Did the police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, who arrested Henry Louis Gates, Jr., professor and director of Harvard's African-American research center, act stupidly? President Obama, during his latest prime-time news conference, said he did.
Here's the police report, once posted by the Boston Globe but now pulled. There were several witnesses at the scene, Gates' home, where the officer had been dispatched to investigate a potential burglary in progress. President Obama wasn't one of them.
Maybe in the President's mind, everyone has the right to yell, threaten, ignore repeated warnings to "calm down," and to throw a tantrum after a police officer asks a few basic questions in response to another citizen's call.
Perhaps Professor Gates should have a discussion with someone's mama about disorderly conduct and how it's against the law. And the national chief executive should explain why he's encouraging anyone who thinks they are being treated unfairly to disregard and abuse law enforcement officers carrying out their sworn duties. Hint: Don't try it with the Secret Service, BATF or the FBI.
Prosecutors dropped the charge against Gates Tuesday, which seems reasonable to me. A fine or time in the city jail would serve no useful purpose. Hopefully Gates will find some good mental health care. He's a victim of racial profiling, which he describes in this magazine interview.