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Controversial arrest sparks stereotypes, local reaction


Whether we like it or not, stereotypes can arise in nearly every situation. The case of one Harvard professors’ arrest has turned into a case of black vs. white.

“The average black man, when they see a white man in authority, the first thing that comes to his mind, is ‘oh God, how is this man planning my demise’,” said Rev. James Jameson from Hope Baptist Church for All Nations.

Reverend Jameson has a duel perspective, as well as a local one. He is a leader in the black community, and a former law enforcement officer. He said the situation would have been very different had the officer who arrested Professor Gates been African American.

“The brother would have left the porch, the other brother would have calmed down, and we wouldn’t be having this news interview right now,” Rev. Jameson said.

According to Jameson, some primarily black neighborhoods in Wilmington are patrolled by black officers, because he said it helps ensure trust between law enforcement and the citizens. This is a concept New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon is working to foster in his new term. “I think it is important as a law enforcement community that we are open to the citizens. That is who we serve. The more open we are with everyday things – when something does happen that could be potentially bad – we’ll at least then have that trust,” he said.

“We all have our stereotypes; things that we think about people, but we can’t allow them to interfere with the conduct of our duties,” Jameson said.

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videoThe arrest of a black professor from Harvard University has sparked controversy around the nation. Dr. Henry Gates was arrested in his own home by a white police officer, who was responding to a suspected break-in call. NewsChannel 3’s Jenna Caiazzo brings us the local reaction.

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