WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A prominent black Harvard University scholar has accepted an invitation to have a beer with President Barack Obama and the white police officer who arrested him in a racially charged case.
Professor Henry Louis Gates said Saturday he was willing to have a peace-making beer with Obama and Cambridge, Massachusetts, police Sgt. James Crowley.
Gates was arrested last week at his home after a neighbor called police to say that a man was breaking into the house. Obama said Cambridge police had “acted stupidly,” prompting an outcry from police groups and a resulting media blitz.
Obama later telephoned both men and, on Crowley’s suggestion, invited the two to the White House for a beer.
“I am pleased that he, too, is eager to use my experience as a teaching moment, and if meeting Sgt. Crowley for a beer with the president will further that end, then I would be happy to oblige,” Gates said in a statement on TheRoot.com, an Internet newsletter he edits.
Gates said he hoped his arrest would help reduce racial profiling by law enforcement agencies.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Doina Chiacu)