The commentary on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. continues as the nation awaits the outcome of the beer bash discussion over the incident between Gates, the officer in question, and President Obama. The latest person to sound off on the unwarranted arrest is former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Powell, who said he has also been a victim of racial profiling, believes both parties could have handled the situation better. He said Gates could have been more patient with the officer and the officer could have used some “adult supervision.”
“I think Skip [Gates], perhaps in this instance, might have waited a while, come outside, talked to the officer and that might have been the end of it,” Powell said, according to CNN.
“I think he should have reflected on whether or not this was the time to make that big a deal.
Ultimately, Powell blamed the Cambridge police for escalating the situation to irrationality.
“I think in this case the situation was made much more difficult on the part of the Cambridge Police Department,” Powell said. “Once they felt they had to bring Dr.
Gates out of the house and to handcuff him, I would’ve thought at that point, some adult supervision would have stepped in and said ‘OK look, it is his house. Let’s not take this any further, take the handcuffs off, good night Dr. Gates.'”
The former Secretary of State went on to say that traveling may have had Gates in a mood, therefore not in the proper frame of thought to communicate with ease.
“He was just home from China, just home from New York. All he wanted to do was get to bed. His door was jammed and so he was in a mood where he said something,” Powell said.
Gates, an acclaimed Harvard African-American studies professor, was arrested at his home on charges of disorderly conduct after police responded to a call reporting a possible burglary. The charge was later dropped, as Gates provided ample proof that he, in fact, owned the house but had to barge in a jammed door of his house.
Powell offered advice to his fellow colleague, a lesson he was taught as a child: “When you’re faced with an officer who is trying to do his job and get to the bottom of something, this is not the time to get in an argument with him.
There is no African-American in this county who has not been exposed to this kind of situation,” Powell said. “Do you get angry? Yes. Do you manifest that anger? Do you protest? Do you try to get things fixed? But it’s the better course of action to try and take it easy and don’t let your anger make the current situation worse.”