[Guest post by DRJ]
Sgt. Leon Lashley, a Cambridge police officer who was at the Gates’ house at the time of the arrest, has come forward in support of Sgt. Crowley’s actions and arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.:
“Sgt. Leon Lashley says Gates was probably tired and surprised when Sgt. James Crowley demanded identification from him as officers investigated a report of a burglary. Lashley says Gates’ reaction to Crowley was “a little bit stranger than it should have been.”
Asked if Gates should have been arrested, Lashley said [he] supported Crowley “100 percent.”
Sgt. Lashley is black.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama is trying to tamp down this story by toning down his prior rhetoric:
“This has been ratcheting up, and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up,” he said. “I want to make clear that in my choice of words, I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge police department and Sgt. Crowley specifically. And I could’ve calibrated those words differently.”
Seeking to lighten the situation further, he said he had invited both Crowley and Gates for “a beer here in the White House.”
The article at the second link also notes that, prior to Obama’s remarks, “a multiracial group of police officers” called for both Obama and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to apologize. Patrick reportedly said Gates’ arrest was “every black man’s nightmare.”
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Obama also called the episode a “teachable moment.”
And so it might be. Hopefully it will teach Obama to keep his damn mouth shut next time.