Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Police officer incorrectly wrote in report that witness had mentioned race of professor trying to get into his own house

July 28, 2009
Recording of police calls adds to Gates controversy

The police sergeant who arrested Harvard University's Henry Louis Gates Jr. called the professor uncooperative and asked for backup officers and a police wagon, according to a recording of police radio transmissions.

Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley can be heard telling the radio dispatcher Gates isn't cooperating and saying to "keep the cars coming," according to the recording, made public Monday by the police department. Toward the end of the 4-minute, 37-second recording, Crowley asks if the wagon has been dispatched, a reference to a vehicle police use to transport arrestees.

The recording added to the controversy that has continued for a week, featuring Gates' accusation he was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge because he's black and President Barack Obama's criticism of the police department for "acting stupidly."

Gates, returning from a trip to China, and his driver had forced their way through the front door because it was jammed. Police dropped the charge last week and Obama invited Gates and Crowley to the White House for beer.
Break-ins in the area

Police also have released a recording of a woman's 911 phone call. A police report identifies the caller as Lucia Whalen. She couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

But her attorney, Wendy Murphy, said her client never mentioned the men's race to Crowley and is upset by news reports she believes have unfairly depicted her as a racist.

Whalen works nearby at the Harvard alumni magazine, her lawyer said. "She doesn't live in the area. She is by no means the entitled white neighbor. ... That has been the theme in the blogs and the implication in some of the mainstream news media," Murphy said Monday.

In the recording, when the police dispatcher asks the woman if the men were white, black or Hispanic, she describes one as looking "kind of Hispanic" and says she didn't get a good look at the other.

Crowley wrote in his police report that Whalen told him that "she observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch."...

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