Video: Gates cracks jokes about arrest

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    >> al, thank you.

    >>> now to henry louis gates jr ., the harvard professor whose controversial arrest led to a firestorm. "today's" natalie morales is here with the latest.

    >> after a tumultuous couple of weeks, professor gates is speaking out about the good, the bad and the ugly moments since his controversial arrest and his plans for moving forward. speaking at the martha's vineyard book geft value on sunday, professor henry louis gates jr . joked about his infamous arrest and the subsequent racial firestorm that ensued.

    >> i just found the analysis yet that explains the riveting fascination with this event in our society.

    >> reporter: it was gates ' first public appearance since thursday's so-called beer summit with president obama and sergeant james crowley . a meeting that gates now says gave him nightmares.

    >> the night before i went to the white house i dreamed i got arrested in the white house . but it was cool. i was okay. you know?

    >> reporter: despite gates ' light-hearted tone towards his arrest, it was clear that the incident hasn't been a laughing matter.

    >> a lot of death threats , lot of bomb threats . i haven't been back to my house since the day i got -- out of jail.

    >> reporter: with the national debate over race resurfacing since gates ' arrest, he says the discussion indicates that america has not yet moved into a post-racial era.

    >> issues of race and class are profound and deep.

    >> reporter: gates also spoke of future plans with his former adversary sergeant james crowley .

    >> i asked him to maybe go to a red sox game together, maybe go to a celtics game together. maybe to have dinner with our families. you know? why not? you know? i offered to get his kids into harvard. if he doesn't arrest me ever again.

    >> of course , we'll have to see what happens with the gates -crowley friendship but it does look like professor gates wants the incident to be the teachable moment that president obama spoke of a few weeks ago.

    >> nice he can laugh about it now.

    >> now, in hindsight.

    >> exactly.

    >>> still ahead, propofol, the drug

updated 9/10/2009 8:57:35 PM ET 2009-09-11T00:57:35

Twelve people from across the country have been chosen to serve on an independent panel to review the arrest of a black Harvard scholar at his home by a white police officer, Cambridge officials said Thursday.

Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Washington D.C.-based Police Executive Research Forum, was tapped to lead a committee that will include Yale Law professor Tracey Meares, former FBI assistant director Louis Quijas and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

City leaders created the panel after the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. triggered a national debate over racial profiling.

Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley arrested Gates for disorderly conduct at his home July 16 while investigating a possible burglary. The charge was dropped, and Gates alleged he was a victim of racial profiling.

President Barack Obama invited Crowley and Gates for an informal "beer summit" at the White House two weeks later.

'Historic opportunity'
"This is a historic opportunity for the city to emerge as a stronger community," Cambridge City Manager Robert Healy said in a statement.

Healy said panel members were chosen based on their diverse professional backgrounds and their experience with community relations and conflict resolution.

Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas said the newly named panel will give an "independent assessment" of the July 16 arrest.

"Cambridge wants to take away something meaningful from this process that can be helpful for the city and the nation," Haas said.

The committee is scheduled to meet for the first time early next month. It's unclear how long its review will take.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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