Lucia Whalen, the Harvard employee who called 911 on Henry Louis Gates, gave a bizarre yet oddly moving press conference lamenting the media scrutiny she's been under, even as her lawyer urged everyone to pay more attention to her.
The presser was straight out of Bonfire of the Vanities, beginning with an exceedingly strange two-minute-plus introduction from Whalen's attorney Wendy Murphy, who cautioned the assembled press to "leave her alone" before praising her as the "one person whose actions have been exemplary" and implicitly criticizing Barack Obama for failing to invite her to tomorrow's sit-down between Gates and Sgt. James Crowley. "I don't know, maybe it's a guy thing," Murphy sneered. "She doesn't like beer anyway." Then she nominated Whalen, the woman she wants to be left alone, to head a proposed blue-ribbon panel to examine the issue of racial profiling in Cambridge. Murphy is enjoying her 15 minutes.
Whalen herself, however, was halting, tearful, angry, and mortified. She was aghast at being accused of racism for calling 911 after she saw two men entering Gates' home. "The criticism at first was so painful and difficult that, frankly, I was afraid to say anything. I knew the truth, but I didn't speak up right away because I did not want to add to the controversy." As it turns out, Whalen refused to offer a firm racial description in her 911 call and insisted that it was entirely possible that Gates was breaking into his own home, which was in fact the case. Furthermore, contrary to the police report written by Crowley, Whalen reiterated Murphy's prior statement that she never told Crowley at the scene that the men were African American. Which means that a) Whalen never raised the race of the men with the police, and b) Crowley, either willfully or otherwise, appears to have falsely stated in his report that he had been advised of Gates' race prior to approaching the house.
The accusations of racism were clearly personally hurtful to Whalen, and we repeat here our apology for having made such an accusation.