Today Boston.com had a piece on the caller who dialed 911 to initially report the "break in" at Gates' home on Ware Street by Harvard, stating that the caller claims she did not cite race. I found it very surprising because nearly all of the media reports immediately following the incident stated that when the caller spoke to 911 dispatchers she mentioned that two black men were breaking into the house. Even in Crowley's police report it indicates that she knew the race of the alleged perpetrators: "She [the caller] went on to tell me that she observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch of [redacted] Ware Street. She told me that her suspicions were aroused when she observed one of the men wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry." That pretty clearly states that the caller was well aware of the race of the individuals.
And while the Boston.com article contains flat-out denials (through the caller's lawyer) from beginning to end that the caller did not know the race of the two individuals, Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas, while saying that the caller did not mention race in the 911 call, seems to backpedal a little bit:
In an interview at police headquarters last night, Haas said "it was very clear that she wasn’t sure" what the men’s race was. He also said that when the dispatcher questioned Whalen for more details, she told police she could only guess about the race of the two men. "She speculated . . . that one might be Hispanic."
Someone involved in this does not have their facts straight. Either race was mentioned in the call or it wasn't; you can't say it was and then say, "Oh, well, she might have speculated that one might be Hispanic." If she did, then race was mentioned. If she did not postulate as to the skin color of the men, then race was not mentioned. The only way we'll know is if the 911 tape is released (which Haas says might be released in just transcript form, despite the fact that the caller has no qualms about fully releasing the audio).
It's nice to see Gates and Crowley put their differences aside and plan to enjoy a cold one with the president. The incident put race and police treatment of minorities back in the spotlight (whether you think Gates was a victim of racial profiling or not). The problem is that a new story will come up in the next week or so and we'll forget about this. Until another incident occurs. Then CNN and all these outlets will do specials to get more viewers (and ad revenue) until the next big story. Will racial profiling be eliminated or decrease because of this incident? No. If more cut and dry cases of racism (such as Amadou Diallo) did not stop racial profiling, a very ambiguous case such as this will not come close to ending the practice. We are a very long way from post-racial America (if it is even possible). Peace.
Photos - The White House, where Gates and Crowley are scheduled to have beers (Visiting DC)