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The He Said, He Said Saga in Cambridge

In this photo taken by a neighbor Thursday July 16, 2009 Henry Louis Gates Jr. center, the director of Harvard University's W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research, is arrested at his home in Cambridge, Mass. Police say they were called to the home of Gates after a woman reported seeing a man try to pry open the front door. (AP Photo/Demotix Images, B. Carter
AP Photo/Demotix Images, B. Carter
A fuller picture is emerging of the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. by Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley, but with wildly different accounts.

When Crowley, who is white and an 11-year veteran, confronted Gates, perhaps America's most prominent black scholar and Harvard professor, after a report of a possible burglary at Gates' home, Crowley said the professor accused him of being racist and made derogatory remarks about Crowley's mother. Gates says he presented the officer with two forms of ID and that Crowley followed him into his home without permission.

The incident has cast a sharp gaze on race relations in the United States and more specifically, the treatment of black men by police.

Since the arrest, Gates has called the officer a "rogue cop" and demanded an apology. Crowley has insisted he has done nothing wrong and his attorney hinted the officer may sue Gates for defamation.

In an interview with WHDH-TV in Boston, Crowley admitted he knew arresting Gates would be controversial, but that the professor's alleged misbehavior with CNN this week, the professor said he told Crowley, "This is my house, I'm a Harvard professor. I live here.

"He said, 'Can you prove it?' I said, 'Just a minute.' And I turned my back , I walked into the kitchen to get my Harvard ID and my Massachusetts drivers license. He followed me without permission, I gave him the 2 ID's and I demanded to know his name and badge number. He wouldn't say anything. He was just very upset and I said, 'Why are you not responding to me? Are you not responding to me because you're a white officer and I'm a black man?'"

Click here to read Henry Gates' daughter's reaction to the incident.

As the story about last week's arrest built steam, even President Obama weighed in during a prime time news conference, saying the police acted "stupidly" during the incident. The president Thursday backed off somewhat from that comment and said that "cooler heads" were needed in the situation.

Crowley's story to WHDH continues with the officer saying:

"I was leaving as I reached the porch, and I was aware that now he was following me because he was still yelling about racism and black men in America, and that he wasn't somebody to be messing with."

Gates recalled to CNN that when he walked outside, "It looked like a police convention, there were so many policemen outside.

"I stepped out on my porch and said, 'I want to know your colleague's name and his badge number.' This officer said, 'Thank you for accommodating my earlier request. You are under arrest.'"

Gates added: "Look how tumultuous I am. I am 5-foot-7 and weigh 150 pounds and my tumultuous, outrageous action was to demand that he give me his name and his badge number."

Despite having the disorderly conduct charge dropped and the promise by Cambridge police to launch an investigation into the incident, the debate shows no signs of slowing down.

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