Obama Weighs in on Gates Arrest — Denouncing Police As Acting “Stupidly”

225px-official_portrait_of_barack_obama180px-Henry_Louis_GatesPresident Barack Obama’s press conference took a surprising turn when the President decided to weigh in on the controversy over the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. by the Cambridge Police. While admitting that he did not know all of the facts, the President called the police stupid in their response to the call of a suspected break in.

The President stated that “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.”

The President admitted that Gates is a friend and that “I don’t know all the facts.” However, he felt that the matter should have ended with proof that this was Gates’ house. He raised the specter of racial profiling: “I guess this is my house now. Here I’d get shot.” He noted that “[s]eparate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-American and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”

Ironically, the arresting officer Sergeant James M. Crowley is one of the academy experts who teaches a course on racial profiling, here.

The incident has caused an intense debate on this blog and other sites. A neighbor saw someone forcing open a front door and did the right thing in calling police, in my view. It would be a bit unfair to suggest that this neighbor Lucia Whalen was clearly racist in making such a call. Assuming that we agree that she was correct in making the call, the main controversy focuses on the police and their response. The officers insist that Gates became immediately belligerent and refused to come out of the house. On the other hand, accounts suggest that Gates was willing to show this proof of residency and eventually did come out on to the front porch. Even assuming Gates acted in a boorish and insulting manner in allegedly calling the police racists and pulling rank, I fail to see why an arrest was warranted.

pic-240-1211452Police officers, however, may be a bit put out by the President’s intervention. The police insist that Gates escalated the matter and could have simply resolved the dispute by cooperating without the alleged outburst. I am not sure that we will ever know the facts with complete certainty. The issue of profiling is an obvious concern, though most people (I think) would agree that a call is appropriate when someone is seen forcing their way into a home. Moreover, the police may argue that they needed Gates to come out on to the porch to match his identification with his face and confirm that there was nothing suspicious occurring. I would expect that officers would be equally insistent on speaking directly to me if I were seen forcing a door at my own home.

This may be a case of everyone allowing a routine police call to get out of hand.

The officer, Sergeant James M. Crowley, denies that he is a racist and refused to apologize, here. Below is Gates’ account.

For the full arrest report, click here.

For the story, click here.

Statement on Behalf of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. — by Charles Ogletree

This brief statement is being submitted on behalf of my client, friend, and colleague, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This is a statement concerning the arrest [1]of Professor Gates. On July 16, 2009, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 58, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor of Harvard University, was headed from Logan airport to his home [in] Cambridge after spending a week in China, where he was filming his new PBS documentary entitled “Faces of America.”

Professor Gates was driven to his home by a driver for a local car company. Professor Gates attempted to enter his front door, but the door was damaged. Professor Gates then entered his rear door with his key, turned off his alarm, and again attempted to open the front door. With the help of his driver they were able to force the front door open, and then the driver carried Professor Gates’ luggage into his home.

Professor Gates immediately called the Harvard Real Estate office to report the damage to his door and requested that it be repaired immediately. As he was talking to the Harvard Real Estate office on his portable phone in his house, he observed a uniformed officer on his front porch. When Professor Gates opened the door, the officer immediately asked him to step outside. Professor Gates remained inside his home and asked the officer why he was there. The officer indicated that he was responding to a 911 call about a breaking and entering in progress at this address. Professor Gates informed the officer that he lived there and was a faculty member at Harvard University. The officer then asked Professor Gates whether he could prove that he lived there and taught at Harvard. Professor Gates said that he could, and turned to walk into his kitchen, where he had left his wallet. The officer followed him. Professor Gates handed both his Harvard University identification and his valid Massachusetts driver’s license to the officer. Both include Professor Gates’ photograph, and the license includes his address.

Professor Gates then asked the police officer if he would give him his name and his badge number. He made this request several times. The officer did not produce any identification nor did he respond to Professor Gates’ request for this information. After an additional request by Professor Gates for the officer’s name and badge number, the officer then turned and left the kitchen of Professor Gates’ home without ever acknowledging who he was or if there were charges against Professor Gates. As Professor Gates followed the officer to his own front door, he was astonished to see several police officers gathered on his front porch. Professor Gates asked the officer’s colleagues for his name and badge number. As Professor Gates stepped onto his front porch, the officer who had been inside and who had examined his identification, said to him, “Thank you for accommodating my earlier request,” and then placed Professor Gates under arrest. He was handcuffed on his own front porch.

