July 23rd, 2009
08:06 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Professor profiled? Cop fires back

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/23/officer.gates.arrest/t1home.gates.split.wcvb.cnn.jpg caption="Sergeant James M. Crowley (left) said he will 'never apologize' for the arrest of scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. (right)." width=265 height=239]
Jacob Smilovitz
AC360° Intern

We’ve got another big show tonight on the heels of the second installment of Black in America 2.

In Massachusetts, the police officer who arrested Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. is speaking out tonight and telling his side of the story. Sergeant James M. Crowley finds himself at the center of a heated debate over the state of race relations in this country. With Gates, a preeminent scholar on the topic of race in America, and even the President questioning his actions, Crowley says he will “never apologize” for the incident.

"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."

What do you think? Does Crowley owe Gates an apology?

Tonight, CNN contributor Roland Martin and Boyce Watkins, a Syracuse University Professor and the founder of YourBlackWorld.com, will share their thoughts on this story. And at the “Magic Wall”, Tom Foreman will break down the raw data, taking a closer look at the prevalence of racial profiling in America’s police departments.

In L.A,. new details are emerging in the mystery surrounding Michael Jackson’s death. This time they come from Rolling Stone magazine and their contributing editor Claire Hoffman, who will join us live tonight.

Among other revelations, Hoffman reports that Jackson was aware of how the public had come to perceive him and eager to replace all the gossip over his lifestyle with talk of his work.

Plus, in court today lawyers for Katherine Jackson made a request for money. We’ll have those new developments for you.

Also on our radar, a disturbing internet video now surfacing of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews apparently shot without her knowledge in the privacy of her own hotel room. How easy is it for something like this to happen? Erica Hill enlists the help of a private investigator to get us some answers.

All that plus a recap of tonight’s edition of Black in America 2 when you join us for AC360° at 10p ET.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson • The Buzz
soundoff (576 Responses)
  1. allen

    as a gay man, I know what descrimination feels like, this guy can't tell the police what to do. and why did the president say such strong words and not knowing the whole story.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  2. Sophia Sommer

    I cannot believe that anyone would suggest this officer be fired. How retarded. I don't know if Roland Martin is just being a devils advocate or he is really a douche bag.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  3. Pat

    Whooever has the nerve to say race doesn't enter into this is stupid, blind, or in denial. We are not a country of equals. Look at the white men screaming now because a Latina woman has stated that her history affects her beliefs. Race issues are everywhere, and they rarely benefit non-whites. Were Professor Gates white, I do not believe the issue would have arisen. The officer need say nothing other than "Thank you" after being shown proof of ownership. Were I returning from a trip with the same situation, I would not have taken unkindly to officers verifying who I was, but then they would need to leave.

    I am a middle-aged white woman, and I don't believe I would be given the same hard time or even asked to do more than verbally confirm that I lived in the home.

    I think more of these issued need to be loudly discussed because we as a nation like to think we have it together, but we certainly don't.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  4. Shea

    I think it's very sad how this is going. I do feel if it was a different type of person this wouldn't have gotten out. What do you all think?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  5. Reader from NJ

    Many police departments now use video in their patrol cars when arrests are made. Maybe they should also use small recording devices with microphones that pick up the voices when they respond to a call, so that there is no doubt about who said what.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  6. Gene Gresham

    I believe that our President, for whom I have a great respect, played a race card in his comments on the Gates arrest. I am disappointed and expect an apology in the near future.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  7. Curchel Smoot

    I cant believe all these comments that say that Gates should have shown his ID. Please read all the news reports. The policeman admits Gates DID provide ID! Gates was arrested for being loud and angry about it. I am sorry, I would be mad too! I have learned one thing from this: I will NEVER exit my house for police. They can't arrest you in your house unless they have a warrant . So if they want to check my ID to prove I live here, they will have to do it through the screen. Case Closed!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  8. Lori

    We need both sides of the story.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  9. Angela Bourne

    Not sure of the big deal on Obama's comment... He did state his comment would be biased because he and the professor are friends...

