WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama Wednesday accused police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, of acting stupidly when they arrested prominent black scholar Henry Louis Gates. At a nationally televised news conference, Obama acknowledged Gates, a Harvard professor, is a friend. And the president said he did not know all the facts surrounding the arrest last week or if race played a role. But I think its fair to say, No 1, any of us would be pretty angry; No 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, No 3, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that theres a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, Obama said. This still haunts us, Obama said. Gates, 58, demanded an apology from police Tuesday after authorities agreed to drop a disorderly conduct charge against him. The incident began when a neighbour phoned 911 to report two black men trying to break open the front door of the house Gates rents from Harvard, according to a police report. The woman reported seeing two black males with backpacks on the porch, one of whom was wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry, the report said. According to a report, Gates was returning from a trip to China and couldnt get into his house because the door was jammed. He forced the door open with his drivers help and was on the phone when police arrived. An officer asked for his identification, which Gates provided, the report said. The officer ignored requests by Gates for his name and badge number, it said. The incident is renewing accusations that police single out minorities based only on skin colour. The high-profile Gates, whose documentaries on race and African-American history have been well received, said that it is highly likely that I shall be suing. It is to keep this, to attempt to keep this from happening to any other black men in America.