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Cambridge top cop stands by department after Harvard arrest


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Cambridge top cop stands by department after Harvard arrest

 

 

(CNN) -- The commissioner of the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police department said Thursday he "deeply regrets" the arrest of prominent black Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., but stands by the procedures followed by his department.

 

 

Sgt. Jim Crowley said he has nothing to apologize for in regards to the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr.

 

"I believe that Sgt. [James] Crowley acted in a way that is consistent with his training at the department, and consistent with national standards of law enforcement protocol," Commissioner Robert Haas said, referring to the officer who made the July 16 arrest at the professor's home.

 

"I do not believe his actions in any way were racially motivated," Haas said at a news conference.

 

Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct after an exchange with the officer, who was investigating a report of a possible break-in at the house.

 

The police department will create a panel of "independent, notable professionals" to provide an analysis of the incident, he said.

 

The controversial arrest of Gates was criticized Wednesday by President Obama, who said the Cambridge police department "acted stupidly."

 

"My response is that this department is deeply pained and takes its professional pride very seriously," Haas said.

 

Cambridge authorities dropped the charges against Gates on Tuesday.

 

In a statement, the International Association of Chiefs of Police expressed disappointment in Obama's remarks.

 

"Police chiefs understand that it is critically important to have all the facts on any police matter before drawing conclusions or making any public statement," said Russell B. Laine, association president and chief of the Algonquin, Illinois, police department, in the statement. "For these reasons, the IACP was disappointed in the president's characterization of the Cambridge Police Department."

 

Haas' comments followed a statement earlier Thursday from Crowley, who said he would not apologize for his actions.

 

"That apology will never come from me as Jim Crowley. It won't come from me as sergeant in the Cambridge Police Department," Crowley told Boston radio station WEEI. "Whatever anybody else chooses to do in the name of the city of Cambridge or the Cambridge Police Department, which are beyond my control, I don't worry about that. I know what I did was right. I have nothing to apologize for."

 

The mayor of Cambridge said she will meet with the city's police chief to make sure the scenario that led to Gates' arrest does not happen again.

 

"This suggests that something happened that should not have happened," E. Denise Simmons, Cambridge's mayor said on CNN's "American Morning." "The situation is certainly unfortunate. This can't happen again in Cambridge."

 

Obama defended Gates Wednesday night, while acknowledging that he may be "a little biased," because Gates is a friend.

 

"But I think it's 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 ... that there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately."

 

The incident, Obama said, shows "how race remains a factor in this society."

 

Crowley also said he is exercising caution and his previous actions clearly show he is not a racist.

 

In fact, Crowley taught a racial profiling course at the Lowell Police Academy, said Deborah Friedl, deputy superintendent of the police department.

 

Last year was his fifth year as a co-instructor of the course, Friedl said.

 

"He seems to be a highly regarded instructor at the academy. He consistently received high praise from students," she said.

 

Gates told CNN Wednesday that although charges had been dropped, he will keep the issue alive.

 

"This is not about me; this is about the vulnerability of black men in America," Gates told CNN's Soledad O'Brien.

 

Gates said the Cambridge mayor had called him to apologize about the incident. Simmons, Cambridge's first black female mayor, confirmed to CNN that she apologized to Gates.

 

Gates said he'd be prepared to forgive the arresting officer "if he told the truth" about what the director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research said were "fabrications" in the police report. iReport.com: Share your views on Gates arrest

 

Crowley wrote in the Cambridge police report that Gates refused to step outside to speak with him, and when Crowley told Gates that he was investigating a possible break-in, Gates opened the front door and exclaimed, "Why, because I'm a black man in America?"

 

The report said Gates initially refused to show the officer identification, but eventually produced a Harvard identification card, prompting Crowley to radio for Harvard University Police.

 

"While I was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence, I was quite surprised and confused with the behavior he exhibited toward me," Crowley said, according to the report.

 

Gates was arrested for "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space" and was released from police custody after spending four hours at the police station.

 

 

He said Wednesday that he and his lawyers were considering further actions, not excluding a lawsuit.

 

Gates said that although the ordeal had upset him, "I would do the same thing exactly again."

 

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Obumbly bumbles again. He didn't know the whole story, but then he disses the white policeman, says he acted stupidly,

 

and supported the black homeowner, because racial profiling exists in this country?

 

Yes, it exists. I accidently drove through a small apparently mostly black neighborhood in Canton years ago, and small kids threw rocks

 

at my pickup truck. I was racially profiled.

 

So, I'm going to side with any white person who gets arrested?

 

Obama is very intelligent, but very stupid per his corrupt idealogy.

 

He contradicting himself, breaking promises, putting his foot in his mouth more dramatically

 

than before the election, making strange moves to hurry up leftist bills in Congress he hasn't even read,

 

and is power-hungry....

 

All Obama is turning out to have, is arrogance, a temper, contradictions and leftist/liberal platitudes.

 

Look for his approval rating to drop less than 50 percent soon.

 

And that INCLUDES the loyal segment of folks who will approve his job performance simply because

 

he is black.

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I think Obama should stay out of it. What is he "playing the race card" from the Oval Office? Low class.

 

I can't believe I am saying this but I agree with Col. Fitts here. Reverse the roles.

 

White guy and his white friend break into their own house, black cop comes and arrests him amid the white guy making racial slurs and being belligerent to the Black cop (police reports state the Black professor was making racial slurs to the White cop). Would the white guy get set free under pressure from Bush? Bush wouldn't of touch this with a 10 foot pole. What if Bush called the Black cop stupid for arresting the White guy in his own house? Sharpton would be picketing on Pennsylvania Ave that day.

 

Sorry, but the white guy goes to jail, stays in jail and gets beat by a black dude for making said slurs.

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I think Obama should stay out of it. What is he "playing the race card" from the Oval Office? Low class.

 

 

A simple, "I am not privy to all the details so I cannot comment on this. This is an issue for local authorities" would have sufficed.

 

Without knowing the facts, he blows this up to a national issue involving "Blacks and Latinos".

 

Poor discretion. Maybe a lesson learned - I hope.

 

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A simple, "I am not privy to all the details so I cannot comment on this. This is an issue for local authorities" would have sufficed.

 

The funny thing from what I saw on TV, he did say those exact words (I don't know all the details) and right after he said this he went on to say the Police Officer acted "stupid". If you don't know all the details, then who the f'uck are you. Sorry but this thing really pisses me off.

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http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/07/24/officer.g...rest/index.html

 

Numerous police officers, including African-Americans, have spoken up on Crowley's behalf and portrayed him as a good and fair officer. Crowley, who is white, had once been chosen by a black police officer to teach a police academy course on ways to avoid racial profiling.

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Guest Aloysius
(police reports state the Black professor was making racial slurs to the White cop)

No, it doesn't. According to the police report, Gates accused the officer of racial bias, which is very different from "making racial slurs". And Professor Gates disputes Sgt. Crowley's account of what happened.

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No, it doesn't. According to the police report, Gates accused the officer of racial bias, which is very different from "making racial slurs".

And Professor Gates disputes Sgt. Crowley's account of what happened. Al

 

**********************************************

No, accusing an officer of racial bias, is, in affect, calling him a bigot.

 

Personally, I feel the bigot label applies to the one arrested.

 

My hunch is, the police were right, and told the truth.

 

And the arrestee? May be in big trouble, since:

 

***********************************

 

911, police tapes key in Gates case

 

Officials mull release of recorded evidence

By Richard Weir, Laurel J. Sweet and Benjamin Bell

Friday, July 24, 2009 - Updated 0m ago

Mounting pressure to get to the bottom of the controversial arrest of black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. is centering on recorded police tapes that may offer a dose of reality amid all the media and political noise.

 

Cambridge police brass and lawyers are weighing making the tapes public, which could include the 911 call reporting a break-in at Gates’ home and radio transmissions by the cop who busted him July 16 for disorderly conduct.

 

“It’s powerful evidence because the (people involved) have not had a chance to reflect and you are getting their state of mind captured on tape,” said former prosecutor and New York City police officer Eugene O’Donnell, who is now a lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan.

 

Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas said last night he has asked City Solicitor Donald Drisdell to review the 911 tape, which has the potential to either bolster or impugn Gates’ stance that he is a blameless victim of racial profiling at his own home.Further, Sgt. James Crowley noted in his report that he radioed police headquarters to let them know he was with the person who appeared to be the home’s lawful resident, but who was “very uncooperative.”

 

Upon receiving Gates’ Harvard ID, Crowley wrote he radioed in to request “the presence of the Harvard University Police.”

 

In a radio interview yesterday morning with WEEI’s John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, Crowley, a 42-year-old father of three, said he hasn’t heard the tapes.

 

“One of my first transmissions was to slow the units down and I’m in the residence with somebody I believe resides here, but he’s being very uncooperative. So, that’s in real time,” Crowley told the sports-talk hosts.

 

“I’m not really sure how much you could hear from Professor Gates, you know, in the background. I, I don’t know. I haven’t heard the tapes.”

 

Haas did not share with reporters what can be heard on the tapes, but commented, “I don’t believe Sgt. Crowley acted with any racial motivation at all.”

 

Gates, 58, a world-renowned scholar and documentary filmmaker on black history, allegedly ranted to police at his Ware Street home, “This is what happens to black men in America!” and “You don’t know who you’re messing with!” in addition to verbally dragging Crowley’s mother into the fray.

 

“More often than not,” O’Donnell said, “as the facts come out, they are more favorable to the cop. It’s crucial in the sense that it provides independent evidence. There is no question it provides corroboration. He called the tapes potentially “crucial” to Crowley’s ability to defend himself against charges of racism.

 

Attorney Stuart London, who has defended countless cops in high-profile cases, including one of the NYPD officers charged in the 1998 beating and plunger torture of Abner Louima in 1998, said, “If (the officer is dealing) with someone who is not being cooperative and is unruly, (the tape) gives you more insight into the state of mind of the officer. That’s the most important part.”

 

“I don’t believe this officer did anything wrong, and given what we know, I don’t think he would be afraid to share the tapes at all, either,” said Thomas Nee, president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association. “It’s public record. From dispatch to conclusion, it’s all on tape.”

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"Gates, 58, a world-renowned scholar and documentary filmmaker on black history, allegedly ranted to police at his Ware Street home, “This is what happens to black men in America!” and “You don’t know who you’re messing with!” in addition to verbally dragging Crowley’s mother into the fray".

 

This guy is a world-renowned scholar? He sounds like a jerk.

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Guest Aloysius
Could being accused of racial bias be construed as being a racist??

 

If so, could being called a racist be a racial slur if that wasn't the case??

That's a real stretch. "Making racial slurs" would imply that Professor Gates said something about Sgt. Crowley's whiteness or Irish heritage. I don't think we want to expand the definition so far as to turn, "Stop discriminating against me" into a statement that somehow justifies a disorderly conduct arrest.

 

Even if you take at face value the rather uncharitable depiction of Professor Gates contained in the police report, it still doesn't explain why he needed to be arrested.

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LOL....I figured there had to be tapes somewhere...I can't wait to hear them.

 

I bet the president isn't as eager.

 

First Rev. Wright...now Gates...there is a pattern to all of this.

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Guest Aloysius
First Rev. Wright...now Gates...there is a pattern to all of this.

That's a pretty silly comparison. Part of the reason that this story is so shocking is that Gates isn't at all a firebrand:

 

Gates' belligerence--"Why, because I'm a black man in America?"--may not have been pretty. However, tarring him as a professional racebaiter is inaccurate. One senses here a lazy analogy with his former Harvard Afro-American Studies department colleague Cornel West.

 

Those who regularly dismiss West as an academic Al Sharpton would be surprised at the warmth and erudition of the man himself in person. However, his quitting Harvard for Princeton in a huff in 2001 when then-Harvard Pres Lawrence Summers requested that he returned to writing academic books was indeed, in my opinion, a misguided cry of racism, leaving an implication that black scholars are somehow exempt from doing what real academics do as a matter of course.

 

That sort of thing has not been typical, however, of Gates. He has even been assailed by black writers lefter than him of being what used to be called an accommodationist, such as by Reverend Eugene Rivers, and Houston Baker--best known as one of the "Duke 88" professors raking subsequently acquitted lacrosse players over the coals for raping a black stripper--assailing assorted black public intellectuals. Gates has never been a rabble-rouser.

You should read the whole thing. There's a lot to this story that you guys may be missing.

 

Another worthwhile read:

 

Is This the Instance of Police Misconduct to Obsess About?

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There's a lot to this story that you guys may be missing.

 

Yea we know racial profiling happens, people get stopped for no reason, it's bullshit.

