situation.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  140. brynnj

    I don;t know if I have missed this being discussed, but what also bothers me is that Professor Gates' neighbors don't know him him. I thought it was reported that a neighbor called the police. Maybe they need to throw a block party to get to know each other.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  141. Jewell

    Obama should not have abused his power over the media and easy media access to "stir the pot". I am mad about this because unless you listen to or watch an unbiased news report the real "news" about this doesn't get reported. The very angry black American and the President of the United States of America do not know the law and how one should respond to a police officer investigating a reported possible crime. The officer was there to protect the owner of the house regardless of his color. The procedure for doing this takes into account the safety of the officer and the safety of the person being spoken to when they ask them to step out onto the porch.

    From all accounts the officer did not abuse his power. He did warn Gates that he needed to calm down or he would be placed under arrest. He was walking down the steps and Gates kept it up – he was being harrassed by Gates because he was white.

    Obama has no right to come into my living room and blast off his mouth about something he does not have the facts about. People, wake up. Remember when they let Biden out and he said they underestimated the economy? What else are they ignorant about that they are raming through congress? This is the news about this issue. If Obama is to be forgiven for spouting off and making decisions without the facts on this because he is a Freshman and simply "made a mistake" what else is the Freshman doing?

    Why not slow down and take a good serious look at a very serious issue? He has already made enough hasty mistakes this year. You can't keep blaming Bush and using that as an excuse. It was BS or just being uninformed that made him claim we had to go along with the stimulas to keep unemployment down. Has that worked? NO

    Slow down and make calm, INFORMED decisions and include opinions from all sides. Now, that just might work and we could come together.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  142. Louie

    I heard Roland Martin talk about "Walking in anothers Shoes".

    Well, how about if he was to walk in a Policemans Shoes.
    I was a Policeman/Detective for 21 years.
    I've been injured, disrespected, cursed and pre-judged by every racial combination.
    Just a few comments above, a poster writes that most White people have an ingrained prejudice. Does that person think that they're fair minded ?
    Well, as a Police Officer who might respond to some type of situation with that poster, how could I possibly have a positive outcome with that person. I start out in that persons mindset in the negative column.
    Certainly that poster has an ingrained prejudice that I could never, ever change. And when I respond I'd have no knowledge that person dislikes me from the getgo.

    And then Mansfield talks about how he never knows how to judge contact with a White person. In that, are they or are they not racist ?
    Once again, how could I change that persons perception. Isn't his pre-conceived feeling also a racist one ?

    Many talk about a dialogue.
    It sure seems that many want the outcome of that dialogue to be what they have pre-determined and aren't themselves open to other possibilities.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  143. David Lester Young

    Cambridge Miracle Conversion

    Among the heavens, we have been blessed with compassion
    That sometime pride will divide people into stubborn iron wills.
    Where other people use situations as a sword of wrath of hate
    That one side must win, at all cost, of verbal destruction principles.

    But what if in a miracle, two sides held hands and apologized
    That both had made some mistakes, without saying which one.
    That this was a lesson to be learned for future conflict situations.
    Would two different camps, better serve the Cambridge community.

    Can a Bridge Going Nowhere be turned around to bridge differences?
    Can America start healing or must the Scarlet Letters scars continue?
    With pit bull mongrel attacks, from people, not even involved in it
    That would destroy Cambridge image, in a million pieces, as trolls.

    God, can one pray, Henry Gates is a bigger person professing understanding
    To teach from heart’s humanity rather than condemn from the pulpit
    Of this political God of vengeance in making this an example at all cost.
    Even MLK knew that frontal confrontation was not always the real solution.

    Sgt. James Crowley can you climb the mountain of humility as this giant
    To offer your hand in friendship in respect and honor as a police officer?
    That says lets learn from this and keep it from reoccurring in the future.
    The sad fact is that police has social profiling from its neighborhoods.

    I think that both of you, discuss it in private, with intermediaries at first,
    For like Governor George Wallace, he eventually hugged his enemies.
    And is not Alabama the better for that except in some of its Fraternities
    That demands we never conform, never change, but divide history’s fate.

    Cambridge can you bridge in harmony of God Bless Made in America
    That “We the people” need to heal, fighting united for this nation’s survival
    That must create, “I have a dream” dreams in divine economic equality
    So can there be a Cambridge miracle conversion,
    On a Sunday of reconciliation.

    Can Gates and Crowley, then Cambridge pledge better relations?
    Can Harvard ask Gates and Crowley to formulate possible solutions?
    Can Gates and Crowley stand before President Obama among unity?
    That says profiling of any manner, can undermine the human race.
    But alas this is but a dream, a fairy tale, a fictional play of words.
    For can there really be a Cambridge Miracle Conversion,
    It is like Democrats and Republicans recreating
    The miracle of the Declaration of Independence
    In red white, and blue “We the people” civilian patriotism.
    But their Tory Frat Fraternities will fight on with Gates and Crowley
    In their sights like Liberal poets, who have dreams of conciliation.

    David Lester Young 07/24/09

    July 25, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  144. Daniel Victor

    If Sgt. Crowley, as he himself said, that he knew the arrest would bring "unwanted" attention to himself (ie his Dept. & City) then why did he leave his ego in its holster? The charges were dropped asap. So the arrest was a mistake and – yes – stupid.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  145. Lance


    Do you think the Mass police dept would have demanded an apology from Bush if that was a black cop "Just doing his Job" with a white harvard professor? That police department would have made that black cop go over and apologize on his knees in the professors front yard.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  146. George Kennard

    Right, a bad tempered, elderly man with a cane, nice clothes, and maybe a fake Harvard ID could have been a burglar trying to trick the officer responding to a burglary call. The elderly man should have been arrested for being an egotistical loud-mouth about his fame and being a Harvard professor. He dared to question the nice officer's race motivations and get loudly angry when the officer broke the law by entering the home without a warrant later arresting and booking the professor even though residency was by then established. Professor Gates was probably use to being respected accounting for his indignation, but that officer show him "where it's at." We need the police to protect us but not at the expense of our constitutional rights, I think. Pres. Obama is a man of conscience and loyal to his friends, and a very good President, but please watch what you say and stop being drowned into messes. We need you to do what you are called to do and thank you. –George in southeast Texas

    July 25, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  147. Dean

    This incident could be constructively used to address and change police abuse of power. That is not to say that is what happened in the Prof. Gates incident, but it does happen far too often, whether racially motivated or not. There are many police officers who use the office as a chance to bully and intimidate honest citizens. Those who abuse their power overshadow the good police officers. The Time article link from CNN says that a person can legally say anything to a policeman because it is freedom of speech. Then why do the police still have the power to basically lie at will and arrest someone for ‘disturbing the peace’ because the person is upset with the officer’s attitude? Such an unwarranted arrest will be on the victim’s record forever, while the policeman gets away with abusing his power. Being a police officer is a dangerous job but it is no longer the upstanding role it used to be, when an officer nowadays shoots to kill and thinks and asks questions later, saying they felt endangered. Many innocent men and women have been killed this way. The law needs to be changed to protect citizens. Hopefully lawmakers will use this opportunity to discuss and change police procedure to more fully protect all citizens.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  148. Jim Green

    Fredricka—Why is no one in the media asking this question (why don't you ask it?) If we want this to truly be a “teaching” experience then someone in the media needs to ask the police officer, point blank –why he did not issue a “citation” to appear, or some instrument short of “arrest, handcuffs, mug shots” etc., that is both costly and ugly–

    Because it is strongly suspected that no such instrument exists—and this is where the “teaching” part comes in—there are probably thousands of arrests daily where the whole ugly arrest scene is unnecessary-and asking this question could cause progressive departments across America to change their policy to accommodate a citation in lieu of incarceration-

    So how about it-ask the officer the question......