    July 23, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  10. Kat

    Who in the Harvard community would not have known who Professor Gates is?

    Secondly, because the police lies so much, it is hard to believe them.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  11. Ruby Coria LA., CA.

    The President hit it right on! Cop's act stupid @ times, & everyone know that, & most of all Blacks & Latino's! If you can't relate, that's a good thing, & you must be white. The Cop should calm his white ... & Mr. Gates should had calm his.., that badge makes Cop's above all, like it or not. yikes!
    p.s. get congress back to work!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  12. Debra_T_Midwest

    After listening to the MSM immediately assume that the arrest was racially motivated, I decided to read the police report. Gates himself in the report acknowledged there had been previous breakin. Since Gates is black, should he have been treated differently? Since Gates is a professor, should he have been treated differently? If a person is a prominent citizen, should they be treated differently?
    Crowley does not owe anyone an apology. He followed procedure.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  13. rick

    How wonderful for the media that this happened. With our men and women dying in two wars, this has to come the the forefront. Is the President now in charge of every facet of life in this country? And what a wonderful example for young people everywhere that the name-calling and racist pandereing now come from both sides. Youv'e got plenty of copy for this one, so beat it to death at everyone's expense, as always. The perfect racial storm. Wouldn't Dr. King be proud? Enjoy!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  14. Benigna Marko

    Apology or not, Sgt. Crowley might just do best to apologize and get this episode behind. Good luck.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:03 pm |
  15. Bill

    The professor brought the arrest on himself. When asked to produce ID his first reaction is "Why, cause I'm a black man in America"? It's sad that such an intelligent man reduced a simple request to charges of racism. Face it, when something happens to the Latino or African American population it's racism, but if professor Gates were white and officer Crowley was black we wouldn't even be talking about this right now. It's time to stop using racism as an excuse. It's no wonder we can't get past this as a nation when all we do is play the same card over and over again just because it's convenient. Professor Gates should be the one apologizing for interfering with the officer's investigation. If an officer showed up at my home and I acted in the manner professor Gates did I would be arrested too. Like it or not the law's the law....regardless of skin color!!!!!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:02 pm |
  16. Gilby-HI

    In Europe , Canada or anywhere elce he would still be in jail. You don't mess with the cops, period !
    The next time you have a guy brakeing into you home call a professor .

    July 23, 2009 at 9:58 pm |
  17. Doug - Huntsville, Al

    Maybe Tyler Perry will come through and buy the Professor a ticket to Disneyland.
    There obviously was anger and a heated situation on both sides. Unfortunately for Mr. Gates the officer has a badge and we have to respect the law whether we want too or not.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:52 pm |
  18. Kristen, MD

    Why were the charges dropped against Gates? Obviously something went wrong in checking on a suspicious activity to arresting a man in his own house. If neither Professor Gates or Sergent Crowley want to get off their high horse and actually tell the truth instead of each giving two completely different stories then they both should not speak on the matter.

    I feel for Erin Andrews, if I were her I would be mortified. That is outrageous, whoever made the tape and trying to sell it should have some sort of consequence. It's beyond invasion of privacy.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:48 pm |
  19. Black Man

    It's crazy to say that this officer was "doing his job". It's a known fact in any african American community that you can't speak to police in a disrespectful way. We all know that it's not that way anywhere else. The officer states that he told the professor to "calm down" while in his own home. That alone would have upset me after having to prove that I live in my own house. This is nothing but officer that couldn't back down in someone's home. And then it's crazy to hear people talk about this professor like he did something wrong. He did nothing wrong and everyone needs to see that. I'm sooo happy that my president is a black man. Now he can explain to all americans how it is to be black in america and they'll understand sometimes there's two difference justice systems when it comes to blacks and whites.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:47 pm |
  20. Jerry Monroe

    Hummm ... I find it interesting that my comment, one that did not pick a side and help to fan the flames of racial discord doesn't seem to have been posted. Was it disqualified for not being inflammatory enough?

    Could CNN be against cooler heads prevailing because this sort of virulent discord drives people here to be heard?

