Town Square

Post a New Topic

The Race Card

Original post made by Inappropriate use of prestige, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 23, 2009

The race card has been pulled again. This time by the President of the United States, Obama without knowing all the facts (Obama's own admission) has called a sworn officer of the law stupid. By proclaiming at a national televised press conference Obama said in the case of Mr. Gates that the police officer acted stupidly. My suggestion is to consider the full circumstances and read the police report.

The arrest detail: Disorderly Conduct case# 09-05127
On 7/16/09 at 12:44 PM, 58-year-old Henry Gates of 17 Ware St. Cambridge, MA was arrested for Disorderly conduct after exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior.
here: Web Link

Police report: Here: Web Link

Court report: Here: Web Link

Gates says: Gates accused the officer who arrested him at his Cambridge home of having a "broad imagination" when he summarized last Thursday's confrontation in police reports, and he denied making several inflammatory remarks.

Gates arrest photo: Web Link

My question why is Obama placing the prestige of the presidency into a matter of this little significance. Furthermore Obama's statements on the matter undermine the very job we seek the police to do which is to keep law and order. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Comments (155)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2009 at 9:50 am

Racism is very much alive in a country where many voters refused to vote for our president simply because of his race. Remember the much ballyhooed "Bradley Effect"? Wake up and see the elephants in the room.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 9:53 am

All the charges were dismissed and mayor apologized to Mr. Gates
Obama did not call the police stupid he said that the police acted stupidly and he did not play the race card

Web Link


"President Obama said that police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, "acted stupidly" in arresting a prominent black Harvard professor last week after a confrontation at the man's home.
"I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played," Obama said Wednesday night while taking questions after a White House news conference."

and

" The mayor of Cambridge said she is going to meet with the city's police chief to make sure the scenario that caused Gates' arrest does not happen again.
This suggests that something happened that should not have happened," Mayor E. Denise Simmons said on CNN's "American Morning." "The situation is certainly unfortunate. This can't happen again in Cambridge."


So it looks like the police may not have acted properly and city officials plan to make sure that it does not happen again.

Inappropriate use of prestige states:

"My question why is Obama placing the prestige of the presidency into a matter of this little significance."
You may consider it a "matter of little significance, but it is not.

"Furthermore Obama's statements on the matter undermine the very job we seek the police to do which is to keep law and order."
What happened to freedom of speech--or is criticism of the police now forbidden in our post-9/11 society? Clearly city officials in Cambridge want change. Let us not forget that a police officer can claim that anyone is exhibiting "disorderly conduct" if they do not like their attitude and/or the way the person is speaking to them. Since the charges were dropped, it was clearly a wrongful arrest.


"His comments are inflammatory and insulting."
And that is your opinion

"If there is anyone who should apologize it should be Obama for inflaming race relations again."

No, you should apologize for putting words into Obama's mouth and claiming her said things that he did not.

This article is good also:
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 23, 2009 at 9:54 am

I voted for Mr. Obama and I too I'm disappointed that he commented before knowing all the facts.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 23, 2009 at 10:01 am

Arresting a man in his own home for "disorderly conduct" is very suspicious. Maybe the cop was not a racist, but he certainly was on a power trip.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jul 23, 2009 at 10:06 am

I voted for Mr. Obama and I thrilled that he commented on this issue. It is clear to me that he knew enough of the facts to make a statement. It is also clear that he was correct to comment since the charges have been dropped and the Mayor has apologized.
BTW, disorderly conduct is a charge that police use quite often when they do not like and/or want to deal with someone.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 10:24 am



Obama would have been wise to leave the whole thing alone.

There will likely be a review of the incident, at which point we will find out who was most imprudent—Crowley, Gates, or the president himself.

A calm, resolute Crowley said no mea culpa will be forthcoming.

"I just have nothing to apologize for," he said. "It will never happen."

Gates behavior was inappropriate, he may well have been jet lagged.

Crowley said----
"Mister Gates was given plenty of opportunities to stop what he was doing. He didn't. He acted very irrational he controlled the outcome of that event."

"There was a lot of yelling, there was references to my mother, something you wouldn't expect from anybody that should be grateful that you were there investigating a report of a crime in progress, let alone a Harvard University professor."

From the police reportWeb Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 10:44 am

""I just have nothing to apologize for," he said. "It will never happen.""
That is irrelevant--the mayor has apologized and has stated that this should not have happened, that it was unfortunate and that it should not happen again. The fact that a police officer on a power trip will not apologize is not surprising considering that many police feel that they are above the law

"Gates behavior was inappropriate, he may well have been jet lagged."
And you know this how, Sharon? The charges were dropped so his behavior was clearly not disorderly.

"Crowley said----"

And you take everything that Crowley said as being the honest facts? Police have never doctored reports to absolve themselves of bad behavior?

The dropping of the charges and the apology clearly suggest that the police were in the wrong.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 11:01 am


if you listen to Obamas comments carefully it is a hoot.

As he was speaking, I think, the President realized his words collapsed on themselves.
1/He said he didn't know the facts, and yet he called the police stupid.

2/To get out of that jam, he decided to veer into a riff about racism in general, asserting that "there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately." (I love the way he threw Latinos into that.)
3/ He celebrates what he sees as or hopes you see as his escape from the jam by asserting "That's just a fact." He didn't know the facts of the specific case, but hey, look over here, here's a fact: There is racism in this country, we all know that.
4/He then tumbles toward the end of the hour with an acknowledgment of what he knows a lot of people will say — that he made it to the presidency, and, yeah, there's been "incredible progress" — and a reprise about racism — it haunts us — and reform, reform is important.
5/He worked in the Illinois legislature. Let's improve policing. Let's make everybody safer.
6/He's just trying to wrap things up and get out of there looking reasonably okay.
"All right? Thank you, everybody."

Move along now-- nothing to see here---


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 11:10 am

Sharon:


"1/He said he didn't know the facts, and yet he called the police stupid."
No he said that the police acted stupidly--big difference (probably not to you, though). As you may realize even smart people do stupid things occasionally

"2/To get out of that jam, he decided to veer into a riff about racism in general, asserting that "there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately." (I love the way he threw Latinos into that.)"
this is a fact and has been shown over and over again--even in Palo Alto.

"3/ He celebrates what he sees as or hopes you see as his escape from the jam by asserting "That's just a fact." He didn't know the facts of the specific case, but hey, look over here, here's a fact: There is racism in this country, we all know that."
But above, you seem to disagree with his statement-so which is it, Sharon?

"4/He then tumbles toward the end of the hour with an acknowledgment of what he knows a lot of people will say — that he made it to the presidency, and, yeah, there's been "incredible progress" — and a reprise about racism — it haunts us — and reform, reform is important."
Exactly what is your problem with his statement.

"5/He worked in the Illinois legislature. Let's improve policing. Let's make everybody safer."
Problem with that?

"6/He's just trying to wrap things up and get out of there looking reasonably okay. "
So what actual problems do you have with his statements--beyond your dislike of Obama and your propensity to denigrate him on this forum?
Did we really expect you think that his comments were not a "hoot"?
What is a "hoot" anyway?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2009 at 11:46 am

Paul,

The "Bradley Effect" is an urban legend. Bradley was defeated becasue he took a late and harsh stand against guns, among other issues. This myth was supposed to be in effect in this last election, but it never materialized (becasue it doesn't exist). White recists have no problem telling a pollster that they are against a black candidate, especially if the question does not specifically involve race. There were many whites who mildly supported Bradley, until he tried to take their guns away. The professional prattling class, who used to raise the Bradley Effect on a regular basis, don't do it anymore, becasue it has beem demonstrated to be a myth (swallowed, hook line sinker, by the liberal press for decades).

Race and class seem to be involved in the Gates issue. Are prominent people, even if not known to the cops, supposed to get a pass, because they they are above the law? Are prominent people possessive of a license to yell at cops? If the prominent person is black, does that provide a special license? If the black prominent citizen yells racism, and a liberal city issues an apology and reprimands the police department, does that mean the cops were in the wrong, or does it mean that the prominent black guy and liberal city leaders are racists?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 11:51 am

So what? BHO has a knee-jerk reaction against all things having to do with profit, military or police: he has publicly disparaged and humiliated bankers, other financial institution employees, investors, military, anyone who has a profitable business, now police and physicians ( all in the same day yesterday!! ya know, cuz those evil pediatricians are out for a profit when they decide to take out tonsils, ya know)...

He and his ideology have disparaged America and Americans abroad, almost non-stop, ..have you ever heard a word of praise and pride for America come from his lips anytime in his candidacy or since President?

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 11:59 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don't understand
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 23, 2009 at 12:41 pm

How can a person possibly be arrested in his own home? What crime did he commit? Is it even possible to be "disorderly" in your own home?

I don't even begin to understand the justification for arresting someone sitting / standing / shouting in his own home. The only scenario that makes sense if he did something bad EXTERNAL to the home and then ran inside his house for shelter. But this wasn't the case.

I bet the police officer will eventually cave and apologize.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Cooperate completely with the police on the scene. There is plenty of time later to redress grievances. Sounds to me like a self-important loudmouth abusing the police. Next time they get as call of someone kicking down a door in that neighborhood them might not hurry to the scene. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Without even reading the details of the arrest, the answer is that anyone can be arrested in his own home for a crime committed elsewhere or there. There is no "asylum" privilege in your home.

Ok, I finally made myself read the details..looks completely appropriate to me, and I would hope that the cops would treat any of us behaving in such a manner in the same way. From the report, I can't help but wonder if the guy was under the influence of something, or maybe he was ill. But in any case, seems like ( unless the neighbor and both cops are lying) he was out of control and a little scary.

Or maybe it is better if we all mind our own business and don't report what looks like a robbery about to happen to our neighbor's house? And maybe it is better if cops don't respond to the complaint if there is anyone other than a white male involved so that they can avoid this kind of hassling accusations?

That would be a logical conclusion I might draw as either a neighbor or a cop.