    THX, Jim Green, Seguin, TX

    July 25, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  149. Aaron

    Professor Gates is an elitist snob of the worst type. As a Harvard professor he is not used to being questioned, but rather interacting with people eager to do his bidding. "You don't know who you're messing with" is the phrase folks should be keying in on, and is insight into the core of this incident. This has nothing to do with race,
    and everything to do with social class. Gates is now trying to mask his social and common law faux pas by playing the victim. Such passive aggresive behavior is not befitting a "leader", but he is rich and well connected and will likely get away with this ruse.

    Gate's public face since the incident has been one befitting the image of the bespectacled, modest, well spoken college professor he desperately wants to portray. The face of the belligerent, hate spewing, elitist buffoon that shouted himself into a disorderly conduct arrest will, I imagine, remain in Sgt. James Crowley's memory for quite some time. Even having been invited to the White House, I don't know if I would be able to sit across a table from Henry Gates with the rofessor all smiling, cordial, prim and proper, knowing that what Gates presents for the world is entirely an act.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  150. Ruth

    If one of my neighbors saw two people, whom she did not recognize, shouldering their way into my back door, I surely do hope she would call the police. It would likely be a black officer coming to check. I would answer his questions, and when he is certain I am who I say I am and the conversation over, I would thank him for coming to check. Then I would thank my neighbor for having watching for me so well And I would be telling the truth. I am a 76 year white woman.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  151. Josh M from Illinois

    let's get serious here Mr. Gates is the one that acted out of line. if he would have cooperated with Cambridge police officers requests he could have been on with his night but he refused and was jailed. the same thing would have happened to any white asian or hispanic. the Cambridge police department did their job and are being scrutinized for it. I am dissapointed in the CNN for the way they are taking such a one sided veiw on not only this issue but the way all race related pieces are discussed. whites aren't the ones that hold blacks back they hold themselves back. lets get a fair debate with a white and black instead of two black men saying how whites keep you from getting a job. the change needs to come from the african americans and their attitudes that everyone is out to get them!

    July 25, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  152. Amazed

    Vinnett, dear are you that naive to think that these questions are not submitted and reviewed beforehand? This question was planned and Obama even had a joke prepared. Remember the "Here, I would be shot"? Come on, do you know anything about politics?

    That question was as biased and planned as the 2:30 coverage and one-sided representation of the guests. We have a Black American as President. Why must the police officer be racist if he is asking a Black american a question relating to an investigation of a crime?

    Obama, if you are such a healer, when are you going to show it?

    July 25, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  153. Gloria

    One angle I have not heard anyone address:

    How many stories have we heard about the preist/precher molesting a child?

    The police officer stalking a lady?

    The firefighter starting a fire?

    The City that preaches "merit based" discriminating?

    The estate guardian stealing all the money?

    The very fact that Sgt. Crowley refuses to apologize to Professor Gates indicates to me that his teaching a racial profiling class may have been "head knowledge" only.
    If he was truly qualified to teach the class, surely he can understand why Professor Gates would react the way he did. He can learn a lesson from the President.

    Gloria in California

    July 25, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  154. Rosalind Walton

    This incident has gotten way too much attention, why isn't anyone focusing on the initial demeanor of the cop and how he approached the situation. Approach alone could have been the key to a different turn out. Where is the continous coverage on the New Jersey crooks that should be topping the news? Is all the Obama, Gates, Cop controversy a ploy to keep the imposter Rabbi's and Jersey Mayor out of the spotlight?

    July 25, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  155. Derek Tucker

    Hi Fredricka always watching you on CNN you are looking great. As far this professor thing about Gates and Police officer, I wish things more focus on more important ones. Also, Iwish white people could know what its like be black and how some of them treat us. Thank you for taking time reading my comment.

    Derek Tucker

    July 25, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  156. Gerry

    Situations like this confirm for me that many Americans feel that Americans of African descents do not have the same rights as others living in this country. I do not believe the average white American truly believes that in his or her own home they are not allowed to voice there opinion to police officer after it has been established that this is your home. And they should be arrested for disorderly conduct. What I believe they are implying is that Americans of African Descent do not and should have this right. Just as I believe that the police officer actions where in fact motivated by race and class subconsciously. Please stop discussing this as if we are all do not have sight and we know what was in the heart of that police officer. If there were no history of abuse of power and disrespect by police officers in general, just maybe this could be seen as an isolated event. But we people of color know that police officers may imply that in general they are angels. The behavior of some officers in the community towards people of color is all too often anything but saintly. It is insulting to the intellect of many to constantly have the media and white people pretend that every white police officer is right. Just because a person has been choose to represent a group for training does not make him saint or someone without preconceived ideas about class and race

    July 25, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  157. John

    This entirely ridiculous episode, along with the president’s “incorrectly calibrated” remarks, is an outrageous waste of peoples’ valuable time.

    I believe we all understand racial profiling, directed at people of ALL races, exists. People violate the law every day, in a variety of ways. However, racial profiling has been a key issue for many years now, and measures have been taken to help individuals and groups recognize the problem. The question is whether the number of instances have risen or fallen, and have the actions taken to counter these occurrences helped, or have they been fruitless? This is how we can learn, grow and move forward, rather than stir up old emotions with a single, questionable instance. Point being, no one is shining a spotlight on anything new here.

    One black professor, irritated when asked to show proper identification to police officers responding to a concerned neighbor’s call, does not a week-long “breaking news story” make. Personally, I have never questioned or hesitated whenever an officer of the law requested my identification, no matter what color their skin. If I had, I would fully expect to be taken in so that my identification could be verified. The law deserves everyone’s respect – including black professors.

    For the president to chime in without full knowledge of the circumstances and demean the police department is extraordinarily undignified and speaks volumes.

    The real crime here is what CNN & the news media have been allowed to do now for a number of years. You are manufacturing news to suit your own purposes. When the news day is slow, you grow issues from what normally would be considered trivial, and inflate them to incredible proportions. Please stop fueling hatred with this practice! Do you believe you are not discriminating with a Black in America series? Of course you aren’t…as long as you are producing follow-ups called Hispanic in America, White in America, and so on. Your focus is predominantly on African Americans, their challenges and how they might overcome them, as if they are the only group facing hardships – is this your sole target demographic now?

    Discriminate may also be defined, “to use good judgment.” Apparently, you have failed by this definition, as well. Take a note or two from Walter Cronkite’s method of reporting and simply present the facts accurately.

    Again, please stop fueling hatred, and start doing something much more critical – report news.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  158. Dusty

    I am an older white woman age 66 and listening the past few days the constant coverage of the battle between the professor, the police and the President? Enough already move on and the media should be giving more coverage to our military and this increasing war in Afganistan ,where our military is fighting a real fight daily to survive and fight for our freedom and this is how we use and abuse it in Cambridge?

    July 25, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  159. Becky C.

    " A Teachable Moment"

    This is what I have learned:

    Blacks will never get over it..... even in a society where a black man can become a professor at America's premier college and where America has elected black men to leadership positions (including mayor, governor, and President).

    Quit pretending that Prof. Gates was "persecuted". It is hardly as if he was thrown on the floor and had a gun drawn on him during a legitimate police call.

    Blacks are persecuting themselves at this point.

    Professor Gates brought this on himself and brought on the media onslaught.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  160. astrobrad

    Prosser Gates arrest isn’t a case about racism. I am a white male that was once arrested for telling a cop that is wasn’t doing his job right. The issue is that cops shouldn’t be allowed to make arrest because someone told the police that they could do a better job or hurt the cop’s feelings. There should be more laws to govern cops that say clearly that if a citizen isn’t causing harm to himself or others than there’s nothing the cops can do. I think Officer Crawley is too emotional to be a police officer and should be criticized for it. It makes me concerned to think that if the police can arrest a Harvard African American Professor in his own home today, than what chance do I have the next time I express my opinion to a cop.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  161. T. Fred Baker

    We (we … including myself!!!) need to get back/take a refresher course in basic English grammar ... to say that someone "acted stupidly" does NOT mean that the subject was/is stupid. It means that the subject performed a "stupid" act ... made a “stupid” statement … who among us???

