Sgt. James Crowley, the white Massachusetts police officer whose arrest of a black Harvard professor led to a political firestorm for President Obama, is scheduled to thank the Fraternal Order of Police today in California for defending him when Obama said he acted “stupidly,” the Los Angeles Times reports. The officer’s hastily arranged appearance before an expected crowd of 10,000 at the FOP convention underscores that the episode remains raw, at least for many police advocates who were offended when Obama suggested that Henry Louis Gates had been a victim of racial profiling.
Gates, a noted scholar and Obama’s friend, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after trying to pry open a stuck door to get into his Cambridge home. The charges were dropped. Crowley “is going to thank the FOP for its support,” said a conference delegate involved in planning the meeting, which is taking place at the Long Beach Convention Center. The delegate said Crowley did not intend to criticize Obama. “He just wants to get past this,” the delegate said.