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,

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
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 © 2019  Barry M. Baker