When you become a police officer, you’re
going to arrest people under any number
of circumstances.  While the odds that
you’ll arrest a friend of the President of
the United States is statistically
insignificant, you probably will at some
point face an arrest situation involving a
person of importance in the form of
political influence.  In November of 1990
and just three days before a General
Election, I knocked on the door of a
house in search of a man for whom I held
an arrest warrant in my hand.  I had
previously noted that the name of the
defendant was the same as a long time
sitting Maryland State Senator.  I
assumed it was a coincidence since I
knew the Senator resided in a different
neighborhood in the police district.  
When the Senator, who just happened
to be a black man, answered the door, I
thought to myself,  “Oh, s---.”  

As a police officer, I was prohibited by law
to question the content of an arrest
warrant; after all, the warrant was issued
by a judge, and my only duty was to
execute the arrest of the person named
in the warrant.  While I recognized the
Senator, he’d never met me, so, to him
at that point, I was just a uniformed
police officer who happened to be a white
man.  How do you think the Senator
reacted when I told him I was there to
arrest him?

No… he did not call me a “racist police
officer” as Professor Gates referred to
Sergeant Crowley.  No… he did not grab
a phone to call the Police Commissioner
as Professor Gates did.  He was, in fact,
a perfect gentleman.  While he displayed
bewilderment at the entire situation, he
never once displayed any level of anger.  
I’d been a police officer for twenty years
at this time, and I simply believed this
man when he told me he had no idea why
he was named in an arrest warrant.  
While the Senator didn’t even mention
the upcoming election in which he was
running for reelection, the timing of the
warrant with the election certainly stuck
in my mind.  How do you think I resolved
this situation?  Well, I stuck my neck out
by telling the Senator that I’d get back to
him.  I then conducted an investigation
that would prove the Senator was not
only “not guilty” of the crime charged –
he was totally innocent with no probable
cause ever existing to charge him with
the crime.    Had I executed that arrest
warrant, I think it’s safe to say that the
resulting media investigation and
coverage would have been very
embarrassing to Baltimore’s police
department and criminal court system.
To the everlasting consternation of
President Obama; the professor, Henry
Louis Gates, Jr., and all the elitists who
think they’re smarter than everyone else,
Police Sergeant James Crowley was a
professional who knew his job.  Most
importantly, Sergeant Crowley knew how
to articulate probable cause in a written
report.  Had he been the elitists’
stereotypical “stupid” policeman, unable
to articulate facts with the written word,
he would have been toast and no amount
of [after the fact] explanations would
have saved him.

When I frequently make the point that a
police career is “the best education on
earth,” I’m not exaggerating.  As a police
officer, you will come into contact with
people of all races and educational and
economic achievements.  You’ll also learn
that people are still people no matter
their race and what rung of the social
ladder upon which they stand.  With all
the benefits that come from education,
wealth and power, rational thought and
actions are achievements separate and
apart from any amount of education,
wealth and power.  My own father had
only a sixth grade education and I regret
that it took me as long as it did for me to
realize that he was the wisest man I’ve
ever known.  The elitist would disagree
with me vehemently on this point since
the elitist is always confident that he or
she knows everything about anything.  
No amount of verifiable facts or rational
discourse will ever convince an elitist that
he or she is wrong about anything.
The President, the
Professor and the Cop
"No amount of verifiable facts or
rational discourse will ever convince
an elitist that he or she is wrong
about anything." ~ Barry M. Baker
On July 16, 2009 a Cambridge,
Massachusetts police sergeant –
according to the President of the United
States – “acted stupidly” when the
sergeant arrested a Harvard University
professor for disorderly conduct.  The
President, by his own admission didn’t
“have all the facts.”  Of course, to the
nation’s first black president, race was
the big factor since the professor was
black and a personal friend to the
President, and the police sergeant was
The Senator in my story was obviously
not an elitist.  Think about the difference
in behavior between my Maryland State
Senator, and Sergeant Crowley’s
[distinguished] Harvard Professor and
how their reactions to cops doing what
cops do affected the outcomes of the
respective incidents.

The most important thing for you to
learn from the incredibly poor judgment
displayed by a Harvard professor followed
by even more poor judgment from a
President of the United States is that
people sometimes do indeed “act
stupidly.”  It is always unfortunate when
people, as Professor Gates and President
Obama did in the Cambridge incident,
inject race and racial profiling into any
incident where race is clearly not a
factor.  But… if you’re going to pursue a
police career, you’d better get use to the
reality that there are plenty of people
who will allege racial bias just because
they’re predisposed to do so.

Racism is an insidious allegation, because
no proof of racism need be present to
get the media, politicians and lawyers into
high gear in pursuit of ratings – career
enhancement – and a payday
respectively.  Your only defense against
an allegation of racism will be the
knowledge of your job and your ability to
articulate facts.  As stressful as being
called a racist may be, you can always
take comfort that, from time to time, a
competent police officer will remind all
elitists, both black and white, that they
too are imperfect human beings.  
Copyright © 2016  Barry M. Baker