This is how Rush Limbaugh [mis]characterized the above comments yesterday on his show...
It's obvious that El Rushbo sees a golden opportunity to drive a wedge between police unions and the man they heartily supported for President last year. He's playing it up to the max.
Moving on, this is what local blogger Some Cranky Guy had to say....
The fact that the President of the United States, who was not at the scene, immediately assumes the police are wrong and racists because they are white, makes the President a racists. Without a doubt. But then again, after 20 years in Rev Wright’s Black Liberation Theology Church, this should not surprise anyone but the most stubborned liberal nut job.SCG is no doubt expecting the Kenyan President of the United States to end future pressers by thrusting his gloved fist into the air in salute to his Blank Panther brothers.
I am outraged that my preident is acting like a racist and undermining the lawful legal system.
Predictably, Carlos Miller sides with Gates and says that police arrested the professor "for disorderly conduct after he asked the cop for his name and badge number." Which is sorta like saying Tyler Weinman was arrested for conducting biology experiments outside of class. It's more of the same stuff you've come to expect from Miller and his blog.
At Discourse you'll find links to the actual arrest report and a legal synopsis of what went on that day. I have to admit that I find the analysis a little too biased in favor of the professor but it's worth a visit anyway. And then make sure you read Professor Gates' side of things because, quite frankly, it appears as thought the police officer and Gates were on two different planets. Someone definitely isn't telling the truth.
Having said that, I agree with Limbaugh [*gulp*] and don't think the President had any business giving his opinion on a local matter like this one, especially one as sensitive as this is. Politically, it's a no-win situation for him. He should have taken a pass if for no other reason than yahoos like Rush are going to crucify him for whatever he has to say.
Regarding the arrest itself, I think the officer simply let the belligerent and agitated professor get on his nerves. The professor was probably miffed about having to break the front door and then having to deal with the police to top it off. However, no matter what Gates said to him, the officer should have handled it like a professional and just let it go. There are too many people out there who hate cops and what they represent to let everything they say get the best of an officer's emotions. No matter what Professor Gates and Random Pixels may think, I tend to believe that race played no part in this matter during the event. Unfortunately, it appears that it is now being used by the professor and a strange brew of civil libertarians and right wing bigots like Limbaugh to make this something it isn't.
And all of them have their own distinct reasons for doing so.
President Obama said today that it was an "unfortunate" use of words on his part and adds more [video]...
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Obama said Friday he spoke with the police officer who arrested a Harvard professor and told the officer he did not mean to malign the Cambridge Police Department when he said police acted stupidly.
The president acknowledged that his words "helped to contribute to ratcheting" up the situation when he criticized the manner in which Sgt. James Crowley arrested professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
"I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically," Obama told reporters. "I could have calibrated those words differently, and I told this to Sgt. Crowley."
But during his Friday remarks, Obama said he hoped the controversy surrounding Gates' arrest provides Americans with "a teachable moment" on how they can improve "relations between police officers and minority communities."
And to save you a little legwork, here's a link [.pdf] to the police report.