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Author Topic: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police  (Read 2604 times)

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Offline LaCroixTopic starter

Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« on: July 27, 2009, 06:42:44 AM »

So since his speech about health care aired I've been waiting and watching to see if anyone would bring this point up. Now, I'm not going to say if I agree or disagree with the minor statement in which he said 'The Cambridge Police acted stupidly.' I just find it funny that no-one even mentioned it.

At this point it's quite obvious that I'm not the mans biggest fan. I can admit that so far he hasn't bungled anything up but I'm still holding my breath and waiting to see things are going to go in the long run. I can admit, however, that he hasn't messed anything up.

As I said, I just find it funny that no-one else posted about this topic. Its one reason that I am a bit hesitant to enter into the political forums. I'm not afraid of a good bit of political debate, however, I know better than to jump into a debate when the leanings in the forums are quite a bit heavy on one side. Still, with that being said, I thought I would toss this bit of information out there and hopefully get some opinions on what happened.

I have to admit, I rather liked the Daily Show's segment on the speech. I know, a republican watching the Daily Show, but I find it entertaining most of the time. So what did everyone else think and did anyone see the bit John Stewart did on the Daily Show? Anyone else find it amusing?

Have a good day. Looking forward to reading all your responses.

Offline Jude

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2009, 08:47:40 AM »
I think the whole thing is a non-story.  The only reason anyone's making a big deal out of it is that Obama actually *gasp* behaved like a real human being.  How many people across the country looked at the story and thought, "Wow, the police acted stupid."  They did, they arrested a prominent figure of the community and had to let him go without charges after taking on a bunch of criticism.  I think it's perfectly valid to say that the police acted "stupid."

But as a political official you're not allowed to have such a common-sense straight forward opinion.  In the aftermath police throughout the country have demanded Obama apologize to the entire profession.  It's utterly stupid, he didn't say anything bad about the profession or really anything bad about the Cambridge police.  He said they did something stupid; guess what, we all make mistakes.  No one's perfect.  Everyone makes a stupid decision from time to time.  His other comments were equally as obvious to me.

I just wonder when our country is going to get over being offended at stupid, pointless things like this.  First there was the "Special Olympics" comment on late night, and then the fly he swatted during the interview.  When did our country become a bunch of hypersensitive whiners?

Offline SakiaWarner

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Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2009, 09:36:37 AM »
I think the whole thing is a non-story.  The only reason anyone's making a big deal out of it is that Obama actually *gasp* behaved like a real human being.  How many people across the country looked at the story and thought, "Wow, the police acted stupid."  They did, they arrested a prominent figure of the community and had to let him go without charges after taking on a bunch of criticism.  I think it's perfectly valid to say that the police acted "stupid."

But as a political official you're not allowed to have such a common-sense straight forward opinion.  In the aftermath police throughout the country have demanded Obama apologize to the entire profession.  It's utterly stupid, he didn't say anything bad about the profession or really anything bad about the Cambridge police.  He said they did something stupid; guess what, we all make mistakes.  No one's perfect.  Everyone makes a stupid decision from time to time.  His other comments were equally as obvious to me.

I just wonder when our country is going to get over being offended at stupid, pointless things like this.  First there was the "Special Olympics" comment on late night, and then the fly he swatted during the interview.  When did our country become a bunch of hypersensitive whiners?

The first time I have agreed with every single word you've written.

I am sooo tired of political correctness in this country.

If people would have a sense of humor, a lot of things would be non issues.

I dont care that he said it, I agree.. the police acted stupid. Period.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2009, 09:42:52 AM »
I'm more republican than democrat (I haven't EVER voted straight ticket) but by and far I feel the president is more of a 'as the wind blows' type when it comes to his comments.

That aside, I think that the PC movement has moved so far beyond the pale that it is impossible for a white authority figure to do ANYTHING with a minority involved. Too much potential for 'racism'.

I grew up in the south, and while being the barracks RA a while back I was accussed of being racist because I had a junior sailor (who was black) turn his music off after quiet hours. Because I'm a southerner, and white, I OBVIOUSLY didn't like his music (ironically some of his stuff I like a LOT... Hendricks is a fave) but if I hadn't gone to my command master chief that morning to discuss issues and tell him how things were going in the barracks more than likely I would have been portrayed as a racist skinhead when said airman walked in and complained.

