Powell weighs in on Harvard case
Colin Powell says some “adult supervision” could have kept an altercation between Henry Louis Gates, a black Harvard University professor, and Sgt. James Crowley, a white policeman, from blowing up into a “federal case” about race in America.
The former U.S secretary of state, who says he has been racially profiled “many times,” weighed in on the arrest of his friend “Skip” Gates on Tuesday evening, telling CNN’s Larry King that it was a fascinating story that unfolded in several acts.
Gates was arrested at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and charged with disorderly conduct. Crowley had responded to the call when a neighbor reported a possible break-in at Gates’ home. Gates had just returned home from a trip to China and found his door jammed. This is how the two men came face-to-face.
“This is where act two begins. We’re not quite sure what the nature of their conversation was, but apparently it disturbed Sgt. Crowley and apparently Dr. Gates was disturbed by being challenged in his own home,” Powell said.
“Then it becomes a federal case when the president feels obliged to say something about it, ” Powell said.
The charges against Gates were quickly dropped, but Powell says the incident might have been resolved in a different manner had cooler heads prevailed.
“I’m saying that Skip, perhaps in this instance, might have waited a while, come outside, talked to the officer and that might have been the end of it,” Powell said. “I think he should have reflected on whether or not this was the time to make that big a deal.”
And the police could have handled things differently too, Powell said.
“Once they felt they had to bring Dr. Gates out of the house and to handcuff him, I would have thought at that point some adult supervision would have stepped in and said, OK, look, it is his house… Take the handcuffs off. Good night Dr. Gates.”
Dr. Gates and Sgt. Crowley will meet again on Thursday at the White House, this time over beer with President Barack Obama. Who’s bringing the adult supervision?