Cop Who Arrested Gates Not Ruling Out Defamation Lawsuit

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tom B, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. Tom B

    Tom B

    Cop Who Arrested Gates Not Ruling Out Defamation Lawsuit

    Case Heats Up as Police Organizations Criticize Obama for Jumping Into the Controversy

    July 24, 2009 —

    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.

    Though charges were dropped, Gates has loudly asserted his arrest was a result of racial profiling.

    The arrest and subsequent storm of racially charged comments has enveloped the White House after President Obama said on Wednesday the Cambridge police acted "stupidly" in arresting his friend, Gates, who is a prominent black scholar.

    Police organizations and others across the country are lashing out at Obama for calling out the Cambridge Police Department.

    "It's not a case of racial profiling," said NPR analyst Juan Williams on "Good Morning America."

    Williams made clear there are dangers when blacks are confronted by police. "As someone who has been stopped, as a black person in America, I have a very deferential approach to cops. I don't speak to them in aggressive tones. ... It's just that cops can be very prickly, especially with a black guy."

    But Williams said the president went "way too far" without seeing the police report and knowing all the specifics of the case, as Obama himself admitted.

    "I think what he now has to do is walk it back and say, you know what, I spoke out of turn here. ... I was reacting in support of a friend, and aware of larger racial issues in society. But it doesn't specifically apply to this case, which is not about racial profiling," Williams advised.

    Sgt. Dennis O'Connor, the president of the police union that represents Crowley and other superior officers in the Cambridge Police Department, told ABC News that Gates' arrest was "100 percent lawful" and that Obama should apologize to "Sgt. Crowley and all Cambridge police officers."

    "Sgt. Crowley has been called a racist, a liar and stupid,'' O'Connor said in an interview with ABC News. "Barack Obama just devastated the morale of the Cambridge Police Department. There are a lot of disheartened police officers out there. The remark was completely uncalled for. Sgt. Crowley -- and the entire Cambridge police force -- are owed an apology."

    In an exclusive interview with ABC News' Terry Moran Thursday, the president defended his comments, stressing that "cooler heads should have prevailed."

    "I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement, because I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don't need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who's in his own home," Obama said.

    During his news conference Wednesday night that was dominated by health care issues, the president, acknowledging that he did not know all the facts of the case and what role race may have played, said "the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home."

    The president told ABC News that it doesn't make sense to him that the situation escalated to the point that Gates was arrested.

    "I think that I have extraordinary respect for the difficulties of the job that police officers do," the president said. "And my suspicion is that words were exchanged between the police officer and Mr. Gates and that everybody should have just settled down and cooler heads should have prevailed. That's my suspicion."

    Today, the Cambridge police unions and Massachusetts Municipal Police Officers Association, which represents police officers from 25 Massachusetts cities and towns, are holding a press conference to "voice their support for their fellow officers, and to express criticism for President Obama and Governor [Deval] Patrick," McDonald said.

    Some Question Whether Obama Should Have Strongly Backed Gates

    Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who called Gates a friend, would not comment on the president's remarks.

    "I was not there, and the words I would use are troubling and upsetting," he told reporters Thursday.

    But he did say that he was glad the charges were dropped and that Gates' arrest was "every black man's nightmare."

    "I guess you ought to be able to raise your voice in your own house without risking arrest," Deval said.

    Police organizations rallied behind the officer yesterday, with The International Association of Chiefs of Police saying it was "disappointed" by how the president characterized the police.

    Even actor Bill Cosby weighed in on the debate, telling Boston's WZLX yesterday that he was "shocked" to hear the president's statement.

    Crowley made it clear he is not apologizing. He told Boston's WEEI Radio that he regrets putting the city and police department "in a position where they now have to defend something like this," but he stood behind his claim that he simply tried to resolve the situation.

    "I just have nothing to apologize for," he said. "It will never happen."

    Did Obama Go Too Far With Race Remark?

    Obama's remarks have stirred national debate over whether Gates' arrest was an issue of racial profiling, as he himself asserted.

    Some say the president was right to bring up this discussion in a primetime speech.

    "Have some people wanted him to bring this up sooner?" asked civil rights activist, the Rev. Al Sharpton. "Of course, we have. But the timing had to be right. He had the courage to take a position at a time when he knows some people will disagree."

    "If he hadn't addressed it, it would have looked like he was ducking. I was surprised he said what he said, because his words brought the conversation to a new level," Sharpton said.

    Although Obama has been vocal on past civil rights issues, he largely avoided race during the presidential campaign except for a singular speech he gave on the issue after his pastor was found to have made anti-American statements.

    "No one wants to talk about race," said Donna Brazile, a Democratic strategist and ABC News consultant. "He [Obama] does not inject race into the conversation regularly because it clears the room. There are designated times, like Martin Luther King Jr. Day or when we have a large gathering of black folks, like at the NAACP recently, but that's about it."

    "In this case, he was asked a question directly, and he answered it honestly," she added.

    In addition to his specific comments about Gates' arrest, the president Wednesday also weighed in about the race issue, saying that while he didn't know whether it played a role, "I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That's just a fact."

    Some observers questioned whether the president should have so strongly backed Gates, a longtime friend, over the police who arrested him without fully knowing exactly what took place between the professor and Crowley.

    "Obama is the president for all American not just black Americans," Brazile said. "He has enough on his plate as commander in chief -- two wars, an economy in the tank -- that he should not necessarily become the healer in chief."

    Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures
  2. good. He needs to include Obama
  3. Tom B

    Tom B

    Obama's ignorant comments the last couple of days pertaining to the incident were very disappointing. Based on his comments, it is understandable why he attended Rev. Wright's church for twenty years.
  4. 1.Obama did not call the cop racist

    2.Giving your opinion that someone acted stupidly is not defamation

    3.Court cases brought against Obama don't usually turn out that well for those who brought them,just ask the birth certificate crowd

  5. You are right. But he is getting mighty close to the edge with his stunts. This could be construed as inflammatory injecting himself in this matter. Extremely poor judgement.
  6. I agree
  7. I would think the Special Olympic Bowlers of America would be first in line to defend Obama comments.

    Maybe every hundred days Obama can piss off a group of people.
  8. TGregg


    Rumor has it that the cop turned on his microphone once he realized the perp was a crazy race hustler. If that's true, then this whole thing is about to go away because (if true) there is nothing but pain here for the president, governor, mayor and Gates. The tape won't be released, Gates will issue an apology of sorts ("I'm sorry I said those things") while blaming the media for blowing this whole issue out of proportion. They might even do this at a press conference with both Gates and the cop announcing a joint coalition to resolve racial conflicts. The cop will get a nice bonus to STFU.

    The governor will throw a bone to the police union to get them off his back.

    Obama will only say that he is glad the issue is resolved.
  9. Obama apparently is just another poverty pimp.
  10. True colors are manifesting themselves.
    #10     Jul 24, 2009