Police in Cambridge Massachusetts have released the 911 call that led to the arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The caller said she was not sure a crime was actually being committed, and she never said the people who were possibly breaking into the house were black.
When you listen to it (see below), ask yourself this: Does it prove President Barack Obama right? Was he right when he said the Cambridge police acted "stupidly"?
A recap: Gates had trouble getting into his house July 16, so he and a friend had to force the door open. When police arrived, Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct for being uncooperative with police. Charges were later dropped, but Gates and others say this was clearly a case of racial profiling.
The 911 call raises new questions over how the situation escalated to the point of arrest. A woman named Lucia Whalen called 911, and said an elderly woman stopped her on the street, saying she saw two men trying to force the door open and feared it was a break-in. Throughout the call, Whalen spoke calmly, with no sense of urgency. At different points she says the two had suitcases. "What do the suitcases have to do with anything?" the officer asks. Whalen tries to tell him again that it might be an indication that the men live in the house -- and are not committing.
"I don't know if they live there and they just had a hard time with their key. But I did notice they used their shoulder to try to barge in and they got in. I don't know if they had a key or not, 'cause I couldn't see from my angle," Whalen says.
Whalen never mentions the race of the men, until the operator asks, "Were they white, black or Hispanic?" Her response: "Um, well, there were 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."
The officer who arrested Gates, Sgt. James Crowley, said in his police report that he talked to Whalen soon after he arrived at Gates' home. "She went on to tell me that she observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch," Crowley, wrote in his report. Whalen's attorney, Wendy Murphy, said her client never mentioned the men's race to Crowley and is upset by news reports she believes have unfairly depicted her as a racist.
"She doesn't live in the area. She is by no means the entitled white neighbor. That has been the theme in the blogs and the implication in some of the mainstream news media," Murphy told the Associated Press.
Listen to the entire 911 call here: