Monday, July 27, 2009
Well, it's the white, black and blue line. I guess this is what post-racial America looks like in local government service.
Police do tend to look out for each other; it's part of the nature of the job.
But, hey, if this policewoman wants to cuff me next time I'm in Cambridge, I guess it's worth a disturbing the peace charge.
Timing of this is curious ... isn't Sgt Crowley supposed to be kissing and making up with Prof Gates?
Repost from below:
Let's play an exercise in role reversal.
#1: First, change everyone's color. Sgt Crowley is now black. Prof Gates is a white neo-con professor. George W Bush is still President.
#2: When Sgt Crowley shows up at the house Prof Gates immediately loses it, calling it every white man's nightmare, throws in some racial epithets and maybe even an n-word or two. Sgt Crowley bears an ongoing tirade for minutes, and then finally slaps the cuffs on. White officers on the scene support the move.
#3: Pres Bush -- while on national TV the next day -- defends his white neo-con professor friend and says that Sgt Crowley acted stupidly.
#4: Realizing there's been some backlash, Pres Bush offers to have Sgt Crowley and Prof Gates over to the White House for a malt liquor drink-up ... everyone to get a 40 and a blunt. He makes sure through back channels that Sgt Crowley knows to show up and to have a smile on his face when he does.
Now check your own personal hypocrisy meter. Would you still defend President Bush? Would you still give Prof Gates a pass, or say he's the victim here? Is this even conceivable in America 2009?
From the 911 taoes released yesterday:
"I don't know if they live there or they just had a hard time with their key," Ms. Whalen said, according to a copy of her 911 call. "They kind of had to barge in, and they broke the screen door and they finally got in,” Ms. Whalen said on the recording, adding that she had also seen two suitcases on the porch. The dispatcher asked Ms. Whalen whether the two men were black, white or Hispanic. “There were two larger men,” she said. “One looked kind of Hispanic, but I’m not really sure.” As for the second man, she said, “I didn’t see what he looked like at all,” according to the tape.
Ms. Whalen, who called on her cellphone from in front of the professor’s home, stayed until the police arrived. The police report filed by Sgt. James M. Crowley states "she [Ms. Whalen] observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch of Ware Street."
Yesterday, Ms. Whalen’s lawyer said she had never mentioned race to Sergeant Crowley. “She didn’t speak to Sergeant Crowley at the scene except to say, ‘I’m the one who called,’” said the lawyer, Wendy J. Murphy. “And he said, ‘Wait right there,’ and walked into the house. "She never used the word black and never said the word backpacks to anyone.”
Cambridge police officials did not return a call seeking comment on the inconsistency.
Well, well, well. Seems Sgt. Crowley's police report contains some inconsistencies....
Anon 4:17 -
I am not sure how important this is from a police procedure standpoint. If the initial ID had been "white" on the call, and Dr. Gates had been in the house alone when Sgt. Crowley arrived, I believe that he would still be treated as a potential suspect until his ID as the resident is established, since no assumptions can be made about potential accomplices regarding a possible break-in. From what we can infer, it was the tone of Sgt. Crowley's intial directives to Dr. Gates (either overly businesslike or brusque, depending upon the listener) that started winding up the resident of the house, and things spun out from there.
You are correct that there is an apparent inconsistency between what Crowley says Whalen stated on scene and what Whalen now says she said on scene. If you are trying to weave that inconsistency into a suggestion that Crowley is really Crow after all, then he's done a pretty good job of hiding it for these past number of years from his colleague in the video above.
Why has Whalen hired a lawyer to speak for her? Is she concerned about being excommunicated from the Harvard community?
If you are trying to weave that inconsistency into a suggestion that Crowley is really Crow after all...
No, I'm merely higlighting the fact that just as there are inconsistencies between Crowley's and Gates account of what happened in the house, there are stark inconsistencies between what Crowley wrote in the police report concerning statements made to him by the 911 caller, and what the 911caller claims she said to Crowley. The common denominator in these inconsistencies is Crowley.
As for the 911 caller hiring a lawyer, I assume it has something to do with her desire to have the erroneous statements in Crowley's police report corrected:
Ms. Murphy said she was speaking out on behalf of Ms. Whalen, who has declined to talk to reporters, to refute accusations that Ms. Whalen “only called 911 because she noticed that the men were black.”
That, and the death threats she received from those who believe her actions were motivated by race.
Anon 5:51 -
The common denominator in these inconsistencies is Crowley.
And therefore, what? He's not credible, based on these two data points, as compared to the entirety of his record?
