Crowley thinks it "fairly unlikely" any black men will be arrested at the event.
N PREPARATION for the much-anticipated White House visit of Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and the police sergeant who arrested him, James Crowley, the sergeant assured reporters outside his Cambridge precinct building that his taser weapon would be set to its lowest setting of "tickle," so that no one would be harmed "should I observe participants growing unruly as the meeting progresses and I happen to instinctively grab my taser to restore order."
Crowley says this way "no one gets hurt" even if he fires his taser directly at the President or Professor Gates. Instead, noted the veteran cop, "the worst that could happen is that some tickle-level pulses will emit out of my weapon, ensuring that no harm is done to either the President or the previously disorderly Professor Gates."
Having never set his taser to "tickle" before, Sergeant Crowley decided to perform "tickling maneuvers" on members of his family to gauge the reaction.
Said Crowley: "I observed that both my niece and nephew commenced giggling immediately after I fired my taser. Minor irritation at the tickle site caused collateral giggling for approximately 10 to 12 seconds after firing. No negative after-effects appeared in the minors; in fact, they both ordered me to fire a repeat round. I complied, and giggling resumed for another 10 to 20 seconds. We then proceeded to our scheduled lunch rendezvous, McDonald's."
When asked what kind of behaviors might cause him to instinctively reach for his taser over beers at the White House, Sergeant Crowley said that any sudden movements, "such as those that do not comport with the need to obtain popcorn or nuts" would engage what the police veteran called his "finely-honed gut feelings about normal beer-related motor activities."
Speaking of the presence of alcoholic beverages at the meeting, Sergeant Crowley said he would be on "double alert" for any signs "of undue intoxication on the part of my co-participants."
"Breathalyzers may be in order," said the sergeant, "and I do not recommend refusing to be tested. Noncompliance is grounds for tickling."
© 7.29.09 Kate Heidel