 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 12:58 pm

I had to laugh..I was writing the above while Walter posted, I guess..looks we came to the same conclusion about the possible outcome of this kind of abuse.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don't understand
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Perspective - exactly what crime did he commit though? What does being "disorderly" in your own home mean? I'm pretty sure you are allowed to shout and yell and scream obscenities all you want in your own home.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Read the report. Try to find what he was ACTUALLY arrested for and how that came about.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Walter writes:

"Sounds to me like a self-important loudmouth abusing the police."
And you base this on what? What police said? that means Gates was lying and the police were telling the truth?
Sounds to me like this was a baseless arrest--the charges have been dropped and the mayor has apologized. As I have stated before "disorderly conduct" is a charge that any police officer can bring against anyone at anytime.
It sounds to me like a self-important police officer was abusing his power.

Perspective writes:

"Ok, I finally made myself read the details..looks completely appropriate to me, and I would hope that the cops would treat any of us behaving in such a manner in the same way."

Same comments to you as I made above to walter


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:13 pm

"Read the report. Try to find what he was ACTUALLY arrested for and how that came about. "

You take the report at face value--no need to hear the other side?
It does not matter what he was arrested for--it was a bogus arrest and police officer clearly overstepped his authority.
Could have been that a white police officer resented having to deal with a black man that was richer and more intelligent than him. Isn't that a possibility also, if we are going to speculate and take what one person wrote as the gospel truth?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Why did Obama want to frame this as a race issue without any evidence?

He has lost a lot of credibility.
His comments were very revealing, someone should tell him that he cannot run his administration on the theme of "White Guilt"

As it turns that out the cop is seen as a role model for race relations

"The white police sergeant criticized by President Barack Obama for arresting black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his Massachusetts home is a police academy expert on racial profiling.

Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley has taught a class on racial profiling for five years at the Lowell Police Academy after being hand-picked for the job by former police Commissioner Ronny Watson, who is black, said Academy Director Thomas Fleming.

"I have nothing but the highest respect for him as a police officer. He is very professional and he is a good role model for the young recruits in the police academy," Fleming told The Associated Press on Thursday.Web Link

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Oh, that is priceless. I finally looked at the photo.And the arrested one is screaming racism? If it is because the neighbor who called in the burglary concern was white, why doesn't he scream sexism, since she is a female also? If it is because the first officer on the scene was white ( I don't know, just wondering out loud), then does that mean only half the team is racist? Or is it because the cop who is black is younger than the arrested one, so it is age-ism?

Ok, I better stop before my sarcasm gets away from me.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm

I wasn't going to bring it up, but I, a white looking female, had the cops called on me as I was trying to break into my car. Uh..I just calmly showed my ID and my car registration, end of story.

A very reasonable response to call in by a caring neighbor, with a reasonable response by cops trying to ascertain if the guy actually lives in that house..and he makes a federal case out of it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don't understand
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Perspective -

Why is yelling at someone -- who invited you to step outside your own house in the first place -- considered "disorderly"? I read the report. Even if the report is 100% true, where is the crime exactly?

You can yell at your kids or friends or wife, but you can't yell at a police officer who you believe did you wrong?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm

"Why did Obama want to frame this as a race issue without any evidence?
He has lost a lot of credibility. "

Obama has never had an credibility with Sharon or Perspective to begin with,so what has he lost?
I do find it revealing that both Sharon and Perspective have taken the officer's account as the gospel truth, while disparaging Mr Gates and that are not even willing to wait for a review of this matter before stating who is right and who is wrong.
it does say plenty that the charges have been dropped so quickly.

Or is this whole really about putting Obama in his place?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:29 pm

So, nobody is going to comment on the fact that Gates said his door couldn't be closed and locked because of previous break-in attempt? IE: there was already a history of a break-in attempt, so recently that he hadn't even had his lock repaired.

So, now we have a neighbor, caring about Gates, and knowing ( perhaps, just wondering) that he had already nearly suffered a theft by already having one break-in attempt, calling in a suspected break in.

We have a cop arriving on the scene who sees the jimmied door, and asks the guy inside the house that he can see through the window to show him ID, telling him that he got a report of a break in..

And Gates refuses. And then gets ever increasingly combative. In front of witnesses. Not just one cop.

Umm....the MAYOR dared to apologize,,why??? I hope the cop never does.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm

The "officers account as gospel truth" had many witnesses, including another officer and many neighbors by the end of the session.

Versus Gates. I find it interesting that you, too, automatically assume that not just one cop, but two, and many witnesses, would be lying.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don't understand
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Perspective -

"Being increasingly combative" verbally shouldn't get you arrested in my America, especially in my own home, especially when provoked. What is your view of America? That cop should apologize, even if his report is 100% correct. Obama is right to weigh in. That cop behaved stupidly, plain and simple.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:46 pm

"But,hey..don't worry. I am sure you are right."

I am. But on the other hand, you still take the officers tale as being the gospel truth? As Don't understand stated above--is being provoked and yelling, even at a police officer, illegal? apparently, it is not, since the charges have been thrown out, suggesting that the officer acted improperly. It looks to me that the officer acted improperly, then tried to lie about it in his report. Whether he apologizes or not is irrelevant--his apology would not be meaningful anyway.

Did the neighbors actual hear the entire exchange between the officers and Gates or did they only hear Gates yelling?

Web Link

"To his minuscule credit, Officer Crowley's report claims that he did realize it was Gates' home early into the incident. But to what hopefully is his eternal regret, instead of leaving the situation immediately once the crime he was called in for was proven to be a mistake, Crowley continued to exchange harsh words with Gates and unnecessarily radio for backup. The officer then demanded that Professor Gates step out of his home, and in front of a gathering crowd of neighbors and onlookers, a man who was one of TIME's 25 most influential Americans in 1997, was arrested for "disorderly conduct."

This charge, always unfailingly ambiguous, is easily recognized by many blacks as an offense that is not in any legal code, but still manages to elicit punishment from authority daily: failure of a black to show proper deference to a white police officer. Gates' refusal to be humiliated in his own home and insistence on calling the incident what it was -- racial profiling -- was more than anything, a direct challenge to the fragile hierarchy of superiority and propriety that Officer Crowley attempted to enforce. The war of words between Crowley and Gates was a contest about dignity, imbued with the intricacies of hundreds of years of domination and deference between white and black, felt most acutely in the rituals of policing and criminal justice. "


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:46 pm



Bill Cosby said that President Obamas comments on his friends arrest were completely inappropriate

"I've heard about five different reports [on the details of the arrest]," Cosby said on Boston's WZLX. "If I'm the president of the United States, I don't care how much pressure people want to put on it about race, I'm keeping my mouth shut."

"I was shocked to hear the president making this kind of statement," Cosby said referring to the president's remarks during last night's press conference.

I see Obama is trying to walk back the cat today
White House qualifies Obama remark about arrestWeb Link

Too little too late, the mask slipped on prime time TV.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Inappropriate use of prestige
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:59 pm

If you read the details of this case you can see that Mr. Gates went off on the police. This is in part due to his life long standing opinion that they "the police" are bad in all cases.

FACTS:
A call for service is received @ 911 that reports someone breaking in to a residence.
The arriving officers discover the front door with marks and damage consistent with other types of break-ins they have seen for years.
They proceed to the back door and see the same marks and the door is ajar.
They now have probable cause to enter the home on the belief that a break-in has occurred or is occurring.
As they proceed into the residence they find a man that is consistent in description as the citizen reported in the initial call for service.

<STOP - now you are the cop. What are you going to do?>

Were their guns unholstered - probably. Did this incident scare Mr. Gates when the police first found him in the home - absolutely. Did the officers believe they had a burglar initially? - Yes, that is why there were so many police on the scene. Was Gates cuffed in the home upon discovery - most likely.

What does Gates do? He starts to go off on the police who were just doing their job.

Next the officers asks for ID and the individual is reluctant to produce ID.

Finally there is enough convincing evidence to believe that the person in the house is the owner and has just broken-into his own home.

Making wild accusations and inflammatory and disparaging remarks in nature. I could easily come to the conclusion that Mr. Gates emotional state was a harm to himself or others.

If it was me on the scene, I would have taken the subject in for a psychological evaluation.

This incident has nothing to do with race. And most certainly does not rise to the level of concern for the President.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Obama should of NEVER commented on this. I'm VERY disappointed that he did when even he said "he did not know all the facts".



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm

" Bill Cosby said that President Obamas comments on his friends arrest were completely inappropriate"
Why does it matter what Cosby says about this affair? Because he is African-American? relevance, Sharon.

"White House qualifies Obama remark about arrest"
What the White House is doing in countering the twisting of what Obama said by people like Sharon and Perspective, to name just a few.

"Too little too late, the mask slipped on prime time TV."
What mask? Does it matter what Obama did or said to you?

Fact:
The charges were dropped. gates committed no crime. The police made an inappropriate arrest. The officer probably acted inappropriately, though that will surely not show up in his report (has anyone ever seen a report written by an officer where they admit they did something wrong?)


"Making wild accusations and inflammatory and disparaging remarks in nature."
Since the officer did that why was he not charged with disorderly conduct as well?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Actually, the more I think about it..and I shouldn't cuz I am getting angrier by the moment..isn't it racism to make the incredible assumptions he made even after he admitted he didn't know all the facts?

His assumption was "black guy right, cop wrong". Ok, maybe he isn't a racist. If he would as foolishly open his mouth and make the same comments if it were a white guy screaming racism when a black cop arrests him for the same thing, then I will raise my estimation of him from racist AND foolish to just foolish.

At the very best..what the hell is he even doing opening his mouth about ANY police case, especially before the facts are known, but even then I would question the wisdom of opening his mouth!

This is a what I would expect from a "community organizer" from ACORN or the NAACP, not the head of the USA.

He really needs to learn when to not speak, when to not interfere.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 2:09 pm


Obama is digging himself in deeper, he is now retracting his retraction

Obama Defends Criticism of Cambridge Police in Arrest of GatesWeb Link

"Law enforcement sources tell ABC News that the conversation between Gates and Crowley was transmitted over Crowley's open police radio and Gates can be heard yelling"

Jim Carnell, union representative of the Boston Patrolmen Association, said the president's comments are unforgiveable.

"With one sentence, our president set this country back 100 years. For the president of the United States to use a prime-time news conference to push through comments in favor of his friend that cast police officer in this country as stupid is unforgiveable," Carnell said at the headquarters of the Boston police.

"Let's face it," the official said. "This case has nothing to do with race.
This is a man who has made some phone calls and the case went away. They treated him with kid gloves.
Harvard University executives rushed to the police station to monitor the entire situation."

"Legally, the prosecution made the right call," Frank said.
"The issue, though, is that if Gates were an electrician from Everett and not a well-known professor from Harvard,
the reality is that in all likelihood he would have to defend himself against the charges in a courtroom.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 2:16 pm

"This is a what I would expect from a "community organizer" from ACORN or the NAACP, not the head of the USA. "

Oh you are so subtle, Perspective.

Well, Sharon if we are going to cherry pick comments from the article you linked to....

"I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement, because I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don't need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who's in his own home," Obama said.
In an exclusive interview with ABC's Terry Moran to air on "Nightline" tonight, Obama said it doesn't make sense to him that the situation escalated to the point that Gates was arrested.
"I think that I have extraordinary respect for the difficulties of the job that police officers do," the president told Moran. "And my suspicion is that words were exchanged between the police officer and Mr. Gates and that everybody should have just settled down and cooler heads should have prevailed. That's my suspicion."


And has anyone ever known a police union representative to not attack anyone that has dared to criticize the police. I mean union reps were defending the officer in NYC that sodomized that african-american gentleman with his baton a number of years ago!!!


[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2009 at 2:29 pm

What was the narrative in Gate's mind? Racism runs in many directions. From the published reports, the chip on his shoulder seemed to come out in full force. Will he appologize to the policeman, if the facts demonstrate that he went off on him? Or is he too racist to do that?

Will Obama retract, and apologize to the cops, whom he diminsihed for political gain? Will the Cambridge city council and other liberal leaders apologize to the cops who were viciously attacked (by them and Gates)? Can this cop sue for civil damages, as did those officials who were savaged by Tawana Brawley and Al Shaprton?

This one is not going away, because it illustrates, so well, the stealth racism that is endemic in this country. The Ricci case took many years to come to a judgement, but this racist behavior by Gates, et. al., will be played out in the court of public opinion, first, then perhaps the civil courts.

This one has some real meat on its bones!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 2:39 pm

" Will he appologize to the policeman, if the facts demonstrate that he went off on him? Or is he too racist to do that?"

Will the cop apologize if the facts demonstrate that he was wrong? He has already said that he would not. Is he racist, then?

"Will Obama retract, and apologize to the cops, whom he diminsihed for political gain?"
Political gain? hardly? He made a statement to the effect that police acted stupidly. Sounds like they did since the charges were dropped and the mayor apologized.

"Will the Cambridge city council and other liberal leaders apologize to the cops who were viciously attacked (by them and Gates)?"
Viciously attacked? How did the Cambridge city council viciously attack "the cops"? i thought we were dealing with a single officer?
Do you actually know every word that the officer said to Gates? Maybe Gates was the victim of a vicious attack and responded.

" Can this cop sue for civil damages, as did those officials who were savaged by Tawana Brawley and Al Shaprton?"
he can try--of course you are making an apples and oranges comparison. the Brawley incident was entirely made up.

"This one is not going away, because it illustrates, so well, the stealth racism that is endemic in this country."
This will go away in a few more days.


"The Ricci case took many years to come to a judgement, but this racist behavior by Gates, et. al., will be played out in the court of public opinion, first, then perhaps the civil courts."

How do you conclude that Gate's behavior was racist and that the officer's behavior was not? It has already played out in the court of public opinion. People have taken sides.
What is enlightening is that how some people ignore the racial divide that still plagues our country and dismiss , out of hand, any charges of racism by a minority--I guess that is the new mantra of the republican party.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2009 at 2:57 pm

"How do you conclude that Gate's behavior was racist and that the officer's behavior was not?"

Because my assumption is that Gates had a racist narrative running through his mind. There are a number of witnesses to the event. Two cops were involved in the arrest, but others were also there. So were a number of civilians. Since this is a civil rights issue, I suggest a full scale FBI investigation. The cops deserve that, at a minimum.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 3:02 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appropriate use of prestige aka perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 3:04 pm

"Because my assumption is that Gates had a racist narrative running through his mind. "

And how do you know, Gary, what was running through the officer's minds?
So your conclusion is therefore, by your own admission, based on an assumption and not any facts.

"I suggest a full scale FBI investigation. The cops deserve that, at a minimum. "
By all means, but doesn't Gates also deserve it,as well or have you judged him guilty already?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2009 at 3:12 pm

"Well, then let's put an end to this and release the entire transcript of what was said by both sides."

Much better, I think, is to call in the FBI, on a civil rights issue. The FBI has a more objective view than the Cambridge city council (or Gates or the police). Let the FBI listen to the tape, and do various interviews. Until the FBI is brought in, this thing is not going to die. The cops deserve a fair hearing. Elite professors, especially those with racial narratives, should not be protected. If Gates is guilty, it should become public knowledge. The police deserve no less.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Foreign exchange
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2009 at 5:42 pm

The NY Times wrote this: "Next, the sergeant said, he warned Professor Gates to calm down and lower his voice, and to step outside to his front porch. Sergeant Crowley said he gave the professor two warnings, the second while holding a set of handcuffs, but that the professor continued berating him. "The professor at any point in time could have resolved the issue by quieting down and/or by going back in the house," he said in the radio interview."

Can anyone answer this: Why does he get arrested for berating the police and not lowering this voice? Is that not allowed? Is it not a stretch to arrest someone just for doing that?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 23, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Since when do police have the right to tell someone to leave his own house because the guy's yelling?

Wayyyy out of line even in the police report version. And "stupid" is a good description of the behavior--any one of you would be enraged if it happened to you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Foreign exchange
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2009 at 5:58 pm

It was obviously a bad arrest, since the department and city dropped the charges and apologized. You wouldn't do that if it was a good arrest and the officer had "followed all the police procedures". Besides, can the police even arrest you simply for yelling and berating a police officer?

Let's assume for the sake of argument the police report is correct. Does it justify arresting the guy? Just for screaming and yelling in his own home? How would any of you feel if you got arresting in your Palo Alto house for doing the exact same thing?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Commander McBragg
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2009 at 6:01 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 6:02 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2009 at 6:47 pm

"Since when do police have the right to tell someone to leave his own house because the guy's yelling?"

The cop could have arrested the guy inside his house, if it had gotten to that stage. If the yelling is interputing normal communication, the cop has every right (and obligation) to try to diffuse the situation, by stepping outside.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

OP, you, of all people, one of the only smart leftists on this forum, should be able to see this for what it is. You are a realist, well as as much as any leftist can be, so you need to lead the way, and get your guy out of the woods on this one. I think I have provided good advice.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 23, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Gary,

Actually, they don't. Check out what's left of the Bill of Rights.

And, yeah, I see this exactly for what it is--a cop who acted like an ass made the mistake of trying to bully a guy with political clout.

Then he tried to cover up his bad behavior by writing a less-than-honest police report. And why not? This is sort of thing for which you get reprimanded. A cop will lie to cover his own ass--just like a lot of other people. No news there.

The police work for us, Gary. It's not the other way around.

Gotta say, I love the latest version of right-wing whining--the outrage! the hurt feelings! over the possibility that RACE could still be a factor.

From the party that brought you the vicious attacks on John McCain's adopted brown-skinned daughter in South Carolina. From the party that brought you the infamous Southern strategy.

Give me a break.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 9:02 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Obama added that with all the problems facing the nation, "it doesn't make sense to arrest a guy in his own home if he's not causing a serious disturbance."

Obama should listen to his own words and deal with the problems facing the nation and not commenting on things that he didn't even have all the facts.
Now he is trying to say what a "outstanding police officer he is". Back stepping a little.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's it
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm

There is no such thing as a race card. This idea that there is such a thing as the race card is racist.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Foreign exchange
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm

It is pretty clear that this cop mistakenly thinks it is OK to arrest people in their house for arguing with him. He made a mistake and he should be a man about it, own up to it, and apologize to Gates. THAT'S what Obama meant by saying he "acted stupidly".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

"Gotta say, I love the latest version of right-wing whining--the outrage! the hurt feelings! over the possibility that RACE could still be a factor."

What percent of Black voters voted for Obama?

You can't have it both ways.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2009 at 7:30 am



The issue is about class not race.

If Gates were a working class guy in Boston he would have been arrested for the same behavior, made bail the next day and be heading for trial or a plea bargain.

Instead the elite professor Gates threatens the cops saying,
"You don't know who you're messing with!" .
He then calls the Harvard administration, calls his friend the president and the charges are suddenly dropped.
Gates then conducts media interviews from his summer home in Marthas Vineyard and continues to defame the arresting officer as a racist and demand an apology and promote his own cottage industry.

This is a case about class and privilege not race.

Obama should not have tried to frame the matter as a racial issue-- he has paid a price for calling the police stupid- today his approval rating is less than 50% for the first time Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2009 at 8:14 am

The Boston Globe, took down the police report it had previously posted on its website. It was replaced with a highly scrubbed version (Web Link ). It seems that the full police report did not comport with the Globe's sympathetic story on Gates. If the facts get in the way of a story, just hide the facts....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's it
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2009 at 8:19 am

Sharon, hm, now Gates is classist because he dared to disagree with the police?. Naw, nothing to do with class.

