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July 23, 2009

Smart, Post Racial President Trips Over His Own Mouth In "Racial" Case UPDATE: Gibbs Denies Obama Called Cops Stupid

Given how awful his performance was last night on health care (even the gang on MSNBC weren't feeling the thrill) maybe Obama decide it was better to say anything, no matter how stupid, to make sure people had something else to talk about today.

Mission Accomplished!

The white police sergeant who arrested black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said Thursday President Barack Obama was "way off base" claiming Cambridge officers acted "stupidly" during the incident.

..."I acted appropriately," (Sgt. James) Crowley told WBZ Radio's Carl Stevens Thursday.

"Mister Gates was given plenty of opportunities to stop what he was doing. He didn't. He acted very irrational he controlled the outcome of that event."

"There was a lot of yelling, there was references to my mother, something you wouldn't expect from anybody that should be grateful that you were there investigating a report of a crime in progress, let alone a Harvard University professor."

There's more at the link from the Sergeant who comes across as a pretty reasonable guy.

Perhaps the Cambridge Police should make a deal with Gates...in order to avoid any problems in the future they will no longer respond to calls at his home. I'm sure criminals would find that information rather interesting, especially since the house may have been broken into before.

Jim Geraghty meanwhile asks if yelling at a cop really in an arrestable offense.

According to the police report, Gates was "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior, in a public place, directed at a uniformed police officer who was present investigating a report of a crime in progress. These actions on behalf of Gates served no legitimate purpose and caused citizens passing by this location to stop and take notice while appearing surprised and alarmed."

Being short-tempered, ill-tempered, shouting, etc., are all bad, but I do not think they ought to automatically trigger an arrest, a trial, and potential imprisonment for six months. (Another quite bizarre detail in the report is that the officer says he provided his name at least twice, but Gates kept demanding it. If Gates's account is correct and the officer would not provide his name, it is troubling.)

Patterico also thinks this maybe a case where a civilian fails the 'attitude test' and winds up under arrest.

I agree that giving cops attitude is a bad idea and I don't think it's a crime, but it seems there was more going on here than that (caveat...like Geraghty, Patterico and Obama, I'm relying on reports and not any first hand knowledge). According to reports, Gates followed the officers out of the home and started yelling at them from his porch. I'm pretty sure you can be charged with disorderly conduct for doing that no matter who you are yelling at.

It seems Gates had ample opportunity to calm down and that would have been the end of things. Instead he seems to have decided that standing in front of his house yelling at people who showed up to protect his home was the way to go. Actions, consequences, etc...

But hey, at least we aren't talking about Obama's craptastic performance last night or the fact that despite Pelosi's claims to have the votes in the House, Henry Waxman canceled his committees meeting on health care for the third straight day for want of votes.

Well played Mr. President. Well played.

UPDATE: Meanwhile in Bizzaro World

The White House says President Barack Obama was not calling a Cambridge, Mass., police officer stupid when he criticized last week’s arrest of black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday that Obama felt "cooler heads on all sides should have prevailed" once the officer realized Gates was in his own home.

I wonder if Gibbs waved his hand in front of the reporters faces while saying it.

Now in fairness, none of the stories about this quote Gibbs directly claiming this. If this is his line, he's a liar and a bad one at that.

Update via @Slublog

Okay here's the full quote via Anti-Harkonnen Freedom Fighter

"Let me be clear. He was not calling the officer stupid, okay? He was denoting that . . . at a certain point the situation got far out of hand, and I think all sides understand that."

Wow, just wow.

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posted by DrewM. at 12:49 PM

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