While in NY over this past weekend I was listening to a lot of NY city talk radio stations. The two topics discussed the most were the arrests that Ed wrote about HERE and the arrest of Professor Gates.
The station I listened to the most discussing the Gates story was a "black" radio station. The commentator insisted that anything in the police report could not be trusted because it was written by the police and therefore contained only the lies they wanted the public to know.
Now there is no question that true racism existed in this country. While in Cooperstown I see no better evidence of that then when I have the honor of speaking with past Negro League ball players. Bared from being able to play along side white players these men had to form their own league and today many who had shown themselves to be among the greatest ball players of all time are not able to get into the Hall of Fame because the Negro League kept very few records. That is true racism.
And what baseball proved above all is that racism can be stopped. Not with quotas requiring a magic blend of each and every race and color but by showing talent. Everyone wants their team to win. Jackie Robinson proved this. He played his heart out and in doing so he broke down the color barrier. He wasn't picked to be on his team because they needed to fill a quote but because he had talent above and beyond many others. He opened doors for players like the two who were inducted this year into the hall, Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice. They proved themselves to have talent above and beyond everyone else around them.
Getting back to the professor Gates story, that was not racism. It was nothing more then an over blown story that everyone all the way to the president has blown out of proportion.
Let's start with the details.
Lucia Whalen looked outside her apartment and saw two men apparently forcing their way into an apparent. Concerned she called the police. In the 9-11 recording (found HERE) you can hear her saying she saw the men using their shoulder to force open the door. At that time she said she did not get a good look but one of the two men looked Hispanic.
The police report filed by Officer Crowley (found HERE) claims that upon arriving on the scene Lucia called out. She then stated that two black males with backpacks apparently forced their way into the apartment.
Officer Crowley approached the door and could see an older black man within the apartment. Officer Crowley asked the man to step outside and speak on the porch to which he responded "No I will not". He then demanded to know who the officer was, which Officer Crowley replied once again asking the older man to step outside on the porch because he was investigating a report of a break in at the premises. Gates at this point opened the door and asked "why, because I'm a black man in America?" Continuing the questioning Officer Crowley asked if anyone else was inside the apartment to which Gates responded it was none of his business and began making charges of racism.
Gates at this point went over to his phone and ignoring the officer made a phone call. Officer Crowley over heard him saying "get the chief" and made claims that there was a racist police officer in his home. Gates then turned to Officer Crowley and claimed he had no idea who he was messing with.
Officer Crowley asked Gates at this point to show ID proving it was his apartment. Gates originally refused but then showed his Harvard University ID card. Officer Crowley at that point radioed in requesting the Harvard University police.
Officer Crowley at this point called in his findings and prepared to leave. Gates once again demanded to know Officer Crowley's name and information. Officer Crowley began to give the information a second time but Gates continued to yell over him making further claims of racism.
At this point a 2nd officer, Officer Carlos Figueroa had arrived on the scene.
Gates continued to yell out claims of racism. Officer Crowley stated to Gates that he was leaving the scene and if Gates had further question he would address them outside.
Gates' response was "ya, I'll speak with your mama outside".
Once outside, there were at this point several University police officers on the scene.
Gates followed Officer Crowley outside continuing to yell about racism. At this point with several other officers witnessing, Officer Crowley warned Gates that if he continued to scream he would be charged with disorderly conduct. Gates continued to scream and yell. Officer Crowley at this point took out his handcuffs and issues a 2nd warning which Gates likewise ignored.
It was at this point that Officer Crowley stated that Gates was under arrest and proceeded to handcuff him.
Gates began yelling that he was disabled and could not walk without a cane. He also yelled that the handcuffs were too tight. Officer Crowley instructed Officer Ivey to handcuff Gates in front for his comfort and went to get his cane.
At that point he asked Gates if he would want the police to secure his front door to his apartment.
Here's where the story really gets interesting... Gates said the door was un-securable due to a prior break in.
So let's look at the specific facts here...
1) The location is an apartment with a history of prior break ins.
2) The police received a call of someone using force to enter the location and upon arriving at the scene saw a man that would have fit the description reported.
Just those two facts alone tell us all we need to know. If it was actually a break in and the police did not investigate we would hear what we hear too often, that black neighborhoods cannot get police when they need help or that police refuse to help the black man. Instead we have a situation where the officer did investigate and that too indicated charges of racism.
Now if matters were not bad enough we have the president of the United States fanning the flames of hatred by claiming that the police in this above situation "acted stupidly". How so? That they proceeded to make sure that the person inside the apartment who fit the description of the intruder was indeed the legal resident of the location?
After receiving ALL the fact Obama recanted stating his earlier statement was a "poor choice of words".
Folks, this is why there are problems between races in this country. It's not so much racism as perceived racism. Everyone plays a victim card and uses that as excuses for poor behavior.
If my home had previously been broken into and police knocked on my door one afternoon claiming they received a report of a man fitting my description was breaking in I would show my drivers license to prove it was my home and thank them for looking into it. In fact, once something similar did happen. The police claimed the received a 9-11 call and hang up from my home so they wanted to check that everyone who lived there was in fact ok. My wife and I both meet with the police and thanked them for taking matters like that seriously.
Rather then appreciating the fact that Officer Crowley was attempting to keep Gates' home safe, Gates instead made charges from the get go of racism. And Obama fueled the fire even further by making it into a national incident, which if anything THAT was the act of stupidity.
And now Obama feels he can make it all better by inviting both men over for a beer. Let's just hope he doesn't make the same poor choice of words with world leaders.