Last night President Obama chimed in on the Henry Louis Gates arrest to chide Sergeant Crowley and the Cambridge Police Department for "acting stupidly" when they arrested Gates for being in his home. Today it is being reported that Crowley refuses to apologize and regrets nothing about the incident which the DA and Cambridge PD have refused to further because it is flawed in so many ways. As of this posting we have still not found out the identity of the 40 year old woman who initially called police on Gates for entering his own home.
Unsurprisingly, the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association (of which Crowley is a member due to his Sergeant status) put out a statement offering their "full and unqualified" support of Sergeant Crowley. They also stated: "His actions at the scene of this matter were consistent with his training, with the informed policies and practices of the Department, and with applicable legal standards." Let's back up a moment. Crowley arrested Gates for "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public place." While Gates may or may not have been loud and/or tumultuous, he was in his own home. That's like arresting a person for public nudity for taking a shower in their house; it doesn't make sense. And if, as the union statement alleges, Crowley had followed the "informed policies and practices of the Department" and "applicable legal standards," then why did the DA drop the charges at the insistence of Cambridge PD? If what Crowley did was by the book and correct, why was Gates not even arraigned before all charges were dropped?
The answer is simple: because Crowley was wrong. He has publicly embarrassed the department, he has the president of the United States criticizing him, and he has the mayor doing damage control because of his actions, but he feels with certainty that he owes no one an apology. In fact, Crowley this morning took to the airwaves to tell his version of the story. Who did he go to to say it? Dennis and Callahan on WEEI. While the two can be funny about sports, they have proven to be less than stellar when it comes to social issues. Anyone in Boston remembers when they were suspended for their racist remarks regarding an escaped gorilla from the Franklin Park Zoo when they compared the animal to a METCO student trying to get to school in the suburbs (click the link for the full story). Why would Crowley, who is being accused of racial profiling, go onto a show whose hosts were suspended for racist comments? It shows poor judgment, just like arresting Gates did.
Crowley still goes with the "You didn't see Gates, you don't know why I arrested him" spiel. He's right, we don't know why he arrested him. The DA's office and the Cambridge PD brass do not know why he arrested him. The mayor of Cambridge does not know why he arrested him. That's why they had all charges dropped. The real problem here is that Crowley will not face any type of discipline for falsely arresting someone; for wasting Cambridge time, money, and resources in such a difficult time budget-wise. Thusly, there is no disincentive for Crowley to arrest someone else in their house trying to pin a public property crime on him/her again. We would be having a completely different discussion if the charges stuck for more than a week on Gates, but they were dropped well before arriagnment, meaning the arresting officer (in this case Crowley) was wrong. He made the mistake of arresting Gates. An apology from Crowley would have ended the media coverage. Instead, in his stubbornness, he refused to apologize, made an international news story out of it, and then goes on a station hosted by two people who have made racist jokes on air and been suspended for it to tell his side of the story. Tell me which of the two - Gates or Crowley - displayed poor judgment. Peace.
Photos - Sergeant James Crowley (Boston.com), Gates being arrested for a public property crime (note his location on his own private property) (Boston Globe)