Professor Gates was taken to the Cambridge Police Station where he remained for approximately 4 hours before being released that evening. Professor Gates’ counsel has been cooperating with the Middlesex District Attorneys Office, and the City of Cambridge, and is hopeful that this matter will be resolved promptly. Professor Gates will not be making any other statements concerning this matter at this time.

74 thoughts on “Obama Weighs in on Gates Arrest — Denouncing Police As Acting “Stupidly””

  1. This is being used as a sort of dog-whistle for white resentment. Fortunately, far too many Americans of all colors and backgrounds won’t be responding. Just as this old tick won’t work for the Republicans, it doesn’t work for Al Sharpton either.

    A large and diverse coalition put BHO in office. That is a growing group. They will not take the bait in adequate numbers for this to help the Epublicans much, and many will look at this just as the President does: the police seem to have acted stupidly.

    It ain’t “post racial,” by any stretch. But it is “post-Obama,” meaning that race is something that can be discussed in a far more open manner than just one year ago.

    P.S. Just found this blog. I’m bookmarking it.

  2. HRap Brown was confrontational?

    I think I speak for most of us when I ask; who the heck is HRap Brown?

  3. erykah,

    “American loved King and his peaceful message so much that they thanked him by putting a bullet in his neck.”

    One man put a bullet in MLK; not America.

    Is what you said really what you think? I hope not.

  4. Mespo

    One more thing. I know, I am on a roll here. If I had a nickle for every time somebody said they loved King because he was peaceful and disliked folks like HRap Brown because he was confrontational, I would be rich. Yeah, American loved King and his peaceful message so much that they thanked him by putting a bullet in his neck. Give me a break!

  5. Mespo,
    God are you so naive. First, Why can’t you understand that black people have a very different experience in this country when it comes to the police? White people see a police officer and feel safe. blacks for the most part see a police office and feel threatened. Blacks have been railroaded by the system so much that we have little confidence in the police or this “justice” system. Second, I personally do not give a damn whether or not you sympathize with Gates because you think he is uppity. The question is did the police have reason to arrest him? Was a crime committed? The answer is a resounding no. Third, you say you do not have evidence that the officer lured gates onto the porch. You also do not have evidence that Gates was the irate uppity negro you claim he is either. Please, go get yourself an education. You are shooting off at the mouth about something you really do not know anything about. The man was in his own house. By the officers own admission he realized no crime was in progress. That should have been the end of it.

    By the way, those who are asserting that the police officer is an expert in racial profiling are wrong. The true experts are those who have been victims of it and survived.

  6. Carlyle:

    “But why are you so sure that it is the police who lack an axe needing grinding?

    Racism is an axe grinding issue. Remember you are not in court now, in court you have to assume that the agents of the law are truthful unless there is overwhelming evidence otherwise or the system does not work. But you are on JT’s blog and JT has collected so many cases of police abusing their power.”


    I think JT would be the first to tell you that most police officers are not racists or ogres bent on denying civil rights. Unfortunately there are some, but having represented three law enforcement unions and scores of cops, I find them much like any other group of folks doing a stressful job–comprised of both saints and sinners with the majority somewhere in between. Most just do their job, go home to their kids, and get along on a public servant’s salary. The interesting cases that JT presents are springboards for discussions, not documentaries on the typical cop.

    Racism is a heavy axe, and in my experience it’s hard to conceal. I just don’t see it here, and I grew up with it in the South. It’s not pretty, but it’s not particularly stealthy either. I need more proof to overcome my presumption that most people are trying to do their jobs as best they can in a fair way. A 50ish guy still calling himself “Skippy” with a chip on his shoulder won’t garner any sympathy from me. It’s a disservice to the fine people I have known who bore much heavier burdens with far more dignity, and in their suffering insured that the rest of us were shamed into trying to end this scourge. To put it succinctly, I was much more impressed by Martin Luther King than H. Rap Brown.

  7. Mespo.

    But why are you so sure that it is the police who lack an axe needing grinding?

