Friday, July 31, 2009

Sgt. Crowley's Press Conference: Beer Summit Fizzles?

Sgt. Crowley appears like the consummate professional to me:

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Professor Gates made his statement at The Root, " 'An Accident of Time and Place'."

But see, Peter Wallsten and Mike Dorning, "
Beer Summit: Professor, Officer Have Cordial Chat With President Barack Obama":
A national furor over race relations paused Thursday as President Barack Obama, in a shady spot on the White House lawn near the Rose Garden, sat down for beers with a black Harvard professor and the white police officer who arrested him two weeks ago.

For the two men who raised mugs of beer with the president -- both of whom wore suits and ties and sat stiffly in what was meant to be a casual moment -- the discussion of race and policing will go on.

The arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge, Mass., police, said afterward that he had already discussed racial issues with the professor, African-American studies scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., and that the two had set plans to talk further.

But for Obama, the most anticipated happy hour in recent memory may be little more than a timeout in a debate over racial profiling and other racially charged issues.

Obama helped escalate the national debate by saying the Cambridge police had "acted stupidly" in arresting the black professor on disorderly conduct charges at the scholar's home.

Charges against Gates were later dropped, but whether Gates had been arrested July 16 because he was black has since spawned a national debate.

Obama has tried gradually over the past week to ease the controversy, most notably by saying he regretted his choice of words and setting up what became known as a "beer summit."

The get-together Thursday had been described by the White House as a "teachable moment."

A small group of camera people and reporters was permitted to witness the meeting only for about 30 seconds and from about 50 feet away, showing Obama, in shirt sleeves, seated at an oval able with the now-famous adversaries.

Gates and Crowley appeared to talk seriously, and at one point, Obama laughed heartily.

Joining the three was Vice President Joe Biden, also in shirt sleeves.

Crowley said later that no apologies were exchanged between him and Gates. The police sergeant called the discussion Thursday "cordial and productive" but declined to offer specifics.

Gates struck a calming tone in a statement to the Web site The Root.

"The national conversation over the past week about my arrest has been rowdy, not to say tumultuous and unruly," he said. "But ... there's reason to hope that many people have emerged with greater sympathy for the daily perils of policing, on the one hand, and for the genuine fears about racial profiling, on the other hand."
See also Memeorandum, and the Washington Post,"Gates, Police Officer Share Beers and Histories With President."

Video Hat Tip:
Hot Air.