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Barack Obama condemns arrest of black scholar

HNN Hot Topics: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Barack Obama last night showed a deft touch, but also reached a trenchant conclusion when he was asked about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, a black Harvard professor, at his own home over the weekend.

First Obama joked about what would happen if he was found breaking into the White House.

"Here, I'd get shot," Obama quipped before calling the behaviour of the police stupid.

Obama said: "Now, I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know, separate and apart from this incident, is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. And that's just a fact."

The police were called to Gates's house after someone reported a robbery in progress. Gates told police that he had forced open the front door after locking himself out and presented police with his ID. But the police arrested him, nevertheless, for "loud and tumultuous behaviour in a public space".

Related Links

  • Obama Stands By Comments On Gates Arrest

  • Aaron Bady: The Arrest and Transfiguration of Henry Louis Gates

  • NYT follow-up story: Professor’s Arrest Tests Beliefs on Racial Progress
  • NYT news story 7-22-09

  • NYT: The Gates Case and Racial Profiling

  • Officer in Henry Gates flap tried to save Reggie Lewis

  • Blogger: Obama Destroyed His Post-Racial Theme

  • Boston Globe Scrubs Henry Louis Gates Arrest Report From Website

  • Slate's Mickey Kaus: Maybe Henry Louis Gates Has Stereotypes Too

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    Read entire article at Guardian blog