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Racism Being Used to Stop Debate (Martin, Obama, Gates); Obama “Alienated Public Saftey Officers”; Defamation Lawsuit Against Gates?

Just yesterday I had analyzed the over-the-top commentary by a CNN contributor, Roland S. Martin, showing how it is not just fruitless but downright dangerous to attempt to stop the flow of debate in American society based on completely baseless leading conclusions.

Subsequently, the administrator at sent my reaction to Mr. Martin and attorney Mario Apuzzo; the following is the result of that email transaction:

Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 2:10 PM
The birthers response to your CNN article

Dear Mr. Martin,

Phil at the Right Side of Life made us aware of your recent editorial in his story .

We have posted our reply to your comments on the link below.


Roland S. Martin wrote:

And? It’s irrelevant.

Here is an indisputable fact that all of you can deal with until the 2012 elections: Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th president of the United States. His election has been certified by Congress. He is the president. You can have all of the fun you want with this silly story, and tucker yourselves out by foaming at the mouth. Go right ahead. But it won’t change a thing.

So have fun. I’ll happily laugh at the circus every time. Have at ’em!

And feel free to post my response. Just spell the name properly and don’t forget the middle initial.

Roland S. Martin
Political Editor, TV One Cable Network
Analyst, CNN
Blogger/Special Correspondent, Essence Magazine
Senior Analyst, Tom Joyner Morning Show


from: Mario Apuzzo
Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 6:22 PM
Re: The birthers response to your CNN article

Mr. Martin:

Thank you for sending me a copy of your response to the Birthers post.  Please note that my involvement with Mr. Obama is strictly a constitutional one.  If you want to address a constitutional issue with me, I would be more than happy to come on any show that you have to see who can win the constitutional debate.  Of course, we have to keep it civil and intelligent which means none of this moon landing stuff.  Maybe your principals will take me up on the challenge. After all, what would they have to fear.

Mario Apuzzo, Esq.

Would it be great to see an actual debate between, say, Mr. Apuzzo and someone such as Mr. Martin? Absolutely. Is it likely? Probably not, except maybe in the form of asynchronous communication such as what we have witnessed, above.

And then, wouldn’t you know it, just when I did not watch Mr. Obama’s press conference because I don’t need to be told that I should be liking the President’s health care plan, we would get told that the Cambridge, MA Police Department acted “stupidly” in a situation with a friend of the President, a situation of which Mr. Obama specifically discounted knowing anything about:

Via the AmericanPower blog:

This story is really getting a lot of attention since the Presidents weighed in. See, ABC News, “Cambridge Cop’s Lawyer: Obama was ‘Dead Wrong’ on Gates: Cop Involved in Gates’ Arrest And His Union Lash Out at Obama For Taking Sides” …

There’s been some controversy over access to the police report. See, Newsbusters, “Boston Globe Scrubs Henry Louis Gates Arrest Report From Website.” But Professor William Jacobson has a copy. See, Legal Insurrection, “No, It Wasn’t Racial Profiling.”

Plus, at the New York Times, “Obama Wades Into a Volatile Racial Issue.” And, William Kristol, “Obama Attacks Docs and Cops.”

Also, Dan Riehl, “Obama Destroyed His Post-Racial Theme.” And Dr. Melissa Couthier, at RightWingNews, “President Obama: The Black President Rather Than The American President Who Happens To Be Black.” [emphasis mine]

There’s more at the link. has similarly reported on this story entitled, “How not to win support from police unions,” and Drudge has a portfolio of links on this story as well:

Police Officer denies he’s a racist, won’t apologize…
Audio: ‘I know what I did was right’…
Says Obama ‘way off base’…
Obama faces criticism in liberal Massachusetts…
Police union condemns president’s comments…
White House qualifies remark…
Republicans question Obama’s police criticism…

But wait, there’s more — has the actual police report of the incident; below is the summary:

JULY 23–Here are the police reports detailing the confrontation last week between Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Cambridge cops, who were condemned last night by President Barack Obama for acting “stupidly” in arresting the African-American scholar. Cops responded to Gates’s house after neighbor Lucia Whalen reported spotting “two black males with backpacks” trying to gain entry to the home (Gates, returning home from a trip overseas, and his driver were contending with a stuck front door). The Cambridge Police Department reports, authored by Sergeant James Crowley and Officer James Figueroa, quote an incensed Gates yelling, “This is what happens to black men in America!,” and, when asked by Crowley to speak with him outside the residence, Gates replied, “ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside.” A disorderly conduct rap was filed against Gates, but quickly dropped by prosecutors. Gates is reportedly considering legal action against the Cambridge police. (3 pages)

I invite everyone to actually read the police report as it paints a completely different view of the situation than what many press outlets are reporting.

