US leader Barack Obama has been drawn into what has been described as the first major race row of his presidency over the arrest of a black middle-aged Harvard scholar.
Police in Cambridge, Massachusetts arrested Henry Gates for disorderly conduct outside his own home after arriving to investigate a reported break-in. Mr Gates said he could not open his door because it was broken. President Obama said the police ‘acted stupidly’, but the police maintain the arrest was not racially motivated. The town’s police commissioner said he believed the arresting officer had behaved correctly. President Obama said he was surprised by the controversy surrounding his remark in the circumstances. “You probably don’t need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who is in his own home,” he said. The police, in turn, have criticised President Obama’s comments, accusing him of poor judgement in his choice of words. Mr Gates is demanding an apology, saying he was only trying to get into his own home.