July 27th, 2009
04:57 PM ET

Video: Gates 911 Call

Transcript of the 911 call:

LUCIA WHALEN, WITNESS: I don't know if they live there and they just had a hard time with their key, but I did notice that they kind of used their shoulder to try to barge in and they got in. I don't know if they had a key or not, because I couldn't see from my angle. But, you know, when I looked a little closely, that's when I thought...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Are they still in the house?

WHALEN: They're still in the house, I believe, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they white, black or Hispanic?

WHALEN: Well, there were two larger men. One looked kind of Hispanic, but I'm not really sure. And the other one entered, I didn't see what he looked like at all. I just saw it from a distance, and this older woman was...

Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. joe

    Will the American People finally get a backbone and demand Mr. Obama act like a President – I believe all law enforcement officials, the national guard, EMS, fire man, and ANY person that puts their life on the line for this country should demand an apology from Mr. Obama – the man has no experience and loves to point fingers of blame (the character of someone that is totally incompetent and likes to point to other so he can hide behind the guise of knowing better!)

    Slowly Mr. Obama is tearing this country apart and proving he is working for one class (with his leader Pelosi). He works for ALL Americans and I believe that every single law enforcement official should go on strike until Mr. Obama publicly states; "he was wrong and he acted stupidly".

    Obama is proving he must be stopped – he has proven himself as a socialist and now as a President for one and only one class of people.

    Americans, I implore you to demand he apologize and not over a "beer" in a private meeting in the White House, which is not a frat house Mr. Obama!


    July 28, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  2. Lenny

    Earlier in the night, the transcript of the 911 call first said was he "black or hispanic" before later asking was he "white, black, or hispanic". As I continued to watch the CNN the transcript appeared to be edited and black was replaced with "inaudible." I am the only one who noticed this?

    July 28, 2009 at 8:23 am |
  3. ~M

    From this 'snippet' there seems to be MUCH missing from the line of questioning.. Are there lights on in the house?(Burglars usually don't turn on the light) Is there a vehicle in the drive? ... Do you know if the people that live there are out of town?.. I think the person that took the call was remiss in many ways

    July 28, 2009 at 8:16 am |
  4. Art

    This has gone way to far. We, as a society, need to stop crying wolf. If I'am a cop responding to a possible break in there are two things I want to know. Is someone really doing this and are they armed and/or dangerous. Who cares what color the skin is. If the police show up at my house checking on a report of a possible break in they are not going to be "neighborly" and are going to ask for my "Id". If I don't coporate they could easly exercise there right to arrest me. Verble abusive behavior "could" lead to physical abusive behavior, hence, Disorderly conduct charge. Who's guilty? They both are. There both racist.

    July 28, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  5. Patrice

    Did anyone notice that the 911 operator seemed to be rude and inpatient with the caller for no apparent reason?

    July 28, 2009 at 6:00 am |
  6. Stephen King

    This is a situation Professor Gates should be suspended from Harvard the foremot hihger education institute! A call comes into 911 2 men using shoulders to enter a home? Police arrive see no one intiial then Gates appears. When any B&E occurs Police go on a realcautious,stressful amd gain control immedialetly the officer was to easy when he started shouting at the officer a tazer should have been implemented. This is Obama's feather in hat of balck community's overeaction. All blacks are now going to be almost off limits to LE.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:48 am |
  7. Dorian

    Instead of racism, being one sided in the media. CNN should provide a video comparison section on their site that shows controversial racist video’s against "African Americans". Then allow “white Americans" to post a video showing it happens to them as well.
    I feel the media is bringing out racial hate toward blacks and whites, when most white American’s in this era teach their children against racism. It is not our children’s fault on what has happened to the African Americans in the past. Most white Americans feel horrible about slavery. The older adults poison our children’s mind today on racism, not society.
    American’s need to stop and listen to interracial couples; because they are the true color blind Americans who support integration and not segregation. So, Shame on you President Obama for not encouraging this, in your NAACP speech! President Obama, did you forget your mama was a white and she loved and supported you while your African Kenya father abandoned you?
    Personally, watching African Americans from all over the United States and the world celebrate Obama's Presidential Inauguration, moved me. The media should stop promoting racism by opening old wounds and start focusing on encouraging the young African Americans by telling them they are smart and nothing can hold them back from becoming successful. Children born today are created equal, period.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:41 am |
  8. J.V.Hodgson

    Still stirring what should be a dead subject.
    Your reporting is abominable without the full transcript of the 911 call. If the police are not giving you access that's one thing ( should be stated) if on the other hand you have it print it fully not sound bite just to keep a story going.
    Your respected colleaague Walter Cronkite is rolling in his grave, at these awful standards.
    One point why did not the 911 resonse clerk ask:
    1) Are you sure it is not the owner of the house?
    2) The relevance actual statement of the White,black or Hispanicis abhorrent without the added question. Is you neigbour Black or Hispanic? Answer oh he's balack or Hispanic. Then when Crowley gets there at least he knows the owner is black or hispanic, and if its a white man he confronts he has a crime!!
    Face it Crowley's judgement at least was faulty, and in mt opinion wht he did was stupid!!

