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http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/07/24/haberfeld.police/index.html

Editor's note: Maria (Maki) Haberfeld is a professor of Police Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. She has served in the Israeli Defense Force and the Israel National Police, and worked for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as a special consultant. From 1997 through 2001, she was a member of a research team, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, studying police integrity in three major police departments in the United States. She is the author of "Critical Issues in Police Training" (2002) and co-author of "Enhancing Police Integrity" (2006).


Maria Haberfeld says police officers make decisions based on their awareness of potential danger.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- We teach our children to think about what others feel before they act, but as grown-ups we frequently assume we understand what others do without ever having walked in their shoes.

President Obama expressed his opinion about a police officer's interaction with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates. "The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home," the president said.

Was it stupid behavior or was it an understandable result of police procedure -- the culture, or rather sub-culture, of this profession. People depend on police in a time of trouble but are quicker than lightning to judge harshly when things go wrong. But the most important question in this case is: Did they go wrong?

One needs to understand that the interaction between a police officer and a suspect is just part of a larger context.

When a neighbor calls the police to report a burglary in progress and a police officer is dispatched to respond, a decision-making process begins for the officer.

Police work is about sub-cultural contexts, about war stories, about suspicion, about unpredictability, about danger and fear for one's life. Police officers make their decisions based not just on a given situation but also based on their prior experience, the experience of those they have worked with and the stories they have heard about incidents that happened in the past.

A call to respond to a burglary in progress generates a series of images that prepare a police officer for an encounter -- a dangerous encounter that can possibly end with a loss of life.

Not long ago one of my students, an officer in the New York Police Department, was killed trying to stop a robbery in progress. Police officers hear about these stories and unlike the members of the public who forget a story, no matter how sensational within a day or two, police officers carry these stories as their secret weapons. This is part of their armor. An officer responding to a burglary in progress arrives at a scene with a heightened sense of danger, anxious and ready to go into fighting mode.

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Yes, the professor identified himself as a legitimate occupant of the premises. However, he was not arrested for trespassing. He was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Police officers arriving at the scene of a suspected burglary in progress do not put down their armor of suspicion just because somebody proved to them that they are the legitimate occupants of the dwelling.

Police encounters can become deadly when officers assume that, on the surface, everything appears to be in order. It is their sixth sense of suspicion that helps them assess the situation in a way that members of the public would not consider reasonable. It is this precise quality of suspicion that goes beyond a reasonable doubt that sets them apart from the larger public and can be understood only by the members of the force.

A person usually does not break into his own house -- it is true that it can happen, and it apparently did in this case -- but this is not a standard behavior that, once explained to the officer, should mandate an automatic approach to put down your guard.

The officers look at the scene of the event they were called to as their domain, their turf, their territory, where some order has been disturbed and they were called to restore it. A famous police scholar, Egon Bittner, once wrote that we call the police when "something ought not to be happening about which something ought to be done right NOW!"

The professor may have raised his voice, and this would appear now as justifiable under the circumstances. But, when somebody challenges the authority or the domain of a police officer who was just called to restore order, the discretionary process of the officer is not the same as that of a bystander.

The professor seemingly lost his temper. One might say that this is fine, given the circumstances. The police officer did not lose his temper, he just made a decision that might have been an outcome of an error of judgment, or which one might say could have been justified given the totality of the circumstances.

There are over 19,000 different law enforcement agencies across the United States. Each agency has its own standard operating procedures and rules and regulations, including the ones that would appear relevant to this case. However, there are no national standards that can be applied when officers respond to a call for a burglary in progress.

Only very general standards could be applied and even then the evolving situation would dictate how officers would proceed after confronting the suspicious person. When an individual under suspicion becomes agitated, insults the officer and becomes aggressive, the majority of police departments would allow the officer to make an arrest.

I was not there. Neither was the president nor all the others who are quick to pass judgment. What went on in the officer's head is something that I can only guess but, based on over 30 years of experience in the doing, teaching and studying of the police profession, I would venture to say that race had nothing to do with the behavior displayed and that the sub-culture of police work dictated the action, more than any possible bias or prejudice.

I do believe that racial profiling exists in the minds of many -- not just police officers but also regular citizens. But police departments around the country are working very hard to fight these ill-conceived notions and, in recent years their diversity recruitment and selection processes, paired with modules in sensitivity and multicultural training, have had an impact.

First thing i have to say. Obama needs to keep his mouth shut and stop playing favorites. He has no idea what went on there. He is the leader of our country and should deal with these matters in private if at all. The police did nothing wrong.

Second of all...

WOULD HE DO THIS IF HIS PROFESSOR AND FRIEND WAS WHITE???

I personally think he would do the same if he was white, but not to this extreme. He is stuck on this race card the everyone seems to pull out these days.
Let me know what you think?
 

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First thing i have to say. Obama needs to keep his mouth shut and spot playing favorites. He is the leader of our country and should deal with these matters in private. The police did nothing wrong at all.
Obama was out of line and should say sorry to the police Officer involved. Did he forget we just lost an officer this week!!!!!!!!! Man, this President is one big mistake, never passed a bill, in the senate less then two years, never ran a business but can dog cops for doing there jobs. Maybe he should keep his comments to himself till he knows the facts.