    Racism is an axe grinding issue. Remember you are not in court now, in court you have to assume that the agents of the law are truthful unless there is overwhelming evidence otherwise or the system does not work. But you are on JT’s blog and JT has collected so many cases of police abusing their power.

  8. Carlyle:

    “Why are you so certain that the police report is the accurate one when you have so many examples of police bad behaviour on Johnathon Turley’s blog such as this one in the Lawless Arrest Thread.”


    My training teaches me to accept the word of those with no axe to grind and those who have a sworn duty to uphold the law until such time as they prove themselves unworthy of that trust. I see no evidence of racism here by the actions or words of the officers and they deserve the benefit of the doubt. I also tend to distrust those who decide that a dispute is best decided by public spectacle replete with inciting crowds, press releases, unsubstantiated charges, and Al Sharpton chiming in to wring the last ounce of publicity out of the situation. I don’t like trial by media. I do like ordered debate and deliberate consideration of facts and assertions by experienced persons who understand both human rights and human nature.

    The essence of the charge is inciting others while in public, and that is why there was no crime until Gates entered an area visible to the public — before that he was just a boor. I don’t know that the officer enticed Gates to his porch where his childish antics certainly met the test of probable cause for the charge of disorderly conduct. I have heard it both ways: that Gates followed the officer loudly claiming discrimination, and the officer invited him outside. That is the essence of a factual dispute.

    BTW I learned today that the sergeant involved in a police academy trainer charged with teaching new recruits to avoid unlawful racial profiling. Does he appear to be the type of officer who would play the game of “do as I say and not as I do” in full view of his students? I don’t know, but it’s one more piece of evidence telling me this is case more about the thinness of skin rather than its tier on the von Luschan scale.

  9. erykah

    “The 64 thousand dollar question is why didn’t it end there?”

    The answer I suspect is that Jim Crow Etiquette for white policeman dealing with a nigger requires that he punish the nigger for being uppity and demanding his name and badge number.

  10. Badaman
    There is no evidence that the white house called reporters and asked them to ask this specific question. Helen Thomas alleges that the white house informed people ahead of time that they would be called on but Gibbs does not confirm it. From what I know of Obama, he would not deliberately enter into this discussion as he is well aware that race remains a hot button issue despite his election. Post-racial America my ass. And given the fact that his purpose was to sell health care reform why would he want to do anything to take the focus off that discussion.

    Let me say one more thing about the arrest. While some of you are adamant that Gates was out of line and therefore should have been arrested I want to remind you that the Cambridge police stated that the arrest was “unfortunate and regrettable.” That says to me that they recognize a mistake was made despite the fact that they are now all rallying around Crawley because of the president’s response. According to Crawley’s own report, he realized early on that Gates was the rightful occupant of the house and no crime was in progress. The 64 thousand dollar question is why didn’t it end there?

  11. Mespo.

    Why did Crowley wait until Gates stepped onto his front porch to arrest him? Why didn’t he arrest him inside the house? Why did he call the Harvard University police

    The two descriptions of what happened in the police report and by Professor Gates’ lawyer are completely incompatible. They can’t both be true and I do not think that mere exaggeration can explain the differences.

    Why are you so certain that the police report is the accurate one when you have so many examples of police bad behaviour on Johnathon Turley’s blog such as this one in the Lawless Arrest Thread.

  12. Indentured servant as the daughter of a former felon, I well know that there are those in the Black and Latino community who deserve to be punished for their crimes. But in the same token I am also well aware of those who have been penalized by the “justice” system for no other reason than white cops abusing their power over black and brown bodies. While I appreciate your response you really need to get an education in public policy and policing. Like I said, those who live on the privilege side of racism can ignore what people of color know to be reality. There are plenty of books and studies you can avail yourself to regarding the historical and contemporary issues of racial profiling and disparities in the penal system. Even John Ashcroft, the former Attorney General under the Bush administration had to admit that racial profiling is a national problem. Obama pointed this out last night. Remember, one of the issues he worked on when he was an Illinois senator was racial profiling. Plus, he has lived in Cambridge and knows that it is not friendly territory for Blacks. My daughter is a student at Harvard and always has a story about some Black student who was abused by Harvard or Cambridge police. Gates is lucky because of who he is. But far too many Blacks are not because they do not have his connections. So Gates, while shaken, will be fine. Many others not so much.

