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.In other words, it's not a good situation for law enforcement officers to be left with the impression that a sitting president's instinctive reaction is to side against an officer in cases like this. What other impression can one take away from Obama's comments?
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."
Obama began his remarks with the disclaimer that he didn't know all the facts, just before saying conclusively that the Cambridge police "acted stupidly" in arresting Gates. How can Obama come to that conclusion unless he harbors deeply-held biases against and mistrust of white police officers? For a supposedly "post-racial" president, that's pretty, um, racial.
If one needed any evidence that Obama does, in fact, share the beliefs of Jeremiah Wright, his pastor and "spiritual advisor" of 20 some years, look no further.