In reality, the cop decided it was OK to arrest arrest a black man in his house for arguing with him, the cop. Gates was arrested for arguing with an officer while being black. Also known as being uppity.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2009 at 9:31 am

Obama was right. The cop acted stupidly. So did Gates.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by annoyed
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2009 at 10:21 am

I didn't vote for Obama but I respect the fact that he is our President and will support the office. When I hear him open his mouth prematurely and put his foot in, it reminds me that he was a community organizer with questionable friends and background that appears to be coming to the forefront.

If he is going to comment on police practices I suggest that he be sent all police reports from all over the country so he can comment on all of them. Why doesn't he comment on the killing at the BART station.....oh, that was a economically challenged young black male, not a high profile person who he is a friend of.

Mr. President.....you represent all Americans, not just your friends. Concentrate on what ails all of us....there is a war that our children are dying in, the economy is putting more and more people on the breadlines, and yes race relations are a problem and you were the first step in soothing them. Then you open your mouth and light the fire.

And yes, if you messed with the door at the White House you would be shot. That's no joke like you tried to make it to start your back tracking. That's the least we can do to protect the person, and his family, who we place the ultimate trust in.

Act like the President should act.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Inappropriate use of prestige
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2009 at 10:29 am

Henry Louis Gates Jr. comes across as an arrogant elitist who created "academic" studies steeped in victimology, too important to follow the rules that the rest of us do.
What rule might I be taking about, specifically?

Rule:
When armed police come into your home with their weapons out and discover you and then hand cuff you then start to question you because they think you are in the act of burglarizing a home then suspiciously, you start shouting at them and you refuse to provide ID. This action is just not breaking the rules it is an overt act of stupidity
Mr. Gates, you are not above the law, and, honestly, does anyone truly believe that the police bust into peoples home for no good reason.

The wise man controls his temper, and understands that police respond to someone they think might be up to no good for your protection. What Gates should have done is make the wise choice and say:

"Thank you, officer, for risking your life to check on what might have been an armed burglary occurring in my home. Your service is greatly appreciated. Here is my ID."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's it
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2009 at 10:42 am

Inapp,

You have the facts wrong. The cop cuffed Gates AFTER Gates provided identification and after the cop verified that he lived at that address.

The issue is not whether Gates is wise or lost his temper or raised his voice. The issue is whether a police officer is justified in arresting a black man who acts unwisely in losing his temper and raising his voice. Is it prudent or wise or justified to arrest a loud man just because he is black?

The cop should have just backed off and said, "Thank you very much for showing me your ID, Mr. Gates. Glad to see that everything here is OK, sir. I am deeply sorry to have troubled you. Have a good day."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 24, 2009 at 11:23 am

Walter,

What's that got to do with anything here? There was no huge crossing of party lines here--and given the GOP's Southern strategy there's little reason for most African-Americans to vote Republican.

Inapp,

You need to check your facts and the law.

Turns out that the disorderly conduct law in Massachuesetts goes back to colonial times--if you read it, there's no way that Gates--in his own home--came close to violating it. Obama, who taught constitutional law, would have known in a minute that the cop was out of bounds. Among other things, Gates' protests were very, very much in the realm of protected speech.

The cop acted stupidly, which is why there was a quick release and apology. Now the cop ought to man up and apologize for over-reacting.

Should Gates? No. He was in his own house and did no harm to the cop. He was exercising his First-Amendment rights to question authority.

Once again, I find right-wing take on this (I can't call it "conservative" because it's so un-American.) weird. A guy's in his OWN home exercising his right to free speech--and you think the cop who arrested him and handcuffed him wasn't abusing his authority and wasn't acting stupidly?

I mean, it's dazzlingly clear cut. What is it that you don't get about our civil rights? (And talk about blaming the victim)

And why are you so eager to give away our rights like that?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

O/P, If you cannot accept argument by analogs, then we cannot communicate.
To deny the racial aspect of the Black vote for Obama is to deny the same process by which "White" America essentially convicted itself and determined to change, a determination largely borne out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2009 at 12:06 pm

OP,

The cop did not act like an ass. The cop followed protocol for a burglary in progress. Obama just tried to walk it back...with a personal phone call to the cop (beer at the White House?). Obama jumped to conclusions, and reflexively bought the "racial profiling" charge by Gates. Gates needs help, and his friend, Obama, might be able to walk him in the right direction. Bill Cosby, and many other Americans are disturbed by this attempted figurative lynching of the cop.

BTW, Gates was outside his house, following the cop, when he continued to go off on the cop.

OP, because I like you, and enjoy our back-and-forth arguments, I would, sincerely, suggest that you walk it back to ground zero, then start over. This is not a winner for you or your side. Obama now understands this, even though he continues to insist that Gates was "pulled out of his house"...he was not, according to the police report. Obama also fails to get that it was Gates, not the cop, who overreacted.

I think the FBI should be brought in to review this whole thing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm

OP: Read the report. The cop did not tell him to leave his home, Gates FOLLOWED THE COP out the door and continued screaming.

Gates was irrational, and since he needed a cane, I am wondering if he had a stroke recently or something which impaired his judgement. Cops have the duty to deal with irrational people in a way that best protects the individual and those around them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Inappropriate use of prestige
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I have nothing wrong.
The police cuffed him upon discovery. In fact they cuffed him behind his back and then later move the cuffs in front after Gates complained of discomfort. The police believed he was a burglar, period. It was Gates who took this incident into the race area just like people who state that black has something to do with this other than the original 911 call for service where black was used in the description of the person attempting to force entry into the house at 17 Ware Street.

Don't fall into the race game it is just not here in this Cambridge incident. The only one injecting race into this is Gates and the President after he said he does not know all the facts.

In any event there will be a full federal review of this event at tremendous taxpayer expense and all the witnesses will provide full details. And you will see that I have the facts in full detail and rest assured in the end Gates will look like the unapologetic fool he is.

Today Obama is backing away from this at full speed as he is learning what really happened.
Web Link

As I said in the beginning this is an Inappropriate use of prestige.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2009 at 12:21 pm

To amplify on my previous post: Gates could have let the incident go, but he stupidly taunted the cop. The cop could have walked away, but for whatever reason, he chose not to and did a stupid thing himself. The two of them should shake hands and put the issue behind them, or go lick their wounds in private. It's their own business.

Well, it ought to be. The only reason this is a national issue is racism.

"Henry Louis Gates Jr. comes across as an arrogant elitist who created "academic" studies steeped in victimology..."

If Gates indeed practices "victimology" he has no monopoly on it - witness the desperate white whining about Judge Sotomayor.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fundamental
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 24, 2009 at 12:54 pm

I have a fundamental question for everyone on this forum: is it proper for the police to ARREST you simply for yelling and screaming at them from your own house? Is that a "crime"? Why shouldn't the officer apologize for doing something stupid like that? (esp. after he knew that Gates lived there?)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's it
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Inapp,

Read the report: you got it wrong. The cop cuffed him after ID-ing him. The cop did not cuff him for suspicion of burglary. He cuffed him for being uppity.

It's interesting how it outrages some people when you call out racism.

The cop should just apologize for inappropriate use of his position. Perhaps he should take a course on how to deal with thet public in a non-confrontational manner. And one in constitutional rights....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2009 at 2:47 pm

"He cuffed him for being uppity."

There is line between "uppity", as I have been a couple of times with cops, back in my lefty days, and disorderly conduct. Gates was arrested for the latter not the former.

"A disorderly person is defined as one who:

with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or
recklessly creates a risk thereof
engages in fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior, or
creates a hazard or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose" Web Link

Gates is a sad case of a public figure who believes in, and is invested in his own self importance. Actually, I can appreciate his arrogance, because I am also arrogant, and proudly so...however, I am not a public figure, and I don't pretend to speak for most white people, like Gates does for black people. The blowback on this situation will not serve him well. He has painted himself into a corner. Humility is not one of his character traits, so he will probably just continue to try to gin up his "racism" rhetoric.

I am not a betting man, but I think the odds of Gates humbling himself to apologize to the cop, in the White House, are low. Obama, yes, possibly, but Gates, no....




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2009 at 3:02 pm

"The cop could have walked away, but for whatever reason, he chose not to and did a stupid thing himself." "He cuffed him for being uppity."

These statements show that there is a lack of understanding of what happened.

Please read the report.

Again, Gates followed the cop out of the house, then stood outside yelling and screaming so much that he was drawing a crowd of onlookers. He was, for whatever reason, beyond being able to control himself, in the middle of the night, causing a public disturbance. He could not stop. Was he ill? On something? Is it a residual effect from some kind of brain damage from a stroke or something? We don't know, and we don't care...the cop's job is to assess if someone, regardless of color or age, is being a public nuisance, incapable of controlling himself for whatever reason, causing some degree of concern that the one doing the screaming may be at risk for injuring himself or others.

So he cuffed him, and brought him in.

I would hope that a cop would do the same to me if I am screaming so much that I can't stop and am bringing out the neighbors, or to any neighbors of mine screaming so loudly they pull me out of bed.

In fact, I just re-read, and I am appalled to see that Gates said "Do you know who I am?" as if, somehow, being a Harvard professor put him above the law,..or is it because he is a friend of Obama, and somehow THAT put him above the law?

I support the cop in this. Read the facts. Put yourself in the cop's/neighbor's shoes.

The only one to blame for this getting out of control was Gates, and the only one to blame for this becoming a national "case" is Obama. (who I note is backpedaling like crazy).

Well, whatever, I am delighted this happened. One more step toward eradicating the new and improved racism this country has been in the grip of for many years. Along the lines of what we had to go through to stop having our knee jerk reactions, as feminists, to believe that that anyone accused of rape was guilty, and realize that there were people who used our sympathetic knee-jerk to hurt men.

If nothing else, having BHO for POTUS is helping our nation wipe the fog off their glasses about many issues.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2009 at 3:38 pm

"...having BHO for POTUS is helping our nation wipe the fog off their glasses about many issues."

Perspective,

I agree with your statement, above. BHO does have some potential for good....

