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Harvard Professor Details Grim Reality of Pomposity Profiling at Hands of Insolent Law Enforcement

11:09 AM, Jul 28, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Professor John Evans Evans-John (from the ever-ingenious Iowahawk). Slight content warning for the language:

Eventually my arrest record was expunged and I agreed to meet the loathsome arresting officer at President Faust's office for a conciliatory off-record "beer chat." As the University Counsel had predicted, the lure of free limitless alcohol proved irresistible to the simpleminded Irishman, and he was soon happily signing confessions of guilt and abject apologies. Still, even after he was fired, I was left to pick up the pieces of my shattered psyche.

The much-anticipated beer summit will be Thursday night:

The cop, the prof and the prez will meet for that beer at 6 p.m. Thursday, a sleepy White House official told us after it was first blogged by ABC's industrious Jake Tapper. L.A.Times/Chicago Tribune's Peter Nicholas: "The beer summit will be monitored closely. Many black leaders believe Obama was on target with his initial comments. They don't want the moment to pass without a fuller discussion of racial profiling. … Law enforcement agencies will be watching closely for any sign that the president will favor his friend Gates over Crowley. … ‘Whenever you get race and politics, it's like catnip,' [Robert] Gibbs said, sitting behind his desk in his West Wing office. ‘All you need is a spark -- and cable television is happy to do that.'"

Yes, I remember it was cable television that went on national TV and unilaterally declared the actions of the Cambridge Police Department "stupid." Comcast is so inappropriately outspoken sometimes when it's holding press conferences about current affairs. Bad Comcast!

On a much more serious note, this video of Crowley's fellow Cambridge police officers standing behind him is a must-see. Stick around for the words of Kelly King, a black woman and member of the department who has known Crowley for more than a decade. I'll transcribe her full comments below, but her assessment of the president is this:

"It's unfortunate, I supported him. I voted for him. I will not again...I think it's admirable that he would speak on behalf of his friend, but he should have recused himself. He should have stepped back, and he should have said, 'I support my friend, but I don't have all the facts. I won't weigh in yet.'"

Embedded video from CNN Video

Speaking entirely anecdotally, I happened to be in Boston briefly this weekend, and the bars were abuzz with talk of Gates-gate. It's not scientific of course, but every person I met who found out I was in politics wanted to talk about their brother or cousin or sister who's a cop who is livid over the president's rush to judgment. Generally, the tendency is for people to shy away from the issues of the day once they find out what I do, which is fine with me as I'd often just rather enjoy my drink. It struck me as telling that so many people wanted to vent about this incident. The president Cable television has struck a nerve that is unlikely to be quieted with one round of drinks.

If you can't watch or don't have patience for the video above, Kelly King's remarks are below the fold. She's quite a witness:Q: What did you think when you heard about these charges against Sgt. Crowley?

"I was appalled. I know Jimmy...I know him to be a good police officer, a good man with character, and I knew these charges were bogus. There has been a tremendous rush to judgment, and I think the thing to be learned first and foremost from this is to look at all of the evidence, to consider all, to weigh all.

I think Prof. Gates has done a very good job of throwing up a very effective smokescreen, calling race into this. It had nothing to do with it.

Q: And, the President?

"It's unfortunate, I supported him. I voted for him. I will not again...I think it's admirable that he would speak on behalf of his friend, but he should have recused himself. He should have stepped back, and he should ahev said, "I support my friend, but I don't ahve all the facts. I won't weigh in yet.'"

Q: What do you have to say to people who may have already made up their minds about Sgt. Crowley?

"Keep their minds open and realize that we would not support someone who we felt wronged someone else. We took this job to do the right thing. We all took this job to do the right thing.We would not support anyone in blue doing the wrong thing."