BOSTON – A multiracial group of police officers stood with the white officer who arrested a prominent black Harvard scholar and asked President Barack Obama and Gov. Deval Patrick to apologize for comments union leaders called insulting.
Obama said Wednesday that Cambridge police “acted stupidly” during the disorderly conduct arrest of his friend, Henry Louis Gates Jr., in his own home near Harvard University. Gov. Deval Patrick said Gates’ arrest was “every black man’s nightmare.”
Both Obama and Patrick are black, and the president’s comment marked his first foray into a divisive racial issue — a striking departure from his “post-racial” impartiality.
Dennis O’Connor, president of the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association, said Obama’s remarks were “misdirected” and the Cambridge police “deeply resent the implication” that race was a factor in the arrest.
President Obama said the actions of the CPD were stupid and linked the event to the history of racial profiling in America,” O’Connor said. “The facts of the case suggested that the president used the right adjective but directed it to the wrong party.”