    July 25, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  162. Becky C.

    Prof. Gates has been waiting/wanting something like this to happen to him his whole entire life.... that's why he couldn't think rationally nor maintain control.

    Unfortunately, he raged against an upright officer, got caught on film and audio tape.

    Oops. Better luck next time, Professor.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  163. Vaughn

    I think the media has stirred up this turmoil more than necessary. I believe NORMAL police procedures call for a home to be evacuated when a call is made about a break in with two people attempting to enter the house. The fact that Professor Gates identified himself as the owner doesn't mean that there couldn't have been one or two other people inside the house, the responding officers couldn't have known that. I believe the police officer was following procedure, and had there actually been two criminals there and Prof. Gates was subsequently injured after he sent the police away, another claim of racism and police negligence would have been thrown out. It's a no win situation for the police if someone is itching to make an issue.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  164. Dan

    This is simple...all Gates had to do was thank the officer for checking his house. The Sgt. did not stop for as visit a radio call sent him there. It make me sick that this turned turned into race issue. Gates controlled the direction and action this call would go. He is obviously the angry racist because most normal people don't act that way especially when the police are there to help you. Call it like it is.....GATES IS A MILITANT RACIST.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  165. Becky C.

    Why can Obama go around the entire world and apologize for anything America has done the last two hundred years, but can't apologize for calling our police officers STUPID??

    He talks out of both sides of his mouth.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  166. Tired of the race card

    Too bad Gates and Obama couldn't see that they can overplay this thing. So tired of the race card – the only reason this is such a big issue is because the Obama administration misused his power as President to "plant" a question so he could have an excuse to lash out because a white officer dared to arrest his black, elite friend.

    Use the racial discrimination law cases where there is real racial discrimination like in the Ricci case where he was denied a promotion because no black candidates passed the exam. That was all about race. And who is Obama's choice for Supreme Court? The one that made that racially discriminating decision.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  167. Qwiick from Tampa Fl

    Even if crowley "technically" had the right to arrest Gates, that same technical right is never enforced on white people!

    Therefore, for crowley and this police department to hide behind a technicality that they enforce ONLY on Black people IS racism!!!

    July 25, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  168. G Mack

    We are getting Black vs. White confused with Black vs. Cop and that is why we can't find resolution. America acknowledges racism regularly but we fail to acknowledgement the Blackism from law enforcement, who comes in ALL colors. Its Cops vs. Black (primarily Black men). I dare you to test that synopsis.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  169. L. in N.J.

    You know.....this is totally wrong. That officer did not have any racial intentions here. He simply answered a call about a break in and was following procedure. Had the professor been white, or any other race, he'd have asked the same of him.

    This professor chose to make it a racial issue. Who is the real racist here? I don't want to hear it's because of years of racial profiling..blablabla.... The Professor made it racial and our President further confirmed it worldwide without any facts in the matter, that was wrong.
    The professor is an edcucated man and should have acted more like one. Using this situation to inflame racial hostility in this country is just disgraceful...and our good President Obama making the comments he made - was totally unprofessional and also instigates racial problems, further dividing this country.

    President Obama has no place commenting on local police issues...whether he is partial because a person involved is a "friend", it's just inexcusable. He is our president and is supposed to be color-blind when it comes to issues of any kind. A good president does not take sides or comment on things he has no facts of.

    This whole thing is a deterent to the issues at hand, which is the sham of a healthcare bill they are trying to push down our throats and the climate tax/cap and trade bill coming up.

    My thought is pay attention to what is really going on and stop being distracted by the garbage they throw in your path of attention. What is happening to this country???

    There are more important things going on right now than some professor who is making a racial issue out of a standard police procedure that is aimed at protecting him as a citizen in the first place especially since his house was already been broken into previously.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  170. Jeff

    Fredricka- To continue to bring up the Gates/Crowley case, in the same breath as a discussion on racial profiling, is offensive to whites and to Crowley. This case had NOTHING to do with racial profiling. And, the only racism that occurred was when Gates assumed that Crowley was a racist. End of story. Gates should be forced to apolgize for insulting the character of Crowley. He has defamed Crowley's character nationally. Crowley was doing his job. And by the way, this is the 3rd case of a high profile african american accusing a white of being a racist in Boston, falsely. Diane Wilkerson, Turner and Gates have all stooped to this disgusting level. Maybe that needs to be the "learning" moment. That people cannot insult others just becasue they are unhappy with how a white is doing their job, or, in the case of Turner and Wilkerson because you were caught breaking the law. I know many here in Boston that are sick of this, and offended.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  171. Sharon Wise

    Please someone tell me Sgt. Crowley is not going to sell his soul for one day in the white house having a beer with the boys.

    Who is paying for this? Oh yes-–the taxpayers.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  172. Becky C.

    Let's hear the audio tapes!

    The President and Prof. Gates on decided to de-escalate once it was known Prof. Gates got caught on audio tape..... before that it was "I'm going to sue."

    Now, it's a de-escalation.


    Let's hear the audio tapes!

    July 25, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  173. Carole Callahan Conger

    Regarding the Professor and the Cambridge Police Officer. The African-American Officer who was at the scene has stated that if he were there first, he feels that the Professor would have reacted to him differently because he is black. The Professor has stated that he asked the white officer if he was not answering his question because he was a black man and the officer was white. This all suggests the the Professor is himself guilty of profiling the white officer. That is he was appling his own prejudices towards the police and white people in general. And, I also believe that the President was incorrect when he said that the Professor was "probably" overreacting as well.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  174. Fred

    Since when is an honest difference of opinion more important than a federal officer's murder?

    What about the Border Patrol agent who was killed? He's being ignored while attention is paid to the professor and the police officer.

    Race relations is an important subject, but aren't we spending a little too much time paying attention to two guys who didn't have much patience with one another? By now, they both wish that they had made better decisions.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  175. pete

    Professor Gates was clearly the instigator here , a black police who was also involved says so and the President also says that the Professor might have over reacted. Let's be honest...there is a tendancy for blacks to play the race card whenever they are questioned by whites. A police officer has every right to question and ask for ID anytime they are responding to a call . This very same thing has happend to me once many years ago when I was trying to break into my own house – the difference is that I complied with the request and identified myself and at the end of the day the police help me get into my house. Furthermore Professor Gates is featured in your Black in America II and know we know that his views and opinions are tainted biased – Professor Gates is the racist.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  176. Ashley

    Picture the following during the meeting with the President. How do you feel this meeting would turn out.

    Professor Gates: Mr Crowley, I offer you my forgiveness for your actions in my arrest.

    Mr. Crowley: Professor Gates, thank you for the offer, however, I don't feel I have done anything to need forgiveness for. Perhaps an apology for your actions on that date would be more appropriate. Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity of meeting you and discussing this matter.

    Now, maybe Mr Crowley is not as direct as I, but, if he is, you will have more news to report.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  177. WB

    Why did Sgt.Crowley walk into a house WITHOUT PERMISSION? He stated he did not know if Prof. Gates was the person who lived at that address. WHEN DOES A BURGLAR ANSWER THE DOOR. He owes Prof. Gates an apology for entering without permission. Why was his backup outside?

    July 25, 2009 at 4:23 pm |

    all who dont know about law-enforcment cant coment on this. this officer was doing his role in protecting the home owner. this Professor needs to take a class on how police go into a B&E. this was not a Black or White thing, as a police officer you never know who elce can be in the home that can harm you. how would the U.S react if it were difrant> "police man shot for not being carful". would the american people call him a dumb White cop for not being carful? for not doing what is tought at the police academy training.


