Friday, July 24, 2009

What I Want To See From The Media & My Thoughts So Far

Here's what I'd like to see from the news media regarding the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates:

  • A timeline of the event.
  • An explanation by legal experts of the laws pertinent in this situation.
  • Nationally recognized experts in the field of police standards and training.
At the moment my thoughts are that most of the statements I've seen so far are emotional knee-jerk reactions.

I didn't take President Obama's statement as a condemnation of the entire Cambridge Police Department as the the president of the Cambridge Police Patrol Officer's Association claimed. That seems to me to be a defensive mischaracterization of the president's remarks.

The demeanor of the officers that responded is more important than that of Mr. Gates. I believe that police officers are trained to remain calm and deal 'professionally' with subjects even if they're confronted with insults and the like.

It is nevertheless always a good idea and mature behavior for someone in professor Gates' position to also act respectfully. That's easier said than done of course, but as for the police it's essential to remain calm to diffuse and de-escalate a situation.

I always pause when I hear the head of an organization say that they will conduct an 'internal investigation' on one of their own, especially after taking a defensive stance as the Cambridge police have. An independent inquiry should be undertaken to eliminate the question of bias.

Finally, I have a feeling that most if not all the parties in this incident will at some point look back and have second thoughts about their statements and their behavior.

At least I hope they do..

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