    I'm disappointed Anderson!

    July 23, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  21. Maggie

    My dad was a State Trooper for Louisianna and I would expect the exact same conduct from my father as from the SGT Crowley. There is absolutly no need to say "I'm sorry". He is trained to be a cop and needs to be allowed to dedicate his time to be a good cop and not have to worry about saying he is sorry everytime he ruffles the feathers of an uncorroperative citizen of the United States of America.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:40 pm |
  22. Terri


    I am so sick of the term “race card”. White people are the only ones who use that term like its the trump card in a deck that has been stacked against minorities for decades. We do not look forward to being mistreated . We just want to be treated fairly.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:35 pm |
  23. Paul Rainwater

    Maybe the Police could have given him a ticket for bad behavior and a bad attitude towards white policemen? I learned a long time ago to always be polite to police no matter what, because they are THE POLICE and will take to you jail if they feel like it. Some of them are good people and some are morons with power trip egos, the bottom line is, this arrest was about two guys with an ego problem and racism on both sides... Also, it was a mistake for Obama to talk about this at a national press conference, we have bigger issues than an irate black college professor and a white cop on a power trip. Maybe both of this guys should be sent to rooms without dinner?

    July 23, 2009 at 9:34 pm |
  24. rosemary

    I would like to ask Crowley, how would he respond if he was taken in for trying to get into his house after the police officer found out it was his house.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:33 pm |
  25. Tony Wilson

    I'm sure middle America is ignorant when it comes to the plight of blacks in this country, especially those left behind in the inner cities after the factories closed their doors and white people fled. As a white guy from Chicago it is evident to me that racial profiling still exists on a dangerous level and that racism is still alive and kicking. Wouldn't it be nice if our police forces and our elected representatives in this county were a bit more reflective of society in general? Until we the people change the game and impose term limits on Congress – getting some fresh young blood in the halls – we will never be able to change the status quo. The people running the show now could not be further out of touch from those they are supposed to represent. These are career politicians, not doing our bidding for us mind you, their only true goal is to get re-elected. Obama appears to break this mold as he seems intent on helping Americans – political popularity be damned. Lets help him change the game. Please?

    July 23, 2009 at 9:33 pm |
  26. rosemary

    It was good that Crowley went to check who was tring to get in. But I think Crowley just went a little far. After finding out the name of the Prof Gates and knowing that was his house, Crowley should of let him go. But Crowley had to proof that he was a police officer with power and control. How would you all feel if a police officer took you in for trying to get into you house? Please respond

    July 23, 2009 at 9:30 pm |
  27. Terri

    I am so sick of the term "race card". White people are the only ones who use that term like its the trump card in a deck that has been stacked against minorities for decades. We do not look forward to being . We just want to be treated fairly.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:29 pm |
  28. Jane

    I think we have to assume that a man of Professor Gate's stature knows what he is feeling. He felt that this officer was wrong and carried an arrogant attitude. I believe him. He should take this platform now to educate and use this to teach and inform. This police officer was out of line, he should admit it, and apologize. Just the mere fact that he refuses to apologize so strongly speaks volumes. His pride is in his way. That says it all. He was out of line. He unable to step back and reflect on his own behavior. He's the officer here. He needs to do that. Take the high road. Do what is befitting to his uniform.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:26 pm |
  29. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    Roland Martin is such a race baiter, his head is going to explode talking about this tonight.

    Anderson would never be able to control him even if he wanted to.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:26 pm |
  30. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    @Rochelle, Who said Crowley was out of order? The biased president? How do you know that Crowley is guilty of anything? Maybe Gates is the guilty party here. His race doesn't automatically make him the victim.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  31. JC-Los Angeles

    It's extremely troubling to continually see individuals insert race into situations that often are not racially motivated.

    Professor Gates and the police officer are the only two that know what did or did not transpire.

    For certain members of the media to use race, and specifically blacks in general, to advance their personal agendas while lining their pockets, is beyond the pale.

    If equality for all is the end game, how about treating both Professor Gates and the police officer equally, learn all the facts and then provide intelligent discourse?

