July 25, 2009 / 6:26 PM / 8 years ago

Black scholar agrees to beer with Obama, policeman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A prominent black Harvard University scholar has accepted an invitation to have a beer with President Barack Obama and the white police officer who arrested him in a racially charged case.

Professor Henry Louis Gates said Saturday he was willing to have a peace-making beer with Obama and Cambridge, Massachusetts, police Sgt. James Crowley.

Gates was arrested last week at his home after a neighbor called police to say that a man was breaking into the house. Obama said Cambridge police had “acted stupidly,” prompting an outcry from police groups and a resulting media blitz.

Obama later telephoned both men and, on Crowley’s suggestion, invited the two to the White House for a beer.

“I am pleased that he, too, is eager to use my experience as a teaching moment, and if meeting Sgt. Crowley for a beer with the president will further that end, then I would be happy to oblige,” Gates said in a statement on TheRoot.com, an Internet newsletter he edits.

Gates said he hoped his arrest would help reduce racial profiling by law enforcement agencies.

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Doina Chiacu

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