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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. Daniel

    Whether or not Crowley apologizes or not doesn't really matter... What matters is the "power-trip" officers exemplify when they know they are in the wrong. They will say and do things to initiate frustration and anger just to call out there favorite slogan " He was resisting arrest" when there is nothing to be arrested for! Oh Yeah... they hate it when Pres. Obama tells it like it is...

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  2. Susan Kugel

    I am married to a retired police officer. What an insult to ALL police officers to have the President of the United States say what he did about the professor who was arrested. There are procedures that all police officers must follow. This officer followed mandatory procedures. Plus, his house had been broken into before. What if it had not been the owner and the police did not respond? All this man had to do was to show his ID and the whole incident would NOT have occured. Who was the bigot? Why wouldn't his man show his identity???? Is he ABOVE the law???? Enough is enough. The black man got what he deserved!!!!!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  3. Krys

    Both Gates and the police should meet and apologise to each other. Two sides to every story. Maybe Gates felt like he is in his own home, everyone knows him and refused to show ID and got angry with the police.

    Even so, he should not have been arrested. the officer should have asked for additional ID and/or info. Unless he is new to Harvard, he would have more than likely known who gates is.

    Policemen support policemen. Even if the cop acted wrongfully, his partner would have lied for him.

    It still takes two to tango.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  4. Lola from Louisiana

    The professor has nothing to be ashamed of. He presented his id and the officer should have said sorry for the inconvenience, have a good evening and left. Anyone who can't see that the officer was out of line by continuing to aggravate the situation and follow someone in there home is showing stupidity. Put yourself in the professor's shoes and have an irrate cop follow you in your home after he knows it is your home and see how you would feel. Oops! most of you can't be in those shoes.....

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  5. Andre Tate

    In my opinion, Sgt Crowley did the right thing. There are to many people today doing home invasions, burglaries ect. The police come on the scene not knowing how Gates was, they were just responding to a call. Gates was not unfairly targeted. Professor Gates was arrested do to his actions. Sgt. Crowley does not owe Gates an apology, Gates owe Sgt Crowley an apology for accusing him of racial profiling when it is clear that Sgt. Crowley was just doing his job. So Gates, stop hating and let the Police do there jobs.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  6. MDK

    Everyone is missing what Officer Crowley said. Paraphrasing officer Crowley he stated that when he (officer Crowley stepped out on the porch of professor Gates house he had his handcuffs in his hand. Why would he have his handcuffs out. I think that shows intent to arrest professor Gates. Things got out of hand and whether officer Crowley wants to admit or not he was hot as well as professor Gates and he intended to have the last word. "Arrest"

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  7. Diana Wilks

    I told my husband when I heard Presdents Obama comment on what happened to Professor Gates that this was going to be the first thing we heard on the news the next and I was right.. I believe he could had worded that differently since no one knows the facts. Is it standard practice to arrest a person in there home after they have shown proof that they live there?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  8. Rasheedah

    Where is the police officer from Mars....who doesn't know Professor Bill Gates? He has been or tv countless times including CNN are we to believe that police officers live in a "bubble?" If so, how can they really protect us!!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  9. Preston Iheanacho

    That is a situation of a cop abusing the authority the community entrusted in him. As a black man in America I can testify that racial profiling is prevalent, even within my Houston community. I have been stopped on numerous occasions for absolutely no reason, and even after the cops search my car and find nothing I get no apology for the hassle they put me through. I am glad this issue has finally been brought to the forefront and am hoping that this cop gets some sort of discipline.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  10. Ed Lomax

    How can anyone justify a citizen being arrested in their own home when the offficer was called to the scene on suspicion of a burglary ? It would seem easy to resolve, even if the suspect became beligerent ?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  11. joseph d

    Anderson is being to much like Chris Mathews...trying to phase questions to elisit the answers he wants...move on...I'm going to Fox

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  12. Augustus

    Anderson, I am an accomplished African-American male and I enjoy your nightly show and am friends with you on facebook. Tonight I am listening to the Gates debate with Roland and Professor Watkins. I am deeply irritated by the views and voice of Dr. Watkins who gives credulence to a police report like it is the Gospel truth thus dismissing the probabilty that Professor Gates's rights were violated. Just because an officer writes a report does not mean that he has written the "truth." It is a fact that black men are selectively racially profiled regardless of their social status! Dr. Watkins should strongly consider how ansinine and belligerent his views were tonight!

