gates_crowley_1.jpgWASHINGTON (AP) _ The chief White House spokesman says a Thursday meeting among the president, a Harvard University scholar and the policeman who arrested him will be “about having a beer and de-escalation.''

Robert Gibbs says the session, weather permitting, is planned for a picnic table outside the Oval Office. According to Gibbs, “The president wants to continue to take down the temperature a bit.''

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is black, was arrested July 16 by Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge, Mass. police department, who is white, after an investigation into a suspected burglary found no burglars but escalated into a heated exchange between the men at Gates' home.

Pictured above is Sgt. James Crowley, left, and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., right.