Friday, July 31, 2009

Gates After Beer Summit: 'We Can Have Our Differences' - Boston News Story - WCVB Boston

Gates After Beer Summit: 'We Can Have Our Differences' - Boston News Story - WCVB Boston:

Hours after a "Beer Summit" meeting at the White House with the president and the police officer who arrested him, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote that he emerged with more understanding about police officers' jobs and said he "learned that we can have our differences without demonizing one another."

"'We had a cordial and productive discussion today with the president, vice president and Professor Gates. We all agreed it is important to look forward, rather than backward,' Crowley said. 'Professor Gates and I bring different perspectives to these issues. We have agreed that both perspectives should be addressed in an effort to provide a constructive outcome to the events of the past month.' The officer said that he planned to have a meeting with Gates in the near future, but he would not disclose where or when.

Obama had said he hoped the incident and Rose Garden meeting would become a 'teachable moment' for the nation.

'I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart. I am confident that has happened here tonight, and I am hopeful that all of us are able to draw this positive lesson from this episode,' the president said in a statement.
Crowley said Obama did not monopolize the conversation but rather acted as a mediator.
'He provided the beer. He contributed in a small part,' Crowley said. 'He really wanted to bring two people together to try to solve not only a local issue in Cambridge but also what has become a national issue.'"

"Let me say that I thank God that I live in a country in which police officers put their lives at risk to protect us every day, and, more than ever, I’ve come to understand and appreciate their daily sacrifices on our behalf. I’m also grateful that we live in a country where freedom of speech is a sacrosanct value and I hope that one day we can get to know each other better," Gates wrote on his Web site "The Root" after the meeting.

Gates and Cambridge police Sgt. Joseph Crowley found themselves at the center of a national firestorm over race when Crowley arrested Gates for disorderly conduct two weeks ago after a caller reported seeing two men breaking into Gates' home.

Gates and a cab driver were trying to get into Gates' house after Gates returned from a trip to China and found the front door jammed. When officers responded to the call, police said Gates became belligerent, questioning why they were suspicious of him in his own home.

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