    July 25, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  179. George Kennard

    To: Louie (above), You seem like a nice guy and the kind of policeman we need...someone with a conscience and able to take the lack of appreciation from the public but still willing to do your job and help them in spite of themselves. Thank you guy. –George in southeast Texas

    July 25, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  180. cassandra rutledge

    I am surprised the police officer or any of the officers who were present, did not know or at least recognize who Henry Louis Gates Jr. was!!!!!!!!!! Prof. Gates is a high profile person living in the relatively small community of Cambridge. At any rate, I believe all things happen for a reason. Prayerfully, as our President stated, this will become "a teaching moment". Hopefully, most will want the education.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  181. Kathy

    The issue with the professor and the cop is not isolated. I am a professor at a university in North Georgia. I had a similar incident where this white cop was called to a traffic accident on the campus where the young 19 year white male was clearly at fault, and admitted it. But when his father came on the scene the dynamics changed. He had no insurance to show and did not have the special permit to drive the truck he was driving. After approx. 3 hours of lies I was issued a ticket and ordered to sign. I tried to protest but was warned by the cop that I would be arrested and placed in handcuffs if I protested. I could not stand the thought of being handcuffed. I filed a complaint with the university EEO administration, who provided me with written documented that the cop was wrong but their solution was that he would be sent to sensitivity training. Whether he did I would never know. In the meantime I had to go to court, pay out of pocket expenses to fix my car along with the ticket fine, and young man was allowed to go FREE. This is what you call white privilege. I don't trust cops.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  182. pete

    I am a huge Obama fan and feel that he put his foot in his mouth over this incident – at the end of the day it's still an on going and unresloved police matter. The President should not be making any statements on this issue especially when all the facts are not in. Let's not forget that Bush took the US to war against Iran with out all the facts...Obama should learn from his mistakes and not jump to conclusions.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  183. Teofil

    Actual incident – My neighbor had two vehicles stolen from his driveway in the past 5 years. He left town and ask, as I do him, to keep a eye on the property while gone (know each other 16 years). Scheduled to return the following Wednesday evening. Our area is considered to be upper middle income, very nice neighborhood with homes on acre properties, with families from a diverse heritage.

    Neighbor caught a earlier flight (Tuesday), took a cab home arriving around midnight. Threw the bags in the home and then got in his car to pick up his four dogs from a friends home. Just as he started the vehicle, I came outside to put the trashcan on the curb. I didn't know he came home early, did not see the cab and since the house lights were on timers, everything seemed normal.

    From where I was to where the vehicle was looked to be about the same distance (as I could judge from news footage and that the neighbor had to see from.

    I walked towards his driveway, keeping trees/bushes between us for my safety, saw a person having a hard time starting the car and then leaving. I called 911 and reported what I saw and the direction of vehicle travel.

    Local P.D. arrived in seconds, three other units did a felony stop on the vehicle. By chance, my neighbor did not lock his side door (I had just checked his house that afternoon and told the officer so). So back-up arrived and they swept the house, every room. My neighbor, now spread eagle on the ground, was being handcuffed. He could not prove who he was because his wallet was in his coat pocket at home. For my safety, the officers kept me away from the house and vehicle stop.

    A officer recovered the wallet, drove to the scene, identify my neighbor. All was now safe.

    In all, there was a supervisor, his supervisor, 7 patrol officers, SWAT team (to sweep the house), 2 Deputy Sheriffs, paramedics and a ambulance.

    Oh, did I mention that my neighbor wears metal braces on both legs and walks with TWO canes and is about 70.

    The officers did not know him (what crook hasn't lied to a officer), could not see the braces (under his pants), no ID and the car was in his wife's name only. My friend told the officer he could not get out without his canes, and before the officer could comment, my friend reach behind the seat and pulled out the canes (bad choice). In the dark, any reasonably person who likes going home alive, would react in a defensive mode (could have been a rifle barrel, it was dark). The officers grabbed my friend out of the vehicle to the ground and handcuffed. Reason for the paramedics call.

    Now, he could have raised Holy h..l, get a lawyer, he also knows many local highly placed important person's. So what did he do, he THANKED the officers. Sent a letter to the Chief thanking them for thier professionalism. And promised me that regardless of time, he will call me when he gets home next time.

    What happen was all based on what "I" , the neighbor, reported. He wasn't scheduled to be home, all the doors were locked, 2 vehicles have been stolen before and then no ID, car in wife's name with a male driving it, and then making a movement to the back seat area (just because your old doesn't mean you can not be a threat).

    The days of a Andy Griffen sheriff knowing everyone in town does not exist anymore. EVERY officer deserve to go home to their families every day. Police procedures are written in police blood, because a officer in the past made a mistake and paid the ultimate price. No Chief wants his officers making the same mistake again.

    Is my neighbor black, am I black, are we both white or are we both just American's. Does it matter, I think not. Yes, we had problems, I went through the 60's, saw the streets burn, but was raised by parents (as I raised mine) to treat each person you meet as a person. Do not prejudge until that person gives you a reason to be wary. Too many parents (black,white,brown) raise there children with old ideas and until they stop, we will never have complete understanding of each other and will always be afraid. I have friends who talk as if they just came off the plantation while making 6 figure incomes with a Ph.D. Knowing the past is necessary, but when it interfers with moving forward, it's time to close that chapter and start writing a new one.

    No, I am not a officer, have no connection. Just been on this small planet long enough to know better. Next time your vehicle is stolen or house broken into, just thank God that we have people willing to put their life on the line for us everyday. And remember, they are someone's husband, father, son, mother, wife, daughter and we are all just human. Even I have been known to make a mistake now and then. How about you.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  184. jolaine hunter

    Re: President Obama's "off the cuff"initial remarks.. ..why the uproar? Just as one can "act foolishly" without being a fool, one can do some-can do something stupid without being stupid per se. The President did not categorize the Cambridge police as stupid, just acting stupid.

    Re: Sgt. Crowley's authenticity of not being "racist" merely on the basis of his teaching "qualifications". Bunk!. One teaches from the "mind" not the "heart". Ever hear of the adage..."Don't do as I do, do as I say"?

    As an 83-year old USA-born 4-generation female, I recognize many improvements in race-relations, but I still resent being categorize as "African-American" while all caucasians are merely "Americans" regardless of their ethnic group. This has happened more times than once during my work years. I quicky admit, 'though, I still have some struggles.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  185. Tired of the race card

    Just because the charges were dropped doesn't mean that he had no cause to arrest him in the first place. If Gates had the ability to control himself and speak in a non-berating and hostile and peace disturbing manner, he wouldn't have been arrested. If you ask me he blew this out of proportion to get attention and because he is power hungry. Those kind of actions do not bring people together – they are divisive and inciting.

    Quit using the race card and lawsuit card and discrimination card and victim card and the helplessness and blah blah. We have a Black President but that just isn't good enough for some – they want blood and money.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  186. Kevin

    No one in the media is commenting on the fact that there are 2 things to be learned from this incident (now that most – albeit, not all – of the facts have emerged)

    First, Gates has, and rightfully so, much built up anger over being racially profiled throughout his whole life. However, he probably overeacted due to this built up anguish, to an officer who was just trying to protect Gates, Gates' home and himself.

    The officer probably overeacted as well to a man that was unleashing some built up anger by actually placing handcuffs on him; the officer should have just walked away. However, if someone is calling you names when you actually are there for that person, it would be hard to just walk away – but, the officer still should have walked away in the end. How about this: Crowley arrested Gates not because of his color, he arrested him because he was emotionally hurt and angry.

    There is racial bias throughout the country (on all sides), but the bottom line is this was not one of those cases. This is a case of misunderstanding: Gates assuming he was being racially profiled; the officer misunderstanding the problems Gates has gone through throughout his life.

    As far as why the officer asked Gates to get his I.D. and step outside? Because, as far as the officer knew, Gates could have been in a hostage situation – it was for the safety of both men, not because Gates is black.