    July 28, 2009 at 3:38 am |
  9. Mark

    Wow...there are some ignorant people weighing in on this. For starters, if it matters...I'm white.

    Only two things matter regarding these latest developments, not whether the woman lived there, worked in the neighborhood, was having lunch, etc...she never told the police that the men she saw were black, and by her statements through her lawyer we know she directly contradicts the police report that says Crowley spoke with her. At a bare minimum, the cop's version of this is now highly suspect. This is not the only suspicious part of the police report. Read the report carefully. Crowley states he told Gates he was leaving his house because he was finished, which occurred after he got his ID. However, he then asks him to come outside because he supposedly couldn't hear as he called on the radio to inform other units to come to the residence ...but when Crowley steps steps outside literally seconds later the rest of the police are already there. This proves he lied on the police report, at least once, now we know probably more than once.

    Case closed. Gates is vindicated and the Cambridge PD has egg all over its face.

    July 28, 2009 at 3:33 am |
  10. Bill

    As is common now with CNN and their media counterparts, "news" stories are tweaked and edited to elicit specific responses from specific groups of people. The first time I saw and heard the 911 call with the transcripts, the dispatcher interrupts Whalen to offer just two unsolicited choices-are they black or hispanic? Later, The dispatcher asks, " white, black, or hispanic" almost as if he realizes he's left out another possibility. This is the way CNN ran it initially, then mysteriously, (black) becomes (inaudible). Then later it is run with only the second white, black or hispanic? version. Did a producer notice the dispatcher's presumptive first version or was it truly inaudible? I'm fairly certain he says only black or hispanic, if so while not a direct reflection on Crowley, it shows the mindset of the dispatcher. I'm glad Whalen can be absolved, she was merely appeasing a neighbor of Gates by calling. Why not question the dispatcher's protocol for obtaining a description? Instead A.C. asks "Is race even mentioned?" (by the 911 caller) in his lead-in over and over. As if to say, unequivocally, Race was not an issue! Be honest! If she had mentioned race as part of a description, because she had been asked, it would not have spoken to Crowley's interaction with Gates, or whether his arrest was called for. It was NOT, no matter how abusive he might have become.

    July 28, 2009 at 3:02 am |
  11. Betty in California

    doesn't anybody care about what he said about health care?

    July 28, 2009 at 2:35 am |
  12. kofi

    Now we know who lied. Crowely made up the report and should be chastised

    July 28, 2009 at 2:34 am |
  13. David E.

    OK, Enough is Enough!

    A man takes an Attitude with a police officer in the performance of his duties....
    Man yells loud enough for the neighbors to hear down the block....
    Man resists initial efforts of police officer to verify that he has a legal right to be in the house he has just broken into....
    Man ends up in handcuffs..... Anyone surprised?!?!

    It really does not matter who was black or white; but even the talking heads that admit that they don't believe that the officer was a racist ,want to use this case as hot poker to stir up sparks for a race debate.

    July 28, 2009 at 2:33 am |
  14. Da'Tarvia (NC)

    If the keys fit, Crowley get!

    July 28, 2009 at 2:13 am |
  15. mark

    The irony here is that a man who has dedicated his life to Black studies has single handedly set back race relations 20 years because he believed the PC culture would back him up. Unfortunately for him, while this is true 99% of the time, he failed to realize the power of our "Communications Culture"-which trumps the race card- and unwittingly became a victim of his own racism. (i.e. I don't think he expected the nation would be watching his dirty little antics.) Does anyone remember that southern black congress woman-I forget her name-who actually assaulted a cop, denied it, and then ended up apologizing?

    July 28, 2009 at 2:02 am |
  16. senior

    Enough of the news media 's continuation of this incident as though they are some "gossip columnists"> If they were really doing their job, they would research the following: Have there been other incidents in the Cambridge area that look like racial profiling? How many other Black students, faculty , employees have had similar experiences with the police department? Are there any other such reports? Media go out and do your news gathering responsibilities and stop repeating over and over the same old description of the incident. Do your job of new gathering .. or let it go!

