Editor's Note: With the release of the 911 tapes from Professor H.L. Gates, Jr., arrest, American Morning's Tuesday audience weighed heavily in favor of the professor over the police. The majority believed that racial profiling was evidenced by the transcripts from the 911 call.
- Arlene: It doesn't matter the caller didn't use the words "2 black men." The caller clearly stated it may be the homeowner entering his own home. The police should not have harassed Mr. Gates in light of this admission. Nor should they have entered his home without a search warrant and he should not have been arrested without committing a crime. Annoying a Police officer is not a crime. He was an American on his own property and is guaranteed a right to freedom of speech. We do not live in a police state yet.
- Jacque: It's hard to say racial profiling did not play a part in the Gates arrest when even the dispatcher on the call first asked the caller if the suspects were black or Hispanic. He did include white the first time around, but natural instinct in America that criminals are either black or Hispanic made him as the question just like he was thinking. Gates overreacted but the cop gave a false account of what happened. I have no reason to believe anything the cop is saying at this point. Both of their actions were probably racially motivate.
With the release of the 911 transcripts, has your opinion changed about this situation? What do you think about the revelation that “race” was brought up by the police rather than the neighbor who was reporting the incident?
Most felt the Cambridge policeman, Officer Crowley, should have diffused the situation and walked away, once Professor Gates’ identity was established. Rather than racial profiling, many recognized that unprofessional attitudes for both the professor and the policeman played a part in the escalation of the incident.
- Larry: I am a teacher, and in our profession, the person who has the most power in the situation should be the one to diffuse it. There should not have been an arrest of Robert Gates. The officer should have walked away
- Al: The truth is positive. The police man from NJ is wrong when he says there is no police culpability. They did their job. Ask anyone who is charged with similar jobs. Investigate and deal with ruffled patrons. ER staff, bouncers, firefighters, emt's. We do it all the time w/o arresting anyone. All you have to do is back up just a second, act respectfully and people calm down. The problem is the attachment to ego and authority. Granted that some situations are inherently dangerous and require immediate command action but this should not have been necessary. This is about status, class, privilege, power and, race.
- Gloria: Clearly, Prof. Gates took offense. Perhaps it is understandable: he was just back from a long trip and he couldn't get into his house. Still, that doesn't change the fact that he took offense. This was never about race. This is about someone who let the situation get away from him and did not cooperate with the police. Prof. Gates did not act very professorial, unfortunately.
- Marcia: why was a drivers license and a harvard id not satisfying to officer crowley not enough he was still requesting harvard police to respond to verify the id. great threat from a man walking with a cane. police do have a difficult job which is undisputed. however, when not faced with a life and death situation they can exercise better judgment than that displayed in this situation. a person who does not walk in professor gate body or the one i walk in may have a different opinion because they view and experience this part of life from a different angle. i work in healthcare and sad enough it has a color too. one would believe that healthcare would be exempt because we are aware of the fact that all human are can fall prey to the same illness and diseases. gates probably think he was exempt based on his accomplishments. this has nothing to do with living amongst people .as a great nation i honestly believe race relations will continue to improve as we strive to hold the status of being one of the most civilized nations on earth
- Tommy: If it had been a black police officer, we wouldn't be hearing all of this. The easy way for blacks is to play the race card. I grew up in the '60's and it seems that we are going back to them. It is reverse discrimination today.
Was it the professional responsibility of the police to keep the situation from escalating into something dangerous? Do you believe, as the last viewer remarks, that had the policeman been black, this situation would have never arisen? How do we as a society move forward in race relations when such issues still exist? What do you see as a solution?
With the President’s White House invitation for both Professor Gates and Officer Crowley, some interpreted the invitation as an affront to the police and remarked “we are now being told to disrespect law enforcement.” Others wondered, somewhat facetiously, if the neighbor, Ms. Whellan, was also invited for a “beer.”
