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. Tommie

    Having seen the news pertaining the situation of
    Professor Bates, and the police, I would like to know
    why the person who called in to report the information that two men were breaking into Professor Bates home, if
    they were reported, as to their race?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  2. Mike

    Crowley doesn't owe anyone an apology. He was doing his duty as a police officer when Gates got belligerent with him and falsely accused him of racism. I've seen the same thing happen with whites and they got arrested until they cooled off.
    Gates owes Crowley an apology for his behavior and false accusations of racism. Harvard should sanction Gates for his behavior.
    Further, Obama is way out of line saying the police acted stupidly. He's the chief exec and should be defending the police action. If anything Gates acted stupidly.
    This is the sad state of affairs in post-racist America, that blacks blame everything on racism. The swimming pool situation in Pennsylvania was not racism by the regular pool users. They had a right to question why a bunch of kids showed up one day. The really sad thing is the leader of the creative steps organization is teaching those kids to play the race card whenever they want and then they get rewarded by going to Disney World.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  3. barbara

    What about the neighbor who called the police, the neighbor should
    have known Prof. gates lived there. Maybe the neighbor was racist..
    What kind of neighborhood is this? How mamy blacks live in the
    neighborhood? Do the neighbors know each other or maybe
    I should ask do the white neighbors want to know the black neighbors.
    Lets take the heat off the President, Prof. Gates. The neighbor in all
    probility was white. Is this a way to get blacks out of the neighborhood.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  4. Lori

    Why does the officer think he shouldn't apologize when the charges were dropped? Are there ANY cases in which a black officer arrested a white man in a situation like this or mistaken identity? If so, what was the outcome?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  5. Ocie Gaye

    I think SGT Crowley should be place on probation with pay, and allowed to work desk duty only until this matter is cleared -up. in the event that the proffessor is found guilty, he should have the breaking and entering charge placed on his records. We all know their are questionable police officer out there, and also some people just ready to cry foul play about anything that may be race related.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  6. Timothy E. Johnson

    I am a retired Marine in Montgomery, Alalbama. I am also black. I have no criminal record. I was pulled out of my bed while I was sleeping by our local police. I presented identification and tried to appease the officer by honoring his requests. He walked over to my television and cut it off. I told him not to touch my property. He grabbed me and cuffed me. I was not read my rights. I was placed in jail for over 24 hours. I went to court and the false charges were immediately dropped. Why did I have to go to jail? I'll tell you. I was a black man that was not going to allow my rights to be disreguarded and that could not be allowed. This happens all of the time and nothing is ever done to the officers. The icing on the cake: He was a Marine as well.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  7. Mike

    Its amazing, most of these post remind of the Presidents comments. "I dont know all the facts" but I am going to comment on it anyway. I live near Cambridge I have followed this closely and no apology should ever be given and the Cambridge Police Dept. should be ashamed for dropping the charges.

    This police officer was called to the residence because of a potential break in. He showed up and there was a man in the house. He asked him to come outside, Gates refused. He then aske dif he was alone in the house. Gates refused to answer. The officer is doing this for his protection along with the homeowner. There could have been someone else in that house that was dangerous. All Gates had to do was cooperate and everything would have been fine, the officer was their protecting Gate's home.

    Instead Gates decided to claim racism and I wonder if it is more about advancing his career.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  8. Michael Brown

    People who say the policeman was just doing his job & President Obama should not have commented have #1, never been victimized by police profiling and #2, don’t realize that President Obama is the President, but he’s also Black and should always continue to be concerned at obvious police misconduct and officers who use their badges to play God.

    Professor Gates had proven he was the home owner, the policeman should have at that point apologized for disturbing Professor Gates and left.


    July 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  9. David Martin

    DID the police truly believe a felony was in progress and broke into the home or did the professor let them in?? What was the woman who called doing in the neighborhood?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  10. cynergetic

    Anderson where do you get these BS black professors from?
    Its clear that the police officer should have shot the Professor and he would not have to answer to anyone.because he could write down his side of it and we all know how truthful police are, after all, that is usually the case.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  11. Bobbie Clark

    The entire Professor Gates situation is a ridiculous experience for any homeowner in America to have had to go through. Just as President Obama has commented "that cool heads should have prevailed". However, Professor Gates was clearly very offended as he should have been and common courtesy and professionalism for the arresting officer to give an apology is a given. Professor Gates deserves an apology from the arresting officer and the local police department at large. The police department was wrong and should apologize no matter what the "break in" procedure are.......at the end, the police department was wrong!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  12. Sharon

    I hope Sgt. Crowley's recorded radio transmission will be released to the public so that we can hear Gates ranting and raving. Also I hope some of the neighbors who witnessed the arrest will agree to interviews. Perhaps the Cambridge police department will be able to arrest Gates for resisting arrest if that turns out to be what he was doing.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  13. Michael Mitchell