 

But the cop didn't stop him, he got a CALL saying someone was breaking and entering. Read my post above, what if a black cop arrested a white guy in his own home? The white guy says it was racial profiling because say he has tattoo sleeves and piercings (yes my brother in law was arrested in the same manner). He would be laughed out of the court room.

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Guest Aloysius
Yea we know racial profiling happens, people get stopped for no reason, it's bullshit.

 

But the cop didn't stop him, he got a CALL saying someone was breaking and entering. Read my post above, what if a black cop arrested a white guy in his own home? The white guy says it was racial profiling because say he has tattoo sleeves and piercings (yes my brother in law was arrested in the same manner). He would be laughed out of the court room.

I read your post above. I even responded to it.

 

If you want to understand Professor Gates' side of this, read the transcript of his interview with Soledad O'Brien. He does make an accusation of bias, but his account of what preceded that accusation is entirely different from Sgt. Crowley's.

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I read your post above. I even responded to it.

 

If you want to understand Professor Gates' side of this, read the transcript of his interview with Soledad O'Brien. He does make an accusation of bias, but his account of what preceded that accusation is entirely different from Sgt. Crowley's.

 

I also read that he just got back from an 18-hour flight. Maybe, just maybe, he wasn't in the best state of mind at the time.

 

Any way, this story need not have a villain. Unfortunately, Obama upped the ante.

 

Again, maybe a lesson learned.

 

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Any thoughts or perspectives on this story, Heck?

 

Sure. Obama suggested that once Gates established that he lived in the home, which he did (this is not disputed by the Cambridge police) with two forms of ID, one being his Massachusetts ID with his address on it, that "cooler heads should have prevailed." Getting lip from a citizen isn't cause for an arrest. The cop acted "stupidly."

 

I don't see a problem with this statement at all. Politically, I don't think it was a good idea for Obama to wade into this because now it's a distraction, and because when race comes up most Americans go straight into their corners and cheer for the team they already support no matter what happened. But substantively, I don't think he's wrong.

 

I also happen to have grown up right around there. Before this was a big national story I was trading emails about it with a lot of friends I grew up with. That this happened to a black man in Boston, even one of Gates' stature, was of no surprise to anyone. Everyone chuckled about it. It's a city with an ugly racial history, and still simmers with racial tension.

 

Here's what Gates' did wrong: around Boston they call what he was guilty of "contempt of cop." It's not a legal definition, of course. It's not going to stand up in court. But it is what gets you arrested. Boston cops in particular are a prickly bunch. (To say nothing of Bostonians in particular. This is part of the reason why I enjoy visiting the South so much, and living in California.)

 

I thought Mike Barnicle, another Bostonian who grew up not too far from me and who is very pro-cop, had the right take on it the other day on Morning Joe. He said "I'm around Gates' age" and that if he were "breaking" into his own home after returning from a trip to China this never would have happened to him. Because no neighbor would have ever reported a white guy in his 60s getting out of the car service's Town Car, luggage in tow, who was trying to get into his own home, as a break-in.

 

Barnicle said, "Do I get arrested in this scenario? Of course not. Of course not."

 

The fact that many white Americans can't see why this type of thing bothers the hell out of black Americans is beyond me. Especially when it doesn't matter if you're a 20-year-old thug or a famous Harvard professor who is in his 60s and walks with a cane. You still get the cops called on you.

 

Obama's right - cooler heads should have prevailed. I just wish he'd have given the stock answer instead, "Skip Gates is a friend of mine, and I'm glad the charges were dropped, but let's remember that cops have a difficult job, and I don't want to comment on it until I get all the facts."

 

Then we could talk about something else, rather than listening to the same predictable discussion with the same predictable people.

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No, it doesn't. According to the police report, Gates accused the officer of racial bias, which is very different from "making racial slurs". And Professor Gates disputes Sgt. Crowley's account of what happened.

 

 

That is why he was arrested. he was being a complete asshole over being asked for his ID.

 

Maybe he needs some anger management, the world is not out to get darkie.

 

The whole affair is rediculous, and Obama made it worst.

 

Maybe Obama was trying to gain approval points from the NAACP. Didn't he just give them a speech.$$$$

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Fair points, Heck.

 

You also know that we are talking about Cambridge, MA and not Boston.

 

The Peoples Republic of Cambridge isn't exactly another version of Paris, TX.

 

For the record, Boston cops were not involved in this.

 

 

FWIS I know how ugly both sides can get. I was in school during the infamous 'Busing' experiment and saw all the hate spewed from the likes of Dapper O'Neil, Louise Day Hicks, etc. I, myself, would have been afraid to walk into The Rabbit Inn in South Boston. I happened to have Howard Zinn as a Professor.

 

 

 

 

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Sure. Obama suggested that once Gates established that he lived in the home, which he did (this is not disputed by the Cambridge police) with two forms of ID, one being his Massachusetts ID with his address on it, that "cooler heads should have prevailed." Getting lip from a citizen isn't cause for an arrest. The cop acted "stupidly."

 

I don't see a problem with this statement at all. Politically, I don't think it was a good idea for Obama to wade into this because now it's a distraction, and because when race comes up most Americans go straight into their corners and cheer for the team they already support no matter what happened. But substantively, I don't think he's wrong.

 

I also happen to have grown up right around there. Before this was a big national story I was trading emails about it with a lot of friends I grew up with. That this happened to a black man in Boston, even one of Gates' stature, was of no surprise to anyone. Everyone chuckled about it. It's a city with an ugly racial history, and still simmers with racial tension.

 

Here's what Gates' did wrong: around Boston they call what he was guilty of "contempt of cop." It's not a legal definition, of course. It's not going to stand up in court. But it is what gets you arrested. Boston cops in particular are a prickly bunch. (To say nothing of Bostonians in particular. This is part of the reason why I enjoy visiting the South so much, and living in California.)

 

I thought Mike Barnicle, another Bostonian who grew up not too far from me and who is very pro-cop, had the right take on it the other day on Morning Joe. He said "I'm around Gates' age" and that if he were "breaking" into his own home after returning from a trip to China this never would have happened to him. Because no neighbor would have ever reported a white guy in his 60s getting out of the car service's Town Car, luggage in tow, who was trying to get into his own home, as a break-in.

 

Barnicle said, "Do I get arrested in this scenario? Of course not. Of course not."

 

The fact that many white Americans can't see why this type of thing bothers the hell out of black Americans is beyond me. Especially when it doesn't matter if you're a 20-year-old thug or a famous Harvard professor who is in his 60s and walks with a cane. You still get the cops called on you.

 

Obama's right - cooler heads should have prevailed. I just wish he'd have given the stock answer instead, "Skip Gates is a friend of mine, and I'm glad the charges were dropped, but let's remember that cops have a difficult job, and I don't want to comment on it until I get all the facts."

 

Then we could talk about something else, rather than listening to the same predictable discussion with the same predictable people.

 

So then the argument is the neighbor racially profiled the professor? Not the cop, he did his job. Some of my family members are cops, this is what they teach you, to be cautious.

 

Like I said reverse the roles. Who's screaming WHITE POWER in this case? Black people are, not white.

 

I call this a crap, I would of called the cops, black, white or alien.

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Yeah, growing up there, I really don't think there's much of a distinction to be made between the Boston PD and the Cambridge PD. Cambridge is a separate city, but no one from Cambridge says they're from Cambridge; they say they're from Boston. (Unless they're pretentious.)

 

As for racial profiling, I don't think there's a good case to be made that the cop was profiling. He was responding to a call from a neighbor reporting a break-in, as he should have, as any cop would have. And clearly, he has to investigate that and make sure everyone is who they say they are. But it seems it didn't take too long to figure out that there was no break-in, and that he was talking to a old Harvard professor.

 

So the complaint is that he arrested a guy for getting angry, which isn't a crime. Which is why the Cambridge PD dropped the charges.

 

After college I used to be roommates with two Massachusetts cops. They'd always tell me that when you get pulled over or talked to outside the bar, "It's about your attitude." Shouldn't it be whether you did something wrong or not? "I'm telling you," they'd say, "It's about your attitude."

 

Like I said, contempt of cop. It seems like that's all this was.

 

I'd also suggest that, if anything, this was probably more about class than race from the cop's perspective. Most working class Irish types in Boston don't care for the Harvard set. So there's that possibility too. When you start waving around your Harvard ID and asking for badge numbers, I can see how it got to: "Alright, professor. Get in the cahhh."

 

But from the neighbor's perspective, yes, I think that's race.

 

And like the article Alo posted, I also don't think this is the best racial case to make a huge fuss over. I don't think either party acted wisely, and I don't think either one is telling the whole truth.

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