Whalen saw what appeared to be a break-in, happening near her office at Harvard Magazine (in an area just east of Harvard Square that had experienced several break-ins, evidently), and tried to do the right thing. The 911 tapes make clear what she reported (and that one of the men appeared Hispanic). What has she done wrong? It does not seem relevant that there is an inconsistency between what she recalls saying on scene to Crowley and what Crowley recollects from that conversation prior to entering the house (at least with respect to her current safety). She might think about going on local Boston TV, with her back to the camera if she thinks it's necessary, and tell her story. Do you have a link for the death threats aspect? I have not seen that yet.
The dis con arrest was made in full view of other police (and some onlookers near the street or sidewalk); none of the other police had any problems with the procedure that was followed with respect to the warnings leading up to the arrest (one suggested cuffs in front, which was done).
I think we need to try to separate out race from whether the dis con charge (subsequently dropped) was appropriate in this case at that moment. Lots of people who think Dr. Gates exhibited boorish behavior, and that Crowley is free of racist attitudes, are not sure he should have been cuffed on his porch. It is a question of where that line is in terms of language and tone than can be used when engaging the police, and I think that varies according to locale.
It does not seem relevant that there is an inconsistency between what she recalls saying on scene to Crowley and what Crowley recollects from that conversation prior to entering the house...
It does not seem relevant? Really? Of course, it's relevant, it's a freaking police report not a blog post. Moreover, it's what you are relying on to determine what happened between him and Gates, and yet Crowley makes statements in it that the eye witness didn't say!!
You can suggest that perhaps it is she who is not credible ( I suggest you listen to the 911 audio first) but do you think a woman who calls 911 to say that she saw two men-- one of whom MAY be hispanic--with luggage entering a house then turns to Crowley when he arrives a few minutes later to report that she saw two black with backpacks?
I read about the death threats in the WSJ. Perhaps they were mistaken. Too.
BTW, you may reacll that when the story first broke on July 20 it was the Cambridge Police Dep't who first announced that the police responded to a 911 call from a woman who witnessed two black men with backpacks breaking into a home. To wit: "According to the police report on the incident, a woman identified only as Ms. Walen, called 911 from her cell phone saying that she observed two black men with backpacks on the porch of Gates' Ware Street home.
So much for the *recollections* in Crowley's police report being irrelevant.
Anon 7:49 -
The discrepancies are relevant to the extent you want the Internal Affairs division of the Cambridge Police department to open up a file on Sgt. Crowley for falsifying a police report, if that is what you really believe happened. Have at it. Perhaps there was someone else on scene that provided that information ("two black males") to Crowley, and he did not recall correctly that it was not Whalen who said that, or there could be other alternative explanations.
All I meant by that sentence -- and I regret if it was inartfully written by including an important part of the meaning in the parenthetical which you omitted in your post -- is that the inconsistency should not matter with respect to Whalen's safety. It is clear what she said in the 911 call -- she wasn't hoping the cops would go shoot up a couple of black robbers. But thank you for the link to the WSJ piece, which strangley omits the word "death" before the word "threats," though clearly all threats against Whalen are undeserved.
There are things that went on in the house between Gates and Crowley that can't be known with certainty, and each man will maintain a different perspective, but the dis con arrest happened on the porch in front of witnesses.
Not every discrepency is because of an underlying conspiracy or cover-up. But if you are good at convincing others of that (especially juries and judges), you have a future as a criminal attorney.
The 911 caller took your advice and held a press conference today to state for the record that she never told Sgt. Crowley that she saw "two black men with backpacks" at the house.
Make of it what you will, but I wonder if Ms. Whalen isn't the one who is owed an apology by Sgt. Crowley for putting words in her mouth that she never spoke?
Classic Alinsky/astroturf tactics by "anonymous". It was left-wing blogs that first tried to demonize Whalen as "raaacist!" before they even knew what actually happened. Now that that won't work they're going after Crowley.
BTW, I can't be the only one LMAO at this "let's have a beer" dog-and-pony show BO contrived to cover up his race-baiting tracks. Yeah, BO is such a beer-drinking, Joe Sixpack kind of regular guy. He must be the first beer-drinking "lightworker" LOL.
Thanks for the NYT link, Anon 1:43. Good for Whalen for speaking up -- maybe she should be a late addition to the beer fest at the White House tomorrow. Dr. Gates might be curious to meet a woman who characterized him as "larger" man (he is not 6' tall and his build is not heavy).
Whalen did the right thing, and deserves no "scorn or ridicule."
I suspect your point regarding the inconsistency will be resolved or at least addressed soon. Maybe the "older woman" who was with Whalen around the time she made the 911 call can provide some help about how Crowley received the information regarding "two black males."
Anonymous, you are greatly overinterpreting the importance of these inconsistencies. Nearly everything with eyewitnesses has inconsistencies. It is quite common. It may be meaningful, but it is not necessarily so.
This is part of the job that I have done for thirty years, so please hesitate before assuring me that I don't know what I'm talking about.