Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sergeant Crowley Refuses to Apologize; Still Thinks He Did Nothing Wrong

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 (, Gates being arrested for a public property crime (note his location on his own private property) (Boston Globe)


  1. We will never know the facts. Under one set of facts Gates may be right; under another Crowley could be right. Without knowing the facts, my best guess is that 2 guys had a dispute & neither would back down. Unfortunately for Gates, the cop had the power of arrest when Gates wouldn't back down. Had the dispute been in a classroom, Gates could have failed Gates for not cooperating/insulting his mother or whatever happened. Gates now has a more public forum & can ask his friend Mr. President to say the cop did a stupid thing (even though Mr. Pres. admits he does not know all the facts).

    I have always taught my children not to talk back to cops because they can arrest you. People who talk back to cops can & will be arrested; no surprise there.

    I though Presidents & elected officials didn't like to make conclusions about the actions of police officers until they knew the facts; that surprises me.

  2. I agree with your point about people who talk about to cops can & will be arrested. No doubt about it. I have the utmost respect for the men and women who go out each day and risk their lives in the name of public safety.

    But, when one of these officers is wrong, he should admit his fault. A bade doesn't give you a Golden Ticket.

    The point of the whole story centers around racial profiling. While we may never know what was said behind closed doors, the truth is that Gates was arrested for breaking into his own house and displaying suspicious behavior in a public place (the former isn't a crime and the latter isn't true). Certainly, this would have never made the national news if he was white -- or it would never have happened in the first place, who knows? The fact of the matter is that it did happen and it happened to a black man; a prominent black man who is on the same social and intellectual level as our President. If it happened to him, one can only imagine how often the same event (racial profiling) occurs in other worse neighborhoods.

    What Kane focused on, which he should have, is acknowledging the fact the race definitely played a factor in this arrest. Going a step further, it's necessary to acknowledge these incidents in the hopes that someday we will all be seen in the same light under the law.

  3. Forgetting for the moment
    that it was an arrest outdoors
    in front of witnesses...

    You can, in point of fact, be
    arrested for disorderly conduct
    from the confines of your own
    home. Try it, make enough
    noise within your own four walls
    to get a complaining neighbor to
    call the police, then mouth off
    to the officer(s) who show up.

    Let me know how the oatmeal is
    for breakfast in lockup the
    next morning.

  4. Here's what happened: Gates took a nutty for no reason and was arrested for cause. He took umbrage when a cop was looking out for his property and is now playing the race card.
    He was arrested for being an asshole, not for being black.
    Most other people would show the cop their ID and say, "Thanks for making sure my home wasn't being burglarized."
    Gates, instead, became disorderly, and was arrested. If it was racial, then why did the black cop at the scene allow it?
    Gates continues to dig a bigger hole in this matter and, unfotunately for Gates, this is a good cop who did his job properly.
    Gates also lied about his inability to yell (claiming bronchitis), if you beleieve the seven, neutral eye-witnesses.
    The liberals have taken Gates's side, despite the evidence that supports the cop more than Gates.
    Let's hear the tapes.
    Typical of the elitist liberals to take Gates's side - nice editorial from the ACLU's Carol Rose, who is quite uninformed on the matter.
    Gates is fanning the flames of racism with his lies.

  5. I don't believe we still have all the facts. Some news broadcasts (NBC - July 23) claimed that the Gates' home had had an attempted burglary months before. Furthermore, Crowley is the police officer who trains cadets on "How NOT to Racial Profile." We can only speculate as to what really happened. As an outsider, it looks like two men who refused to back down to each other...but then again, I was not there nor do I know what the words of exchange were.
    More importantly, our President, when asked, should have simply said he bothered when he was first apprised of the incident, but that he believes in our justice system and fully expects the right and proper outcome. End of story. Racial profiling is not something President Obama should be accusing or not accusing someone of.
    I was hopeful when President Obama, upon being asked to comment, responded by saying that he didn't know all the facts....but that's where he should have stopped. Bad form because, unfortunately, it was "THE" story the next morning, instead of (alas) healthcare. It is uncharacteristic of Obama not to give a response deep thought and to measure his words...apparently (to me at least)this seems to be a personal "hot button" with him...but his diplomacy approach versus a castigating approach is SO MUCH more effective. Stay the course, Mr. President.

  6. Give me a break!

    Everyone knows that YWB (Yelling While Black) is a big an offense as DWB (Driving While Black)!