I think the PC movement has gone so far as to make it HARDER for folks to get along now.

Anyway back to the police thing. I REALLY think this is somethign that should have stayed local and I suspect that both sides went into it with the wrong outlook, I just get this feelign that each is coloring the encounter.  And I cannot believe how much time was wasted on it.

Offline consortium11

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2009, 01:25:19 PM »
Now, this is just a hunch...

But could it be that when the world is still in the midst of a deep economic crises, with conflicting reports about how long it will take to return to anything like earlier prosperity, with the largest push in recent history occuring in Afganistan with the corresponding increase in casulty rate, with Obama making serious noise about health care, with 100's of peope dying in clashes in northen Nigeria, with high level USA-China talks about the world economy starting and more issues with the bailout... could it be that the reason no-one has posted about it is that it's pretty much a non-issue?

Offline ShrowdedPoet

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Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2009, 01:27:38 PM »
The first time I have agreed with every single word you've written.

I am sooo tired of political correctness in this country.

If people would have a sense of humor, a lot of things would be non issues.

I dont care that he said it, I agree.. the police acted stupid. Period.

*totally agrees and is in awe*

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2009, 01:36:06 PM »
I  gave up on 'meaningful news reporting' the week that the networks had choppers over Paris Hilton's LA place waiting to see if the judge would yank her into court to hear her sentencing for her DUI charge, while in Venezuela students were being beaten up for protesting the hijacking of their country by Chavez (he was trying to push through changes that would basically allow him to remain in office indefinitely among other things)

I had to check with non-american news services to find out about it. (BBC America was the start and from there it was on to new service feeds, ect)

Offline Oniya

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Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2009, 01:43:29 PM »
Was that before or after Anna Nicole Smith died?  Because that's about when I gave up on network news.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2009, 01:56:32 PM »
of course the police backed thugs didn't KILL anyone down there just beat them up, so it wasn't REAL NEWS.

Sigh.

Offline CWand

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2009, 05:57:05 PM »
now that my net is working right again lets see if i can actually post this.


From what i understood about what happened, the professor, lost his keys and had to break into his own house, and the neighbors called the cops.  When the cops arrived he did show them his ID and such and demonstrated he was the house owner, and they didn't accept that and still gave him trouble, so he got upset with them? Correct?

I have to agree with what almost everyone else has said on here, the police officers who responded to the scene acted stupidly.  If our the USA has degraded so far that public officials can't be humans anymore, I really think we've failed with our forefathers expectations of us in my opinion.  Of course I also think most of the outcry and such is coming from the republican party if I'm not mistaken, which means their just trying to do the same stuff they tried with Clinton all over again.  They tried to have him impeached how many times well he was in office?  The Monica thing was just the only time they came even close to getting anything to stick. 

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2009, 06:38:20 PM »
I just wonder when our country is going to get over being offended at stupid, pointless things like this.  First there was the "Special Olympics" comment on late night, and then the fly he swatted during the interview.  When did our country become a bunch of hypersensitive whiners?

Hear, hear!


Offline Maeven

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2009, 06:59:57 PM »
From what i understood about what happened, the professor, lost his keys and had to break into his own house, and the neighbors called the cops.  When the cops arrived he did show them his ID and such and demonstrated he was the house owner, and they didn't accept that and still gave him trouble, so he got upset with them? Correct?

No, actually that's not what happened.

First, the neighbor called the police with reports of two men breaking and entering into a house. Contrary to most of the reports up until today, when pressed on nationality, she said that she wasn't sure but the "thought one of them looked Hispanic."  The tapes were just released.

When police arrived, Gates and his driver were inside the house and he initially refused to come outside or show his identification. 

That's when the situation escalated.


Personally, I think the uproar over cops doing the job they are charged with is what's ridiculous in this case.

Offline CWand

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2009, 07:05:39 PM »
cool they have the footage I'll go watch, thanks Maeven.

Offline ShrowdedPoet

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Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2009, 07:12:37 PM »
linkie?

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2009, 07:25:06 PM »
I think the President was stupid for commenting on the issue.  During the initial interview he even stated that all the facts were not known.  So he passed harsh judgment on a social institution that needs the respect of the community to operate without knowing the facts.  A person in his position cannot completely dismiss a police department without that dismissal meaning something.  He has too much power in the black community, in the government and in this society for his words to be simply “ignored.”  The office he holds and the power he represents cannot be taken so lightly that he can weigh in on an issue and that weight be ignored.

