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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. amy

    I think Crowley does owe Gates an apology. Gates being in the privacy of his own home has the right to do say and do whatever he wants. This argument can be turned over to the argument of rights regarding privacy but thats another story. This demonstrates how far some officals go to target the oposing race without justified reasoning. Its absurd for others to go out of their way to target the opposite race...its a two way street.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  2. Taniella

    In respect to the case of the arrest of Professor Gates, I want to make the comment that it is unfair to the police officer to take prof. Gates side when the officer may have had reason to arrest him. I believe that professor gates got upset with the officer and verbally attacked him. Under those grounds it seems to me that the officer had a right to arrest him for disorderly conduct. That's what happens when you go off on a police officer anywhere in the country!!!!!! I am a Black woman and I know this! Maybe it's different for White people, but I know that you can't just go off on a police officer like that!!!!!!!!!!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  3. Dean Strauss

    AC360,
    Why are we, as a nation, commenting on such topics. Our president is using misdirection to lead us down a dead-end path. Why? Why are we talking about Jacko's death parade and localized incidents of racial profiling when the economic guillotine of nationalized health care looms large?
    Anderson,
    Please stop feeding the tabloid masses of mindlessness and stop to think about how such foolish coverage leads this country down a disasterous path of thoughtlessness. Consider the big picture of a second stimulus package. !! Consider the trillions.

    -A concerned citizen who may leave town.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  4. Ocie Gaye

    why isn't anyone questioning the other person that was assisting the professor. Maybe he can shed some new light on this.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  5. Barry195

    Crowley should not apologize. He did nothing wrong. Even if he didn't give his name and badge number he could get it from the department. This professor is locked in his own racial basis world.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  6. Russ C.

    It's obvious most of these comments are from people who do not live in Cambridge, MA....Does not surprise me a bit....it may not be blatant racism but it is pseudo-racism that the Cambride PD plays well.

    Russ
    Cambridge, MA

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  7. Shawn Finkelstein

    I have had the cops come to me with the same thing. Like I broke into my own home. I showed a piece of mail and my ID, thanked the cop for checking out the break in and that was that. Now if i had jumped in his face, I would have been arrested. Black, White, Yellow it would have ended the same as the Professor, treat all cops as if they are the law. They have the guns and a badge, play nice.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  8. Sergi

    I was locked out of my house by a co-tenant and two policeman arrived while I was trying to break the front door open. The policemen stopped me and demanded an ID. After I proved that I was a legitimate owner of the property, they told me I can break the door since it was my house. I'm in Maryland, maybe the law is different in Mass.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  9. Dan

    For me, I would be happy that the police actually came to my house even if I was breaking into my own home. It shows the police are actually doing their job. I, for one of many, am getting tired of the race cards being played in these issues. It seems the professor has absolutely no respect for those in authority, in this case the authorities.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  10. TonyB Wash. D.C.

    Racial profiling should not be ignored. As a black male it is something that I deal with daily. I'm a clean-cut guy who was pulled over 4 times in a month with no explanations. One cop said "I fit the profile". Let's not ignore this case or be scared to believe that racism is still very much alive. This officer used discrimination instead of common-sense.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  11. Gene

    I would have thanked the officer for doing his job and checking up on my house. Why would the Harvard professor get upset for someone just doing their job?? How about "Thanks officer. . but no need to worry . here is my ID . . "

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  12. Herb

    Lets use a little common sense. A call was made to the police. the owner of the home showed his ID. End of story. At that time the cop should have just left. The cop was out of line. The cop pride was brused. I agree with the President. STUPID is the key word. This type thing happen to black men all the time....

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  13. Ashley

    I would like to know two things, 1) How come the neighbor who called the police was unaware of the identity of Gates? 2) How violent could gets become if he was hand-cuffed in front as opposed to behind his back?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  14. Peg Sofranec

    If Officer Crowley was worried about his safety, as I heard him indicate during a TV commentary, he should have called for backup before arresting Prof. Gates.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  15. Dr. Alvin Augustus Jones

    Dr. Gates stated on CNN last night that he was a "renter" of the property. Is that true? A noted professor does not mean that he is "famous" for being a resident. How long has he been a resident there, and why would a neighbor not be familiar with him. Thanks for your investigation.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  16. Tina

    First of all, I think proper police procedure would require the officer not to enter the home alone. He should have awaited back up. Secondly, it is sad to know that the neighbor did not know the person attempting to get into the house was indeed the owner. If the officer's actions were just, why were the charges dropped?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  17. Helen E. Wilson

