A Cambridge, Massachusetts, police officer said Thursday he will "never apologize" about how he handled the arrest of prominent black Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
“That apology will never come from me as Jim Crowley, it won’t come from me as sergeant in the Cambridge Police Department,” Sgt. James Crowley told Boston radio station WEEI. “Whatever anybody else chooses to do in the name of the city of Cambridge or the Cambridge Police Department which are beyond my control, I don’t worry about that. I know what I did was right. I have nothing to apologize for.” Crowley also said he was exercising caution and is clearly not a racist based on his previous actions. Those actions, Crowley told the Boston Herald, include giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to former Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis, who suffered a fatal heart attack in 1993 at Brandeis University when Crowley was a campus cop. “I wasn’t working on Reggie Lewis the basketball star. I wasn’t working on a black man,” Crowley told the Boston Herald. “I was working on another human being.” Gates was arrested last week at his home after a confrontation with Crowley. Cambridge authorities on Tuesday dropped disorderly conduct charges against Gates. Crowley also told WEEI that when he asked Gates to come out of his home, he thought a break-in had occurred or was still happening. “I didn’t know who [Gates] was. I was by myself. I was the only police officer standing there, and I got a report of people breaking into a house,” Crowley told WEEI. “That was for my safety first and foremost. I have to go home at night, I have three beautiful children and a wife who depend on me. So I had no other motive than to ensure my safety.” Responding to a reporter’s question on Gates’ arrest, President Obama said Wednesday night that the Cambridge police “acted stupidly.”
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Obama defended Gates while admitting that he may be “a little biased” because the professor is his friend. “But I think it’s fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry; No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, No. 3 … that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.” The incident shows “how race remains a factor in this society,” Obama said.
Crowley told WEEI that he was “disappointed” that Obama interjected himself into the situation. “He’s the president of the United States, and I support the president to a point,” Crowley told WEEI. “I think it’s disappointing that he waded into what should be a local issue and something that is — really that plays out here. As he himself had said at the beginning of that press conference, he didn’t know all the facts. He certainly doesn’t based on those comments. I just think it was very disappointing.”