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. Stephanie Shields

    I wish The President would have stayed on Health Care last evening. Racial profiling exist.We are racially profiled on our jobs on a Daily basis by our own people. In order for them to keep their status.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  2. Candaece

    Even if you leave race out of this situation if the officer has responded to a breaking and entering call and the person "breaking and entering" has identified himself as the home owner... The police realizes and acknowledges that this is this man's home the cop should have just left! But to arrest the home owner for disorderly conduct and refuse to apologize isn't racist it just plan STUPID!! I wouldn't want any STUPID person whereing a badge or having access to a gun! PERIOD!!!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  3. Tanisha

    The charges were dropped because the officer was WRONG!......
    The fact that the DA was not willing to pursue this officers false allegations/charges is the first indication of the officers wrong doing

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  4. Miles

    Speaking from the perspective of a police officer and black man in America, it seems that people have jumped to conclusions without gathering all of the facts about the incident. According to the police report, there were multiple witnesses both civilian and law enforcement who were there on scene at the time that this occurred and they haven't came out in public for Gates or Sgt. Crowley (Hmmm?). We have multiple INDEPENDENT witnesses who we haven't heard from or seen since this came into the public light. Just something to think about.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  5. Wylie

    The professor was exhausted after a long trip, frustrated by his inability to get into his own home, and clearly angry. He was probably rude and perhaps a bit arrogant when dealing with an ordinary policeman. Perhaps the professor should consider whether his behavior really was unruly.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  6. Claude Hyacinthe

    Please explain how a white cop from Cambridge, MA of all places, could be an expert on racial profiling? Do you mean expert in perpetrating racial profiling?. What exactly is the curriculum here? Do not arrest if you see Black? Take precautions if you see Black? What is the foundation of that expertise, I ask? Is it perhaps that he is experienced in racial profiling?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  7. Suzanne Cordrey

    I thought Professor Gates looked familiar. Didn't he do that great documentary that aired several years ago on going to Africa and seeking his roots? You might consider airing it again so that people can get a reality check on his character. He is a man of integrity and honest moral character.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  8. Jonie

    I do not know all the facts. I can tell you this, I judge a person by their character not by the color of their skin. I am not a fan of Obama simply because I do not like most of his policies. My opinion of course could change-or not. As for Roland Martin- he is a very angry man. That is why I am going to the FOX den.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  9. julie

    I am so sick of people using the race card – Crowley was doing his job and is owed an apology from Obama. It is clear that his unpresidential conduct in a nationwide press conference is quite concerning. If anything, his immature actions are hurting race relations in this country....

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  10. Kathleen Drake

    How come when a black man is intelligent and has some type of status in America he has to be called arogant? They are saying that the officer was attacked. But people please look at how anyone would feel if they were violated in there own home. Once the officer was showed the ID he should have apologized and left the mans house. bottom line. Sorry I just feel if Professor Gates was white the incident would have ended a lot sooner before Gates got angry.
    Until you go through it you wont understand... I'm sorry...

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  11. Kwesi Acquah

    Are we realistaclly saying that if Prof Gates was white, he would have been arrested?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  12. esther

    u people just dont get it. its real and will continue to go on. i've work in law enforcement and i've seen false report and a lot of other racist things in law enforcement. it just don't surprise me at all. if it was a white man at that house he would have never said a thing

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  13. John Cerro

    It comes down to following the rules! When a police officer observes suspicious activity and asks for your ID, just present it! End of story. The police officer was first trying to protect the professors' property. Is a store clerk profiling when they ask for an ID to compare with your credit card? NO, it's for the protection of the card owner.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  14. Jeff

    This so-called "professor" is using this as a way to get his 15 minutes of fame. Air the dispatch tape. If Gates was out of control it'll be evident.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  15. Terencio Safford

    I think that the officer truly believed that prof. Gates owned the house, however as a black man myself, I understand the frustrations with dealing with police officers whom we tend to perceive as carrying out injustices when they are simply doing their jobs. I think prof. Gates, like many of us do, may have been somewhat confrontational with the officer out of the frustrations he felt which is fair and legal grounds for an arrest for disorderly conduct; no matter what state you live in.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  16. marcus glicker

    Gates owes Crowley an apology. His childish, irrational behavior caused an ugly incident which should have been avoided.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  17. Jane

    This is very, very typical of Cambridge police. I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, and attended college in Boston in the late "60's and early "70's. The Cambridge police were notorious for racism and jail violence toward Black men and women. You should interview Black Cambridge residents. The rest of the country has no idea of the behavior of Cambridge policemen because it was a deep dark secret. Now the country is finding out what we always knew.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  18. omar from phoenix, az

    I think the best thing to do here is look at the facts rather than resort to another news sensationalism.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  19. Tyrone Robinson

    None of you People on here making comments are black!!!! SO what would you kinow about how this man feels..