    There is a textbook situation for everything, but , in life we must alter each situation in regards to the appropriate setting. The officer should have asked not only for identification but for proof of ownership(mortage) papers.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  18. tolly

    Not only do I think Sgt. Crowley owes no one an apology, but I'd go so far as to say Obama owes the Sgt. and his colleagues an apology for commenting nationally without more information. It's in my mind an abuse of his power – at least, morally questionable, to sway a nation with one's words when you don't have all the facts. Racial profiling exists sure, but that doesn't mean it's at the heart of every arrest that involves different skin colors. To leap to conclusions is unconscionable.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  19. cassandra Freeman

    Sexual harassment exist, of course race harassment exist....progress exist and so does ignorance...it should not be a surprise!, The matter would all be over if an apology was given and because it hasn't that is eago, probably racist but mostly two men with eagos.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  20. Josiah

    When tables turn, resistance is natural....it's a good global debate....the world is watching.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  21. Eddy

    I totally agree 100% with Boyce, a big problem in this country with African Americans, like myself, is we tend to be quick to call a white person racist before we can prove it. Racism is treating someone unfairly or unequally because of the color of their skin. But we should not use racism as a scapegoat for anytime there becomes a conflict between a white man and a black man.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  22. D Roberts

    Why is it that when African Americans reflect a valid concern we are told that we are playing the "race card". Racism isn't a game. Neither is being ignorant. Period. Professor Gates should have behaved in a different manner. Officer Crowley decided that he didn't like the way that a black man was challenging him. Period. I don't care how many officers sign off on a report. We all know that they stick together. I don't know who was more wrong. They both should apologize to each other and move on.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  23. Albert J. Tully, Jr. M.D.

    Based on the reports, Dr. Henry Gates became angry and abusive based on the assuption that the white policeman in Cambridge, Mass. (Sergeant Crowley) who was called to check on his property was a racial bigot. I don't know if this qualifies as racial profiling, but it sounds close.

    President Obama admitted that he was biased and didn't have all of the facts, but went on to characterized the police as "stupid" which I think could be called intellectual profiling ( you know, the typical dumb cop).

    I am not sure what Solidad O'Brian said, but I think she said that African Americans should somehow be treated differently by the law because a past history of abuse by the police. I think this should be called "a dumb idea".

    My advise to my grandchildren is to treat the police with respect. They risk their lives to protect us and our property. If you are stopped by the police, being respectful is called "a good idea".

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  24. HB

    I feel that the racial tension was already felt by Professor Gates in his environment. The slightest accusations against him just made him lose it. That's how it feels for alot of black people in America, but most of the time we can control it to keep the peace.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  25. John Ritter

    I was very disappointed to hear President Obama’s comment about the Cambridge Police department's handling of the arrest of Prof. Gates.

    If only he had stopped at the statement of 'I don't know the facts.' He didn't, and in fact his following comment regarding how the police "acted stupidly" indicates that he didn't really care that he didn't have all of the facts. How disingenuous.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  26. Lela

    What everyone is forgetting is Prof. Gates was at home, and had not committed a crime. Arrest for what??

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  27. DP

    i believe this has nothing to do with race. if an officer comes to my house and says they had heard that there was a break in in process, i would show my ID and comply and work with them as much as possible. What if there was someone else trying to break into my house that i didnt know about?

    Also, you dont yell and make a big mess when an officer comes up to the house, you comply. you dont yell and make a mess of it....

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  28. Marsha

    This happens all over America and nothing is done. It happened to a prominent educated man living in a very white neighborhood and it's the talk of the town. Clearly, the neighbor who called was engaging in racial profiling and the cop fed into it by arresting Professor Gates.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  29. Dan Wilson

    Police officers work for the community not themselves, they protect and serve and abuse authority. They should have apologize for the inconvienence and asked if they could have helped him in anyway.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  30. Catherine

    Don't bring up women and men with restraining orders. How women have died because the police just can't find a way to take their husbands/abusers in? The police officer could have called in Gate's id to check. To say its "standard" operating procedure is to indict the STANDARD, not the person. Please, this is was stupid behavior. Sadly, you could open up your boards and be FLOODED by the stories of people of color to such similar stories. Standard Operating Procedure. Like when a police officer is shot there is a motorcade while youth in neighborhoods around the country die all the time with not so much as a change in the standard operating procedure.

