Gates chastises officer after authorities agree to drop criminal charge
July 21, 2009 08:25 PM Email| Comments (741)| Text size – +
(Bill Carter/Demotix Images)
Police led Henry Louis Gates Jr. away in handcuffs after his arrest on Thursday at his home in Cambridge.
By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff
Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. chastised a Cambridge police officer today and demanded an apology after authorities agreed to drop a disorderly conduct charge against the renowned African-American scholar.
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Gates accused the officer who arrested him at his Cambridge home of having a “broad imagination” when he summarized last Thursday’s confrontation in police reports, and he denied making several inflammatory remarks.
“I believe the police officer should apologize to me for what he knows he did that was wrong,” Gates said in a phone interview from his other home in Martha’s Vineyard. “If he apologizes sincerely, I am willing to forgive him. And if he admits his error, I am willing to educate him about the history of racism in America and the issue of racial profiling … That’s what I do for a living.”
Gates, 58, was handcuffed and booked last Thursday following a police investigation into a suspected burglary at his Ware Street home near Harvard Square. A passerby spotted Gates and his driver, who had dropped him off from the airport, trying to push the front door open and called the police. The door had been jammed. Police responded and arrested Gates after they said he became belligerent.
Gates talks about his arrest
(Audio edited for clarity and length)
Editorial: A professor’s arrest
Abraham: Conduct unbecoming the police
Carol Rose: Racial profiling alive and well
Meléndez and Turner: The unfinished work of equality
Statement from the police, city
Editorial | Carol Rose: Racial profiling alive and well
DA to drop Gates charges
Racial talk swirls with arrest | PDF Copy of police report
Local, national figures weigh in on Gates’ case
Statement from Cambridge police, city
Statement from Cambridge Mayor Simmons
Gallery Who is Henry Louis Gates, Jr.?
3/17/04 Big man off campus
11/12/06 Q&A with Gates
Earlier today, the Middlesex district attorney’s office announced plans to drop criminal charges against Gates. The City of Cambridge and the police department recommended today that prosecutors not pursue charges in a joint statement from authorities and Gates that called the confrontation “regrettable and unfortunate.”
“This incident should not be viewed as one that demeans the character and reputation of professor Gates or the character of the Cambridge Police Department,” the statement said. “All parties agree that this is a just resolution to an unfortunate set of circumstances.”
Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons said in a statement that the controversy illustrated “that Cambridge must continue finding ways to address matters of race and class in a frank, honest, and productive manner.”
The imbroglio elicited reactions from across the country about race relations and profiling. Representative James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, said today on MSNBC that even though “we’ve elected an African-American president … these kinds of profiling do, in fact, take place.”
“We’re a long way from putting this issue behind us,” said Clyburn, a Democrat and former chairman of Congressional Black Caucus.
This afternoon in an interview, Gates said he never yelled at the officer other than to demand his name and badge number, which he said the officer refused to give. The officer, Sergeant James Crowley, said in the police report that he did state his name. He also said Gates unleashed a verbal tirade, calling him racist, telling him that he did not know who he was messing with, and threatening to speak to his “mama” outside.
“The police report is full of this man’s broad imagination,” Gates said in response to a question on whether he had said any of the quotes in the report. “I said, ‘Are you not giving me your name and badge number because I’m a black man in America?’ . . . He treated my request with scorn. . . I was suffering from a bronchial infection. I couldn’t have yelled. . . I don’t walk around calling white people racist.”
Gates continued, “I’m outraged. I shouldn’t have been treated this way but it makes me so keenly aware of how many people every day experience abuses in the criminal justice system … No citizen should tolerate that kind of poor behavior by an officer of the law. . . This is really about justice for the least amongst us.”
Because of his arrest, Gates said he plans to make racial profiling and prison reform central intellectual and political issues he wants to explore. He’s also considering a new documentary on racial profiling.
“Because of the capricious whim of one disturbed person . . . I am now a black man with a prison record,” Gates said. “You can look at my mug shot on the Internet.”
Comment Permalink Email ShareThisYahoo! Buzz» Back to Front Page Previous Entry 741 comments so far…
Something tells me this will not be the end of this story.
Posted by Heywood July 21, 09 12:12 PMNow just waiting for the lawsuit and the demands to have the cops involved to either be fired or demoted…….
Only in the People’s Republic of Cambridge
Posted by Not a Moonbat July 21, 09 12:12 PMhmm, i should try pulling the race card next time i get in a pickle… oh wait, i’m white.
Posted by jim chickles July 21, 09 12:13 PMThis is how it should be resolved. Gates acted like an idiot and it’s not worth taxpayer expense to continue this farce.
Good for Cambridge!
Posted by Michael K. July 21, 09 12:13 PMQuote – This incident should not be viewed as one that demeans the character and reputation of Professor Gates – end Quote ————- Oh, don’t worry it doesn’t; but as for that cop, he deserves some sort of reprimand.
Posted by FredricaMac July 21, 09 12:14 PMI guess it took them a day to figure out that being rude to a police officer is not yet a crime in this country.
Posted by luv July 21, 09 12:15 PMNow I wonder how long until this pompous idiot files a lawsuit against the city? I give till about 3:30 or 4 pm. He’ll be on the courthouse steps holding a press conference with the so-called “black leaders”.
Posted by upslims July 21, 09 12:15 PMAww Geesh and I was really looking forward to Al Sharpton visting our state. Whats Al going to do now ???
Posted by pepperlevine July 21, 09 12:15 PMYeah. Knew this was coming. Only thing that really makes sense. Cops can have bad days. So can professors coming back from a zillion hours on a plane to find their front door doesn’t work. Cooler heads prevail.
Posted by P-dawg July 21, 09 12:16 PMWell I am glad to see a positive resolution to this.
Posted by Melissa July 21, 09 12:16 PMSo I guess if you have enough money or power you can get away with the old “Do you know who I am?” line. Typical…
Posted by SameOldS* July 21, 09 12:16 PMHmmmmmm…. The race cards wins again.
Posted by mc July 21, 09 12:16 PMGuess I’ll have to read the Herald to get the real story behind the story. Either the cops overreacted and should be suspended WITHOUT PAY; or Gates was an egotist-elitist who gave the cops a hard time and therefore the arrest was justified and he should be fined.
Posted by Otis July 21, 09 12:17 PMThis should never have even gone beyond Prof Gates’ front porch! The moment it was determined that Prof Gates was in fact the legal resident of the home in which the police entered, they should have acknowledged his right to primacy over his home and they should have left! The fact that “a neighbor” called in a “possible break-in” and that the police responding determined that in fact “there was no break-in” that is where it should have ended. Perhaps the ego of the officers involved or the temperament of Prof Gates was inappropriate, regardless, to arrest a man on his own front porch is completely innane and served no purpose!
Posted by Alex in Boston July 21, 09 12:17 PMi THINK Professor gates is owed a much more sincere apology than this. this whole incident was outrageous and never ever would have happened but for the race of the professor.
Posted by sdc July 21, 09 12:17 PMLooks like the race card worked! Good job!
Posted by youareallmysons July 21, 09 12:17 PMThey were dropped because of the all the racist talk Gates has whipped up. I noticed that one of the offiers (from a picture of the scene) was black. I believe Gates was disorderly and he is making this a racist issue. I find blacks far more racist than whites and will never miss a chance to play the race card. Mr Gates owes the police dept an apology and like wise – then walk away with a lesson learned for both parties.
Posted by Pip July 21, 09 12:17 PMLet us be honest about this, if the police report was accurate, Professor Gates was a total jerk that evening. A neighbor thought she saw two men breaking into his home and when police investigated, he accused him of racial profiling. At first he refused to show the police identification and was abusive. He eventually followed them out on his front porch and was verbally abusive and that is when the police arrested his. Too bad they didn’t use a stun gun on him. Being a minority does not give you the right to be a jerk. Gates needs to grow up.
Posted by Tahuaya Armijo July 21, 09 12:18 PMThank God. To think we have a Black President yet racism is running rampant in the Peoples Republic of Cambridge. If its this bad in a liberal bastion, I can’t even imagine the hate expressed in Mississippi or Alabama
Posted by Embarassed July 21, 09 12:18 PMI think it is fair to assume this was not a racially chraged arrest as suggested, or Professor Gates would announcing a crusade-like lawsuit on the steps of Harvard as we speak. A couple of hot heads is all it was…
Posted by francisJohnson July 21, 09 12:18 PMrace card = case dropped
In reality he probably should not have been arrested but he was not arrested becase he was black. He was arrested because he mouthed off to the Cops, most police don’t like to hear “Don’t you know who I am?”
Also you never ever ever talk about a cops Mama
Posted by Frank July 21, 09 12:19 PMI hope Gates and the cop apologize to each other.
Posted by luthien123 July 21, 09 12:20 PMThrow the bum in jail. his behavior is despicable, and his use of the race card has illegitimized any arguement he had. It’s not about race, it’s about behaving as a civil human, and responding to the authority figure without an attitude. What a loser!
Posted by Heywood Jablowme July 21, 09 12:20 PMThis is sad. Gates was a jerk to the officers and they shouldn’t drop the charges just because of (his words) “who you are messing with.” Search for pictures of the incident and you might find a really interesting one posted on demotix.com showing that one of the officers was indeed, black.
Posted by Chris July 21, 09 12:21 PMTalk about political activism and racism. It was always exist because of this treatment/settlement by people afraid to confront the reality that power will control. Check back in a few years and see where this officer’s career went – downhill.
Posted by Lugnuts July 21, 09 12:21 PMWhat an IDIOT!!! This is supposed to be an educated person that plays the race card????. Lock the bum up and demand an apology to the police and the public for his eradict behavior and for being a public nuisance.
Is this what you get for a quota system or what???
Posted by Paul July 21, 09 12:21 PMlet the facts never the less be told! and Justice served. It was Mr ates hoiuse seems the Police were definately picking on him!
Posted by jack July 21, 09 12:23 PMIt’s funny how I couldn’t comment on the original story. Hmm…how convenient.
Posted by M July 21, 09 12:23 PMYeah, if there’s one place a minority can’t get a fair shake, it’s Cambridge. Neanderthals, all of ‘em. The good Professor might consider leaving a key under the mat, like the rest of us. This nol pros proves that, sadly, “they” DID “know who they were messing with”. This is productive how?
Posted by agingcynic July 21, 09 12:23 PMlike a house of cards…
Posted by Johnny Drama July 21, 09 12:24 PMGates has had a chip on his shoulder ever since he was passed over the Clinton administration for a high-profile position, and the Bush victories kept Gates out of the limelight. He can’t get over it, apparently.
Posted by dinahshore July 21, 09 12:24 PMOMG…………I hope if I ever get in this situation myself, that the charges are dropped as well.. BOOHOO. Why didn’t he just prove who he was and none of this racist, whatever seen would not have happened. I think for a scholar, did you say, he acted pretty irrational.
Posted by pj July 21, 09 12:25 PMWhat are the chances that he (Gates) will still sue them (the Cambridge PD)?
I’m willing to bet that this won’t be the last we’ll hear about this case.
Posted by Chris W. July 21, 09 12:25 PMAre you kidding! this is a disgrace! now every person is going to beligerant to the police and they will think they can get out of it. Now the Police’s job just got harder and a lot more dangerous. Thanks alot.
Posted by Colleen July 21, 09 12:26 PMInteresting. Considering the text of the police report made public yesterday, it is hard to see how this could be taken as anything other than demeaning the character and reputations of both the Cambridge police and the professor.
Posted by anonymous July 21, 09 12:26 PMTo the vigilant, fellow Harvard employee who reported Mr. Gates to the Cambridge Police for allegedly breaking and entering – would you care to comment now that the charges have been so hastily dropped by the prosecutor and all involved. The last time I checked, I believed your name was Lucy Whalen. Again, care to comment to the any reporters now?!
Another example of life imitating fiction, as evidenced in the film Amos and Andrew.
Posted by Paul July 21, 09 12:26 PMCowards. Gates should go to jail for his bufoonary.
Posted by RS July 21, 09 12:27 PMAnd cue the fire breathing townies in 3…2…1…
Posted by Here it comes July 21, 09 12:28 PMWow,
I guess all of us racists here in Red-Necky Old Boston can go back to our good old boy ways, especially all you probably white posters who have never experienced racial profiling.
Let that be a lesson to you and don’t let us catch you supporting any cops doing their jobs, either.
Pass the jerky, Clem.
Posted by SickOfBlueStateHypocrisy July 21, 09 12:28 PMThis isn’t about race – this is about a guy who asks rudely “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” and gets away with it. He and the (white) lady from Wellesley who hit a state trooper at logan are sure laughing it up. If it were you and me we’d just be getting out of holding now, with our court date in hand.
Posted by NoJustice July 21, 09 12:29 PMBummer. There goes the circus. Harvard must have pulled every string out there to save face. Employing people like this professor seems like a tuition drain. Police please note if that happens at my house: please ask for ID; that’s at a minimum your job.
Posted by jimmarine July 21, 09 12:29 PMI guess this guy showed everyone. If you’re a Harvard professor and black you can behave anyway you please and get away with it.
Posted by woodentoy05 July 21, 09 12:30 PMWhat a joke. I feel bad for the Cambridge Police Department.
Posted by Gerry Callahan July 21, 09 12:30 PMGates was keeping it real….
Posted by Pete July 21, 09 12:30 PMWhy on earth would a 58 year old African American scholar say “Ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside.” Honestly, that would be my first clue to thinking the guy wasn’t who he said he was. And also that he was kind of twerp.
Posted by Sarah Smiles July 21, 09 12:30 PMWhat a loser this Gates character is. He is an embarrassment to Black Americans. Al Sharpton is another loser. He is also an embarrassment to Black Americans.
Posted by Bob July 21, 09 12:31 PMYawn. WHO CARES!!!!!!! There are 100 more pressing problems facing MA residents. Next time a black man breaks into a house in Cambridge, the police should look the other way.
Posted by homer July 21, 09 12:31 PMThe headline we should be reading is “Officer Crowley to be dropped from the Cambridge Police Force”.
Let’s hope that Gats and his attorney decide to sue.
Posted by diggyzazz July 21, 09 12:31 PMwhy don’t you give the name of the Sargent who, in my opinion, needs further training.
Posted by Candy July 21, 09 12:32 PMSo lets get this straight a loud mouthed blow hard with a chip on his shoulder can treat the police responding to a reported break in, like this and because hes a prominent black man, the charges are dismissed. What happened to justice being blind, prosecute him for disorderly conduct as you should do to anybody who behaves like that.
Posted by Confused July 21, 09 12:32 PMRacism. Ignorance. So the Cambridge police didn’t recognize one of the most (more like “the most”) prominent black scholar in the nation? Yeah, I’m sure they can ID Paris Hilton.
Posted by Larla July 21, 09 12:32 PMwhat a crock! so now if you yell at the police,don’t do what they want you, get a lawyer and yell from the rooftops that your being treated unfair you can get away with anything! Thanks alot you just made my husbands job ALOT harder.
Posted by Colleen July 21, 09 12:32 PMSince when don’t black people have to be courteous to police officers? The man was responding to a valid report, why don’t you go bitch out your neighbor who called the cops on you.
Posted by Tim Adams July 21, 09 12:32 PMSo a bystander calls police to report two men trying to budge a front door and when the police arrive to investigate the Prof. gets all high and mighty, talks about the officers “mother”, yells at and berates the officer, and threatens him with further action…… I would say that this case is racially motivated allright, as in if this was a white guy the same thing would have happened, except the part where the police department drops all charges under racial criticism.
Posted by Taylor July 21, 09 12:33 PMonly in America (and maybe Iran, China, …)
Posted by Phil July 21, 09 12:33 PMSounds like the officer was doing his job and unfortunately Mr Gates raected the way he did and is probably embarrassed by this police report.
Posted by newtonrob July 21, 09 12:33 PMShades of Dee Brown in Wellesley Hills a few years ago.
God forbid a black should have a right to be on the porch of an expensive home in Cambridge or be standing on the sidewalk in front of the Wellesley Hills Post Office (gasp).
I suppose the world should be grateful these aren’t DC cops…
Posted by Tony July 21, 09 12:34 PMSimply poor judgement by the arresting officer. Law enforcement really needs to learn that angry behavior on their part often will lead to these embarassing incidents. Stay calm, safe and work smart – such behavior protects us all.
Posted by AceofWands July 21, 09 12:35 PMWell, racism is indeed alive and well. And yet again, it’s the white man being discriminated against. Can you imagine if the roles were reveresed, a black police officer being spoken to that way by a white home owner? He’d be doing 5 years in jail. But because Gates played the race card, he gets away with abusing a police officer. Yes indeed, the abuse of the white man continues.
Posted by mark1982 July 21, 09 12:35 PMGates should apologize.
Good job Police! Good job to the alert neighbor as well.
Posted by Once Poor July 21, 09 12:35 PMTook the DA too long for a clear coverup case, but glad he came to the right outcome. After reading the posts in an earlier forum, it is clear that rave is still a polarizing issue in Boston, although few whites want to admit it. We can’t lecture Iran and China until we resolve discrimination in Boston.
Posted by Dan July 21, 09 12:35 PM”Gates was arrested after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior’’ toward the officer who questioned him, the report said.”
What a bogus charge. The officer in question should just have thanked the Professor after viewing his ID and that would have closed the matter.
Posted by ROBERT H BALOGH July 21, 09 12:35 PMThey have two sets of laws, one for the haves and one for the have nots…If some smuck had done the same thing, he’d still be in jail. But the Attorney General knuckled under with this guy… I don’t think color had to do as much as “Do you know who I am” stature. They would done the same thing if alan dershowitz had gotten arrested…
Posted by duckman July 21, 09 12:36 PMIf I was screaming my fool head off at a black officer and would be jailed and sentenced. Since this is a semi-famous person he is going to get off free as a bird. Justice in America is all about who has the money/clout to buy there way out.
Posted by Clr July 21, 09 12:36 PMI’m white and I think I would’ve responded the same way as the professor if the officer was being provocative. I’d like to hear a 3rd party account of the confrontation to see if there was any instigation from either side before making judgment.
Posted by fastcompany July 21, 09 12:36 PMThat’s outrageous. The cop should have some serious sensitivity training.
Also, all cops need to understand that when they make a mistake people will be very upset at them and may curse and be loud. That is not a public disturbance or a crime. Such protest and indignation is the least compensation that misguided authority owes a wronged citizen.
Instead most cops seem to take indignation as a challenge to their personal authority and respond by abusing their delegated authority to shore up their egos.
Posted by Skolar July 21, 09 12:36 PMTypical behavior from someone who believes that he is owed a lifetime of passes becuase his people were enslaved by his own race and sold to white people 200 years ago. He is lucky that his comments were to a law enforceman person and not to a ordinary citiizen, who probably would have had a more physical reaction to his big mouth.
Posted by Fran Jones July 21, 09 12:37 PMWas Mr. gates being disrespectful when a policeman was following standard procedure?
Posted by jprairie July 21, 09 12:37 PMIt makes me sick to my stomach to read what had transpired with Professor Gates. This incident is a huge wake-up call reminding us that we have much work to be done in bridging relations and community around our very diverse peoples. In my mind, the Cambridge police were in the wrong from the beginning with their disrespect of Professor Gates. The fact that they could arrest him and humiliate such a man speaks volumes about the abuses of power that is very real for blacks (and other minorities) in our country.
Posted by Julie Yee July 21, 09 12:38 PMCan we charge Sharpton with something?
Posted by stevejbr July 21, 09 12:38 PMI’m sure the average Joe wouldn’t have the charges dropped so quickly.
Posted by Average Joe July 21, 09 12:38 PMThe police officer created a criminal event where there was none, and now we have another situation that compromises the reputation and integrity of our police forces.
It seems to me that the officer should have apologized once he realized the mistake. Up until the point of positively identifying Professor Gates, the officer was innocently involved, having responded to a routine call. After that, it was the officer who exacerbated the situation.
These types of poorly handled situations do not help our cops. Our police officers have extremely dangerous jobs, and they need all of the support they can get.
Posted by M July 21, 09 12:38 PMBasically if Gates just peacefully offered the officer his identification without all of the verbal abuse everything would’ve been fine.
Officer: Excuse me sir, we had a call about a breaking and entering and since you’re forcing your way into the home we just want to make sure that this is your residence.
Gates: No problem officer and thanks for checking. Here’s my ID. I’m a professor at Harvard.
Officer: Sorry about the inconvenience Professor Gates but we’ve had a few break-ins around here and we don’t want to have any more.
Gates: No problem glad to see you guys are on the beat and I’ll make sure I call next time before I decide to break into my own home.
Officer & Professor Gates: Ha, ha, ha, ha ha. Have a great day! You too sir.
Posted by Beltway Greg July 21, 09 12:39 PMSkip wins!!! You go Brother!!!
Posted by Charkie K. July 21, 09 12:39 PMWhere do the Cambridge police get their information from? I know Cambridge is a (small) City, but do the police officers there read newspapers or watch the news? Or do they get their news of the world from Sports Illustrated? What I mean is, I’m no one, from Dorchester. I read the paper, I watch TV news. I’m not a gossip hound, or up on the Who’s Who of any local “scene” but I know who this guy is. If I saw him on the street I’d know who he is. What’s up with the Cambridge police?
Posted by Padraig July 21, 09 12:39 PMI find this case very troubling. The stories of these two respected members of our community did not line up, and we were, basically, being asked who we believed more, an african-american scholar or a police officer. My instincts say that neither of them behaved as well as they report they did, but also that neither of them behaved as badly as the other person says they did. At the end of the day, I feel that we should be able to tell the police, or anyone for that matter, to mind their own business so long as we are abiding by the law. Mr. Gates was probably unpleasant, but that does not constitute a crime. When he produced ID, the officer should have gotten into his car, and driven away.
Posted by KV July 21, 09 12:39 PMA bigger person than Gates would have seen the mistake the passerby might have made and not made such a fuss. But loudmouths will be loudmouths.
Posted by joeblow July 21, 09 12:39 PMlol…….whoaaaaaaaa That is huge looks like Harvard upset the Black elite…
Wish the DA worked this Hard to find half the unsolved murders in boston
Posted by Milliondollamindz.com July 21, 09 12:39 PMIt is a sad state of affairs when this case is immediately dropped because a prominent figure in the Harvard community cried racism. If this happened to me or anyone else that is not a prominent figure I would be in court today and probably doing community service or something. Why don’t they let the facts come out? White or black, teenager or adult, this guy, according to the police report, deserved everything he received as he was disorderly. I am not sure how race was a factor in this at all. It is not as if the police combed the streets looking for him. They were responding to a call, saw him in front of the house and questioned him. He acted like a jerk and got arrested. I can only hope the police never respond to any call at his house again. Can you imagine what this entitled jerk would cry if the police did not respond to the complaint of his house being broken into again?
Posted by Jkick July 21, 09 12:39 PMMust be nice to be black. Cry the race card and get the charges dropped.
Posted by will July 21, 09 12:40 PMDid he have OJ’s lawyer?
Posted by Chanequa July 21, 09 12:40 PMJust another moon bat mouthing off to the police and then trying to escape the consequences by hiding behind his skill color and his pedigree.
This is the future Democrats have in mind for all people of color.
Posted by RonBorges July 21, 09 12:40 PMProf Gates has some outdated baggage in his trunk. Grow up; the President of the US is black.
Posted by Raymond Hughes July 21, 09 12:40 PMOK. So the next time somebody is really breaking in to his house (and let’s say it is a black man) should the police investigate?
Should the neighbors call the PD?
Mr. Haaaaavard professor. YOU ARE THE RACIST!!!!.
Posted by Bill from LA July 21, 09 12:40 PMThank God! What a terrible thing. The man was in his own home. I believe the officer needs to be punished for his actions.
Posted by Gloria Goldstein July 21, 09 12:40 PMGive the police their due or they are going to mess with you
Posted by Common Sense July 21, 09 12:41 PMpolice officer did his job enough said
Posted by ben July 21, 09 12:41 PM”Ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside”
Nice to see Harvard hires only intelligent, refined, and exemplary professors. They have no need to fill quotas of race. Meanwhile, there is a more qualified and worthy candidate working elsewhere.
Posted by Gates Mom July 21, 09 12:42 PMOk…I was with this guy and supported his position…UNTIL they dropped the charges. If this were any other joe-schmoe black man that this happened too, there would be no media hype and therefore they wouldn’t have dropped the charges (at least not this quickly).
Bottom line: he was disorderly. That was the charge, not that he was actually breaking and entering.
Posted by UsuallyMoreLiberal July 21, 09 12:42 PM”The scene — two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in. ”
From all accounts I’ve heard, this is patently untrue. It wasn’t this that prompted the phone call, but two men putting their shoulders to the front door and trying to break it down and then one going around back trying to break in there. Dr. Gates was well within his rights to be angry and questions legitimately should be raised, but this type of sloppy journalism is inexcusable.
Posted by Marissa July 21, 09 12:42 PMIn this instance I would say both Prof. Gates and the officer were a little out of line. The officer was simply doing his job and responded to a possible burglary call. He didn’t make the observation, he responded to someone’s observation of two men breaking into a home. It was Prof. Gates that brought race into the equation once the office arrived.
It was the officers responsibility to investigate once a complaint is made. Prof. Gates challenged the officers authority on the base of race. Had Prof. Gates complied with the officers request to speak with him nothing would have come of the situation. Instead he throws out “being black in America” and “do you know who you’re messing with”. While the response of making an arrest was probably overkill, when you challenge a police officer in this manner you are asking to get arrested.
Posted by Raven July 21, 09 12:42 PMMake it stop…this is so stupid.
Posted by josh July 21, 09 12:42 PM”The scene — two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in.”
Nice. Just once, just for giggles, it would be great if the Globe and BDC could be a little, just a tiny bit, less predictable and cliche.
Posted by Tim July 21, 09 12:43 PMThank god, now I can cointinue to live my life, I haven’t slept since sunday
Posted by vman July 21, 09 12:43 PM…An ugly and unfortunate episode. Very hard for the human brain to pull itself away from its heuristic (and, frankly, prejudicial) bias — no matter who we are — given the social creatures we are that make swift judgments under conditions of cognitive uncertainty, but we must try. And luckily we are also smart enough and self-reflective enough to generally do so unless we have a deliberate agenda to the contrary.
Posted by jenny July 21, 09 12:43 PMHmmmm….. The race card wins again.
Posted by MC1234 July 21, 09 12:43 PMSo Cambridge has noted that his behavior was acceptable.
Posted by Tweed July 21, 09 12:43 PMsee i knew it was due to racist and the cambridge police would of had a lawsuit on their hands.
Posted by samoy2e July 21, 09 12:44 PMOk, all you east coast racists, let er rip!!
Posted by realitythink July 21, 09 12:44 PMHe should wear a shirt that says “Do you know who I am” so police will then dare sking him a question.
Posted by King July 21, 09 12:44 PMI agree that dropping the charges is the appropriate course; no time or money needs to be spent on this matter. However, Gates behaved badly. If you have to break into your house, and someone who doesn’t know you calls the police, then when they arrive, you politely show your ID. End of story. Gates apparently initially refused to show his, to police officers who were merely doing their job, and then he threw a loud, disruptive temper tantrum. There was no good reason for this.
Posted by Lili July 21, 09 12:44 PMOf course this should not have happened, as Walter Prince rightly stated. But it did. Dropping the charges is a decent first step. But what will be the next step. How will we, as a society, as cities, as states, as a country ensure that something similar will not happen tomorrow, or next week, or next year? When these things happen to people without Professor Gates’s status, does anyone even notice? Are the charges dropped then? How will we begin lasting changes that render this type of occurrence, these racial inequalities in our law enforcement obsolete?
Posted by CopantheCat July 21, 09 12:45 PMThose that know Henry well, are likely say (but not to his face) that he enjoys being the center-of-attention & is not given to backing-away from his opinions – which may make him look principled, or just plain stubborn – depending on the circumstances.
I feel sorry for the arresting officer, who (according to witnesses) appears to have made several attempts to keep the confrontation from escalating, despite Henry’s insistence on amplifying his neighbor’s appropriate concern over a possible burglary, into eagerly scripting a “starring role” for himself, in a historic civil rights event.
Posted by deltaman July 21, 09 12:45 PMGAtes’s reachtion was probably, unfortunately, primed by the result of years of racial discrimination. But he definitely overreacted.
The guy or woman on the street who sees two guys trying to shoulder in a door should be proud to be a good citizen by reporting it.
