Cambridge Police Officer Sgt. Leon Lashley, the African-American cop who was with James Crowley during Crowley's arrest of Henry Louis Gates last week, is learning the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished -- especially one that involves speaking out in support of a fellow officer who happens to be white.
He's also learning that the wretches who write headlines for the Associated Press can distort his take on events in their headline in the hope that readers don't read or click over to the actual text to see how he really feels.
Here is the example to which I refer:
As written, the headline will gave many readers who go no further the impression that Lashley may somehow be sorry for supporting Crowley. But there is nothing in the unbylined four-paragraph report that indicates anything resembling "regret" on Lashley's part. In fact, you'll notice in the third paragraph that Lashley ripped into Gates, say that Gates "may have caused grave and potentially irreparable harm to the struggle for racial harmony." Truth to power, so to speak, with no tinge of "regret."
As a reminder, here is what Sgt. Lashley told CNN yesterday about Crowley and the related incident (video is at link):
Sgt. Leon Lashley, Cambridge MA Police: It happened to be a white officer on a black man, and the common call a lot of times is to call it a racist situation.
Let me, don’t get me wrong, it does happen. It has happened here in Cambridge. And I can’t say it will not ever happen again in Cambridge. (But) the situation here was not a racial(ly) motivated situation.
CNN (Reporter Don Lemon): And you know people obviously are going to be paying closer attention to you, because you’re an African-American man. I’m just being honest. And you’re supporting this white officer, that it has been put out there by some that “he was racially profiling Dr. Gates.” They’re going to pay attention to you.
Sgt. Lashley: I hope they would. I heard one of the comments call him a rogue cop. There’s nothing rogue about him. He was doing his job.
Kelly King, a fellow African-American officer, also supported Crowley in that same interview:
CNN (addressing Kelly King): When you heard about what happened with this sergeant, what did you think?
Officer King: I was appalled. I know Jimmy. I’ve known him for more than the 11 years with the Cambridge Police. I knew him when he worked for Harvard.
I know him to be a good police officer, a good man, with character, and I knew these charges were bogus. There has been a tremendous rush to judgment. And I think the thing to be learned first and foremost from this is to look at all of the evidence, to consider all, to weigh all. I think Professor Gates has done a very good job at throwing up a very effective smoke screen, calling “racism,” as it had nothing to do with it.
CNN: And the President?
Officer King: It’s unfortunate. I supported him. I voted for him. I will not again.
I agree that I think it’s admirable that he would speak on behalf of his friend. But he should have recused himself. He should have stepped back, and he should have said, “I support my friend but I don’t have all the facts. I won’t weigh in yet.”
CNN: The Governor? (Deval Patrick)
Officer King: I would apply the same to him.
CNN: What do want people in the country to know who have already made up their mind about Jimmy Crowley?
Officer King: Keep their minds open, and realize that we would not support someone that we felt wronged someone else. We took this job to do the right thing. We all took this job to do the right thing. We would not support anyone in blue doing the wrong thing.
It's a safe bet that Sgt. Lashley and Officer King still have not one iota of regret for their passionate support of Crowley. They may regret, as do many of us, that we live in such a breathtakingly irresponsible establishment media environment. There's little doubt that they both regret that this country has a President who can make a self-admitted fact-lacking rush to judgment who won't even say "I am sorry" for his errors.
There is a better though still less than perfect headline for the same story, found here at the Mount Vernon (OH) News:
Black officer at Gates' home during arrest says he's become 'Uncle Tom' for supporting officer
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.