Presidential Dispute Resolution

From the TimesOnline

Obama attempts to settle Professor Gates race row with White House beers

Tim Reid in Washington

July 29, 2009

President Obama will probably have a Bud, the police officer a Blue Moon and the professor a Red Stripe, as the protagonists at the heart of a national debate on race try to bury the hatchet at the White House tomorrow night.

The white policeman and the black scholar he arrested inside his Harvard home will sit down with Mr Obama at 6pm after agreeing to share a beer in an attempt to end a painful episode for all three, especially after the President’s ill-advised decision to wade into the controversy last week.

Newly released tapes appear to contradict the police’s version of events, especially their contention that they were called to the house because they were told that “two black men with backpacks” were trying to break in.

Sergeant James Crowley arrested Henry Louis Gates Jr, a friend of Mr Obama, on July 16 after an investigation into a suspected burglary.

The professor was seen by a neighbour trying to force open his own front door. Sergeant Crowley arrested him for disorderly conduct even after he was informed that the professor lived there and no burglary had taken place. He was taken to a police station. The charges were later dropped.

Professor Gates claims that he was the victim of racial profiling. Sergeant Crowley said that the scholar was abusive and uncooperative and has refused to apologise. Mr Obama claimed that the police acted “stupidly”.

The police recording of the original emergency call by a female neighbour reveals that she never introduced the issue of race, and even suggested that the man who forced the door might live there. Lucia Whalen said that she had been “personally devastated” by reports that she was racist.

The guests’ requests for the two foreign beers tomorrow might cause a problem as they have not been stocked at the White House since President Johnson’s Administration.

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