And when a cop asks me questions in such a situation I expect that they might question me for a while longer than the average joe might think is reasonable. That’s because they have a lot more experience than most people with figuring out if something is on the level.
However, I actually like it when my neighbors take an interest in a couple of guys on the porch trying to get in.
I did the same thing a couple of years ago when I saw someone acting strangely outside a stranger’s door, except I was the one to confront him.
Turned out it was the owner and his behavior was easily explainable. He was at first upset that I was questioning him, then when I explained I wanted to make sure his property was ok he was grateful.
Of course I’m white and don’t have the experience of feeling that I’ve ever been unjustly stopped for anything.
Posted by steve in W MA July 21, 09 12:45 PMThe “passerby” who phoned the police is actually the Manager of Circulation and Fundraising for Harvard Magazine [the official alumni publication], which also has its offices on the street where Professor Gates lives. Harvard Magazine has often published articles, with pictures, about Professor Gates.
Maybe they’ll soon be looking for a new Manager of Circulation and Fundraising.
Posted by Tom July 21, 09 12:45 PMI’m on the job. All Gates had to do was show some ID. Cops leave end of story. However Gates at first according to what I read refuses to do so. What do people expect the cops to do just leave? What if he was a robber breaking into the house and the cops just left without properly identifying Gates? Additionally a neighbor called, not the police looking to harrass some guy. Whole thing is blown out of proportion.
Posted by Chuck Riley July 21, 09 12:45 PMIsn’t this even more of an issue of differential treatment between people of different social status (regardless of race)?
It may be true that professor Gates’s race played a part in his initial arrest. Some would agree, some wouldn’t.
I think just about everyone will agree, however, that someone with less social status than a professor (regardless of whether they’re white or black) would have had a much harder time getting the charges dropped.
Posted by Dave Rensberger July 21, 09 12:46 PMSo because this rude man works at Harvard, he’s allowed to act in this manner towards a police officer? I’m disappointed that these charges were dropped. It sounds like Dr. Gates needs to get off of his high horse.
Posted by Jo Scientist July 21, 09 12:47 PMOnce again, an idiot uses race as an excuse for being stupid. Of COURSE the police acted properly….THEY APPEARED TO BE BREAKING INTO A HOUSE. I was breaking into my own house and a neighbor called (rightly) the police. And when an African American officer came to check on things, I didn’t call him a racist – I thanked him for checking things out and provided my identification. Typical professor…all doctorate and NO COMMON SENSE. Harvard, as well as Gates, should be ashamed.
Posted by George Costansza July 21, 09 12:47 PMI find it humorous that the Globe states that his arrest “sparked outrage.” Every chat board I went on predominantly showed support for the actions of the police.
Posted by Keith July 21, 09 12:47 PMHe never should have been arrested in the first place. The policeman’s “report” said he was “surprised and confused regarding the behaviour exhibited” but forgot to say that while in Gate’s house, when Gates requested the policeman’s name and badge number to report his actions, the policeman would not respond and left the premises. When Gates followed him outside his home on his own property requesting the info., he was arrested. Arrested because the officer was surprised and confused? That’s not a reason to arrest someone. Gates was not arrested because he did not have proper i.d. or plausible excuse, but because the police did not like the way he “acted”. Not that his behaviour pointed to anything criminal, just that the cop didn’t like it.
This is a good case of when police feel they can act anyway they want and not be held responsible as “servants of the people”. If police want citizen’s to treat them with respect, they need to treat citizen’s the same. Gates provided his identification when requested, why can’t a citizen ask a cop for his/her name and badge number and expect a reasonable response? If Gates had told the cop he was asking so he could praise him to his superiors, I bet the cop would have been happy to give his badge number. But he knew Gates was going to complain, so he refused and then had to arrest Gates on this ridiculous charge to try to cover up his bad behaviour.
Posted by Michelle2112 July 21, 09 12:47 PMI think if police officers wore mini cams which could record audio and video of a confrontation similar to those used in police cars, we could watch the encounter (on YouTube) and judge for ourselves whether an arrest was warranted or not.
Posted by bob y July 21, 09 12:47 PMI find it humorous that the Globe states that his arrest “sparked outrage.” Every chat board I went on predominantly showed support for the actions of the police.
Posted by Keith July 21, 09 12:47 PMThis is terrible. Because he’s a black man and played the race card for his childish actions, this DA is letting him go? Terrible.
Posted by Steve July 21, 09 12:48 PMIt seems from all that has been written, it was probably a wise decision for the DA to do this. BUT, Mr. Gates maybe deserved this too. It seems like all he had to do is cooperate and not mouth-off and things would have been fine. But, it sounds like he had to make this into an issue (race) which in the end, made him and the police look bad. The officers were answering a call about a break-in and seem to be doing there job unless there was something omitted in the report. I’m just glad we don’t have to have Al Sharpton here yelling and screaming about racism. Has Al supported white people when something like this happens. Doubt it!
Posted by molliemax July 21, 09 12:49 PMThe Cambridge police dropped the charges because they don’t want the backlash from the media/black community that would ensue if they didn’t. If this was any other person (of any race) they wouldn’t have dropped the charges. I find it a little disturbing to hear the way Mr. Gates handled himself in this situation. This is supposed to be a highly educated man teaching the most talented youth in this country and this is how he reacts? It’s preposterous to assume any time a police officer confronts a black man, it has to be racial profiling. Al Sharpton is going to have a field day with this. If Mr. Gates had just cooperated with the officer initially he would have been off his doorstep in less than three minutes. I don’t care what color you are, if you mouth off to cops, they’re going to run you in. Treat them with the respect you’d want to receive yourself and nine times out of ten they’ll be cool to you. There was no need for this to happen.
Posted by Mike July 21, 09 12:49 PMIf one reads the police report, they would discover that the behavior of Mr. Gates was regrettable and unfortunate…also quite disrespectful, immature, and illegal. Once again, common sense does not prevail. The bigotry is toward the police officers. How sad, but not unusual.
Posted by anon101 July 21, 09 12:49 PMTracy Jan and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff wrote ‘The scene — two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in.’
No, two men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day trying to break open a door with their shoulders — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in.
(Read the police report)
Whose side do you suppose the authors are on???
Posted by marathonman262 July 21, 09 12:49 PMThe “Do you know who I am?” attitude is one of the best ways to piss of anyone in any service industry anywhere. Wreaks of elitist entitlement.
Invoking the “Mama” comment isn’t going to make you very popular either…
Good idea to squash this case.
Posted by Patrick M July 21, 09 12:50 PMBlah, blah, blah. There are so many important things going on in the world, this not being one of them. The only shame coming from this is allowing that clown, Al Sharpton, to weigh in on local police issues. Insulting.
Mr. Gates needs to move on and stop tossing the R word. I have no doubt CPD were doing the job they are paid to do. He also needs to stop the ” Do you know who I am”. Personally, I think Mr. gates lives in a different world. He is most condescending, so I can believe how someone may have taken his verbal abuse as coming from a jerk.
Posted by Joe Luke July 21, 09 12:50 PMI am only surprised that the police behave in such ignorant ways. When the person says I live here, here’s my ID, why not just apologize and leave to do more important business? Why act as though your importance as a police officer is on the line?
I can readily understand Gate’s outrage.
Black people continue to be harassed by small minded people everywhere in this country. Can’t we at least learn to be aware of these impending conflicts by educating the police, or will we continue to just say ‘ arrest the person if they talk back to you’?
It is really so stupid….
Posted by Chris M. July 21, 09 12:51 PMFirst, to the woman who called the police – BRAVO FOR YOU! Thank God there are still conscientious people who show care and consideration for others, including people they don’t know. I do not believe that this was in any way this was an episode of racism. I do, however, believe that this was most definately a case of the priveleged thinking that they can do whatever they want. This professor is obviously an educated man. These people came to his house expecting to find a burglary in progress. How was this police officer to know that this man in the house was the owner? The only way for the police officer to know for sure that this man was the owner would be to ask for identification. What if this person was a robber and the officer hadn’t asked for identification and the professsor came home to find his precious trinkets gone? I’m sure that THEN he would say that the officer should have asked for identification. I think we also need to look at what the professor teaches and what his “causes” are. Professor Gates should have been grateful that this police officer was willing to take his life in hands and enter the house where a potential burglar existed, with the possibility of getting shot. Once he showed the officer his identification, the correct statement to have made should have “Thank You for looking out for me”. The only person who was being racial here was the professor, in addition to being a pompous spoiled brat. I don’t think the DA should have apologized. I think the Professor should apologize.
Posted by Betty Applegate July 21, 09 12:51 PMThis is insanity – sounds like the cop was trying to do his job, checking out a call. Way over reaction by all – especially the professor. If one of Cambridge’s many black officers had responded to the call would Mr. Gates have cooperated and not cried racism??? Who is the racist here?
Posted by cc walker July 21, 09 12:51 PMGood. Now we can move on to bigger issues. I see this as nothing more than a big misunderstanding fueled by a tired man who could not get into his home and may have made some unnecessary, but stupid, remarks. I would have called the police also if I saw this whether the individuals were black or white.
Let’s move on people.
Posted by missmoe July 21, 09 12:51 PMwow…utterly ridiculous.
Posted by Tim July 21, 09 12:52 PMGates= If you believe it is the truth, then it is the truth. The whole episode reminds me of the scene in the movie “Crash” where the middle aged and normally mild manner black professional who confronted police and almost got himself shot.
Posted by gfkr2 July 21, 09 12:52 PMI know Professor Gates. He would not get indignant until/unless a line was crossed and he would never stoop to a ‘your mama’ taunt. It’s just not the man I know. I think it is unfair to Dr. Gates for the local media to report, verbatim what is in a police report. Police reports are subject to the bias of a police officer. While most police officers are fine public servants, there are always folks that harbor specific biases. During the course of my work, I’ve seen thousands of police reports with fabrications. I’m not surprised that the Cambridge D.A. dropped the charges.
Posted by Victoria July 21, 09 12:52 PMGood move on playing the race card. I am so proud to be an American. This works so well, why bother with enforcing the laws?
Posted by skignatio1 July 21, 09 12:52 PMBeing black likely had little to do with the arrest. It’s reasonable to assume a possible robbery when two men are attempting to knock down a front door. Gates’ response indicates that he’s paranoid about race and looking for a confrontation. He does no service to blacks.
Posted by Richard July 21, 09 12:53 PMGood. I hope Gates sues the Police. He never would have been questioned — in his own living room — for “breaking in” — if his skin color was white.
Posted by endracismnow July 21, 09 12:53 PMThanks Barack Obama
Posted by ian cooper July 21, 09 12:54 PMHallelujah! What an embarrasment for the Cambridge community!
Posted by js July 21, 09 12:54 PMThe Cambridge Police don’t look good at all from this.
And Cambridge citizens look even worse… it was Gates’ own neighbors who called the cops on him!
Guess the people who live in Cambridge showed their true colors with this incident. They’d fit in quite well in Texas.
Posted by Sigh July 21, 09 12:54 PMthis has nothing to do with race what so ever! If this man is such a genious, why didn’t he just shwo the police that he lived at the residence and explain that he was locked out? I mean, he was asking for it-he is a lose cannon and this just shows how irrelevant and desperate Al Sharpton is. This man is a pompous man that needed to be put in his place.
Posted by lstar77 July 21, 09 12:54 PMSo because he’s Mr. Harvard he gets to do whatever he wants? Nice. I am so incredibly sick of the “race card.”
Posted by LynnE July 21, 09 12:54 PMThere ia no question whatsoever that this was a case of racial strereotypying. The police, and the city, can deny the fact, but it is very clear that the police officer was biased in his behavior. A man on his own property does not have to justify his actions to anyone, when he has done nothing wrong. The very idea of what transpired here is sickening. Since when do we have to prove to a police officer that we own our homes, or are the rightfull occupants? This is a very sad day for the City of Cambridge. The decision to drop the charges is a wise move on the part of the Middlesex District Attorney. Unfortunately, a good man has been arrested, and dragged through the mud by a biggoted police force. The police officer involved should be ashamed of himself for his terrible behavior, and should make a public appology to the real victim here, Professor Gates.
Posted by rick July 21, 09 12:54 PMIt was a misunderstanding, obviously. Being impudent with the police will always escalate situations. I’m part of the “pale force” an would expect the same treatment if I was verbally combative with the police. I don’t see why anyone is bringing race into this. Th professor was at fault for escalating the encounter, I think. Why get mouthy?? I wouldn’t. It’s just common sense to be cool with the police..
Posted by jeff July 21, 09 12:54 PMwhere is the formal apology to Prof Gates?
Posted by M.A. July 21, 09 12:54 PMSo the police will drop the bogus charges? Time for a suit, Mr. Gates.
Posted by KYJurisDoctor July 21, 09 12:55 PM”The City of Cambridge, the Cambridge Police Department, and professor Gates acknowledge that the incident of July 16, 2009, was regrettable and unfortunate,”
Well at least both parties admitt to regret about how the situation was handled, I think both of them took things WAY to far, from the Professor yelling and getting all riled up to the officer actually arresting him for it, back to living in a civilized country.
Posted by Humility on both parts July 21, 09 12:56 PMThis man is a disgrace! Next time when the police don’t come to his house when they are called let’s see what his reaction will be.
Posted by bil318 July 21, 09 12:56 PMThe only racism, or racial profiling, evident here was on the part of Professor Gates. If the police receive a call about what appears to be a break-in, no matter the race of the suspects, we would all expect them to respond. Once there, having a legitimate reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed, they have the legitimate legal authority to demand ID from anyone whom they have reason to suspect might be involved. All Professor Gates’s actions up to the point where he finally complied with their request were racist, unreasonable, and downright stupid.
Now, whether the subsequent arrest was racially motivated, we’ll probably never know. But there’s no evidence that it was, and there is plenty of evidence that it was simply the kind of abuse of police power that happens all too frequently against people of all races when officers who have no business with that kind of authority get their pride hurt. Being a racist or insulting the police is not a crime. And police power is not license to demand respect at the point of a gun or the click of a handcuff. Kidnapping and false arrest are serious violent felonies, against which the victim actually has the right to use deadly force. A badge and uniform shouldn’t shield police from the consequences of committing such a crime themselves just because their pride is insulted, whether race is an issue or not.
Posted by Rob July 21, 09 12:56 PMThere we go again! Gates knows his magic shield. Anytime he’s in trouble, the only thing he can say is “they did it to me because I’m black”. It works everytime in this country.
Posted by capeman July 21, 09 12:56 PMThis doesn’t sound like a racist act to me. As a black man in the community, I understand when a situation may be linked to racism. In this case, at least from what I’m reading, the officer was just doing his job. No need to have Al Sharpten on speed dial. Our Governor is black and so is our President. Maybe the quick jump to call the racism card will eventually fade out. If it doesn’t, we’ll all be worse off…black, white, whatever color you are.
Posted by James Carmichael July 21, 09 12:57 PMNow that Mr. Gates has smeared the Dept., and the specific officer in such a high profile manner, I’m sorry that the case won’t be going forward. It sounds like there were witnesses that could either corroborate or debunk the police report as it was written. If the report is accurate, Mr. Gates, in the very least, owes an apology to the officer and to the community. -MB
Posted by Michael Buck July 21, 09 12:57 PMwe all know that the police always tell the truth
Posted by horace manoor July 21, 09 12:57 PMOh darn… I wanted to see him in court telling everyone how racist they are.
Posted by oscarbozachtoo July 21, 09 12:57 PMLooks like there’s some regrettable behavior on all sides here…I can’t imagine the jet lag helped Prof. Gates’ state of mind!
Biggest question — who is the “passerby” who called the cops? Love to know how they feel right now…
Posted by serafina July 21, 09 12:58 PMBoston, Boston, Boston………….only in Boston….so happy I do not live there, so happy I am far away from there
Posted by washingtondcguy July 21, 09 12:58 PMI believe it is regrettable that in these days and times that you can commit a crime as long as you cry “racism”. I would hope that someone this educated could simply admit to wrong doing or misbehavior instead of trying to get out of this crime by crying racism. I pray that one day this country will stop looking at color. If the same situation had happened with an educated white man, and black police officers, we wouldn’t be hearing about dropped charges or racism. Double standards is the problem.
Posted by Tom Thornbush July 21, 09 12:58 PMLooks like another profit center for this black guy in suing the cops for racism and false arrest so he can suppliment his modest professor’s salary.
If he didn’t get angry and confrontational with those cops all this mess wouldn’t have happened. Any reasonable, thinking person would appreciate that someone called in an attempted burglary at their house! The cops were doing their jobs and were correct in demanding to see ID. This guy caused all his own problems by getting pissed off instead of appreciating good police work.
But, now he will profit bigtme from it. Is that right? Hell, no, and he knew it was his chance to cash in by playing the race card, as usual.
Posted by richard July 21, 09 12:58 PMThis is so sad. If such a prominent citizen as Dr. Gates can be harassed in his own home makes me wonder if anyone is safe from such overt racism. Will we next read that President Obama has been stopped on his way into the White House and be required to present ID? Yes we can!
Posted by Kim Sanders July 21, 09 12:59 PMThe reality is the police would have never been called had it been 2 white males trying to enter a home. Whether the policeman and/or Prof. Gates acted accordingly remains to be seen. I can only imagine if I was Prof. Gates being challenged in my own home- I would have lost it.
Posted by V. Lothrop Boston, MA July 21, 09 12:59 PMcharges dropped…….whereas, if this happened to me,, a white male….I would have an arraignment…..where is the justice man !!!!!!!
Posted by bdog July 21, 09 12:59 PMThis is so sad. If such a prominent citizen as Dr. Gates can be harassed in his own home makes me wonder if anyone is safe from such overt racism. Will we next read that President Obama has been stopped on his way into the White House and be required to present ID? Yes we can!
Posted by Kim Sanders July 21, 09 12:59 PMJUST AS I SED. GATES WAS HORASSING THAT POOR CAMBRIDGE OFFICER WHO WAS JUST DOING HIS JOB. ARESSTING 60 YEAR OLD BLACK SCHOLARS IN THERE OWN HOMES IS HOW THIS COUNTREE WAS BUILT BY WHITE PEOPLE. LIBRUL GLOBE DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT GATES ASKED CROWLEY FOR HIS NAME AND BADGE NUMBER WHILE THE COP WAS STANDING IN GATES HOUSE. THAT IS HORASSMENT. CASE CLOSED.
Posted by Jonny Wingnut July 21, 09 12:59 PMIf I was a high-class Harvard professor who was being questioned by police after someone reported a potential burgler in the neighborhood, I would simply state my innocence to the officer and explain what happened. I would then show him my license with address and picture on it, and the matter would be over and done with.
Instead this professor told the officer “ill speak with your mother outside” and pulled the “you dont know who you are messing with” line, which the officer responded with handcuffs. If he is so intelligent, established, repected, blah blah blah, why did he act like someone with something to hide? Why didnt he cooperate with the officer who responded? Because he thinks that his STATUS at Harvard University puts him Above the Law.
Im sorry Mr. Gates but the police responded to a potential home invasion, which is a serious crime. Arent you happy that the officer wanted to make sure that YOUR home was safe and that the person claiming to live there (YOU) actually did? To pull the “racial profile” card here is ridiculous. We have a black president, a black govenor, and black professors at Harvard who think they are above the law… when does the “oh its because im black” excuse become outdated?
Posted by MPR July 21, 09 12:59 PMImagine how “surprised and confused” Gates must have been to be confronted in his own home.
Once the Harvard ID checks out, that’s the end of the story. Why was the officer still hanging around Gates’ kitchen asking questions? What else needed to be discussed “outside”?
Did the officer not approve of being utterly mistaken in his assessment of the situation? (Knowing some of these open-mouthed breather meatheads, that would be my guess.)
The officer and the Cambridge police force should consider themselves very, very fortunate that Gates has not chosen to pursue legal action. I know I would have.
Another example of overzealous law enforcement overstepping its bounds.
Posted by Emlyn Addison July 21, 09 01:00 PM”The scene — two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in. “
Interesting selective and inflammatory phrasing here by Tracy Jan in the two Globe entries. According to the police report, the woman said it was the sight of two black men trying to forcibly open the door that was the trigger for her call to police.
Posted by Keith July 21, 09 01:00 PMA couple of weeks ago I saw the Cambridge “police” harrasing black woman at place where rt2 meets 16. It was a nicely dressed woman in a newer car, looked like someone’s mom. She appeared terrified, there were 4 squad cars, surrounding her car, with cops standing around ready to draw their guns. It was the most absurd thing I’ve ever seen, what on earth could this woman have done. The cops looked like they’d just cornered some armed bank robber.
Posted by callforsanepolicing July 21, 09 01:00 PMGates being a Harvard Professor should no better than to behave in this manner. He should have been more than bright enough to know the officer was there solely to protect his home and his family from harm , not to harass a black man. This is sheer lunacy on his part to suggest he was being targeted because he was black. He was arrested however because of his beligerent
attitude. You don’t give a cop a hard time when he’s there for you. If he had treated the officer with the respect he deserved and promptly cooperated with him , I’m sure this would have never happened.
Posted by Harrison2253 July 21, 09 01:00 PM”The scene — two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in. “
“While I was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence, I was quite surprised and confused with the behavior he exhibited toward me.’’
Makes sense. White Bostonians are easily ‘suprised and confused’.
Posted by Y_Hosoi July 21, 09 01:00 PMProbably wouldn’t have escalated into the arrest if Professor Gates had shown the officer one-tenth the respect that the Professor thought himself entitled to.
Posted by stereo_typer July 21, 09 01:00 PMThe scene, two black men –one of whom was elderly, with a cane, and surrounded by LUGGAGE– and, as the article says, in the middle of the day, prompted the neighbor who apparently didn’t recognize the man who had been living next to her for years, to call the cops. I guess the race of the men outweighs any other details.
Posted by trouble July 21, 09 01:01 PMVery good ! Cool heads prevail.
Posted by Paul July 21, 09 01:02 PMLooks like the good professor got his wish… cry racism and the department gets scared and drops the charges… he should stand trial and pay the fine like anyone else would. Just reinforcing bad behavior.
Posted by Tired of it July 21, 09 01:02 PMTo the neighbor,
Do you NOT KNOW what your neighbor looks like?? or because it was a Black man…you just had to call the police??
Posted by alex July 21, 09 01:02 PMWell, the whole MAMA thing was unwarranted, but the office obviously had to show him who’s boss….which I believe in this instance violated his freedom of speech.
Cops do this all the time. It’s not against the law to mouth off to a police officer….they should teach them that in basic training.
Posted by RayinBoston July 21, 09 01:03 PMOh for Heaven’s sake GIVE THE MAN A BREAK! This “occurred on Thursday when the professor returned home from a trip to China filming a PBS documentary.” How would anyone with jetlag and fatigue feel, after finally returning to his own home, only to be confronted by police officers on his own front porch!?! Talk about racial profiling!!! Had I been in Professor Gates place, I would have at least ” exhibited loud and tumultuous behavior’’. Yes, this is an outrage. It just shows,sadly, that not much has changed in this country regarding racism.
Posted by Ann Diedrich July 21, 09 01:03 PMThis whole story is off the wall.
One quick question to the Globe… Why did you remove the police report that you had posted in pdf format when you first ran the story earlier this AM?
I did have a chance to read the report prior to removal from the site, and before anyone makes a comment, I would highly suggest that you read what is in the report first.
Boston Globe, please re-post the police report so that they whole story is out in the open
Posted by Dave_NH July 21, 09 01:03 PMHAHA…
I guess all of you who knew what happened before the whole story was out are satisfied…
The cops obviously knew they did something wrong and Mr. Gates obviously knew that the best solution for himself not to embarrass the police force in the city of which her resides and is currently employed was to settle the situation without pursuit.
Good for him…and Good for the PD to realize both sides were wrong in this situation.
Posted by clineyD July 21, 09 01:03 PMWe once had a housekeeper/tutor, a tall, well built PhD candicate from Trinadad, who cared for our five children when we traveled. Because he was driving our upscale car, he was pulled over repeatedly for questioning, even though he never went over the speed limit. It was obvious racism, as was this porch confrontation in Cambridge. We confronted the local police department who issued an apology but had the temerity to suggest that our children’s “tutor” wear a fez and dashiki so that he would look like an ambassador and wouldn’t be mistaken for a car thief. An unfortunate commentary on our society. However, this was thirty years ago. How sad that this is still happening today!
Posted by Dramamaven July 21, 09 01:03 PMSeems odd that a Cambridge professor would use the “mama” line. Frankly, I don’t know any professionals who do, especially ones over the age of 20. Sounds suspicious to me.
Posted by drp July 21, 09 01:03 PMAre the charges being dropped because he wasn’t being disorderly or was it because of the color of his skin? I thought that the purpose of the civil rights movement was to put an end to that kind of thing.
Mr. Gates unjustified and unsupportable actions are deplorable and he should be ashamed.
Posted by Mohammad July 21, 09 01:03 PMI believe the Police officer contributed to the escalation of the incident. If this is really community Policing as Cambridge Police claims, they might have idea who lived there. Having read the police report, I believe that the police officer was offended when they asked him to Identify himself. All he had to do is present his buisness card and apologize for the incovenience and case closed, but he continued to probe . Tumultuous behavior does not beget tumultuous behavior. He said, “I had no idea who i was messing with”, then let me show you the powers i have to arrest. This was just a cavalier attitude nothing more and nothing less.
Posted by Costas K July 21, 09 01:03 PMDrop the bias mularkey. The caller, ” who met the police at the house, was suspicious after seeing one of the men “wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry,” . She didn’t call the police because they were two black men. The police were called because two men appeared to be breaking into the house. In the caller’s description, they were described by number, “two”, by gender, “men”, and by another easy identifier, race, “black”. If they were four feet tall and she described them as “midgets” would that be bias too?
Posted by J. Beck July 21, 09 01:04 PMThe whole situation was completely blown out of proportion.
Mr Gates over reacted, was less than educated, and behaved poorly.
He should have just thanked the officers for showing up quickly to protect his house instead of giving the officers grief. He wasn’t arrested because he was black- he was arrested for being loud and aggressive towards a police officer. Which really would have happened to any white person.
PS- Prof. not everyone knows who you are, so yes, they are going to ask for several forms of ID. Not because you are black, because they got a call that a possible break-in was in progress and you happened to be in the house when they arrived.
Posted by aquanet July 21, 09 01:04 PMAs it should be… I agree that Prof Gates should not have followed the officer outside and berated him… but arrested? He was too emotional…. as was the officer, who should have continued to walk out, gotten into his police car, and continued to apologize for the obvious misunderstanding. The officer, unfortunately, is paid to deal with criminals, people who break the law, and maintain the peace. When a grievous mistake has taken place, it is his job to eat his feelings about the position he was put into…. not arrest someone who was obviously over-emotional after having returned home, had become aggravated by a door problem, and then approached by a police officer in his own home.
Posted by adirondacker July 21, 09 01:04 PMCan we see the police report, again, please? I wish I had a “get out of jail free” race card to pull every time I did something stupid…which is exactly what seems to be happening here. Cambridge Police have enough trouble on their hands to not deal with this loser causing trouble and giving them a bad name.
Posted by not_amused July 21, 09 01:04 PMI see nothing’s changed since I left that racist city in ’92.
Those who talk about “playing a race card” act like there’s no precedent for actions like this in Boston.
Posted by Golnoir July 21, 09 01:05 PMSickening how Gates was obnoxious, played the race card, then tried to paint himself as a victim.
Posted by Nick July 21, 09 01:05 PMThe police were responding to a 911 call not just driving by. Maybe Gates should talk to his neighbors so they don’t think he is breaking into his own place.
If Mr. Gates responded the way is reported then he should be reprimanded by Harvard and apologize to the officer. Should a supposedly distinguished professor at Harvard respond to an officer by saying “Ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside’’. You don’t get respect simply because of being at Harvard you still have to earn it like everyone else.
Posted by tim July 21, 09 01:07 PMThis is a sad unfortunate incident that would be hard pressed to occur if :
The neighbor knew who lived near them.
If the officer did not arrest the Gates for “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior”
If Gates did not allegedly yell at the officer.
If the officer said they were sorry for the intrusion.
If the greater Boston area was not so racially stigmatized that it seems so plausible that a neighbor would think two “black males with backpacks” are breaking into home, call police, and for another police to make an arrest even when there was a mistake and extenuating circumstances. Sad.
