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Caller: Tape proves I'm no racist

The woman who dialed 911 to report a possible break-in at the home of black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. said Wednesday that she was wrongly labeled a racist based on words she never said and that she hoped the recently released recording of the call would put the controversy to rest. Lucia Whalen, 40, said she was out walking to lunch in Gates' Cambridge neighborhood when an elderly woman stopped her because she was concerned there was a burglary in progress. Whalen was vilified as a racist on blogs after a police report said she described the possible burglars as "two black males with backpacks." Tapes of the call released this week revealed that Whalen did not mention race. "Now that the tapes are out, I hope people can see that I tried to be careful and honest with my words," Whalen said. Cambridge police Commissioner Robert Haas acknowledged that the police report contains a reference to race but said the report is merely a summary of events. Gates' arrest for disorderly conduct in his own home by a white police officer sparked a national debate over racial profiling and police conduct. Whalen said she hopes that the community's reputation would be restored. "I was called racist and I was a target of scorn and ridicule because of the things I never said," she said. "The criticism hurt me as a person, but it also hurt the community of Cambridge."

Judge limits Blago items he'll unseal

U.S. District Judge James Zagel says he'll largely turn down media requests for access to sealed documents in former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's political corruption case. Zagel said he tentatively plans to unseal a smattering of what news organizations want to be made public — including snippets of a motion filed by lawyers for Blagojevich co-defendant William Cellini. The Cellini document had been sought by the Chicago Tribune, CNN and WLS-TV. Blagojevich has denied accusations of scheming to sell or trade President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat and of illegally squeezing business executives for campaign money.

Another panda baby due in San Diego

San Diego Zoo officials say their prized giant panda is pregnant again. Bai Yun, 17, already is a mother of four. Officials also said ultrasound tests indicate she may have twins. Bai Yun is due next month. Two of her cubs are at the zoo and two are in a breeding program in China.

Caller: Tape proves I'm no racist 07/29/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 8:44pm]
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