Gates-Gate: A Teachable Moment?
Has President Barack Obama caught Biden-disease? Does he have foot in mouth syndrome?
Wednesday night, during a press conference on health care reform, the president fielded one last question where he was asked about the arrest of his friend, Harvard Professor Henry Gates, Jr. President Obama told reporters that he didn’t know all the facts. But he said, “the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.”
Those words brought about great public debate, especially after the country focused on what actually had happened during this altercation. According to CNN:
Crowley wrote in the Cambridge police report that Gates refused to step outside to speak with him, and when Crowley told Gates that he was investigating a possible break-in, Gates opened the front door and exclaimed, “Why, because I’m a black man in America?”
The report said Gates initially refused to show the officer identification, but eventually produced a Harvard identification card, prompting Crowley to radio for Harvard University Police.
“While I was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence, I was quite surprised and confused with the behavior he exhibited toward me,” Crowley said, according to the report.
Gates was arrested for “loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space” and was released from police custody after spending four hours at the police station.
Officer Jim Crowley also said references were made about his mother. He has refused to apololgize. He says he followed protocol and that he is not a racist. Crowley enters the fray with some very impressive credentials, especially in the field of racial profiling. He has taught a course on the subject for several years.
Here is President Obama’s response:
Did he go far enough? Did President Obama equivocate? Should he apololgize? Was this incident reflective of more serious problems?