I am very happy that President Obama has invited both Professor Gates and Cambridge Police Sargent Crowley to the White House for a beer. However while I am a Liberal Democrat I believe the President never should have opened his mouth about the incident. The Republicans could have a field day with this. Let me point out a few interesting points about this entire incident that only a NON-PC Liberal would dare to venture. By the way I find that the news media may also have done President Obama a diservice in that his remarks don’t seem as harsh in the context of the full statement he made. (See the video below).
1. Obama made a presumption about the incident and did not retract it.
President Obama said the police were “stupid” to arrest someone whom they knew was in his own home! President Obama is not only a lawyer but a law professor. Police have the right to act on “probable cause”. A call was turned in to 911 that there was a burglary in progress. The rear door was broken into. The police have the right to ask for identification. Here the two sides disagree at the time of this writing. Professor Gates says he gave the documentation while the police contend they had to force him. Further to hamper the police in their LAWFUL DUTY of investigating a possible crime is stupid and illegal even if it is your own home.
That is if Professor Gates did impede the police. I do not know, you dear reader do not know and the President does not know. Obama said his words may have caused harm. That is not correct! Obama made a presumption of the situation.
Simply because you do indeed live there is not a justification for impeding a lawful police investigation. Now we don’t know if Professor Gates did indeed obstruct the investigation. But we do know that simply owning the home is NOT justification for impeding a lawful investigation when there is “probable cause” for the investigation. President Obama seems to prejudge the allegations by both sides in favor of Professor Gates! He seems to believe that owning the home makes an arrest stupid.
Wrong “IF” Professor Gates impeded the police he was wrong regardless that he owns the house. He must comply with the investigation. Again we don’t know either way. But President Obama made a presumption here.
2. Thank God for minority recruitment into the police department!
One of the police at the scene was actually Black and he backs the White police sergeant! Yes we can argue it is a fraternal thing to back your own. But such a “presumption” then means that fraternal feelings between White and Black police officers are above racial barriers if the Black police officer sided with the White police officer! I bet Sargent Crowley was damn glad to have a Black police officer with him! Yes there can be nuances of observation as to over reaction by either side in this incident. But I still say Sargent Crowley must be very happy he had a Black police officer with him.
3. Having minority police officers makes life better for all.
The fact that a White police officer knows there are minority officers at the scene places all on their best behavior. Even if they are not on the scene they still are now members of his “Blue Fraternity”! This makes White officers answerable on new levels. It also provides an excellent Minority Relations back up in the case such as this.
4. What would happen if Professor Gates was not a Professor?
Would this have made national news? What if he were a African – American blue collar worker? Would the news media focus on him?
5. What if the police had asked for ID from a White man at his home?
Let’s assume the police not only legally asked for id but also were nasty? Would this incident make the national news?
The issue here is this! If you are not a burglar, but the police are a little bit pushy, do you have the right to impede their investigating your break-in to what turns out to be your own home? If they are pushy is that automatically a sign of “racism” or just being uptight? I believe you still must cooperate with their investigating. You can always file a claim AFTER they leave.
CONCLUSION: We will never know.
President Obama was himself the victim of police prejudice while growing up and even mentions one story about how one night he came home late to his White grandparent’s home and forgot his key. So he went in by the window and his old White Grandmother screamed a racial epithet about a Black man trying to break into the house.
The lesson to be learned is not simply Race Relations but what would happen in a similar situation to us if we are not Black or a University Professor! Both the police and the public need to be educated on the requirements if asked to provide ID to the police!
Let me tell you my gut reaction to this case and I cannot prove it but at least I admit that.
My gut reaction is that both the police and the professor were tense and needed either some liquor, coffee or sex. In that situation they were not going to get it. So the whole thing exploded. Well now at the White House they can have a beer!
OK now that we have all had a beer can we get back to Health Care?