Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gates (Pt. 3)

The good news for the President in this Gates business is that, with the speed of today's news cycle, you'll probably have a mini-firestorm for a few days and then things will blow over. The bad news is everything else. While Obama is wisely in backpedaling mode, sending Gibbs out to assure that Obama doesn't think the arresting officer is stupid, and believes there's blame on "both sides" (can't wait to see the "Obama Sold Gates Out" pieces that one will generate), others aren't being so circumspect. I just turned on CNN and who did I see but Michael Eric Dyson in typical Dyson bullshit mode, saying that Gates got arrested because the officer in question could not take being confronted by an "articulate black man," and darkly warning that if Gates hadn't been able to rely on his status as professor at Harvard, "that august institution" (save us the pseudo-erudition), things might have been even worse. Are you a mind-reader, Michael Eric? Were you there? No? This is so reminiscent of the lacrosse affair at my alma mater, when Professor Houston Baker, a quite distinguished scholar of African-American literature, wrote a letter professing total agnosticism as to what actually happened but proceeded to claim that the stripper had been "injured for life" by the "violence and raucous witness" of the "young, white, violent drunken men" on the lacrosse team, and expressed worry as to whether the stripper would "ever sleep well again," all concluding in a demand that the entire team be expelled from the school, as they were "responsible for the horrors of this spring moment." Even after the charges got dropped and Baker was asked by one of the mothers of the accused if he would recant his labeling of her son as a young, violent white drunken man, he refused, calling her "a mother of a farm animal." Ugh. Anyway, it now hilariously comes out that the arresting officer...

has taught a racial profiling class at the Lowell Police Academy for five years.

His academy class, which he teaches with a black police officer, instructs about 60 police cadets per year who spend 12 hours in the classroom, said Lowell Police Academy Director Thomas Fleming.

“He’s a very professional police officer and he’s a good role model,” Fleming said. “Former police commissioner Ronny Watson, who is a person of color, hand-picked Sgt. Crowley. ... I presume because he would be the most qualified and most professional. He’s a very good instructor. He gets very high reviews by the students.”

Fleming said the course meets four times, for three hours a session. The students go through written material, then watch videos that portray scenarios a police officer may encounter. The videos are then discussed in class.

“He’ll have the students talk about how the different situations should be handled,” Fleming said. “I think he does a great job.”

Lawrence Hickman, a black Boston police officer who also teaches at the academy, said he’s worked alongside Crowley for years now and has nothing but the highest respect for him.

“He’s well versed in the subject matter he taught,” Hickman said. “He is the right instructor for the subject material ... I’m an African-American police officer, If there were any issues or if I thought he was biased, I would have addressed that. We all do the same job and we all know how things get spun out. The bottom line is he was there answering a call for help, he responded as a professional police officer.”

And Crowley himself spoke today, reiterating what he wrote in his report and defending the arrest:

"Mr. 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," Crowley told WBZ.

Crowley said Gates, the director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research and former host of the PBS show "African American Lives," called him a "racist cop."

"There was a lot of yelling, there was references to my mother," he added, "something you wouldn't expect from anybody that should be grateful that you were there investigating a report of a crime in progress, let alone a Harvard University professor."

The video of his interview is here.

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