Note: I believe the arrest of Gates happened in the daytime, not the nighttime. I don't know that it matters that much, but it is best to keep the facts straight, since the final resolution of this issue, after the FBI investigates, should be based on facts.

If the FBI does get involved, as it should, I am curious to understand who Gates made phone calls to. Who made calls on his behalf. Which Cambridge officials intervened, against the arrest? Which Harvard officials? Were White House officials contacted? Is there obstruction of justice involved? Are there possible criminal cases? What did Obama know, and when did he know it?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2009 at 4:32 pm

"I would hope that a cop would do the same to me if I am screaming so much that I can't stop and am bringing out the neighbors, or to any neighbors of mine screaming so loudly they pull me out of bed."

I'm sure your neighbors concur. However, to demand a government representative leave your property is still a central privilege in the Bill of Rights, efforts of Cheney and Bush to the contrary notwithstanding. If the neighbors want to file a complaint over the commotion, that is their option.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm

[Post removed due to excessive and/or repetitive post by same poster]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's it
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Gary,

Seriously, it's safe to say you have never been uppity.

Thanks for the link--it explained why the cop's report reads so weird. He said Gates was tumultuous with no legitimate purpose. It's revealing that he lifted words from the actual law in his report and could not say concretely in what way Gates was being tumultuous or what he meant be "legitimate purpose." Cop was just cramming boilerplate into the report to cover his ass.

Gates was arrested for being uppity.

Perspective,

Middle of the night? You have not been reading any of this carefully. This happened in the middle of the day. Please read the report before commenting.

The cop arrested Gates because he was a black man mouthing off to a policeman. It is not against the law to mouth off, though obviously there is an unwritten law that black men should not mouth off to cops--that is the one Gates broke.

It is good that this brings racism to center stage at this point in history.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2009 at 5:29 pm

[Post removed due to excessive and/or repetitive post by same poster]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2009 at 5:54 pm

"Gary,
Seriously, it's safe to say you have never been uppity."

Now THAT hurts my feelings! The embedded racism in that statement (i.e. no white kid could possibly be uppity) is transparent. As a poor white kid, I resented privilege and authority, when it confronted me. I should have taken a more balanced view, but I did not. That is my problem. But, please, give me my own immature uppitiness!

Gates is too full of himself. Take it from me, it is never too late to grow up. I don't think Gates is up to it, but this is a teachable moment.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by out of control
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm

This reminds me of the case in palo alto a few years ago. Then it was a Black man - Hopkins - being questioned by Asian cops. He acted arrogantly and above the law, proclaimed racism, won ~$250k and almost got the officers fired. If they were black officers no law suit, no extortion paid.

Disguisting racist behavior by a minority of black citizens - Hopkins and Gates - obviously not all blacks act or feel as these guys do.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by out of control
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2009 at 6:20 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's it
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2009 at 6:43 pm

"Now THAT hurts my feelings! The embedded racism in that statement (i.e. no white kid could possibly be uppity) is transparent."

Not racist, just a fact about language. Children can be uppity. Blacks can be uppity. You can be a pain in the ass if you want, just not uppity.

Accusing Gates of being racist is laughable. It makes clear that some on this forum do not know the meaning of racism.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2009 at 8:27 pm

"Accusing Gates of being racist is laughable"

Why?

The narrative, promoted by Gates, and many of his liberal allies, is that blacks cannot be racists, because they did not hold the dominant positions of power and control, historically. That narrative is a straw man...the more they say it, doesn't make it any more true. Blacks can be just as racist as whites and Latinos (and others).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

With regard to the Hopkins case, I asked repeatedly, under what circumstances can I legally refuse to show my driver's license to an officer on request. I consider it to have been gross incompetence both in the shift supervisor and in the City Attorney's office that Hopkins got off.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 24, 2009 at 11:36 pm

I was disappointed in President Obama's original comment. Obviously he is biased as Professor Gates is his friend. He should have waited before he weighed in.

Clearly Gates could have avoided the arrest had he simply shown the officer his i.d. without throwing a fit. Mr. Charles recently had a somewhat similar experience a few years ago. He accidently triggered an alarm while home alone. Two policemen showed up at the door and asked him a few questions, and then asked for his i.d. He calmly and quietly answered their questions and provided them with his i.d. If he had gone into a rant--behaving as Gates did--no doubt he too would have been carted off to jail. Instead, he thanked the officers for checking up--what if it had been a break in?

It is not always about race!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sideline
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jul 24, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Gates is a Harvard professor of race relations. Isn't his part of this engagement something like a math professor mistaking a circle for a square?

One would expect a professor of race relations in the US to be able to make good choices even in much more difficult situations than this. He knew he had nothing to really fear, yet he acted so contrary to common sense that it would appear suspicious to anyone. Why would he not simply show ID and thank the cop for coming, and laugh that a cop came because he had to break into his own house?

How does Harvard make its hiring and promotion decisions these days?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 24, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Just to add, the most disturbing bit of this story, for me, is Gate's arrogance with his "Do you know who you are messing with?" to the officer. Talk about arrogance! Most people in that situation would be grateful that police had come to check on their house, not attack and accuse them of racism.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by eric
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 25, 2009 at 12:48 am

I would love to see how Walter would react, in the heat of the moment, to police accosting him on suspiscion of breaking into his own home. Probably in a manner that he would later regret. I would, no doubt.

Obama blew it. Gates blew it. The police officer blew it. Everyone in the country turning this into a big story is an absolute fool.

The officer had a choice-- he could have turned the other cheek and walked away from a man that was overly agitated but a threat to nobody, or he could get ticked off and turn molehill into a mountain. He made the wrong choice. Gates' bad choices are obvious. Anyone who has never lost their temper and acted stupidly in a bad moment may continue passing judgement over one side or the other-- everyone else should just shut up.

The story here is the reaction of the right wing. Suddenly, excess government power is OK. The rantings of the Limbaughs of the world have turned absolutely foul and, yes, flagrantly racist and inflammatory. Republicans should be appalled


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2009 at 4:15 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

eric, come on! The equivalent has happened to me in the past and I have never been so absolutely stupid as to challenge the officers. My very worst would have been a bit of sarcasm. I also don't jump in front of trucks secure in a pedestrian's right of way. Those who claim the 1st Amendment grants them the right to verbally abuse government officials are well advised to check the 33rd word in that amendment.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 25, 2009 at 5:21 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2009 at 6:40 am

Gary, thanks for the correction on time of day. You are right..I assumed NIGHT time for the time of day. Shows a preconceived notion for when I assume people call in worries, but on the other hand I should have known better, having called in a worry of mine at, literally, 1 in the afternoon on Middlefield as I was driving by a home that looked like it was in the process of being burgled. One guy was carrying trash bags out of an open home as fast as he could and dumping them into the back of an unmarked, white u-haul type truck, and the other guy was sitting at the wheel with the engine running. When I turned around while on the phone to go back and get the license plate to give to dispatch, the driver saw me looking at his plates, yelled at the other guy, who ran into the passenger seat as the driver started pulling away. I followed them a bit to tell the cops where they were going. Never learned what happened to them, but I the bottom line is, I used my judgement in behavior of the 2 men, as well as the age of the men, to determine that I was suspicious.

The report, which I am better at reading in words not time, seems to me to be the similar process.

Ms. Charles, you give me tremendous hope. You have the courage to put your name and the ability to put your good sense in a way that people can hear. Thanks.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2009 at 6:55 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by that's it
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2009 at 7:44 am

The source of all these problems is the cop. He should have apologized to Mr. Gates and left, instead of abusing his power.

What is really shocking is the reaction by Republicans. Every time a racist act becomes public, they are so quick to deny that racism is involved and so quick to insist racism barely exists in this country today. That in itself is just racist.

Their next move is to tell us that the victims of racism are racist. Because they dare to call out racism.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 25, 2009 at 8:09 am

[Portion removed due to excessive and/or repetitive post by same poster]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's it
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2009 at 10:26 am

This is all about respect. The cop felt disrespected and he used the law to take revenge. Yet the law is not there to bolster cops' sense of self-esteem, and the arrest was an abuse of power. Lots of people on this forum feel entitled to lecture black people how to behave with police as if black people don't have long experience. Respect has to be earned and cannot be extracted through abuse of power.

If the police would like to earn the respect of all citizens, they need to act more professionally.

The right wing better learn that we are past the days when citizens need to prostrate themselves before the power of the state. They need to learn a little about the constitution and individual rights. The last thing we need is rightists telling us that we have no right to disparage the police. Check it out, it's called the bill of rights.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2009 at 11:04 am

Web Link Link to the black cop who was there during the arrest, who supports the arrest 100%.

Not sure why I, or Gary, was deleted above..didn't keep a copy, darn it. It is usually the weekends when I don't understand why I am deleted.

I have made a concerted effort to be as objective in my statements as I can, without sarcasm or anything that can possibly be misconstrued as "uncivil" or "abusive".

So, I am going to repost the best I can remember, with even more caution, what was deleted.

The best I can remember, both Gary and I were agreeing that some good is going to come out of this Presidency, in that this POTUS is bringing many issues to the forefront of the American consciousness, racism being one of them..

This time I will keep a copy of what I write. Best I can remember, I commented on how I, too, used to reflexively believe a template of victimhood and anger, as a feminist nurtured by those wrongs I experienced in my youth, and by NOW and their reflexive responses to any accusations against men ( along the lines of Steinham's assertion that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle).

Someone once told me that if you only have a hammer for a tool, then you will see every problem as a nail. In my case, my tool was a reflexive belief that men were sexist brutes. This started cracking under Anita Hill's accusations, which of course I initially believed, and finished splitting wide open at some point in the last 10 years between Larry Summers and his firing over reasonable remarks, and of course Niphong's reflexive belief that the Duke team were brutish animals ( though that was perhaps more race based than gender bias, I suspect now).

