Well no, it wasn’t that bad. But as anyone with an ounce of sense knows it very well could have been. For as Judith Warner points out in a op-ed in today’s NYT the cop is a lying scumbag.
Perhaps the most telling moment in Sgt. James Crowley’s account of his now epoch-defining arrest of the Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. occurs about three-quarters of the way through the report that the officer subsequently filed with the Cambridge Police Department.
In his story of their verbal tussle, Crowley describes himself as overwhelmed by the noise in Gates’s kitchen, as the black professor loudly accused the white cop of racial profiling. Seeing that Gates could not be persuaded to use an inside voice, Crowley retreated to the street, inviting Gates to join him outdoors.
“Ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside,” Gates allegedly told him.
Gates denied referring to Crowley’s mama. “The idea that I would, in a vulnerable position talk about the man’s mother is absurd,” he told Gayle King of Sirius radio. “I don’t talk about people’s mothers … You could get killed talking about somebody’s mother in the barbershop, let alone with a white police officer … I think they did some historical research, and watched some episodes of ‘Good Times.’
“Cambridge city officials have released copies of the emergency call that sparked the controversial arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., as well as radio transmissions sent in by the arresting officer.
Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas said at a news conference Monday afternoon that listeners will “have to draw their own conclusions” from the audiotapes, which he handed out to reporters. Gates’s voice is not clearly discernable on the radio transmissions, Hass said.
What is clear is that in the 911 call, Lucia Whalen, a fundraiser for Harvard Magazine, did not mention the race of the two men she saw trying to push in the front door of Gates’s house.
Whalen, who works near the home, saw the men — the professor and his driver — trying to unstick his door and, aware of other burglaries in the area, called police.
In his report, Sgt. James Crowley said he answered a radio call about a possible break-in in progress. When he arrived, the report said, he spoke to a “white female” who told him that she observed “what appeared to be two black males with backpacks” who were trying to force entry into the house. Haas said that the report was a summary of events of the day and that Crowley did not know the race of the suspects when he answered the call.
A statement released by Whalen’s lawyer, Wendy J. Murphy, said, “Contrary to published reports that a ‘white woman’ called 911 and reported seeing ‘two black men’ trying to gain entry into Mr. Gates home, the woman, who has olive colored skin and is of Portuguese descent, told the 911 operator that she observed ‘two men’ at the home.”
Cambridge city officials said they released the tapes to try move the city beyond what they have called an “unfortunate” incident that attracted national attention. Crowley ultimately arrested Gates on a charge of disorderly conduct. The charge was later dropped.
“Going through this whole experience, I have already identified a number of things that the department can do better,” Haas said. The department is convening a panel of experts to investigate the events on July 16, and a city-wide forum on race is planned.”
Hmmm. Perhaps that White House Beerfest should be cancelled.
What do you say Oscar?