Sgt. James Crowley Should Reject President Barack Obama’s Offer Unless He (Crowley) Acted Improperly
--Richard E. Vatz
I have blogged on the publicly available and relevant issues raised in the Sgt. James Crowley-Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. confrontation and President Barack Obama’s reaction. As that blog indicated, when one examines the indisputable components of the evidence, “this was no example of racist police behavior and certainly not racial profiling.”
A most interesting development has now occurred respecting those matters, and it is this: following a clear diminution of public outrage by Professor Gates and President Obama, the latter has invited the 2 major principals, Crowley and Gates, to the White House. As summarized by The Washington Post, “After a phone call from President Barack Obama urging calm in the aftermath of his arrest last week, the black professor said he would accept Obama's invitation to the White House for a beer with him and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley. In a statement posted Friday on The Root, a Web site Gates oversees, the scholar said he told Obama he'd be happy to meet with Crowley, whom Gates had accused of racial profiling.”
Should Sgt. Crowley go?
The opinion here is: not unless Sgt. Crowley believes he acted improperly.
The relationship between the officer and the scholar is, Crowley has indicated, one of a policeman who is executing the law and a man whose behavior warranted an arrest.
Further, the arrest was pursuant to gratuitous vile characterizations of the police officer and his mother, made by the professor.
Sgt. Crowley Crowley said on WEEI sports radio network that it was "disappointing that [Obama] waded into what should be a local issue that plays out here" and added that an “apology will never come. It won't come from me as Jim Crowley. It won't come from me as a sergeant in the police department.” He has also indicated that race was irrelevant to his (Crowley’s) actions.
To meet with Professor Gates, who Sgt. Crowley alleges was unruly and combative from the start, and a president who Crowley argued was improperly involving himself in a local law enforcement matter and who now has retrenched to the point wherein he, the president, says that both parties “overreacted,” would constitute a symbolic reversal of those positions.
A meeting with the arrested man even at the behest of the president of the United States would also level all ranks and would, therefore, be hierarchically inappropriate.
Unless Sgt. Crowley is now prepared to admit he erred in arresting Professor Gates, he should politely and graciously reject the president’s offer.
--Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University