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  20. Jermel Williams

    I am sitting hear watching your interview and what I am hearing from your two guess is so sad. Mr. Gates was in his own home showed his ID and he was still arrested. Being black in America even in 2009 doesn't mean anything. I would like for this to happen to either the gentlemen in the glasses and or a prominent white person. What would happen. What world is he living in. Black men are under siege in this country.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  21. Angel

    All I want to know is why officer Crowley ask gates to step out on the porche after he had already identified himself as the owner of the house?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  22. Onyx Powers

    This particular racial episode shows the pettiness of the police force and the vulnerability of the racist elements of america's psyche.
    Police departments in this country are cloaked in high levels of privilage and exemption. Specifically, white privilage and the reluctance to effectively discipline police officers in general. It is this same cloak of privilage and exemption in which corrupt and/or racist police use to harm black people. whether it be in the form of racial profiling, police brutality, manslaughter or outright murder. Subsequently,these actions, also help to perpetuate a sinister and hideous message to the society at large: That the lives of black people are not valued as much as those of whites.
    Black people, having to deal with these mulitple layers of reality, have good reason to be suspious of police encounters. The actions of Obama, Gates and crawley are all predictable outcomes when placed in the context of Americas' psyche as it pertains to race and law enforcement. It should surprise no one that a situation that should have been easliy resolved by Gates and Crawely with a "No harm, No Foul" attitude has instead turned into a media circus of hurt feelings.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  23. marcella

    I think it's odd that the "neighbor" automatically assumed there was a break in. I live in a predominantly white neighborhood and I know my neighbors. Maybe his neighbor did know who he was. I have been stopped and my son has been stopped DWB (driving while black). I was highly upset but what can a woman do. It doesn't matter how old you are, it never ends. Marcella

    July 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  24. Rod

    This seems to be a very unfortunate situation. My biggest concern is that the President felt it necessary to speak on a matter without having all the facts, especially when one party is a personal friend of his. I just believe the President should always be above the fray of the back and forth that is pervasive in politics in this country as well as racial relations in this country. I highly respect law enforcement officials and we all know that there are good ones as well as bad ones. The same is true for hypocritical politicians. There's no wonder we can't get things done in the best interest of all american citizens.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  25. Janet Robinson

    The fact is the charges were dropped rapidly,which are an indication that the cop was wrong. He should apologize, it takes nothing away from him. Certainly arrogance goes before ignorance. Remember pride goes before a fall.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  26. Annita

    I used to live close to a rich neighborhood in South Florida, and everyday I could see the police stopping only black and Latin people. One day, I crossed the street and stepped into a 7-Eleven and heard a policeman saying to his partner loud and clear, "Well, time to harass somebody, let's go".

    July 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  27. cedric mcdaniel

    Anderson, I was approached by a cop in my mothers new neighborhood when me and my bestfriend were moving furniture in for her. They checked our id's and still did not want to leave until I showed him a picture of me and my bestfriend. The problem is I did not get arrested but it is the fact that you are treating me like a common criminal just because you can. Also, I have been stopped searched and sent on my way with "Have a nice day." for no reason.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  28. Jay

    What happen when the policeman went into the house. Was he disrespectful to Gates?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  29. Vicki

    Two men are seen trying to break into a house in the middle of the day. Neighbor calls police. Police arrive and man shows his id . Police leave and is followed out the door with a man yelling and screaming at him.Man is arrested claims racial bias.President supports man who was yelling and making a public display of himself. I think Gates should apologize. His claims are being made from his own insecurities as to who he is . Police and firemen should be aware that the next time you are called to his residence drive slowly .He does not value the work you do to keep him safe. He would be singing a different tune if you had caught someone breaking into his home and used good diligence in arresting a robber. By claiming racial bias Obama and Gates made fools of themselves. Besides from all the commercials we know only white men break into houses.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  30. Pat

    I am a black person who understands both positions in this case. The police officer must do his job however I feel he went to far. The professor probably was irrate and the officer felt the need to "put him in his place" But had he been white and irrate it would have been different. We, as black parents, have to teach our children how to conduct themselves when stopped by an officer. Do white parents have to do the same thing? I have never met any that did. How sad a commentary....

    July 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  31. Larry Mc

    At first someone said a neighbor called the police, now they say it's a passerby. Professor Gates is important but what about Robbie Tolan in Bellaire, Texas?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  32. Candace

    I don't think that Crowley owes an apology because he was just doing what procedure said for him to do. I don't see why anyone would take this and turn it around. I mean I'm watching this now and I'm thinking how far would people go to make an issue of this and fight the police, or any human being, it's really disturbing...

