I am pleased that at least the Massachusetts Police are not cowards scared by the reverse racism that has overrun much of contemporary America.
Let me recall the storyline.
Prof Skip Gates returned from a shooting session in China. He was tired and stupid enough to lock himself out of his house at 17 Ware St, Cambridge. He decided to solve the situation in a way that arguably no white professor at the same university would choose. He simply asked the black yellow cab driver and they instantly shoved the door, while paying no attention whatsoever whether people on the street see this exercise. In fact, it seems that they were deliberately making more noise than what was needed: Gates behaved as a bull in a china shop who just returned from a China job.
A young woman called police. It was a very sensible thing to do - and the woman should be thanked for her active help. After all, she was apparently seeing two gangsters breaking into a house. Police arrived. Sgt Jim Crowley had to protect the law. Mr Gates got into a very peculiar situation and every sane person would realize that and acted accordingly. Mr Gates should be grateful to the police and Sgt Crowley that they cared about his property. They could have determined that it had been too dangerous to go there.
Instead, Mr Gates acted aggressively. It took some time for Sgt Crowley to find out that Mr Gates was the owner of the house. But even with this information, he had to investigate possible criminals inside the house because there existed a lot of evidence that two criminals broke into the house. At the end, Sgt Crowley knew everything about the situation he needed. But Mr Gates had already screamed so many bad things - including blackmailing (he was not a man to mess up with!) and comments about Crowley's mother (Gates will talk to her outside!) - that he had to be arrested for disorderly conduct.
The charges were later dropped for reasons that look murky to me: Alan McDonald, the cops' lawyer, is already sorry for this mistake. These subtleties depend on national traditions but I don't think that it should be legal to blackmail cops which is what Mr Gates did.
Now, as far as I can say, there doesn't exist a single piece of evidence of any imperfection in Sgt Crowley's behavior. The only person whose behavior was demonstrably both stupid and obnoxious was Mr Gates'. But such a conclusion is not sufficiently politically correct, is it?
So many dishonest people start to parrot the line that both sides had to err, and so on. Surely, any participant and any witness of any event that is inconvenient to any black professor must have erred, mustn't he? His otherwise brilliant professional credentials have to be polluted, right? The rights of a black man to shove his door, to make noise, and to blackmail cops are more important than the truth or the dignity of a professional guy, aren't they? Every inconvenient white guy can be labeled as a racist (even if he teaches how to avoid racial profiling), can't he?
But what the objective people see is something entirely different: a nervous, stupid black guy breaking into his house on one side and a perfectionist cop doing a pretty dangerous but important work according to the best recipes on the other side. That's why it's so sensible for Sgt Crowley to consider a defamation or libel suit against Mr Gates.
Now, Mr Barack Obama, an employee of an office in Washington D.C., was asked what he thought about it. He admitted he didn't know any details but because he's Mr Gates' friend, Sgt Crowley surely had to act "stupidly" when he investigated the situation - and when he charged Mr Gates with disorderly conduct at the end.
Mr Barack Obama can think whatever he wants - and he can say stupid things about issues that he doesn't understand and that he's not in charge of. But I understand the Massachusetts policemen that they want to make it clear that it is them, and not an uninformed bureaucrat somewhere in Washington D.C., who is expected to decide who should be arrested in crime-like situations in Cambridge and who should not. They want to know that the laws still apply in Massachusetts and the U.S. They want to know that they don't have to feel threatened if they protect it in the future.
It's very natural that they expect Mr Obama to apologize for his ill-conceived words, undermining the rule of law in the United States. But whether or not Mr Obama will apologize, it is very important for the Massachusetts police to appreciate Mr Obama as a biased but irrelevant external kibitzer who wanted to introduce a great dose of nepotism and reverse racism into their work - that he has no business to deal with - and to skew the law in Cambridge, MA, but who has failed to do so and who will fail in all similar attempts in the future.
In other words, it's their task to guarantee that the U.S. law will still matter, even in the extremely leftist town, and its champions won't be intimidated by someone who wants to put something completely different above the law. And if the law will require to arrest Mr Obama, they will do so, too.
And that's the memo.