This from WBZ-TV in Boston is one of the better accounts (plus video links) today:
The white police sergeant who arrested black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said Thursday President Barack Obama was “way off base” claiming Cambridge officers acted “stupidly” during the incident.
Sgt. James Crowley, who is a police academy expert on racial profiling, responded to Gates’ home near Harvard University last week to investigate a report of a burglary and demanded Gates show him identification. Police say Gates at first refused and accused the officer of racism.
Gates was charged with disorderly conduct. The charge was dropped Tuesday, and Gates has since demanded an apology from Crowley.
“I acted appropriately,” Crowley told WBZ Radio’s Carl Stevens Thursday.
“Mister Gates was given plenty of opportunities to stop what he was doing. He didn’t. He acted very irrational he controlled the outcome of that event.”
Here’s today’s Washington Post follow-up on Obama’s comments, made at the tail end of a Wednesday evening press conference:
President Obama stood by his criticism of the Cambridge police department’s arrest of Harvard University Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr., telling ABC News’s Terry Moran he was “surprised” by the controversy sparked by his comment during a prime-time news conference Wednesday that the department had behaved “stupidly.”
“I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement because I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don’t need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who’s in his own home,” Obama told Moran in an interview set to air Thursday evening on “Nightline,” excerpts from which were made available online.
The president called arresting officer Sgt. James Crowley an “outstanding police officer” but emphasized that “it doesn’t make sense to arrest a guy in his own home if he’s not causing a serious disturbance.”
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