    Could you post the poll statistics

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  14. Abe

    If it were a white scholar professor at Harvard arrested by a black officer under the same circumstances would we have an issue? CNN is the most bias news agency and caused to to look elsewhere.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  15. Marilyn Robertson

    FINALLY a black man who can see both sides of the Gates/police officer incident. If the police officer was just doing his duty, all who are accusing him of racial profiling are being unfair. IF Professor Gates was argumentive, he was wrong, and likely provoked a simple incident into becoming a total fiasco. This officer was involved in instruction to prevent racial profiling. The probability that he would approach this situation with racial bias is highly unlikely. Thank you Boyce Watkins for injecting some sanity into this probably misunderstood event.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  16. A. Brown

    I dont know what world Boyce lives in where "rogue cops" are not suppoeted by other cops, but that statement was very naive for some who is a professor. If thats the case, the cops who shot Sean Bell, or beat Rodney King wouldn't have had such support. He is willing to defend someone strictly because his dad was a police officer, Im quite sure that he father experienced racism ffrom his own fellow officers, like the police in Phili who have filed a suit against their fellow officers.Obama said what he meant, and its about time tht he actually spoke AS an African – American. I was beginning to wonder if he was dissasociating himself from African-Americans. GOOD JOB, Roland, and Anderson for showing both sides of the story completely. I

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  17. Jerry Judie

    I think the professor has the right to do say what he wants in his own home. Even if the professor talked over the officer it doesn't matter he is in his own house. The officer could not arrest him in his own house and the officer new that and he trick the professor to come outside. The officer did not like the way the professor was talking to him so he needed a arrest. Had the professor knew that he could act and say what ever he wanted there would not have been an arrest. Unless there was a warrant out for his arrest then he could say anything he wanted, but if the professor step outside the law changes.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  18. Delores

    And further more, I believe we as human beings of the planet earth have come to some place because we have a black president. If you recall, the president recieved watermelon jokes, noose jokes, etc. So that clearly shows there are still some racial issues. I cannot say that this is a racial issue on Gates but whenever a white man enters a black home talking about you are under arrest, i cannot ask " for what" and if i ask i get arrested. not at all. To everyone who is not Black, you have no clue so thank your lucky stars you are not. To all of you who are black, who used to be "colored" dont ever forget the color of your skin and dont let your kids or your kids kids forget where they came from. !!!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  19. freedomfigher

    We need to look at the facts. Even though I am a black man, I believe Gates is just as at fault as Crowley. Two wrongs don't make a right.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  20. Germaine Lane

    Many feel that the cop was doing he job and as we all know there are times we step outside of our job and get personal.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  21. TC Carstarphen

    Policemen can kill you and never spend a single day in Jail: Do you want proof?

    Type these words in your internet browser and do an internet search: “Police kill an unarmed man” The fist time I read this I could sleep that night.

    Some of these Policemen have kills more then one person and haven’t spent one day in jail. The largest number that I read was 6 people kill by the same Policeman and never spent a day in jail.
    Note: These people were unarmed. 87% of these cases were White on black.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  22. Alexandra

    Whatever prompted Sgt. Crowley to arrest Gates, – barbed words must have been said to each other. Fine, he is a "revered" harvard professor, but respect also must go to the law enforcement people who earn minimum wage. We'll never know who started the disagreement as none of us was there. But for the president of the united states to take sides on a "he said, she said" situation... i dont know.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  23. AC

    Wow! As a black American I wish the president had left this one alone. I feel like both of these characters took this situation too far. If the police came to my home and asked for ID and it matched I would expect that they would apologize for the misunderstanding and leave. But If I ran off at the mouth, maybe they would not apologize but I would not expect to be arrested and handcuffed. This is beyond race in my eyes, I think two big egos clashed and the race card is the only way to cover it up. This whole story is embarassing and disturbing and I hope we can move past it very soon.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  24. Janette Garside

    I do not know all the exact facts of this case...but I can say I am tired of people getting frustrated about race...I am white and was race profiled as a child in a 99% black neighborhood as a child in Philadelphia in the 1960's...Get over it...As it is now...the white race as we call it is being exterminated by inter-racial marriages and we are becoming the minority...some day we will have a documentary that is titeled "white in America"...I for one do not want the race card pulled anymore. I had a black girlfriend "Arlene" whom was beaten up pretty badly because she had a white friend...me...by her black co-workers.

    I am over it!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  25. Phil

    Just like a person has the right to bare arms in your home, doesn't any person have the right to ask, even tell a police officer to leave my home. The charges were dropped, that speaks loudly. This was an example of a police offier over stepping his bounds. I believe it was less about race and more about a police showing a home owner who the real boss is. Once the police officer found out this man was in his own home, they should have simply left him in his home. If the home owner follows the police outside his home, then that is a different situation all together. The police were wrong and the fact that he is being backed for his actions, lets you know you are not safe in your own home, even from those who are hired to protect and serve.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  26. Natalie

    Let me guess...all those in favor of Professor Gates raise your hands? Those in favor of Sgt Crowley? Right. How unique and unexpected another by the book racial divide.

