Since the election of President Barack Obama, there have been hundreds or thousands of cases of police abuse of brown-skinned Americans -- cases that the Obama Administration has not chosen to raise to the level of national cause celêbres. Many Blacks and even a white woman have been administered 50,000 volt shocks, some dying after being Electrocuted While Black.
The victims were nameless Black and Latino unknowns, the abuse of whom is normal in America. Obama has commented on them for the most part. Politically, he has to visibly focus on the issues that affect the majority of (white) Americans if he is to maintain his approval ratings, pass his domestic programs through the US Congress and be re-elected in 2012. Focusing on police abuse of Blacks is a double negative for Obama who angers many white voters while failing to win their favor by focusing on meeting their needs.
The above graphic comes from a report about Professor Gates' role in starting The Root online magazine for the Washingon Post, whose writers have been reliable friends of the Obama's aspirations during the presidential campaign and continues to support him now.
So, like it or not, President Obama has been compelled by these circumstances to wade into the same national problem that led to the founding of the Panther Party, which is police brutality and the police's utter contempt for and persistent harrassment of Black people, in the belief that Blacks have no rights that police officers, regardless of their skin color, are bound to respect. In all areas of de jure law, the US Supreme Court's pre-Civil War Dred Scott v. Sanford decision has been overturned, but Dred Scott survives heartily in the ethos of police departments nationwide, regardless of the skin color of the officers involved, when it comes to the treatment of Black people. Blacks have no rights that police feel compelled to respect.
Skin color issues, like law, are not usefully resolved in the abstract. Concepts, beliefs and opinions have to be applied to specific facts for such conversations to have any focus and value. Often the specific circumstances that provide such opportunities for concrete analysis are not chosen by presidents but forced upon them by happenstance.
Because one of America's most important and substantial Black professors has been abused as Blacks generally are daily, President Barack Obama has been confronted with a very specific "case or controversy" about color arousal issues. The question is, if the most influential Blacks in the country can be treated with utter disregard for their humanity, than what chance do average Blacks have of living unmolested by police color-aroused brutality and injustice?