  13. Vince:

    Thanks for the correction but it is a distinction without a difference. Regardless of time of day, Gates was out of line in his aggressive stance towards these officers whose purpose for being there was the protection of Gates’ safety and property. That it occurred in broad daylight, gives more credence to the officer’s probable cause to arrest for disorderly conduct since Gates was obviously inciting the gathered crowd with his vocal and misplaced allegation of police racism and his own victimhood.

    I note Professor Ogletree’s reluctance to simply state exactly what Gates said to the officer. Instead, Ogletree summarizes the language in the light most favorable to his client. Good lawyering maybe, but it speaks volumes to me that Gates’ lawyer never refuted the officer’s account of belligerency and pandering to the crowd, not to mention his client’s defaming the officers who never once exhibited any overtly racially motivated actions or made any such remarks. By the way, I have learned to disregard press releases from an accused’s lawyer.

    The officers remained professional in my view, and it was Gates who decided that this minor intrusion on his dignity for his own benefit warranted his ass-like behavior and then alerting the media in an effort to vindicate him. I would have thought an innocent man would have wanted his day in court. Gates, it seems, was all too willing to accept the dismissal. Let’s wait for the inevitable civil suit before declaring winners and losers here. I want to hear all the evidence not merely that filtered through the less than impartial Professor Ogletree or even the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I think the officers counterclaim for defamation will make for stunning reading as well as Gates’ sad tale of deprivation of civil rights.

    I’ll reserve my sympathy for the real victims of discrimination (See e.g., Loving, Mildred), not the self-appointed ones.

  14. I have to correct my post on the first Gates thread, where I said “Besides, there is no such crime as tumultuous behavior.” There may be no such crime in and of itself, but it is an element of the offense of disorderly conduct in Massachusetts, as that State’s courts have held:

    QUOTE Subsequently, terming the statute 66 archaic,” the court in Commonwealth v. A Juvenile, 368 Mass. 580 , 587-599 (1975), narrowed the definition of “idle and disorderly” to exclude subsection (b) of s. 250.2 of the Model Penal Code [Note 3] – “disorderly” conduct may now only be “validly . . . applied to conduct which involves no lawful exercise of a First Amendment right.”

    As thus construed, and as reiterated in Feigenbaum, 404 Mass. at 474, “disorderly” conduct, in accordance with s. 250.2 of the Model Penal Code [Note 4] is defined as follows:

    “A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if, with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he:

    “(a) engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; or . . .

    “(c) creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor” (emphasis supplied in Feigenbaum). UNQUOTE

    The term “tumultuous” has been construed by the courts in Massachusetts:

    QUOTE 1. Tumultuous behavior. Turning to the ordinary dictionary definition, we find that “tumultuous” is defined as “l: marked by tumult: full of commotion and uproar: riotous, stormy, boisterous . . . 2: tending or disposed to cause or incite a tumult . . . 3: marked by violent or overwhelming turbulence or upheaval.” Webster’s Third New Intl. Dictionary 2462 (1993).

    Massachusetts cases are in accord with these definitions. See Commonwealth v. A Juvenile, 368 Mass. at 597 (noting that the statute covers ” ‘tumultuous behavior,’ which, while perhaps not physically violent, may nevertheless be characterized as involving riotous commotion and excessively unreasonable noise so as to constitute a public nuisance”).

    Other cases inform. In Commonwealth v. Richards, 369 Mass. 443 , 448 (1976), the defendants were held to have engaged in “fighting” and in “violent or tumultuous behavior.” Due to their actions – drinking alcohol in a crowded mail, resisting arrest, punching and cursing police – a crowd of some two hundred people became hostile and abusive and threw “bundles of newspapers, books, and other debris” at the police. Id. at 447.

    In Commonwealth v. Carson, 10 Mass. App. Ct. 920 , 921 (1980), campus police responding to a complaint of a “disturbance” found the defendant, a college student, drunk and belligerent. Cursing at the police officers, he attracted a crowd of fifty people, some of whom “laugh[ed] or yell[ed] abuse at the police.” Ibid. His intoxication, belligerence, and his manner of resisting apprehension “could be fairly characterized as ‘tumultuous”‘ and needlessly exacerbated a situation which “might have moderated of its own accord.” Id. at 922.

