Remember those happy days from summer 2009 when the nation’s problems could be solved with a beer summit. They feel very far away right now don’t they. Now, according to a year-long “expert review” the debacle might have been avoided entirely had Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley not both missed “opportunities to de-escalate the situation.” Here’s what went wrong:
Sgt. Crowley: “Could have taken greater pains to explain the uncertainty and potential dangers of responding to a serious crime-in-progress call.”
Professor Gates: “Could have tried to understand the situation from the point of view of a police officer responding to a 911 call about a break-in in progress, and could have spoken respectfully to Sergeant Crowley and accommodated his request to step outside at the beginning of their encounter.”
Conclusion: “Communications clearly were a problem.” For some reason the language in this report weirdly reminds me of the soundtrack to ‘Free to Be… You and Me.’ Suffice to say, whatever lessons were learned from last year’s beer summit, we shouldn’t expect to see Tony Hayward and Obama cracking open a cold one together anytime soon.
Update: Apparently, Gates is less than thrilled with the “trivializing” tone of this conclusion.
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