Gates Case: Obama Says Cops Acted 'Stupidly'; Is He Right? : The Two-Way President Obama says Cambridge police acted "stupidly" when they arrested professor Henry Louis Gates. Is the president right?
NPR logo Gates Case: Obama Says Cops Acted 'Stupidly'; Is He Right?

Gates Case: Obama Says Cops Acted 'Stupidly'; Is He Right?

If health care was Story No. 1 at President Barack Obama's news conference last night, then his reaction to the arrest of Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates has to be Story No 1A.

After acknowledging he is a friend of Gates' and that he doesn't know all the details of what happened last week when the African-American scholar was arrested in his home by a white police sergeant, Obama said that "the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home."

The president also said "there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionally."

Here's video of how the president put it:

The Boston Globe caught up with the Cambridge sergeant, James Crowley, last evening:

Asked at a softball game in Natick last night about Obama's remarks, Crowley shook his head and said, "I think I'd be better off not commenting on that one.''

Gates, in an interview with his daughter Elizabeth, says at The Daily Beast that the police officer's account of what happened (which accused Gates of "loud and tumultuous" behavior that resulted in a disorderly conduct charge) is "an act of pure fiction."

Update at 9:55 a.m. ET: Sgt. Crowley also tells the Globe that he does not plan to apologize to Gates and that "I am not a racist."

The charge against Gates has been dropped. Based on what you've heard and read about the Gates case: