July 30th, 2009
07:36 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Ale to the Chief

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/30/harvard.arrest.beers/art.beer.summit.afp.gi.jpg caption= "Sgt. James Crowley and professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. sat down with the president and vice president Thursday."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight at the White House, it was the president, the professor and the policeman enjoying cold beers with a bunch of cameras and their controversial connection. You may recall, two weeks ago tonight white Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley arrested black Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates after he broke into his own home. The allegation from the cop: disorderly conduct. The allegation from the professor: racial profiling. Cops dropped their charge. But the controversy grew when days later Pres. Obama weighed in and said the cop acted "stupidly." That's when the president made some phone calls suggesting a beer and here were are tonight. How did the beer gathering go? Any tension? Candy Crowley has the raw politics.

Also on our radar, details on what was in the search warrants when cops raided the Las Vegas properties of Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray. Once again, 360's Randi Kaye is the first with this information. She got her hands on the search warrants filed in court today. There are also new developments on who will get custody of Jackson's children.

And, new clashes in Iran today. Police fired tear gas and beat protesters who gathered at a memorial for those killed in the uprisings since last month's disputed presidential election. Today marked the traditional 40-day mourning period for perhaps the most well-know victim of the violence, Neda Agha Solton. The 27-year-old student was shot  on June 20, with her death caught on video. Today protesters chanted, "Neda is alive! Ahmadinejad is dead!", a reference to the president of Iran who opponents say had fraudulently won re-election. Ahmadinejad is expected to take his oath of office for a second-term next Wednesday. There will likely be more protests on that day.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Mary from LA.

    Love Randy Kaye!!!

    The whole beer summit thing is old now, lets move on,
    unfortunately, racism will live on...

    July 30, 2009 at 11:49 pm |
  2. Patricia Walsh

    As I am reading each post, my initial response would have been, to all those that harp(for lack of another adjective) on the point of racial profiling, just stop.....maybe this time, change may come about. I now realize, that, this issue is so ingrained in the fabric of black America and there have been so many missed opportunities to address this problem, I can understand that many Americans have lost faith that it will ever change.
    Will someone please be the first to extend a hand of hope....how can you possibly continue to advertise your selves as being the "Greatest", "Best", "America's number One" country in the world when you still grapple with this race issue. Are you destined to repeat the past or learn from it?
    Come on America, if you are the melting pot, then melt already.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  3. Debra T-ofMidwest

    "A teachable moment"
    For whom? And what did we learn?
    If there is a white police officer and a black suspect: it is a possibility there will be an allegation of a racial motive for the officer's actions.
    Obama can stick his foot in his mouth and not admit he did it.
    If you are black: you can make as many racist remarks as you want and no one will call you on it.
    If you are a black Harvard professor: you can be assured no one will expect you to be accountable for your actions when you are racist and disparage a white officer.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  4. Philip Hall

    The only good thing about this event is it took the President's attention away from ruining our health care system. Now he can go back to not reading the health care bill.

    It is an interesting strategy though. President screws up. President then uses the event as a teaching moment. Maybe he should have used it as a learning moment.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  5. Angela

    Being a former Police Officer, I fully understand Sgt Crowleys actions. The general public can comment on this, but all it takes is one unexpected person to do the unexpected. Officers should approach all incidents with caution. As a black female who lives in a high crime area I was a victim of racial profiling and I was a cop, go figure! "Character Profiling" can save an officers life. That is simply interpreting what is in front of you, the known and the unknown never letting your guard down. This is blown way out, it happens everyday and lives are spared because of it. I have seen Officers murdered because they "didn't suspect". I have seen Police uniforms in a cofins while I was wearing one, that is an officer worst nightmare but daily living.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  6. Losman

    Health Care.... why don't we all as Americans vote on whatever version of Health Care we end up with. The Nov elections are just around the corner. Let the American people decide for themselves...it's our tax dollar that is going to pay for it anyway. There will be no discussion once we all vote.... well maybe.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  7. Marvin L. Miller

    I feel each man was at fault, but reality is that profiling toward the black culture is enbedded within the general white culture so profoundly that it's not even noticed within themselves, and unless it's corrected from childhood and within communities within the white culture how can we truly expect for it to not be present within the mainstream. Profiling is enbedded and passed on from generation to generation, because of lack of cultural experience. It's an easy mental disfunctional behavior to hide, yet the most devastating to oneself and one's future generations. It's just as profound within the grocery store, as it is within many white suburban communities, as it is by police that blacks and other minorities pay taxes to the State for them to protect and serve. Dr. Gates problem was that the white police looked at him as just a black man and not an American citizen. And the white policeman realized as whites have since the stealing of America that he had a chance to take advantage of a situation for his own gain and fame. And President Obama just got caught in what is the most profound profiling by whites toward blacks that has existed since the first black was brought and bought as a slave and then blamed for being here, he was set up to fall, by being placed in a situation where he as a black man had to give his honest opinion. Something no white person is ready to hear or can truly come to terms with. Therefore, racial profiling and racism will continue to be a profound cancer within the American mainstream, until it can be realized and recognized as abuse against all America's future generations. Whites, Blacks, Jews, Gays, and all other cultural identities.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:18 pm |
  8. Deb Tierney

    The biggest problem here is the provocation by the eminent professor, a learned man who has spent a large portion of his life researching genealogy of African Americans and teaching about the subtleties of racism, and his indignance that the police officer didn't recognize his person. He had to break into his own home because he "lost" or "didn't have" his key. A neighbor, who also did not know him, reported to the authorities that a break – in might be in progress. One would hope that the police would respond if a break-in is reported. The police had a right to know why two men, no matter what their color, were breaking into a house, yet one is claiming to be the owner. The next biggest problem is that our great orator president stuck his nose into a local matter, because Gates is a friend of his, and it was silly for him to call the Cambridge Police action "stupid". How dare he? The police unions may indeed have voted for Obama and helped elect him. Because racism is alive and well, my advice would be "Don't alienate the police". To Pres. Obama, change seems to mean "micromanage everything in America in the first six months".

    July 30, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  9. Laura Herold

    God, I love our President! Beautiful ending to this story. President Obama is a great negotiator, isn't he?

    July 30, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  10. Donna Fisher

    Are you kidding us, we have four adult men sitting around having a dicussing like men should instead of fighting over the issue, and I am sure they will come to a conclusion. We have better things to worry about, who cares if they are having a beer. Wake up America.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:08 pm |
  11. Trish

    As a former police officer and now college instructor for new recruits, the race discussion and the perspective of the police was a great opportunity to see bo th sides. I did not like President Obama’s comment initially, assuming the police had done wrong. Maybe both had a part in the problem…However, his idea to bring all together made up for it.

    Most people do not have any idea the training/stress and work that goes into being a police officer where split decisions must be made based on the facts at the moment. On the other hand, we teach recruits the importance of not only race, but diversity in all arenas of police contact and how their own biases may come into play and how that may affect decisions. There are great police officers out there who are very mindful of there decisions and actions. Law enforcement also can and does work to be as fair as possible from my experience despite the public’s perceptions. Thanks for covering the story well!

    By the way-AC was great on Regis and Kelly as the guest host!

    Eau Claire, Wisconsin

    July 30, 2009 at 11:07 pm |
  12. Shawn

    Isn’t is amazing how racism continues to persist and morph through the generations. 20 years ago there was true, despicable racism. 10 years ago the era of ‘reverse racism’ reared it’s ugly head – a time when a white cop could no longer arrest a black man without being accused of racism. And now, as a white male living in the US, the most insulting name you could possibly call me, the name that would evoke an instant defensive rush of adrenaline and anger, would be ‘racist’. To me the word has taken on the same awful power as the 'N' word.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
  13. Lu Veara

    Most males of color don't have the Pres. for a friend. They have to fend for themselves and most will end up with a beat down if they surrive it unlike Prof. Gates. He forgot that he just a man of color. It did't matter that he was a Harvard Prof. and he was in his own house. He was "putting" the white cop in his place. Crowley could not take that from Gates and what Pres. Obama said about his behaviior. Crowley being white and male could and would not accept responsibility for wrongdoing and called out the President of the U.S. Mr. Obama retreated. The other officer went on line said what he would do to Gates. Went on the King show and asked for forgiveness. He lied. He was scared he was going to lose his job. I am scared of all white cops. They use their guns and stinking badges for just-us. what kind of spray is oc ?

    July 30, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  14. Thomas Johnson

    When I hear of a racial profiling incident, it brings back vivid memories of my introduction to this hideous practice, it happened in 1998. I'm not certain if the Professor Gates incident qualifies as blatant racial profiling, but I’m absolutely sure my experience did.

    It was early July 1998 when my brother and I were followed out of a grocery store parking lot, and stopped by a White Police Officer, in a predominately White suburb of Chicago, Orland Park. When the Officer stopped us we asked him why, and he responded that it was because we did not have our head light on, a requirement for driving at dusk. Sounds reasonable, the time was 5:30 p.m. by law dusk, but this was on July 10, daylight savings time. It was one of those sunny, hot July days with out a cloud in the sky. While we were standing outside of our car, a late model Lexus 300, we noticed the traffic going by on this busy thoroughfare, no one had their lights on, and most if not all of the drivers were White. To add insult to injury, when the Officers back up pulled up, guess what, his head lights were not on, which we pointed out to the Officer who became outraged that we did so.
    We played the roll, took the ticked, filed a formal complaint, and went to court. The Officer did not show up and the judge who presided over the case dismissed the charges. Six months later, my brother sold his house in Orland Park, and moved. Fast forward, some things never change.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  15. Amy

    I think it is ridiculous that President Obama spent taxpayers' money to fly these men to Washington for what appeared to be a great photo op for him. These men are from the same city. If a meeting like this needed to take place couldn't it have been done privately between the two men in their own town of Cambridge. I feel the President took the situation of two men both being treated unfairly, inflated it across the country, and then used it as a photo op to try to help his ailing approval ratings. Very disappointed.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  16. Pat

    Both men agreed to disagree on the basic issue. While both over-reacted, it is still unclear that this was a racial profiling incident. The President's over-reaction and judgment, particularly in view of his anticipation of the question coming up, is the most critical and disappointing. And his back-pedalling since his comments were made seem without sincerity and somewhat arrogant, as his words had been deliberate and he obvioiusly feels he did nothing wrong or assumptive. It's apparently only our reaction that is 'fascinating' to him.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  17. Patricia Walsh

    This recent Cambridge incident could not have come at a better time in America's history. President Obama has had a truly momentus occasion dropped in his lap. An opportunity for real dialogue and hopefully, change, has presented itself, however accidental.
    Where do they go from here? I think President Obama should utilize these two gentlemen to form a committee along with himself and a fourth person to present, discuss, and formulate a nation wide grassroots plan to bring about understanding, empathy and constructive tools to foster better relations. The fourth person on the panel should be a upper middleclass caucasion woman from the south, who could bring a historical perspective to the table. The misson statement should be that "This Buds For You."

    July 30, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  18. koonfuroow

    I think it is an unfortunate thing that everyone is blaming Gates and the president for the event. Hear it loud, it was stupid of Crowley to arrest some one for being at his own house. A house is a private place where people seek shelter from all the good or bad things that happen in a day of life. And to have some cop at your house and bother you for being there is something that would upset most of us. The point that most critics are missing is that the job of the cop is to keep the public safe and walk away if there is no any danger. Maybe Mrs. Gates overacted but he was not any danger to Crowley. I think if any one should apologize, it should be Crowley himself for unnecessarily arresting some one just because he can. I believe what this controversy is doing is spoil already spoiled family called cops.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  19. Bryan

    Should this now be the normal procedure for every similar incident???

    Glad our tax dollars are covering this kind of nonsense!!!

    July 30, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  20. Bob S.

    Listen, let's just drop this. It's unfortunate that this happened but now that everyone knows that Sgt. Crowley is not racist and has a clean record, do you think that this would have even made the news if the professor had been white? Because he was arrested for his lack of cooperation with the officers and not because he was black. I don't deny that there are many issues in the U.S. with profiling and abuse with African Americans but it's frustrating when this happens to good cops.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  21. Mark

    The President may be right after all, stupid. Lucia Whelen never mentioned black or backpack in any statement released or media coverage. As of now Lucia Whelen is being sweeped under the rug. Why isn't she on CNN Talk Row? All who support the law will never demand a answer. Those who support Gates will press the conference, hotels, meetings and cash trails. I'm predicting at least 35 books hitting a shelf near you soon. While the question of a false police report remains filed.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  22. Annie Kate

    Looking forward to the show tonight – especially the news from Iran. Glad to see we are getting back to that story. I wonder just how many people have been killed now in Iran in these protests and how the Iranian government plans on staying with the original count of votes with what seems like unending protests. Are they being stubborn and inching their way ever closer to a full out revolt?

    July 30, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  23. James Dix

    Why is the descreprency of the 911 tape and the police report being ignored? Is it not against the law to file a false report? Shouldn't the white officer and the black sergeant be held liable for the lie in the report? Both the professor and the police reacted to their emotions. Although both could be labeled as "stupid" they are both human and as such should be forgiven. Lying on the other hand, is not excusable and should be prosecuted.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  24. Sister Mary Katherine

    Still think the Policeman was doing his job going there. Professor is not above the law. I would be arrested in my home if I made a scene with a police officer and that is a fact. Policeman came, asked for information, the Professor argued after giving the ID, the President made a statement off the top of his head, all went wrong.

    My problem is why would the President get into this to begin with?
    That to me was even more troubling that the incident itself. This
    made Obama sound extremely racial himself.

    That is just the way it is.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  25. miclhael

    im not sure if this is a teachable moment or not but i must say that as a black man i feel that this has been a positive ending to long misunderstanding. we can all learn something from one othere if we just look and listen.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  26. Judy

    My hat off to our President for doing this gathering . Yes ! race still exist everyday in our lifes and its a shame but for once we have a real person for a President and someone who is smart and yet humble.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  27. Kimberly

    I'm grateful President Obama gave these men a place to show up, agree to disagree, and also come together on this issue. I am a white woman and must admit I have seen many police officers (any race or gender) that have egos that tend to be overbarring and more combative that cooperative. It seems that there is an issue of power over someone. It's unfortunate, perhaps this will have the police reevaluate how they deal with their community. I think it's the "tools" of cooperation and heart rather than created an air of "us agst "them".

    July 30, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  28. Kathy Mc

    Obama should apologize for his "stupid" comment to every policeman, every American, and especially to the officer. Prof. Gates was probably upset that he had to break into his own home and was nasty to someone who was trying to protect his property and the community. It appears to me that President Obama is a racist. What a shame that the first black president is in this position. By the way, being female, why wasn't the woman who called in the complaint invited to the "beer" fest? I have a problem with this.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  29. Cheryl

    Gates is the one who needs to apologize, Officer Crowley was doing his job. Gates turned it into a racial situation, and is the one guilty of racial profiling by assuming that Crowley was verifying his identity because he was black and proceeded to launch a verbal attack on an officer doing his job. And just because a D.A. flinched and took the easy way out doesn't in any way change the fact Crowley did nothing wrong.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  30. cubanpsych

    Im disturbed that the leader of this great country is taking the time to sit down and have a beer which in my opinion doesnt send a positive message to our young people regarding drinking! Why doesnt Mr. Barrack worry less about issues such as this one, which by the way is not why I elected a President!! Mr. President quit wasting our tax dollars. Give me a break, over BEER!!!! Mr. Preident, please use your time more productively and stop being such a media WHORE!!!!

    July 30, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  31. Chuck Brook

    What a role model. Obama meeting to have "beers" to help work through his problems. Is he sure it's a good image to project to young children? I bet the alcohol beverage industry love's this one.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  32. Barry S., Philadelphia, PA

    The unfortunate interaction of Professor Gates and Officer Crowley illustrates the potential of human frailty. I doubt there existed a problem of racial profiling. Each simply became angered because he felt an affront by the other. Frankly, I find the greatest affront to sensibility is the President's entry into a situation in which he did not belong. For an individual seemingly with such forethought, situations indigenous to a regional municipality should not be his bailiwick.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  33. Mary

    The only thing that saved Sgt. Crowley from having his reputation entirely besmirched by a false claim of racial profiling is the fact that he has a sterling history of police work to back him up including, but not limited to, being chosen to teach fellow officers in regards to racial profiling. If this were not the case, this good man would have been dragged through the mud and gone down as a racially motivated psycho cop, which is how Dr. Gates wanted him portrayed. And now Sgt. Crowley should move on and use it as "a learning experience." Please. Sgt. Crowley has more humanity and integrity in his little finger that Dr. Gates could ever hope to have.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  34. Zee

    Racial profiling is indeed alive & well in our great country . The city in which I live is so bad that I was overjoyed my son who has a bachelor degree never been n trouble with the law re-located from our city just to get away from the practices of our local PD. I hope this unfortunate incident with professor gates and the Ofcr. Crowley heightens awareness, brings resolution and hopefully make us all conscious of the fact we must all live together with respect for each other and the law or we will soon be like other countries we condem for their lawlessness & mistreatment of their citizens

    July 30, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  35. Valerie

    we are all human and view the world and situations differently we must learn to respect and understand each other. racism, racial profiling will always exist but we must learn to stop and think before we act.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  36. Shalyn

    they should be able to play fair be two grown men and put this behind them. I think the president did a commendable thing by bringing them together. We make things drag on too long. what he did was not decent but it was done and it needs to be placed in the past and move on.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  37. barbara

    Please be honest, RACISM is not going away, Racism is ingrained in
    IT WILLNOT GO AWAY. I know that White People want it to go away,

    July 30, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  38. geraldine callands

    i just want to say thank god that we can admit our misstakes and sit togaher and be as one forget and forgive . everyone of us can learn a lesson from this

    July 30, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  39. beth

    anderson i would advise both Gares and Crowely to make this a historical moment by forming somekind of org. that can resolve or arbitrate similar friction between the police and the minorities. pls dont let this fade away or make this all about that small incident

    July 30, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  40. Sophia Norman

    Doesn't Sgt. Crowley owe the 911 caller an apology for the discrepency found in the police report?

    July 30, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  41. sandra cherry

    YES, this became a teachable moment when these parties agreed to discuss their differences; did so; and followed up with statements acknowledging the humanity in “the other” and credited our system of democracy, its protections and freedoms. As a middle school counselor, I have no doubt that this event will provide a valuable example in schools where mediation is taught. The most salient aspect of these incidents and “this moment” is that it shifted from a media driven crisis with a win/lose outcome to a context where the individuals at the center of the conflict, even though they disagree, are able to retain their power to determine a more positive resolution.

    Sandra Cherry

    July 30, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  42. Javin

    It's sad that we as people have to rely on President Obama to sort out our own trivial issues that shouldn't even exist ,it's 2009!

    July 30, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  43. Terry Hunsucker

    What kind of message is President Obama sending to the youth of the world, that "beer dipolmacy" is the way to mediate differences between individuals. Obama was wrong to comment on the situation in the first place, and then to broker a "beer summit" is irreponsible.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  44. Didi

    Professor said it best in his follow up comments, as a nation we have to better understand the pressures of police officers and the real pain of racial profiling. I'm very proud that we have a president who was willing to apologize for his part in making the story bigger than it needed to be. President Obama has a lot of character and I admire him for that. But hats off to Sgt. Crowley and Professor Gates. I think something good will truly come from this situation.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  45. JerryMerry

    Sargeant must learn protocol. You do not drink before the President raises his glass..

    July 30, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  46. Dean

    The officer who arrested Gates was totally wrong. It had been proven to him that the house belonged to Gates. He should have left then, but he chose to treat Mr. Gates like he was a suspicious person. He should be reprimanded.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  47. Chicago John

    As ludicrous as this whole issue was manufactured to be, I still can't believe the White House is letting them do this. Rather than demonstrating unity by drinking the same, what might be considered an all-American beer, they are further displaying their resentment and ill feelings; the black professor chose the Jamaican beer, and the white policeman picked a Belgian White! Just wrong...yet predictably laughable.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  48. James Simmons - Goldsboro NC

    Even though the polls continue to show dropping approval ratings for President Obama, I am impressed with his approach to all crises and am so happy I voted for him. In my opinion, both parties Gates and Crowley overreacted. However, the discussion of race relations in America needs to continue to stay on the table because the inequities in America seem to be quietly persisting from generation to generation.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  49. Dr. Gee

    It should be noted that President Obama’s in his initial statement suspended judgment regarding the extent to which race played a role in the Crowley-Gates incident. His comment was about a citizen that had proven they were in their own home being arrested. I am a cultural psychologist and I believe that too often protocols that police are taught are based on logic models that do not included consideration of the social and emotional dynamics and needs of the people they encounter. This all too often leads to situations being engulfed with escalating conflict. I hope one learning that is taken from this teachable moment is that police protocols must be changed to where they include demonstrating appropriate emotional etiquette such as empathy and respect to help de-escalate conflict and shift difficult situations to a more constructive space. Officers also must be held accountable for managing their egos and emotions to where they do not abuse their authority.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  50. Valerie

    It's great that these men sat down to talk, the police officer should have apologized to professor Gates, we can move on when everyone faces the facts of truth, that this man was arrested and then charges dropped. Whether racial profiling or not, this should never have happened and Dr. Gates should have never been arrested. This happens so much in this country and until it is honestly and completely addressed then we can get to the root of this problem. Racision, racial profling and abuse towards blacks exist in this country and happens more often than we all realize.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
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