    Secondly, the thing to be learned is that no human being (no matter their color) likes being called a racist. The officer was surely hurt, and extremely upset as Gates called him names and continued to follow him. This is a lesson that is not being brought up at all in the media. When someone is falsely accused of something, it is painful, no matter the race of the person involved. It was hurtful to Gates that he was "accused" of breaking into his own home & it brought back probably some very painful memories; it was hurtful to Crowley to be unfairly treated for trying to protect a person – no matter of their color.

    July 25, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  187. Mark

    Prof. Gates is clearly the bigot in this incident. His actions were repugnant. Instead of spewing his own racial hatred towards Sgt. Crowley all he needed to do was identify himself. The situation would have been resolved quickly. Sgt. Crowley was only doing his duty when responding to a reported forced entry at the residence. Prof. Gates does not understand this? How sad! What Prof. Gates needs to do now is apologize to Officer Crowley, and the other officers present, for his despicable behavior.

    July 25, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  188. Power hungry

    I can't believe people expect the officer's to recognize every famous black person. Good grief. So what if he is famous, what if he was being held hostage and they (the criminals) told him to get rid of the police. He didn't cooperate with the police which set the tone and then he added belligerent behavior and racial accusations. When asked to produce a picture ID, he refused and refused to calm down when asked.

    Why do you have to shout and get in someone's face to make your point? And mentioning his "MaMa? Now let's expect the police officer to have no concern for his own safety, consider the black mans' rights ABOVE his own as an officer, know every famous person in this area, know that Gates was not in danger from a possible home invasion, know that Gates was tired from a long trip and for some reason didn't have his door fixed from a previous home invasion, just have the "self-control" to ignore the rantings of someone without any and just know somehow that this ranting fool was just going to calm down as soon as the officer left and not go over the neighbor and take out his hostility on her. Isn't that expecting a lot more from someone making a lot less money than the other figures in this situation? Obama is the President. Excuse me if I expect a little more from him.!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By the way, did you see in report that Gates' address had been hidden from view but her name is listed to for whole world to send hate mail to? Heaven forbid that a white person call in a report again about 2 black males trying to break into a house. I can't believe they also expect someone to go out and get close enough to see if they recognize them before calling in a suspicious incident. Again, whitey, put yourself at risk above the black man to bend over backwards to not offend – must not even give the slightest impression that whitey might be racist – so old ladies and others worried about your neighborhood – go out and see if you RECOGNIZE

    July 25, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  189. Andrew Winkler

    Perhaps it bears remembering that while two people were impatient, only one of them was carrying a loaded gun, together with a piece of metal that vastly mitigates the consequences of firing it.

    July 25, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  190. Russell

    Police are called on a suspected break-in and the resident is arrested for disorderly conduct. How does that parse as a rational expectation of events? It doesn't. As others have noted, the only way police could make an arrest under these circumstances is to entice a person outside their own home - which shows that Sgt Crowley believed Dr Gates was who he claimed to be in his own home. So now the issue is about who will control the situation - a situation that did not heed to be controlled. As a trainer of police, the Sgt. may do a fine job on race relations. In this case he gave a live example of not letting citizen or suspect sense any sense of control even in their own house. One doesn't have to worry about racism to wonder about why law enforcement are trained to control the situation in all circumstances even when there is no need for controlling matters. This is one of the those ways in which the innocent are made to feel guilty until proven otherwise. The fact that a number of police colleagues were already on scene simply incites the ego of one of their own to show just how successful he/she can dominate the situation. So let's talk about this: should police be taught to always take command in every situation - aren't there situations where that practice actually incites greater disorder?

    July 25, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  191. De'Lisa

    Enough!! Please, lets stop dragging this issue. I think, just because the President made a emotional statement, you the media, feel like you just have to keep pumping it. Maybe the policeman was provoked, we don't know. I think if he was wrong, then, take him to court. Not enough information to make head or tale of it....I love the passion and fire in you Obama!

    July 25, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  192. Gale Nichols

    Mr. Gates is somewhat late with his message. Maybe he should listen to Michael Jackson's "They Don't Really Care About Us".

    July 25, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  193. Maj. R. Sicovit

    Racial profiling is part of life! Common sense says that each race does have it's own behavioral characteristics, mainly based on their culture, economic and social class. Blacks around the world are nothing like those here in the U.S. The "racism" factor mainly has to do with those in the U.S. factually based on the majority of U.S. blacks feel someone owes them something for what their ancestors went through during slavery! The thing is, there is not one black slave still alive, nor a white slave master, so nobody owes anyone anything! Quit freeloading of the suffering of your ancestors, and look in the mirror when you wonder why you're poor, uneducated, possibly a criminal, a going nowhere loser! This statement is not towards blacks, but anyone who lives without their dreams! Let's see, black President, majority of over-paid athletes are black, most students given "free" rides (not scholarship) to college are black, more people are given, not earned their jobs because they're black, so on and so forth, among a lengthy list of examples, and yet you are still crying "Racism" at every opportunity possible. See what you have and be thankful, see what you don't have and bust your butt and earn it, take responsibility for your actions or lack thereof and stop blaming "Whitey" for all of your shortcomings! Lastly, any legislation that creates opportunity for everyone to seek higher education will only cheapen the value of legitimately earned (not given) college degrees. Just as it has already has with the lowering of criteria for college entrance and once high standards of classes made easier for those who don't have much in the Intelligence department. The "No child left behind" fiasco cheapened the value of our educational system, and Obama's plan will continue to bring those of particular economic and social classes where they don't belong, and continue to hurt those who have earned what they have legitimately. Lastly, lastly, regardless of color, Gates was hauled out for legitimate reasons, and all because the cop was white and Obama stuck his nose where it doesn't belong, it has turned into another joke entitled "Black in America 2." HAVE THE GUTS TO RUN THIS COMMENT SUBMISSION...

    July 25, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  194. Ericka

    I think there are two key points that we as black America are missing in the Gates incident as so many of us are rushing to make this a racial incident. Once is that the police were responding to a call. They didn't just pick him out of a crowd or stop him on the street, they took a call of a possible break in and they responded. Two, Gates admittedly forced the door open to his house. One plus one still equals two, people. Someone observed him forcing his door open, the police responded to assess the situation. Gates blew the entire situation out of proportion by not responding to the police in a rational manner. I was raised to see the police as an authority figure who are here to help, remember 'if you get lost tell a policeman"? Yes, there are rogue cops just as there are irrational people in the world, but I believe if Gates has responded as the rational, education man he professes to be this would NEVER have been a newsworthy event.
    And, yes, police are trained to take walk away from rhetoric, but they do not HAVE to take verbal abuse. Just to correct your last commentator, it is against the law to continually verbally abuse a police's called Disorderly Conduct, which is what Professor Gates was charged with.

    July 25, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  195. Brent DeLoach

    Fredricka I was watching your Sunday Show and was amazed by your coverage. Why does history always repeat itself, why does the group that feels left out, rejected or for lack of a better term "The Have Nots" Almost always take the very position of the very group they despised "the Haves" When the also become the" Haves" Your show wants to discuss racial tension between Whites and Blacks and yet both of your guest "Mr. Martin and the Author were Black. Had a major network done the very same thing only a few years ago and did not have a Black to give an opposing view There would have been calls for a boycott. Secondly the author of a book on how pervasive and destructive racism is said it was not as important as health care, give me a break. Then he goes on to say that black men fear what white men are thinking before they even open their mouths, How would a comment that prejudice from a white person go over. Get over it and get on with your life, I am white and I don't hate blacks, I prefer not to associate with people with of any color that has a sense of entitlement and preconceived victim attitude. It is better than it was and will get better still when you quit shoving it into our faces. Please just report all the facts , Did the professor make insulting comments about the officer mother and was he claiming racial motives as the reason the officers not knowing if it was a break in by possibly armed men risk their lives by entering his home. Had they not responded and it was a true break in then they would have been racist for not protecting the home of a black. Now the oval office is where they go to resolve this? I THINK THE PRESIDENT OF ALL COLOR AMERICANS SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN ALL THE FACTS BEFORE CHOOSING SIDES. I voted for him but this was not his finest hour. There is a black man in the highest office of the most powerful country in the world and you still aren't happy. Whats it going to take. Less than 105 of the population controls 905 of the wealth we all need to work on that and quit fighting among ourselves while they try to get control of what little they allow us to have. I know racism is still with us but not at the levels your keep reporting. Please try to find ways to help heal wounds instead of building walls between all Groups. As long as we keeping picking at the sores they will never heal Themselves. No race in this country has been more mistreated than the the Native American and you rarely hear them whine. Lets all take a lesson from a proud race and learn how to just be "AMERICANS". Thank you

    July 25, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  196. randy

    it's ok to break the law if your black and friends with the president then you have Sharpton and Jackson whom will jump on any band wagon that will get them in the news weather it's right or wrong those two are the most Racist around they create more conflict then they solve.