    In another case, the “defendant’s actions of removing his hands from the [police] cruiser, flailing them in an agitated and belligerent manner while berating [police] Officer Rivera with loud profanities, and shoving his hands into the pockets of his baggy shorts, especially in light of Officer Rivera’s previous encounter with the defendant on a gun charge, constituted tumultuous or threatening behavior beyond protected expressive speech or conduct.” Commonwealth v. Mulero, 38 Mass. App. Ct. 963 , 965 (1995). Such actions, which led a crowd of about thirty persons to gather, provided the police with probable cause to arrest the defendant on a charge of disorderly conduct. Id. at 963-965. UNQUOTE

    As noted above, the offense cannot be applied to political expression and lawful exercises of First Amendment rights, where behavior has a legitimate purpose.

    QUOTE In Feigenbaum, 404 Mass. at 475, the court held that although behavior which was motivated by political purposes could be found to have created a hazardous condition, and might be considered “criminal under the common law or by some statute,” such behavior “does not constitute disorderly conduct under G. L. c. 272, s. 53,” because it has “a legitimate purpose.”

    The Commonwealth would have us confine Feigenbaum and the term “no legitimate purpose” to situations involving political expression. However, neither the opinion nor the Model Penal Code suggests such a limitation. Indeed, another section of the Model Penal Code, s. 250.4, defining “harassment [Note 6],” described in the comment as “a companion offense to disorderly conduct under s. 250.2,” contains the same phrase. Model Penal Code s. 250.4 comment 1, at 360.

    Commenting on the catchall language of subsection (5) of s. 250.4, which covers “any other course of alarming conduct serving no legitimate purpose of the actor,” the drafters stated, “The import of the phrase . . . is broadly to exclude from this subsection any conduct that directly furthers some legitimate desire or objective of the actor.” Model Penal Code s. 250.4 comment 5, at 368. See Commonwealth v. Wheaton, 409 Pa. Super. 622, 628 (1991) (defendant’s efforts to maintain his water supply constituted a legitimate purpose precluding conviction of harassment). See also DiDonna v. DiDonna, 72 Misc. 2d 231, 233 (N.Y. Fam. Ct. 1972) (preservation of marriage a legitimate purpose). UNQUOTE

    Source Commonwealth v. Zettel, 46 Mass. App. Ct. 471, September 10, 1998 – March 16, 1999.

    The law students here can go to the sources. I do not think anything described in the police report amounted to tumultuous behavior under the court’s standards, and I doubt if speech in his house and on his porch is public, since most of the “public” were police officers, who would have clearly been able to prevent any further spread of inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, but that is a matter of opinion.

    I think that Gates’ counsel would have made a very strong argument that his speech served a legitimate purpose, and that it was political expression protected by the First Amendment, since the subject of his speech was racism in America, even if the speech was “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open,” New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964).

  15. One of the saddest and most frustrating things to me as I contemplate present day America is the fact that even though we have elected a Black man President, though some kooks even doubt that, there is still little understanding of the racism inherent in this country, felt by many on a sub-conscious level, but nevertheless there. President Obama was confronted by the question of Ms. Sweet at the end of the press conference and he answered it truthfully and with humor. Naturally, as befits the US in these times, he is castigated for daring to express a truth which we all know, but except for fringe people dare not speak.

    The vestiges of slavery,segregation and racism still exist in this country in large enough proportions to make it dangerous.
    Black people, Hispanics, Asians and native Americans are portrayed in our media and entertainment in stereotypical fashion and for those with little or no real experience with these communities this stereotypes of language and demeanor seem real. As someone who has worked all his life with, for and supervising these humans of color, with the exception of native Americans, I am continually amazed at how they are portrayed in the media and how some have to portray themselves to get work in their chosen professions. The portrayals I see are clownish, whereas the people I know and have known are little different from any of us.

    For instance coming from NYC, if I had not known differently Professor Sotomayor’s Bronx accent would have pegged her as Jewish, or Italian and not Puerto Rican. However, we were even treated to a Senator using the Ricky Ricardo cliche’ “Splain.” The fool didn’t even realize that Ricardo was Cuban and the Cuban American accent is way different from that of a Puerto Rican American. Ms. Sotomayor has a Bronx accent not a Puerto Rican accent. Being white I am privy to discussions of other whites when it comes to these humans of color. I do not think, I know that racism is alive, well and still relatively lethal in this country.