As for the police being “stupid” for doing as they did, that is left for a court to decide.  Though the individual being charged was even profiled by his friends as someone that would immediately have taken offense.  Commentary among his colleagues points to him being someone that would easily be provoked by police intrusion due to his training, stand point on the issue and background.  I find it a little easier to believe he was belligerent and uncooperative than an officer, with no history of applying such prejudice to his job, dragging a man out of his house and arresting him needlessly. 

Offline Dizzied

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2009, 07:32:36 PM »
At this point it's quite obvious that I'm not the mans biggest fan. I can admit that so far he hasn't bungled anything up but I'm still holding my breath and waiting to see things are going to go in the long run. I can admit, however, that he hasn't messed anything up.

I have to disagree with you there.  Spending trillions of dollars of taxpayer money on pet projects, and bailing out the fat cats so they can get raises and bonuses sounds like bungling up to me.  Not to mention he's imitating FDR's interventionism, which dragged the great depression out for years longer than it would have been.  Personally, I'm hard pressed to find something he hasn't bungled up.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2009, 07:37:04 PM »
Please keep on target.  While I'm not an authority here on elliquiy, I'd like to keep this from devolving into a fight over Obama's whole administration.  Please, threads can be shut down for going that far off topic.

Offline Brandon

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2009, 07:38:43 PM »
Really its a non issue in my mind. The police did their jobs, by the book. Obama should have not commented on it till he knew the facts.

From what I see, its become an issue because people want to play with the ever so hot button topic Racism. Maybe its just because I have no faith in the average human being but I actually expect a lot more of this till Obama's term is up.

Offline Dizzied

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2009, 09:05:48 PM »
Please keep on target.  While I'm not an authority here on elliquiy, I'd like to keep this from devolving into a fight over Obama's whole administration.  Please, threads can be shut down for going that far off topic.

Sorry.  That was off-key.  But I wouldn't call expanding a discussion 'devolving'.

I suppose I should say something relevant now.  Well, everyone makes mistakes.  I'm sure we can all think of things that we said which came out wrong.  Hammering him over that seems a little cruel. 

Offline SakiaWarner

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Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2009, 11:02:04 PM »
Really its a non issue in my mind. The police did their jobs, by the book. Obama should have not commented on it till he knew the facts.


Funny the witness to the incident, the 911 caller has said the officer lied on the police report.

It's just going to get weirder as things go on... lovely

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Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2009, 11:03:00 PM »
     I appreciated the link to the audiotape.  I'm going to be a little drole and intone: The neighbor on the phone wins. 
She sounds like she had a more balanced day than any of the other players I've heard from. 

     First, an observation: It's bad interview procedure to offer witnesses a multiple choice list of ethnicities.  It actually encourages people to pick from the list they are offered, not to report what they actually saw (or didn't).  What if a witness had actually just barely glimpsed a Native American male and mentioned that to the caller, but here is the operator saying repeatedly amidst all this, "Are they White, Black, or Hispanic?"  It is better to make open-ended questions:  "Describe them more," or "What race or ethnicity?" 

     Basically, I agree with what Obama said given the broader historical and political context. 
Just as a matter of political finesse, I might prefer he had searched longer for a word with an obvious alternative to aspire to.  Hasty, preemptive, uninformed, ill-considered, unnecessary, swaggering... 
"Stupid" could apply, but it has a kind of banal edge to it -- and too many potential alternative meanings.


     I do think the police could have taken a better look around (is the guy's wallet really the only evidence he lives there?), they could have made a call (it's not like he was running away).  Their precinct could have known something about a Black Harvard professor in their reportedly rather White area.   They could have left without arresting the guy for simply being upset or referring to questions of race (whether eloquently or more in exasperation, that shouldn't make a huge difference).  Whatever the officer felt like at the moment, the arrest made the entire situation racialized as a political event.  As Obama stated, it's well known that Blacks are much more likely to be detained for dubious or non-reasons than Whites in similar circumstances. 

     Now, I'm White and I have personally encountered certain other police officers who will not deign to act civil or even follow all applicable laws if their actions are questioned in any way (I was not yelling, but neither did I get treatment attorneys confirmed would be appropriate).  It is possible the policeman really had an issue with anyone talking about race in that situation.  It would be equally plausible to me that he just wanted to make a show of "taking control." 

     Whatever his motives (or mix of them), if he had happened to arrest another random Black in this country on flimsy grounds, odds are good it would not be a Harvard professor of Afro-American Studies and we would never hear about it. And that happens more often for Blacks (and I believe for Latinos too?) than Whites whenever the question arises:  They are often busted without good cause, and there is silence...  Unless there was a major drug bust, or perhaps a white woman inside, ideally blonde for a longer news cycle.  Then we would hear over and over, and over
« Last Edit: July 27, 2009, 11:09:16 PM by kylie »

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2009, 07:26:09 AM »
You'd think a man of Gate's age, and education, experience would have handled the situation a bit better. From the sounds of it he got almost immediately belligerent and uncooperative.

By definition this particular incident was not racial profiling. The neighbor called in a suspicious incident, and the police responded.

Obama should not have commented at all before more of the facts came out. He did however, and this demonstrates his lack of experience and debunks the myth he is a post-racial politician that was elected to unite rather than divide.

Now he's going to have the two parties over at the White House for a couple beers. Not because he wants to effect a resolution, but because he hopes to get his own ass out of the fire. He will use these two men in attempt to repair his own image.

Offline Rhapsody

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2009, 08:39:31 AM »
You'd think a man of Gate's age, and education, experience would have handled the situation a bit better. From the sounds of it he got almost immediately belligerent and uncooperative.

By definition this particular incident was not racial profiling. The neighbor called in a suspicious incident, and the police responded.

He was arrested in his home, and charged with disorderly conduct: "what the arresting officer described as 'loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space'."

Since when does one's foyer and porch become a "public space"?  To my best knowledge, isn't that private property, thus the opposite of public?

Quote
According to the report, Gates initially refused to show the officer his identification, instead asking for the officer's ID. But Gates eventually did show the officer his identification that included his home address.

"The police report says I was engaged in loud and tumultuous behavior. That's a joke," Gates told The Root. "It escalated as follows: I kept saying to him, 'What is your name, and what is your badge number?' and he refused to respond. I asked him three times, and he refused to respond. And then I said, 'You're not responding because I'm a black man, and you're a white officer.'"

The officer could have handled it a lot better.  Race is a very touchy subject for a lot of people, no matter the color of their skin.  Maybe all he had to say was, "Sir, I'm not here because you're black.  I'm just investigating a possible break-in reported to us.  Here is my badge, and if you could please show me some identification to assure me that you're the rightful owner of the property, I'll be on my way sir."

Edited to add:  I don't believe that Prof. Gates is completely blameless in this.  It could have been handled better on all sides, but it's boiling down to a he said/he said type of deal now.  Maybe Gates didn't have to play the race card, but maybe Crowley didn't have to arrest him to seemingly prove a point either. 

Nobody won. 
« Last Edit: July 28, 2009, 08:48:30 AM by Rhapsody »

Offline Jude

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2009, 11:56:40 AM »
You're right, Obama isn't a post-racial candidate, but he shouldn't be.  Anyone who's honestly convinced that racism/systematic inequality in America is dead clearly isn't looking hard enough.

I understand that blacks are more likely to commit a crime than whites because of the state that the average black family is in.  The two biggest risk factors which create criminals out of young people are poverty and family instability, both are far more present in blacks.  However those statistics aren't staggering enough to justify the gigantic proportional difference between whites and minorities in jail.  Here's the bottom line of statistics from 1990-2008:  "Blacks were almost three times more likely than Hispanics and five times more likely than whites to be in jail."

Expecting the first black President to shut his mouth and never say something about that fact is ridiculous.

Offline consortium11

Re: Obama's comment on the Cambridge Police
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2009, 12:01:21 PM »
And to be fair to Obama, there's a reason Jesse Jackson wanted to cut his balls off. He caused a fair amount of ill will in the black community early when he did the big talk about personal responsibility and how they couldn't blame everything about life in the ghetto on people other than themselves. As far as I remember Obama has been pretty even-handed on the race issue... I think a few black groups got some sweet deals during the stimulus spending and associated pork, but it's not like he's been an Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson type leader.