Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reggie Lewis And The Officer In The Skipgate Controversy Go Way Back

By now, most people have heard about the arrest of Harvard professor Henry "Skip" Louis Gates, Jr. by Cambridge Police. He broke into his house after coming back from a trip after being locked out and a neighbor called 911. Police responded and somehow ended up arresting him in his own home and charging him with disorderly conduct. The charges have been dropped but the controversy around the arrest lingers on. President Obama was asked a question about it during last night's health care press conference. He responded by saying the Cambridge Police acted "stupidly".

The officer in the middle of the controversy, Sgt. James Crowley, refuses to apologize to Gates for the events that led to the arrest. He told the Boston Herald that he bears no ill will towards the professor. However he insists that he isn't a racist and didn't do anything wrong. Here come the sports. Crowley performed mouth to mouth resusciatation on former Celtic Reggie Lewis 16 years ago after he collapsed from a heart attack which ended up killing him.
“I wasn’t working on Reggie Lewis the basketball star. I wasn’t working on a black man. I was working on another human being.”
Lewis' widow, Donna Lewis, admitted she was shocked when she heard that Crowley was involved in Skipgate.**
“That’s incredible,” Lewis, 44, exclaimed. “It’s an unfortunate situation. Hopefully, it can resolve itself. The most important thing is peace.”
It's honorable that Crowley did what he could to save Lewis' life. However his actions that day don't absolve him from future actions that can be seen as racist. Arresting Gates after establishing his identity is pretty suspect at the least. Would the same thing have happened to Larry Summers? N ... Oh good point, Howard Fineman.

The 11 year veteran says the events 16 years ago and the reaction to his involvement still haunt him to this day which is understandable. The loss of Reggie Lewis was a shock to family, friends and fans (including this one who grew up in the same Baltimore neighborhood). I'll have to ask The Matador what the odds would be on Crowley being involved in these two incidents. He'll have an answer.

Sergeant Crowley probably took a page from Killing Them Softly.

Open and shut case, Crowley! Skip might want to check his pockets for crack residue before he gets picked up again.

**We're going to push the name Skipgate until it takes.

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