Sunday, professor Louis Henry Gates retreated from his threat to sue Sgt. James Crowley. Friday, President Obama retreated from his charge that the Cambridge cops "acted stupidly."
As Crowley has not budged an inch -- his arrest of Gates was correct, and there will be no apology -- there is no doubt who won this face-off. Game, set, match, Crowley and the Cambridge cops.
It is, indeed, as Obama said Friday, a "teachable moment."
And those most in need of teaching are the professor, the governor of Massachusetts and President Obama. By charging or suggesting Gates was a victim of racial profiling, all three were guilty of having reflexively reverted to racial stereotypes about white cops.
Here is the chronology.
Answering a 911 call about a break-in in progress, Crowley encountered the professor inside the house. According to Crowley's report, his request for Gates' I.D. was initially rebuffed, and he was accused of hassling Gates because he was black. The professor made a slurring reference to Crowley's "mama."
The professor then raised such a ruckus Crowley arrested and cuffed him.
Once in the street, Gates bellowed, "This is what happens to a black man in America." Gates then called Crowley a "rogue cop."
Gov. Deval Patrick declared Gates' arrest "every black man's nightmare." Obama said the Cambridge cops had "acted stupidly" and went on to elaborate, on nationwide TV, on the sad history of racial profiling of blacks and Hispanics by police.
Thus the two most powerful black elected officials in the U.S., with no hard knowledge of what happened, came down on the side of a black professor, their buddy, against a white cop and his department, implying racial motivation in the arrest of Gates.
Yet there is still not a shred of evidence for their rush to judgment.
Crowley's partner in the arrest was a black officer who said he stands "100 percent" behind Crowley and that Gates acted "strange."
Sixteen years ago, Crowley gave CPR to an unconscious Boston Celtics star, Reggie Lewis, in an attempt to save his life. The memory of his failure caused Crowley to break down in tears and haunts him to this day.
Crowley was selected by a black police lieutenant to teach fellow officers about racial profiling. He has been doing this for five years.
And watching TV coverage for a week, this writer has yet to hear one cop anywhere condemn Crowley's handling of the incident.
Outside the fevered imagination of Louis Henry Gates, then, where is the evidence Crowley engaged in racial profiling?
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