AP: Supporters say the white policeman who arrested renowned black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his home is a principled police officer and family man who is being unfairly described as racist.
Friends and fellow officers — black and white — say Sgt. James Crowley, who was hand-picked by a black police commissioner to teach recruits about avoiding racial profiling, is calm and reliable.
"If people are looking for a guy who's abusive or arrogant, they got the wrong guy," said Andy Meyer of Natick, Mass., who has vacationed with Crowley, coached youth sports with him and is his teammate on a men's softball team. "This is not a racist, rogue cop."
Gates accused the 11-year department veteran of being an unyielding, race-baiting authoritarian after Crowley arrested and charged him with disorderly conduct last week.
Crowley confronted Gates in his home after a woman passing by summoned police for a possible burglary. The sergeant said he arrested Gates after the scholar repeatedly accused him of racism and made derogatory remarks about his mother, allegations the professor challenges. Gates has labeled Crowley a "rogue cop," demanded an apology and said he may sue the police department.
President Barack Obama elevated the dispute when he said Wednesday that Cambridge police "acted stupidly" during the encounter. Obama stepped back on Thursday, telling ABC News, "From what I can tell, the sergeant who was involved is an outstanding police officer, but my suspicion is probably that it would have been better if cooler heads had prevailed." (continues here)