    July 28, 2009 at 1:51 am |
  17. CJ

    @Itai –

    That's such an unintelligent comment. Asking for a person's race is not racial profiling. It's a way for people to identify suspects and to narrow down a search. How helpful would be if someone broke into your home and killed your family, and a neighbor saw a person running from your home and all the neighbor could tell the 911 dispatcher that is was an adult male, with two arms, two legs, wearing a colored t-shirt and jeans? Race is just as important an information as weight, height, hair color, eye color, etc,

    July 28, 2009 at 1:49 am |
  18. Jeffrey Toobin

    What an idiot! His arrogant smirk and chide was so uncalled for...clearly the police oficer LIED on the report and this means consequences!

    July 28, 2009 at 1:48 am |
  19. Arbuckle

    Hey everybody!

    I agree with Jeff... We need to just just shake this off and make up. Oboma's responses prove that he is human and is doing what leaders do. Dealing with the issue.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:47 am |
  20. Natasha

    Can I just say that this same sort of situation happened to my husband about a month ago in Las Vegas. My husband went to a house in Henderson to clean the carpet. He drove around the block once looking for the correct address. He found the house and opened the garage door with a remote given to him by the realtor, saw that a car was parked there. He closed the garage and rang the front door bell. The owner who was in for the weekend, opened the door. He told my husband that he was expecting him and to go ahead with the carpet cleaning. My husband did not even have time to unload his equipment when 3 patrol cars with 6 policemen drove up with sirens and lights. They questioned my husband and asked for id. They also asked the owner of the house for id. I do not believe this would have happened if my husband was white. He is African- American and the owner of the house is also a minority.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:44 am |
  21. Hussin Alshantiri

    I think the cops are the only who we should blame for what happened to the professor, specially when he showed them his ID. Obama should not be reacting like he did. I think he respond from his racial background.
    He is a human beings and he will comet mistakes. But, what is really important apologizing after any misspoken or mistake.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  22. Kat Larstone

    I am at a loss to understand why people are not seeing this for what it is. I recently heard a woman on television say " why dont the blacks in the U.S. just go home, back to where they came from, they are NOT real Americans and don't belong here". Gee, lets see here, First of all African Americans were kidknapped and brought over on ships to America. Once here they were bought, sold, forced into slavery, denied education and basic human rights " and you think that for generations and generations there will be some sort of animosity involved? Racism is alive and well in America, just ask any African Amercian trying to better thier lives, if they are receiving the same acceptance and respect as a white person. This is very much a black and white issue, and shall remain so for many more generations to come. It is never easy living as a minority in any country or situation, but this issue brought down upon the heads of those refusing to look at or deal with it, is justly deserved. Of course this man was afraid of the police entering his home as they did, after all he is BLACK!!
    Of course he will become deffensive, after all white American does not exactly have a great track record when it comes to race relations.
    I guess many of us, no matter what color we are have not forgotton Rodney King either. Now tell em that would have happened to a white man in America?? hardly!!!

    July 28, 2009 at 1:40 am |
  23. jeff cox

    come on quit being so naive. police lie on almost every report they create to bolster their version of the event.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  24. Glenn

    The comparisons to the OJ trial and Rodney King just seems to show that the media needs a reality check.
    First of all – Rodney King only had to submit to his own arrest to avoid the entire incident, which blacks were happy to use as a reason to riot.
    OJ Simpson literally got away with murder – but white people didn't go on a riotous rampage.
    Racism is indeed alive and well in America – and blacks clearly have their share of racists (Al Sharpton and "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright come to mind).
    As a White American, I'm tired of the media pretending that whites have some kind of corner on the racism market – it becomes more and more apparent every day that blacks use the race card to benefit them and, while certainly not innocent of hatred and bigotry, continue to pretend that they, as a race, are above it.
    If the investigating officer had been black, the entire thing would've never have taken place. -The hypocrisy is deplorable and Prof, Gates, as well as our President, should have thought before reacting.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  25. Mr. Brown

    Who is the other woman who is talking to Whalen in the background during the first moments of the call?

    Whalen says quite clearly that an older woman was the first to notice Gates and his driver trying to get into the house.

    Who is that person? Why is no one asking that question?

    Obviously Crowley spoke to someone on the scene. Could this "Older Woman" be the person Crowley spoke to?