  7. Fanning racial profiling or racism is not the way to go. The point Firenze is making is that we do not know that it is even the case in this matter. Generalizing IS racial profiling - so YWB and DWB are not helpful when trying to come to conflict resolution. You need to take a side: be part of the problem or part of the solution. I advise the latter.

  8. Solution: Gates apologizes for being a jerk. The sergeant apologizes for following police procedure. The sergeant then quits his job because it is immoral to work under a system of law which allows a police officer to arrest people for being jerks.

  9. Crowley is an idiot. His bosses are not defending him. His Union is. The Union is as idiotic as Crowley.

    If anyone thinks race didn't play a major part in this, they're from another planet.

    The situation now is stubborn arrogance on Crowley's part, and being totally fed up with being profiled on Gate's part.

    So we can't talk back to a police officer? So much for free speech, specially in your own home.

  10. Police responded to a call about a possible break-in. Upon arriving one of the people thought to be breaking in was inside the house. He was asked to produce identification, he refused, and become abusive, He was areested, not for burlary, but for being disorderly.
    Did Mr. Gates think the police were supposed to take his word that this was his home? Show your identification, thank them for responding to the call, and get on with your day.
    I dont think the cop did anything wrong. You respond to a call like that you expect cooperation because thats what most citizens would give you. Someone refuses to cooperate, gets loud, obnoxious, whether your black, white, hispanic, you can expect the police are going to arrest you.
    I dont think this was about race at all.
    I think gates didnt allow the police to do there job as they are trained to do it. So he got arrested. Its just a shame the district attorney office dropped the charges because the race card was played.

  11. Being uncooperative and disorderly isn't the reaction that Gates probably should have taken, yes. Presenting his ID would have made this night a whole lot simpler. But, what I do think, based on the circumstances is that the police arrived on the scene and found a black man in a house (and they had reason to believe he shouldn't have been there). Mind you, this is a well dressed black man, see the picture in the blog post above. For a man who is trained in racial profiling, does Gates fit the profile of a robber??

    Crowley messed up and needs to apologize.

    Adrian Walker of the Boston Globe offers a more constructive solution that the president alluded to in his statement: the two sitting down together, no cameras, to talk. I wholeheartedly agree.

  12. I totally agree that racial profiling remains a big problem in today's society, but not in this instance. It's understandable for Gates to be perturbed by the situation, but I don't think it was right for him to automatically accuse Crowley of racism simply because he was responding to a break-in, in a neighborhood that had recently experienced break-ins nonetheless. The fact that Gate is continuing to pursue this issue at the risk of ruining Crowley's reputation is even more ridiculous. It's fine if Gate's wants to campaign to eliminate racial profiling, but to demand an apology from someone who apparently did their job correctly isn't the way to do it. If anything, this will hurt what Gates is trying to accomplish more than it will help. It'll be interesting to see how this turn out!

    By the way, congrats on being featured!

  13. The results are in.....and the facts
    have been story checked by the original police report filed by Crowley, the recorded 911 call and the recording of Crowley on the police radio calling for more hollering in the background by Gates, no dialogue between Officer Crowley and the lady who called 911, or no mention of "black men with backpaks" breaking in... Rather Ms Whelan was careful not to mention race or any assumptions in what she saw...stating merely that there were two men trying to get into the house and that there were suitcases on the porch and perhaps they lived there and were locked out. Yet in the police report, Crowley tries to justify his unethical behavior by lying about his so-called conversation with Ms Whelan and frauduently making up blatent untruths about black men with backpaks in a crime ridden neighborhood! I suggest that perhaps some of you who commented and automatically believed the police version should check yourselves. Cops lie on police reports all the time and some even get away with murder. This is about living in a fascist police state where armed men who are supposed to 'serve and protect' we, the people' have really gone astray and really work for the feds who could care less about our rights that once were protected by the Constitution, and has become so corrupted while citizens have become so docile and fearful that no one dares to speak out against this madness and demonic force...
    It is time to wake up people and educate yourself about what is really going on, and get together in building stronger communities where we can live in peace and pay our taxes for positive changes that will directly benefit those who live here...and disband these police depts of terrorists in disguise----and begin to hold these officials and authorities accountable for their actions and learn to work together to solve our own problems because our government has revealed its ugliness--for, by and of???

    has shown us time after time what drives their power..just ask dick...