- Ginspelts: The White House is sending out bad messages to the American people. I was taught you obey law enforcement and do not interfere with them from performing their job. We are now being told we can disrespect law enforcement. We can scream, yell, curse at them and that gives them no right to arrest us. My mother now believes the surgeries she has had over the years were performed unnecessarily so the doctors could make money. She has come to this lame conclusion after hearing our President say that doctors will ripped out your tonsils when nothing is wrong with them in order to make more money. The White House needs to stop sending out bad, negative messages. It is becoming very worrisome.
- CJ: Hello, Has Ms Whellan been invited, by the Police Chief and the persons responsible for maligning her, to share a beer? 🙂 Just asking.
Do you believe, as the first viewer, that President Obama has called on the American people to ignore law enforcement? Is the invitation to the White House a good idea? What do you hope will be discussed as the situation moves forward in the White House? How can we encourage open dialogue on race?
Michael Vick’s partial reinstatement by the NFL generated mixed response, as some stated that Vick had paid his dues; others asked why he should be given a second chance when he had not provide one for the abused animals.
For Vick’s Return
- Roger: Please stop lying about Michael Vick. I just watched Kirin Chetry and her guest – I missed his name; an African American man – agree that if they did what Vick did they would not get their jobs back. Hello! MICHAEL VICK IS NOT GETTING HIS JOB BACK! His job was with the Atlanta Falcons under a 130 million dollar, 10 year contract. THAT IS GONE. He lost his job. He is NOT getting his job back. He is doing exactly what Kirin would be able to do-looking for another job. We don't know if he'll get one. And he'll make a lot less money. A lot less. Same as Kiran would. There is no difference in treatment. STOP LYING!
- Phoebe: Cultural heritage has already been at least mentioned as an explanation for M. Vick's behavior; some might even accept it. Even if they don't, the man has done his time, paid his dues, received his punishment. Theoretically, in this country, that is supposed to allow one to move on. SO LET HIM MOVE ON.
- Carlene: I am bit curious to understand what Carol Costello meant this morning when she indicated that dog fighting is "cultural" for Michael Vick. As a lifetime member of the African-American culture (and a dog lover), I have no knowledge that this heinous activity is, in fact, culturally based. Having said that, Michael Vick has done his time. He served two years in federal prison and he now has the right to live his life. Is it fair and/or appropriate to continue to punish this man? He's apologized. He has done his time. Leave this man alone to live his life.
Against Vick’s Return
- Susan: Please let the voices of those who are horrified by this decision be heard. How can fans be asked to support a person that can ENJOY the acts he participated in? That is just too much to ask of fans. He is a SICK and twisted person and does not deserve his "celebrity" status. Goodell had said he intended to clean up the NFL and have a zero tolerance policy for past criminal behavior.....now this? Shame on Goodell. He had a chance to send a message to players to THINK BEFORE YOU MAKE THESE BAD CHOICES because your opportunities may be effected if you don't. Instead, he has said once again that these behaviors are forgiven with a slap on the wrist. There is STILL no consequence for criminal behavior in the NFL. Well done, Roger. These crimes were inexcusable and totally within Vicks control. He squandered his great opportunities now expects the fans to buy tickets and help him get out of debt? Why are you in debt, Michael? and why is that our problem? I give up on the NFL and all of us as Americans if, in the same week we reinstate Vick and give "THE OCTOMOM" her own TV show. Maybe it is just too late for us. I can't be a part of either. bye bye NFL. There are much better guys to support at the College level. At least there is hope for them.
- Anita: michael vick should NOT be allowed to be back at football on ANY team. everyone says give him a second chance, what about the animals he hurt-where are the second chance for them? he is vicious, and only "sorry" because money is involved.
- Karin: Reinstatement of Vick to NFL is an insult to every living creature on earth. Vick, I don't care especially what you do for a living (keep it legal) but stay out of public eye because you make us sick, just to look at you!
Has Michael Vick paid his dues to society for his conviction on animal cruelty? Is “dog fighting” a cultural issue or was this a money-making scheme for Vick? Do you believe he should be given a second chance? Are there other alternatives that would better “satisfy” you regarding Where do you stand on this sensitive issue?