Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and his arresting officer, Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley, continued their hops-inspired peace making again Wednesday at River Gods in Central Square, WBZ-TV has reported. Crowley arrested Gates for disorderly conduct July 16 after the noted expert on race had to break into his own home.

The Boston Globe, Boston Herald and a host of other media are acknowledging the meeting — announced vaguely during the first “beer summit” convened by President Barack Obama over the summer — and generally saying the whole summer incident was overblown in retrospect. All’s well that ends well?

Not really. There continue to be very serious questions underlying the arrest, including how the race of the suspect crept in to Crowley’s report (the woman who called 911 hadn’t specified that anyone was black) and whether the “disorderly conduct” arrest was valid and fair (Gates was on his own property and there is a question as to how disorderly he was being, as well as to what level such conduct must rise before an arrest  is truly justified). Most police chiefs and experts asked by National Public Radio said they would not have made an arrest under those circumstances.

Police panels in Cambridge are considering the incident from a number of angles, and Harvard Law professor Charles J. Ogletree — a friend of Gates’ — has announced his intention to write a book on the arrest.