Posted by Able July 21, 09 01:07 PMThe same type of incident occur with me at my home, and my reponse to the police that were called was to explain the situation and thank them for thier quick response. I just wondering if a belligerent behavior provided the police a level of discomfort and as it continued decided to proceed with taking him into custody. If the police are called for a potential break in, I am not sure how this is racial profiling by the police. In any event, it certainly is unfortunate that the confrontation occured.
Posted by gfg July 21, 09 01:07 PMGood decision. When it comes to hubris, the race between cops and Harvard professors is generally just too close to call.
Posted by Juan-o July 21, 09 01:07 PMI once had the privilege of watching Professor Gates beat Cornell West in a break-dancing battle. I thought West’s backspin-windmill-funky freeze combo would win him the day, but Professor Gates came correct with a pop-lock/robot into a suicide flip and that was all she wrote.
It’s a shame to see him having fallen so low, though. Even a mediocre burglar knows better than to break into his own house. That’s a bush league mistake unworthy of a Harvard professor/expert break-dancer like Professor Gates.
Posted by Merriweather Throckmorton-Smythe July 21, 09 01:08 PM”This incident should not be viewed as one that demeans the character of the Cambridge Police Department.” Why not? It most certainly does demean the Cambridge PD. I hope this story isn’t over.
Posted by Rebecca July 21, 09 01:08 PMWell, that didn’t take long…
Posted by BillyJack July 21, 09 01:09 PMNot just a racial issue, but an example of the police state we now live in, mostly as a result of 9/11, but reinforced by the Bush leadership.
Posted by Phil July 21, 09 01:11 PMThat’s a shame. Everyone looks like a coward in this situation except for the law enforcement officers that handcuffed this foul-mouthed clown for his beligerent behavior. Shame on this “intellectual” for treating our law enforcement officers in this manner and pulling out the race card faster than you can say “don’t taze me bro!”. And even more shame on him for pulling out the “you don’t know who you’re messing with” card. He should be caned for simply uttering that phrase . And shame on the spineless police department and City of Cambridge for letting him off the hook and leave their good law enforcement officers hung out to dry.
Posted by CJT65 July 21, 09 01:11 PMWhy couldn’t Gates simply reply this is my home and present an ID which indicated the same? Then the officer could have left the residence without either party being offended? I will tell you why? Gates needed to beat his chest. How dare someone question who I am what I’m doing here. I wonder what his reaction would have been had another individual been attempting to gain access to his home and the police did nothing.
Posted by South Shore Fatty July 21, 09 01:11 PMarrogant fool.
“you don’t know who you are dealing with….ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside.”
impressive sir…REEEEEALLY good example you are setting….REEEEEEALLY nice.
Posted by car402 July 21, 09 01:12 PMWell, it seems to me that the professor did what he feeled he needed to do. Yes the act was based on race and the police power card. I’m sicken that this type of behavior is still hanging around. Henry Louis Gates should sue the hell out of that police dept. They was out of line to a degree and that man was in his home so there really wasnt much else for the police to say but have a good day. The professor had a right to be angry. If everyone else different in color from Mr. Gates can live in that area, whats wrong with him having the same. So him being a black man means he should stay in the hood? LOL this country is a joke and has been and will remain, blind that is to the facts of life.
Posted by Mskay216 July 21, 09 01:14 PMC’mon, blogger! Show some comments!
Posted by a July 21, 09 01:14 PMSo basically, you can behave like an arrogant idiot, and refuse to comply with a Police Officer who was called in to assist you, and charges will be dropped. This isn’t racism, this is money putting you above the law.
Posted by dg July 21, 09 01:14 PMThis business of selling racism for profit and attention is getting real old. Crying wolf by so many blacks like Gates did here has made people turn away from the true incidents of racism. Gate’s is a poverty pimp and a racist himself.
Posted by Linda Clifton July 21, 09 01:14 PMAnother slap in the face to law enforcement in the Commonwealth
Posted by TIm July 21, 09 01:15 PMapparently harvard professors are above the law
Posted by portslob July 21, 09 01:16 PMWhat a loser this Gates character is. He is an embarrassment to Black Americans. Al Sharpton is another loser. He is also an embarrassment to Black Americans.
Posted by Bob July 21, 09 01:16 PMMuch as we do not like it, stereotyping is a fact of life…It will take generations on generations to break down as it took generations on generations to build up……”And that’s the way it is “, to quote a realist… I should know, I am a “chink , chinaman” in America, my home
Posted by Ron Philip July 21, 09 01:16 PMOnce the professor showed the police his ID (two of them), they should have aplogized abd left in spite of the fantings and ravings of this person
Posted by weekend warrior July 21, 09 01:18 PMPolice respond to calls as given to them.
As a young patroman I was given a call of a suspicious black male in a residential neighborhood :”pacing back and forth looking at houses.”
He was waiting to be interviewed for a teaching position at a nearby middle school and was understandably nervous.
Not only did he get the job but in later years became principal of that school.
If he was white would anyone have called?
Posted by ac July 21, 09 01:18 PMWhy does every incident have to turn in to a racial affair, especially in this case. All Gates had to do was to stay calm and comply with the police requests and there would have been no incident. But not someone looking for a fight, due to his racial hypersensitivity Gates had to escalate the matter to a higher level and provoke police intervention which eventually led to his arrest. What a waist of everyone’s time and energy. Gates needs to go back to school and relearn etiquette, especially when dealing with the police
Posted by stan July 21, 09 01:19 PMWhy isn’t Gates behavior towards the Police Officer not the real story here? It is not reasonable to assume that a.) the Police officer “knows who he is” or b.)it’s not reasonable for an officer to be treated with such disrespect. The officer did in fact believe that Gates was the lawful resident after doing his job (which was to prove Gates was who he said he was) but apparently Gates felt that acting out and a beligerent attitude towards a cop was the appropriate code of conduct for this situation. Lets think about this… he just got back from China and he was most likely a little worse for the wear after that long trip.
So now we have a well respected Harvard Faculty member, exhausted from a trip to China, pissed off because his front door is jammed, and on top of that the police have the audacity to show up answering a call of a reported break in. Does Gates have so much hubris that he can’t say “Mea Culpa, I was tired, irritated and I overreacted.”
If I were a criminal, I’d attempt a break in at Gates residence because I can assure you that Cambridge’s finest will drag their feet somewaht if they ever receive another call to that address.
Posted by Mikey Mac July 21, 09 01:19 PMYa, I’ll speak with your mama outside,’
Such an intelligent quote from a distinguished man.
Posted by harpoonfest July 21, 09 01:20 PMThe Globe is trying it’s darnedest to fan the racial flames by making the 911 caller look racist. Mr. Gates was not simply a black man on the porch of a nice home, as described by the Globe. He was having trouble getting inside and was trying to pry the door open. He looked suspicious, black or not. I hope my neighbors call the police on me, or anyone else, if they see that at my door.
Posted by HackoRama1 July 21, 09 01:20 PMRight he actually said “Ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside”? I have seen countless scenes from multiple cop reality shows & I have seen these edited scenes where these persons of interest are yelling, swearing & being outright belligerent towards the police & they never get arrested. I have even witnessed the criminal getting caught, after a chase or fleeing in a car & get treated with kid gloves. Of course the majority of these encounters are white on white. How is that the majority of our society has always been perceived to be the victims of out of control constant violent attacks by mindless Neanderthalic Negroes? How is that 12% of our soceity is the root of more than 60% of all crimes? That would makeevery Negroe in America a criminal.
Posted by Geoff Jackson July 21, 09 01:20 PMThank goodness for this good news.
Posted by Vio July 21, 09 01:21 PMSo the cop got the ID and Gates gave it to him, Gates throw a fit and the cops arrested him. So when Gates gave the cop greif the cop got mad and instead of doing the right thing and explaining that they got a call and had to come, the cop threw a fit an arrested him, typical Cambridge Police Dept. This would have been simple if they cop had just said sorry, they were just following through on a possible reported break in, but no, cops can’t ever be wrong or logical.
Posted by Thanos73 July 21, 09 01:21 PMA similar situation happened to me. I was staying at a friends house who was away. A neighbor who knew that the homeowner was away but did not know that anyone would be staying there saw me entering the home and called the police because they thought that I was breaking in. So the police came and we resolved the situation without me getting arrested. Not because I’m white… but because I cooperated with the officer rather than telling him I’d speak to his momma outside.
Posted by Dantheman July 21, 09 01:23 PMThis is an outrage. I wonder why 2 criminal would be breaking into a home with their luggages?
Posted by Dee July 21, 09 01:23 PM“Ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside,’’ … very classy, just like what I would expect of a Harvard professor… It just confirms the stereotypes he was so passionately indignant against. Maybe he pulled the race card too soon… would he have shouted as loudly if the police officer was a black individual?
Posted by vee dub July 21, 09 01:23 PMWhat would you think! when the officer found out it was his residence he needed to leave.. the questions he had were not needed he goaded this behavior out of a man whom just had a very long flight home. And then it is obvious that the white neighbors do not even know they have a Black man living in the same neighborhood would react like that before thinking… this could be the man that owns that house.. this is America people and police always have a different standard on how they approach black people male of female trying to create fear or intimidation. the whole incident sucks.
Posted by NikKi Anderson July 21, 09 01:24 PMOne thing I find interesting is the neighbor who reported that a break-in was happening. Ostensibly Gates has lived in the neighborhood for a while…but even if he hadn’t, it’s curious that someone who either lived next door or across the street wouldn’t recognize him as her neighbor. It says a lot about the self-contained bubbles we live in, where we can’t be bothered to introduce ourselves to the people living next door to us…to the point where when we see them, assume that they’re strangers and aren’t from the neighborhood.
Posted by WG July 21, 09 01:25 PMWhat a bunch of CRAP! I wish I was black so could scream racism and have charges dismissed this country has entered a black hole of crap.
Posted by fred July 21, 09 01:25 PMI am disappointed that the name of the Cambridge police sergeant was not mentioned in this article. He claims he was led to believe Gates was “lawfully in residence” but was “surprised and confused” by Gates’ behavior toward him. Hmm. Perhaps the City of Cambridge should require this anonymous officer to take a course in sensitivity training.
Posted by William Monaghan July 21, 09 01:25 PMMaybe next time the good professor will keep his mouth shut and just unlock his door.
Posted by pauljmc July 21, 09 01:26 PMAs far as I know, being obnoxious to a police officer is not a crime. Everything described in the police report does not justify arresting a man inside his home.
I think this police officer, Carlos Figueroa, is just young and got too emotional and made a rash decision that he probably regrets.
It’s unfortunate but I’m glad it is resolved this way without histrionics. I hope this is a lesson for Officer Figueroa.
Posted by leverett July 21, 09 01:27 PMThe “race card ” wins again. This will tell generations of black americans that when you do wrong yell racism. Too bad the DA could not have held out for a couple of days. I use to have a lot of respect for Gerry Leone, he must have received alot of calls and wilted under the pressure.
Posted by winston07 July 21, 09 01:27 PMWaste of an artical.
Posted by John Surman July 21, 09 01:27 PMGates: paranoid, immature.
Posted by slim July 21, 09 01:27 PMCambridge Police and other police departments have to stop the incessant issuance of bogus charges. Charges such as these disorderly, harassment and such are bogus charges that officers believe they can get away with.
It would appear that “”cooperating”" or not with the police produces similar results. I am disgusted with police officers who do this and there are many.
These issues within police departments everywhere need to be disciplined with great consequences to the police officer.Police don’t appear credible and the public needn’t believe what is filed anymore, since it satisfies revenue and police bs***. Afterall, you cannot go around without evidence accusing others of things that aren’t factual. But under these charges, that’s exactly what they do.
Police shouldn’t be reprimanded, they should have the law against them for these incredible egregious mistakes against the public at large.
Posted by Tamara July 21, 09 01:28 PMI don’t know all of the facts of the case, and I think some more facts should come out. The officer was responding to a report of a supposed break in. The cop had every right to ask for ID, and to arrest the “suspect” if he did not cooperate. The prof was so quick to play the “racist” card. You would think a Harvard prof would be intelligent enough to prove to the cop that he was who he said he was, and to have the cop go on his merry way.
Maybe the cop was acting improperly, and the prof was cooperating – I guess we need some more info.
Posted by Anonymous July 21, 09 01:28 PMI’ll SPEAK WITH YOUR MAMA OUTSIDE!
Posted by Awesome quote July 21, 09 01:28 PMIsn’t the false acquisition of racial bias against an officer based on the officers ethnicity an actual form of racial bias?
Posted by dave July 21, 09 01:28 PMThis means the Cambridge Police likely violated civil rights… What a disaster!!
Posted by boston topdog July 21, 09 01:28 PMI had a black cop ask me for identification when someone broke into my mother’s house and I arrived shortly after…..I shoulda yelled racism……
I thanked him and was happy for the quick response and alertness of the neighbors. Next time the cops and Gates neighbors should look away…
Posted by Mikeeeee2004 July 21, 09 01:29 PMI can see anybody . . . tired and coming home from the long trip .. . cranky from being in the plane . . . key doesn’t work . . . forgodsakes . . . the cop shoulda helped the guy break into his own house!
Posted by Nympathetic July 21, 09 01:29 PMI would hope a neighbor/passerby would call the police if they saw someone breaking into my front door. I would then thank the officers who responded, but I am fully aware of officers with, shall we say “attitudes”. Too many of these officers get angry if one doesn’t virtually bow down to them.
We will probably never know, but it appears here that both of these guys may have let their ego get ahead of their brains. It also appears that, again, when the media gets involved with something like this all logic and common sense is gone.
Posted by Tom Kennedy July 21, 09 01:29 PMWell, let this be a lesson to Gates, don’t mess with the cops (even though you may think you are right) it will do no good, and don’t play the race card, it also will do you no good.
Posted by Denis Ohainle July 21, 09 01:30 PMI do not have a race card in my deck!
Posted by hank July 21, 09 01:30 PMIT’S ALL ABOUT THE COLOR OF GREEN!
THAT’S THE ONLY COLOR AT PLAY HERE!
HE DOESN’T REPRESENT BLACK PEOPLE JUST WHINY CORRUPT RICH PEOPLE!
IF THAT WAS ME I’D STILL BE IN JAIL!
Posted by bostontruthseeker July 21, 09 01:30 PMIf you know you are right, you do what the officer asks without question. Then when you prove him, or her, wrong, you got them by the you know what. They will bow before you. The idea is to not resist and, if needed, seek your day in court.
Posted by Frank B July 21, 09 01:30 PMNormally mild mannered? According to whom? This must be a different Professor Gates.
Posted by Ted Johnston July 21, 09 01:30 PMThis is ridiculous!!! I would assume anyone who looked like they were trying to break into this home would have been questioned including a white person. I’m also sure that they would have been treated the same way if it turned out to be their house and raised their voices to police officers like he did and they would have also been arrested to disorderly conduct! He is getting off because he is a big shot black man who cried racism. Boo hoo, it isn’t the first time this happened and it won’t be the last. Why does Al Sharpton have to get involved in everything now adays?? Seriouisly, this had nothing to do with racism, the guy looked like he was breaking and entering and put up a fight about it when the police came. He deserved what he got for being a jerk!
Posted by Imanutcake July 21, 09 01:31 PMOkay…enough already!
Posted by nobbielab July 21, 09 01:31 PMLet’s see………Do you know who i am !!!!!!
Posted by Steve July 21, 09 01:32 PMYou know if this was 2 white men doing the same thing I know it would be reported, this did not happen because they were black. It happened because 2 men looked like they were breaking into a house.
How come the neighbors did not know Mr Gates??? Maybe a neighbor was trying to start some trouble.
Why did Mr Gates turn into a ghetto person when he was asked to step outside?? I thought he was a Harvard grad??
Posted by Maureen Golden July 21, 09 01:33 PMThe guy got arrested for being a jerk and disorderly conduct people, not for breaking and entering. He should have charges pressed and get them dismissed for doing community service or something. It had nothing to do with color and those who keep playing the color card need to get a clue. If you yell at a cop, they generally arrest you, especially if you are calling them names.
Posted by North Shore July 21, 09 01:34 PMIT’S ALL ABOUT THE COLOR OF GREEN!
THAT’S THE ONLY COLOR AT PLAY HERE!
HE DOESN’T REPRESENT BLACK PEOPLE JUST WHINY CORRUPT RICH PEOPLE!
IF THAT WAS ME I’D STILL BE IN JAIL!
Posted by bostontruthseeker July 21, 09 01:34 PMShame on the Middlesex district attorney’s office for dropping these charges without so much as an appology from Dr. Gates for his inexcusable treatment of these police officers who were there to protect his property.
Posted by hingham91 July 21, 09 01:34 PMShame on the Middlesex district attorney’s office for dropping these charges without so much as an appology from Dr. Gates for his inexcusable treatment of these police officers who were there to protect his property.
Posted by hingham91 July 21, 09 01:34 PMI can understand why Prof. Gates would agree to “just resolution” but I wish he hadn’t given up so easily.
Posted by Henry July 21, 09 01:34 PMThe police sragent should be reprimanded and possibly demoted. Just because Professor Gates didn’t defer to his rank, he misused his authority to ‘bring him down.’ I see it all the time. Police should remeber that they are here to serve and protect.
Posted by Michael in Boston July 21, 09 01:35 PMThe more I hear these types of stories the more I feel like there are two sides to most police officers. First, you have the true hero: the man or woman who risks his or her life for our safety. They all deserve our respect for the work they do. The other side is more troubling: they take you take you in if they “don’t like your tone”, and seem to enjoy when we grovel when they write us speeding tickets. They have big gun, and chip on their shoulders. You never know who you’re going to get.
Posted by KV July 21, 09 01:36 PMHow nice that more rational heads prevailed in this regrettable matter that could have been handled better, in my humble opinion, by both participants. A nice side effect of this is we don’t have to endure the Al Sharpton Expresss coming to Boston. Why this race-baiting nitwit has any following in any community is beyond me. But I digress.
Cops basically put people into three categories, other cops, citizens and a-holes. Once you are in the latter catetory, you are there forever. Once Gates started yelling at Sgt. Crowley, Crowley placed Gates in the latter category. As this progressed, the only reason Sgt. Crowley asked Prof. Gates to step outside is because he could not arrest him for yelling inside the house. Crowley knew exactly what he was doing, and the professor willingly complied, knowingly, or unknowingly.
A well trained officer would never have allowed this to escalate. A well trained officer would have immediately told Prof. Gates that there was a report of two men forcing the door to his home that was called in by a neighbor. According to his own report, Crowley did not say that, even when Gates became unglued. He should have. Sgt. Crowley should be returned for re-grooving, and Prof. Gates, easy for me to say not being a member of a racial minority but I’m going to say it anyway, needs to chill out.
Posted by Slack July 21, 09 01:36 PMGood for the Cambridge cops- the professor has obviously been spending too much time in the “you- don’t -know -who- you’re -messing -with” air that permeates so many so-called elite institutions, like Harvard. Oh excuse me, you know Oprah? You have Harvard tenure? Bill Clinton gave you a medal? You serve on how many boards? So what, I’m not impressed. It’s how you treat the “little” people that matter- and professor, you flunk. Being led away in handcuffs may bring you back to earth and remind you of a lesson that most “average Americans” ( that were raised right) learn at a young age- it’s never a good idea to mouth-off to a cop.
Posted by Carl July 21, 09 01:36 PMTracy Jan and/or Andrew Ryan wrote: “The scene — two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in. ” Instead of what really happened: “The scene — two men trying to force open the door of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in.” Nothing like disengenious hyperbole to fan the flames, typical media…
Posted by Reality July 21, 09 01:37 PM”Do you know who you’re messing with?”
“Ya, I’ll talk to your mama outside”
How many times can we watch this baiting and still take it serious?
Posted by will July 21, 09 01:38 PMI am disappointed that the name of the Cambridge police sergeant was not mentioned in this article. He claims he was led to believe Gates was “lawfully in residence” but was “surprised and confused” by Gates’ behavior toward him. Hmm. Perhaps the City of Cambridge should require this anonymous officer to take a course in sensitivity training.
Posted by William Monaghan July 21, 09 01:38 PMRace should have never even been brought into this incident but it was, by the suspect. He should have been thanking the police, and his neighbor, but instead he tried to belittle them. The police had probable cause whether the suspect was black or white. I think it is unfair that man can act like this and then, simply because he has “status” in the community, have these charges dropped so quickly. the average person would never have been able to have charges dropped this quickly.
Posted by Jake July 21, 09 01:38 PMWhat a joke!!! If he was arrested, he should have to face the music. The police were called because someone thought he was breaking in. I would want my neighbors to do the same thing. His behavior led to his arrest. But because he is black and cries racism, he is let off. The DA is a coward!
Posted by G James July 21, 09 01:38 PMBig head and big chip on the shoulder of Gates! Shouldn’t he be glad that someone cared enough to be sure that whoever was messing with his door wasn’t a burglar? Any two men trying to get a door open and not succeeding would make a witness a little suspicious.
It’s not as if the policeman through him to the ground. He simply asked for ID. The policeman should have been thanked. After all, in approaching them, if they were thiefs, he was at some risk himself.
Posted by Margaret McCarthy July 21, 09 01:38 PMThere’s been a lot of talk about the actions of the cop and Gates, but what I find interesting is that no one is discussing the neighborhood – The cop was called to the scene. No one on the “stately street’ in Cambridge recognized their neighbor, or thought to offer assistance to someone who was locked out? The first reaction when they saw a black man at the steps was to call the police and report a break in. I think this speaks as much or more to racism in the community as it does to racism in the Cambridge Police force. Just a thought.
Posted by Jiveturki July 21, 09 01:39 PMAs a resident of cambridge I find this disgusting and very sad. Nobody deserves this treatment from the police.
Posted by cambridge resident July 21, 09 01:40 PM”The scene — two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in.”
this paper is disgusting. when are you getting shut down, anyway? was that THE scene? is that what the caller said? – “i’m calling to report two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined cambridge street….”
did anyone stop to think that perhaps the caller saw a person who was not HLG looking like he was trying to break in to the house? this type of crap is making the rest of the country too jaded to care about anything.
Posted by a liberal, sick of the crap July 21, 09 01:40 PMGates took advantage of this situation to blow things out of proportion so he could make a point about racial discrimination. He was very unprofessional about it and should apologize to the officers involved.
Posted by alan July 21, 09 01:40 PMFigures – as soon as they use racists others run and hide. My question is why did someone in his house call the cops? They thought someone was breaking in. Sure it was his house but someone in the house felt it was necessary to call for help against him. Did he have some lovers spat? Or maybe he setup the cops so that he could make a name for himself by using the racist word. We are not racists, people like him are racists. People like him like to use the R word to get out of everything.
Shame on Harvard for having a man like him in their employ.
Posted by This man is lying about something July 21, 09 01:40 PMThis is unbelievable. Check out this description:
“The scene — two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in.”
Can someone please tell me if this was the SPECIFIC reason that the woman called the police? Otherwise, this should read: “The scene: Two _human beings_ …”.
Can anyone confirm that the woman would not have called police if she had seen two white men forcefully shouldering a door in broad daylight? Of course not, but we are lead to believe this is the case. It is writing like this that stirs up visions of racism and makes this story out to be more than it is.
Posted by Bill W July 21, 09 01:42 PMThe question is not whether or not an officer treated Gates differently because he is African-American, rather the question is did Gates treat the officer differently because he is Irish-American? It appears that Gates made a judgement on the officer’s motives because of the color of his skin. Had the officer been African-American, would Gates have simply offered his id and explained that he had trouble with the door of his home rather than blowing up at a police officer and making unfounded accustaions of racism as well as insulting the officer’s mother? Gates’ conduct was ridiculous. Yes there is plenty of racism and bias in the United States as there is all over the world. But this was not an example, rather this was an example of a privileged man, who is paid plenty of money, who has a house provided by his employer, making a mountain of a mole hill and being racist. Yes Gates behaved like a racist because he made a judgement based solely on the color of one man’s skin. He owes the officer an apology.
Posted by dotman33 July 21, 09 01:42 PMA whole lot of noise sparked by one spoiled brat.
Posted by Rob Sterling July 21, 09 01:45 PMThis sort of thing happens frequently. It happened to me years ago, almost identical to this case. There were however two main diferences: #1 I am a white male and more importantly ,#2 when asked by the officer to prove that it was my house that I was breaking into, I showed him lots of I.D. and said if he would accompany me into the house I would show him my wedding pictures from 5 years before that were in the den. After about 5 minutes he was satisfied that I was in my own house. I thanked the cop for being so vigilant.
Maybe Mr. Gates had jet lag real bad (a trip from China will do that to you) and he couldn’t spare 5 minutes.
Posted by allriledup July 21, 09 01:46 PMThe race card played successfully….
Posted by Where’s Martha? July 21, 09 01:46 PMhahaha! I’ll speak to your mama! No wonder he was arrested! I thought he was a gentleman?
Posted by thirdroute July 21, 09 01:46 PMGood job by the officer. Gates was not cooperating, so he deserved to be arrested. It has nothing to do with him being black. Just another case where people love to pull the “race card.” Gates SHOULD apologize to the Police Department and the officer for not following directions and cooperating with police.
Posted by Mike Thomas July 21, 09 01:48 PMApparently, most of you read only the headline and not the Globe article, which clearly states that Professor Gates, unlocked the rear door and turned off the alarm. He was not locked out. I believe anyone would be upset with the police after presenting a work id (his Harvard id) and driver’s license to prove that he lived there. If the officer explained that they were called to the house and accepted Professor Gates identification and left, none of this would have end up in the papers, let alone an arrest.
Posted by bab July 21, 09 01:49 PMIt is a good thing that the charges have been dropped, but nothing can undo the assault on this distinguished professor’s dignity. Many have commented on President Obama’s “preternatural” calm and equanimity and suggested that black men cannot risk appearing “angry” in our country or they lose all credibility. Apparently it’s not just credibility that one risks losing, but one’s liberty as well.
It wasn’t Prof. Gates’ responsibility to placate the police officers; it was their responsibility to treat an middle-aged Cambridge homeowner, who did nothing wrong, respectfully. Just like the police officers treat me, a white woman, every time I’ve set off my neighbor’s house alarm by mistake when cat-sitting. They’ve never asked me for identification (even though it isn’t my house) and they’ve certainly never followed me into my house or called for back-up. And I don’t even work for Harvard.
Posted by JP Gal July 21, 09 01:49 PMCooler heads have prevailed and reached a resolution to a delicate situation, considering Mr. Gates’s stature at Harvard and in the Cambridge community. From all reports, both sides, Mr. Gates and the Cambridge PD arresting officer acted hastily and no crime was committed. However, there is an underlying
problem that needs addressing.
Perhaps now the ravenous, sensationalism-grabbing local media will now stand down, but I doubt it. I’m sure Channel 5 will have this as their lead on their 6PM news tonight, complete with helicopter pictures of the Gates house!
Posted by cmfrif July 21, 09 01:51 PMThe most equitable solution would have been to prosecute Gates and fire the cops.
Posted by amortizor July 21, 09 01:52 PMThis report is one-sided !!! …” The scene — two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in” , may be part of a story to show how prejudice and racial bias are still alive and well in the Cambridge community, with most of the blame going to the person who called in to make the report to police, and also towards both parties involved more directly – the police and Gates. It sounds as if all THREE parties were to blame some – but it certainly is understandable why Gates would be possibly oversensative. There are three sides to any story – Yours, Mine, and the Cold Hard Truth. It seems there is something more involved here than a unfortunate but understandable situation between Gates and the police, and this story by Tracy Jan and Andrew Ryan illustrates bias in the portion I quoted above; it is just hung out there to dry, so to speak, that any black men in a nice Cambridge neighborhood is in itself cause for concern. A more complete story is deserved – maybe one that has one black man dressed in a tuxedo? Maybe a story that asks why the person who called police did not recognize Gates? Maybe why this whole mess could happen in such a “liberal bastion”? This is a story, not a footnote.
Posted by Sean Powers July 21, 09 01:53 PMI see by the comment thread ! Racisim is well alive !…
Posted by Milliondollamindz.com July 21, 09 01:53 PMI’m a white guy. If I was to mouth off to a policeman -whether I was in the wrong, or not- I would be reprimanded. That’s how it works. I would not jump down the officer’s throat if I was mistaken for someone else. I would show him my i.d. (standard procedure) and he would be on his way. That COULD’VE happened here, but the professor instead felt compelled to prove a point. Great! Prove away! What was the point? That black people never commit crimes? That black people are never wrong? That it’s illegal to question citizens when they’re black? Now, I’m confused…wake up, it’s the 21st century.