    How pathetic and embarrassing that the leader of the free world is stuck on stupid when it comes to melanin in ones skin. Pathetic and just plain ignorant on all accounts. The world is changing and when will we change with it?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  27. Ken

    What was the reason for officer Crowley actions? I hear all the drama, but no cause for the officers action has been discussed?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  28. EphremJohnson

    I think that this cop acted beyond the call of duty of any officer in any state within the union. It's redicules! Self explainatory! What could a 59yr old,walking with a cain,burgler of his own home possibly do to a young cop to cause an arrest. If the race of the two people were reversed I wonder what the outcome would have been then. I don't think that the officer is a racist but I do think that his pride was hurt that this old man really owned that house.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  29. eric

    I feel that Gates shouldnt have been arrested in the first place if he was in his own house that just crazy the whole situation could have been avoided and he is owed an apology

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  30. Pam

    Boyce Watkins is one of the most intelligent, & articulate black men I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. He is fair and a wonderful representation of the black community.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  31. Hana

    I love how people call this using the "race card". Well what ever you want to call it, the "cop" should have left after Gates provided him with the ID. Lets use our logic. If you are called to a home for a possible break-in, and when you get there you find out its not a break in, then its time to leave. Right? No, not for Crowley. Ones must ask themselves why? Is it really necessary to arrest a middle aged man for being angry in his home? I doubt that it is. The truth is, some 'cops' power trip over thier position. It is also true that this is commonly fueled by racism, sexism, ageism, etc. Crowley should have checked himself at the door. No pun intended.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  32. Tish

    It just seems that Black people today want to fire things up. They dont think they have to abide by the law of the land. From what I have seen and read, this professor instigated the issue. and Obama needs to keep his nose out of it, he has a country to run, or should I say he has a country to run down.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  33. JFCARR

    a mind is a horrible thing to waste /and it seems to have been wasted on this professor

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  34. linda

    everthing becomes a racial incident. Maybe it was the professor who was being racist. Racism works two ways

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  35. jack

    I think the Media is trying to dodge any blame in this whole affair. Most of us had nothing to base an opinion on other than what YOU Guys were reporting. Based only on what we were hearing from the networks, it's easy to see why the Pres thought there was "stupidity" on the part of the Officer. No objectivereporting was done un til after the Pres' remark and the actions of the police did look stupid. Now we know the other side. Fess up! The press shares in this thing too.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  36. Dwight Clark

    Professor Gates had just returned from a long, ardous trip
    from china. Having made thes trip multiple times, I can
    attest to the fatigue, slight disorientation and disconfabulation
    common after such log trans oceanic voyages. I am sure
    this must have contributed to his behavior and subsequently
    into the police officier's reactive behavior. Acute "jet-lag"
    can be a real problem and mentally distorted behavior
    is very common.

    Memphis, Tennessee

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  37. Redginal

    I understand that he might have been doing his job in the beginning but did he really need to arrest Gates after he was presented with identification that Gates was in his own home

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  38. Antionette

    It is unfortunate that this continues to happen in America. I think that the Mr. Gates has a high profile and is comfortable speaking our about his experience. If Mr. Crowley was truly a public servant, he would know that if an officer spoke to him in a disrespectful manner in his home, he would be upset. He is an arrogant white male and I believe Mr. Gates. As an African America women, I know that I have been stopped and ticketed because of my race. White women are not different than white males, infact some may be worse.

    I know many respectable individuals in the town where I live who have been stopped and asked if they owned their car because it was a nice car who were of a race other than white.

    It happens and white people are doing it and denying it when caught.
    I hope the City of Cambridge does not ignore this giving power to this type of treatment.

    Antionette in Plymouth, MN

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  39. Derrick

    there are many people questioning professor gates as ignorant just because he is a harvard professor. first of all he is a human being with feelings and emotions. I feel as if professor gates was treated wrongly because mr. gates identified himself and claimed the home was his own and it checked out affirmative. Black young men are always a target to the police because small events shown in the media. I am a young black male who have been pulled to the side by police due to racial profiling, Ive been followed around in department stores by white employees assuming I am going steal materials from the store. I feel as if I have to explain my background to every white person Ive come across to make them feel comfortable. Well, I have a graduate degree, no police record, serve my time in United States Navy, also Eight years experience in IT field as a network engineer

