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Police sergeant stands up to both Obama and Gates

Sgt. James Crowley defends his actions in last week's incident with Professor Gates and says he doesn't "have anything to apologize for."

By Tracey D. SamuelsonCorrespondent / July 23, 2009

Police Commissioner Robert Haas speaks to reporters at Cambridge, Mass., Police headquarters,Thursday, about the actions of Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley, who was criticized by President Barack Obama after arresting black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his Massachusetts home.

Josh Reynolds/AP

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The Cambridge, Mass., police officer accused of "acting stupidly" by President Obama and repeatedly assailed as racist by Harvard professor Louis Henry Gates began to tell his own story Thursday, talking at length to the media for the first time since the incident.

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Sgt. James Crowley told a Boston radio station that he will "never apologize" to Mr. Gates for arresting the professor outside Gates's home last week.

"I know what I did was right," Crowley said in an interview with Boston-based WEEI Sportsradio Network. "I don't have anything to apologize for."

At the same time, news reports surfaced that Crowley has taught a class in racial profiling. He was nominated for the post by a local black police commissioner.

Gates has said Crowley arrested him for disorderly conduct only because he was black. Crowley was originally called to the scene because of a tip-off that someone was breaking into Gates's house. In fact, Gates was merely trying to open his front door, which was jammed.

The Cambridge police commissioner rejected Gates's allegations Thursday. "I don't believe that Sergeant Crowley acted with any racial motivation at all," said Commissioner Robert Haas.

Sergeant Crowley has remained largely quiet about the July 16 incident until Thursday.

The arrest, which has received widespread media attention during the past week, has prompted numerous comments from Gates and his attorneys this week.

"I can't believe that an individual policeman on the Cambridge police force would treat any African-American male this way," Gates said in an interview posted Tuesday on the Root.com.

Though Crowley was unrepentant about his actions, he did express some remorse.

"I regret that I've put the city and the Cambridge police department in the position where they now have to defend something like this, because there's a lot of good men and women working in the city to keep the city safe," Crowley said.

Crowley also said that arresting Gates "was something I really didn't want to do," but that "the professor could have resolved the issue at any time by quieting down and going back into his house."

When asked if he'd do anything differently, Crowley again denied wrongdoing, instead joking that maybe he had chosen the wrong public-safety profession, "Maybe [I'd] take the fire test."

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