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Cover-up? — Why Now?
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CNN has more actual facts about the incident in Cambridge:

(CNN) — The woman who made the 911 call that led to the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. never referred to black suspects when she called authorities for what she thought was a potential break-in.

Police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, released the 911 phone call Monday. In the call, Lucia Whalen reports seeing “two larger men, one looked kind of Hispanic, but I’m not really sure, and the other one entered, and I didn’t see what he looked like at all.”

“I just saw it from a distance, and this older woman was worried, thinking somebody’s breaking in someone’s house and they’ve been barging in,” Whalen says. “She interrupted me, and that’s when I noticed. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it at all, to be honest with you. So I was just calling because she was a concerned neighbor, I guess.”

Attorney Wendy Murphy, who represents Whalen, also categorically rejected part of the police report that said Whalen talked with Sgt. James Crowley, the arresting officer, at the scene.

“Let me be clear: She never had a conversation with Sgt. Crowley at the scene,” Murphy told CNN by phone. “And she never said to any police officer or to anybody ‘two black men.’ She never used the word ‘black.’ Period.”

She added, “I’m not sure what the police explanation will be. Frankly, I don’t care. Her only goal is to make it clear she never described them as black. She never saw their race. … All she reported was behavior, not skin color.”

In the police report, filed by Crowley, he says he spoke with Whalen outside the home before he approached Gates’ house.

“She went on to tell me that she observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch of Ware Street,” the report says. “She told me that her suspicions were aroused when she observed one of the men wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry.”

Sergeant Crowley obviously paid more attention in a creative writing class than report writing at the academy. Police reports are mind-numbingly dull because they are written in a somewhat archaic style to satisfy the requirements of the legal system. “Perpetrator”, “Suspect”, and “Defendant” may all refer to the same person, but the term used depends on which form you are filling out.

Crowley knew he screwed up and wrote the report using the initial caller to cover his errors in judgment. If he did it for a minor case like this, what else has he screwed up? The prosecutor has to realize that Crowley has made himself a liability as witness, as every defense attorney in the area will be filing a note card on this incident.

Every restriction that cops complain about about, like Miranda, started this way, with a cop screwing up. The job is tough enough without stupidity like this giving the bad guys another weapon to use. If they think they are going to have to deal with “attitude”, people are not going to talk to cops. This is a very similar situation to “counter-insurgency”, you need the people on your side or you can’t succeed.


1 Badtux { 07.27.09 at 4:16 pm }

Color me unsurprised. Testi-lying is rampant amongst the boys in blue nowdays. Unless you have video of the encounter it rarely gets noticed, and even when noticed it rarely results in as much as a reprimand.

– Badtux the Cynical Penguin
.-= ´s last blog ..Should Bernanke be reappointed? =-.

2 Bryan { 07.27.09 at 5:28 pm }

It really pisses me off because this is how bad guys get to walk.

Without Mark Furman’s games, OJ would have gone down. All the defense needs is reasonable doubt, and crap like this supplies it.

Cops and doctors cover for each other and we all pay the price.

3 Kryten42 { 07.30.09 at 10:20 am }

Funny you mention Mark Furman. That’s what C&L said also:

As the story of the arrest of Professor Henry Gates has unfolded, this was bound to happen. Apparently, the Boston Police Department now has their own Mark Fuhrman:

A Boston police officer allegedly sent a mass e-mail using a disgraceful racial slur in referring to Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., prompting the commissioner to move immediately to fire the cop, the Herald has learned.

Officer Justin Barrett, 36, a two-year veteran assigned to District B-3, was placed on administrative leave pending a termination hearing yesterday afternoon. When a supervisor confronted Barrett about the e-mail – in which he called Gates a “jungle monkey” – he admitted to being the author, according to officials.

Police Commissioner Edward Davis immediately stripped the cop of his gun and badge, according to officials. Barrett, who could not immediately be reached, has no prior disciplinary history. Read on…

I’ve tried to understand the minds of scum like this, but it only ends in excruciating pain — every time. With all the racist hate being spewed on right wing radio and television, it’s no wonder guys like Barrett are worked up to the point where they can no longer control their hatred. I guess this would be another one of those “teachable moments?”

Boston Police Officer Suspended For Sending E-mail Calling Professor Gates A “Jungle Monkey”

4 Bryan { 07.30.09 at 12:47 pm }

I don’t expect you to know this, Kryten, because you aren’t an American, but any American displaying the slightest surprise about racial tensions in and around Boston hasn’t been paying attention. School integration was just as nasty in Boston as it was in Little Rock, Arkansas. There is a very long history of discrimination in Massachusetts that goes back to its founding by the Puritans, and you have to be stone cold stupid not to know it.

Every new group that arrived was discriminated against, and after they achieved some parity, they discriminated. That has been the pattern in the area since 1620, so I don’t expect it to change anytime soon.

5 Badtux { 07.30.09 at 3:47 pm }

Yep, I seem to recall that it was last year in Boston that a group of kids from one of the public housing projects got run out of a beach by a mob of white kids. Anybody surprised by racism in Boston either hasn’t been paying attention, or isn’t American.

_ Badtux the Unsurprised Penguin
.-= ´s last blog ..Universal health care is… terrorism?! =-.

6 Bryan { 07.30.09 at 4:28 pm }

Of course, this can’t be true, Badtux, because everyone knows how liberal and politically correct the Northeast is, and has never had riots as a result of racial tensions, because that only happens in the South. [/sarcasm]

7 Kryten42 { 07.30.09 at 9:10 pm }

I do actually understand Bryan. I lived on the outskirts of Boston (Greater Boston) when I was contracted to GD as they have a large presence there originally because of the Boston Naval Shipyard even though it was officially closed after Vietnam. GD have a large interest in MIT, mostly digital electronics (C4) and IT related work there, for awhile. In fact, they have large offices scattered all over Massachusetts. I briefly dated a local woman, until one day on our way to dinner, she let loose a monologue about ‘black trash’ because we saw a negro who was obviously drunk stagger across the road singing (he didn’t have a bad voice actually). She really got worked up over it and was surprised that I didn’t share her views, so she proceeded to *educate* me, and I walked away and never saw her again. I saw two cop’s grab the guy and drag him away, I assumed to a precinct station.

I learned all about the *old money*. I was surprised to learn the State was referred to as the ‘Commonwealth of Massachusetts’.

Sad when a city, tows or state is more attractive than most of the people living there. I did find exceptions, but not a lot.

I also spent a little time in North Carolina where racism borders on Xenophobia in some areas.

8 Bryan { 07.30.09 at 10:24 pm }

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky [originally part of Virginia] are all called commonwealths, rather than states. After you order the stationary no one wants to make changes, and that’s what they were called before the US was formed.

I assume that it is the same pathology as those who experience abuse at the hands of their parents become abusers, or the stupidity of university hazing. People come to believe that it is normal so they continue the pattern. Part of it is “groupthink” and some peer pressure. You can’t organize a successful mob lynching without it.