The president of the Cambridge Police Patrol Officer's Association says that President Obama's statement that officers "acted stupidly" when they arrested black scholar Henry Louis Gates was "disgraceful."
Stephen Killion told the Huffington Post that he was shocked when he heard the president make the remarks during Wednesday night's press conference.
"That was totally inappropriate. I am disgraced that he is our commander-in-chief. He smeared the good reputation of the hard-working men and women of the Cambridge Police Department. It was wrong to do. It was disgraceful."
Killion, whose union does not represent officer Sgt. James Crowley, says that Crowley is "a good sergeant." He added that Obama's comments today, in which the president said that cooler heads should have prevailed, were "back-pedaling, not a clarification."
Killion also claimed that audiotapes, now in the possession of the city solicitor's office, will show that Harvard Professor Gates "turned this non-incident into a racial incident." He said the audiotapes will prove Crowley's account of the incident and show that Gates "was provoking the incident. He wanted to prove who he was... He deems himself higher than everyone else around."
On the tapes, Killian claims, "you can clearly hear him berating the officer, creating a scene."
Gates says he was "outraged" by the arrest. The AP reports:
He said the white officer walked into his home without his permission and only arrested him as the professor followed him to the porch, repeatedly demanding the sergeant's name and badge number because he was unhappy over his treatment.
"This isn't about me; this is about the vulnerability of black men in America," Gates said.
Crowley was critical of the president but did not go as far as Killion in his response.
"I support the president of the United States 110 percent. I think he was way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts as he himself stated before he made that comment," Crowley told WBZ-AM. "I guess a friend of mine would support my position, too."
The lawyer for Crowley's union, Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association, predicted that Obama would regret the comments. "I suspect that when the full picture comes out, he will regret the remarks he made," Alan J. McDonald told the Boston Globe.
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