President Obama Speaks out on Henry Louis Gates Incident

President Obama responded quite impressively to questions on what the arrest of Henry Louis Gates says about race relations. Here is a link to the video.

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12 responses

  1. Although I totally disagree that Gates should have been arrested-once he showed his ID that should have been the end of it-the President should’ve avoided the “stupid” remark without as he himself stated,knowing all the facts.Shades of Nixon and the Manson trial.

  2. A few years ago my husband was challenged in a rude way by a policeman who was responding to a report of a black man breaking into a house. This cop was not a detective, or he would have deduced that a housebreaker would not break in a window, plug in a drill, climb out the window, and sand paint from the windowsill. It would have been nice if the cop had noticed that, but I guess it was above his pay grade. Apparently so was an apology.
    That makes me think Prof. Gates had a reason to be upset.

    1. Kiersten Marek | Reply

      Look at how The Wall Street Journal tries to spin this, criticizing the president and trying to act like they are on the side of local law enforcement:

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203517304574306092096257248.html?mod=googlenews_wsj#articleTabs%3Darticle

      1. joe bernstein

        The WSJ doesn’t like the President.The Nation takes a similar attitude towards anyone who is in any way conservative.Why are you surprised?

      2. Kiersten Marek

        Not surprised. Just interested in how they pose themselves as being concerned with the police when they aren’t known for having police (a large faction of whom are members of unions) as their natural political allies.

      3. People in law enforcement are generally”conservative”on issues like patriotism,firearms,immigration,etc.Not at all necessarily on economic/union issues.I was a union member for 26 years in state and federal law enforcement jobs.I generally support unions,except when public employee unions threaten strikes,which I disagree with.
        Alot of law enforcement officers are also military veterans.My Border Patrol Academy class in 1976 had 147 graduates(a lot of people didn’t get to the finish line)and 85% were both military veterans(mostly Vietnam)and a like percentage were former law enforcement.
        Interestngly,which might surprise some of our locaal “advocates”,at least a third or more of the class was Hispanic as were some of the staff.
        There was an intersting type of “affirmative action”used in hiring.On the exam to be hired,an applicant could take a special Spanish language portion and get 15 extra points if they passed it.The applicant did NOT have to be Hispanic.
        I passed it,along with a number of non-Hispanic Mormons who had learned Spanish to become missionaries.We were placed in the “native speaker”Spanish classes at the Academy.It was an interesting experience.I placed 9th overall in my class of 147.Okay,bragging-it was my last academic achievement,so I got nothing else to mention.
        I think the correlation between veterans and law enforcement hiring has been high since WW1.They look for people used to discipline and taking direction without having a big debate about it.It does not mean such people are automatons,but the exigencies of the job kinda necessitate it.

      4. Noted Skeptic

        “they aren’t known for having police (a large faction of whom are members of unions) as their natural political allies.”

        Talk about talking in broad generalizations. I would say, nor are they known for having police as natural political enemies.

        Most of us who point out the out-of-wack favoritism politicians afford to special interests over the welfare of the general public are not anti-union. We’re just anti-crooked , weak-kneed politician.

        I hope like heck most of us also have the sense to give police officers the respect and leeway to do their jobs instead of getting defensive, paranoid and offended. Every call a cop responds to needs to be handled with preparedness for any scenario. Angelic, guilty as sin, or even with a little bit of a guilty conscience – shut up and let the officer do his job.

    2. I was held at gunpoint twice by police officers while working as a Federal agent-once because a DEA agent who failed to reognize me thought he saw a gun when I bent over to pick something up-he was right.He called Chicago PD who responded by blocking in my unmarked cruiser I had just gotten into and approaching me at gunpoint.I followed procedure and no problem.
      The other time my partner and I arrested two men in a restaurant-one of them hit the robbery alarm.After fighting with them and subduing them we noticed at least 30 Chicago PD officers surrounding the restaurant armed with all kinds of good stuff.We ducked behind the counter and waved our badges,and eventually one officer came in at a crouch at gunpoint and we communicated.It all turned out okay except for the two nitwits who pulled a false holdup alarm.
      Just saying mistakes happen.
      Much worse things have happened.
      The President was still injudicius in saying what he did.He has no problem fending off specific questions on other issues.
      Gates doesn’t strike me as being anything but what he is,a professor.He sure doesn’t look like he could pull a B&E.
      Your husband’s incident sounds weird-a burglar who does home repairs while he’s there?Sounds like he ran into a dumb cop.He should have gotten an apology.

  3. I’d be a lot more comfortable with what Obama said if he said that both the police and Gates acted stupidly. Gates refusing to give his ID to the police and immediatley accusing the police of being racist was just as stupid as the police arresting him.

  4. Ghost of Christmas Future | Reply

    What’s concerns me is the President of the United States formulated and expressed an opinion without admittedly knowing all the facts.

  5. Donald Wolberg | Reply

    One wonders why no one seems to take the time to read the police report on the incident,including the fact that there was a witness, the very woman who reported that there might be a break-in in progress. Mr. Gates unreasoned emotionalism can be taken as an indication that he has serious emotional or other issues. The career police officer who repsonded has a most enviable record of sensitivity to racial issues, has performed heroically attempting to save a stricken Black sports figure, and has been a role model for all law enforcement in his community for years. There is nothing in Mr. Gates’ life of priviledge that trumps the real world experience of this maligned police officer.

    It is also interesting that Mr. Gates had previously reported a robbery at his home, actually a lease to him as a perk from Harvard. Thus there has been a record of break-in at the home.

    Mr. Gate’s seems to feel that a university
    degree has earned him the right to a standard of conduct denied to most of us, with degrees or not. Ph.D. frewuently can be interpreted as, “pile it higher and deeper,” and in this case, Mr. Gates seems to have done just that. His conduct was offensive, provocative and an instance where if he had simply provided his identification, been rational and not abusive to a police officer seeking to protect his property, there would have been no incident.

    We expect our police to place their lives on the line to protect us and our property. I would be surprised if there will be enthusiasm for responding to another call of an intrusion at Mr. Gate’s address.

    One must find offensive Mr. Obama’s reflexive and unthinking reaction to the incident. As with much else in his career, Mr. Obama is now backing away from his original comments, and again as has been the case in the past, will also toss Mr. Gates beneath the Obama political bus. Mr. Gates will find much company there, from the peculiar Reverend Wright to General Wesley Clark. Supposedly adept at law, Mr. Obama assumed the guilt of the police officer and the innocence of Mr. Gates, at least at the press conference. Later in the day, he moved towards a posture of “both could have behaved better.” By tonight, we will see an Obama statement of his high regard for law enforcement. It is a strange world.

  6. Donald Wolberg said it all, and I agree.

    Clearly if this was me, I would have been first on quite torqued up when the police arrived, but then I would have been relieved to know they responded. It would not have been a knee-jerk reaction to make the profiling comment, however, I am not of color and I have not been targeted for most of my life in many ways. I will share that while going to The Thompson School in Dorchester during busing and being the minority for a 2 week stint, along with living in a neighborhood of color in St. Louis – that the feelings of inferiority set in pretty quick and you develop a low self esteem that for some translates to a chip on their shoulder. I didn’t have to endure the stares, negative statements or blame for long though, perhaps if you live it long enough it just becomes a knee jerk statement. Not that that’s right, nor should the President have followed suit. However, no one would have been surprised if those comments had been made by Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson – eek!

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