    July 23, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  32. Grimes

    None of us were there. With that said, I think it was good to report the supposed break in. We want conscientious neighbors. We also police officers to inestigate such calls. Upon doing so and checking I'd, finding that he was indeed the owner of the home, that should have been the end of it. The fact that there was an arrest is where we have a problem. Regardless of the professor's race arresting him indcates the officer had some personal or egotistical issue. If he were white I would still say shame on him! The question that arises is why arrest him? Really? Did he say something that hurt his feelings? Pissed him off? Seriously. Officers do this type of thing often. I find it hard to believe there is any valid excuse for arresting this man regardless of anything he said. This is why people believe, rightly so, that it's racism. The arrest was simply unnecessary. Period

    July 23, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  33. nikki

    i don't believe sgt. crowley owes an apology because he did his job. if it were a real burglar, wouldn't prof. gates wanted the perps captured? we will never know the real story when it becomes a 'he said...she said' battle.
    cahokia, illinois

    July 23, 2009 at 9:19 pm |
  34. Annie Kate

    Crowley does not owe anyone an apology for trying to do his job in the correct manner, following the standards of operation. After listening to the tape of Soledad's interview with Gates, Gates seems arrogant and like he had been looking for a fight. If Crowley had a record of doing this sort of thing it would be a different story but right now based on what we know, Crowley should not have to apologize.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  35. Derrald

    It amazes me how a Professor of Gates stature will stoop so low as to use the race card to get himself out of an embarrassing situation. Sgt. Crowley was doing his job in serving and protecting the citizens of this town. Professor Gates should be grateful that Sgt. Crowley was being thorough in his duties. Instead he paints Sgt. Crowley as cop whose only reason to be on the force is to single out black minorities like himself.
    What disgusts me the most is how the Mayor of Cambridge is wanting a meeting to prevent an episode like this from happening again. Does she mean that if an officer responds to a break in call and there happens to be a black individual there playing the race card, the officer returns to their patrol call and leave without properly verifying the residence?
    I’m sorry Professor Gates and the Mayor of Cambridge, you both need to apologize to Sgt. Crowley for your actions.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  36. Frank

    It's people like Suzanna and Gates that make this racial mess a mountain out of a mole hill. I believe no matter what the officer did, he'd still be attacked by this black law professor... Simply because he is white... I hope the officer continues to refuse to aplogize... Why should he, when he was simply trying to do his job... None of these racial incidents will change until people stop and take a deep breathe before casting negative judgement on a situation that might not be in their favor... Grow Up!

    July 23, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  37. Alan

    I generally support the President. I do wonder however just how presidential it is to make specific accusations regarding any situation without all the facts.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:05 pm |
  38. Rochelle

    Excuse me but everyone has stated this officer was out of order, maybe he needs to turn in his badge if he can't apologize. Everyone makes mistakes but it takes a real man to own up to it. Pride comes before the fall.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:04 pm |
  39. Sandy Hughes

    Don't know whats worse claiming Racist to the cop or him expecting prefreintial treatment because he's a Harvard professor and black.
    He should be thanking them since there have been robberies in the area he lives in. He was to busy running and yelling his mouth. He needs to take a course on manners. How arrogant can you be.
    Sandy Hughes
    Guntersville, AL

    July 23, 2009 at 9:04 pm |
  40. Sammy

    I live in a commmunity larger than Cambridge and the Police Officers are very well aware of who live where. If Sgt. Crowley does not know the prominent citizens in his jurisdiction (black or white), and where they live, he do not need to be a police officer. This is not a black or white issue, to me it is a matter of a Sgt. not knowing the neighborhood he is in charge to patrol. I am going to call my police chief and let him know what a good job the sgt. and other patrol officers are doing.

    Sgt. Crowley should apologize and move on.


    July 23, 2009 at 9:03 pm |
  41. Tina

    Why do people always have to use the "race card" this man is a police officer and all he did was ask for ID that should have easily been provided to him, case closed.

    I don't care if the man is purple or green, if the cops ask you for ID to make sure who you are, then simply hand him your ID and it would have been over!

    July 23, 2009 at 8:59 pm |
  42. Svphillips

    Its amazing you say President Obama should not run this country on asssumptions when for the last 8yrs. Bush did just that ,He divided this country on race ,gender and finances .The fact is clear the man should have never been arrested period...........Get it .....I know some of you have never experienced racist cops or what is like being african american.Maybe now you will see how divided we really are.........

    July 23, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  43. dina

    The guys nickname is "Jim Crow(ley)" hmm. Is that coincidence? Legally he should have left after ID was presented. He needs to be able to tell the difference between a threat and someone's relevant upset. I still don't know what crime was committed by Professor Gates.

    I urge the President to take his concern further and assure that police officers tape these interactions in the future. I can almost guarantee this will end "racial profiling".

    July 23, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  44. Angela Savage Austin

    July 23rd, 2009 8:09 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    What I witness on Lou Dobbs 's show tonight regarding President Obama's birth certificate, was probably a duplicate reaction that Sgt. Crowley had when Prof. Gates stood up for his rights. The conversation between Roland Martin( a Black man) and (Lou Dobbs) a White man, mirrored exactly how White men react to a Black man who speaks with authority. (Lou Dobbs) reacting to Roland Martin's statements as being disrespectful to himself and the Congressman was uncalled for. At no time was Roland disrespectful. Roland Martin stood his ground about the live birth certificate as being a legal document. What I saw was probably the same reaction from Sgt. Crowley when Prof. Gates defended his rights and questioned the officer's persistent inquiries over and over again after verifying his residency.

    July 23, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  45. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    Sergeant Crowley was called to the residence by a neighbor, he didn't come looking for trouble. He has nothing to apologize for.

    It seems that many blacks play the race card whenever it is convenient and this may have been one of those times.

    Shame on CNN for ony allowing one point of view to be heard.

    July 23, 2009 at 8:34 pm |
  46. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    If you read the police report it clearly shows a Crowley acting professionally. The report is also signed by another officer who witnessed Gates making a scene outside his home. There are witnesses on the street as well. There is even a report now that a radio transmission from Crowley catches Gates shouting over the air and was taped. Police sources who heard it report that Gates was acting out of control. Gates also resisted arrest, a crime in itself. When all comes out the black mayor, black governor and black president are going to look pretty stupid for making this a racial issue when it's not. Crowley has taught a course on racial sensitivity in a local police academy for the last 5 years. He was picked for this by the last police commissioner, a black. Gates should be recharged, and Obama should apologize to Crowley and police everywhere. He's a disgrace to America.

    July 23, 2009 at 8:32 pm |
  47. Jorge Hernandez

    I have a problem with people that automatically assume another person is racist based on one side of the story. Let's wait for the full story before strong words are tossed around. Obama should have not commented on this matter because he even admitted on not having all the facts. I hope he does not run this country on assumptions.

    July 23, 2009 at 8:23 pm |
  48. Suzanna

    I am appalled that the credibility of a black harvard professor who's an expert on race relations is even potentially challenged by a while cop who somehow is being described as an 'expert' on such matters (presumably courtesy of a somewhat shorter training session than Gates has either received or delivered!)

    If the guy doesn't apologize he should be fired. Nobody needs 'experts' like that – with no ability to recognize when what they've done is wrong – serving the public.

    I won't watch the cop on your show, I am appalled by his arrogance, and his extreme lack of political acuity.

    Speaking of which, yeah I think Obama did put his foot in it last night. But that shouldn't take away from the bigger issue issue – rank bigotry.


    July 23, 2009 at 8:21 pm |
  49. Cindy

    Sgt. Crowley does not owe Gates an apology. Gates owes him and the other policemen an apology because of the way he acted. He should have just shown his ID and everything would have been fine. The police were just doing their job.

    Do we really have to go back to the Michael Jackson fiasco? I mean really? When will you all move on from this and let E! or TMZ deal with this?


    July 23, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  50. Larry

    Does Gates know what proper police procedure is?

    July 23, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
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