The arrest of a well-known Harvard African-American studies professor Henry Gates sent shock waves through the nation, when he was jailed on charges of disorderly conduct for busting through a jammed door of his home. Gates was later released and all charges were dropped.
It’s been almost two weeks since the incident made headlines, often speculating racial profiling by Cambridge police, and details of the account are still trickling through the news media.
The latest development will likely confirm that Sgt. James Crowley did, in fact, profile the situation with own personal racial biases.
According to CNN, the 911 call that was placed by a neighbor who alerted the police that two men appeared to be breaking into Gates home. In the official police report, Sgt. Crowley claims Lucia Whalen described what she saw as two Black men with backpacks at the home, and later told Gates that he has spoken with the woman in person before his investigation that led to his arrest.
On Monday, Cambridge police released the 911 call and, not so surprisingly, the audio footage and Crowley’s police report do not coincide. Whalen said she saw, “two larger men, one looked kind of Hispanic, but I’m not really sure, and the other one entered, and I didn’t see what he looked like at all.”
The concerned neighbor, Whalen, wanted to clear up the misinformation as it related to the call and wanted to stress the fact that she did not use the word “Black” in her description of the two men.
Wendy Murphy, Whalen’s attorney blasted the police report and argued that much of it was untrue.
“Let me be clear: She never had a conversation with Sgt. Crowley at the scene,” Murphy said. “And she never said to any police officer or to anybody ‘two Black men.’ She never used the word ‘Black.’ Period.”
She added, “I’m not sure what the police explanation will be. Frankly, I don’t care. Her only goal is to make it clear she never described them as Black. She never saw their race. … All she reported was behavior, not skin color.”
Crowley, who rejects the notion of being a racist and refused to apologize for “doing my job,” will have some explaining to do now that the truth has been presented. Not only will he have to explain himself to the public, but also at the Thursday discussion over a beer President Obama has requested with him and the professor. Crowley pulling a no-show would be less than a shocker.
Now that the truth has come to light, an apology is in order but will Crowley be a man enough to admit his racial prejudices and apologize? Or will this case continue to exemplify the long standing issue between Black men and police?