By Dave Lindorff
Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley has gone whining to his professional organization, the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Assn., asking for support in calling for President Obama to apologize for saying he acted "stupidly" in arresting Harvard Prof. Henry Gates after first suspecting the prominent African-American scholar of being a burglar caught breaking into Gates' own home.
Sgt. Crowley claims he was totally justified in making the arrest on a charge of "disorderly conduct" (later dropped by the police), because Gates, who actually had been forced to break into his own home during a return from a speaking tour in China when the front door was stuck, had allegedly become "enraged" when the officer confronted him and asked for identification. Crowley claims that Gates called him names, called him a racist, and threatened to file a complaint against him, and that as a result he arrested him.
President Obama said that this arrest, made after Gates had shown the officer both his Harvard faculty ID and also his drivers license, showing that he in fact lived in the residence in question, was stupid, but in truth it was much worse than that. It was a blatant abuse of power--one that has become all to common, and accepted, in today's America, where every cop's a "hero"...
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DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist. His latest work is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net