    Some mention the disproportion of Black and Latino people in jails and say “It all can’t be prejudice.” They are wrong. The seeding of certain communities with addictive drugs was abetted at times by Governmental entities. Rush Limbaugh, an oxycodone addict receives no jail time or rehab for a huge stash of the drug, while some black man get 5 years for possessing $100 worth of crack. The cocaine addict businessman
    gets rehab for possessing an ounce of cocaine a weight at which one is presumed to be selling, while a Hispanic gets
    sentenced to 10 years for having that a $100 worth of crack and presumed to be selling. The other problem is our Legal Aid and Public Defender systems, while staffed by heroic and competent lawyers are stuck with impossibly sized caseloads and so poor people do not get the representation that most white people get. Those whites who are forced to used public defenders have in general similar high rates of conviction.

    Most sentencing studies for all categories of crime overwhelmingly show that humans of color get significantly harsher sentences for the same class of crime. However, beyond that almost all sociologists/historians agree that poverty breeds crime. The rate of unemployment in Black communities reaches at times 40%, leaving people needing to resort to crime as their only way of feeding, clothing and sheltering themselves. This unemployment rate is directly attributable to neglected, underfunded education and also to the fact that people of color looking for jobs are consciously, or sub-consciously facing more skepticism. The affirmative action meme is just that a meme. Those who believe that people of color in America have special privileges are stupid or bigoted.

    Finally, in the case at hand I have read the police report, as Vince helpfully provided. As I said in another thread today
    granting that the report was totally factual there was no convincing reason given for Professor Gates arrest, other than to show an “uppity” black man, where he stood. The arrest wasn’t done to deal with any crime, it was to show Professor Gates who was boss. This was a disgusting and vile incident and it was done to a person with one of the best minds in America. The President was correct in speaking out. It’s too bad in the US many don’t like to hear the truth.

  16. There may well be a racial component, but this is really part of the larger (and growing) problem of police everywhere in America acting more like an occupying army than a police force.

    And unfortunately, courts have backed them up time and time again. Why, if I am just standing by the side of the road and not under arrest or even under suspicion, do I have to show a police officer my identification? That’s Gestapo-ish and yet the courts have backed police on that one.

    Just try refusing to exit your car when an officer requests it, even if you ask him if you’re under arrest first. You’ll be under arrest faster than you can say constitution if you try something like that.

    There was no reason to arrest Gates, even if he was yelling at the officer once his right to be in the house was established. The police officer did act stupidly; he should’ve walked away from the situation.

  17. As Vince Treacy has supplied us, the City of Cambridge arrest report said only the following: “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.”

    The Cambridge Municiple Code defines “disorderly conduct” as:
    “9.08.010 Disorderly conduct–Profanity and insulting language.
    No person shall behave himself in a rude or disorderly manner, or use any indecent, profane or insulting language in any street or public place. No person shall make or cause to be made, any unnecessary noise or noises in any public street, private way or park, so as to cause any inconvenience or discomfort for the inhabitants of the City.”http://www.municode.com/Resources/gateway.asp?pid=16889&sid=21

    Apparently this is why Gates had to be lured onto HIS OWN porch, apparently interpreted as a “street or public place” and/or “public street, private way or park.”

    I would submit this is a much about the “the ass-kickers vs the effete intellectual snobs” as it is about race. Gates is lucky he wasn’t tasered half to death. (Maybe he tumultuously mentioned he was a friend of the president.)

    And, yes, this CERTAINLY raises Obama’s “uppity” quotient. Perhaps he should be forced to submit to the GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee a list of all his friends that have a propensity for “loud and tumultuous behavior.”

  18. Harvard Square must not be a terribly neighborly place. If my across-the-street neighbor was having difficulty opening his front door, my first reaction would be to go across and try to help rather than calling the police. Don’t these people know their neighbors?

    Prof. Gates is a pretty recognizable fellow, and a middle aged man in a polo shirt walking with a cane and carrying luggage in the middle of the day fits the profile of a Harvard Prof far better than the profile of a home invader.

    So, I guess I don’t accept the notion that the neighbor was correct.

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