Race-Baiting and Parking Tickets

‘Scofflaw’ Obama has history with ‘stupid’ Cambridge police

Condemns action of officer at department that ticketed prez 17 times while a student

President Obama, who targeted the Cambridge, Mass., police department with his comment that one of its officers acted “stupidly” in the arrest of a black man, has a history with the department dating from his college years to as recently as the launch of his presidential campaign.

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested July 16 by Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley, who responded when a woman called police to say two black men were trying to force open the door of the home.

Gates, who contends he was racially profiled, said the door of his own rented home was jammed, and he and his driver were trying to force it open. Obama responded to a question about the case at a nationally televised news conference Wednesday.

“But I think it’s fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry,” Obama said. “No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And No. 3 – what I think we know separate and apart from this incident – is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that’s just a fact.”

The officer reported Gates was belligerent, followed him onto the home’s front porch and screamed at him. Today, the local police officers union held a news conference to say there was no evidence the arrest was race-based.

A spokesman said Gates had it within his control to determine the outcome of the encounter with the officer by responding correctly.

Further, the president should learn the facts before jumping in with a comment, they said.

“He said the Cambridge police acted ‘stupidly,'” said a spokesman. “We think that conclusion was wrong.”

The White House already has been trying to calm down the situation, with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs saying Obama now believes “at a certain point the situation got far out of hand.”

According to the Somerville Times in 2007, as a Harvard Law School student, Obama got 17 parking tickets during 1989-1991 from the Cambridge Police Department that he left unpaid until just weeks before he announced his bid for the presidency.

“In other words, as a practicing lawyer in Chicago, he allowed these tickets and penalties to remain unpaid; as an Illinois state senator he allowed these tickets and fines to remain unpaid; and as a United States senator he allowed these almost-two-decade-old signs of his disdain for the law to remain unpaid,” commented John LeBoutillier on

The Washington Post said two years ago that the tickets included parking without a proper permit and parking in a bus stop.

The Associated Press reported in 2007 that Obama’s “healthy stack” of parking tickets was finally paid, including late fees, “two weeks before he officially launched his presidential campaign.”

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