DO INTELLIGENT PEOPLE MAKE STUPID MISTAKES?

The air these days is filled with loud angry statements by those who defend Sgt. Crowley against what is viewed as a slur upon his name. The assumption of these defenders is that President Obama called Sgt. Crowley “stupid.” Actually, he never did, he referred to the arrest as an example of “stupidity.” I am often bemused at the virulent anger displayed by defenders of Crowley. During the initial days of their defense many challenged those attacking the police officer to check his report and tapes. Well, many have checked his report and the tapes. It is now PROVEN that Sgt. Crowley made a “mistake” by saying the eye witness said there were two black men with knapsacks on the porch. Ms. Whalen’s said there were two suitcases and under questioning said one of them might have been “Hispanic.” In other words, the Crowley report is erroneous.

Did Sgt. Crowly lie? Of course not! He was excited, felt stress and heard words never spoken. Anyone reading my words has suffered through many such occurrences in their own lives. In moments of stress we hear what we want to hear. In so doing, WE MAKE A MISTAKE. Wow. Sgt. Crowley is a human. I thought it was regrettable during his meeting with Gates he failed to acknowledge his mistakes in the written report.

The bottom line is that President Obama was perfectly correct in terming the entire incident an example of “stupidity.” Sorry, if this incident happened in a wealthy neighborhood and the man identified himself as the white CEO of a major company, Sgt. Crowley would have said: “sorry for the intrusion. I just wanted to check everything was OK. Have a good one” and gone his merry way.

Every study of police halting people indicates African Americans and Hispanics are halted at least ten times more frequently than white people. Gates belonged to a group who have, historically, been racially profiled and humiliated. He was upset, angry, confused, and ready to strike back at what he thought was another example of racial profiling. Perfectly understandable, and, perhaps, in this case incorrect. No one knows what was going on in the mind of Sgt. Crowley, but certainly when a black elderly man identified himself as the owner of the house, regardless of his tone of voice, the matter should have been dropped.

Those of you who seek to blame Obama as insulting all police might seek to ask Sgt. Crowley whether he unintentionally was insulting all African Americans.

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