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

    Sgt. Crowley owes Professor Gates an apology. Prof. Gates presented his id. He was tired after a long trip from overseas. Why should he have to step outside of his home after presenting his id? Why didn't the officer apologize on the spot and tell Prof. Gates that someone mistakenly thought that his home was being broken into? Why couldn't the officer recognize that any reasonable person would be upset if they were treated like a criminal in their own home?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  14. B. Smoot

    Beyond the issue of race, we have a real problem in America with police not understanding they are public servants paid by taxpayers to protect and serve. At whatever point, and for whatever reason – be it race, arrogance, ignorance, or immaturity - that a police officer breaches the responsibility of protection and service, he has erred. To put it simply, he who pays you is the boss you respect. Police officers are not paid by unions, department captains, or mayors, they are paid by the Henry Louis Gates of America, i.e., you and me.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  15. Melody

    iI think its a shame that whenever there is a white police officer and an black american involved it is always the police officers fault. I say there is a lot of racism in america and it isn't just whites vs blacks or whites vs hispanics (or asians). It goes the other way and this needs to be identified and we need to demand it stops.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  16. ROY

    Im a 33 year old male,That grow up in New Orleans.All my life the police have been racial profile.Now since this professor becoming a victim of this its a big deal.Well this not new,We go thur this every day of our lives.

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

    To be honest. Depends on the officer. Just imagine it was the miami beach officer that shot 3 ppl in time span of 2 weeks. 2 victims were of indian decent. The second incedent was afro american.some cops are hot headed happy trigger service workers. Consider the mr. Robert hass got tied up with words. What about the football player that was held up while mother was on death bed. Sorry but cops are people too and everyday they do the same thing. They develop a personality that's just so wrong. Sent from my blackberry

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  18. Marjorie

    It is such a sad an unfortunate incident! Let's move on

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  19. ilango

    I 'm an asian from India. I too have a great respect for President Obama. Obama is projected a world leader in media , so I don't expect getting in to local issues.

    Let Obama keep up his high integrity and values as a president of USA.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  20. rina

    Hmm, so your getting arrested in your own home and you're expected to be perfectly calm? If you raise your voice you get arrested? Is that a crime now? It's sad but people are just going to believe what they want to believe and refuse to take a serious look at the issue and put themselves in the situation.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  21. DJ

    Nikki just to note many many police lie on a regular basis. If you have never been in this situation you will never know.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  22. Traci

    I don't think people understand what it is like to be stopped by the police as an African American when you are doing nothing wrong and there is a fear of what might happen to you. I was pulled over about two months ago for no reason but because the policeman ran my plates and the department of revenue had two cars ( one previously sold) on my plate. He asked me if it is was my car and actually asked me was I sure. I made sure that I was articulate, very friendly ( although pissed off because I made no traffic violation and now worried about my kids waiting for me to pick them up), and called my husband immediately on my cell. Once he found out my husband was a doctor he was eager to clear the situation and send me on way ( I think because he knew there would be major liability if this went sour). My plates were current, the car was on the system and yet it took almost an hour before I was let go to go pick up my Kids from an enrichment activity. There is a reason for the anger. No matter how much you follow the rules, cops feel they can pull you over for no reason. Until you have walked in the shoes of a minority mistreated by the police,,,you really don't have a right to voice an opinon...PERIOD!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  23. Gene

    The professor should apologize. He became defensive, reactive, and exhibited what appears like reverse racism. . . . He should be thanking the officer for doing his job and trying to help secure his home. It could have been a real break in . . how was the officer supposed to know the difference . . . .