In any case, I believe that President Obama has brought to a forefront this issue of racism in our country, and maybe it can now start to crack apart, much like the reflexive militant feminist assumptions have now, finally, been cracked apart, the best I can see ( both in myself, and in society).

It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that BHO is now trying to accuse police officers of using their outrage for political gain, finding this accusation to be beneath the President. and denigrating to the issue at hand and the officers. but maybe even this accusation will add to the good that Gary and I believe will come out of this Presidency, not only over this issue, but many others in our nation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2009 at 11:05 am


Obama has either heard the tapes of the Police Radio call and/or read a transcript of it and has realised just what he has stepped in.
He is now trying to get out of it as easily as possible and save his friend as well.

We should all have an opportunity to hear these tapes as well


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2009 at 11:21 am

Sharon, do you think accusing police officers across the nation of using this issue for political reasons is a way for Obama to extricate himself and save his friend? Or do you think this accusation will make it even worse for him?

Serious answer, don't get deleted, I am really curious.

Me, I suspect this political ploy on Obama's part will actually help him with his wavering supporters, because there is just enough fact in it ( they supported McCain is something I presume can be verified) to render the rest of it "reasonable" in the minds of those looking for a way to continue supporting Obama, but wavering because of this latest gaffe.. but appalled at this latest gaffe. ..

So, what do you think?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 25, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Perspective,

The report, in this case, is suspect because the cop has very strong reasons to slant the story.

The fact is that no charges were filed against Gates and he was immediately released. Given Mass. laws on disorderly conduct, there's no way that Gates' behavior fit the parameters of that crime--by *anyone's* recounting.

It was a cop who lost his temper and misused his authority.

*Some* of us don't put cops on a pedestal. They make mistakes just like everybody else.

But I do find it ironic that Righties who make such a huge deal about being able to own a gun to defend their homes aren't up in arms about Gates' treatmet in his own home and on his own property by the cops.

You'd be *outraged* if Gates shared your views and melanin levels.

But let's call this what it is--an excuse to go after Obama because his honesty cut too close to the bone.

I suspect that most of you know deep down that black men aren't treated like everybody else by cops. And I think, on some level, you also approve of that--because you're more suspicious of black men.

There are times when I think being a black man in America must just be so damn tiring.

Anyone heard a word out of Michael Steele or Clarence Thomas on this?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2009 at 12:57 pm


We have heard from the black cop who witnessed the incident and said that the arrest was 100% justified given Gates actionsWeb Link

I don't think Gates will continue to demand an apology.
I think he knew the police department was silenced and he thought he would get away with it.
When the tapes are released I believe we will hear Gate's tirade against Officer Crowley.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 25, 2009 at 1:01 pm

OP,

Yes, the cop had a reason to slant his report. So does Gates. However, there were other cops there, including a black cop who assisted with the arrest...and he fully backs the white cop. There were also civilians who witnessed some of Gates' rants.

I have been interviewed by the cops a couple of times at my home, in the past decade or so. One time was about a crime that happened to a neighbor, unbeknownst to me, and the cops were looking for someone. They asked if they could come in, and I let them. I was not asked for ID, but I would have complied, if they had asked. It didn't make me comfortable, but my attitude was to be cooperative. Yes, I could have grabbed my gun and told them to get off my porch, and then come back with a warrant, but what would that proove...unless I was still wearing resentment on my sleeve, like Gates.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 25, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Gary,

Gates didn't write a report. It's not an equal situation. Gates' behavior may have been less than ideal--but *it doesn't matter.* Crowley is under obligation not to misuse his authority.

And he did.

It's funny, that you equate Gates possibly yelling and asking for a cop's badge number with your pulling a gun!!! Dude, one's totally legal and the latter could get you thrown in prison--if not shot.

It's curious just how aggressive your analogy is.

I used to deal with cops professionally and I've called them more than once. I have always been treated with deference and respect--even when getting a ticket. What I look like and sound like has everything to do with this. I get the benefit of the doubt.

At one point, I had a black male housemate--a conservative MBA type, I might add. Getting stopped by the cops for no reason was just something he lived with--having to prove that he had a right to drive his car on a regular basis was just something he lived with. Knowing he had to be very careful in any dealings with the police was just something he lived with.

I don't have to live with any of that. Instead, I've had cops apologize to me for giving me a ticket(when I was, indeed, speeding.) It makes a difference--it means I can trust the police enough that I feel free to call them without getting searched--as happened in a situation mentioned in the NY Times.

The presumption underlying all of this is that Gates was required to be on his very, very best behavior.

He wasn't.

But the on-duty cop was.

And the fact that Crowley isn't big enough to apologize for overstepping his authority speaks ill of your new hero.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2009 at 4:05 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by disagree, OP
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 25, 2009 at 6:03 pm

OP says "The presumption underlying all of this is that Gates was required to be on his very, very best behavior."

I disagree. The presumption underlying all of this is that Gates was to required to have the same standards of behavior of anyone, any color, any gender, any anything, whose property was in the process of being protected by the police from a reported burglary. Show ID, thank the officer for protecting his home, however false the worry was, then leave the officer alone to go out to his/her car.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's it
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2009 at 7:58 pm

You missed the point.

There is no presumption in this country that citizens are required to behave politely or face arrest. You have the U.S. confused with a police state.

The cop, in carrying out his duties, is however required to behave. If he arrests someone because his esteem is damaged, then it is abuse of power. Thank Mr. Gates for his time, apologize for disturbing him, sir, and quietly leave. Professional behavior would have prevented all this.

Unfortunately, cops regularly insist that black men follow a higher standard than everyone else.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

There is no right to riot, irrespective of the contemporary adulation toward demonstrators. The 33rd word in that empowering 1st amendment is peaceably. You are indeed just as bound to respect the officer as the officer is bound to respect you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's it
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2009 at 9:15 pm

W,

It says a lot about you that you think a lone black man showing a lack of respect for a police officer means he is rioting. That is the heart of the problem.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2009 at 4:41 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I believe verbally abusing anyone except in self defense is inappropriate behavior. I consider such breaches of the peace to be especially inappropriate when the object of the verbiage is restrained from responding because of employment status. I believe anyone who abuses servants to be contemptible swinish cowards. But then that's just me.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by just wonderin'
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2009 at 5:47 am

Yes. It is cowardly to verbally abuse anyone who you absolutely know will not respond in any way.

I wonder if Gates would have behaved the same way if the responding officer had been, say..black?

I suspect not.

I wonder if police departments try to assign officers to problems on the basis of color,( or even gender), for this reason? Does anyone know?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's It
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2009 at 7:52 am

W,

Pick. First you said rude behavior by a black man amounts to a riot and the black man should go to jail. Now you're backing down and saying rude behavior is cowardly.

Oh, and the idea that it's cowardly again reveals your limited experience. For you, it is undoubtedly true that even if you are rude a cop "will not respond in any way." Black men know that in their case it is false. For example, the police sometimes arrest black men for being rude. Example: Mr. Gates. And worse things happen, too.

What's truly cowardly is to fail to put yourself in the shoes of minorities.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 26, 2009 at 11:39 am

Chapter 272: Section 53. Penalty for certain offenses (Massachusetts):

makes it illegal, subject to a 6 month jail sentence, to be a "disorderly person". ( Web Link )

The DA's often do not prosecute these crimes, because they have bigger fish to fry, however it is completely according to police protocol to arrest such disorderly people. This is not an abuse of police power. Gates thought he could hide behind race, and he got revealed for the fraud that he is. He could do the right thing by apologizing, and admitting his mistake...then this thing will, largely, go away. Until that happens, it will not go away.

To expect special treatment from the police, based on one's race is absurd. Obey the law, and then you can expect to not be arrested. There is no 'sesnitivity' training required to understand this concept. If a cop stops you, be cooperative...otherwise things might escalte to the point that you become a disorderly person. If you are cooperative, and did not commit a crime, yet the cop verbally or physically abuses you, then that is a different matter.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2009 at 12:12 pm


As it turns out Obama had been prepared for the question about Gates before his speech on Wednesday.

On today's Fox News Sunday, presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs admitted President Obama had been prepared to answer questions about the Gates arrest at his press conference on Wednesday.

Bret Baier asked Gibbs,

"Before Wednesday's news conference, did you prepare the president for a question about Henry Gates's arrest in Cambridge?"

"Well, look," said Gibbs, "Let's just say it's safe to say we went over a whole lot of topics that we thought might come up, and certainly this was a topic that was, has been in the news"


So now we know that President Obama didn't properly "calculate" his words about the Cambridge police "acting stupidly" even after being prepared for such a question in advance.

Thus is revealed the president's tone deafness in failing to anticipate the backlash such an answer might provoke.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's It
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Acting angrily on your own porch is not disorderly. The DA couldn't prosecute, which is why they let Mr. Gates go--he was entirely within his rights to act as he did and they knew what a big mistake the cop had made. Mr. Gates should not apologize for having constitutional rights. These are, of course, rights that everyone shares--not just black people, so no use complaining about special treatment.

The cop abused his power to inflate his own esteem. It would be nice if they gave the cop some professional training and counseling.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 26, 2009 at 1:08 pm

"Acting angrily on your own porch is not disorderly"

Says who? My own grandmother was arrested, on her front porch, for being drunk and cussing at a dog that was pooping on her lawn. Disorderly conduct is just that...conduct that is disorderly.

The cop was doing his job, and Gates decided that being a victimized black man had cachet, so he went off on the cop. Now that Gates has cooled down, an apolocy to the cop would be in order. If he wants to make it a more expansive apology, he could apologize to the entire nation for using the race card. Obama could then follow on, as a teachable moment, to say, "I blew it. This was not racial profiling, the cops did their job, and I spoke before knowing the facts".