    This would clear up Crowley's name almost immediately if he innocently mistook the "older woman" when he spoke to her on the scene as the person who call dispatch (Whalen).

    We all have a bird's eye view of the scene after the fact, but Crowley did not at that time.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  26. Da'Tarvia

    After hearing the 911 tape – I am releived to know that Ms. Whalen acted as a neighborly citizen. What is extremely perplexing and quite sad is the obvious flawed and fraudulent police report. When did the 911 operator or Ms. Whalen say "two black men with backpacks"? It is one thing to orally express an incorrect circumstance, but to write one leads me to beleive the story was embellished and tailored to suit the police officer's side of the story. Hmmm, now where did we see this before? THE OJ TRIAL

    July 27, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  27. san

    I really like concerned neighbors....we need more neighbors like these....but I don't know why the Professor got arrested.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:51 pm |
  28. Vicki

    would professor gates have acted the same way if officer crowley was black? i think the racism comes from him.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:51 pm |
  29. Anthony Franklin

    You talk about beating a dead horse. The media lead by CNN has made a misunderstanding into a major story being talked about constantly. Nasea.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:49 pm |
  30. Will

    When did it become ok to belittle a police officer? That in it's self is reason to go to jail. It does not take a Professor to understand this. (could be wrong he did go to jail) But in this case how dare a police man question me in my own home seams to be the biggest problem. Not to mention his mouth (Gates) Does he teach his students this way? He sounded like someone that was extremely tired, frustrated (his door problem), and for him to immediately play the race game makes me wonder if he has the ability to teach his students fairly. I think this was far from racial. But since I was not there I can only speculate. I feel he (Gates) was the only one playing the race game and now it could escalate due to his actions. The learning experience should be how to talk to others. (Treat others how you want to be treated). Tell everyone to get it right he was not arrested in his home !! He walked out then his lack of respect brought him a response he could not believe.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  31. John

    As usual, AC360 completely misses the point. This whole issue is about how the cop should have walked away after he knew that it was Gates' house. Gates did act unreasonably and uncharitably, but there was no reason for him to be arrested.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:43 pm |
  32. therine newmyn

    Toobin is in denial about policeman"s arrest of Professor. Blind spots in their analyses leaves public in danger of believing no public responsibilty for the policeman"s all too quick decision to arrest . the police has the greater responsibilty to excercise tolerant restraint before just arresting people angry on their own property!

    July 27, 2009 at 11:40 pm |
  33. Parish

    Where is the entire 911 call?
    From what I heard there was no mention of black man with back sack
    Did the Sgt Crowley write this in his report, where is it, so we wouldn't have to speculation, if he did, why? Is he all the deptment claim he is

    Even thought Sgt teach racial profiling, he is not a racist, sometime
    things happen, can bring out the other side of a person

    why did he put that in his report, maybe his co worker should look at him very closely

    July 27, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  34. J Jones - ohio

    Does anyone wonder why this guy's neighbors didn't know what he looked like? Why doesn't he know the neighbors – or have one of them keep a spare key? Clearly, he is too uptight to befriend his neighbors and to be cool enough when dealing with law enforcement. Just throw the race card........... ugh!

    July 27, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  35. usman alli

    it is unfortunate that most people are not able to see what happened here, under the circumstance the officer is the professional here and it is incubent upon him to diffuse the situation, even prof gates was doing flips he is in his home, the president's reaction comes from the fact that he is a black man, please remember what the world new at the time " a black was arrested for breaking in is own home" now i had a similar incident in my home town where the police was called to my home and i ended being arrested because the officer felt his ego was crushed because i talked back to him, i did nothing wrong, just like prof gates, prof gates can say what he wants the only justification for an arrrest in this scenerio is that prof gates puts his hands on the cop, end of story. the officer is a racist who felt disrespected because this black guy was being rude to him how dare he talk to him that way, the officer that arressted me was racist too no ifs and buts about it, when rodney king videos came out they still said the police was right.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  36. Judy

    In the same situation, I would very much appreciate a responsible citizen calling the police, and very very much appreicate the quick response from the police!! What's wrong with the professor saying, "Hey, I live here, but thank you for protecting my premises", show his ID, and laugh at himself for locking himself out. Actually, the entire thing would be funny to me, if I were in the same situation. I have no idea how race became such a big issue.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  37. Glenn