    July 25, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  197. Gayle Levitt

    A little respect for the law goes a long way. The police were there to help protect life and property. Was it asking to much to show some ID without getting "mouthy"?

    Our president has enough to worry about with the Federal Government... I think he should stay out of local issues. Hopefully he has learned something himself.

    July 25, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  198. David

    Most of White America still don't get it about this issue for Blacks. I want to make a quote from a recent movie where Robert Deniro said that "everyone respects the gun." This is the bottom line. Most police officers will never; regardless to how patriotic they claim they are become police officers without the power of the GUN. Sgt. Crowley realized that he had the power of the GUN and he was not going to back down. This was not about the Law, or principle. He was not going to back down from any black man who would dear to confront him. Had he not have a GUN on his hip, he would have been a different person. The Gun gives him the power. Most British police officers do not carry GUNs and they have a lesser crime ratio than we do.

    What about the neighbor who called the cops. She immediately assumed that two black men had to be breaking into this home. What if they were white? Would she still have call the cops. She happend to be a professor Gates's neighbor and does not reconize him, but assumes that two black men are criminals. This whole incident has far more ramifications that meets the eye. It is the commonality of perception among white folks that all blacks are threatening in some form or another. Sgt. Crowlew should have walked away and apologized once he realize that this man was in his own home. End of story!!!. This does not need to be politicize. It is an issue that needs to be dealt with on a national scale. White America is still afraid of Blacks and Blacks still don't trust Whites.

    Las Vegas.

    July 25, 2009 at 8:01 pm |
  199. P Hanrahan

    Race was a part of the incident because of course we have a long history of racial problems in the United States which continue today. The white woman who called in the burglary set in motion an expectation of a perhaps white homeowner since she didn't bother to consider whose home it was or to double check her facts before calling.

    However, the main problem that led to the arrest ultimately was not race but simply bad police protocol in how to handle citizens. Citizens should not be arrested or tasered as routine ways to handle a situation where a police officer does not like the tone of a citizen. People of all races, genders, and classes have been tasered and assaulted by police the past several years whenever a police officer loses his temper. Just look at Youtube for examples.

    Police need to change their protocols on when they are allowed to arrest, assault, or taser citizens. It should not be so easy to cry "disorderly conduct" and tarnish a homeowner's arrest record because of a police losing his temper over the homeowners tone of disapproval when he is mistaken by police for a burglar and has produced ID showing he is the homeowner.

    July 25, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  200. Elizabeth

    I like the invitation of President Barrack Obama to Professor Gates and Officer Crowley to the White House. I think we need to wait until they both meet before we crucify Prof. Gates or Officer Crowley. I do feel we need to use this event as a teachable moment. If each of these men had shown the other some respect and courtesy, instead of making demands of each other, this incident would never have happened. Hopefully, both men will have something to learn about racism. Racism is just as much about perception as it is intention of the act or person.

    July 25, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  201. Clifford Jernigan, Ph.D.

    Sgt. Jim Crowley has made a big point about how important it is for him to prove he was right. If he is involved in diversity training for his police department, he is a poor example of a diversity training officer. Sgt. Crowley demonstrates a severely limited understanding of dealing with a diverse citizenry. Based on the tenets of community policing, it becomes obvious that Crowley arrested Dr. Henry Louis Gates for the purpose of winning a power struggle. In police work you will not win every battle, and an officer who has to be right all the time usually turns out to be a bigot who enjoys being in power over others–those "A" type personalities we hear so much about in law enforcement. You have to know when it is time to get back in your patrol car and go 10-8.
    People often feel intimidated by an authority figure and may react with apprehension and/or anxiety, which to a person who is not culturally sophisticated can be interpreted as indignation and resistance. This is the purpose of diversity training, and Sgt. Crowley failed in a lesson he obviously is not able to teach others.
    The arrest was made after determination had to have been made that Dr. Gates owned or at least had custody of that house. Much of the time you will feel insulted by citizens and have to get back in your car and go back out on other calls. There was no longer an issue of officer survival, or danger to the citizenry, loss of property or other reason for effecting arrest, except to soothe a bruised ego. If you are the trainer of other officers, your example is what they will be watching.


    July 25, 2009 at 8:48 pm |
  202. Tracy

    No one knows all the details in this case except for the officers at the scene and Mr. Gates. Give the justice system a chance to work. President Obama once again spoke out of turn without having all the details. This is a local issue that needs to be handled locally, not by the President of the United States.

    July 25, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  203. Mark

    in reference to the Gates situation. -Concerned citizen calls police. Good, think neighborhood watch.- Police show up in a timely manner. Good.-Police contact possible burgler without drawing a gun, taser or night stick. Good-Police explain to Gates why they are there. Good. No hint of racism. If it had been a thief would not Prof. Gates have praised the officers?
    If Prof. Gates had acted in a reasonable manner there would not have been a problem. Proffesor Gates created the problem. If there is evidence that a white person could become equally beligerent and not be arrested, then you can scream racism.
    It is too bad that the police were not at the house when a thief damaged the door in the first place.

    July 25, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  204. George M. Smith

    Watching RACIAL PROFILING IN AMERICA Teal or imagined?

    I have only heard that Prof. Gates was arrested. Have never heard what law he broke. I wonder how I would react in a similar situation?

    July 25, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  205. Lise Johnson

    There are a couple of issues with the debate on Professor Gates' arrest:

    First, the police responded to a citizen's call regarding Gates' allegedly suspicious conduct. The citizen who reported his conduct might have done so based on racial bias, but it was the police's duty to respond to that call. At the response stage, race might have come into play – but due to the initial report, not to the police's arrival. The neighbor's reaction to Gates - and what that reveals about American society - seems to be an underreported aspect of the story.

    Second, the police's action in arresting Gates appears not to be so much a product of the color of Gates' skin, but the fact that the police have too much latitude to arrest people for vague offenses such as "disorderly conduct". This explains why police of all colors are supporting Sgt. Crowley's actions - it was not an action of a white cop toward a black person, but the action of a COP toward a PERSON. As a white female, I believe (and have experienced) that there is a pervasive problem with police in this country exploiting and abusing their apparent authority. They too often improperly use offenses such as "disorderly conduct" and "obstructing justice" as means of intimidation and harassment. This aspect of the issue needs to be examined more than the issue of race.

    July 25, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  206. Christopher D. Thomas Sr.

    The basic mistrust with the police force has never been dealt with by this country. The first American police were racist slave catchers. These slave catchers did everything in their power to degrade and shame black people will capturing them. The same police that you saw in the daytime were the same men hiding behind Klu Klux Klan hoods. We didn't know who to trust. The same mistrust is still here today. When Americans talk about this history we will all be better for it. "Knowledge is Power"

    July 25, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  207. Fitz

    Don Lemon,

    Thank you for the first intelligent and honest conversation regarding this matter. The word racist is out of control. It is overused and misused. Tim Wise was was a breath of fresh air. Everyone should listen carefully and think deeply about his New Orleans/ car story and the airplane/ pilot story. He makes thought provoking points and I look forward to reading his book.

