Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is a prominent professor at Harvard University who teaches, of all things, race relations. On the 21st of July, he was arrested by a Cambridge officer at his home for Disorderly Conduct. Mr. Gates claims it was an act of racism.
The media has run with this ball like a Patriots tailback from his own one-yard line. A famous black person crying “racism” against a white cop is really big news, truth be damned. And considering the man’s vast array of credentials, he must be the good guy, while the cop is the bad guy.
Reporters are asking the cop if he’s going to apologize. Won’t happen, he says. Nothing to apologize for.
In a one-sided barrage of outrage, television commentators have sought out scores of prominent blacks for on-camera vilification of police behavior, even reaching the president of the United States, who, in responding to a reporters question, said, “I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say…that the Cambridge Police acted stupidly.”
The president is right saying, “I don’t know, not having been there.” But he contradicted himself by passing judgement, “police acted stupidly.” How does he know? Perhaps the president should go on a police ride-along sometime to get a feel for law enforcement from the other side.
Wolf Blitzer, of CNN, has repeatedly (and shamefully) queried black celebrities, professors and some journalists with leading questions that evoke the answers he’s looking for: Cops are racists! Racism is alive! Professor Gates is owed an apology. It makes sensational news. It sells.
Many people who watch/read such drivel get caught up in it all, like a fish on a hook, and fall for the slant without realizing they’ve been manipulated.
Here’s what happened, according to news sources.
A good Samaritan spotted two men using their shoulders to break through the door of a neighboring house. They called police thinking it might be a burglary. Good neighbor.
Police responded to a report of a possible B&E in progress, as required. Knowing only what the neighbor told them, the three officers approached the house with caution. Now inside, Mr. Gates refused to come out. The cops announced they were investigating a break-in, and asked to see identification. Again, good police work. At that point, the esteemed professor said, “Why, because I’m a black man in America?”
The response was as necessary as cancer. It also set the stage. From there, Mr. Gates apparently flipped out into an uncontrollable wild rant while making repeated references to the officer’s mother, then followed the officer outside and created a disturbance which drew attention from citizens. The police charged him with Disorderly Conduct.
I responded similarly during my police years…whether the man was black, white or purple.
While most of the television networks focused on the impressive credentials of Mr. Gates, they failed to mention the 42 year-old cop in question who has an eleven-year record of impeccable service to the community. A model officer, he is the police academy instructor for maintaining good race relations in the police academy which includes the denunciation of profiling. As a campus cop in 1995, he gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to basketball star, Reggie Lewis, a black man. Racist?
Here’s another point of view.
1 – The professor should be praising his neighbor who was looking out for criminal activity at his home.
2 – The professor should thank the cops for responding so quickly and doing their job, protecting his property.
3 – He should apologize to the cops for his offensive and unnecessary behavior.
But that won’t happen. Stoking the flames of racism keeps media air time filled, even if it’s not true. It pays to be the victim and nothing works better than playing the race card.
In today’s world, police officers walk on eggshells to avoid any appearance of racial discrimination. I know. Been there, done that. The last thing this cop wanted to do, was arrest a prominent black unless his back was against the wall.
Mr. Gates picked on the wrong cop to advance his agenda.
The president would have responded better had he followed up by saying he could not comment on the incident. But, loyalty to his old professor friend took precedence and he chose to opine how the police acted “stupidly.” That comment was made just as “stupidly.”
Or could it be, that the president has negative feelings to the Cambridge police for writing him seventeen parking tickets during his years at Harvard, (1988-1991) fifteen of which were never paid until…you guessed it, 2007 — when he started running for president. ($375 worth)
The president’s sentiments toward police officers were personified on May 15th, during the annual “Peace Officers Memorial Day” in which, over the last 21 years, every president has appeared to make a speech on the steps of the capitol bestowing honor upon fallen officers. They number over 150 per year. But not this time.
Yes, the president was tied up with more pressing issues. He was giving a tour of the White House to members of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.
I think we all get the message, especially cops. The eggshells are becoming more fragile by the day. (Or by each election)
Meanwhile, if Professor Gates is on the watch for racists, he might do well to look in the mirror.
For a detailed copy of Sgt. Crowley’s report and the report of his back-up officer, see:
Other resource links of interest: