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Developments Brewing in Racial Profiling Case

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Associated Press: CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A Cambridge police sergeant who responded to a 911 call about a possible break-in at the home of black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. told dispatchers that Gates was being uncooperative and to "keep the cars coming."

Barack Obama Henry Louis Gates Jr.  Sgt. James Crowley
Another voice can be heard in the background of the transmission, but it is unintelligible and unclear if it is Gates.

Cambridge police released recordings of police radio transmissions and of the 911 call Monday following more than a week of controversy over Gates' July 16 arrest on a disorderly conduct charge. The charge was dropped, but the encounter sparked a national debate about racial profiling.

Gates' supporters called his arrest by Sgt. James Crowley an outrageous act of racial profiling. Crowley's supporters say Gates was arrested because he was belligerent and that race was not a factor.

Interest in the case intensified when President Barack Obama said at a White House news conference last week that Cambridge police "acted stupidly" in arresting Gates. He later tried to quell the uproar about his comments and invited both Gates and Crowley to the White House for a beer, a meeting that will happen this week, according to the White House.

In the 911 recording released Monday, caller Lucia Whalen tells police she saw two men pressing on the door of a home, but says she is unsure whether the men live there or if they were trying to break in. She said she saw two suitcases on the porch.

"I don't know if they live there and they just had a hard time with their key. But I did notice they used their shoulder to try to barge in and they got in. I don't know if they had a key or not cause I couldn't see from my angle," Whalen said.

Whalen does not mention the race of the men she saw until pressed by a dispatcher to describe them. At that point, she said one of the men may have been Hispanic.

In Crowley's report, he said he spoke to Whalen at the scene and she reported seeing two black men on the porch.

Whalen's attorney, Wendy Murphy, said her client did not mention the men's race to Crowley and is upset by news reports she believes have unfairly depicted her as a racist.

"She doesn't live in the area. She is by no means the entitled white neighbor. ... That has been the theme in the blogs and the implication in some of the mainstream news media," Murphy said in a phone interview Monday.

In the radio transmissions, Crowley tells a dispatcher he is at the home where the possible break-in was reported.

"I'm up with a gentleman, says he resides here, but was uncooperative, but keep the cars coming," Crowley said.

In his written police report, Crowley said Gates became angry when he told him he was investigating a report of a break-in, then yelled at him and called him a racist.

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
j July 28, 2009, 9:34 AM

I think if Obama did not put his two cents in, this would not have been so blown out of proportion. No matter what side you are on in a situation, you always think you are right. It is just the way we are as humans.


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