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  40. Hamid

    Just because the cop is a cop does not mean that he does not have emotions. His emotions might have interfered with him doing his job. His job is not "just arrest anyone" and even though I understand that the professor was considered a suspect, the cop was clearly angered when the proffessor seem to be angry that he was being arreseted. I think both men were covered with ego. The question is, who – the cop or the prof was disrespected.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  41. G Corona

    As a Hispanic who has worked in different cities in San Diego, I personally have seen time and time again police stopping Hispanics and Blacks constantly on the roadside, searching them and their cars. In some cases if you have been raised as Hispanic/Latino or Black in the USA, as a male you are always feeling guilty because police or the public draw there own conclusions of you. People see a Hispanic/Latino man & right away the question is "Is he legally here in the USA?" "What is he doing out of his neighborhood?". People see a Black man & right away the question is "what is he doing in this neighborhood?" "Is he going to rob us?" They see both and think are they gang members or hip hop crooks.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  42. David Martin

    The racist is the non neighbor woman who reported what she thought was a breakin ( afront door in broad daylight) by two BLACK men. Why did the Cambridge police give her call so much credibility. How long did it take for the police to respond? What did they say when they knocked on the door? Did they really think the burglars would still be there?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  43. Mark Stevens

    Profiling? I have several dogs and I use what ever is my worst vehicle at the time to drive them around. I will get stopped far more often in my beater, for the silliest reasons, and will never get stopped in my personal car.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  44. Kay Parks

    If I had been in Gates' position, I would have thanked the police officer for checking on my house. Then said, "Here's my ID." End of story.

    The problem here wasn't skin color, it was that Gates was thin-skinned and a prima donna.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  45. Flip in FW

    Who knows what happened inside that house. The real issue isn't whether or not "policy" was followed. The real issue is that after a lifetime of being a victim of racial mistreatment & profiling, the professor was justly enraged at having a cop force his way into his house, without a warrant and without anyone being threatened. When he had identified himself, the cop should have just left. I am white and I would be angered by just one incident like this. How much more angry would Professor Gates be? This cop is supposedly exemplary and even teaches courses against racial profiling. This doesn't look like a cop with much insight into racial sensitivity, or even common sense about where his services are needed or not needed. He could have been out stopping a crime, instead of this stupidly handled case.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  46. Judge U

    If you read the police report it clearly shows inaccuracy. Crowley acting professionally at first but as soon as he saw that a black man can be more established. Crowley, shouldn't have gone into Gates house, even if Gates was shouting from being pissed that the cops did not believe him. President was right they acted stupidly for making this a racial issue. Crowley has taught a course on racial sensitivity in a local police academy but he did not learn anything he was teaching for the last 5 years. He was picked for this by the last police a black commissioner, has nothing to do with himself being bais. Gates has experience the situation so he has alright to express his views. Obama is the president of the USA and he has brought a light to an issue that has been haunting blacks for years. Some USA police department officers have hidden racist agendas. Black people have a hard time with the police, employment, house, savings, credit, politics, lou Dobbs, education, and all the people that has racist curtain over their eyes.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  47. Robert Vasquez

    the officer owes an apology for not walking away after he ID the suspect and realized he is the home owner and didn't brake any law I don't blame gates for being upset after somebody calls the cops while you trying to brake in your own house, that he work so hard to paid. no excuses

    July 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  48. Ishmael

    Dr. Boyce is a classic example of a black man with a 21st century mindset. He's a credit to our community, with that being said, Roland Martin you're a moron. I, more often than not, am really assertive towards police officers when I've been pulled over and have never ever been arrested, nor has any of the majority of black men I know. You can be assertive while maintianing your composure and being respectfull. Talking about a police officer's mother, does not make for a good outcome. A Harvard professor doesn't know that? Speaks volumes about Harvard. A similar incident happened to my former housemate, whom I might add is also black, yet, with a completely different outcome; not to mention it occurred in the Bronx! Man up and stop embarrassing the rest of us!

    July 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  49. Sarah Smith

    This whole situation simply brings to the surface how real white priviledge is...the notion that whites are afforded unrealized privileges in this nation. Tim Wise writes a lot about this idea. People need to think for themselves and stop relying on this crazy media. First of all, Dr. Gates has not asked for an apology from anyone. He doesn't need an apology. He simply asked that Jim Crow(ley) state the facts. Jim Crow(ley) fabricated the police report, and Dr. Gates is simply asking for the truth to be told. The media is the one that has started this whole "apology" discussion. The media is like an instigator.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  50. Trent

    When you as a people have been downtrodden, beaten, been good enough for all the work yet not good enough to be a part of your society, they know. one need to walk a mile in that shoes to understand. The officer may have an impressive resume, however could this be acase of the wolf be placed aprotector of the hen house? Racial profiling is alive and well in our society and quicker we come to that realization, may be just may be we can come closer to a solution to this hideous problem. I strong believe that this was one such case of rail profiling.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
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