Gates: I Can Joke About Arrest Now

Harvard prof kidded Cambridge cop at White House
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 2, 2009 5:24 PM CDT
President Barack Obama has a beer with Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., left and Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley, right, in the Rose Garden of the White House.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – A black Harvard scholar said today he has been able to joke about his arrest by a white police officer that led to a national debate on race, despite receiving death threats and bomb threats. In his first public appearance since meeting with Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley at the White House, Henry Louis Gates said he and the officer found some humor in the incident and have since discussed going out to eat or taking in a Boston Red Sox or Celtics game.

He said when their two families met in Washington, "Everyone looked like a deer caught in headlights." Crowley seemed very relieved when he shook his hand, he said. "I said to him, 'I would have sworn you were 6-feet-8 inches tall,'" Gates said. "He said, 'I used to be, but I've lost 2 to 3 feet over the last two weeks.'"