Home > Race, Social Issues > Will Sgt. Crowley Apologize to Lucia Whalen?

Will Sgt. Crowley Apologize to Lucia Whalen?

July 30th, 2009

Crowley has made a defiant point that he would not apologize for the arrest of Gates. He was almost certainly speaking in terms of apologizing to Gates for acting in a racist manner. Probably he would react the same way if asked to apologize for an unwarranted arrest.

The real question is, will he apologize to Lucia Whalen for falsely putting words in her mouth? In his police report, Crowley wrote:

As I reached the door, a female voice called out to me. I turned and looked in the direction of the voice and observed a white female, later identified as Lucia Whalen. Whalen, who was standing on the sidewalk in front of the residence, held a wireless telephone in her hand and told me that it was she who called. She went on to tell me that the observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch of 17 Ware street. She told me that her suspicions were aroused when she observed one of the men wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry. Since I was the only police officer on location and had my back to the door as I spoke with her, I asked that she wait for other responding officers while I investigated further.

Whalen today claims that she never told him that; that instead, she simply said, “I was the 911 caller,” to which Crowley responded by pointing at her and saying, “Stay right there.”

One might call this a case of “he said, she said,” except for the rather significant example of the 911 call in which Whalen specifically mentions seeing luggage, suspects that the men might live in the house and not be intruders, and refuses to identify either as black, guessing instead that one might be Hispanic and she couldn’t see the other one. This is solid, being recorded on the 911 call. Which means that it is pretty much certain that Whalen did not, seconds later, change her story when she met Crowley. Of the two reports, Whalen’s is infinitely more credible.

This in turn means that Crowley simply fabricated that part of the police report. “Remembered wrongly” could be applied, but taking “I was the 911 caller” and translating it into a conversation which never took place in which Whalen identified “two black males with backpacks” is quite the case of remembering wrongly.

Whatever the case, and whatever Crowley’s intentions, one thing is crystal clear: Crowley’s false report made Whalen look very bad, even possibly racist, and being the public record which most people gave ultimate credence to, it amounted to libel against her. Whalen did not fail to see the luggage, she did not fail to consider that they might live there, she did not fail to see that one had gained entry before force was used, she did not report backpacks that weren’t there, she did not even make certain statements about race, however accurate they may have been to make. But by making the public claim that Whalen reported what was seen as “two black males with backpacks” forcing entry into a house when such was clearly not the case, Crowley made Whalen look like a borderline racist, for which she received a great deal of unjust criticism.

So: will Crowley apologize to Whalen for issuing a bad police report and making Whalen look bad?

Somehow I think not. Crowley does not strike me as the kind of guy who admits a mistake on the job, especially when his reputation is at stake. But then again, this tends to be par for the course with police and prosecutors in any case.

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  1. July 31st, 2009 at 03:39 | #1

    Crowley has done nothing to apologize for or to especially this 911 caller. We all heard her call to 911. Case closed.Gates is pulling a reverse psychology on racism…he is the one who started the name-calling and yes,he’s an uppity black person who I think Harvard needs to apply some sactions to.

  2. Luis
    July 31st, 2009 at 08:49 | #2

    Hawk: In response, in order: Wrong, very wrong, apparently wrong in your case, wrong, poorly worded and wrong, misleading, snarky-borderline-racist or outright racist, and wrong. I’d go into more detail in response to each point, but (1) everything I have written to date on the topic more than refutes what you abruptly claim, and (b) you come across as an excellent example of someone who doesn’t like to listen too much to anything that doesn’t fit your preconceived notions. But if I’m wrong on that, then just read the facts listed in the several posts on Gates here on this blog to understand the situation (which I am pretty sure you haven’t done–you sound like an uninformed drive-by commenter straight from watching your nightly dose of Fox News). But I don’t think I am wrong with my snap judgment of you; that kind of thing is typical of people who give such extreme arguments with absolutely zero up-front argumentative support given for their claims. People so self-assured think that the facts are self-evident and they don’t have to actually argue their case, and usually ignore facts brought up in rebuttal in any case. But go ahead, prove me wrong: argue each point of your claim, citing evidence for each.

  3. stevetv
    July 31st, 2009 at 09:04 | #3

    None of the principal players – Gates, Crowley or Obama – handled the situation perfectly. The only one beyond criticism was Lucia Whalen, who is also receiving her share of unwarranted abuse. So where’s her beer? She deserves a free drink and an invite to the W.H. more than the cop and the professor does, IMO.

    After this ordeal, I know I’ll think twice before I report any suspicious activity to the police. I mean, if I can’t get a free beer out of it, what’s the point?

  4. Luis
    July 31st, 2009 at 09:51 | #4

    Steve: Maybe they can ship her a case. Least they can do for being the only rational person involved on Ware Street.

  5. August 1st, 2009 at 07:48 | #5

    I think this whole situation was an over-reaction. Pardon if this is a bit off topic, but, this whole incident should not have become a media frenzy for the amount of time the headlines have littered CNN. We can understand Gate’s perspective on police officers because it should be taken into account that he is a black man of age, who grew up in a different time and with a different view of police. He made something of himself and believes he is entitled to a degree of respect. Crowley on the other hand has been supported by his police department and by neighbors. The community stood up for him. Lucia Whalen is a person who called in what she believed to be a possible crime in progress. She does not deserve any criticism, in fact, she should be everyone’s dream neighbor. This case should not have gone beyond a police report.

  6. Luis
    August 1st, 2009 at 21:58 | #6


    Actually, I think it should have been a media frenzy–but for completely different reasons. The main media frenzy has come from Obama’s remarks and the hyper-defense of Crowley while Gates generally gets trashed.

    What this should have done was highlight “Contempt of Cop” arrests, and otherwise should have focused on how people like Gates and Crowley might have significantly different viewpoints of the same event. That would have been a healthy focus. Instead we get, well, what we got.

  7. GetOverItY’all
    August 5th, 2009 at 06:19 | #7

    Whalen-the-whiner needs to get over it.

    Racist and overly sensitive cop, Crowley, should apologize for throwing an old man in jail for speaking in his own home, for writing a false report (Whalen never mentioned “two black men with backpacks”), and for wasting taxpayers’ money for this debacle.

    Obama should never have retracted the “stupidly” remark – it is an accurate description of a lying, racist cop.

    Gates is the one who truly suffered.

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