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  24. max1021

    Most people do not seem to understand where the problem in this situation comes in or what the President meant. The Pres said the situation (police) was handled stupidly. While I think the Professor could have and should have handled himself better, I think the police officer should have understood (considering his background) that a black person would be offended and angry. The police officer could have simply apologized and walked away. It was stupid to arrest this man unless he threatend him. Most of the commentors seem to think apologizing would have taken something away from the police. It would have diffused the situation. Instead arresting this man for being angry after you have identified him just fed into the racial profiling conversation. By the way, I do not think this was racial profiling.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  25. Rev. William Wilmore - Wilmington, DE

    While it is a fact that in the arena of life racism is still the beast many african americans must be matadors of, we must all, black and white, not allow the beast that is in each of us to come out. Let’s step back and breath.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  26. sdmw

    Sgt. Crowley doesn't owe an apology????? Hmmmm . . . . . I wonder what everyones reaction would be if it were their father or mother who was being ARRESTED in their own home?????

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  27. Andre Chatman

    The Police Officer (Crowley), must be retrained to be more sensitivity to the individuals that he is arresting or investigating.His behavior is, and will always be unprofessional. Illustrated by his comments that Mr. Gates was making comments pertaining to his, the Officers mother. How childish can this justification be? A Representative, of any organization must execute the highest standard of Ethical Behaviors at all times.

    Sincerely,

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  28. Donald

    I believe the media over hypes this stuff. We all know that these injustices have to be dealt with on local levels. I don't see much hype when it happens to other minorities.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  29. Delores

    I think it was a bad judgement call the officer got caught in the moment. he was compliant because gates didnt bow down the officer should have confirmed his information before he made the arrest. The Cambridge Police Dept should invest in recording devices to prevent in future occurences of this.
    Race is an issue whether you believe it or not. If you dont believe it you are probably part of the problem, not the solution, THE PROBLEM.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  30. TANYA

    I think they both should apologize to one another. We all know that African Americans have always been racially profiled. As a African American who has been working with law enforcement for the last 8 + years, people racial profiling does exists. I have not heard all of the details of this story but i do think that maybe both of them may have lost their cool.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  31. Elli Kramer

    Gates, a Harvard perfessor, not smart enough to not yell at a cop. I dont think it is race so much as a spoiled, privileged guy asserting taking advantage of his social status. After all he teaches at the elitest of elite schools, and calls the President a personal friend. Lets discuss social status instead of race.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  32. leeann alls

    This is not a black -white issue , this is not law enforcment against civillian, this is simply a MISTAKE that took place while investigating a call that was made to the police.. What ever happened to Im sorry I made a mistake.... Sgt. Crowley its easy.. SORRY!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  33. Ryanettra Conner

    I am deeply discouraged that racism still exists in america. Crowley does owe an apology to Gates. I feel he is a racist when he showed his identification verfying his adress the officer should have backed off and realized he had made a mistake. Instead he continued to make a fool of himself and arrest him. Like the president said he acted stupidly!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  34. Glenn King

    The President was asked a question by a reported so i wonder was he to plead the fifth.We know that profiling has been around since blacks started driving cars Gates is not the first and wont be the last this officer was the only one that had no business speaking out about the incident concidering his department is looking into the incident.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  35. dr. moore

    There are perspectives that will collide whenever race is involved. If we can see past color and open our eyes to truth we can overcome all this confusion.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  36. Leslie

    Regardless of whether Professor Gates became justifiably or unjustifiably upset due to his perception of the situation, I would think that police training would call for a skilled officer to de-escalate a situation rather than escalate it into an arrest. If the officer had a goal of de-escalation, once he was clear that this was a man in his own home, he could have engaged in behaviors that would have defused the situation. Instead, he chose to participate in an escalation that led to an excuse to arrest the Professor. I just do not feel this is professional. As a home health worker even, I have had training on how to de-escalate a situation when someone in a home where you are providing services is angry.

    Because of this, I agree with President Obama that the police officer involved acted stupidly. I participated in engaging in an escalation of a conflict, when a more professional response could have de-escalatated the situation.

    I have also read accounts by the Professor that he had bronchitis with a weakened voice and he could not have possibly have been as loud as the officer perceived. Again, I feel the officer's perceptions were biased by a predisposition to escalate rather than de-escalate.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  37. Endo

    'Black in America'... The name of this topic, obviously, and unfairly, refer 'only' to Blacks being the subject of racial profiling and/or sheer acts or racism in 'America'... But the truth of the matter is that Blacks are not the only race afflicted by this syndrome, but also Latinos and any other race whose looks are different from like those of Caucasians... In other words, a proper title for this 'general' problem should be something like 'Racism Alive and Well in North-America'!