Loser[down][down][down][down]

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http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/07/24/officer.gates.arrest/index.html

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (CNN) -- The police officer who arrested a black Harvard professor says President Obama offended police when he accused Cambridge authorities of acting stupidly.


Sgt. Jim Crowley says he is disappointed President Obama opined on the matter without having all the facts.

"I was a little surprised and disappointed that the president, who didn't have all of the facts by his own admission, then weighed in on the events of that night and made a comment that really offended not just officers in the Cambridge Police Department but officers around the country," Sgt. James Crowley told CNN affiliate WHDH-TV in Boston.

Obama, however, stood by his comment, saying he is "surprised by the controversy surrounding" it.

"I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don't need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who's in his own home," Obama told ABC's "Nightline."

When Obama waded into the story by answering a question about it during his news conference Wednesday night, he admitted that he "may be a little biased" because the professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr., is a friend.

"I don't know all the facts," he also conceded.

He said he did not know what role race played, but "the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home."

Crowley, in the police report about the incident, accused Gates of refusing to cooperate with him and repeatedly accusing him of racism when he went to Gates' home following a report of a possible break-in July 16.

Crowley said he tried to determine whether there was someone else at the home and wanted to ensure Gates' safety.

Gates, however, told him "that I had no idea who I was 'messing' with" and was being so loud that he could not give pertinent information to the department when he was calling in, the sergeant said.

Crowley's report said that when he asked to speak with Gates outside, the professor at one point responded, "I'll speak with your mama outside."

Authorities have said they may release tapes of the officer calling in, in which Gates is heard in the background.

Gates ultimately was arrested for disorderly conduct, but the department later dropped the charges.

Cambridge police Commissioner Robert Haas said he "deeply regrets" the arrest but stands by the procedures his department followed.

"I trust [Crowley's] judgment implicitly. He is a stellar officer," Haas said.

He added the department is "very proud about its diversity within this community and how hard we've worked over the years to build a strong, solid relationship [between] the department and the community."

Haas said he agreed with Crowley about Obama's remarks.

"I have to tell you the officers take that very personally and basically feel hurt by that comment. We truly are trying to do the best service we can to the community and sometimes we make mistakes. We're human. But we learn from those mistakes and we move on," he said.

Numerous police officers, including African-Americans, have spoken up on Crowley's behalf and portrayed him as a good and fair officer. Crowley, who is white, had once been chosen by a black police officer to teach a police academy course on ways to avoid racial profiling.

Obama said he had heard of Crowley's record, saying, "I don't know all the extenuating circumstances, and as I said, I respect what police officers do. From what I can tell, the sergeant who was involved is an outstanding police officer, but my suspicion is probably it would have been better if cooler heads prevailed."

Gates' legal team argues that authorities are misrepresenting the professor and the officer, and Gates has said he is determined to keep the issue alive despite the charges being dropped.

"This is not about me; this is about the vulnerability of black men in America," he said this week.


Attorney Charles Ogletree said Gates might sue the department and would bring forward witnesses who say they've had similar experiences with Crowley.

When asked for specific examples, Ogletree said only that they may come out in time depending on how the police department handles the situation moving forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
"This is not about me; this is about the vulnerability of black men in America," he said this week.
GEEZ...enough with the black man BS. most cops that i know all over this crazy country will attest to this... if you did wrong white or black you are going down to china town, plain and simple. [wallmad]
 

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Not wanting to offend anyone, and I'm no fan of Nobama: but This isn't as cut and dry as we think. I've heard both versions of the story from the individual source(Sgt Crowley) and (Gates). Frankly, I believe Crowley, and think that Gates gave him a ration of shi(t). But that does not necessarily translate into a disorderly persons offense.

Crowley's version says that when he inquired about Gates' Identity-Gates gave him some attitude-(so what its your job as a cop to take attitude)..when Crowley inquired about others in the house-Gates refused to tell him exclaiming that its was none of his business (Gates is correct on this point-without a warrant, the police have no business inquiring about what goes on in your home, and you as a citizen standing in your own doorway, have no obligation to answer PD questions). Crowley was basicly PO'd that Gates was refusing to cooperate, and then told him to "step outside"--sorry pal-again, a citizen is not obligated to comply-go get a warrant.

Crowley arrested him, not for being black, but for being "stupid in a no stupid zone" That's not legal-sory to Sgt Crowley.

Before You guys start in on Your (you got no idea what your talking about) responses, I do have a BA in Criminal Justice,, and AS in Criminal Justice, my Doctorate in law, and spent 13 years behind a badge with more arrests than I care to remember.

Gates was an idiot-but that did not give Crowley the right to arrest him for it
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
enough people, WHITE AND BLACK always play the race card, i am sick and tired of that B/S...now our president is doing the same. [wallmad]


Before You guys start in on Your (you got no idea what your talking about) responses, I do have a BA in Criminal Justice,, and AS in Criminal Justice, my Doctorate in law, and spent 13 years behind a badge with more arrests than I care to remember.