So, bringing this back to the concept of racism — or, more accurately, bigotry — in America, it seems to me that the ones making the bigger issue out of ethnicity are those who don’t want to discuss certain topics that make them feel uncomfortable.

To demonstrate, what enterprising reporter will ask the following questions:

  • Did Ms. Whalen — the individual who reported an alleged break-in to Prof. Gates’ house — not know that he lived in that particular house?
  • Since Prof. Gates works at Harvard, is he not aware of the rule of law and that if he had a problem with the way that Sgt. Crowley was acting, he should have simply gone along with law enforcement and simply called an attorney or whomever to file a formal complaint (like any other American)?
  • What, exactly, was “stupid” about the way that Sgt. Crowley acted? He asked for Prof. Gates’ ID who, in turn, asked for Sgt. Crowley’s ID who, in turn, attempted to provide that information at least 3 times to Prof. Gates.
  • Why is the President of the United States stepping beyond his jurisdiction and attempting to directly influence the affairs of a police department at the local level?

This situation has “fail” written all over it for the President.

Update: Via FreedomsLighthouse, the Director of the Brotherhood of Police Officers has come out against the President regarding Sgt. Crowley (video at link):

The Director of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers says President Obama has “alienated public safety officers across the country with his comments,” referring to Obama saying the Cambridge, Massachusetts police “acted stupidly” in arresting Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. The video above gives a synopsis of the story.

Many police officers across the country have a message for President Barack Obama: Get all the facts before criticizing one of our own.

Obama’s public criticism that Cambridge officers “acted stupidly” when they arrested black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. could make it harder for police to work with people of color, some officers said Thursday. It could even set back the progress in race relations that helped Obama become the nation’s first African-American president, they said.

“What we don’t need is public safety officials across the country second-guessing themselves,” said David Holway, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, which represents 15,000 public safety officials around the country. “The president’s alienated public safety officers across the country with his comments.”

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama stood by his assertion that police did not need to arrest Gates after he had proved it was his own home. . . . . MORE

Obama is continuing to stand by his remarks on the police, even acting shocked that there has been such an uproar about his words. [emphasis original]

Update: Via McClatchy DC, the Fraternal Order of Police has chimed in:

WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest law enforcement organization chastised President Barack Obama Thursday for saying the Cambridge, Mass., police “acted stupidly” for arresting prominent African-American scholar Henry Louis Gates at his home last week.

The criticism by the 325,000-member Fraternal Order of Police came as White House officials tried to clarify Obama’s caustic characterization of Cambridge police’s handling of the Gates situation during a prime-time televised news conference Wednesday.

Chuck Canterbury, the FOP’s national president, said Obama’s comments were “made without the facts” and “do little to narrow the void of distrust that too often separates the community from the men and women who work to keep it safe.” …

Crowley defended himself in an interview with a Boston radio station Thursday, saying the only thing he’s sorry about is that, “I was not aware who Professor Gates was.”

“I am still amazed that somebody of his level of intelligence would stoop to such a level, berate me, accuse me of me being racist, of racial profiling,” Crowley told Boston’s WEEI.

The Associated Press reported that Crowley was an instructor at the Lowell Police Academy for five years and taught a course on racial profiling and how officers should handle certain situations.

Update: And now ABCNews reports that Sgt. Crowley is “not ruling out” filing a defamation lawsuit against Prof. Gates:

The police sergeant who arrested Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. last week in his own home may be considering a defamation lawsuit against Gates who has implied his arrest was racially motivated. Alan McDonald, who represents Sgt. James Crowley, said the veteran cop who teaches a racial profiling class for rookie police officers has not ruled out filing a defamation of character or libel lawsuit. “He is exploring all of his options,” McDonald told ABC News.

Update: As guest blogger Nathaniel Givens writes on, it turns out that there have been two other police reports that corroborate Sgt. Crowley’s story.


Photo courtesy TheWeek


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