Pretty much end of story at that point.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Gary, you must be kidding. This was BHOs response after being PREPARED??? Good grief. That is even worse. I assumed it was an off the cuff remark he made that was foolish, not an actual planned response ( especially given that no response at all would have been best, or "I trust the police officers of our nation to do a good job" or even more neutral "I trust our justice system to act appropriately and according to whatever the facts are" or something equally presidential..)

if he actually did what you recommend, my estimation of him would skyrocket, but that will never happen.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I was opposed to Jim Crow before opposition was cool. I broke color barriers and withheld patronage from "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" signs, the Northern equivalent to the South's Red p0plumbing fixtures. I left the NAACP and the ACLU when they substituted Crow Jim for Jim Crow. I will neither give nor take advantsge because of race, religion or gender[except women and children first]. It is a poor man that hides behind charactoristics beyond his control.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 26, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Perspective,

I think it may be even worse than what you and Sharon say. I heard a report this morning that the reporter who asked that question about Gates was given a 'heads up' phone call the night before to let him know that he would called upon to ask a question.

However, in order to help out our president, I am suggesting that he follow Gates' apology, and make his own. I have said that I will support Obama when he does the right thing. If he does the right thing, I will support that decision, for the good of the country.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's It
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Gary,

It is not, and could not be, illegal to merely act angrily. The DA knows that, and that is why they released Mr. Gates and did not charge him. Hopefully, the DA can get the cop to apologize for this abuse of power, though if not perhaps he should charge him.

It's telling that you think Mr. Gates should apologize for daring to raise the issue of racism. Trying to make racism a taboo subject is itself a form of racism. Additionally, when you call it playing the "race card," you seek to deny that racism exists--yet again, racism. That's a long, thin branch you've climbed out onto.

Are you trying to make me say, "I'll see your grandma on the porch"?

Perspective,

Riiight. A black president giving cops carte blanche to go after blacks--that would be "best"? Name of your planet?

W,

And yet, despite those sterling freedom fighter creds, a lone, elderly black man on his porch is a riot for you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Individuals riot. Cursing a police officer who is performing his duty is the act of a coward, whatever color he might be. I hate seeing what I fought for swapped for a mess of pottage. Perhaps you have the unerring ability to determine which rants are harmless and which are precursors to violence - if so, hire out, the world needs seers like you. I almost think, TI of BP, that I am a better man than you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2009 at 7:21 pm


You would think the POTUS would simply say that it was a local matter about which he did not have all the facts.

It would be nice if someone would inform Obama that the reason blacks are arrested proportionately more often than whites is because they commit more crimes proportionately than whites.

That is not racism or profiling it is evidence based statistics and probability.

Gates obviously thought that his calls to influential politicians had intimidated the CPD into silence and Obama thought he could benefit by answering a question on Wednesday to, it now turns out, he had been prepared for.

The CPD stood firm and the tapes surfaced so Obama and Gates are on the defense, trying desperately to make this go away.

Gates is a multi millionaire, he has the Harvard Law faculty in his corner, after the tapes were revealed they advised Gates to back down.

Release the tapes to the public, then we can have a "teachable moment"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by race card
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 27, 2009 at 12:08 am

It has been articulated that there is no such thing as a race card.

What I (and many) mean by playing a race card, is making the claim that treatment received was due to race when it actually wasn't due to race at all. It was treatment that would have been received with equal likelihood whatever the race of the receiver.

Here we have a guy arrested; many think he shouldn't have been.

But suppose the same cop in the same situation would have arrested a white guy?

If he would have, Gates "played the race card." If the cop wouldn't have, Gates did not "play the race card" but rather identified racial prejudice or bias.

But surely, whether or not Gates played the race card, there is meaning to this phrase: it is not nonsense.

This topic is so delicate that I appreciate contributing anonymously to avoid the real risk of being known as a racist. I think the issues around accountability vs. "victimhood" impact successful navigation in a hostile environment and deserve a discussion, and I think "playing the race card" works against the promotion of accountability.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 27, 2009 at 12:22 pm

There has been an assumption, both in this thread, and among liberal academics and media, that blacks get mistreated in our justice system. I would refer you to the following article by William Stuntz of the Harvard Law School ( Web Link )

According to Stuntz, there is both truth and fiction in this assumption. For example, blacks commit murder at 7X the rate of whites, but they are not incarcerated at anywhere near this rate. On the other hand, blacks are incarcerated at a much higher rate than whites for drug crimes. It is a mixed bag. Stuntz offers his reasons for the under-incarceration and over-incarceration of blacks vs whites. It is not a simple matter, but it is an interesting read.

Teh bottom line is that the assumption of racial injustice in the justice system should not be taken at face value...as it almost always is by leftists.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 27, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Says who?

The Massachuesetts statutes on disorderly conduct. Gates was neither intoxicated nor violent. Thus, no charges.

The cop was out of line, thus Gates was released and not charged immediately.

I really am surprised at how unaware many of you are at what rights you do possess and how willing you are to surrender those rights. For all that I hear about the First Amendment on the Forum, particular when a conservative feels censored in any way, it amazes me how unwilling you are to see that Gates was completely within his rights here to speak up *AND NOT BE ARRESTED FOR IT*.

He thought racism played a part, some of you don't agree. Guess what? He has the right to his opinion and to vent it without getting arrested.

Keep in mind that no one has said that Gates was arrested for any other reason except being angry. He wasn't physically threatening anyone, he wasn't intoxicated (a danger to anyone), he wasn't doing anything illegal.

And if someone's not breaking the law--you don't arrest them.

What is it that you guys don't understand here? Didn't you know that police in this country need probable cause?

As for Gary's link--no, it's not really a mixed bag--crimes with black victims aren't investigated and prosecuted to the same extent as are crimes with white victims--ergo, your disparity--the victims to some extent determine the fate of the suspect. It's not simple racism--economic class is a big factor in these situations.

But if you want to show me that you're not racists, you'll admit that the cop was out of line because he arrested a guy who wasn't breaking the law. Read the Mass. statute--it's quite specific and Gates wasn't even close to fitting the bill.

Crowley acted stupidly. Has he been stupid with whites? Probably. The guy's got issues around authority. Not the first cop, won't be the last.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm

OP,

"Keep in mind that no one has said that Gates was arrested for any other reason except being angry."

There are degress of angry, including tumultuous behavior (the technical legal language), otherwise known as disorderly conduct. If this behavior is happening, it is not only probable cause, but proximate violation of the law. Thus, Gates was arrested. The cop did his job, was berated by Gates, then left the house, only to be chased out the door by Gates.

"crimes with black victims aren't investigated and prosecuted to the same extent as are crimes with white victims--ergo, your disparity"

OP, that is true, although you should read my link to understand why this is true...can't blame the cops and prosecuters for this...they face the 'no witnesses', 'no snitch', 'jury nullification' issues. Nevertheless, blacks murder at about 7X the rate of whites...and they get away with it. Whites get away with drug crimes, at least on the face of it. However, whites tend to be users of coccaine, rather than pushers, although this is a mixed bag.

My honest opinion is that the cops and prosecutors use the drug laws, including 'three strikes', to get the bad guys off the street, since they won't be convicted for the murders they have done, or are likely to do. Unfair and unconstitutional? Maybe, or not, but much safer for the innoncents left in the neighborhoods...how many thousands are alive today, because this stealth policy is followed? After all, they did, in fact, violate the drug laws.

Gates, and his ilk, can complain about racial profiling, but they ignore the larger picture of protecting innocent black people in the hood. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by interesting
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 27, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Interesting, Gary. Very interesting idea about using the drug laws to get murderers of the street. Very interesting.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2009 at 10:31 pm


The first of several tapes have now been released, the initial 911 call and the police attempting to clarify the matter, on the evidence so far there is no case to support the claim of racial profiling, to the contrary, the police come across as doing a very professional job trying to get to the bottom of a potentially very dangerous situation in which Gates is being completely uncooperative.
Domestic disturbances are one of the most life threatening matters for police officers.
I hope the rest of the tapes of Gates outbursts are made public before the Thursday beer bust.
Gates says he prefers Red Stripe, that is a problem for the White House because, since the Johnson Administration, they only serve domestic American beer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by race card
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 27, 2009 at 10:32 pm

"But if you want to show me that you're not racists, you'll admit that the cop was out of line because he arrested a guy who wasn't breaking the law."

Well, if he did arrest a guy who wasn't breaking the law, and if he only is allowed by law to arrest when someone is breaking the law, then he was clearly out of line.

But arresting a guy who wasn't breaking the law does not indicate racism.

If he tends to arrest guys of a certain race all other things being equal, whether they are breaking the law or not, that would show illegal racial bias.

If one of our own finest arrested a black man for allowing his dog off leash while ignoring the white women breaking the same law, that would be racial or gender bias.

But arresting people because they act like they're on PCP does not in itself show racial bias, even if it's illegal to do so.

A conclusion of bias requires more than a single case, or a single case that violates norms (not just laws). This case didn't.

He's out of line, but I don't see evidence (yet) of racial bias, much less racism. Except from Gates, who I suspect would not have cried, "Racism!" if both cops were black. In playing the race card against the white cop, he demonstrates racial bias.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by officer lied
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2009 at 4:59 am

Looks like the officer lied in his report about the initial all to the home--what else did he lie about?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by History
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 28, 2009 at 8:35 am

A careful examination ofthis officer's history on the force needs to be done. has he lied previously on reports? Let's dig into his life. Sounds to me like the typical police bogus report. this officer is history


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's It
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 28, 2009 at 9:14 am

"But arresting a guy who wasn't breaking the law does not indicate racism."

Depends on the context. If the police have a long history of discrimination, then yes, it does indicate racism.

Your experience with police leads you to believe that they do not abuse their power and that they treat people courteously and fairly. The experience of many black people is quite different. One of the ways this plays out is that cops sometimes arrest black people just to put them in their place in a situation where they would not arrest a white person.

On top of that, we have all the statistical data about, for instance, how seriously the police and justice system take it when a black person murders a white person and how lightly they take it when a white person murders a black person.

