President Obama's Wednesday night criticism of Cambridge, Mass., police has drawn a rebuke from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).The criticism comes after Obama said Cambridge police officers acted "stupidly" when they arrested Henry Louis Gates, a friend of the president's, after he broke into his own home. Gates was arrested on disorderly conduct charges, which were then dropped. The president said it highlights ongoing problems with race relations in the U.S. Jim Pascoe, executive director of the FOP's legislative office, noted that before Obama made the remarks, the president acknowledged that he was only vaguely familiar with what happened."That being the case, it's unfortunate that he chose to say anything," Pascoe said. "He wasn't there, and he doesn't know what happened."Pascoe said it appears that Gates was the "provocateur" because he called Officer James Crowley a racist instead of producing identification as requested.
On Thursday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs sought to walk back the president's comments.
"Let me be clear. He was not calling the officer stupid, OK?" Gibbs told reporters on Air Force One. "He was denoting that ... at a certain point the situation got far out of hand, and I think all sides understand that."