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Controversial arrest sparks stereotypes, local reaction

READ MORE: Controversial arrest sparks stereotypes, local reaction
Whether we like it or not, stereotypes can arise in nearly every situation. The case of one Harvard professors' arrest has turned into a case of black vs. white. "The average black man, when they see a white man in authority, the first thing that comes to his mind, is ‘oh God, how is this man planning my demise’," said Rev. James Jameson from Hope Baptist Church for All Nations. Reverend Jameson has a duel perspective, as well as a local one. He is a leader in the black community, and a former law enforcement officer. He said the situation would have been very different had the officer who arrested Professor Gates been African American. "The brother would have left the porch, the other brother would have calmed down, and we wouldn't be having this news interview right now," Rev. Jameson said. According to Jameson, some primarily black neighborhoods in Wilmington are patrolled by black officers, because he said it helps ensure trust between law enforcement and the citizens. This is a concept New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon is working to foster in his new term. "I think it is important as a law enforcement community that we are open to the citizens. That is who we serve. The more open we are with everyday things - when something does happen that could be potentially bad - we'll at least then have that trust," he said. "We all have our stereotypes; things that we think about people, but we can't allow them to interfere with the conduct of our duties," Jameson said.

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What if the professors had really been burglarized?

I wonder how big of a lawsuit would have been persued if the professors house had been burgularized by thugs and the police had not responded? There is simply no winning in these cases. -------------------------------------------- Actually, it *was* according to the original story. That's why he couldn't get the front door open. The ironic part of the whole story is that his house WAS burglarized while he was away and NO ONE called the cops! You'd think someone would be catching hell over that obvious racism, but then again who do you blame? "Some whitey didn't call the cops when a black man's house was broken into..." ?


This is an never ending story. Now the 911 caller states that she never mentioned a race, via her lawyer. If I call 911 because my neighbor is beating his wife in the front yard do I have to lawyer up?

Breaking In & Fear of police officers

If I saw someone knocking their shoulder against the front door of a home I too would call the police. Better safe than sorry, right? As a second bit I'd like to include that I have never broke any laws that I'm aware of but have the same feeling of fear when I see an officer approaching. That is NOT a black issued its a human nature issue. I completely understand and appreciate that officers are there to help but I also know that they dont just drop by for social visits... if they're coming to your house something is wrong. I also know that it is for an officers own safety that they are so strick in our compliance with their requests. Insanity... that this is getting so much coverage.

Ok Fine

Then I want only white officers patrolling my neighborhood. Anything else is nothing but a double standard!


I am a black woman and I am sick of hearing my people hollering that we are being picked on because we are black! We need to stop making excuses based on our skin color if we expect everyone else to. When we do that we are just promoting racism. If a police officer asks for your identification, show it, don't start yelling at him. And that goes for white people, teenagers, and everyone else. Sure, there is still some real racial profiling going on, but it is incidents like this that just make it worse because when it really happens other people are just going to roll their eyes and say there they go again, playing the race card.

Right on!!!!

You couldn't have said it any better, sister!!! If everyone would just drop their self-serving racial attitude and adopt yours, this whole US of A would be a better place for us all! Thank GOD there are still some sane people such as yourself out there!!! There IS hope yet!

break ins

I think what I have learned from this is to never call 911 to report a break in,unless I am a close friend or family member. I used to be so confused when people stood by and watched a crime being committed and did nothing but now I understand.

It sure is a shame.......

...that this whole incident has turned into another racial fiasco. There are enough "real" incidents that occur to need a racial headliner such as this. Yeah, lets rile up Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to give them some more mug time on camera......geeeeez.... The bottom line is, when you are approached by a police officer, you treat him with respect and cooperate with his requests. If you want to act belligerant and uncooperative, it is a signal to him that something is wrong and he has the right to detain you. It doesn't matter who you are, what color you are, what gender you are or how old you are, either coooperate or suffer the consequences...period. President Obama spoke out of context and without proper knowledge of the case when he accused the Caimbridge police for acting "stupidly" (great use of grammer too, by the way). It is hard to believe that our own president would comment in such a way to perpetuate this as a racial issue. I wonder how big of a lawsuit would have been persued if the professors house had been burgularized by thugs and the police had not responded? There is simply no winning in these cases. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. One thing is for sure, once all of the facts are on the table, somebody is going to look very "stupidly" here!!!!