    Yes, but something even more troubling is that, this racism is not only done by Caucasians towards Blacks; but, in fact, racism is practiced by all races which make up this 'great' melting pot called United states of America!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  38. JC Cotman

    It should not have happen, It happen to NBA player Dee Brown......

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  39. Raymond Baxter

    The same thing happened to me last month on my property, the only difference was I was tased and left face down in the mud before I was hauled off to jail. I'm not a criminal, no warrants, nothing.

    Luckily it was all caught on video.

    This has to black men such as Professor Gates and myself regularly.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  40. gino

    I know there shall be respect with approaching the property of someone you know in your community. Whatever happen to respect your elders. The police officer has his authority confused. You are serving the people in your city first.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  41. Happyj

    I think he should apologize, what would it hurt. The police officer stated firmly, he was not going to apologize, period. There is racial profiling but people just don't want to admit it. It is everywhere.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  42. BlkTeacher2Die4

    I agree that we should hear the entire story.. With the Officer's outstanding credentials and no prior cases of racial profiling,,, maybe there is more to this story... Just maybe,,, both sides " jumped to conclusions" in this case... Was Prof. Gates expecting " Racial Profiling" because in his eyes he saw a white officer questioning whether a black man could possibly live in this house, yet alone, this neighborhood?? Did the officer see a black man breaking into a house in a white neighborhood and assumed that there was " No Way, that this man could have been the owner?.... Too many missing pieces to call a judgment on this one...

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  43. donnie edgar greene

    as an officer one must consttantly be aware of racially charged environments and their actions when dealing whithin them

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  44. Robyn

    Bravo for Boyce Watkins. Basic questions that should have been asked are being stated now. And President Obama had no right to make any comment whatsoever. He didn't have all the facts so he should have stayed quiet. he is the President of both white and blacks and whether you like it or not you are all Americans.... get real. The media also blows too many things up before having all facts in hand and that is unfair!!!!! Secondly why didn't Professor Gates find a better way to open his house without damaging a door!!!!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  45. Dee

    Would this situation turned out the same way had Professor Gates been a white scholar? Is displaying anger treated equally? Had this been a white professor, the situation (the anger) would have most likely have been diffused, police would have tried to calm the professor, and it would not have resulted in an arrest for disorderly conduct. White privilege at work.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  46. Brenda Parhms

    Racism still exists, Just because we have a black president that does not mean that racism does not exist. Police have a habit of over doing their jobs. I am tired of people pretending that racial profiling does not exist. People racial profile our president. They always havea comment to discredit him just because he is black. It does exist.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  47. NaDine

    But they did wait until a Harvard Professor was arrested to take a closer look at racial profiling. There are three sides to a story - the police officer's, the professor's and the truth. Criminal Justice organizations have become very clever in covering what can be considered as racial profiling. As a former police - I know it happens.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  48. Squawk Box

    Sgt. Jim Crowley gets paid through Cambridge Tax Payers. His job is to protect the interest of Cambridge resident. Even though he is presented a legal state ID by a Cambridge resident he failed to display professionalism. I am a former US Customs & Border Protection Officer from Boston, I was assaulted by a white Irish Supervisor at work and subsequently filed a Mass. State Police Complaint, my complaint was not investigated by the State Police as well as the FBI Boston region. Because I am not a white citizen and not Irish by hate Crime complaint was never investigated by Boston Law Enforcement Authorities. I am not surprised at the audacity displayed by Jim Crowley towards a Harvard Professor. Would this treatment been meted towards a caucasian man?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  49. Stacye Mehard

    Had Prof. Gates just gotten off a plane flight from China? Perhaps he was desperately in need of a little 'shut eye' and was acting bizarre/y / erractically because of that. Tha t may have been a reason to get arrested. Sort it out later kind of thing.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  50. Erica

    How can a "White" office be an expert on Racial Profiling? He can only give a perspective of how to get around the accusation.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
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