    LOL, I could not care less about this incident. It is very triveial in the face of all the other REAL problems we as a country are facing now. I mean how lame is all this stuff. Had Prez Obama stayed the hell out of it, it NEVER would have been blown so far out of proportions.
    Come on people get over it. Our health care system and the econemy and our troops (Know matter what thier skin color is) that are dying in some 3rd world cess pool are much more important then some black elitest & and a white cop whom was doing his job. Maybe I missed the boat here, but don't we have much bigger problems to deal with??? Lets us all hope this dies down, but it probable won't due to the news types digging for dirty laundry for thier ratings. This is all so lame.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  38. william- texas

    the woman that called in is innicoent

    July 27, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  39. whyuslord

    Well it seem to me that she was only suspicious because they were people of color. That is racial profiling! How many robbers you know go through the front door.(HMMM) THE older neighbor Assume they were breaking in as the caller did. The first assumption was correct they problem had problems with there key. How many neighbors you have that watch you enter your house. What was suspicious? They did not see any criminal behavior that warrant calling the police only people of color. RACIAL PROFILING! If you never been a victim of RACIAL profiling then How do you know it wasn't. Racial profiling isn't always from a racist person its from normal every day citizens with sterotype that crime happen from people of Color. Police racial profile all the time most assume that people of color has crimmnal behavior. Why is there more afican american in jail more then any other race. Its because the race is target more for crime. I'm a prison Pastor My dad is a retire federal prison captain. I have seen and heard from the prison and the officers off camera. That racial profile is a pratice use in all forms of state and federal system to identify persons of interest. Wake up america is a country divide by race. Remember the elections the black vote, white vote etc. The biggest news media's in the world pratice divide. Why be suprise now! Yes it lives! How do we overcome is the lurking question through love, peace, God community involvement outreach and most of all education of the races. We need to start a require class in all schools and college to educate our youth on races relations. To fix what our country broke along time ago. We need to teach the public that were no different. We have the same cause the same hope and future thats a better America and world for everyone. Please do not take this message as a message of hate but a message of hope and understanding.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  40. Delores Evans

    I believe that Jeffrey Toobin is missing the point about the Professor and the police.
    Why would this distinquished professor make a comment about this cop's mama?

    White men are unable to relate to how black men feel about policeman. I had a father who was constantly harrassed by white cops because of the car that he drove; my sons were raised in the neighborhood where I have lived for thirty four years. They were constantly subjected to being harrassed by the cops, and asked numberous times, "boy what are you doing in this neighborhood"?

    They responded by saying, " I live here. "

    My youngest son was thrown against his truck before one officer recognized that he was the son of a known businessman. incident was when a cop cited him for driving on a snow covered street in our neighborhood ( after learning that he lived in the neighborhood. ) My son said that upon arrival the cop said, what are you doing getting me out in this weather.

    I want to know how it was determined that Officer Crowley was an expert at racial profiling and how did the black commissioner decided to appoint him?

    And yes, if some cop comes to my house and arrests me for yelling at him, I will make it a big news story also.

    IMy sons would not be able to relate to you and Jeffery Toobin, one rich man( alleged) and the other one a distinquished lawyer, both of you are tv stars and can not relate to being black males in America.


    July 27, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  41. Ric

    it doesn't matter if she said White, Black or Hispanic, she did what any good citizens should do. She's not a racist, I think Sgt Crowley is the racist if the man said, he lives there Sgt Crowley could have asked him
    a proof of address or something

    July 27, 2009 at 11:08 pm |
  42. art

    I think the caller's mistake is ,call asuming that it was a brakein that house base only on a skin color .
    If no body mentioned black ,what about Hispanic?
    It is a question for the caller's speaking woman.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:08 pm |
  43. Brent Terry

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Most whites want to sweep this under the rug and act like it is an isolated incident. This is indicative of a systematic problem in America. Massa is still whipping Blacks; and in some cases he has grown up, taken off his white hood, and put on a blue uniform.

    If there weren't any neighbors to meet the police, or other police on the seen, Gates would probably be dead.

    All the training the officer received, and in turn instructed, does not exempt him from an angry respone to a person he thought should show more respect and fear for his badge. With all of Gates accomplishments, he is probably just another upity nig@#$ who doesn't know his place in the eyes of the officer.

    I am soooo tired of Jeff Tobin's racist comments. It's like he climbed out of Lady Justice's womb; every Black American knows she's not blind! Jeff's opinion of every person of color in the news (O.J., Michael Jackson, Obama, Gates, etc.) is negative. He should always be balanced with some one like Roland Martin, Eric Michael Dyson, or Donna Brazile who will not let his racist comments go unchallenged.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:08 pm |
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