Posted by Steve July 21, 09 01:54 PMWell OJ played that card and got off of double murder. So this isn’t surprising.
Posted by bostonrich July 21, 09 01:55 PMi sent a comment about the cops in cambridge but nothing here
Posted by samoy2e July 21, 09 01:55 PMThis whole thing reaks of black favoritism.. As a white man, I can guarantee you that if I behaved the way Mr. Gates did, I would have been arrested AND charged.. Pretty soon the it will be the “non-minorities” in this country who will be marching in the streets demanding equal rights.
Posted by Tom July 21, 09 01:56 PMThe cops responded to neighbors’ calls about a possible break-in and found a man in the house who mouthed off to them . Next time someone really is breaking into this guys’ house, I hope they let the thief stay there and rob him blind.
Posted by Crazy July 21, 09 01:57 PMRace card worked
Posted by bik July 21, 09 01:57 PMI think this has been blown out of proportion, but it does show that racism is alive and well. If Gates and his friend were white, would the officer have demanded more proof that Gates was indeed the owner of the home? He had a suitcase full of clothes. Was tired from a long trip and probably just wanted to relax. And then he can’t get in his homee. I’m sure there were pictures on the wall of Gates home. Perhaps the officer thought this was all an elaborate hoax. While Gates may have gotten emotional and overracted, ask yourself how you would feel being prodded for more information when there is overwhelming proof that you are the owner. Clearly, the officer did a good job up until the point he asked for more proof and backup. That certainly would have made me upset.
Posted by John A July 21, 09 01:58 PMEven assuming all facts on the report to have occurred exactly as the officer wrote them, the elements of the crime of disorderly conduct were not met. 1) Disorderly conduct has to be in public, not in your own house and 2) there is case law that clearly states that shouting at cops without a threat of violence does not constitute disorderly conduct.
Posted by Matt July 21, 09 01:58 PMWhat a wonderful example Mr. Gates has set for all black men… From the second you do anything wrong in this country, scream “racial profiling” and you will not be held accountable…
Posted by Mike July 21, 09 01:59 PMCan we somehow charge Sharpton for something, it’ll do my heart good.
Posted by stevejbr July 21, 09 02:00 PMAnother victory for the race card! Elitist liberals rejoice in their victory against the common man!
Posted by Brian July 21, 09 02:01 PMIt looks like most of the people making comments here failed to notice the police officer left Mr. Gates in his house and Mr. Gates came our of his house to harass the police officer and got what he deserved. Keep in mind the police were investigating a breaking and entering call. It is not like they were on patrol and saw 2 black guys on a porch and stopped to question them. Mr. Gates would be the first to complain the police did not do their job if his house was ransacked.
Posted by John J. Ruffing July 21, 09 02:01 PMThe cops responded to neighbors’ calls about a possible break-in and found a man in the house who mouthed off to them . Next time someone really is breaking into this guys’ house, I hope they let the thief stay there and rob him blind.
Posted by Crazy July 21, 09 02:02 PMCongratulations to the many morons commenting on this story that apparently can’t read a police report.
While many of you no doubt wave your lambskin around like its a veneer of infallibility I’m embarrassed for you. The police report was clear and identified many witnesses that no doubt supported the cop’s story. You can’t fake that without repercussions.
Gates is a complete jerk without the faculty of reason that so many of his students apparently don’t possess either.
Posted by JimP July 21, 09 02:02 PMFor those thinking this was not racially charged, you need to answer two questions:
1. Would this have been a call to the police had Henry Louis Gates and his driver been white?
2. Would you be polite to an officer who was called in to arrest you for opening your own front door?
Posted by Dave July 21, 09 02:03 PMWHO CARES!!!!!
Posted by not all that and a bag of chips July 21, 09 02:04 PMYou people need to get over yourselves – “MA is a very racist state” but for this incident it was a matter of “Ego” the professor thought that he could throw his weight around and get what he wanted unfortunately his weight meant nothing because no one knew who he was. You have to be known to throw your weight around.
Posted by Meme July 21, 09 02:04 PMWhat do China, a wet and warped door and the Cambridge Police Department all have in common?
The Professor can break out of all of them!
The man is a legend in my books, I wish he was my lecturer. I love this guy!
Posted by michael in Sydney July 21, 09 02:05 PMPonder this: If you change the circumstances, and it was a white professor, the same age as Professor Gates, who was locked out of his home, and presented identification that he rightfully belonged there, and a commercial livery license plate car driver (hence, driver not a cab) was assisting him, would the officer have turned around and gone on his way after receiving the indentification information ? (I raise age as an important factor here as it lends itself to the realistic possibility that a breaking and entering was really taking place at that moment in broad daylight, by a person of that age)
Your honest answer should help you decide if this was race profiling.
Posted by urbandweller July 21, 09 02:05 PMThe authors of this article wrote: “The scene — two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in.
How do the authors know that this is what caused a passerby to report a break in? What did they base this statement on? Did they talk to the passerby? The paragraph implies racial profiling by a passerby. However, I wonder if this is really all there was to it or whether the authors are trying to create their own facts?
Posted by Gerry July 21, 09 02:06 PMAfter string theorist Lubos Motl called some scientists “crackpot”, he was fired from Harvard.
Posted by bart simpson July 21, 09 02:07 PMI am sure average Joe wouldn’t have been questioned and wouldn’t have had backup called *after* producing his ID. The officer should have apologized and left instead of sticking around. Second, demanding an officer stand down when you are within your rights, or asking for his name or badge number is NOT being disorderly.
Was it Gates’ best day? No. Was the officer in the wrong? Definitely. Would this have happened to a white professor? Probably not, even if he were “uppity.”
Posted by the truth hurts July 21, 09 02:07 PMYou are all missing the point. The issue started with a white person passing by seeing two Black men simply trying to open a door. The issue has to do with the perception of this passer byer, that started the ball rolling.
What do you think would have happened if the two men at the door were white?
As for Mr Gates so called aggressive attitude towards the policeman; I am tired of white america telling/dicating how black people should respond to double standards and blatant assumptions that come with the skin we are in.
Once the officer was presented with proof of identification he should have left the premise.
Posted by Carlton July 21, 09 02:07 PMSo, maybe Gates overreacted to the challenge of the policemen checking out a call about a possible break-in. And maybe the police got a little hot about his reaction to them.
But is any of this racism?
Maybe it just boils down to attitudes getting a little out of hand on both sides.
Posted by George July 21, 09 02:08 PM”The scene — two black men on the porch of a stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street in the middle of the day — prompted a passerby to call police to report a break-in. “
Of course the Globe wouldn’t mention that the neighbor saw Gates ramming the door with his shoulder.. That might have actually made the “scene” sound suspicious… Way to go for the big story, Globe… Who cares about accuracy anyways????
Posted by Bob July 21, 09 02:08 PMYou gotta be kidding me when you defend his actions.
Everytime something like this happens, I feel like it sets us back 50 years. The people up in arms over this are the same ones offended when a grocery store clerk asks for an ID when you go to pay with a credit card.
Posted by Matt July 21, 09 02:09 PMWhat would have happened if it had been a break-in and the cop merely took the word of the robber that the house was his and didn’t as to see an ID. I imagine Gates would now be shrieking that the cops didn’t protect his house because he was black. Pfffft.
Gates was abusive to the cop. That gets you arrested. The cop needs to maintain his authority in the situation. It’s just like in court. The judge may be wrong and the judge may be a jerk, but if you start screaming at him and calling him names, you go to jail.
All I’ve learned from this is that Gates is a self-important troublemaker. That’s not right. I’ve also learned that if you’re a black professor at Harvard, you have a get-out-of-jail-free card. If it had been some white guy in Southie who was arrested for ragging on a cop, he’d still be cooling his heels in jail.
Posted by Nicho July 21, 09 02:09 PMHmmmm, if it was a neighbor that called the police, shouldn’t he/she have known it was Mr. Gates himself at his own door? Then again, they say all of us AA’s look alike anyways, right? Oh well, I guess they really didn’t know who they were messing with after all, eh? Sue, sue, sue!!!
Posted by godchild July 21, 09 02:10 PMNext the neighbors will look the other way.
Posted by Will July 21, 09 02:10 PMand you wonder why people say Boston is a racist city. . .the majority of comments on this article are absolutely appalling and shameful. see you in 50 years when the minorities are the majority and this type of shameful police behavior is a thing of the past.
Posted by waywardlad July 21, 09 02:10 PMWhat surprises me in all of this is how little mention has been made of the fact Professor Gates is disabled. A man of nearly sixty, who needs a cane and a prosthetic shoe (that’s not in the article, I know this because I’ve met him), is taken out of his own home in handcuffs. Surely, you don’t need to be a civil rights lawyer to see how wrong that is. Where I come from, we treat older people and the disabled with respect, regardless of color and whether or not they’re “mouthing off.” Regarding that last bit, I also find the police’s description of Dr. Gates’s language to be ludicrously out of character. Perhaps he was tired and used those phrases, but I suspect it’s more likely that some misremembering went into the police report. Either way, I think the Cambridge police seriously need some re-training. That they responded quickly to a reported break-in is good, but everything from that point on was terribly mishandled, and it would worry me to live in a town where the police have so little regard for the disabled. It’s easy for the people who hate “elitists” to go on about Professor Gates being an arrogant Harvard prof, but imagine if he were a disabled vet and was treated this way by the police…
Posted by Kay July 21, 09 02:10 PMI am appalled by the behavior of that cop, and by anyone who thinks what he did is OK. If I were Gates, I’d be so damn furious. Maybe he over-reacted, but his reaction should not have come as such a surprise to that arrogant cop. And he should not have been arrested for it.
Posted by Karen Natale July 21, 09 02:10 PMeven though charges were dropped he will still have a criminal record under the Massachusetts CORI system because he was arrested and charged with a crime.
Posted by draz91 July 21, 09 02:11 PM”…was that the police officer stepped inside Gates’s Ware Street house, uninvited, to demand identification and question him.”
The cop that did this needs to be taught an expensive lesson in civil rights and legal entry into a home.
Posted by HoldTheCopsAccountableForTheirAbuses July 21, 09 02:12 PMSo a 60-year old guy WITH A CANE is on his front porch and trying to get into his house and people consider him a threat to order??? He produces his ID showing that he lives there and the cop doesn’t leave immediately? So much for property rights in this country…
Oh by the way people, there is a huge difference between disorderly conduct and “courtesy.” At the end of the day, the police work for US, the people, and the law. There is no law about being discourteous. Courtesy is a nice thing, but you can’t be legally arrested for not showing it.
what’s this crap about
Posted by Emily O’Hara July 21, 09 02:12 PMI’m curious as to how the many many people who promptly replied yesterday suggesting that: 1) Professor Gates may have been rightfully arrested and 2) we were jumping to conclusions about profiling since we did not have all the facts have to say now. Seems to me given the above that the initial reports were right on the money. He was first profiled by the woman who called in the break in, so the police profiled and came ready for a confrontation with two Black robbers, and, even after Gates prooved who he was the police power tripped and embarrassed him in his home. I hate confrontations so I probably would not have said anything even if the police were being horrible to me, but then again, I will likely never be tested because I am am White. I get through airport security quickly, I can shop at whatever store I want and not get followed around, the list goes on and on because I have White Priviledge. I’m so sick of White people thinking that just because we have a Black president (as many commented yesterday) we are done with race relations in this country. It’s as if they are totally CLUELESS and unaware of the priviledge that their skin color gives them in this country…and in fact…the world. While I am sorry that Professor Gates endured the embarrassement, I hope he finds solace in the fact that his story draws needed attention to an ongoing and pervasive problem in America. If Professor Gates was in any need of reaffirming the important work that he has contributed in this lifetime…he need look no further.
Posted by A Long Way to Go July 21, 09 02:12 PMI guess it took them a day to figure out that being rude to a police officer is not yet a crime in this country.
Posted by luv July 21, 09 12:15 PM
Thats pretty much what it comes down to.
Posted by Jim July 21, 09 02:12 PMThe Globe is trying its darnedest to fan the racial flames by making the 911 caller look racist. Mr. Gates was not simply a black man on the porch of a nice home, as described by the Globe. He was having trouble getting inside and was trying to pry the door open. He looked suspicious, black or not. I hope my neighbors call the police on me, or anyone else, if they see that at my door.
Posted by Joe July 21, 09 02:12 PMCambridge, MaSWATchusetts
Posted by Cambridge Resident July 21, 09 02:13 PMAnonymous #35: I agree — this demeans both parties but if it ends here that is a bit of redemption.
Here’s how I see this perfect storm of bad judgment:
Number One: the neighbor over-reacted to the sight of two black men (at least one of whom is as old as Prof. Gates) shoving open a door. It is highly doubtful to me that she would have called the cops on two older white men.
Number Two: Prof. Gates, an intellectual whose work I admire and whose writings I have greatly enjoyed, way over-reacted to the presence of the police in his house. He’s one of the 100 most influential people on the world, and he couldn’t talk his way through an encounter with a local cop? He should be embarrassed, if the police report contains a shred of truth at all. In most cases the way to deal with an on-duty police officer is to respect the badge and treat the individual officer as an authority figure, which is their natural comfort zone and which will produce the best outcome (note: I don’t think this is an ego thing; when you are out there on the front lines it seems like it must be a lot easier to deal with people who are signalling that they are generally going along with the program as opposed to being loud, confrontational, unpredictable).
Number Three: Police deal with insulting and demeaning behavior thousands and thousands of times every day, much worse than “I’ll talk to your mama,” (did he really say that?!!!) and somehow usually get through it without making an arrest. The cop appears to have gotten po’d and goaded Gates into coming outside to continue the conversation where he could technically make an arrest. C’mon — “I invited him outside”? That was unwise — the cop should have just walked away and Gates would have had no one left to yell at.
A bad day all around.
Posted by landnsdad July 21, 09 02:13 PMPerhaps, if the officer didn’t react to the call and asked dispatch who the resident of the house was, he could have discerned that the individual standing on the porch, who happends to be black, could very well be the resident of the home needing help. Protect and SERVE!
Posted by Neal Hickson July 21, 09 02:14 PM”Ya, Iï¿½ll speak with your mama outside”
Nice to see Harvard hires only intelligent, refined, and exemplary professors. They have no need to fill quotas of race. Meanwhile, there is a more qualified and worthy candidate working elsewhere.
Posted by Gates Mom July 21, 09 12:42 PM
Nice to see racism in Boston is alive and well.
“I’ll speak to your mama…” is rude and obnoxious, no doubt, but being rude is not a crime.
Posted by Jim July 21, 09 02:15 PMMust be nice to be black. Cry the race card and get the charges dropped.
Posted by will July 21, 09 12:40 PM
Look at prison rates in this country to see just how stupid that statement is…
Posted by Jim July 21, 09 02:16 PMFor all you law-and-order types- I agree with you that Gates made a mistake. “A man’s home is his castle” -Gates should simply have shot the intruder (who turned out to be a police officer) right there. If anyone has actually researched the story you know that the officer was in plainclothes in an unmarked car, and that Gates walked from his kitchen to his living room and was accosted by a stranger in his house. Under such conditions, a homeowner is perfectly justified in shooting first and asking questions later. That’s one lucky cop, and he owes Gates an apology for being a jerk. As for Gates, there’s no law against being a jerk in your own living room with uninvited intruders.
Posted by colonel July 21, 09 02:16 PM”Maybe they’ll soon be looking for a new Manager of Circulation and Fundraising.”
Incompetence has never been anything but a recommendable requirement for Harvard Managers.
Posted by Wade Smith July 21, 09 02:16 PMGuess I’ll have to read the Herald to get the real story behind the story. Either the cops overreacted and should be suspended WITHOUT PAY; or Gates was an egotist-elitist who gave the cops a hard time and therefore the arrest was justified and he should be fined.
Posted by Otis July 21, 09 12:17 PM
I’d love to see that Cambridge or Massachusetts statute that says having an ego is a crime….
Posted by Jim July 21, 09 02:17 PMWas alcohol involved?
If Gates had just arrived home from a trip, had he been drinking on the plane?
Posted by Spikethedog July 21, 09 02:17 PMHopefully Harvard will have more guts than the city of Cambridge and this Professor will face some disciplinary action.. Maybe Cambridge thinks this kind of behavior is acceptable, however it certainly is not acceptable for a Harvard Professor.. I don’t think ANY college in this country would tolerate their professors behaving this badly.. At the very least, they should kick him out his Harvard-owned “stately home on a tree-lined Cambridge street”.
Posted by Brad July 21, 09 02:17 PMI am thinking that Prof. Gates’ civil rights are violated here! Not good!!
Posted by bostontopdog July 21, 09 02:18 PMIm white and if I talked to an officer that way Im sure I would be put in cuffs also
Posted by Matt in Norwood July 21, 09 02:18 PMI guess it is now officialy over. Those of you crying racism missed the point. This is not racism, it is classism….equally disgusting. The poor woman who called the cops is now lambasted as a rascist for trying to do her civil duty. SHAME ON YOU PEOPLE!!! Those of us who live in the city, as opposed to the suburbs, hardly know any of our neighbors. I could have a Nobel laureate next door, especially in Cambridge, and never know it. So what? I mind my business…he minds his. She should know that a particular man, who shouldered his way through a door, was the particular man who lived there? Are you people all nuts? And the cop should know by face alone Dr. Gates? Again, are you people nuts? You are right that it is wrong to lock Gates up in his own home…but people can be arrested for this outside their homes…and he was. Gates was out of line and knows it and should be ashamed.
Some people do not follow or care to follow the rantings of some liberal elite professor. There are hundreds, thousdands even, of celebrities, stars, professors, judges that could be walking by at any moment, but the cops should know them all. Hey libs….name three ultra conservative professors….describe their faces. You can’t and you would not recognize them. After the cops found out who he was, he was leaving. Gates, the arrogant, angry man he is decided to continue it. The cop was right…pure and simple. You people sicken me. Those who shout racism are the worst. YOU SAW RACE IN THIS, not the cop. YOU SEE RACISM in every single slight, every issue. THAT is deplorable. SHAME on the DA’s Office and the CPD for letting this go….cowards. What happens when some poor guy, black, white or other does the SAME thing…where’s your cry and hue then??? PHONIES!!!!!! This is pure classism. Gates has nothing to do with most blacks…they only share the color of their skin. Of course, that’s all you race baiting racists see…….or need.
Posted by JoeDogs July 21, 09 02:18 PMThe sly racism in the comments here is disgusting. Whatever the issues are with the case, what’s said here makes me ill. People would like to think that Boston is this integrated community – it’s not. You can’t voice it in public, but you come here and unleash all your crap. Not sure how you hide your white hoods under your Red Sox hats.
Posted by PRoC July 21, 09 02:18 PMIf Lucy Whalen saw an older white gentleman going in the back door of his residence, would she have called the police? If the police responded and saw and older white gentleman having trouble with his door, would they offer assistance or demand I.D.? Gates has a point. I can’t believe how many racist comments are posted here.
Posted by Candy July 21, 09 02:18 PMThrow the bum in jail. his behavior is despicable, and his use of the race card has illegitimized any arguement he had. It’s not about race, it’s about behaving as a civil human, and responding to the authority figure without an attitude. What a loser!
Posted by Heywood Jablowme July 21, 09 12:20 PM
Yes, “Heywood Jablowme”, lets jail people for being rude. That would be “civil”.
Posted by Jim July 21, 09 02:19 PMThere were TWO black men trying to force open the front door of this home. Only ONE of them was arrested. That tells you everything you need to know about Prof. Gates.
Posted by The Captain July 21, 09 02:19 PMIt’s a sad day when so many posters display blind faith in the police and certainty that Mr. Gates deserved his treatment. And no, I’m not saying we need to wait for more details. The details we have stink.
Posted by Jim July 21, 09 02:19 PMTook the DA long enough to drop the charges.
Boston is a racist town. You all are in denial. It’s been a while since any Boston.com story has triggered this many comments.
And the commenters all appear to be eye witnesses- they have an uncanny ability to describe how the interaction occurred, especially considering they were not present during the incident.
People, as the DA shows, it’s not a crime to express frustration at an invasion. Of privacy… yet. When/if the republicans get in power, they will outlaw privacy in the name of public safety. All these racist posters will sheepishly follow along.
Posted by Derrick July 21, 09 02:19 PMGranted Gates was rude to the police officer. The alledged “your mama” comment was uncalled for. The police officer was only doing his job as a civil servant. Who ever made that phone call to begin with is the one at fault. Of course he/she assumed that two black men in a Cambridge neighborhood might be intruders. Racial ignorance is a disease that some Americans have not yet been cured of.
Posted by maama July 21, 09 02:19 PMSince when don’t black people have to be courteous to police officers? The man was responding to a valid report, why don’t you go bitch out your neighbor who called the cops on you.
Posted by Tim Adams July 21, 09 12:32 PM
No one has to be “civil” to a police officer! You can’t assault an officer, but if you want to be rude, that IS NOT A CRIME.
Posted by Jim July 21, 09 02:20 PMGates initially refused to identify himself or cooperate with police after someone noticed him attempting to force open a door into a home. Someone tell me why a highly educated person – or an extremely stupid one for that matter would refuse to explain a situation that appeared to be criminal. Just showing your ID would have solved the problem but no that was too easy. Gates had to make a federal case out if it because it involves a black man being asked for information by a cop. Way to advance the steotyping in the wrong direction Gates. So I guess I shouldn’t be asked to identify myself to a police officer if a bystander witnesses me breaking the window in my own car with a brick at 3:00am because I left my keys inside? This is exactly how we catch people committing crimes 9 out of 10 times. The cops still would have done the same thing if they witnessed it just driving by. I am praying that no one calls the cops the next time they see someone trying to actually break into your house if you live in Cambridge. As a matter of fact I bet the cops won’t be looking too hard either after this false racial accusation. Hope your house gets cleaned out – you have no one to blame but yourself when you defend the wrong person in these situations. The cops did the right thing.
Posted by put a fence around cambridge an be done with it July 21, 09 02:21 PMEnter Jessie Jackson and Sharpton
Posted by Dolly July 21, 09 02:22 PMWhy is the cop the bad guy here? All he did was simply do his duty. He doesnot know who lives in the house and simply asked for it. what if it was a real roberry, then what? For the professor to freak out and make it a racial issue is very sad and unfortunate. To all the insecure colored people; get over it. World has much more important issues.
Posted by ss July 21, 09 02:22 PMGates did *not* break into his own house. The front door was stuck, he let himself in with his key through the back door and then he and the cab driver who brought him from the airport tried to re-open the front door. Since he let himself into his own house through the back door, he did not break in. Try to think of it from his perspective (I know it’s hard): you just returned from a trip to China to find your front door was stuck. You are in the foyer of your home after letting yourself in through the back door. A police officer (from his own report) shows up on your porch and asks you to step out onto the porch *without explaining why*. You say “No I will not” because you don’t know what on earth has caused this man to show up on your porch. The officer then says he’s investigating a break-in. He doesn’t mention that it was a neighbor who called it in. You didn’t break in to your house, so you are really puzzled about why this officer just magically appeared to investigate a break-in. You assume the worst and accuse him of racial profiling. He predictably gets mad. You show him your ID and he establishes that you are indeed who you say you are, but because of your accusation of profiling, he doesn’t simply leave – calls the Harvard police & does everything in his power to prolong a bad situation. You totally lose your cool and start yelling at him, follow him out to the front porch, and then he arrests you. You are guilty of being obnoxious and rude – he’s guilty of abuse of power. You both lose.
Posted by luv July 21, 09 02:22 PMWhat? Racism? In the land of slavery and Jim Crow? That’s absurd.
Posted by Hilary July 21, 09 02:23 PMUNBELIEVABLE! I am compelled to send a comment, as Henry is FAMOUS !
O B V I O U S LY – these law enforcements were among the very FEW who did not watch any TV this past year. I am SOOOO sorry and hope that the buffoons are given a lesson in current events, WHO’s WHO at the university, as well as MANNERS and PROPER ETIQUETTE!!! I am outraged and disgusted on your behalf!!
Posted by Charlie Watson July 21, 09 02:24 PMA man has a right to enter his own house on his own property. We don’t know the whole interaction here. Was the police report accurate? Reports differ. There were lots of witnesses. Gates didn’t start raising his voice until AFTER the Crowley started to harass him for entering his own home? Who protects us from police harassment? One thing is for sure: Don’t give anything through Harvard Magazine until they sort out their staff biases. They certainly don’t need the money.
Posted by G July 21, 09 02:24 PMThis is the topic discussion today huh ? Skip is the racist, found this so funny.. Only the people complaining here must be Anglo Saxons lol.. Ha ha… Get it over…
I am not using the race card for advancement for myself, but best believe that wrong is wrong.. So what it’s his home.. He lost his keys and broke in.. How does someone get arrested for breaking in there own house..
Off course the charges got dropped… Are we really wasting are breath on Skip Gates, where is the out cry when all the lil brothers are shoot in this side of the side of the city..
Crickets …. hmmmmm
No answers.. Please.. I hold Freedom of speech to a high regard but some of your replies and comments makes me feel that i am living in 1950′s Jim Crow era where are the real Abolitons
Posted by Milliondollamindz.com July 21, 09 02:25 PMI am left to wonder what the good professor Gates response would have been if the police either didn’t show up at all or if they had responded and he was in a back room while police took the word of who ever answered the down, there to do him harm.
I think cops should be required to carry recorders so the public can see what animals even the most “educated” segment of blacks can become when asked to comply with even the most basic request. I think the liberal world would be in for quite an education.
I think the
Posted by robt July 21, 09 02:25 PMAre people not reading the article? Gates did not refuse to show his id. He was in his house, he showed the officer id when requested, and then the officer proceeded to radio the Harvard police for assistance. That is the point at which Gates became upset–when the officer continued to investigate his presence in his own home after he had already produced id. As for whether he spoke rudely to the officer, last I looked, rudeness was not a crime. Such speech may reflect badly on Gates, but that is beside the point. People actually have to break laws before you arrest them. Or would you prefer to live in a society where officers can arrest people on a whim?
Posted by Elf Eye July 21, 09 02:25 PMWhat the race-baiting Boston Globe does not mention is that Mr. Gates’ door was jammed/broken because of a previous break in attempt, and the neighbor probably thought they were doing the right thing on behalf of Mr. Gates. The police were just doing their job & the pretentious short tempered limousine liberal Mr. Gates couldn’t deal with it for some reason…
Posted by Tort Elvis July 21, 09 02:26 PMAnd this whining brat is a professor. Good lesson, you jerk.
Why anyone wants to be a police officer these days is beyond me, but God bless ‘em.
Posted by Jan July 21, 09 02:26 PMIt seems that observers here break down into two camps: those that live in a “reality-based community,” and everybody else. As an investigator/social worker for the Florida Department of Children and Families, I work daily with one of fourteen local law enforcement jurisdictions plus the respected Palm Beach County Sheriff’s; I am continually amazed by (most) men and women in law enforcement who stand calmly by in the face of all sorts of agitation, disrespect, and “venting.” I learn something about restraint and non-reactivity from most of these folks almost every time I go out with them. It is absurd that this officer found the need to arrest Dr. Gates…a sergeant, no less so likely a supervisor; certainly he was no rookie. And to arrest him for “disorderly conduct?” – the classic “trash can” charge. No allegations of battery on a police officer, no allegations of resisting arrest…”disorderly conduct?” This comports well with my experience of living in New England for six years: beneath the veneer of civilized, cultured attitudes is a strong undercurrent of authoritarianism and control, based on harsh classist and racist notions of what is “acceptable” behavior. I don’t care what Dr. Gates said to that sergeant; if there was no evidence that a crime had been committed, and he did not touch the officer, the arrest is inexcusable and the officer should be reprimanded. I am extremely disturbed by the doubt, derision, and criticism that is being directed at Dr. Gates by what are, presumably, white writers. (For the record, I am a 62 yr old, white male born, raised and educated in North Carolina.) But I am most troubled by the level of racism reflected in these comments, most presumably from New Englanders.
Posted by waltercito July 21, 09 02:27 PMWhite people who have never been discriminated against due to the color of their skin should with hold all ignorant comments.
Posted by Nunya July 21, 09 02:28 PMThe real racism here is that the DA wouldn’t have dropped the same charges if they were pending against me.
Posted by george July 21, 09 02:28 PMGates is a racist who made a fool of himself. Hopefully he was man enough to apologize to the officer.
