911 and police dispatch tapes captured some of the action between Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. last week. Cambridge police are considering making the tapes public, which could give provide a much clearer understanding of what transpired.
In a radio interview yesterday morning with WEEI’s John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, Crowley, a 42-year-old father of three, said he hasn’t heard the tapes.
“One of my first transmissions was to slow the units down and I’m in the residence with somebody I believe resides here, but he’s being very uncooperative. So, that’s in real time,” Crowley told the sports-talk hosts.
“I’m not really sure how much you could hear from Professor Gates, you know, in the background. I, I don’t know. I haven’t heard the tapes.”
If it’s the tapes prove that Gates has been lying about his actions that day don’t expect retractions or apologies for besmirching the reputation of, by all accounts, a stellar policeman. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has already moved the goalposts in that regard when he says, “You ought to be able to raise your voice in your own house without risk of arrest.”
From the previous article:
“It’s powerful evidence because the (people involved) have not had a chance to reflect and you are getting their state of mind captured on tape,” said former prosecutor and New York City police officer Eugene O’Donnell, who is now a lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan.
“More often than not,” O’Donnell said, “as the facts come out, they are more favorable to the cop. It’s crucial in the sense that it provides independent evidence. There is no question it provides corroboration.” He called the tapes potentially “crucial” to Crowley’s ability to defend himself against charges of racism.
If you’re keeping score at home, the police report has identical reports from two of the officers and the scene, and as we noted yesterday a witness corroborated the story that Gates was yelling loudly at the officers. Sgt. James Crowley teaches courses on racial profiling at the police academy, and prior to joining the police force spent 15 minutes trying to save the life of Boston Celtic Reggie Lewis.
For his part Gates has claimed he was incapable of yelling and might sue.
As Michael Graham notes, it appears that the only racist that day was Gates.