    July 26, 2009 at 12:33 am |
  208. SeeingTheTrueIssue

    The real issue hear is that COPS ABUSE THER POWER to punish those they are personally mad at because they know they will get away with it. If the professor had have been white but still a friend with Obama, Obama still would have said the cops acted stupidly. The real situation here is the professor made the cop mad so for payback the cop arrested him even though he knew the charges wouldn’t make it to court. The proffessor probably said some harsh things to the cop but think how you would feel after being on a plane all day after a long trip and getting home only to find that you can’t get in. 90% of us would cuss about this alone and be twice as livid about a cop not believing we lived there. I know the proffessor said things out of anger as would most of us, but cops should have the training to understand this and not take it personally, but this happens all over the country where a cop is mad and wants to use the inconvienience of arresting you and making you sit in jail a few hours to punish you even though he knows what he charged you with will get throughn out by him later because a judge would be mad for him wasting the criminal justice systems time if he let it go to court. If this hadn’t turned into a race issue maybe we could get a system in place where the cop has to justify the arrest for small charges like this before ever driving the person to the station for booking

    July 26, 2009 at 12:43 am |
  209. Oscar

    Race is unfortunately one of the problems that we have to workout as a whole as a country.
    It is a shame we still have to bring up this ugly issue but, now is the time to get it out into the open.
    The issue of racial profiling is real and need to cease.

    July 26, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  210. Thomas

    Why is the class aspect not being discussed? When Gates was arrested he said "You don't know who you are messing with" most likely noting his status in the community and professorship. Class played a large role in this matter. If it wasn't a Harvard Professor, we never would have heard about this.

    July 26, 2009 at 1:44 am |
  211. Robert AZ

    I keep reading the same thing, the officer was racially profiling, he didnt give his info when asked by Mr. Gates, he is a racist, The officer should have left after getting Mr Gates ID. Can anybody tell me what the officer did that caused Mr Gates to feel threatened by the white officer? Apparently the only thing that I see that the officer did wrong was PWW "POLICING WHILE WHITE". Now from what I've read in the police report, and backed up by fellow officers, some being black, is that Mr. Gates was the one racially profiling and verbally assaulting a white officer while he was trying to investigate a breaking and entering call from the very start. It also states that the officer tried to give Mr Gates his name and badge number, but Mr Gates was yelling and would not listen to the officer.Had Mr Gates been calm, and cool, none of this would ahve happened. The officer would have checked things out and left. Nobody seems to want to discuss the fact that it was Mr.Gates racsim against whites that put him in this situation. Why is nobody addressing that point, is it because their afraid to call a black man in america a racist? We all know they exist, just as racist white people and racist hispanics and racist asians as well as every other ethinc and religous group. It's not just a white thing to be racist. In the police report is states that the officer was leaving and Mr Gates "followed" him outside continuing his racist rant, by which time a crowd of officers and neighbors had gathered. I believe after reading the report that Mr Gates was warned a few times to calm down or he would be arrested. He apparently could not calm his racist attitude long enough for the officers to leave. Apparently yelling and causing a disturbance to ones neighbors, and public, is an arrestable offence. Big shock there. People say, he was in his house and it's ok to be loud and obnoxious, then why do so many people call the police for domestice disturbance about people arguing in a house, isn't it perfectly ok to be loud and obnoxious in ones own home? I being a white male, would have expected to be arrested had I been yelling racist remarks and verbally assaulting an officer, wether he was black, white, hispanic or asian, I dont know where Mr Gates gets off thinking he's any diiferent from anybody else, unless being a racist Harvard professor is supposed to get you special privileges.

    July 26, 2009 at 2:12 am |
  212. Fredrick Clark

    The factor of racial divide does exist, I am a black Dentist and have seen first hand the racial attitude when some white patients first see you black face. Many never come back. It was something that was brought to mind when the panelist stated that he got on a plane with two black pilots and has to choke back the feeling that maybe they might not be able to fly the plane. Well many white people will not go to a black doctor. There is the racial attitude that there is a competence gap between white doctors and black doctors. This attitude pervades our entire culture from medicine to law to journalism, to architecture to any field where black professionals must compete head to head with whites of comparable education. If we are excluded by race, they maintain the control in these field and we as black professionals do not ascend to the ranks of tops in our fields over them. A black chief of surgery at Howard University Hospital might not enjoy the same position at Cedar -Sinai. I look at the lecturers in the advanced dental continuing education courses and out of hundreds have seen only one or two african americans as instructors. Our professional journals frequently rarely have a black face in the publication unless it is in an advertisement. There are almost never black contributors to scientific research literature, or courses. Where the doctor has distinguished himself in a field where few venture, a black doctor can sometimes gain respect, such as the noted John Hopkins neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson. Lastly, many white patients don't want my black hands in their "white" mouths.

    July 26, 2009 at 2:17 am |
  213. barackem

    Lemon asked something about why white men react the way they do regarding racism on the Saturday night broadcast. His white guest said it was because they were defending themselves. That is a total mischaracterization of most white men I know. Us old, white males grew up in the civil rights era. We marched, we grieved for blacks who had been denied the same opportunities, we grieved for the repercussions that rippled through the black communities and for the black children who would suffer from those repercussions well into the future. But we also knew that it had to be up to all of us, black and white, to work hard to put racial differences behind us if future generations of children, especially black children, were to receive full benefit of the American experience.

    It is easy to assume that all of us old white men do not like Gates because he is black. Instead, we see a man who should understand the importance more than most of the need to work hard to try to understand both sides. NOT to give another upside down message to black children that it is ok to assume the worst about police and to start yelling at them when confronted.

    When James Byrd was chained and dragged to his death it hurt this nation badly. What if that incident had never happened? What if it had all been a rumor? Would the hurt to this nation have been any less? When white people commit acts that cultivate mistrust and racial division, whites and blacks call other whites on it. That seems to be no problem. When black adults also cultivate mistrust and racial division by mischaracterizing white actions, they also cultivate mistrust and racial division. Old white men who grew up in the civil rights era also expect black adults to step up, do the right thing for the sake of the children, not assume the worst about those of another race or that a policeman should be disrespected first, asking questions later. If one side feels entitled to take no responsibility for their actions, whether it is blacks or whites, there will be no change. Status quo will remain, those cultures who are struggling most will continue to hurt most, especially black children.

    We all have to act as adults so the next generation do not suffer the same division as the generation before it. When whites sometimes make the comment that they couldn't get away with saying something or doing something, usually they are trying to point out that if it is hurtful to race relations when a white does it, it is just as hurtful when a black person does it. It is not a wish that whites could do it.

    The Gates situation may be very instructive. The tapes need to be released. They should not be buried to protect any parties. It is important to get to the bottom of what happened and a discussion of how the situation should have been handled. It is wrong to assume the answer is one way or the other or somewhere in the middle until we know exactly what transpired.