Gates was an idiot-but that did not give Crowley the right to arrest him for it
maybe..maybe not? not one of us was there..and neither were the news papers and media...we really dont know the situation in its entirety.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
.when Crowley inquired about others in the house-gates refused to tell him exclaiming that its was none of his business (gates is correct on this point-without a warrant, the police have no business inquiring about what goes on in your home, and you as a citisen standing in your own doorway, have no obligation to answer PD questions). Crowley was basicly PO'd that gates was refusing to cooperate, and then told him to "step outside"--sorry pal-again, a citizen is not obligated to comply-go get a warrant.
When a neighbor calls the police to report a burglary in progress and a police officer is dispatched to respond, a decision-making process begins for the officer
probable cause?
 

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not one of us was there..and neither were the news papers and media...we really dont know the situation in its entirety.
Actually we do. Gates told his version to the media the other day, and Crowley responded in a full interview this morning-we actualy know both sides of the story. Crowley's version is likley accurate-Gates gave him a hard time citing the (this is because I'm black) line of BS
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Actually we do. Gates told his version to the media the other day, and Crowley responded in a full interview this morning-we actualy know both sides of the story. Crowley's version is likley accurate-Gates gave him a hard time citing the (this is because I'm black) line of BS
I heard Gates going on and on but never heard the other side...you're correct. didnt catch that this morning. :D
 

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probable cause
That was not probable cause, but reasonable suspicion-which permits investigation only-not arrest-once Gates ID' himself(and there is no dispute that he did so) any reasonable suspicion regarding the crime was discipated. No further police action was required
 

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I just had a retired police officer in my house this morning .... he's a "mobile notary," earning some extra money. Nice guy. (man, is he jealous of what po's retire with today, lol)

Anyway, he said that he would have just "walked away, laughing to himself, and not get angry." --- positive that no crime was committed, with a citizen acting obnoxious in his own place.

He said that keeping a cool head is what kept him from becoming one of the scumbags that the had to deal with all the time. He said he was disrespected all the time, back in the 60's ... "pig!"

He also thought that the charges being dropped the same day ... shows something is wrong.
 

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To be honest with all including my brothers in blue. The fact of the matter is that the President of the United States made a comment about cops without knowing the facts. This is what is making me angry, I don't care about anything else, the comment was out of line and that is that!!!!!!

Shoot Straight!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
To be honest with all including my brothers in blue. The fact of the matter is that the President  of the United States made a comment about cops without knowing the facts. This is what is making me angry, I don't care about anything else, the comment was out of line and that is that!!!!!!
i agree..thats the reason for my original post. i cant stand to think about that[wallmad]
 

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Growing up I had friends that always complained about being searched when they got pulled over, and I would respond that I've never been searched when pulled over, and the reason why is that I'm always polite and dont give the officer any reason to be nervous. My friends would get searched for pot because they smoke pot... and "look" like it. Realistically, not all "pothead" looking or "hippie" looking people smoke weed, but if you look like that, you are most likely going to get searched more often, especially if you act aggressive. Even being searched, if you arent doing anything wrong, you wont have any problems. Seems like this gentleman already had a chip on his shoulder, even if he was already pissed off about being locked out. If you are approached by an officer, and act like an a-hole, you will encounter more problems. Is that law? NO. but reality? yes. If I were approached by an officer in this situation, I would show him my ID, and ask him to help me out. This situation was different because the professor is a douche, not because he is black. Makes me think of what he's telling his students all day.
 

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To be honest with all including my brothers in blue. The fact of the matter is that the President of the United States made a comment about cops without knowing the facts. This is what is making me angry, I don't care about anything else, the comment was out of line and that is that!!!!!!
Agreed
 

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Quote:
Makes me think of what he's telling his students all day.


That is the scary part. His students are being indactrinated for the new generation of the new world order.
That's the semi-strange part about this ... Gates is not known as one of those militant types. He's always been calm, intelligent, and aware that race relations is a two-way street. The department at Harvard is also known to not be radical, as departments at other schools are thought to be .. even Ivy League Princeton.
 

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I am on my way to speak to a great group of kids and I will be doing my part to teach them about what America stands for and why this country is the greatest in the world.

With that said we should always do our part when given the oppurtuntiy to teach our youth why this country is great and to instill in them to fight to keep it free. If that means fighting then fight but more importantly by passing down to the next generation the importance of Freedom and treating all people fairly and to never give the Freedoms we have since so many have died so we can have these Freedoms[up][up]

God Bless America!

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First thing i have to say. Obama needs to keep his mouth shut
President of the United States made a comment about cops
funny how you Obama Haters forget he was ask a question a about it he did not just give a comment about on his own don't ask a question if you dont want an answer come on he's a cop and you people know what a lot of cops are like how many of you have been doing nothing wrong and have a cop give you a hard time a lot i bet
 
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