    No Excuse. Are officers GODS?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  31. Kerry, Louisiana

    As a young african-american I am appalled at the actions of Professor Gates. For him to react this way was out of character and wrong. I think this was more about ego than race. I believe that the Police were just doing their jobs. I also noticed that there was a black police officer present yet Gates didn't call him a racist or a 'rogue cop'. I am really saddened that such a big deal is being made only because of Gates' stature in this country. If this had happened to me noone would care or discuss it.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  32. Tyrone Robinson

    Just because the officer, has a good record does not mean he cannot make a mistake and he migh have made one. How does a man get disorderly conduct in his own home?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  33. concern/denver Colorado

    Clearly once the officers had the ID he could have check the home or even check out the ID .. but either why he did not have to arrest Gates the officers had many other options even the one of walking away

    July 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  34. Lawrence Wiggins

    It is normal procedure to detain anyone found in a house when there is a call for a break-in in progress. After the officer found out that the gentelman lived there he should have been release. Disorderly conduct implies being in a public place and acting in a manner which would breach the peach to include using profanity. What should not happen is being arrested at your home on your property for disorderly conduct. D.O.C. is a trump card that cops hold when someone makes them mad, trust me, I know!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  35. Ned

    It seems to me that Gates was being irrational. Did he have jet lag?? Obama should have stopped at "I don't have all the facts". The police should be allowed to do their job.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  36. CraigM

    Gates was totally out of line and caused the whole incident by his out of control words and behavior which more then warranted his arrest. The profiling charge is just the usually lame, racial excuse that we hear from blacks.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  37. Tom Lamas

    Officer Crowley seemed to have followed proper procedures. Professor Gates was arrested for his hostile and verbal actions which are sometimes common to law enforcement work and security. I worked in casino security in one of the major casinos in Las Vegas and we dealth with the general public on a daily basis. The problem is whenever i check a black person while I am posted in the hotel elevators to check make sure they are guests in the hotel, the black person usually get offended and hostile and tell me Im checking them because they are black. I am a minority too of Asian decent. I have to explain to them what we do and why. They even sometimes threaten me by asking for my name and employee number so they can complain to my superiors. This is what black america needs to change or else such incidents at Harvard is not only embarassing to both parties and the nation but will only cause division between blacks and other ethnic groups. Blacks seem to be difficult and complain to much. Wake up black america. Obama made a mistake this time in his interview, he should have just said no comment at this time.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  38. Marcus Edwards

    I believe race played a big part in what happened. My house was once broken into and my ID didn't show my current address but the officer allowed me to show pictures in the house to prove I lived there. That cop could have done more on scene investigation to allow Gates to show it was his house.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  39. Sandy

    It's a shame that here we are in the 21st century and we as a country are still fighting amongst ourselves. If the officer did nothing wrong, why did he or his office issue an apology and why was the charges dropped?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  40. Denise

    After hearing this situation several times since its happened, I honestly believe that it was perhaps BOTH parties ARROGANCE that allowed this particular to play out like it did. Again .. I am speculating.. not sure. I do somewhat agree with what President Obama said the officer was not stupid..but the actions overall was..it simply could have been handled differently.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  41. Richonda

    The only question I have is regarding the white woman who called the police. I know who my neighbors are. She didn't?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  42. Omari

    Many Black people have been in the situation where they are doing no wrong and are arrested simply for not "bowing down" to a White cop. I speak from pesonal experience. I have been treated this way by my hometown police in Richmond, VA. Im not racist but i think that many White people will not be able to wap their mind around thi scenario.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  43. Korey

    I'm happy I wasn't the African American male who was up against the police sergeant. To think that it takes an individual of Skip Gates' stature to challenge this police officer is freightening in itself for this young African American male. The "disorderly conduct " charges would not have been dropped against me and neither would President Obama be speaking on my behalf. Hell-CNN would not be having this discussion.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  44. kim

    a true we black a so white people stay

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  45. deedee

    Would the arrest have occurred if Professor Gates were WHITE????

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  46. Dawn Simmons

    My only question is, would this have happened if Gates were a white man?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  47. Kevin

    What's a cameraman doing outside the prof. house? Maybe the prof was just loud and deserved to get arrested? It seems to me that the prof. wanted this to propel him into the limelight.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  48. Serena

    If the policeman did not have the homeowner's permission to enter the house, why are we not addressing that he followed Gates inside without a warrant? He took Gates's IDs and proceeded to leave the property with them to coax/force the professor out of the house. That does not seem honorable or responsible.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  49. Kendall

    Even though I feel so empowered from just watching Black In America, I have to take the cop’s side on this one, some people are so ready to accuse others of misconduct. I think officers are so trained to be afraid of EVERYONE that their instinct is always handcuffs, taser, gun, in that order!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  50. Cris

    America is still the same America.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
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