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Gates-gate: Caller Disputes Account

Wendy_Murphy The woman who called the police in Cambridge, Mass., to report a possible break-in at the home of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. is now talking to the public -- through her attorney, at least. The woman, Lucia Whalen, has hired high-profile lawyer and TV commentator Wendy Murphy (pictured). Through Murphy, the woman issued a statement disputing the police account that she said two "black" men were breaking into the house, according to a report today in the Boston Herald.

"This woman is 100 percent clear on what she said," Murphy said. "She never said she saw two black men. She said, 'It never crossed my mind that there were two black men.'" The woman wants the world to know that she is not a racist and is not even white -- she has "olive-colored skin and is of Portuguese descent," Murphy said.

Whalen's account is at odds with the police report of the incident filed by Officer James Crowley. The report recounts that when Crowley arrived at the scene Whalen called out to him and identified herself as the person who had reported the possible break-in. "She went on to tell me that she observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch," he wrote.

Last night, Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas told The Boston Globe that Whalen was correct to say that she never mentioned race in her call. The reference to race is in the police report, he explained, because the report represents a summary of information collected during the course of the investigation, not just from the initial call. Haas said that he expects to release some version of the tapes of the 911 call within the next few days.

Murphy said that her client is "personally devastated" by media reports suggesting she called police because of the men's race. "People are making their own judgments about the case and assuming that she called police because they were black," Murphy told The Boston Globe. "That sentiment is permeating the stories, and it ties directly to her involvement, even though the truth is she didn’t report seeing black men and she didn’t know the men’s race when she called 911."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on July 27, 2009 at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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