Wall Street Journal: Gates and Crowley Update: 911 Caller Chokes Up; Crowley Was Star Student at Simon Wiesenthal Center

Wall Street Journal:
Gates and Crowley Update: 911 Caller Chokes Up; Crowley Was Star Student at Simon Wiesenthal Center


It’s a good day and a bad day for Cambridge Police Sgt. Jim Crowley, as he prepares for brewskis at the White House tomorrow. Lucia Whalen, the

911 caller who tried to be a good citizen and help out an old lady but wound up being "the target of scorn and ridicule" and being called a racist, gave an emotional news conference today, her pained-looking husband by her side.

Though her lawyer Wendy Murphy (who appears first on the video) wouldn’t let her talk about discrepancies in the police report, Whalen was clear that she hadn’t spoken to Crowley and also hadn’t said anything about the possible break-in suspects being African-American. The report said she told him about "observing what appeared to be two black males with backpacks."

But at the same time, Wall Street Journal reporter John Hechinger in Boston reports that Crowley had even more sensitivity bona fides than we thought.

In 2007, Crowley attended a three-day program for police officers on racial profiling at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. He so impressed the staff there that he was invited back a year later for an advanced seminar, museum officials say.

Crowley’s attendance at the Jewish civil-rights organization’s programs hasn’t been previously reported, though it is widely known that he taught his own course on the subject at a local police department.

Sunny Lee-Goodman, director of the "Tools for Tolerance" law enforcement program at the Museum of Tolerance, says attendees of the "Perspectives on Profiling" program explore the perils of racial profiling. Using interactive exhibits at the museum, officers study both the Holocaust and the civil-rights movement in America. Officers also engage in soul-searching about their own prejudices.

She says of Crowley: "He stands out to me. He was one of those people who really engaged in sessions, who really showed a high level of understanding of the issue."

Adding to the irony, Gates is often prominently featured at the museum’s law-enforcement training programs, which has held classes for about 100,000 police officers in both Los Angeles and New York City since 1996.

At the center’s New York tolerance center, etched on a wall near inspirational words from Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., is a quotation from Gates: "There is no tolerance without respect. There is no respect without knowledge."

Liebe Geft, director of the Museum of Tolerance, calls both the professor and the police officer "exemplars trying to advance and promote better relationships and trust." If their encounter can blow up into a racially-tinged confrontation, she says, "We have a great deal of work we have to do."