Posted by Beagle July 21, 09 02:28 PMThe comments to this article are despicable. Why does the newspaper allow this filth?
Posted by William Rogerson July 21, 09 02:28 PMWow, I knew Boston was racist, but this goes to show you with this response, it hasn’t chaged since Charles Stuart. Black man involve, must be his fault, and we all know cops don’t lie, right. I think this got out of hand on both sides, once the cops viewed his id he should of left, not call the Harvard police for confirmation, and the professor should of pull his ID out right away.
Posted by zippidydodah July 21, 09 02:29 PMSue the Bastards!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by freedom11 July 21, 09 02:29 PMThe picture (demotix.com) of the event in question with the black officer present doesn’t prove that there was a black officer present when the action happened. If you look further at the pictures, you will realize that the other pictures show the street lined with squad cars. The cars didn’t get there by themselves. The black officer was probably responding to calls that went out over dispatch. The arresting officers look like they are physically involved in the actual arrest. Clearly the black officer arrived too late to be the voice of reason. The guy was probably pissed to be being questioned on his own door step as anyone of us would be.
Posted by Voice of Reason July 21, 09 02:30 PMSergeant Crowley and Professor Gates both got their dander up and behaved like jerks. Now it’s given lots of your bloggers the opportunity to write as though they were jerks if not racists themselves. This is America for you–everything is blown out of proportion because too many people, the media included, have too much time to waste.
Posted by PaRaNa July 21, 09 02:31 PMJust reading this blog shows how much racism still exist….
Posted by Jack B July 21, 09 02:31 PMEndracismnow – sue the police for what???? For responding to a potentially hostile situation with their only bit of information being that a possible break-in was in progress? Yeah – sue away.
I guess what this means is that if 2 black police officers happen to cross my path, I can make a complete ass out of myself and verbally assault/antagonize them? Right?
Talk about racism – everyone rallying to support this clown should be ashamed. If I was a Cambridge cop, I would just turn my radio off the next time I got a call in that guys’ neighborhood…not worth the risk.
Posted by Micah July 21, 09 02:32 PMPlease, someone break into this nutcases house and please, (Cambridge Police) dont respond. Let the nutcase yell at someone who breaks into his home and see what that person will do to him in a very short time.
Harvard should be ashamed of hiring this nutcase in the first place. Oh yes, they do have a quota system, don’t they!
Posted by Paul July 21, 09 02:32 PMI feel that when you are confronted with speaking with a Police Officer, you should remain as calm and polite as possible. Make them (Police) lose their cool. Police are trained to react to any hostile behavior. They were responding to a 911 call. I’m surprised that Mr. Gates neighbors who called 911 didn’t take the time to make sure it was a break-in. If Mr. Gates hadn’t lost his cool and composure, then the officers had nothing on him, they would have had to charge him and the Cab driver with breaking into his own house. He needs to lead by example, and show black youth how to deal with these type of situations. I myself have had problems with the police because I didn’t keep my mouth shut. I am a white male.
Posted by koko July 21, 09 02:32 PM
The hostilty builds up and I am sure this was a moment of weakness after a long trip and he let some out. Ordinarly you don’t have to explain yourself as you go home. If some white people ever had to deal with this muck they create they would have the same reaction.
Posted by David Zorn July 21, 09 02:32 PMTo all the jerk who replied this isn’t profiling or racist….. From the officer’s police report, “A Cambridge police report described what followed as the police sergeant stood at Gates’s door, demanded identification, and radioed for assistance from Harvard University police when Gates presented him with a Harvard ID.”
Please read again! I know it’s hard to believe white privilege still exist!!! The only difference is this time the Police didn’t get away with it.
P.S I would have love to see the D.A go up against Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, who is black! Please look him up as well.
Posted by JB July 21, 09 02:33 PMI am so embarrassed to be living in the same city as some of you! Particularly, you oppressed, misunderstood, white males. Tink, tink, tink.
Posted by OhYouBostonRednecks July 21, 09 02:33 PMAll this shows is that people with money and power can get off simply by complaining.
Posted by Nick Name July 21, 09 02:35 PMPlease, someone break into this nutcases house and please, (Cambridge Police) dont respond. Let the nutcase yell at someone who breaks into his home and see what that person will do to him in a very short time.
Harvard should be ashamed of hiring this nutcase in the first place. Oh yes, they do have a quota system, don’t they!
Posted by Paul July 21, 09 02:35 PMLucia Whalen started this mess. Arrest her for mistaking the identity of Gates for a burgalur.
Posted by hamburgalur July 21, 09 02:35 PMWow! Ignorant white people claim the race card. Wow racism is alive and kicking a** in America. A black man shouldn’t have a nice home? They knew who he was after calling Harvard Univ. P.D. Bad, Bad Cambridge Police. After they I.D him as he cooperated peacefully, should of left at that point. Instead they decided to stick around for nothing so that they could p*ss him off and arrest him. If the guy was white they might not even ask for I.D. and probably would of drove away and wished him a nice day.
Posted by Dave Farmington July 21, 09 02:37 PMMany of the comments posted here reflect the racist attitudes that still pervade this society. No white man would stand for a black cop following him into his house and demanding anything else if the white man established that that was his property. The cop went way over the line and, yes, there should be a muti-million dollar lawsuit against any police department that condones this behavior. Professor Gates had every right to be annoyed and to show that annoyance. He didn’t break any laws and shouldn’t have been arrested. I’m glad someone woke up long enough to realize that this was an egregious act and dropped the charges. For all you haters, I have news for you: you’d react the same way if it had happened to you. Your venom is obviously in your comments.
Posted by Rose Jones July 21, 09 02:37 PMUnfortunate situation for the cop. He appears to have acted reasonably. The
other gentleman not so reasonable. Support our Troops / Support our Cops !
Posted by Rich Bix July 21, 09 02:39 PMListen to the mayor’s response… no support for the officers working for her city. She’s ready to go down and kiss Gate’s butt. It’s unfortunate that someone as accomplished as Gates goes through his life seeing racists at every turn. If he had been civil to the cop instead of rude this whole thing would have ended on his doorstep (although, from what I understand Gates simply leases the house from Harvard).
Posted by bd July 21, 09 02:40 PMDid Professor Gates let his Irish temper get the best of him?
Posted by A_G July 21, 09 02:40 PMComplicated situation, and we don’t know all the facts from newspaper reports by any means. Amazing the number of (presumed) whites who insist this is an example of using the race card.
I know mouthing off to a cop is a no-no (I’ve done it a couple of times myself & found out not all cops take the high road). But since when is mouthing off to a cop a crime? Once the cop knew the professor was in his own home he had no more reason to hang around. Sounds like tempers got the best of both of them.
Posted by Michael July 21, 09 02:41 PMHere is the summary of the story. Cops get a report of a man trying to break into a house. Cops find a man appearing as he forced his way into the house. The man (who is the rightful owner) gets loud and is uncooperative with the police. Cop gets his feelings hurt and decides to arrest the guy under a what I am guessing is a very seldom used LAW. In the end they were both wrong Mr. Gates should have recognized the fact that they were trying to protect his property, and at some point the cop probably should have realized that Mr. Gates was having a bad day and acting like a jerk. As long as nothing more comes of this I am fine with this outcome.
Posted by Che July 21, 09 02:41 PMIf Gates were to have shown some identification showing his address, it would have been solved then and there. In any case, if you are verbally assaulting an officer, you get arrested, whether you are white or black; I thought that was common knowledge? I can only imagine that if the police didn’t arrest him, Gates would have cried race against the police for not protecting his property from a potential break-in.
Posted by sick_of_the_bull July 21, 09 02:41 PM”Yeah. Knew this was coming. Only thing that really makes sense. Cops can have bad days. So can professors coming back from a zillion hours on a plane to find their front door doesn’t work. Cooler heads prevail.”
Thanks, P-dawg. Finally someone with a brain on this board.
Posted by boston255 July 21, 09 02:41 PMThere’s no surprise that the charges were dropped and both sides just want it to “go away”. The police overstepped their authority and were facing a false arrest suit. There’s no law against being obnoxious, loud, or even racist. Once his status as the rightful resident of the house was established the police had no authority to continue the contact, and certainly none to arrest him for telling them to F off. Once they had determined that no burglary was being committed, they had no legal authority to remain, and their continued unwanted presence was trespassing.
On the other hand, Professor Gates probably doesn’t want this in court either. Here’s a man whose whole professional career and reputation is based on his race and a supposed academic stand against racism. However, he just showed himself to be a blatant racist, in exactly the same fashion that Mel Gibson did a couple of years ago. While he’ll be forgiven by the school and most people in academia, simply because he’s Black, his actions were very but as racist and unforgivable. More so, because of his position and what he’s supposed to stand for. If I had any affiliation with the W. E. B. Dubois Institute, I’d be demanding his resignation.
So both sides are probably more than happy to see this all swept under the rug.
Posted by Rob July 21, 09 02:42 PMIf one of the cops is an African American (as seen in the picture) how are the cops being racist?
Posted by steve July 21, 09 02:42 PMThere’s no surprise that the charges were dropped and both sides just want it to “go away”. The police overstepped their authority and were facing a false arrest suit. There’s no law against being obnoxious, loud, or even racist. Once his status as the rightful resident of the house was established the police had no authority to continue the contact, and certainly none to arrest him for telling them to F off. Once they had determined that no burglary was being committed, they had no legal authority to remain, and their continued unwanted presence was trespassing.
On the other hand, Professor Gates probably doesn’t want this in court either. Here’s a man whose whole professional career and reputation is based on his race and a supposed academic stand against racism. However, he just showed himself to be a blatant racist, in exactly the same fashion that Mel Gibson did a couple of years ago. While he’ll be forgiven by the school and most people in academia, simply because he’s Black, his actions were every bit as racist and unforgivable. More so, because of his position and what he’s supposed to stand for. If I had any affiliation with the W. E. B. Dubois Institute, I’d be demanding his resignation.
So both sides are probably more than happy to see this all swept under the rug.
Posted by Rob July 21, 09 02:42 PMThis officer does not need to waste any more tax dollars collecting a pay check. Let him go to the unemployment line and stop bothering people at their houses.
Posted by Roy July 21, 09 02:43 PMRacial? Did anyone see the black cop in the picture? The only racist one here is that loud mouth who got arrested. Get over it already you will not casinos like the indians. Hell in fact we had a civil war to free black people. But do they remember any of that?
Posted by Igino July 21, 09 02:44 PMI wonder if he thanked his neighbor for keeping her eye on his house while he was gone.
Posted by Three3 July 21, 09 02:46 PM@ Tahuaya Armijo “A neighbor thought she saw two men breaking into his home and when police investigated, he accused him of racial profiling. ” Ok a neighbor thought he saw two men breaking into A home, not HIS- Reading is fundamental, but then again that’s part of the disease, you read what is in BLACK and WHITE and despite what is really on the paper, you omit some of the BLACK or move some of the BLACK on the page around to conform to your way of thinking. Oh and if seeing two black men at a door and the first thought is call the police isn’t racial profiling, then I’m a crackhead- hell I’m not a gangbanger, drug dealer, or ball player and I’m over 25 I must be a crackhead
Posted by Dr Strangenotez July 21, 09 02:46 PMWow, lots of angry white people here. Why can’t you just go by the facts of the case? He didn’t commit a crime, unless “mouthing off to an officer who is giving you attitude after you’ve proved you’re 100% innocent” is a crime. If it is, the police have too much power.
Posted by J Dog July 21, 09 02:46 PMI’m white and I *have* been treated like this by cops for no reason at all, including having guns pointed at my head. My crime was being a young man with long hair. If I were African-American on top of it, I might well be dead…. I’m glad Gates is OK and will continue to be a national treasure.
Posted by jk July 21, 09 02:47 PMHow pathetic police are doing their job and the liberal knuckleheads back this wingnut professor. If you really read the statements from his lawyers, most of whom have a history of being rather verbose on these incidents, they sound like they are happy to keep it low key and move on. (Translation the professor was out of line and knows it!)
Oh and for all the racial profiling in question, it would appear to be an African American officer standing in front of the house.
Posted by Craig July 21, 09 02:48 PMIt is easy for white people to say the professor is playing a race card. I feel
for him so.
Posted by not white July 21, 09 02:48 PMand it’s much better in Texas or Mississippi in white neighborhoods?? Please don’t tell me Boston is a racist city when racism persists much more in other cities, even New York where it is hidden in 5th avenue apartments and no one will dare go past 103rd street because they are afraid. We are the most liberal state next to California. We have an african-american governor, we elected an african-american president. Please try to see that this is an exception and be open-minded that we aren’t getting the whole story as usual when criminal complaints are filed.
Posted by john July 21, 09 02:49 PMWOW…why is it’s so hard to believe that the Policeman was wrong. If Gates was not at home I would agree, but can a black man make a stand for respect even at is home. If it had been a white man the police would have been apologizing from the start. I have seen this with my own eyes. My best friend a white man yelled at the police and told them to get out of his face he is a former DA and now in private practice. All 3 three began apologizing for the incident and my friend was totally wrong. Just another case of Black, Blue and White…
Posted by Southern Black Man PHD July 21, 09 03:03 PMHow dare this officer question two men who appeared to be breaking into a home!!! They should be arrested!!! And how dare they repeatedly ask Mr. Gates to calm down!! How dare they arrest someone for disorderly conduct just for screaming and insulting police officers!!!
Oh, wait a minute… That’s what police are supposed to do… It amazes me how a supposed “newspaper” can be SO ONESIDED in a story.. The Globe has lost all credibility in reporting the news.. The Boston Globe should just change its name to the “Boston Enquirer”.
Posted by Steve July 21, 09 03:03 PManyone who does not understand what he went through should try to be a black man for a day actually for a year, i bet you the officer said something to provoke him
Posted by tieno July 21, 09 03:04 PMThe “normally mild mannered Gates”? I don’t think so. For Gates to say “Ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside,’ is juvenile and unrprofessional. He could have dealt with this incident as the leader he is supposed to be. When I was a kid, a comeback about your mother was a real insult. I guess it’s OK for him to mention someone’s mother in a verbal argument. The reporter should ask some of Gates’ current and former employees about his mild mannered temperment.
Posted by George Winston July 21, 09 03:04 PMBased on the comments here and the action of the police department in Boston, it seemed that Boston is full of Liberal racists.
Posted by JC July 21, 09 03:05 PMYelling at a police officer is not disorderly conduct. There’s something called the First Amendment. Everyone who thinks Professor Gates got some kind of break here is just mistaken. Putting aside whether you think he was justified in yelling at the cop, it is not illegal to yell at a cop.
Posted by First Amendment Still On the Books July 21, 09 03:05 PMEven if gates behavior was inappropriate without him having threaten the policemen with physical threats or even verbal ones he should not have been arrested. The cops after seeing his id should of left right away not a word more. gates came home from a long flight to have his front door busted possibly by an attempted break in . I am sure none of you have ever lost their temper or seen a loved one do so. gates unfortunately had reached that straw. The fact is gates did not invite the cop further into his house but the cop followed him in anyway.. Yes, gates should of acted subservient to the cops like we are all supposed to and especially ethnic people MUST!
Posted by cattier July 21, 09 03:06 PMJust wondering . . . let’s suppose the police got a report that someone was breaking in to Professor Gates’ residence and they failed to respond & investigate. Would that be racist? Also, the report indicated 2 black men were breaking in; shouldn’t the police question the black man who came to the door to be sure that he had a right to be there and wasn’t in fact holding Mr. Gates hostage? Sounds like the police were just doing their job. Professor Gates should be happy the police arrived promptly, and in light of that should have cooperated & thanked them for their concern.
Posted by JOC July 21, 09 03:07 PMWhy were the charges dropped…because he’s BLACK…charges wouldn’t get dropped if he were a WHITE MINORITY!!
Posted by disgusted July 21, 09 03:08 PMhmmm….miserable, uptight, crooked cops and an uppity, know-it-all Harvard professor…..they both rank right up there with cockroaches and leaches….the lowest rungs on the food-chain….
Posted by rat July 21, 09 03:09 PMThis guy is just an idiot. A little entitled, cry baby. Good job CPD! This loser owes the cops and the city an apology.
Posted by annoyed July 21, 09 03:09 PMI see the victim class is alive and well in Cambridge.
Posted by tk July 21, 09 03:09 PM”Being a minority does not give you the right to be a jerk.”
It doesn’t. Being an American gives you a right to be a jerk.
There is no law that says you have to be polite to police when they give you a hard time in your own home.
I continue to be shocked by the fact that so many Americans think that you’re obligated to be obsequious to the police or face arrest. You’re despicable and servile sheep.
Posted by Brian July 21, 09 03:09 PMYou people complaining about Gates playing the “race card”, etc. are ridiculous! How would you feel if you were returning home from a long trip and were accused on your front porch of breaking into your own house? You’d probably be a little testy with the officer too. The fact that they arrested him because he wasn’t sun-shiny and nice to them is beyond stupid.
Posted by erinwm July 21, 09 03:09 PMThe same people who say the cop behaved properly are the same people who think the speeding ticket they got for going 90mph on the highway was a set-up. The same people who will criticize him are the same who have been attending tea parties and complaining about the government getting too powerful. If this isn’t an example of a fascist state, what is? Oh wait….conservatives will always applaud the arrest of a liberal.
There really isn’t any good reason to arrest an elderly man in his own home.
Posted by joethebarber July 21, 09 03:09 PMA grey-haired bespectacled man, is interrupted while on the phone in his house, and asked to present ID.
He presents his Harvard ID, and the police need to call for backup to verify his identity? I don’t blame the man for being angry. I would be too. This was in Cambridge, the home of Harvard, and the police don’t consider a Harvard ID as adequate.
Police are trained to deal with situations. They should be astute enough to understand when they are placing people under stress. When they are asking for identification from what is clearly an older gentleman, in the middle of the afternoon, in the doorway of his home, and are presented with the ID, there can be no reason for them to insist on calling for backup to verify.
The issue was not that the police came, the issue was that when he presented his credentials, as asked, that was not considered good enough.
And when asked to step outside, he got mad.
I would be too.
Posted by Jo July 21, 09 03:10 PMLeverett… you can read, right? I mean before you spout off, you look up facts, You confirm things…..right? Supposedly you wrote your own entry, so you should able to read. Read the POLICE REPORT…read the articles. Educate yourself. Gates was NOT in his home. He was outside it. He followed the cops out, remarking about his mother. He continued the episode.
Also, since this is remedial reading for you…the cop is CROWLEY. Not Figueroa. He is a sergeant. It’s simple things like this that make all these issues into problems. It is in black and white…there are little letters. Put them together and they make words.
Posted by JoeDogs July 21, 09 03:10 PMNext time I see 2 white guys trying to get into a house that they own, in the middle of the day, through the front door of busy run down black neighborhood, I’ll make sure and call the cops. Who do they think they are, how dare they lock themselves out of their home and try to get back in. They deserve to be questioned and thrown in jail, even after they’ve shown identification and established that it is in fact they residence from the inside of the house. WOW !!
Posted by TrulyConcerned July 21, 09 03:11 PM”I would assume anyone who looked like they were trying to break into this home would have been questioned including a white person. “
Hey Imanutcake, how many burglars get driven to their mark and then carry luggage up to the front door of the house they’re breaking into? I don’t know, I wasn’t there, but if that’s what the scene consisted of, this isn’t what a typical break-in looks like.
Posted by bizona July 21, 09 03:12 PMI thought racism was on its way out in this country but when I read posters defending this policeman who after all is the one who played the ‘race card ” in the first place, (do you really think he would have checked further on a white mans Harvard ID) I have to rethink my position.
Posted by djmojo July 21, 09 03:12 PMMy guess is that if the professor was white, screeched “Do you know who I am?”, and caused and acted disorderly in a public place, he would have been arrested, too.
It looks as if the police officer to the right in the photo is capturing it on video? It would be interesting to see exactly what transpired.
Posted by Karl July 21, 09 03:12 PMThe Globe originally published reports from BOTH officers at the scene, but has removed the first, which gave much more detail on Gate’s behavior.
Why has it retracted this report?
Publish it, and let the public judge.
Posted by Johnzero July 21, 09 03:13 PMThe officer in question was clearly pre-emptively charging Gates to avoid disciplinary action following a just complaint. The officer should have departed Gates’ house the moment Gates provided ID. He should have ignored Gats’ righteous indignation at being accused by the police in his own home. The officer could have ended the incident at any point by simply leaving. He showed extremely poor and unprofessional judgment. The officer should receive the disciplinary action he sought to avoid through his intimidation of Gates.
Posted by Flimwell July 21, 09 03:15 PMhey posted by cambridge resident…WAKE UP BUBBLE HEAD!!!!
Posted by disgusted July 21, 09 03:15 PMToo bad the whole thing wasn’t captured on video. If you disrespect law enforcement you are asking for trouble. Walk in a police officer’s shoes for a day.
Posted by Br July 21, 09 03:16 PMI can imagine this story turning out a different way: A woman in a car drives by and sees two men trying to open the front door to a house. She calls 911 to claim there is a possible burglary in progress at the house. Police are dispatched to the house to investigate. A cop arrives, walks up to the door, identifies himself to the man in the house and tells him there was a call that there might be a burglary in progress. The officer explains that he was asked to investigate. Whereupon, the man inside the house explains that the house was his, produces his ID, the officer calmly verifies the identity of the individual as the owner of the house, thanks the man for his time and cooperation and the story concludes there.
Obviously, the story written here doesn’t play out that way. I remain unconvinced that the officer was acting in a racist manner. However, I was not there to witness the event and can only read a newspaper report that may or may not be the whole story. Certainly if it could be proven that the police officer was acting irresponsibly, or it could be proven that this was a clear cut case of a racist police officer, I would side with those calling for the resignation of the officer. This is simply not what the newspaper has reported. I doubt also that Harvard University encourages its professors to act in such a childish way.
Posted by A concerned citizen July 21, 09 03:16 PMSLACK says, “A well trained officer would have immediately told Prof. Gates that there was a report of two men forcing the door to his home that was called in by a neighbor. According to his own report, Crowley did not say that, even when Gates became unglued.”
READ the arresting officer’s report…….which the Globe has now removed. It shows that Gates was indeed told why the police were there, this ill-trained officer.
Why is it gone now.
Posted by JoeDogs July 21, 09 03:17 PMI tell my teenage children that if they’re ever involved in a situation with a policeman, be respectful and compliant. If they believe that they’ve been mistreated, there’s time later to sort out and resolve the problem. This approach is smarter and safer than the one Professor Gates resorted to last Thursday. There’s further evidence than his own statements, that Gates lost control. Specifically, his breaking down the front door of his residence (or, I should say, the home he rents from the University). The Boston Globe account indicates that he was able to enter the home through the back door but for some reason returned to the front door and pried it open. Then, he called the University Real Estate office to report the damage.
Let me ask, what sane person, able to gain access to their home, destroys the offending door? I think Mr. Gates needs some anger management sessions.
Posted by twinmom56 July 21, 09 03:17 PMNever miss an opportunity to play the race card. It works!
Posted by Asylum Aleikum July 21, 09 03:18 PMAs I understand it, Mr. Gates was asked for his ID, which he produced. The police officer should have dropped it there. They did not, and a man, tired from a long trip, lost his temper for being questioned about trying to open his front door, which he’s already proven is his. Seems to me the officer was a bit overzealous and Mr. Gates was a bit jet lagged and understandably short tempered.
Posted by mhc90 July 21, 09 03:20 PMI read a bunch of these comments. I’m a white guy, grew up outside Boston. I had deluded myself into thinking racism was on the decline up there, but reading the comments on this article thoroughly changed my mind. So many of you commentators are blatantly racist and ignorant. Do you truly believe this police officer’s report gives you an accurate representation of what occurred, or of what Gates said? Why would it? Do you know that Gates is politically moderate and entirely mainstream in his scholarship, not a lefty radical? Is ignorance still the essence of race relations in the Boston area? How depressing.
Posted by akwhite July 21, 09 03:21 PMThe sad thing is that a Harvard professor would MISTAKE this as being race related. It is merely the everyday, increasingly bold attitude of the police toward regular citizens.
Posted by Greg July 21, 09 03:22 PMI am black but this not about racism but fascism. They call them pigs for a good reason-they are the elite of the power structure to keep all people from voicing their rights. The pigs tax us by issuing tickets as s for of taxation. The pigs murder people and get away with it – look at poor Oscar Grant – pig shot him in the back while he was handcuffed and face down – that pig will get away with it.
Yeah – freedom is f finished in America.
Posted by Harold Green July 21, 09 03:22 PMAfter reading many of the comments I need to add that we need to remember that Gates is 58, graying, and uses a cane. I am about his age, white and female. I can tell you that if I were having trouble getting into my house the neighbors would not call the police, they would come over to see if they could help the “old” lady. I am assuming that the caller just saw his race, and maybe the younger driver and didn’t think and just called. I would also agree that this speaks to the automatic assumptions of the neighbors, not to say their racism.
Posted by Marion July 21, 09 03:23 PMSince when is yelling at a cop, while standing on your own front porch, presenting no threat at all, after having identifired yourself, and after proving it’s _your_ front porch, a crime?
The cop should be sent to a course where they teach something about laws and rights.
Posted by Most Cops need retraining July 21, 09 03:23 PMA few years ago (in Minneapolis) I was picked up while jogging, police guns drawn, and thrown into the back of a cruiser. The police wouldn’t tell me why and just kept telling me to “shut up.” After about 15 minutes someone radioed them, the perp had been picked up elsewhere, and I was let go without so much as an explanation or a “sorry.” I’m white…I can only imagine the indignities suffered by black men at the hands of over-zealous police officers.
Posted by twnctyguy July 21, 09 03:23 PMCambridge resident…
Give the Police Officer a break…it’s the most difficult job on the streets and people with privilege shouldn’t be treating the Officer that way. He was doing his job and did not deserve to be treated that way. I hope it was just a bad day for Gates, low blood sugar and tired from a long trip or something…but Gates could have handled it much better…actually, he should have thanked the Officer for coming to check out the situation…instead, he should now apologize.
Posted by MRAdams July 21, 09 03:23 PMAs an American, I am outraged that the police behaved in so disrespectfully. Once Professor Gates showed his identification, they should have excused themselves for the intrusion and left, instead of allowing their egos to take over. If I had been confronted by officers in the same manner in my own home, I would have been equally upset and “belligerent,” if not more so. It is obvious not only that the neighbor’s and officers’ assumptions had to do with race, but also that Professor Gates’ reaction comes from a history of being discriminated against in similarly degrading ways. Based on Professor Counter’s previous experience, Gates had every right to react the way he did. I hope there is a serious investigation into the Cambridge Police force for their racial profiling; we should be ashamed that this is happening in the backyard of what is supposedly one of the more erudite areas in this country.
Posted by Joanna July 21, 09 03:23 PMContrary to the fiction being perpetuated by those who seem to know nothing about what police actually do, the police do not, in fact, arrest people for yelling at them all the time. Crowley walked into a bad spot set up by poor information, and whether or not he felt antagonized by Gates, ultimately over-reacted.
The smart cop would’ve just walked away from Gates, raving or not, and say something to the affect of, “I encourage you to get better acquainted with your neighbors.” Blow off steam with the guys later over how Harvard staff got their heads so deep in the sand (or up something else) that they don’t even know who their own neighbors are.
That said, this is a “letter in you file” offense not a firing one. Contrary to what all the armchair b.com police chiefs contend.
Posted by Pointer Obvious July 21, 09 03:23 PMDoes anyone think the police would have been called if it were 2 white men at the door?
Posted by Dj July 21, 09 03:23 PMThis issue seems to have much more to do with an overinflated sense of entitlement than with race. Substitute “Cabot” for “black man,” and the results would have been about the same, and equally hilarious.
Not that this excuses the officer. There are MANY fine folks in police work, but some too often forget that tact and discretion are responsibilities that accompany the authority of their badge.
Posted by bc July 21, 09 03:23 PMI am disappointed that this case won’t be going to court. What a tool this guy Gates is and the cops could have their say. Right now Gates has The Boston Globe, Professor Ogletree, and the inimitable Al Sharpton representing him but nobody gets to tell the real story.
Posted by Matthew G July 21, 09 03:24 PMWell….it appears the police officers were treating him with some respect at least. As you can see from the picture, he is handcuffed in front….no hands behind the back which is very rare for a police officer to do and when they do it….it is a symbol of respect.
From the picture it appears he is screaming at the top of his lungs to begin with.
Anyways….all you have to say is poor me…..I ‘m black.
I would also love to be the recipient of his education on the struggles of racism in America…oh wait…I think I already know it….poor me….I’m black.
Posted by Mike July 21, 09 03:24 PMI’m surprised Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have not come out demanding the resignation of the officers involved and suing the city of Cambridge for millions.
Posted by Ryan July 21, 09 03:25 PMCome on, people, do you really think that a white man trying to push open the door of his house in a wealthy neighborhood, with the help of another white man, and then producing an i.d. to show that he lived there, would have been arrested? Or that the neighbors would have called the cops in the first place?
Think about it!!!
Posted by Esmeralda Rhubarb July 21, 09 03:28 PMLooks like the black rage was shining through when he got questioned by the police. How typical.
Posted by youareallmysons July 21, 09 03:28 PMHey! All you Boston dot com readers! Who do you think you’re messing with here!!?? I tell you — you all have not heard the last of me!!!!
There — anyone think I should be arrested for that little outburst? Thrown in jail? Charged with being disorderly conduct? Have to hire a lawyer? Post bail?
When will all you folks who are sticking up for the cops get it through your head that it is not a crime in this free country to express non-violent speech. Period. It doesn’t matter if you express that to policemen of anyone else. Police are not a special class pf people who get to throw folks in jail just because they don’t like what you say. Gates never put his hands on anyone or even left his own property. There was no legal grounds to call his actions “disorderly”.
Posted by Len_RI July 21, 09 03:29 PMThis is how EVERYONE gets treated.
Posted by Magnus Reputo July 21, 09 03:30 PMIn response to Dave’s questions above:
1) The police wouldn’t have been called if they were White
2) I think Gates had every right to be mad because if he was white this would have never happened. Period.
Posted by Dj July 21, 09 03:30 PMMy guess is that if the professor was white, screeched “Do you know who I am?”, and caused and acted disorderly in a public place, he would have been arrested, too.
It looks as if the police officer to the right in the photo is capturing it on video? It would be interesting to see exactly what transpired.
Posted by Karl July 21, 09 03:31 PMsounds like they arrested him because he was a jerk ……..
Posted by Lou July 21, 09 03:31 PMThere are a lot of comments on here that suggest that Gates should have “been locked up”, or something along those lines, due to his being “rude” or “pompous” ,etc. towards the cops. Sorry that their feelings were hurt, but that is not just cause for arresting someone, especially once they determined that they were unlawfully in Gates’ legal residence. As for the “race card” — you seriously do not believe that race was a factor either in the initial call to the police, or the events that followed? ….seriously?
Posted by ka2008 July 21, 09 03:31 PMAs a white guy I don’t see this as an example of a racial problem with the police, but Professor Gates apparently did see it that way and responded accordingly. That’s his right. I don’t like how a lot of people exercise their rights, on this message board for instance, but that’s their perogative too.
I suppose Professor Gates could have done the Julia Child thing: Been white, a woman and offered the police some simply scrumptuous macadamia key lime muffins. But if he was a 58 year old white woman the passerby who called the police probably would have offered assistance instead. The offended policeman knew that Gates was behaving lawfully as long as he was inside of his house and he invited him outside. That sounds like entrapment to me. Case closed.
Posted by Burrville July 21, 09 03:31 PMJust another academic who lives in lala land with the special privledge of tenure. Is He related to Ward Churchill of Colorado
Posted by den July 21, 09 03:31 PMThis guy is a joker and continues to set relations back to the days of slavery. Gates is an absolute egotistical fool. I commend the police offier who had the courage to do the right thing and not back down from some phony thug. After reading the Boston Herald and the socalist globe, you can now see why the globe is on the way out……
Posted by hank July 21, 09 03:32 PMwoow. From reading these comments is seems like the kkk rally just let out.
Get over it guys. You now have a black president as annoying as that may be.
It was a fair election so don’t take it out on the minorities.
The officers career in Cambridge is over. Police chiefs are appointed by a highly political mayor. The police chief understands those realities so he’ll have to act or risk losing his job.
Posted by joannn July 21, 09 03:33 PMWhat a clever way to make up for the short fall in ones 401K after last years losses. This is a travesty from the beginning. White or Black “Do you know who you’re messing with” is inflammatory. Citizen did the un apathetic thing, cop investigated and was treated with belligerance.
Posted by XENOPHONIC July 21, 09 03:33 PMI have taken a lecture with Professor Gates….
hahahaha….the whole 14 weeks was just him going off on a diatribe about how bad white people are….and what victims black people are.
Posted by Rog July 21, 09 03:33 PMClearly, observers here break down into two camps: those that live in a “reality-based community,” and everybody else. As an investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families, I work daily with one of fourteen local law enforcement jurisdictions plus the respected Palm Beach County Sheriff’s; I am continually amazed by (most) men and women in law enforcement who stand calmly by in the face of all sorts of agitation, disrespect, and “venting.” I learn something about restraint and non-reactivity from most of these folks almost every time I go out with them. It is absurd that this officer found the need to arrest Dr. Gates…a sergeant, no less so likely a supervisor; certainly he was no rookie. And to arrest him for “disorderly conduct?” – the classic “trash can” charge. No allegations of battery on a police officer, no allegations of resisting arrest…”disorderly conduct?” This comports well with my experience of living in New England for six years: beneath the veneer of civilized, cultured attitudes is a strong undercurrent of authoritarianism, mass control, based on extremely conservative notions of what is acceptable behavior. I don’t care what Dr. Gates said to that sergeant; if there was no evidence that a crime had been committed, and he did not touch the officer, the arrest is inexcusable and the officer should be reprimanded. I am very disturbed by the doubt, derision, and criticism that is being expressed towards Dr. Gates by what are, presumably, white writers. (For the record, I am a 62 yr old, white male, born and raised in North Carolina.) But I am most astonished at the level of racism reflected in these comments, most presumably from New Englanders.
Posted by waltercito July 21, 09 03:33 PMTo anyone who thinks that the police were wrong in arresting this “scholar”, I dare you to not produce identification when you are asked by a police office, whether you are in your car, in your home or on your porch- I do not care if you are orange, yellow, purple, black or white- you will probably be arrested. Professor Gates (I use the term loosely as he does not seem that intelligent) should recognize this and that every time something happens that does not agree with him, it is not due to his color of skin. When can we get past all of this? I was not even born in the 1800′s and have never done anything wrong to someone of color, yet somehow, I am sure I am a racist and somehow owe them something. I thought this was a democracy, in which all people are equal. Let it go already!!!!!
Posted by KF July 21, 09 03:33 PMClearly, observers here break down into two camps: those that live in a “reality-based community,” and everybody else. As an investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families, I work daily with one of fourteen local law enforcement jurisdictions plus the respected Palm Beach County Sheriff’s; I am continually amazed by (most) men and women in law enforcement who stand calmly by in the face of all sorts of agitation, disrespect, and “venting.” I learn something about restraint and non-reactivity from most of these folks almost every time I go out with them. It is absurd that this officer found the need to arrest Dr. Gates…a sergeant, no less so likely a supervisor; certainly he was no rookie. And to arrest him for “disorderly conduct?” – the classic “trash can” charge. No allegations of battery on a police officer, no allegations of resisting arrest…”disorderly conduct?” This comports well with my experience of living in New England for six years: beneath the veneer of civilized, cultured attitudes is a strong undercurrent of authoritarianism, mass control, based on extremely conservative notions of what is acceptable behavior. I don’t care what Dr. Gates said to that sergeant; if there was no evidence that a crime had been committed, and he did not touch the officer, the arrest is inexcusable and the officer should be reprimanded. I am very disturbed by the doubt, derision, and criticism that is being expressed towards Dr. Gates by what are, presumably, white writers. (For the record, I am a 62 yr old, white male, born and raised in North Carolina.) But I am most astonished at the level of racism reflected in these comments, most presumably from New Englanders.
Posted by waltercito July 21, 09 03:34 PMTypical PC BS in the people’s republic of Cambridge. The police responded to a call by a concerned citizen and the Gates was arrogant to the police questioning and mouthed off and got arrested for disorderly. That is what should happen. Race is NOT a factor but the ego of Gates is.
Posted by wildflush July 21, 09 03:35 PMThose of you who keep commenting about “playing the race card” have your heads in the sand. You somehow can’t even begin to put yourself in the shoes of black men in this country who are routinely stopped, searched, and suspected by the police for doing nothing different than white men do every day. Why are you so narrow minded and ignorant of US history?
Posted by ebbetsfield July 21, 09 03:35 PM”One disturbed person”….someone sees a door being forced and calls the cops. Person forcing door becomes belligerent and it’s the cop’s fault. Maybe an overreaction on his part, but c’mon. What happened to common sense on both parts
Posted by Not gonna say because I’ll be accused of being racist July 21, 09 03:37 PMAll he had to do was show his ID to the cops 1 minute later he is in his home and the cops are on the road. No one is above the law and not doing what is asked of you by law enforcement will get you arrested. Oh and by the way 58% off the inmates are black while they make up 12% off the population so yes there is some basis of truth to what professor gates had to say.
Posted by havlacheck stole the ball July 21, 09 03:37 PMWelcome to my world…this happens all day every day, and I’m not surprised by the comments of white people. They just don’t get it and they never will…or maybe when it happens to them
Posted by SeeSee July 21, 09 03:37 PMSounds likes Gates perpetrated and escalated this whole episode to bring attention to his “new upcoming” documentary that he decided to make. What a tool
Posted by Sickofitall July 21, 09 03:37 PMI doubt the charges would have been dropped if Gates had not been a famous professor, and that’s unfortunate for those who are not famous professors. And I’m a white guy.
Posted by David Walker July 21, 09 03:37 PMI have news for Mr. Gates. Two months ago I locked myself out of my house (dumb I know) and the police arrive just as I was hoping into a window that I pryed open to get in. I didn’t scream or degrade the cop as he took me in for questioning and about an hour later everthing was cleared up. IN FACT- I’m glad he didn’t take my word for it and would prefer he investigate ANYONE breaking into my home. (I’m white-hispanic, btw).
Racism is a SERIOUS problem in this country and fools like Gates only make matters worse by jumping on these false flags and crying wolf.
Posted by Martin July 21, 09 03:39 PMIt is not racial profiling when the people that are in the act are described as being black!!!
That being said, Gates was arrested for being belligerent to a police officer. The other black man did not seem to have any problem with the police.
Also there was a black police officer present. This could not be any further from racism.
Posted by Common Sense July 21, 09 03:39 PMI think that the professor was probably exhausted and simply over-reacted to a possibly overly aggressive police officer. It does seem a little ridiculous that the police officer couldn’t adequately — and fairly quickly – determine that Mr. Gates in fact lived at this address. However, it appears that the professor over reacted to the point where he was acting innapropriately, and was disturbing the peace. Perhaps he needed to be reigned in a bit and told to calm down — which I am guessing he was. And the “do you know who I am?” did not help him either. I think it’s probably best that the case was dropped.
Posted by chocgirl July 21, 09 03:39 PMTo have a prison record you have to actually go to prison. This guy is supposed to be educated and he can’t even get a simple sentence correct.
Posted by Bob July 21, 09 03:39 PMI am a minority (East Indian). However I think the professor is over reacting. Going by whatever published I dont see how the police could be at fault. They came in to check the report of break in. Found two guys there, asked for identification, all part of normal procedure. They would have asked ID even if they are white or brown. I don’t see profiling here.
Posted by Ravi July 21, 09 03:39 PMWho does this Gates think he is?
He needs to apologize and get some manners.
His actions as described in the Police Log speak for clearly.
He should apologize to the community for playing the “Race Card” and then he should resign. Shame on you Gates.
Good work to the police.
Posted by Once Poor July 21, 09 03:39 PMAccording to his excellent and compelling documentary, African-American Lives, Dr. Gates’ DNA ancestry is about 50% European. It might be more than ironic if he and Sgt. Crowley turn out to be descended from the same Irish king, Niall of the Nine Hostages, 1500 years ago.
There is certainly the scent of racial profiling, at the very least on the part of the neighbor, but this may also be a case of two guys who had a bad day and, today, probably wish they had handled things differently.
Posted by LongballLarry July 21, 09 03:39 PMThere are some basic rules in life.
You cannot be guilty and arrested for entering your own home.
Posted by rapid July 21, 09 03:39 PMIt is not racial profiling when the people that are in the act are described as being black!!!
That being said, Gates was arrested for being belligerent to a police officer. The other black man did not seem to have any problem with the police.
Also there was a black police officer present. This could not be any further from racism.
Posted by Common Sense July 21, 09 03:40 PMNext time the Cambridge police drive by his home and see a man trying to push the door in they should:
a) If White, then arrest and beat the man while in custody
b) If black, then just drive on by
This will ensure fair treatment.
Posted by no July 21, 09 03:40 PMIf we’re going to arrest people for being rude, can we start with people that don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom? Can people that park over two spaces be shot on sight? Could we sentence people that talk in theaters to community service? Maybe Cambridge PD should be pistol whipping children that are loud is restaurants, Or maybe arrest rich white people that are so cringingly humiliating to service industry people that it makes your teeth ache to be around when they’re doing it. Seriously, if we’re going to use potentially deadly force to enforce good manners, could we start with some forms of rudeness actually more harmful than an old black professor on a cane mouthing off?
Posted by quinn July 21, 09 03:40 PMAn office has to find some middle ground when confronting ANY possible assailant. On any first time encounter with unknown subject do you act kindly and cautiously and risk getting shot or do you act sternly and be unyielding and risk getting sued.
Posted by Joe Kule July 21, 09 03:41 PMWelcome to my world…this happens all day every day, and I’m not surprised by the comments of white people. They just don’t get it and they never will…or maybe when it happens to them
Posted by SeeSee July 21, 09 03:41 PMThis is absolutely the way law enforcement works in this country. If a police officer wants it that way, you have no rights whatsoever. Unfortunately we live in a country where law enforcement runs the show. I hope the professor sues Cambridge for every penny they have.
Posted by Kenny July 21, 09 03:41 PMwhite, black or whatever, …….. as i understand the situation the police officer asked for his ID and Prof. Gates refused. True, not true?
Posted by AJ July 21, 09 03:41 PMOk. I’m sorry Mr. Gates.
Posted by Sarah Smiles July 21, 09 03:42 PMIt’s amazing how many posters are taking the police report as “fact”. When the police officer refused to give his badge number, the cat is out of the bag. The cop had something to hide, probably his out of line behavior.
I’ve seen enough racial profiling by police that I would be willing to give the professor the benefit of the doubt. I’m white. I know one thing for sure. I wouldn’t want to face policemen of any color if I were black.
Posted by Ron Sluder July 21, 09 03:42 PMIt was his own home!!! Gates should have been able to say anything he wanted at the police. I hate the race card just as much as anyone else, but the fact that a neighbor calls the cops after seeing a black man push in a door and the cops arrest that man after finding out that it was his house is absolutely amazing and shows the racial profiling that goes on. If he were white the cops would never have been called.
Posted by bill July 21, 09 03:42 PMThank goodness this didn’t happen Oakland, there’d be riots and calls for the cops’ heads. Get real, Prof Gates lost his cool and showed everyone who the real racist was in this situation. If we want to have a “color blind” society where everyone is treated fairly, we must ALL act with respect towards one another. That includes treating cops with respect. They were doing their job, he should have cooporated and thanked them
Posted by LaTasha July 21, 09 03:42 PMHaving grown up in Boston and lived through the ugliness of the school busing days, I always suspected that underneath the veneer of educated white liberalism was a hard core of racism. The comments on this board certainly substantiates that fact.
Posted by Jeffrey July 21, 09 03:42 PMLook at all the fascists here who are willing to throw a black scholar in jail after only reading half the facts on a website. Very intelligent.
Posted by charlie July 21, 09 03:42 PMAn office has to find some middle ground when confronting ANY possible assailant. On any first time encounter with unknown subject do you act kindly and cautiously and risk getting shot or do you act sternly and be unyielding and risk getting sued.
Posted by Joe Kule July 21, 09 03:42 PMCan’t believe the racist reaction to this story. While Gates could have perhaps been coolheaded, no one is under any legal obligation to be nicey-nice to the police. Rudeness and mouthing off are not against the law and don’t warrant arrest. It may not be smart to react that way, but there was no case here, that’s why the charges were dropped. Unless the officer felt that Mr. Gates was committing a crime, there was no reason for an arrest to occur once he was identified as the legal occupant of the house. Furthermore, it is hard to believe that a white man of similar age, physical size, clothng, and using a cane would have been arrested in this situation, no matter how belligerant he was. The cops probably would have rolled their eyes and moved on to other work.
Posted by Fanfan July 21, 09 03:43 PMI believe the only racists left in America are the ones that continually pull the card.
Posted by Guy Normal July 21, 09 03:43 PMThis hard-working, underpaid police officer (sergeant, I believe) had no idea what was coming to him when he responded to a CIVILIAN’s call for assistance after she witnessed what SHE – not the police – thought was a break-in. It’s pathetic that for doing his job, he gets vilified by Mr. Gates. And how cowardly – to wait until the agreement to drop the charges in place, and then for Mr. Gates to rail against the officer personally, essentially calling him a liar in the press. SHAME. The sergeant didn’t have a chance against this “do you know who I am-”er, and his career and reputation now suffer as a result whist Mr. Gates revels in his “victory.” Looks like the police are going to have to start video-taping their responses to the community. That way, they will be insulated from abusive and ungrateful egomaniacs like Gates. This is a sad end to this case. Typically, with no record, a defendant like Gates would have this charge dismissed at arraignment upon the payment of some court costs. I guess the “do you know who I am” defense spared him the embarassment of an arraignment – unfortunately such privileged treatment is not available to the run-of-the-mill defendant with less money, privilege and notoriety than this coward. That’s right, the case has NOTHING to do with race and EVERYTHING to do with CLASS. SHAME.
Posted by Jetta July 21, 09 03:43 PMOne of the officers was black, correct? Was he racist also or was he responding to verbal abuse?
Why does it matter who the man was? The law is the law. Was the law followed, or was it not? If Gates is lying about what he said, he should be in trouble. If the officers are lying, they should be severely reprimanded. WHO is involved should not matter as much as WHAT truly happened.
Posted by Gina July 21, 09 03:43 PMHe’ll be on Oprah before the week is out telling the world that we are all racist, except of course for him
Posted by Rick July 21, 09 03:44 PMWhy is he not grateful that the cops were looking after the best interest of his home? What a small and insecure man. Gates just wanted a story but he is no martyr. A smart man would have handled this differently. He made it about race and lowered his own creds.
Posted by John Handley July 21, 09 03:44 PMBoth parties seems to have gone wrong! Peace….
The officers I meet in my neighborhood are friendly…except the ones who tickets me for traffic violations! I can imagine the professor getting upset about getting accused of robbery in his house. And the officer thinking..hmmm… i’m the law…both need to apologize and move on.
Posted by tom July 21, 09 03:44 PMWell.. let’s consider the facts: police arrive and establish that Professor Gates is legally in the residence. Story over. THAT’s the law! Being rude to cops, while kind of red-necky, is not illegal. Neither is being a pompous jerk. All of the law enforcement poeple involved in this incident should be reprimanded. As for Gates… let him sue. It will be amusing to see his pompous ass humiliated.
Posted by Tish July 21, 09 03:45 PM”Boston, Boston, Boston………….only in Boston….so happy I do not live there, so happy I am far away from there”
Posted by washingtondcguy July 21, 09 12:58 PM
Er..OK, read the story SLOWLY… It ALL happened in Cambridge. But I’m sure that won’t stop your blind hatred based on the past.
Posted by Rush July 21, 09 03:45 PMGood to see the race card working up in the North and not just in the South. Such equality makes it a proud day for all Americans!
Posted by John Lee July 21, 09 03:45 PMwhere’s Al when you need him
Posted by R. David July 21, 09 03:45 PMAs an afro-american I’m surprised at the ignorance here in Massachusetts. Over the past few years there has been plenty of incidences where the cambridge police has been out of order. The cambridge mayor says it all in the statement listed in the article “that Cambridge must continue finding ways to address matters of race and class in a frank, honest, and productive manner.” The police report that was submitted obviously has false pretenses. What’s more surprising are the comments that I’ve been reading thus far. Let this be a wakeup call Boston, you’ve been sleeping for too long.
Posted by Melvin Murphy July 21, 09 03:45 PMJust look at the photo accompanying this article – Gates in full holler mode, while an officer to his left gestures for him to calm down and a BLACK officer calmly precedes him out of the house. Who is at fault here? GATES. And now he wants an apology. Right.
Posted by Jetta July 21, 09 03:45 PMThe comments on this story are amazingly depressing. It’s part of the job description of a police officer that when a guy cusses you out for trying to arrest him on his own porch because you thought he might be breaking in, you suck it up. Any person who thinks that it’s ok for cops to arrest people for being po’d at cops thinks it’s ok to live in a police state. I don’t care whether Gates played the race card or not; he has every right to play whatever cards he has when a police officer is trying to arrest him for being in his own house. Doesn’t matter if the police officer thought he was trying to break in — suck it up. That’s what being a professional is. It’s not Professor Gates’s responsibility: it’s Officer Crowley’s.
Posted by William July 21, 09 03:46 PMAn office has to find some middle ground when confronting ANY possible assailant. On any first time encounter with unknown subject do you act kindly and cautiously and risk getting shot or do you act sternly and risk getting sued or lambasted by the media.
Posted by Joe Kule July 21, 09 03:46 PMthe cops need to be retrained on threshold inquires and people skills. if they meet the prof on his door step or inside it should have been. “sir we had a report of a possible break in of this home by someone that drove by. then asked for some id. if the id match or photos hanging on the wall matched the prof i would have said sorry to have bother you and have a nice day. The cop never had meet the threshold to arrest anyone.
Posted by piceofmined July 21, 09 03:48 PMThe Officer should be fired. I hope Mr. Gates sues the Police Dept. and gets a lot of money!!!!
Posted by Chloe Smith July 21, 09 03:48 PMThe officers were there on legitimate grounds to help protect him and his property. They were repsonding to a call and they are not psychic. Of course, they need his ID. Doing their job. Mr. Gates over the top response is an embarassment. I’m a minority and this has everything to do with being belligerent and nothing to do with being black. Throwing his weight around as a Univesity Professor is rubbish. Unfortunately, he’s going to get away with his self-righteousness.
Posted by Yong July 21, 09 03:48 PMDr. Gates showed the police his picture IDs as requested– his MA drivers license AND his Harvard ID. And he was already IN his house WITH his driver!! And STILL the cop continued to question his presence in his own home. If there is disciplinary action to be taken, it should be against the cops. I would get VERY hot under the collar if this happened to me in my home!!! Any defense of the Cambridge policeman is totally out of line!!! And Dr. Gates WAS right—- it WAS racism.
Posted by Tom S, from NH July 21, 09 03:48 PMDear 255 — If you read Prof. Gates’s account, he said the door was so stuck that he asked the driver to help him dislodge it. Now here are two grown men, their backs to the street, whaling away at a front door in a nice neighborhood while a strange car is sitting out front, perhaps with the engine running.
If this were being played out in front of my house, I would want the police to investigate and would be more than glad to show some ID to prove it was my house… In fact the cop asked him to come outside so that he would not feel intruded upon as a way to defuse the situation.
Gosh I have to show an ID to use the recycling bins at the dump to prove my residence.
Note too that even while in handcuffs the professor’s mouth is wide open, is he yawning out of boredom over being with lowlife cops or still yelling?
Given Prof Gates demands for apology, and claims that this should be part of his intellectual pursuits makes it evident. This is not a case of racism, but a case of a guy with a big brain who looks down on all the people who are just there to serve him. Racism is bad, but the Professor needs to to get over his “Brainism” and stop pre-judging all the little people who bring you your coffee, wash your car, tend your garden and protect your life and property.
Posted by dickP July 21, 09 03:48 PMIt would not occur to Gates to thank this “racist” officer for his concern and for his efforts to protect Gates’ (excuse me, I mean Harvard’s) property? That would have been my first reaction, “Thank you for checking, I appreciate it. ID? Sure, right here. Thanks very much. Pretty hot today, can I get you a cold drink?”
So which one of them is the racist?
Posted by Duh July 21, 09 03:49 PMOn the other hand, I do commend the neighbor who thought something awry when she saw someone trying to “force” the front door.
Did the police officer even look at the identification that was handed him? (I rather doubt it.)
The other issue: how did the officer approach Professor Gates as he approached the house? Reportedly Professor Gates was on the phone to the management company. Was there an attitude (body language, hand on holster) of you are lying to me and are a burglar? (I doubt many a burglar would pick up the home phone to place a call after they break in.)
So, it is now a crime to get rowdy in one’s own residence.
Rather than a civil suit, this is likely to live in infamy as part of an academic paper, a documentary, and part of the pledge drives of all those PBS stations.
Posted by susan July 21, 09 03:49 PM15 minutes of fame in effect
Posted by Krunky July 21, 09 03:49 PMAnyone else notice these things:
1. One of the cops is black
2. He is obviously yelling in the picture even though he claims he had a sore throat and couldn’t yell.
Posted by Chris July 21, 09 03:49 PM”Guess I’ll have to read the Herald to get the real story behind the story”
Funniest thing I’ve ever read on these message boards.
Posted by Johnny Whistle July 21, 09 03:49 PMThis is a joke. The police were doing there job. I feel bad for the Cambridge Police department on this one. I am sick and tired of black people pulling this crap. Its 2009, we elected a black president let it go! They were doing their job and this guy overreacted. How about this guy Gates apologizes to the Cambridge Police Department for slander. If the police officers were not careful everytime they approached a scene they would probably be killed or seriously injured. Hey Gates where is that apology?? its not 1955 its 2009.
Posted by Vinny M July 21, 09 03:50 PMNice neighnorhood they did not know he live there before they call the police.
Screw this PC it sounds like the officer was doing his job. what if it had been a burglary, and the office did not show up,what then. God saves us from liberals
Posted by Donald . Childs July 21, 09 03:50 PMok, after reading the police report. This situation could have been all cleared up if he just gave him identification and stopped yelling at the officers.
I believe that whether he was arrested or not, the damage was done. Either way he was going to use this as platform.
Get the door fixed and get to know your neighbors a little better.
Posted by AJ July 21, 09 03:50 PMI believe the police officer should apologize to me for what he knows he did that was wrong,” Gates said in a phone interview from his other home in Martha’s Vineyard. “If he apologizes sincerely, I am willing to forgive him. And if he admits his error, I am willing to educate him about the history of racism in America and the issue of racial profiling … That’s what I do for a living.”
Are you kidding me. Get off your high horse and be a man. You acted like a jerk and got what you got. You should apologizes to us for waisting taxpayers money.
Posted by Mike g July 21, 09 03:50 PMBoth side were wrong, but the Police Officers involve were more wrong. It speaks volume to the critical thinking of the Police Officers. The professor knew what he was doing and he prove his point now he will write a paper on it.
Posted by Lance July 21, 09 03:50 PMYou people who belittled Gates have no clue as to what you are talking about nor any right to think you know what you’re talking about. I’m white, but grew up in a mostly black school. When we played sports and traveled the treatment my black teammates got was, on too many occasions, sickening, appalling and to me, heart breaking. I dare any of you who think that there isn’t a difference in the way a white man is treated compared to a black man to pull a reverse Eddie Murphy ala SNL and go around as a black man. See the difference in how you are treated In your own neighborhood, with the people you work with and even with your friends. Then perhaps, hopefully, you won’t be so ignorant.
Posted by JD July 21, 09 03:50 PMMaybe he shouldn’t have been a bratty, immature dweeb and just given them his ID.
When they asked for his ID, he said “Do you know who I am?”
It doesn’t take a genius, or an intellectually inferior Harvard professor to realize that if they are asking for an ID, they probably DON’T know who you are.
This man is inferior in many ways. He’s intellectually inferior, emotionally inferior, he’s certainly inferior in maturity level.
Posted by youareallmysons July 21, 09 03:50 PMProf. Gates next time the cops ask for your ID do not accuse them of racial profiling just give them the ID. They will do what ever investigation is necessary and go away. Police are for public safety and not some experiment in race relations. You are a Harvard faculty member with more common sense than the average Joe (no offence to Joe?).
There are Americans from many races residing in our country so is racial profiling a valid defense only for “black” Americans. This is discriminatory!
