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July 30th, 2009
07:06 AM ET

Caller in Gates case says she'd do it again

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Lucia Whalen, who called 911 to report a possible break-in, speaks to reporters Wednesday."]

(CNN) - In her first public appearance, the woman who made the 911 call that led to the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said Wednesday she would make the call again if placed in the same situation.

The arrest and its aftermath have sparked accusations of racial profiling, and even President Obama has become involved. He plans to meet Thursday with Gates and the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, at the White House.

Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct July 16 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after he had shown Crowley that the home he was suspected of breaking into was his. The charge was later dropped.

"If you're a concerned citizen, you should do the right thing if you're seeing something that seems suspicious. I would do the same thing," Lucia Whalen said.

Whalen said she contacted police after an older woman with no cell phone told her she was worried that someone was trying to break into the house.

She said she was en route to lunch when the woman approached her.

"I thought: 'I'm the one with the cell phone. I should probably call'" police, she explained.

Although Whalen never referred to black suspects when she called authorities about the suspected break-in, the incident prompted a heated discussion across the nation on race relations in the United States.

Police released tapes Monday of her 911 call.

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Filed under: American Morning • Controversy
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Ed Inflorida

    Somebody needs to apologize to Ms. Whalen for all the BS she has had to put up with over this whole situation. First Mr. Gates for acting like an idiot and blowing a minor problem all the way to the Whitehouse. I wouldn't be calling 911 for any more break ins at his house. Secondly, the media who ran with this story and wouldn't let it die. Then there is the President, whom I once respected, putting his two cents (probably my two cents) in something without knowing all the facts. You see these prima donas all the time on TV hassling the cops when they are trying to complete an investigation and they get arrested. Too bad they didn't make the charges stick. Ms. Whalen, you did the right thing, too bad the rest of the world is a bit confused.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:57 pm |
  2. Jazz

    I think that most Americans would call if they saw what they beleived to be a crime in progress. Relax sweetie, you did the right then and sometimes even doing the right thing can go bad.

    July 30, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  3. louise

    I think its pretty ridiculous that the most powerful man in the world is actually getting involved in a simple misunderstanding like this. It is obvious that no one is at fault in this and it probably happens all the time but is never heard about. For people to run down someone who was just trying to report a (what she thought was a breakin) is unreal. We have so many important things in this country that people are worried about (the economy, the war, healthcare). LET IT GO.

    July 30, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  4. Bernice

    That will be the day that I call if I see someone getting robbed! This was not racism at all, only blown out of proportion to look like it! What a shame! There goes our neighborhood watch programs! Let thier homes be robbed! Why help them? They only scream racism in the end!!!

    July 30, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  5. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    If I see a crime in progress, Do you think I'll call 911. The people and the media will blow it up. People will always tell it in their words.The media want to sell it, so they say what they think what happen Tell change it to make it sound good so we will listen to your show,No matter what us little people say you guys will change it because we are so stupit.

    July 30, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  6. CHUCK

    --–And why was Sgt Crowley using TWO BLACK MEN in his report?????? Why is the ENTIRE REPORT not made public so everyone can see and make their own conclusion?

    July 30, 2009 at 8:17 am |
  7. Heyward

    I find it very disturbing that Sargent Crowley lied several times in his police report. That's what caused many to harass Ms. Whalen. Why the obvious and blatant LIES written by Sargent Crowley is not being addressed is a mystery to me. The media once again failed to focus on the real issue here.How unfortunate for us and dangerous for us all.

    July 30, 2009 at 8:11 am |
  8. Ann

    Thank you Ms. Whalen. I believe YOU.

    July 30, 2009 at 7:23 am |