Denise Lavoie, AP, July 23, 2009
The white police sergeant criticized by President Barack Obama for arresting black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his Massachusetts home is a police academy expert on understanding racial profiling.
Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley has taught a class about racial profiling for five years at the Lowell Police Academy after being hand-picked for the job by former police Commissioner Ronny Watson, who is black, said Academy Director Thomas Fleming.
“I have nothing but the highest respect for him as a police officer. He is very professional and he is a good role model for the young recruits in the police academy,” Fleming told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The course, called “Racial Profiling,” teaches about different cultures that officers could encounter in their community “and how you don’t want to single people out because of their ethnic background or the culture they come from,” Fleming said.
Obama has said the Cambridge officers “acted stupidly” in arresting Gates last week when they responded to his house after a woman reported a suspected break-in.
Crowley, 42, has maintained he did nothing wrong and has refused to apologize, as Gates has demanded.
The president said federal officials need to continue working with local law enforcement “to improve policing techniques so that we’re eliminating potential bias.”