My first impression: Obama would have been best served to keep his mouth shut about an incident he didn't have all the details on, although it's understandable that he reacted as he did. I'm not black, but I've worked with and talked to enough African-Americans to know that black men get harrassed by police in certain areas -- particularly in upscale predominately white neighborhoods. But Obama's not just some guy -- obviously. As the president he needs to think before sounding off on a local incident.
Since I'm not the president, there's no contraint on my opinion. I just read one of the latest accounts. It's difficult to know for sure what to believe, and I'm always skeptical of police claims, but this officer appears fairly credible. From his statements it seems that Professor Gates was an obnoxious jerk who greatly overreacted to the situation. He should have been glad the police were looking out for his house and calmly explained that he was the owner. That would have been the end of it. Instead, he verbally attacked the cop and kept on when told to stop. But I'm not sure why it was necessary to arrest him. From what I understand, Gates had already been identified as the homeowner before his arrest. Unless he actually got violent, why not just ignore his insults and walk away? The whole thing seems to have been completely unnecessary on both sides.