Gates Says He Can Joke About Arrest

Scholar says he and cop plan to talk further

By Xana O'Neill
|  Sunday, Aug 2, 2009  |  Updated 3:30 PM EDT
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Gates Says He Can Joke About Arrest

AP

"Everyone looked like a deer caught in headlights," Gates said of the White House beer summit.

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Black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates said he can now joke about his arrest by a white police officer that led to a heated debate on race -- and that the two have talked about sharing a meal together.

In his first public appearance since meeting with Sgt. James Crowley and President Obama at the White House, Gates said he's been able to joke about the incident and even talked with the officer about dining out or watching a Boston Red Sox or Celtics together game.

Gates made an appearance at the Martha's Vineyard Book Festival to promote his book, "In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past."

"Everyone looked like a deer caught in headlights," Gates said of the White House beer summit.

"I said to him, 'I would have sworn you were 6-feet-8 inches tall," he said of his first encounter with Gates. "He said, 'I used to be, but I've lost 2 t o3 feet over the last two weeks."

Neither man apologized during the meeting at the White House last Thursday but agreed to talk further.

Gates was arrested outside his Cambridge, Mass., home last month as he attempted to enter his house without a key. He was slapped with disorderly conduct charges that were later dropped but said he was racially profiled.

Obama said the police "acted stupidly" by arresting the scholar.

Gates said he's received a number of threats, including one email that read, "You should die, you're a racist."

He changed his e-mail address and cell phone and some even suggested he move from his home, he said.

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