CBS Early Show Finally Tells Other Side of the Story in Gates Case

Harry Smith, CBS After portraying Professor Henry Gates as a victim of racial profiling on Thursday, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith reported: "We are learning more about the arresting officer...this is the guy hand-picked to help teach recruits how not to racially profile. This is a guy who helped try to save the life of [late Boston Celtics basketball player] Reggie Lewis."

A report by correspondent Bianca Solorzano further informed viewers: "It turns out the arresting white officer was actually hand-picked by a black police commissioner to have him teach recruits how to avoid racial profiling...Sergeant James Crowley, an 11-year veteran of the force, is an expert on racial profiling, having taught a course at the police academy."

In addition, Solorzano’s report featured clips of an interview with Sergeant Crowley: "I acted appropriately. Mr. Gates was given plenty of opportunity to stop what he was doing. He didn't...There was a lot of yelling. There was references to my mother, something you wouldn't expect from anybody that would be – should be grateful that you're there investigating the report of a crime in progress, let alone a Harvard University professor."

Solorzano also highlighted Crowley’s criticism of President Obama’s comments that police "acted stupidly" in the case: "I support the President of the United States 110%. I think he's way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts as he himself stated." Later Friday afternoon Obama expressed regret over his comments and acknowledged that Crowley had a "fine track record" on racial issues.

Following the report by Solorzano, Smith spoke with Cambridge, Massachusetts Mayor Denise Simmons and again spoke with Professor Gates’ daughter Elizabeth Gates, whom he had spoken with on Thursday. Mayor Simmons simply noted that the case was being investigated. Smith then turned to Gates and asked: "Is it possible these are two righteous guys saying, ‘I'm not who you think I am’?" She continued to attack Crowley: "I don't think that the officer is at all being cooperative in any kind of extensive resolution to this...my father has said that he'll participate in whatever the next step must be. And if the officer is saying that he won't, I think he needs to maybe extend his sensitivity training."

During her Thursday appearance on the show, Gates claimed: "my father might be one of the last black men on earth who actually believed in the justice system...a proponent of, you know, intellectualism can help you outrun the – the war on race. And I think the incident last week is a clear indication that that's not yet true." Smith responded by wondering why Crowley had not apologized to Professor Gates.

Here is the full transcript of the Friday segment:

7:00AM TEASE:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: More heated accusations in the arrest scandal involving a Harvard professor. As President Obama tones down his criticism, the officer doesn't back down.

JAMES CROWLEY [SERGEANT, CAMBRIDGE POLICE DEPARTMENT]: I acted appropriately. Mr. Gates was given plenty of opportunity to stop what he was doing. He didn't.

7:06AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: The police commissioner of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is assembling an independent panel to review last week's controversial arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates. Also this morning, we are learning more about the arresting officer. CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano is in Cambridge with more. Good morning.

BIANCA SOLORZANO: Hi, good morning. Since his arrest, Henry Gates has claimed that he was the victim of racial profiling. It turns out the arresting white officer was actually hand-picked by a black police commissioner to have him teach recruits how to avoid racial profiling.

JAMES CROWLEY: The apology won't come from me. I've done nothing wrong.

SOLORZANO: Sergeant James Crowley, an 11-year veteran of the force, is an expert on racial profiling, having taught a course at the police academy. In an interview Thursday, Crowley defended his actions of one week ago.

CROWLEY: I acted appropriately. Mr. Gates was given plenty of opportunity to stop what he was doing. He didn't.

SOLORZANO: And he placed the blame squarely on Professor Gates.

CROWLEY: There was a lot of yelling. There was references to my mother, something you wouldn't expect from anybody that would be – should be grateful that you're there investigating the report of a crime in progress, let alone a Harvard University professor.

SOLORZANO: Crowley also took on the President for his remark that Cambridge police acted stupidly.

CROWLEY: I support the President of the United States 110%. I think he's way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts as he himself stated.

SOLORZANO: Meanwhile, the President tried to defuse the growing controversy.

BARACK OBAMA: From what I can tell, the sergeant who was involved is an outstanding police officer, but my suspicion is probably that it would have been better if cooler heads had prevailed.

SMITH: Joining us once again is Professor Gates’ daughter Elizabeth, a writer for the DailyBeast.com, and from Massachusetts, Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons. Good morning to you both.

ELIZABETH GATES: Good morning.

DENISE SIMMONS: Good morning.

SMITH: I want to read one other quote from President Obama from last night, from ABC. He said ‘I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don't need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man, who uses a cane, who's in his own home.’ The President is now involved in this conversation. Madam Mayor, do you feel like your officer responded properly when he went to Professor Gates' home?

DENISE SIMMONS: You know, just recently our commissioner, Commissioner Haas, gave a press conference. And in his press conference he talked about, just briefly, what had happened. And what he said was that the police officer followed practices and procedures. He also said out of that is that he would be – he would be bringing together a panel of individuals to look at what happened, the practices and the procedures, and then, from that, make the appropriate recommendations.

SMITH: You said you would love to get these two men together.

SIMMONS: Yes.

SMITH: Have you had a positive response from either?

SIMMONS: I certainly have had a positive response from Professor Gates through [Harvard University] Professor Ogletree. I have not had an opportunity to talk to Sergeant Crowley, but I have talked to the city manager, and he has committed to getting him into the room with Commissioner Haas.

SMITH: Especially knowing what we know now, Elizabeth, about this officer – this is the guy hand-picked to help teach recruits how not to racially profile. This is a guy who helped try to save the life of a – of Reggie Lewis. Is it possible these are two righteous guys saying, ‘I'm not who you think I am’?

ELIZABETH GATES: Well, I think at this point it's beyond who they were in that moment. I think now it's about conflict resolution, and I don't think that the officer is at all being cooperative in any kind of extensive resolution to this. I think he's been defensive at best by saying, you know, even I saw on the show yesterday that he refuses to give an apology. So, you know, as the mayor just eloquently stated, my father has said that he'll participate in whatever the next step must be. And if the officer is saying that he won't, I think he needs to maybe extend his sensitivity training.

SMITH: Here's what's interesting, because this has created this conversation in this country. And I wonder if it only serves to reinforce what people already believe in the first place. If that meeting could be possible, maybe something could go beyond this, but if it doesn't happen, people will just sit back and say, ‘see, that's how it is.’

GATES: I think you're exactly right. I think, if it's left as is, I think we're going to rely on what our preconceived notions of disagreement in race have been for so long. But I think, if we watch these two people come together and actually, you know, create a resolution that doesn't end in some bitter lawsuit, I think there – it will signify progress.

SMITH: Elizabeth, thank you. Madam Mayor, thank you as well.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC