Obama Cambridge Police “Acted Stupidly” Comment Is Not News People
You want to know why? Because cops sometimes do act stupid. Some cops don’t always use the best judgement. In the Henry Louis Gates case there are good arguments on both sides about whether James M. Crowley, the cop, was right or wrong for arresting Gates.
Personally, it appears that a concerned neighbor who saw Gates jerry rigging his way into his house might have been racial profiling maybe, but I don’t think Crowley really was. However, I believe he was wrong in arresting Gates.
I think Crowley acted more on his human emotions than his ethics as a man there to protect the people. He let the heat of the moment affect his judgment and he abused his power. Because some people wanted to immediately shout ‘its got to be a racial thing’ the serious problem of racial profiling in this country was brought to the forefront, but in the wrong way.
Now Obama is apologizing because he sounds like a cop hater when he explicitly said: “Well, I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don’t know all the facts.” And the acted stupidly comment in full text:
“Now, 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, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”
I knew the moment he said it he shouldn’t have because two wrong words took away so much from the rest of what was said. Crowley did act stupidly, and if there was more than one cop who took part in the arrest then I guuuuess it could slide that he did include the whole police department in that statement rather than just Crowley.
I’m sure Crowley would have to admit he probably had the chance to walk away from the situation, and that if he was asked for his name and badge number he should have just done so because it is a citizen’s right to ask for them. I’m sure a number of people, regardless of skin color, would ask a police officer who came into their home for their identification, I know I would.
Final Point: Obama shouldn’t have been all inclusive in his “acted stupidly” statement but he wasn’t wrong for saying the arresting officer acted stupidly. Because based on what he was called out there for in the first place he did act stupidly like people sometimes do. Gates probably didn’t have his finest hour during the incident either.
But really, what shouldn’t happen is two hot heads causing a nation news sensation that distracts from much more serious issues, and the one serious issue it does address is done so in a way that reinforces the divide.