    July 26, 2009 at 2:21 am |
  214. Kat

    This incident just demonstrates how much authority and power police is given in this country. I totally support president Obama's original reaction to the story. That reaction was one of a person with common sense: why do you need to arrest someone in their own home after their identity was already established? It was done to show police power, authority. How can anyone dare defend themselves, argue with police? This is a case of pure police brutality that needs to be stopped if this country is to remain a democratic, free country. I don't know if it happened because the professor was a black man, but I know that this kind of police brutality happens every day in every city of the United States to people of different ethnic backgrounds. Mr. Gates just happened to be a Harvard professor and a friend of Mr. Obama. Many argue that the police officer was following procedures, but who came up with those procedures? Maybe procedures need to be reviewed?
    I was recently a witness in a case where a white police officer pepper sprayed a white 62 year old man in his car after the car was stopped with engine turned off. The person already had his drivers license in his hand and was ready to give it to the police officer. Why do you need to spray someone who is following your commands? After he was sprayed, he was ordered to get out of the car, fall to the ground and then he was hand cuffed. All of this happened on 4th of July when this 62 year old man and his 7 year old granddaughter returned to their car after watching fireworks and found the police officer issuing a parking ticket to the car parked in front of this man's car. The only comment that this 62 year old man made to the police officer while walking to his car: "It's a shame, that you are issuing tickets to people on 4th of July that came to watch fireworks in the park." (cars were parked in the park on the grass, instead of in the designated areas because there was no room to park anywhere else). Is anyone free to speak their mind anymore? And I must add that all of this spraying, handcuffing, yelling happened in the presence of a 7 year old child sitting in the car. I am afraid that next time this officer will kill an innocent person while "doing his job". This police behavior needs to be discussed and incidents like this need to be prevented. Real life is not Hollywood!

    July 26, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  215. Ron M

    CNN reminds me of tabloid journalism. Going into the second week now, the same old BS of what Pres. Obama said in related to the Gates situation. But they failed to say what Rush Limbaugh had said as referring to Pres. Obama as an angry black . So when you report the news you report it all, instead of cherrypicking.

    July 26, 2009 at 8:25 am |
  216. linda jones

    This need to go away, be over,we got so many problem ,in the world to day why,why are we still talking about this ,and we do not have time for them to go to the White House and drink a beer, we got people in the USA that need food ,Please move on

    July 26, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  217. Jeff

    Another great example of the socially exceptableness of making sweeping statements about whites. Read some of these comments. They are disgusting. Jolaine Hunter says "don't do as I do, do as I say". You could use that slogan for blacks when discussing the racial environment we live. Blacks say "all whites are racist". That is a racist and untrue comment. "White cops hate blacks". Offensive and untrue. But god forbid if a white person makes sweeping statement about blacks. Immediately they start screaming adn yelling sayi9ng they are unfairly treated. You cannot have it both ways, And truthfully, I am even more disgusted by CNN's coverage. There are no indications AT ALL that the police officer acted racially, and yet, everytime you mention the story you talk about racial profiling etc. . . . .CGates has not proven that Crowley acted like a racist, and GATES SHOULD BE FORCED TO APOLOGIZE. Itis that simple. Calling a white male a racist is similar to calling him a pedophile. IT IS WRONG.

    July 26, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  218. geneva

    Let' be fair, this situation with professor gates and sgt. crowley, was out of control , before the president spoke . I am not saying fess was right or the officer, we do know police abuse does happen in many cases, and we all will agree we do need our police . but what I am saying is the justice system does not work for us as one group of people as it does for others in so many cases and states. we all have put in comments in one way or another so let us hear your comments on this case the proof is in the documents,and they have not been challenge by any of the player .to calm the public let the public hear the tapes.And please don't tell us just inadverent they are inarticulate.

    July 26, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  219. George Kennard

    Should Pres. Obama apologize? No! It was a provocatively stupid and insensitive act to arrest a well dressed elderly man either inside his home or outside on his own property for practicing his constitutional right to “freedom of speech” or any circumstances excluding the displaying of a weapon or orally threatening someone or something similar to these after confirming his identity and residency at the home in question. Is not a man’s house his castle? Prof. Gates must have had a lot of history living in our country and reached his last straw if indeed he said anything offensive to the officer. The officer should have been more sensitive to the prof.’s age if nothing else and let the matter drop under the peculiar circumstances, and I do not believe there was a legal reason for the arrest. Stupid is as stupid does (Is that a quote?). –George in southeast Texas.

    July 26, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  220. M

    I think Obama's response was very irresponsible given that he didn't have all the facts. However I do support his attempt at calming the situation.

    July 26, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  221. joe

    Will the American People finally get a backbone and demand Mr. Obama act like a President – I believe all law enforcement officials, the national guard, EMS, fire man, and ANY person that puts their life on the line for this country should demand an apology from Mr. Obama – the man has no experience and loves to point fingers of blame (the character of someone that is totally incompetent and likes to point to other so he can hide behind the guise of knowing better!)

    Slowly Mr. Obama is tearing this country apart and proving he is working for one class (with his leader Pelosi). He works for ALL Americans and I believe that every single law enforcement official should go on strike until Mr. Obama publicly states; "he was wrong and he acted stupidly".

    Obama is proving he must be stopped – he has proven himself as a socialist and now as a President for one and only one class of people.

    Americans, I implore you to demand he apologize and not over a "beer" in a private meeting in the White House, which is not a frat house Mr. Obama!


    July 26, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  222. George Kennard

    Pardon me Mr. "M," I respect your opinion, but I beg to differ with the notion that Pres. Obama "was very irresponsible..." not having "all" the facts. It is probably rare that anyone has "all" facts about anything in life. The president had enough! facts, which is that his friend, Prof. Gates, is very elderly, uses a cane, and resided at the home and property where arrested like a common criminal followed by being booked - finger printed, mug shots taken, incarcerated, and now has a police record for the rest of his life. What else did the president need to know - that Prof. Gates got angry, loud-mouthed, raced bated, and insulted the officer that is a constitutional right (freedom of speech)? A lot of old men have bad tempers for which they are often forgiven given their advanced age. The president must have been certain without knowing the so called "facts" that Prof. Gates did not resort to violence or threatened someone's life. Therefore, the president had enough! facts if not "all" the facts to conclude that the police "acted stupidly." Frankly, I really do not like that word and thought it was a poor choice, even if true - and it is true. The president rightfully seemed acknowledged it was a poor choice of words, thankfully, and that he did not mean to malign the police department. Still, I submit that stupid is as stupid does." Other than these kinds of things, the president remains a man of conscience and a very good president, I believe. –George in southeast Texas

    July 26, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  223. Min. W.D. Patterson

    A Real Living Teaching-Tool Moment Has Arrived: I commend all players and participants in the Cambridge PD, Gates, & Obama incident. It’s about time that this highly relevant issue was brought to the forefront of America’s attention instead of being subjectively minimized and swept under the carpet of shame.

    In order of incidental appearance:
    1.) The Cambridge Officer was only doing his job as a policeman, backed by solid age-old policy, and fueled by his own white-privilege.

    2.) Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was in my opinion conducting an equivalent scientific experiment which was unintentionally inspired and triggered by his alert neighbor. The stage was set to test the water and see if this age-old phenomena of “cultural bias” was yet alive even with a Black President and if directed at a prominent scholar such as himself.

    His answer was an affirmation. It does exist. Not only does it exist it continues to thrive in the response aired over CNN & FOX News by various white-privileged individuals and certain Black BTHOBB’s ™ or African-American Negroes who choose to play and obey the status quo for economic benefit. In the meantime this Post Antebellum Show must go forward to an amicable resolution.

    3.) President Barack Hussein Obama has taken a position of supporting his idea of “CHANGE” by diplomatically defusing possibly the greatest potential threat to National Security since the end of the Cold War. In my opinion his exemplarary offer of resolution by bringing all parties to the table to discuss the issues at hand and why they occurred to insure America that these elements of non-descript behavior must be irradicated from our society if we are to continue as One nation under God United for all. We must first begin by communicating and understanding each other along cultural lines on an equitable basis.

    In conclusion:
    One of the greatest minds on earth, Albert Einstein, stated his definition of insanity as, “One who continues to do things the same old way and expecting a different result.”

    Are we not insane to continue handling such incidents of “racial bias” as our forefather’s did? Do we not have the technology and intelligent data to make the necessary changes in our own behaviors, policies, and built-environment to facilitate peace and goodwill in a welfare state amongst us despite our God-given inherent differences?

    July 26, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  224. John

    At least one important flaw to note which renders your analysis invalid, Min. W.D. Patterson: This was not a scientific experiment initiated by Mr. Gates.

    July 27, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
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