So, are we to assume that the President of the nation is color neutral? and the Sec. of State gender neutral.
Posted by RD July 21, 09 03:51 PMThe police where there to protect his home and possessions but Prof Gates didn’t see it that way and did not cooperate with the officers request.
Black, White, Green or Blue… when asked by a cop, obey you must do!
Posted by joe blow July 21, 09 03:51 PMInteresting. A black police officer, pictured in front of Gates, who’s had enough of a bro’s arrogant screaming. Yep, this is sure racism. NOT! No wonder the arrogance of Harvard results in their scarlet letter degrees. This same Harvard arrogance is why we have such financial and healthcare problems. Martin Feldstein, economics professor, is a director of both AIG and Eli Lilly. His student is the current Larry Summers, directory of Obama’s National Economic Council. It really shouldn’t be this way, but sociopaths got a stronghold on the education process. They might be highly educated individuals, but they forgot the basics; do not lie or steal.
Posted by Edward Ulysses Cate July 21, 09 03:52 PMWhere’s Jesse Jackson when you need him?
What a joke! Don’t worry, Sotomayor will make it all OK when she’s on the bench.
Posted by ace1957 July 21, 09 03:52 PMGates is example of Harvard at its worst. He acted in a way that deserved arrest, by refusing to identify himself and being verbally abusive to the police. I would expect the same, or worse, if I had done the same thing. Yet he pulls the race card out and gets charges dropped. I imagine we’ll see Al Sharpton up here soon, and maybe Tawana Brawley.
Gates should be shown the door.
A Harvard student
Posted by Robert Keyes July 21, 09 03:52 PMI think Gates should have thanked the officers for checking to see if someone was breaking into his house. Sounds like a pompous ‘race card’ incident from Gates. By the way there’s a black officer leading Gates from his house in the photo (hmmmm)
Posted by jim July 21, 09 03:52 PMSeems that it was never in question that whom the owner of the residence was and that the officer validated that this was Gates actual residence. Leave it to Media city to leave out the details and the law to full fill it’s misunderstanding.
Posted by Legit Money July 21, 09 03:52 PMWhere did the story say that it was a “neighbor” as so many of you are saying? A neighbor probably would have known who he was. The story said a “passerby.” Read: someone who did not know a black man lived there and thought it looked suspicious. He probably would have called the cops if he had seen two WHITE men trying to open a door. The whole thing looked odd to him and he was trying to help by getting involved. I know a lot of cops and they are trained to be more tactful in delicate situations like these. They aren’t stupid. I say Cops 1, Gates 0.
Posted by Bookworm64 July 21, 09 03:53 PMI can’t attest to what it’s like to be profiled, but then again, I haven’t broken the law, acted out of the ordinary, or have been acting in a way that’s suspiscious to others. A call came into the police, from a neighbor (black), regarding a possible break-in – it happens a thousand times a day across the country. The police responded and found the good professor fumbling at his front door with his driver – okay, Harvard or no Harvard professor he still needed to answer some questions, as would anyone else found in that predicament. The cop requests the professor to produce adequate identification, is satisfied, and proceeds to leave. It’s at that point that all hell breaks loose, started by the professor, losing his cool and choosing to use the “How dare you question me” disposition. Look, anyone (black, white, or otherwise) found in that predicament has to do the exact same thing – thank the officers for responding, show their ID, and answer any other questions to resolve the situaion. If you decie that’s not to your liking, and you prefer to show some attitude, you’re asking to be arrested. The fact that you’re a Harvard Professor means nothing to a police officer, whose been directed to respond to a possible break-in and who is approaching you not knowing a damn thing about you, or worse, what you might be carrying. As far as I’m concerned, Professor Gates protests way too much and will get more sympathy then he deserves.
Posted by Bourbeau July 21, 09 03:53 PMlet’s see…
Cambridge Ma, one of the most liberal cities in the country. A neighbor calls the police to report a break-in. Police show up, start asking questions(are they supposed to ‘know who you are’ on sight???), and start getting crap from the person in question.
Person in question has just gotten back from a looooong international flight.
I would hope that the police that protect my house will be suspicious of ME under the same circumstances.
I follow my dear old dads advices when meeting a LEO on duty: Yes Sir, No Sir, Thank you Sir..
Avoid confrontation, and the world is a wonderful place
Posted by nearboston July 21, 09 03:53 PMI would say both sides are wrong. If Mr. Gates decides to sue then I think the police officer should counter sue. I guess Mr. Gates believes everyone in Cambridge should know who he is. The police responded to an act of breaking and entering. They drill this procedure into all new police recruits. Asking the owner for proper identification, making sure you’re the person who lives there. I believe all police forces should now carry a audio and video recording device. They make them so small these days.
Posted by Big Ed50 July 21, 09 03:54 PMI guess I can’t imagine why the professor would not be appreciative that the police responded to what they thought was a break in at his home. If he had expressed his appreciation then I suspect there would never have been a problem. More than likely he took immediate offense not knowing there had been a call and assuming the police had stopped because they saw a black man breaking into a big house. If this is the case then I ask you who is the racist?
Posted by mike m July 21, 09 03:54 PMSeems like both sides are willing to drop this, so why cant we? The police wish they had handled things differently, Mr. Gates wishes he had handled things differently.
The police have a responsibility to the notifying citizen (the neighbor). When the police responded to the scene and found the man inside, they had a responsibility to demand identification from the person matching the neighbors description. If this was my house, or if I was the neighbor, I would expect nothing less. Mr Gates, for reasons that I am not in a position to question or criticize, lashed out at the officers and refused to cooperate. Once the crowd gathered the officers had no choice but to arrest Mr Gates after repeated warnings to calm down were ignored. I am sure the officers are embarrassed that they could not calm Mr Gates as they are trained to do, and I am equally sure Mr Gates is embarrassed by his actions.
Lets all move on. Anyone- white, black, green or purple, would be arrested if they lashed out in public at law enforcement officers after repeated warnings to calm down. Likewise, once the situation is diffused, a good many people in the same situation would be sent home after a chat with the DA or ADA provided they are in a better state of mind.
Posted by tonyg July 21, 09 03:54 PMREAD BETWEEN THE LINES PEOPLE!!!! The city of cambridge decided to drop the charges because they knew the charges were bogus!!! When have you ever heard the city dropping charges because “it was unfortunate”? They knew the charges were bogus, and they know they could have a lawsuit in their hands. Oh so the tables have now turned. The officer must now realize that he picked the wrong “black man” to mess with. Do you know what the truth is???? This happens to black/minority men everyday. Gates is right!!! He will be forever scared because of one man’s ignorance. Please read the police report–there are so many flaws in it. It is a tragedy…………………..but I’m glad that it happened. Maybe this can allow people to see what minority men go through on a regul;ar basis. Gates has experienced humility…………………now the cop will too when he is either forced to resign, or issue a public appology.
Posted by fgb7 July 21, 09 03:54 PMWhy is it anytime you question a black man in America you are a racist ?
The Cambridge Police Department could have prevented this entire siuation had it been a black police officer asking for the professors indentification.
I don’t believe the Professor would have been upset at all had the cop been black.
Posted by Dan July 21, 09 03:54 PMLooking at the responses, we’ve all made up our minds with little to no evidence.
With the cost of technology anymore vs the cost of a law suit, wouldn’t it make sense to have portable video recorders manditory on police so we can get an impartial view and understanding of this event? We do it on the vehicles but not on the people actually packing the weapons.
With at least two officers on scene and using a protected a time log we could see two views of either a home owner being honestly shocked at being told they were breaking into their own home and responding in kind vs. a ranting tirade gainst the officer by an insane person wanting to inflame racial intolerance.
A recorder that starts on the call and clips on the officers uniform at todays prices would be easily 1/4 the price of their firearm and could potentially save billions in frivolous lawsuits OR help eliminate a good portion of the racism because “the people” are watching.
Posted by Orwell July 21, 09 03:54 PMThe people shall have the right to be secure in their homes. Anybody remember that one? WHY should the police be allowed to arrest a lawful occupant of a home once it is determined no crime has been committed? Forget race for a minute and look at the more troubling bigger picture: why is the government allowed to seize an individual from his home without evidence of a crime? That should be of concern to everyone, black, white or PURPLE.
Posted by rb July 21, 09 03:54 PMWhat happened to the days when officers were thinking rather than harassing a very outstanding academic. Its ironic that the academic who researches racial profiling has had such a horrifying experience with the police, “protecting’ him from breaking into his own house. Did anyone think this thing out before they made the arrest???
Posted by Chloe July 21, 09 03:54 PMMr. Gates has every right to outraged. He showed his idenfication and still the police handcuffed him and carted him off to jail. He should never have been treated this way. If the arresting officer questioned his identification he could have taken a few minutes to verify the owner of the property. Mr. Gates picture is all over the internet and he has been on television many times. It would have been so easy to check his identification.
I am just a middleaged white woman and I’m pretty sure that if I showed my ID the officer would have helped me open the door.
Posted by Nancy Bell July 21, 09 03:55 PMPlease, people, if you drive by my home and it looks like someone is trying to bust open my door, CALL THE POLICE. If it’s me trying to get into a stuck front door, and you don’t recognize me: 1: I will apologize for not having met you already and then 2: thank you for your vigilance.
Posted by Mandy Meador July 21, 09 03:55 PMBOTH law enforcement and Gates are in the wrong here. Happy they’ve kissed and made up. Now can we get back to Michael Jackson please?
Posted by Mark July 21, 09 03:56 PMThis has the same smell as the Wellesley women who tried to run over a State Trooper at Logan Airport… Some people think they are above the law when the law questions their authority or status. Get over yourselves… Really BIG egos here !!
Posted by bstnsoend July 21, 09 03:56 PMWhat’s all this talk about “pulling the race card”? This is clearly a case of racial profiling, starting with the neighbor who reported a robbery in progress just because he/she saw 2 black men struggling with a door. The officers should have promptly left the scene after determining that the house was indeed the residence of Professor Gates, and should have apologized profusely for the incident instead of arresting him for his justified anger and annoyance at having been falsely accused.
Posted by Jesse Miller July 21, 09 03:56 PMOnce the officer determined that there was no break-in, he should have left regardless of anything else – and prevented pointlessly escalating the situation. Too bad the neighbors in these big houses don’t know each other better.
Posted by velosport July 21, 09 03:56 PMThe City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Police Department are cowards. It is a sad day in America that any individual is allowed to intimidate the government. This man, regardless of his position or status is not above the law. He choose not to obey the lawful order given by a duly sworn police officer and as a result he was arrested. It is not a question of race, they would have arrested anyone who acted in the same manner. I would like to welcome Mr. Gates to the world the rest of us live in. I now it’s not as nice as the confines of an Ivy league college and the service sucks compared to that found in the Harvard Club but we call it home. Maybe he should be apologizing to the police officers he verbally attacked.
Posted by emccarthy July 21, 09 03:56 PMWaltercito you are absolutely right when you say :
“This comports well with my experience of living in New England for six years: beneath the veneer of civilized, cultured attitudes is a strong undercurrent of authoritarianism and control, based on harsh classist and racist notions of what is “acceptable” behavior.”
I have lived in New England for 40 years and know this to be true. The officer had no grounds to arrest Mr. Gates under any statute in Mass law. I cannot begin to imagine how insecure this officer must be or how poorly trained he is. Working within the social service system I have personally witnessed police and court officers absorbing all kinds of abuse and stoically and heroically stand their ground, making no arrest, and defusing the situation. This officer ain’t no hero, that’s for sure . . .
Posted by Thomas July 21, 09 03:56 PMThis has little to do with race and more to do with police arragence.
Posted by Paul Flagge July 21, 09 03:57 PMGeesh, I’m mainly shocked and saddened at how many comments here illustrate a stark ignorance about racism, how it works (or doesn’t), prejudice, and systems of power that perpetuate injustice. So many of you lack imagination, information, critical thinking, and compassion. I hope you never wind up inside your own “Twilight Zone” episode one day.
Posted by Rick Bernardo July 21, 09 03:57 PMI am an asian and I honestly tell you that there are plenty racists in this country. But, many black people do have chips on their shoulders.
Posted by Dave toshiba July 21, 09 03:57 PM”If I had closed my mouth, and opened my ears….
If I had only warmed my heart and cooled my head….
i would not be on this lonely road tonight…”
Posted by N. graham July 21, 09 03:57 PMGates deserves no punishment. Since when was being rude to anyone, cop or not, a crime?
Posted by S. Keirstead July 21, 09 03:57 PMGates should be apologizing for his rude behavior. Playing the race card, it always seems to work. Disgusting!
Posted by l142 July 21, 09 03:57 PMHBO just aired a special program about a “white” and “black” prom held for a high school in Mississippi. I bring this up because in this day and age, it activities are still separated due to race then yes, racism is alive and well. For all you folks who think that this is a blatant use of the “race card” you only show your naiveté. I don’t know Gates, I’m on the West Coast, but I do know that the cops treat a black man “pushing on a door” and a white man “pushing on a door” very differently. You all should read Waltercito’s post and get further educated.
Posted by Angelo July 21, 09 03:58 PMApologize and be done with it. Listen, he was out of line and everyone knows. Why can’t the professor just apologize!
Posted by Rich D July 21, 09 03:59 PMthe “professor” (by the way, with that level of language, who gave him a job at Harvard?) should be VERY HAPPY this happened in America and not somewhere in China, in Russia or in some other part of the world. The President of Harvard University should make sure students won’t have the opportunity to hear that language in class.
Posted by american patriot July 21, 09 03:59 PMWhen a person focuses solely on racism they tend to see it everywhere. I had the same experience with the police at my own house. The difference was that I was polite to the police, showed my ID and thanked them for showing up.
Had I acted like Gates, I’m certain I would have gone to jail.
Posted by Andrew July 21, 09 03:59 PMIs there something wrong with my monitor? It looks like an African American police officer walking in front of him, what does he say??
Posted by N July 21, 09 03:59 PMHonestly enough of this already. None of us were there, we do not know what really happened. But I have NO problem with police showing up when a neighbor calls to alert them that there appears to be a home invasion in progress. Who then said what to whom and did what to whom between Gates and the police officers is not known to me or any of the people commenting here. But I am sick of people bringing race into everything. Because sometimes race IS NOT a factor and it should not just be assumed that because Gates is black and the first officer on the scene is white that Gates was mistreated because the cop is racist. Yes sometimes race is a factor but sometimes it is not and we need to stop assuming it is if we are ever to grow as a country with regards to race relations.
Posted by bluebird July 21, 09 03:59 PMGates is right on…we have two Americas, one for the priviliged few and one for the rest of us. If your not white, no matter how much money you have or how well educated you are, you are NOT among the priviliged few.
Posted by Luther Crouthamel July 21, 09 04:00 PMI’ve worked in Cambridge and lived in North Quincy/Quincy area for 5 years and let me tell you I was threatened by a cop several times, pushed around and he tried to intimidate me all the while he was holding his wind breaker type jacket over his badge. Luckily I saw him get in the police car around the corner afterwards and took down the license plate number and called the police and the FBI (figuring they might be less biased of the situation). I am a US Army Vet and am half Irish (by no means am I an African American nor even look like any kind of Minority). I had simply wanted access to a court building which a friend had an office and asked me to help him on saturday. Turns out his phone was out of order so I had asked a few people that were headed into the building to tell him in his office I was outside so he could sign me in. The cop accused me of stalking the place etc. I can tell you this Boston police officers and others in many cities obviously do not follow all the rules they should. I’m also the first one to defend a police officer who does what he has to in the line of duty to protect the public. My point being, police officers with little patience, improper training, or abusing their authority have no racial lines and harass everyone.
Posted by anonymous July 21, 09 04:00 PMI saw no mention of him talking about the officer’s ‘MAMA’ in the police report.
I’m disgusted with the race card comments in this forum.
Posted by disgusted July 21, 09 04:00 PMI live in the South, and people are not that racist here. These comments are uneducated and racist. Appears everything I have heard about Boston is true, I was offered a job there and turned it down because of the City’s reputation. Glad I made that decision back then.
Posted by staying put July 21, 09 04:00 PMto all those jumping on the cop he was LEAVING THE HOUSE when Gates followed him outside and escalated the situation
Posted by john July 21, 09 04:01 PMHis comment in his Washington Post interview this morning was particularly revealing:
“This guy had this whole narrative in his head. Black guy breaking and entering.”
So based solely on the color of the police officer’s skin, Gates “knew” exactly what he was thinking. It’s very clear which party was guilty of harboring racial prejudice in this scenario.
Posted by Cork July 21, 09 04:01 PMHow did this person see him pushing on the door? Look at the picture of his front door, were they in the diveway. I think maybe that it would be difficult to see the front door while driving down the street and looking over at a recessed entry way and watching a person push on a door.
Sounds like a farce perhaps.
I also have arrested because of mistaken identity, the sound of a 12 gauge being cocked and pointed at your head is not a sound one forgets. I am white and the officiers were also white.
If I lived in Cambride I would thank the police for their quick actions what would Mr. Gates say if there was a thief and he called the police and they did not come would they still be racists.
According to the law they have a right to hold him for up to 48 hours in jail with no charges
Posted by Gerry Fitzgerald July 21, 09 04:01 PMI always find it amazing that my white friends and some that aren’t see the police as ‘to protect and serve’. And certainly, they have never had a gun held to their head because they fit the description of someone who just committed a crime. Nobody stopped you outside of a hospital and prevented you from seeing your dying mother’s last breathe. Nobody has kicked you out of a pool because your very presence ‘changed the complexion’ of the pool. No one shot and killed you the night before your wedding day or sodomized you with night sticks. No one shot and killed you multiple times for carrying a wallet and a pizza. No one lynched you for being ‘uppity’.
I’m always amazed at how my white friends who demand an officer’s name and badge number and get it. When my husband tried to copy down an officer’s badge number to report misbehavior, the officer put his hand on his gun and threatened to arrest my husband.
Oh . . . and the police report had to be accurate because the officer wouldn’t lie to cover up the fact that he SHOULD lose his job for over-use of authority involving an older gentleman. Of course Dr. Gates had to be the aggressor in the report because otherwise, the officer would be providing proof of his misconduct.
When I think of the police force, i am reminded of the 1st Transformer movie. On the Decepticon’s body . . . the one who looks like a police car . . . instead of ‘to protect and serve’ it says ‘to punish and enslave’.
I would argue that the divergent views of police behavior is just another divide that clearly has to do with race. I never expect the police to protect me because too many times I have been ‘punished and enslaved’ by those paid with my tax dollars to ‘protect and serve’.
This isn’t about Cambridge, it is a national issue. I always find it interesting when white people encounter someone African American with more privilege (money, job, better house, car, live in a better neighborhood, has more education). And to be a police officer, if this is their disposition, gives them the avenue to abuse us. . . even end our lives. Then, we only have to look forward to apologies and cash settlements.
Posted by Kimberly King-Jupiter July 21, 09 04:01 PMSmall town police have nothing better to do and are poorly trained and educated. This would never happen with SFPD in San Francisco.
Posted by Horses Ass July 21, 09 04:01 PMWow. What “kind of behavior” are some of the people commenting talking about? The Cambridge police dropped the charges because they had no case. THEY walked into Prof. Gates’ OWN house following the report of a crime. Fine. When it was proven that there was no crime and that the man was indeed in his own property, the police should have left. Being rude in your own house might not be ‘nice’ or even, in the case of ALLEGED rudeness to a police officer, ‘smart.’ I happened to have walked by as this was happening, on my way to the Cambridge Deli! The articles (not just The Globe’s) make it sound as if it was a confrontation between ONE police officer and Prof. Gates. I saw at least FOUR police cars and 8 or 10 police officers (the street had to be closed to traffic). And Gates was arrested by this mob. Sorry, I would have been upset too!
Posted by Cristina July 21, 09 04:02 PMI am glad to see so much discussions on this incident and this is what I love about America. My question is simply this. Should any law abiding citizen agitate or push an officer to arrest his person? My take is that our sacred constitutional law is powerful but in the end are simply words and ideals. The officer’s gun, bullets, trigger and physical person is real. Is it worth it to get shot over some investigation at a later time that it was either accidental or some misunderstanding? Then again, I am not Gates who can maybe cash in on some PBS show about a study into this subject matter which he is a subject expert. Gates might be on to something here. American captialism baby.
Posted by philo.sophi July 21, 09 04:02 PMthe last thing an officer wants to hear when he is investigating suspicious behavior, like a possible B&E, is, “you don’t know who your messing with!”.
Professor Gates is equally at fault for turning this into a circus.
Posted by DWeden July 21, 09 04:02 PMSad that so many people here simply dont get it and all of them quite obviously white. Gates is right. Look at the history of the police and the black community and you will clearly see obvious double standards applied to law abiding citizens in the black community. None of you seem to know what lead to the Watts riots. Walk in the shoes of a black man who in this case has worked his way up the ladder and into Harvard which is more than most and still he is viewed as a common thug by our racist police policies.
Posted by Mark July 21, 09 04:03 PMUPDATE:
It’s still not illegal to be rude to the police.
Posted by Concernedcitizen July 21, 09 04:03 PMI can’t believe that 99.99% of these posters are missing the entire point. It’s not a black or white issue at all. Its an issue about our civil liberties and abuse of power. Nobody should be arrested on their own private property if they have not commited any crime. The police show up to investigate a possible break in. It is determined that a break in did not occur and that Mr. Gates is determined as the owner of the property. END OF STORY. Mr. Gates felt that he was being treated unfairly and wanted to know the name and badge number of the officer most likely to file a complaint. He can say whatever he wants to those officers if he was on his own property and they NEED TO LEAVE. Maybe he was rude to the police but that is not against the law nor is it an arrestable offence. That is abuse of power and an infringement on all of our civil liberties no matter what race or creed.
Posted by RT July 21, 09 04:03 PMI’m not sure of the circumstances but I will tell you that the Cambridge Police Dept needs some work and I experienced this first hand .During the DNC I experienced a lieutenant get in my face after I gave a friendly beep at the person in front of me to go on a green light near the Cambridge Galleria. I had my mother who was visually impaired with me and was startled to see this officer run up and yell at me and say don’t use my horn and don’t say another word or he will pull me out of the car…To be honest I have no idea what the heck happened that day or what the deal with them is. All I know is isn’t the only time people have had Cambridge abuse their position to anyone…
Posted by Freddy L July 21, 09 04:05 PMI’m not familiar with the characters of either of the parties involved, but it seems that a quick review of a photo ID – which would definitely be close at hand immediately after an airplane flight – would have resolved this in a matter of seconds. I know that racial profiling is still alive and well in the U.S., but the police got a call about someone forcing a door and they responded quickly. We should all be so lucky.
Posted by Lynne July 21, 09 04:05 PMMy two white sons were worked over pretty well by the Quincy Police after meeting in a parking lot in broad daylight where my 18 year old paid his brother the $25 he owed him. They both had loaded weapons drawn in at them and were pushed around and talked to like they were criminals. After a search of both vehicles where they found nothing, my sons were uncuffed and basically told to beat it! When I went to the QPD the next day to complain, I was told by a Lt. in charge of damage control that they were profiled because of their age and gender and this was all perfectly legal. I got no apology – I hope, Mr. Gates, that you do. Having a badge and a blue uniform does not mean you can just walk all over a person’s rights.
Posted by Kathy McD July 21, 09 04:06 PMTo all of you who seem to think this was okay or blown out of proportion let me tell you this. We live in America we have a right to be anywhere we please, we have a right to live any where. The man was thought to be a burglar because he was in a upper middle class area while being black. The officer is the pompous one who thinks he does not have to be questioned. It is just a matter of time that if this behavior is tolerated by the racist white people that the police will believe in their heads they now have the right to harass and abuse white people as well. Yes you are next. absolute power corrupts absolutely. I find that such neanderthal behavior behavior displayed by the officers disgusting.
Posted by tikky July 21, 09 04:06 PMThe DA is a coward. This is a perfect opportunity to present a fair hearing of the facts and possibly bring some balance to this issue. Instead, everyone caves at the whiff of being accused of racism. Chalk up another loss for reason.
Posted by 998 Suzuki July 21, 09 04:06 PMWell, the next time Professor Gates’ home is being broken into, and no one comes from the police department, I’m sure he’ll once again scream about racial discrimination.What a sense of entitlement! Entitled to shoot his mouth off at the police, only there to protect his property, and then scream discrimination.
Posted by Jeff Rice July 21, 09 04:06 PMIf this guy would have just shut his mouth and did what the cops asked him to, there would be no story here, but NOOOOOOO! He had to shoot off at the mouth and start throwing the race card out saying he was profiled! The cops were doing their job and responding to a burglary call, what more do you want? Mr Gates perpetuates racism with everything he says and does. He is the problem and he probably did deserve to be arrested.
Posted by Sean in Florida July 21, 09 04:06 PMHe wasn’t arrested because of his ethnicity. He was arrested because he mouthed off the police. Would’ve been easier if he’d just said, “Hey, this is my house. I’m just trying to get in. Here’s my wallet, take a look at my ID, then help me get this damn door open.”
He’s simply an arrogant individual and that has nothing to do with race; just personality.
A little perspective-taking also is in order. What does he think it looked like to people driving by when two guys were trying to shoulder the door open?
Posted by DrB July 21, 09 04:07 PMIf they had done what he asked & ignored him, they would have also been racists for not protecting a black man’s property. You can’t win.
Posted by Bruce Graham July 21, 09 04:07 PMMr. Gates is a very prominent academic in a very prominent academic town. Shouldn’t his neighbors recognize him? They called the cops over 2 black men trying to get into a house, but I’m puzzled how the person calling it in couldn’t recognize him as the legal occupant.
Posted by Schlippo July 21, 09 04:07 PMDo you think they could could move Harvard to Disney World?
Posted by gebe July 21, 09 04:08 PMI agree with the previous poster. Being rude to a cop is not a crime, nor should it be. I also believe this has more to do with class than race; but probably a nice blend of both. Never the less both sides could check the ego and avoid the whole mess.
Posted by WISCONSINCHRIS July 21, 09 04:08 PMdisorderly conduct is disorderly conduct, verbal or other wise. If the professor produced the id (which i don’t see written in the article or the police report) and then just stopped yelling at the officer it may have not come to this. In his home, on his property, yelling, being disruptive, doesn’t make a difference what it was. The bottom line was he did it to a law enforcement officer and the officer made a judgment call. Dr. Gates should get to know his neighbors better and replace that door. ASAP
Posted by Jeff July 21, 09 04:08 PMI just read a lot of comments about this incident. Did anyone else wonder who had the “right” story. I really don’t know- did the cop exaggerate when writing up the report or did Prof. Gates leave out a few embarrassing details. Maybe they both did some of the above. If I had been the cop I wouldn’t have arrested someone on their own porch, race, age, disability regardless. If I had been Prof. Gates I would have been highly annoyed by a cop asking me for ID while I was in my own home, but if I hadn’t just gotten off a long plane flight I might been a calmer than I would be otherwise. Basically, who do you decide whom to believe? I sure don’t know.
Posted by Mark K Mondol July 21, 09 04:09 PMCambridge knows it would have lost….
well-known US Supreme Court Case
City of Houston v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451 (1987)
Although we appreciate the difficulties of drafting precise laws, we have repeatedly invalidated laws that provide the police with unfettered discretion to arrest individuals for words or conduct that annoy or offend them.
….. and Cambridge Police get free legal classes at Harvard Law and advanced pay under the Quinn bill. 187k for the cop and free Harvard Law education and this is what he does?
Posted by KnowTheLaw July 21, 09 04:09 PMI will tell you with total honesty, if this situation happened to me, I would react completely differently. I would be thankful that I had a neighbor concerned enough about my safety and property to report something suspicious. And I would also be quite thankful to the police for following up on it.
I would definitely not be belligerent to the responding officers.
Posted by Keith July 21, 09 04:10 PMIs there an organized white power response to the first several dozen posts to this piece? Rather than voicing outrage at the police abuse of shackling a man out of his own home, almost every post is racist and insulting towards Dr. Gates and African Americans. Calling him names? As a southerner who has frequently experienced the judgemental stereotypes from New Englanders, I find it greatly satisfying to see true colors revealed. Beneath all of the posturing, Boston has a legacy as racist, and perhaps more so, than anywhere in the South.
Posted by Charles Mandell July 21, 09 04:10 PMThrough his hyperbole and hubris, Gates demeans and undercuts the legitimate concerns of minorities who may be mistreated by police.
