America

Panel: Black Scholar's Arrest Result of 'Misunderstandings'

An independent review has been completed on the arrest a year ago of Harvard scholar Henry Gates Jr., which triggered charges of racial profiling and unwittingly drew in the White House.

In short, Sgt. James Crowley's arrest of the black professor outside his home on July 16 was all a big misunderstanding, according to the review, which cited a "certain degree of [mutual] fear".

Both men missed opportunities to "ratchet down" the situation, which occurred as Crowley was investigating a possible burglary. The confrontation between the two that led to Gates' arrest on disorderly conduct charges was the result of "misunderstandings and failed communications," the report said.

It called the incident a "textbook example of how a police officer and a member of the community can clash if they do not share a sense of responsibility."

The incident sparked national debate after President Obama commented on Crowley's actions, saying the police had acted "stupidly." The two were later invited to a White House "beer summit" in an effort to resolve the conflict.

The investigating panel made 10 recommendations for avoiding similar incidents in the future, including better training for police in de-escalating conflicts, as well as more outreach to the public and academic community to teach understanding of the police department's job, the Associated Press reported.

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