On July 16, 2009, Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department arrested scholar Henry Lewis Gates, Jr. for disorderly conduct. The conflict began when Sgt. Crowley arrived at the home of Henry Gates to investigate a reported break-in at the residence.
Gates, a Black man, overacted to the appearance of the police and began playing the race card, suggesting the police investigation was racially motivated. After being argumentative and rude, Gates provided a Harvard ID that proved he belonged in his own home. Gates then proceeded to express his anger at Crowley for questioning him. Gates was shouting and ranting, and that must have been enough to offend Sgt. Crowley, because he made the incredibly stupid decision to arrest Gates, on his own property, for disorderly conduct.
Sgt. Crowley should have just walked away the moment he realized Gates belonged in the house, but he chose to prove a point and arrest Gates. Arresting a person for disorderly conduct on their own property makes no sense when the conduct is in direct response to the unjustified presence of police. Crowley was probably just aggravated and chose to abuse his power to get back at Gates for his inappropriate and excessive racial tirade.
So what we have here is Henry Lewis Gates, Jr., a man with a ridiculous racial chip on his shoulder, and Sgt. James Crowley, a typical law enforcement bully who just loves to show who is boss. The whole situation is ridiculous. Gates should have not overreacted, and Crowley should have left the scene the second he realized no crime had been committed. Both parties were acting stupidly.
One would think that two people acting stupidly would be enough, but Chairman Obama just had to top them both and jump in the middle of the controversy. A wise politician would not get publicly involved in petty police actions, but Obama felt the need to voice his opinion in a live national primetime press conference by stating that the police "acted stupidly."
Even worse, after Barack Obama found out his words angered people, he began backtracking. On July 24, 2009, Obama attempted to distance himself from his own words. Obama said, "Because this has been ratcheting up and I helped contribute to ratcheting it up, I want to make clear that in my choice of words I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically and I could have calibrated those words differently."
Essentially, Barack Obama is stating he meant what he said, he just wishes he would have said it differently. How are we supposed to take that? It is almost as if he wishes he had been more deceptive when he spoke out. Perhaps, Obama normally uses doublespeak when stating controversial opinions, but he forgot to do it on this item. Why does Obama not just speak his mind or keep his mouth shut. Why is Obama always telling us he did not mean to say something the way he said it? Obama either needs to learn how to speak his mind in a articulate but truthful way or learn how to just stay quiet. A man in his position cannot afford to constantly be making stupid statements and then spend days trying to revise his own words. That is not the way a true leader behaves.