In this light, it is racist to tell black people they are "racist" or playing the "race card" when they complain about their treatment.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 28, 2009 at 12:14 pm

"On top of that, we have all the statistical data about, for instance, how seriously the police and justice system take it when a black person murders a white person and how lightly they take it when a white person murders a black person."

Please provide those data, along with the study they are included in.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 28, 2009 at 2:45 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 28, 2009 at 4:36 pm

"Many racists appear to be merely elitist at first..."

That is a perceptive comment. It fits Gates almost perfectly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by race card
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 28, 2009 at 9:49 pm

"In this light, it is racist to tell black people they are "racist" or playing the "race card" when they complain about their treatment."

Is it? If the treatment is not different from other races, but only assumed to be? Is it not racial bias to complain about not getting special dispensation because of your race?

You seem to be trying to legitimize identity politics: Black people have it bad, so they shouldn't expect to put up with the same [removed so Palo Alto Online Staff doesn't have to] everyone else does.

Anything other than colorblind treatment is racial bias; is that not a tautology?




 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's It
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 28, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Race Card,

I see, so fighting racism is the same as asking for special treatment?

Yikes, have you followed a word of this?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patrice
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 29, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I think that we should all take a moment and attempt to try and look at this situation with out allowing our ethrocistrisms to color our judgement. As I attempt to look at this situation from a clorless, and genderless prespective...I am lead to the conclusion and fact that both men men behaved poorly which is most unfournate and deeply shameful, coming from two men who are suppose to be exsample of the pilliars of our society...A scholar and an officer. As for our President, I can not fault him for being human, but do realize that he made the mistake of forgetting that while he is friend to one...he is president to all....with that said, I think that we as the American people have bigger fish to fry.....such as a socialist run goverment and medical system.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Side issue?
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2009 at 2:49 pm

I've wondered about a side issue. Professor Gates is a famous person. I know his face from seeing him on tv so many times.
But the policeman didn't recognize him, even though this famous person lives in this small town. How ignorant is this policeman of what is around him?
As long as we are guessing what went on in their minds, I wonder if this ignorant officer is resentful of the important and educated people he sees every day.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by race card
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 29, 2009 at 2:54 pm

No, I don't think fighting racism is at all the same as special treatment. In fact I don't think it even includes special treatment. Did you read my postings and interpret them to mean that I think fighting racism involves special treatment based on race?

We may actually agree with each other without being able to communicate with each other.

What Gates did is a big step backwards for the fight against racism. He, as a role model, showed an obsession with race - that he considers the salient aspect of a police presence to be the fact that a white cop asked for ID from a black man. (How dare he!) He thereby showed a bias based on race, and an expectation of racial bias from police. Whether he got that bias from police or not is yet to be determined.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 29, 2009 at 3:16 pm

"But the policeman didn't recognize him..."

This gets to the heart of the matter. The local cop did not recognize His Highness. How many Palo Alto cops would recognize top level Stanford professors? Why should they? All the cops can be expected to do is to recognize the situation in front of them. Flip it around: How many Stanford professors recognize Palo Alto cops?

Gates got in over his head, and now he needs to apologize to the cop. Once that is done, Obama can do the same thing, then the matter should be behind us. If not, it will remain in front of us.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by history
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 30, 2009 at 5:00 am

The police officer has been exposed as a liar--the tapes reveal that the caller did not say that the people were black, yet the officer had thatin his report. What else did he lie about? what else is hiding--his background needs to be givena good going over. In the meantime he can make ammends by apologizing to gates.
His career as a police officer is over--the police union will protect him, but police unions have a history of protecting lying officers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2009 at 7:38 am

right..and who knows who told who what on the way to the cops ears? Never played "grapevine" have you?

Of course, the poor woman who called it in is being threatened and harrassed...what will be the result of our beloved POTUS interference in this issue? Fewer people will call in trouble if the perps aren't white for fear of being nationally targeted. I know I will think twice!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by History
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 30, 2009 at 8:13 am

Here is a policeman, who is at least, honest about his feelings regarding Gates

Web Link
"Barrett used the "jungle monkey" phrase four times, three times referring to Gates and once referring to Abraham's writing as "jungle monkey gibberish."


Unfortunately too many of our police officers share Barret's sentiments regarding minorities


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2009 at 8:15 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 30, 2009 at 9:23 am

"The police officer has been exposed as a liar--the tapes reveal that the caller did not say that the people were black, yet the officer had thatin his report."

There was nothing in the cop's report about telephone conversations about black males. At least try to get your facts straight.

The woman reporting the 'break-in' said she had no conversation with the cop, and cop said she did. That is a bigger deal than the race of the guys forcing the door, which was not terribly relevant at that point...if the guys were white, the cop would still have to verify the situation. The cop could be lying about this conversation, or the woman could be lying, or not remembering (for some reason, she seems to be petrified of the possibility of having described the perps as black...I mean if she had, and she believed it to be true, so what?).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by History
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 30, 2009 at 10:05 am

No, Gary, get your facts straight.
You can take my previous comments as meaning that the officer was privy to the telephone conversations--that was not my point. The officer lied in his report when he claimed that Whalen said that she told him the people were black. furthermore, Whalen did speak with the sergeant.

Web Link
"In the 911 call, a woman -- identified as Lucia Whalen -- reports seeing two men break the screen door of Gates' front entrance to enter the house. The woman admits she saw suitcases, and says several times that the men may be the house residents.
When asked about the race of the men, the caller said she thought one looked "kind of Hispanic," but didn't see what the other man looked like.
In his police report, Sgt. James Crowley wrote that Whalen, who met him in front of Gates' house when he arrived at the scene, told him she saw what appeared to be two black men with backpacks on the porch of the house. But Whalen's attorney told The Associated Press that her client never mentioned the men's race to the sergeant. "

Bottom line, Officer Crowley has been exposed as a liar. The police union will protect him, like they do all bad apples, but his true nature has been exposed. His days as a police officer are numbered.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's It
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 30, 2009 at 11:17 am

Race card,

You and others try to demonize the word "racist" and make it off limits so that no one can use it. That is racist.

Gates was arrested in his own home, though the police had to release him because they had nothing to charge him with. This was racism. There is nothing wrong with giving an honest name to what happened. It would just be PC to call this a misunderstanding or a mistake or to say that both sides were at fault.

Gates and Obama have done the country a service in that this is now a national topic, though it is sad to see how quick so many are to deny that racism played a part. This denial is a big part of the problem of racism in this country.

Each time we see a public instance of racism and someone dares to name it, the PC crowd denies it's racist. The PC crowd tell us anyone who uses the word racist is obsessed with race. Sometimes they even tell us the victim was racist. Crazy.

At this point in history, no one should be surprised that the cop lied.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 30, 2009 at 11:37 am

I wonder what could come out of a beer session? My understanding is that it will be a tag team event...Gates is going to have his crew with him, and so is the cop. I can see Gates possibly saying, "There was a misunderstanding on my part, I was tired and confused, etc.). The cop might say, "I regret that I did not know Prof. Gates, and that Prof. Gates lives there". However, with other people riding posse, it will not be a simple threesome, thus no real understanding of the issue. Gates and Obama should just apologize to the cop, then discuss the perception issues involved, and move on. This will not be a teachable moment, although the White House spin doctors will do their best to spin it that way. The more important, and real, discussion is what brand of beer is best.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by That's It
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 30, 2009 at 12:04 pm

The real teachable moment is for the cop to apologize for his behavior. It would be nice if he apologized to the country, too. Then Mr. Gates could forgive him and graciously suggest he get counseling. He could go above and beyond by saying he will not pursue a lawsuit.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by peter
a resident of Ohlone School
on Jul 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm



The cop has nothing to apologize for.
Obama and Gates acted foolishly, Crowley provided some adult supervision.

If you look at the Pew tracking polls, the vast majority of Americans feel that both gates and Obama were in the wrong in this matter.
Obviously when Obama saw what his approval rating had declined to he reversed course on this matter.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Inappropriate use of prestige
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm

The suds summit. Now let the FBI investigation begin.

March 29th, 2009 Professor Henry Louis Gates was being interviewed in front of a small group by Walter Isaacson on C-SPAN's Book TV. 

Thirty-three minutes into the discussion about his new book on Lincoln, Professor Gates began a detailed account of his own genealogy.  He said that in doing so he had discovered he was about "50% white".  He said that this was quote, "To my astonishment and horror...".  

He continued by saying that he had subsequently sent his DNA off to be tested.  This time, upon finding out he was "57% white", he said again, "to my horror .... I was becoming more white by the minute".

Fizzle - Pop - Goes all your preconceived judgments. Gates by his own admission is a white man to his horror a white man. Folks his comments speak volumes on how he views race.

Gates is the one obsessed with visual color and appearances.

And Obama jumps to conclusions. Imagine that!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2009 at 9:59 am

Web Link

Somebody really, really needs to tell these "leaders" that most of us have no clue if someone is white, black, green, yellow or what when we read the papers or about votes or policies...and stop blaming "race" for all their troubles. It is, frankly, disgusting to watch and embarrassing for all of us who aren't Euro-white to think that the world thinks we all think this way. It is similar to the whining of "sisters" who blame all their troubles on being a woman, instead of on how they have behaved or what results they have gotten.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob Dylan post
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 22, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Clicked above, and it is good. The governor of NY blaming his problems on "racist" media. THAT is a GOOD ONE!!

BTW, I noticed that someone called the cops about a suspicious looking white man wandering around a black community, the cops showed up, asked him for his ID, and amazingly enough he didn't call them racists and ask them if they knew who he was and yell about their mamas!! He simply and politely told them he didn't have it with him, and brought them to his hotel where his manager had his wallet..it was Bob Dylan.

Didn't see that in the papers,after our President dissed the police for acting stupidly, didja? Look it up, it is true.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Local picks on 2015 Michelin Bib Gourmand list
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 3,162 views

Ode to Brussels Sprout
By Laura Stec | 20 comments | 2,454 views

Go Giants! Next Stop: World Series!
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,843 views

A Surprise!
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 1,079 views