Sunday, May 19, 2024

Jennifer Flagg

The final report from the so-called Gates committee is in the final drafting stages and due out in late spring, likely meaning early June, committee liaison Jennifer Flagg said Monday.

With about a month until June 21, the first day of summer, the Cambridge Review Committee has completed its interviews (“Unless something comes up at the last minute, which I don’t anticipate,” Flagg said) and almost certainly has met as a large group for the last time, she said. But the end of the process is not so close that there are decisions on how the final report will be revealed to elected officials or the public.

“I would have to have conversations with the commissioner and city manager about next steps,” Flagg said, referring to Police Commissioner Robert Haas and City Manager Robert W. Healy. “I don’t know the details of the rollout strategy.”

She expected the first steps would be briefings for elected officials and “some other interested parties.”

It was Haas and Healy who decided in September to create the committee, which is looking into issues surrounding the July 16 arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. by Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley. It was not to look into the arrest itself, in which Crowley was at Gates’ home in response to a report of a possible burglary but arrested him on a charge of disorderly conduct after the burglary fears were resolved. The professor had accused Crowley of being there because of his race — black, while Crowley is white — and the incident gained international prominence after President Barack Obama, a friend of Gates’, said police had “acted stupidly.”

The $210,000 committee was stocked with a dozen experts of various kinds from around the country, with Haas giving them a timeline of about five months. Difficulties in gathering information and scheduling meetings caused delays, and Flagg first gave the “late spring” end date in a March 1 progress report.

Flagg said she is writing the final report with “other people on committee who are excellent writers and taking responsibility for certain sections.”