This issue is going too far!! Everytime a white officer arrests a black man person, or even pull over a black person for that matter, it's called racial profilling. Everyone keeps saying that they cant believe that people are still racist these days, Well I cant believe that people are still pulling the race card continuously. The officer had a black officer with him at the time and even the black officer said the arrest was warranted. Yes lets stop with the racism, but lets also stop pulling the racism card everytime an African American doesnt get their way

black people will not let

black people will not let racism go sharpton and jesse jackson would be out of the job if racism went away...all this professor needed to do was pull out his wallet and show the officer his ID as the officer requested...instead he threw a temper-tantrum after breaking in to his own home...the cops didn't know who he was....for all they knew, he could have been robbing the house.

we live a very racial

we live a very racial country. at the end of the day there is allways a proper way of handling things, what happen to the professor happens everyday in wilmington, and america it just made headlines because of his name.if u dont believe me just take a survey

This whole situation is

This whole situation is silly and I find fought in both parties. When the Officers asked for his indentification, by all means providing the information would have resolved the whole issue. It could have even provided him time to explain what was happening. Also the Officer(s) could have attempted to calm him down or communicate in a reasonable tone to investigate the situation. There was enough available staff to defuse any violent action. I use this format everday at work (DOC) for the past 11 years and it works. Officers have to enforce the law and have to be able to handle human emotions, which is the hardest part. You have to be firm but fair, professional, and be able to use the available tools either its personel or equipment to investigate a situation. One thing I agree on with the other responders is that we have bigger issue going on than to worry about race. Also the President needs to realize to only deal with national issues not local. Especially if the Professor was a personal friend, he should have withdrawn himself from the situation and any comments or actions should have been left to the local authorities. Let's get back on track!!!

I totally agree. If someone

I totally agree. If someone sees a person, not knowing anything about them, and immediately judges them because of the color of their skin, that sounds racist to me. So with the comment about "planning my demise", that's a very racist, judgmental thing to say. This is the exact thing that promotes the racism that exists today. What an ignorant thing to say!!

It is not racial profiling!

America has a sordid past in the area of race relations, but the time has come to recognize the tremendous progress that has been made in this area. The officer in charge of investigating the reported breakin, as backed up by other officers, is not racist in his arttitudes and followed the book. Professor Gates had a chip on his shoulder. It is time for race hustlers like the Reverends (?) Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to stop saying that everything in their sight is racially motivated. President Obama called the Gates situation "a learning moment." He is the one who needs to learn the most from it. The lesson he needs to learn is that "an open mouth, when you don't know the facts, and have your mind made up anyway, tends to collect feet."

Police have tough job ....

To start at the beginning, their is report of a possible break in by a concerned neighbor, obviously for some reason the neighbor did NOT recognize Professor Gates either. A police officers job, regardless of race is to investigate, which a white and a black officer did. They did not recognize Prof. Gates either, they asked for ID. Then this is where it got out of hand, and unless you have a tape recording of the conversation it is impossible to judge, because it is a he said she thing. Police Officers have a very difficult job and to instantly critic them is wrong. Could the police have been out of line ... Yes .... could Prof. Gates have been out of line when the police officer was doing his job ...Yes. Would Prof. Gates rather NOT have the Police Dept respond to a concerned neighbors request about a break in ... I don't think so. To a point he should be grateful that they did respond in a timely fashion, however he did not and that is where it has excalated from. Folks .. we are all God's children, can't we get along .... my 2 cents. Bill G.

situation very different had the officer been African American

"Reverend Jameson has a duel perspective, as well as a local one. He is a leader in the black community, and a former law enforcement officer. He said the situation would have been very different had the officer who arrested Professor Gates been African American." "The brother would have left the porch, the other brother would have calmed down, and we wouldn't be having this news interview right now," Rev. Jameson said." Unfortunately for Mr Gates, there was an African American Officer there. The African American officer agreed with Sgt. Crowley that the Professor was arrested properly for disorderly conduct. He agreed with the Sgt. 100%. So to follow the Reverends logic, If it's a white cop, instant resistance. If it's a black cop, no problem. It's funny when the officer doesn't see race, teaches officers "minority sensitivities", and doesn't have one racist bone in his body. Too bad for the professor. Looks like he's the one that "acted stupidly". And then the President of the United States pontificates without knowing all the facts, it just has to be racism. We hope you don't blow another situation like this one that might have dire consequences. So now, who's the racist?

Excellent Points

which the media and the President both seem to have initally overlooked.


So if any cop anywhere, but especially a white cop, now encounters a black man at the site of a reported break-in, the cop should just take the man at his word that he is the resident even though he doesn't offer any proof? Sounds like a carte blanche for burglars everywhere...

planning my demise? Jeez!

Planning my demise!? Now if that is not stereotypical I do not know what is. That trust thing he is talking about goes two ways. Not all of Law Enforcement has that "stereotypical" racial chip on its shoulder and nine times out of ten, when someone fears the law man its usually because they are breaking the law. Now that is not to say that the caliber of employee the city and county are willing to let patrol our streets could not be a little greater, but until we as citizens help push a bill that pays these people that lay their lives on the line for us mostly unappreciative citizens everyday a little more salary; I guess you will just have to put up with a few bad apples in that barrel. By the way, bad apples come in several different colors as well.


From what I have followed about this case, This Black man in America could have change everything about this arrest. He could have step up as a Man that is American and gave the information that he police officer needed, people need to change their mind set. the ones that are screaming I am black and you owe me. are the very ones that need to change break the chain and stop doing stuff like this. I know there are bad cops out there but, I mean really why is this still in the news, we have troops being killed everyday, I wish people would put so this much effort in getting health care pass, jobs back in the USA, people house, and feed. Change yourself and people will see that and change with you....

This is America, right?

I have found no law that states a person must show identification while on their own property. The owner and his invited guests are the only persons with a right to be on his property. There was no probable cause other than a neighbor that was being nosey making a phone call. We have insurance to cover loss of possessions in the event of a break in. We also have The Constitution as assurance of the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures". BTW, I am a white female and have been harrassed by a white female cop for my ID while on my own property. She didn't get it either.


I find it coarse and just rude that someone would say we possibly do not need to call the police when the neighbors possibly are being burglarized . Furthermore you make it sound as if the police have no right to find out if you are the said owners of the property and not some hooligan posing as the owner. Next you will be using your constitutional rights in a knife fight. Our rights are for the good of the community and not a weapon for ones own personal selfish ego maniacal vindications. If you have the law enforcement arrive at you r door be at the very least respectful of their duties and make life a little easier on everyone by not starting the ripple effect in a sea of already tumultuous anxieties due to disrespectful citizens. In a nutshell; chill and be nice to all.

Professor Gates

Perhaps Gates should move to Texas, where some people think it's ok to shoot trespassers...I heard this discussed on NPR's talk of the nation, and they pointed out that cops have been just as mistaken when they share a skin color. To be arrested for tresspassing in one's own home does appear to be unusual. It reminded me of the Strickland case. Sometimes it pays to listen to what's being said before judging.

Professor Gates

Come on, give me a break. The police officer did his job. He responded to a complaint and did an investigation. The incident became heated because of Mr. Gates assumption that he was being questioned due to the color of his skin. If the officer had not responded or asked questions, then Mr. Gates would have said the he did not receive the same customer service as a person of a different skin color would have. Walk in the shoes of a police officer, then judge!! Are there bad police officers out there, sure. But there are also bad parents, bad politicians, bad teachers, bad mechanics, bad doctors, etc., etc. These officers did their job, period!!!!!

Professor Gates

You're exactly right - everybody should be sure of their information before flying off the handle. Professor Gates was arrested for Disorderly Conduct because he was yelling at the Officer in the front yard. That it was his own front yard is not relevant to the arrest.

Cops are Human First

In a constant quest to find equality in America I am often bewildered that I can't seem to find any. We have to remember that people of color endure imbalance on a daily basis and this recent event has shown me that even the higher echelon on African Americans are not immune. Cops are human first as are all of us. Everyone has some prejudice within us, whether it is we don't like skinny people or fat people or whatever. The fact is that we cannot let our prejudices interfere with our professional careers. There is no way to tell if someone is that way but through their actions and words. We have to ensure that the people we are employing to protect the citizens are not the monsters under the bed by a careful selection process. It is bad when a man can't be safe at his own home. Yes, maybe Obama could have chosen a better word to use other than "stupid", because he is the President, but the fact still stands that the act was inappropriate in every way and that is it.

Prof. Gates

Lets get one thing straight. Profiling ?--- A neighbor reported 2 men breaking in with a description of them being black. -- FACT. Theres no profiling !!END. When an officer tells you to do something in a situation, you do it-- period. Not if you think you should. If you don't it now becomes resisting. If you want to control the scene, answer the ???'s and sort out the problem. Don't become the problem !

scott cornwall

he was not arested for tresspassing, get the facts straitht, it was diorderly conduct, Gates was making a scene, and would not obey the Officer, no wonder this country is going down, people just do not care to get the facts right

maybe he would not have been

maybe he would not have been arrested for disorderly conduct if once he provide identification the officers should/would have apologized. i've been arrested for so called disorderly conduct and officers think they can speak to person/people in any fashion but expect people/person to just be on the hush. Not in today's society, you have to give respect to get it.

went too far!

Do you have the facts staight? He showed his identification inside his home which also had his address on it and was then asked to go outside..... At that time the police officers should have left and that would have been the end of it............