The "professor Gates gets arrested" case has drawn comments from around the world, with many people criticizing the way the Cambridge Massachusetts police handled the whole affair. Were they that rough?
As world police go American cops are about par for the course... they come a lot worse.
In many countries the policeman would have suggested that professor Gates pay him a bribe to avoid further problems and mentioning the policeman's mother, as Gates apparently did, might have ended up with the professor being "shot while trying to escape".
Except for England in the old days, ("good evening sir, could we please see the license for that gun you are holding in your hand?) cops are rough trade everywhere in the world and even in England in the old days if you resisted they could get tough, but always "excuse me sir, just hold still while I twist your arm behind your back, sir".
One of the things that happens to policemen is that after interviewing thousands of really horrible and dangerous assholes in the line of duty, they come to assume that everybody is guilty of something... and of course, in reality, everybody is guilty of "something" if only stealing another kid's teddy bear back in nursery school. So that is part of why contact with cops is normally so humiliating for honest folk... the cops seem to be looking into your soul with a look that says, "asshole, this time we are going to overlook that teddy bear, but don't let me catch you around here again."
This makes an honest person feel soiled. So making people feel guilty is a professional tool of the police and people resent feeling guilty.
I'm not sure the President of the United States should have weighed in on this one until a full official inquiry had taken place, because as Chief of State and Commander in Chief, all armed forces and law enforcement in the USA are directly or indirectly under his command and this commenting on the behavior of cops on the beat, coming from the White House, may cause problems of morale among the law enforcement community and a hostile attitude from their unions.
In my opinion, Obama should have called professor Gates and offered his sympathy as a personal friend and promised him that he would ask that a full and fair inquiry take place.
Instead he has made this an "us and them" thing for a lot of people, both black and white, which is a tactical error causing an unfortunate distraction and division of support entering the health care battle, which is priority number one, or should be. DS