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Arrested developments

July 27, 2009

Re "Obama eases his position on black professor's arrest," July 24, and "Police acted 'stupidly,' Obama says," July 23

The articulate assessment by Connie Rice, the civil rights attorney , appearing at the end of the July 24 article concisely and accurately described the psychological stances of each participant in the confrontation between Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley.

I recommend reprinting it on a daily basis.

Barri Clark

Los Angeles

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Gates is a highly respected and renowned scholar.

Evidently, his years of academic accomplishments have done little to quell the anger and resentment he holds for authority and white police officers in general.

Every time an African American cries racism where none exists, it causes the black community to lose credibility and detracts from the real victims of racism and discrimination. Every contact between a white police officer and a person of color should not automatically qualify as racism.

Get over it, Mr. Gates. Maybe you can teach your students something about humility and respect for authority.

Charles J. Dery

La Crescenta

The writer is a retired L.A. Sheriff's Department sergeant.

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The Gates incident is another case of the media playing the race card. This is not about racial profiling, and it's not about racism.

I am not black, but I know from personal experience on more than one occasion that if you get in a cop's face -- as Gates apparently did -- you can expect negative results, whether you are white, black or green.

Jerry Baum

Los Angeles

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The authority on scene has the responsibility to control the situation appropriately.

For Crowley to claim that it was Gates -- the reportedly part-lame, middle-aged homeowner -- who was in control of the situation is embarrassingly, patently false and self-serving. It also inadvertently concedes the point that the law enforcement officer in charge felt so overwhelmed by the nuances of the situation that he felt he had no choice but to bury the homeowner beneath the full weight of his authority.

Will Fidleman

Olympia, Wash.

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I found President Obama's comment on the arrest of the Harvard professor outrageous. Saying that the police in this case "acted stupidly" when he admitted he knew little about the case was irresponsible on the president's part. The arrogance of this comment during a national news conference on healthcare shows poor judgment and quite frankly puts into question his ability to make sound decisions.

Mark Muckenthaler

Norco

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The officer had the complete discretion to walk away even if Gates was giving him lip or was acting poorly. He did not. Instead, the officer chose to put the cuffs on and arrest a famous, law-abiding citizen after the officer knew who he was. Seems like "stupid" fits the bill nicely.

James Osborne

Sherman Oaks

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Where is race an issue?

Would the outcome of this situation have been different if he were from Sweden, China or Russia?

What is an issue is the law, one that Gates believed did not apply to him.

Stanford Nelson

Laguna Beach

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