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  33. PJ

    The entire situation demonstrates a true and tragic fact; there are still people in position of power that have true issue with success of African-Americans. I honestly feel that the officer, as 'exemplary' as he and his reputation has been had a moment of true loathing for the demographic shift he is experiencing as white male in America. I really hope that there will be a reconciliation for both the officer and Professor Gates so that others, especially our children ,will know that we in this country have learned and shared values and constantly changing behavior that will take us to a positive place as a society!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  34. both sides

    It would be great if we had all the facts on both sides. I agree with Boyce Watkins that racial profiling goes BOTH ways and all of us need to be aware of that!! Obama definitely shouldn't have commented on the matter without all the facts; calling the police "stupid" was a ridiculous thing to do! I think it's terrible when a minority is unfairly arrested, but not every white cop is out to get the black man!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  35. Bryan

    I don't think the police officer should apologize. He's not sorry about whatever he did so a phony apology is just that. We will never know the whole truth of what happened. I believe both of them did something wrong. Gates was probably rude, and the officer was probably on a slight power trip. Both should just walk away and let it go.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  36. Lacey

    Look, it's simple. I and many Americans agree with President Obama. Cooler heads should have prevail, and the office clearly shouldn't have been so tissue paper about his feels!! If you can't take criticism; don't take such a public position as a public police officer, duh!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  37. sharon

    I truly don't believe that Mr. Crowley gave Mr. Gates his badge number or anything else that was requested by Mr. Gates. I think both of them should be on the show to comment on the other parties accusatations because both stories are likely to be true in some way or another.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  38. Aaliyah

    As a young african american child i think the sgt should be fired for entering this man's house because, he was told a black man entered the home. He's black and he entered his own home. So what sense did any of this make the office should've never enterd his home and arrested him in the first place.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  39. jarrod

    I think this is the biggest bunch of bull. This situation proves how racist the police force are currently in America. I dont see how anyone can be arrested at his home for losing his cool. If it would have been me I would have drawn my gun and told him to get off my property. Once this bs happened I would sue the cops. He has the right to do what he wants in his house. The cop should have gotten out of his house. I am tired of this bs making news like we dont believe racism is alive. This cop was out of line.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  40. Kahaleed

    The Police are supposed to serve the people. If an officer is at a residents house investigating a crime, he should be showing him the upmost respect. If Sgt. Crowley was such an expert on race he should have known to apoligize when he figured out there was no crime.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  41. sara

    This whole matter is in fact stupid. Who actually gets arrested in there own home. Regardless if they are white, black ,or navy blue. sgt. crowley is a piss poor example of law enforcement.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  42. ron smith

    racial profiling is very much alive in america, believe me it's happened to me time after time just for being black. but at some pointin the situation of the professer you have to let the police do theyre job and move on because pushing them give's them the right to hit you with disorderly conduct or interference and so on. the officer should have givin him his badge number when asked, but there is still a thin line your walking when pressing an issue and unless your ready to go to jail and go through the motions of the elegal arrest then u need to be quite.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  43. Joe

    Every cop that is hire should have a tie to multiple cultures. Other wise they are useless. Interview their friends. All white. No job.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  44. Omar Al-Tariq

    the officers entrusted with the duty to administer order are not always good or bad, sometimes they are both. unfortunately blacks are recipients of bad wraps. However, good officer can certainly bring discipline to a nation.

    Omar in Houston

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  45. a mother

    As we continue to make everything a race issue we make ourselves out to be the laughing stock of the world.
    We all live here. In order for this world to survive we must accept each other. I am sure there are times when we have all been subject to accusations that we don't agree with.
    I hope that Sgt. Crowley isn't made to apologize for anything. I hope that the professor realizes he acted out of place and that this can be put to rest as soon as possible.
    I think it all goes back to a black man named Rodney King who said, "why can't we all just get along."

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  46. Scott Ferguson

    Lets wait and see what comes of the investigation. There are no winners here. I hope the officer is not found to be wrong because if he is the citizens of that city loses as well as the progress in America is chipped away. I think it is important to also state I am African-American.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  47. Dede

    If Gates was a "regular" woman or man, Black or White, he would have been arrested, no questions asked because of the way he spoke to the officer. Gates should have been thrilled that both his neighbor and the officer were trying to protect his property.

    When racial profiling is a real issue–it is so upsetting that someone like Gates would use this for his own advancement. He should be looking out for real instances of this. Gates was arrested because of his "mouth" not because of his skin color.

    I'm surprised that our fine president weighed in on this before knowing the facts.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  48. Janet Tomasone

    As for the police officer, I think that our policemen have enough to worry about in today's world without having to treat black people with kid gloves. If in fact there was any question about the professor and his demeanor or if in fact he belonged in the house, then the police officer was completely right. I do NOT think that the police officer should lhave to apologize to this racist professor.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  49. Obamacus

    If you are white, you probably side with the cops. if you are black, you probably side with Gates. There are exceptions to this, but other than that it's true. Prominent whites will generally not comment on this publicly because of the potential for them to sound insensitive or be accused of racism. The ones who will are speaking for the common (white) man. Prominent blacks like Obama feel that they have to comment on this case, but its counterproductive to creating a color-blind country for everyone. Crying racism when you are simply acting like a jerk will set back racial discourse in this country and will not advance it.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  50. L Lewis

    OMG, I can't believe I just heard a black person say racial profiling can also go the other way, I like this Boyce guy! Finally, an intelligent statement!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
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