State officials have overruled an invitation by police academy cadets to have Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley speak at their graduation in the spring. Crowley arrested Henry Louis Gates Jr. at the Harvard professor’s home in July, setting off a debate over race relations.

An invitation by police academy cadets to have the Cambridge police sergeant who sparked a national debate on race relations with his arrest of a prominent Harvard scholar speak at their graduation in Randolph was overruled by state officials.

Daniel Zivkovich, executive director of the Municipal Police Training Committee, said that officials felt that Sgt. James Crowley’s presence would become the focus of the ceremony, rather than the accomplishments of the cadets.

Crowley declined comment through a spokesman. His brother Daniel, a Middlesex deputy sheriff, said the 54 graduates of the Randolph Regional Police Training Academy last week asked that James Crowley speak at their April graduation.

James Crowley, who is white, arrested black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in July.

President Obama hosted the two men at a “beer summit” at the White House in an effort to diffuse tensions surrounding the case.

The Patriot Ledger