Kudos to the Globe editors for placing the picture of Gates yelling at the top of this story. It is evidence Gates lied when he said he did not yell at the officer.
Nonetheless, the officer probably should not have arrested Gates. His best course of action would have been to simply walk away, especially after the Harvard University Police identified Gates as the occupant.
This looks like a case of each party trying to be the bigger jerk.
Posted by James Hill July 21, 09 04:11 PMI’m a 56 year old white male from NYS, and I agree wholeheartedly with waltercito. Its very disheartening that racism is still alive and well here in the northeast.
Posted by mac July 21, 09 04:11 PM“Because of the capricious whim of one disturbed person . . . I am now a black man with a prison record,” Gates said. “You can look at my mug shot on the Internet.” Professor Gates
Hardly, Professor Gates. You’re now a black man with a prison (a bit of an overstatement, dont you think?!) record because you chose not to respect an officer of the law doing his sworn duty. People of all races are arrested every day because they choose to disrespect police officers. Please admit your responsibility in this matter and stop making it about race! I know you’re trying to save face but do you honestly think that how you’re spinning this incident is helping people of color?! I can assure you that making a documentary featuring your mug shot and the photo of you in handcuffs on your porch will only make matters worse.
Posted by respect July 21, 09 04:11 PMIt is time for racisim to be addressed. I know some people in the U.S.A don’t know that America is moving forward without them.I think a black person is always guilty in the eyes of law enforcement officers until proven not guilty, no matter what you do,your proffession,the neighbourhood you live in or how much you try to explain and even express yourself.Recism exists and if you haven’t experienced it maybe you can’t understand it.
Posted by naphtali gekonde July 21, 09 04:11 PMI don’t care if the man is purple with pink spots. If he had been sensible, he would have opened the door when the police showed up, identified himself and proceeded from there. Wonder how he would react if someone had broken into his house and because it was a house owned by a black person they decided not to pursue the call. Can’t have it both ways Prof. Gates.
Posted by suze July 21, 09 04:11 PMCan’t believe this story is actually “news.” What a joke, this cop was simply doing his job, checking the guy’s property after a break-in call and he gets an attitude and a mouthful of disrespect from this arrogant idiot. The cop would have went to the house and demanded ID if the guy was white, black , yellow, red or brown, thats his job. Its obviously the professor’s bad attitude and mouth that got him arrested. Too bad the city dropped the disorderly charges. This teacher needs to learn some lessons himself. As for him demanding an apology…he should be apologizing to the cop and thanking him for checking on his property.
Posted by steve July 21, 09 04:12 PMIt’s something as easy as to ask for a driver license and check his address. What are the protocols of the police? I do not think the way the policeman reacted was the protocol and if it was then we have a problem with the police academy. Only if this was an independent policeman who reacted in this stupid manner (even if the professor did respond the way he said he did), then it was a good decision from Gates not to sue the city. Cause it would only cost more tax payer money and would not solve the core issue. My applause to professor Gates, may he keep teaching us about the country we live in.
Posted by Yossy July 21, 09 04:12 PMI genearlly hate cops. but i have a hard time not siding witht the sargent in this case. the picture is worth a thousands words.looks like he was yelling to me. professor Gates is the racist in my opinion.
Posted by pau l July 21, 09 04:12 PMneither of them behaved well but enough is enough. Grow up guys.
Posted by jarndis July 21, 09 04:12 PMReading many of these comments it is regrettable but clear that much of white Boston (and America?) has no clue of what most of Black America endures daily. In a way, it is good that this happened, particularly since it happened in the bastion of liberalism that is the Peoples Republic of Cambridge. This is what they call “a teachable moment” for those caring to appreciate the truth.
Gates was arrested simply because he “did not know his place.” How dare he not acquiesce to the white cops authority? Ever since emancipation Blacks have been, and are still being arrested, jailed and punished “just because”.
Posted by RoxburyOne July 21, 09 04:12 PMPompous elitist vs. tough guy cop. It’s like the Iran Iraq war from the 1980′s, impossible to root for either one.
Posted by Sluggo July 21, 09 04:13 PMI read a lot of bla bla bla, but lets not kid our selves, if you are trying to get into your house, a bunch of police officers arrive, and ask for ID, you give to them and quickly explain that your trying to get into your house, they should help, and that is it, since I know a judge in Florida who something similar happen to him but he was just waiting for his wife who was about to arrive in from of his house because he forgot his keys.
He gave his ID but did not tell them he is a state judge, the cops started asking stupid questions, no reason to ask. As he said, “in front of my house I can do what ever I want, if I can’t stand in front of my house without been asked if this house is really where I live, there is a problem.
Police for the most part are not the best paid or brightest of people and they tend to see everyone as criminals but themselves. Sue the crap out of these cops. I for one expect my house to be my castle and within limits my place to be safe.
But the funny part here is that it sounds like the people that live next to his house don’t know a black man lives there, oh the agony of it all, they need to move now, after all a black man with a college degree what is this world coming to.
Posted by Alexander July 21, 09 04:13 PMTo Professor Gates,
I am a white middle-aged man from the midwest and I applaud you for bringing this officer’s actions to national attention. I am sorry that you had to endure this man’s horrific actions as well. This is a sad day. A day that a ‘neighbor’ has an internal need to contact law-enforcement and report a suspected burglary in progress when in fact the ‘neighbor’ simply saw a black man attempting to open the door to his own home. What the ‘neighbor’ should have done is acted truly neighborly (e.g. Luke 10) and walked across the street to you, professor Gates and asked if you needed assistance.
As far as this officer and his superiors are concerned, they should all be reprimanded at the least and fired at the most for what has become clear and conscious unconstitutional behavior on the part of himself, his department and many law-enforcement officers/agencies throughout the United States of America when it comes to enforcing their own interpretation of Constitutional law upon the citizens of this great nation. Especially against African American citizens and others of color.
When a man, regardless of race asks a simple question such as, “What is your name?” And then is charged with disorderly conduct, a civil rights violation has occurred and we all need to step up and take a stance once and for all. The Supreme Court, I do not believe, would side with the behavior and actions of this police officer and his agency for creating this culture nor do I believe a civil court of law in a civil rights case.
Professor Gates I salute you!
Take a few deep breaths (Inhale slowly……and breathe) and then do what you do best e.g. take this great opportunity that God has placed in front of you and use it for educational purposes.
Posted by Jury Consultant July 21, 09 04:13 PMI have no idea who said what, but the idea that he was profiled because he is black is absurd. It was his actions that aroused suspicion, not his skin color.
Posted by Barry July 21, 09 04:14 PMTo me it seems they both overreacted, the Professor overreacted to being asked to show ID and was belligerent, and the police may have overreacted by arresting him.
If the cops didn’t respond to the call of breaking and entering there would also be calls of racism, the cops can’t win either way.
Posted by Carl_S July 21, 09 04:14 PMHaving recently visited Boston/Cambride area, I found it to be a rude and racist city. This story is not suprising. Very sad, but not suprising.
Posted by Wi C July 21, 09 04:14 PMGee I wonder how many white people were treated in such a manner in this area. Wonder how many elderly white men had the police called on them for breaking and entering recently for simply trying to get into the door of their own home.
Posted by Terry July 21, 09 04:15 PMFor heaven’s sake, get a life, people. Our boys are dying on the other side of the world for ALL Americans’ freedom. Slinging mud and calling each other names is NOT the mature way to handle a “situation.” Distressing as it may be to both parties, enough time has been spent on the subject. I just hope no one sues anyone else, to prolong a stupid, “should not have happened” whatever incident. Posted by phylnik
Posted by Phyllis Nichols July 21, 09 04:15 PMGates needs to Apologize. No community should tolerate this type of behaviour from Gates as described in the police report.
Who is he to demand an apologiy. Is that a joke?
Posted by Once Poor July 21, 09 04:15 PMThis same situation happened to me. I was living in southie and locked myself out of my apartment so I crawled in thru a window. 5 minutes later there was a knock on my door and it was a police officer. I provided him Id and he said that a neighbor called in a possible break in. I thanked him and apologized that he had to come out. It was very civil. I think this harvard prof just used the situation to serve his agenda. I am white and the officer was white. I was also brought up to be respectful towards the police who are just doing their job.
Posted by maf33 July 21, 09 04:16 PMGive it up Mr. Gates, get off your high horse and move on, it’s ovahhh!
You seem now to be in attack mode, to no avail, in my opinion
Posted by cmfrif July 21, 09 04:16 PMGates should be happy that a police officer actually came to investigate a supposed break-in.
If it had been an actual break in, Gates would be singing a different tune. Otherwise, give the COP a break.. He is just doing his job…! and Thank goodness for that…!
Posted by Noel July 21, 09 04:16 PMI think this guy is just looking for attention. Maybe harvard should lay him off and let him fly around the country with Al Sharpton.
Posted by lifesucks July 21, 09 04:16 PMWow, there are a lot of angry white men in here.
The fact is, Gates broke no laws and was in is own house. And got arrested. Can’t you wipe the Fox News/Limbaugh cobwebs from your eyes and see that this is scary stuff?
Posted by CB July 21, 09 04:16 PMThe problem is not racism, it’s just that 95% of cops are jerks. Yes we need them, but most of these clowns have such an inflated sense of self-importance that anybody who “talks back”, even after having suffered the indignity of being accused of breaking into one’s OWN house, will inevitably face some sort of bogus, trumped up charge so that the cop can show them who the boss is.
Posted by mrg July 21, 09 04:16 PMLet’s see if I got this correct. Two guys are banging in a door. The neighbor calls the police. The neighbor didn’t even recognize the guy. Cops come to investigate and before they even have a chance to figure out what is going on, the guy goes semi-postal on them. So instead of acting rationally and thanking the cops for doing their job, trying to protect HIS property…and maybe try to explain why HE was breaking into his own house, he goes all racial on them. The fact that there were six cops in the front yard shows that the cops take their job seriously. Couldn’t this supposed intellectual realize that what he was doing appeared to be a criminal act? For a Harvard professor, he sure acted kinda stupid.
Posted by dnha July 21, 09 04:17 PMBoston IS a very racist city and I’m glad that I no longer live there. Some of that racism spills over to the other side of the Charles. The sad thing is I am not the least bit surprised about this incident. It just goes to show that you can be a very accomplished professor at Harvard and some cops still feel the need to treat you as a second class citizen based on the color of your skin. I also love how some people play the race card by claiming the race card is being played whenever a black person is mistreated and calls attention to the fact that the motivion was racist…how very Boston, the city that had riots over bussing 15 years after places like Alabama and Arkansas.
Posted by Mike July 21, 09 04:17 PMCould the stories of both sides be accurate. Why does one side have to be right and the other wrong? Is it possible that Dr. Gates overreacted to be questioned on his own property and the police officer overreacted when his judgment was questioned?
Seems in the end much ado about nothing and the charges should be dropped.
Just a couple quick observations.
1) People seem to take the police report as fact. That is simply the police officers description of the event.
2) People seem to think the race card is an easy get out of jail free card. It seems to be a fairly week card when you look at the makeup of the prison population.
Posted by seospider July 21, 09 04:17 PMI am saddened to see people saying that Gates is “playing the race card” in this unfortunate event as people perceived as white, including me, play the race card everyday whether we intend to or not. Peggy McIntosh called it White Privilege. This story is indeed an example of racism, and it isn’t a problem of just the South, it is an American reality.
Posted by Rachel Blum July 21, 09 04:18 PMPolice is not black or white, and a victim of police brutality is not black or white. A victim is a victim, and a police officer is a police officer. In the same token, a university professor is a university professor. If lanes are maintained properly, things should be OK.
Posted by Sajal Dey July 21, 09 04:18 PMI believe it is time for antagonists–or even people who feel vaguely uncomfortable with those who are not precisely clones of themselves–to reach out and have a cup of coffee and a chat together. Maybe Professor Gate’s PBS work on the multiracial and richly surprising genome of America would be a wonderful eye-opener for the police forces throughout the USA. The key thing is that stereotypes can literally get somebody hurt or killed so we all need to realize this and calm ourselves and train ourselves to mingle with people in a friendly and peaceful way.
Posted by Mercedes Fol-Okamoto July 21, 09 04:18 PM
1. A rear end collision on my minivan seven years ago on Interstate 65 near Indianapolis by a young, white woman. We could have been killed and the white state trooper didn’t even cited her. Talk about racism!
2. In Orland Park, Illinois at a public event, the white cop said something about, ‘ .. in America, we …’ assuming we were foreigners (a minority). He had an arrogant demeanor with a superiorty complex.
3. At the company where I used to work, in Chicago, 20 years ago (before 9/11, mind you) the building guard demanded to to search my briefcase but let others go by. I protested.
Posted by Myat Thwin July 21, 09 04:18 PMI’ve been reading comments about how Gates is a jerk, etc. But let’s keep in mind here – the cops came and arrested him IN HIS OWN HOUSE when a neighbor called to say that a black man was trying to break in. Pure and simple – this is a case of the cops (and neighbors for that matter) not believing that a black man could *possibly* live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood.
As for him yelling at the cops, DUH! Of course he should have – they refused to see his ID to prove that he lived there. If that had been me – I would have been yelling like nobody’s business too! Yelling at a cop is NOT a crime.
Posted by Laura July 21, 09 04:19 PMWhy didn’t a police crusier video record this? Video evidence would seem to end this he said / he said garbage. Regardless of the verbal tirade, the officer should have just ignored it and walked away.
Posted by Vi Deo July 21, 09 04:19 PMEither racism occurred here, or the good Professor really did get out of line. My money is on racism. I’m a white male and have been accosted at 2:00 AM trying to break into my own house after having lost my only set of keys. I politely explained to the officers what had happened, and offered proof of residence in the form of mail that was locked in the house. They allowed me to work my way into the house and I then produced utility bills and the like as promised. I cannot believe that Gates had no way to prove to the officers that he was at his own house, but I can accept the possibility that the officers had already made up their mind as to how they were going to react to the situation..
Posted by nullity July 21, 09 04:19 PMThe police were trying to protect his home.He was picked up by the police because of his actions.
Posted by John Henry July 21, 09 04:19 PMThe cops were obviously in the wrong people. Whether it was strictly racist or just hot-headedness all around, the man didn’t do anything illegal. If he just got off a long plane ride and came home to find he was locked out of his own house he was probably already in a bad mood before the cops showed up. I might have been less than polite in answering their questions too. Once it was determined that he lived there the cops have no right to arrest a man on his own property for being rude to them. That’s ridiculous. Maybe he was in a bad mood, the cops should have been professional and stepped out of the way once they realized no crime was being committed.
Posted by Kirby July 21, 09 04:20 PMTerrible thing to have happen to anyone! One more solid example I will show to my children so maybe they can learn from bad things that happen to other good people. The message to my children is simple. NEVER under any circumstance talk back to a policeman, NEVER no matter what! Because when you do the chances of going to jail go up with every word you say! Say nothing but yes sir, no sir, thank you sir, then when you get home yell scream, kick the trash can anything you want to let off some steam. Not before, policemen are human and trained not to take guff. Period end.
Now look at Mr. Gates picture. He is screaming his head off. You can see by the look on his face he is pissed. I don’t really blame him. But what would have happened if he thanked the policeman for looking after his home instead of saying this is what happens to black people. And getting all in the officers face, what is your name and rank, and everything else he said. I ask a Harvard professor….What did you expect to happen? Really, all the race studies you have done and you expected what? Mr. Gates you have a hand in getting arrested. I don’t say you were wrong, but come on…Even I know to keep my mouth shut to police, and I want my children to learn as well.
Posted by Craig July 21, 09 04:22 PMMost police cars now have video recording equipment, which has proved very effective in establishing the facts. It’s too bad that the police and/or other individuals involved do not also routinely record all such conversations using their cell phones or other digital recorder so that there is alway objective audio or video evidence of what really happened. It’s far too easy and typical for one or both parties to exaggerate and/or even lie in a “he said/she said” type of situation.
Posted by Kevin B. Walker July 21, 09 04:22 PMGood for the police department. Another self important person claiming privilege. The department has my full support. I hope the officer accused of this does not cave-in. Stay strong and don’t let self-important obviously racist people of any race push you around.
Posted by Adam July 21, 09 04:23 PMSo a police officer responds to a report of a break-in and is being criticized for questioning someone who fit the description given by the person reporting the incident? To play the race card is ridiculous. If I see two people, black, white, red, green, yellow or whatever color, throwing their shoulder into a door and they don’t look familiar to me, I’m reporting it too. Does that make me a racist if they happen to be black? What if they were Jewish (which I am), would that make me an anti-semite? How about the quote from Mr. Gates at the end of the story referring to the police officer as a “disturbed man.” Quite frankly, I think the police officer deserves an apology for being defamed in that way. Or how about a “thank you” from Mr. Gates because what if it had been a robber breaking into his house? The fact of the matter is, Mr. Gates appears to be an someone who feels he should be treated differently than everyone else.
Posted by Andy Ferreira July 21, 09 04:23 PMWait a second, nobody mentioned the white lady who called the cops. Isn’t she the true racist here? Being familiar with Cambridge, she probably considers herself a liberal and human rights activist and probably an Obama supporter. I tell you something about these so called liberals, they are accepting of “others” until they move next door.
Posted by Leo July 21, 09 04:27 PMI’d say that this is probably the perfect time to burglarize this man’s house. He’s on Martha’s Vineyard, and the cops will likely be “disinterested” in chancing a repeat performance.
What happens when he really needs the police?
Posted by CTNative July 21, 09 04:27 PMWhen did we turn into a police state where talking back to cop or arguing with a cop is a criminal offense? According to some comments here, gates deserved to be executed by the police. There are bad police officers out there.
Posted by des smith July 21, 09 04:27 PMThe problem is that the police acted racist, stupid and offensive.
But they did not say that. The excuse sounded more like “unfortunate” – not “racist, stupid and offensive”. The chief police and mayor should have said that “this was an incredibly racist, stupid and offensive act by our officers and we apologize for that”.
To not call it what it is they show what they are. And that is why Professor Gates is more than right: such a system is rotten and in sore need of reform.
Posted by Wolf July 21, 09 04:27 PMThis is a sad situation
Posted by Terry July 21, 09 04:27 PMThis has nothing to do with the race card this is a fact and if the fact is about racism than deal with it. How many white people have been arrested for entering their own home? Anyone that do not think this is a problem/issue (including police officers) color yourself with some brown make up and you will see the difference in treatment you receive not only from the police. Until you people in denial complete this experiment stop with the ignorant comments on these types of issues. Any person that beleive racism no longer exist in this country, including police departments, etc. is a blind idiot.
Posted by Lynn July 21, 09 04:27 PMSince when should any person black, white or pink be arrested for breaking into his own residence? The problem is that many or even most white people think that black men in particular should never, ever question white authority figures. Well it’s a new day. Black people are now well educated and know their rights. What gets me is that this cop thought he would get away with this in a state with a black governor and a country with a black Attorney General and a Black president. Not a smart move at all. Wake up people. This is not the 19th century. The world is getting blacker, browner and yellower by the minute. After Dr. Gates, yes DR. GATES, showed his identification the incident should have been over. Even if Dr. Gates raised his voice to the police officer this is still the United States. Evidently your DA doesn’t think it’s a crime and will not prosecute. I have read some of the racist comments made about this.
You’d think that Africans went to Europe, stole and killed millions of people, shipped them to Africa, worked them for over 200 years for nothing, sold their kids and their mamas, segregated them and maligned them for another 100 years.
Meanwhile, the planet is still heating up and the glaciers are still melting.
Posted by P. Nannette Johnson M.D. July 21, 09 04:28 PMI am a black man who was disrespected brutalized on a college campus by a white police officer while I was a student at a predominately white college. I understand his frustration. Being that he probably lives in an predominately white area, he is subject to suspicion. The police in my incident did lie in court and put ridiculous charges on me which were due to lack of evidence. I know many whites try to depict this incident as racial card playing but the fact remains that he was at his own home after a long flight from China and was not doing anything wrong. Black people are tired of racism and I hope Prof. Gates fights this. I hope the officer apologizes and uses this incident as an opportunity to further his own understanding.
Posted by Pimpin Jon July 21, 09 04:28 PMEveryone who is saying that they support the police in this matter should be really happy when their neighbor calls and accuses them of breaking into their own house.
Sounds like a lot of people would LOVE for that to happen to them to test their demeanor when the police come knocking on their door for what they view to be no reason at all.
I’m rethinking my trip to New England now…And not because of the cops or Gates, but because of the downright ridiculousness of many of the posts on here.
Posted by Brian from Tennessee July 21, 09 04:28 PMThe prevalence of racism is validated by the vast majority of posted comments.
Posted by retiredranger July 21, 09 04:28 PM1. None of us really knows what happened.
2. THe police can’t go around arresting people they don’t like. If they do,
we are all in trouble.
3. An arrest is a serious matter. Your government is not supposed to take
away your freedoms.
4. Gates did not “get away with it.”
He was arrested, forcibly taken downtown in cuffs, charged, etc.
Has that ever happened to you?
Posted by stan July 21, 09 04:28 PMNoJustice,
The “the(white) lady from Wellesley who hit a state trooper at logan” was required to make an apology to the trooper, among other things. She did not get away with her bad behavior.
As for Professor Gates, it sure looks likes he’s yelling in the pic. And it sure looks like there’s an African-American police officer with him. Perhaps that officer will shed some light on what happened.
We’re all entitled to a bad day – the professor; the police. Charges were (rightly) dropped. Move on, or do what Gates says he’ll do, and bring it into the classroom for discussion.
Posted by reindeergirl July 21, 09 04:29 PMIsn’t that a black police officer at the scene?
Posted by Mike S July 21, 09 04:29 PMIf I am reading this correctly, the police officers were responding to a 911 call about a possible break-in at Mr. Gate’s residence – So they were there to potentially PROTECT his property against an intruder. It appears that Mr. Gates took offense to the officer who was most likely just trying to determine who Mr. Gates was and if he belonged there. I guess Mr. Gate’s letter thanking the police department for their prompt response to a potential theft at his home will be forthcoming…..
Posted by Jason H July 21, 09 04:29 PMIt’s pretty obvious from Gates’ story that he wants to make this about racism whether or not it actually was.
Black or white, if you get rowdy with a police officer, you’re gonna get arrested.
Posted by John U July 21, 09 04:30 PMThere shouldn’t be one comment appearing in this space about what happened, because no one knows what happened. It’s fair to assume there is another version besides the police report. But what’s with handcuffing a 60 year old man who walks with a cane? What with keeping him in the police station for 4 hours? Necessary? I don’t really think so. If the policeman didn’t leave after being shown identification, then there is a big problem.
Another big problem are the heaping platters of racial resentment that are being directed against Prof. Gates. There are quite a few Globe readers who can’t even wait for the facts surrounding incidents like this to express how they really feel about minorities. Forget the snideness and sarcasm. Hey, why not just say it.
Posted by Bill Schechter July 21, 09 04:30 PMWow ! I never knew that there were so many angry white folks living in and around Cambridge. Get over yourselves ! Given the history of racial profiling all over this fair land, such an incident should not be surprising, and from some of the comments, it appears that racist attitudes are alive and well even in liberal Cambridge, MA.
Posted by L. M. Cooper July 21, 09 04:31 PMThe white folks who claim that Gates, one of America’s most distinguished scholars (no kidding!!) is ‘pulling the race card’ are traitors. They obviously know nothing about the history of constitutional government. They are usually the same ones who hide their aggressive gun toting behind the second amendment. They would be the first to squack if the police arrested them for opening their front doors — any probably join secret militias and start shooting up targets in the woods painted with the faces of black men.
The police who arrested a home owner because he was trying to open his front door, after determining his ownership, should be suspended. Yes Gates, like a lot of other scholars, feels not just justifiable pride in his position in our society (as well he should) but also a false invulnerability (shown in his ‘you don’t know who you are dealing with’ line). But it is not a crime to be flustered by police misconduct.
Perhaps Harvard should come between Gates and the city, actually letting them know who they ARE dealing with.
Posted by Leonard J. Waks July 21, 09 04:32 PM”I am now a black man with a prison record”
~Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Really? A prison record?
Posted by LostInAmerica July 21, 09 04:35 PMThe racist aspect comes in when someone tries to command a superior position over another based upon skin color. Looks like, in this case, the Police officer was the superior law and the professor was the inferior perpetrator. Looks like the cop demanded to keep his superior position to a point of absurdity. His ego would not let him allow the apparent situation to assist his judgment. So, the professor had to go to jail for something. That’s an overt abuse of police power, and it is very common in America. Luckily, it was done to someone prominent that can give a very, very loud and articulate voice to the issue. YOU GO Gates!!!
Posted by Ive July 21, 09 04:35 PMNever trust a COP
Posted by steve July 21, 09 04:35 PMI think this is teriible what happened to Professor Gates. We need to make up for the errors of the past and give black people the benefit of the doubt. If a few beat the system then so be it. We need to have true equality as President Obama is working to equalize everyone financially by redistributing wealth thne so we need to do it socially. Perhaps we need to consider elevating black people for awhile and give them the power then over time us whites will look at them differently.
Posted by James Wilson July 21, 09 04:36 PMWhite people don’t realize that’s just the way it is for most black people. Some things will never change even if we do have a black president. Most blacks know how to avoid getting into trouble with the police. This well educated man forgot he was black and this incident just reminded him of it. America is still filled with racism everywhere.
Posted by Dave Wilson July 21, 09 04:36 PMDifficult to leave race out of it, eh? It is also difficult for the police to respond with anything but scorn toward someone who challenges their authority… even if to only ask for proper identification. I know because I’ve been there. No matter how ill-advised, it is (still) not illegal to challenge a police officer in your own home. Gates was wrong to refuse to show the police identification IF they showed him proper identification prior to that refusal. But c’mon… we all know what really happened. They got into the usual “mine’s bigger than yours” stand-off… and the inevitable happened. The officer has the uniform, badge and gun, picks the time and place… with the law invariably on his side. Can you really blame Gates for playing the race card??? The pokice officer should be reprimanded… and Gates should be glad he doesn’t own a gun!
Posted by Jack Konrath July 21, 09 04:37 PM”He’s also considering a new documentary on racial profiling.”
Posted by George Sampson July 21, 09 04:38 PMSimple question. Did the cop ask to see ID or anything else that might have proved that he lived there before arresting him?
Posted by Noel July 21, 09 04:38 PMMaybe if he had just answered the questions he would not have been hauled off. The cop was simply responding to a call. Gates would have been thrilled with this cop if it was really a break in. It has nothing to do with race at all. Just answer the questions and dont be belligerent. It could have been resolved in thirty seconds if he had not felt bad for himself and pulled the race card. This could have happened to any person, not just a black male. Stop making everything about race when it has nothing to do with race.
Posted by Andrew July 21, 09 04:38 PMI believe the police officer instructed Mr. Gates to step out on to the porch. Instead Mr. Gates walked back to the kitchen. This was Mr. Gates first mistake. Rewind. Mr Gates steps out on the porch, respectfully identifies himself and offers to get his ID from the kitchen. Hmmm. I think that ends this sad misunderstanding.
Posted by Jon July 21, 09 04:39 PMI hope Gates sues the Police Dept. Officers like to have citizens, we who pay their salary, kowtow to them. If you don’t, you’ll be lead away in handcuffs and written up.
Posted by bernadette July 21, 09 04:40 PMIt’s amazing that in 2009 so many white Americans are so eager to make flat-out racist remarks about a case they really don’t know much about. Comment threads like this make me glad I’m not American.
Posted by Irish Common Sense July 21, 09 04:42 PMIf you want a view of racism in America, read the comments above.
Unfortunately, most of the poster would not recognize that their statements are examples of racial prejudice.
Posted by lastcamp July 21, 09 04:45 PMIt does not matter which race was involved in this false arrest. Black, white, hispanic, it was racial profiling and completely unprofessional.
Gates was on his property and would have been able to prove this with proper identification.
How is it a “race card” when he did not commit a crime to begin with???? In this day and age we have more and more youths getting out of control because they lack role models in society. Role models that our police officers could become if they simply acted in professional and appropriate discretion. They want to be respected? Then they need to learn to give respect.
When the police STOP going on witch hunts and start acting like professionals then maybe we can change the whole of society. Once we move beyond the racial profiling and start focusing on the crimes real criminals commit, then maybe we can live in a safer world.
Posted by J Chicago July 21, 09 04:46 PMWaltercito, thank you very much for clarifying that and making sense of the outrageous comments before us. There is no empathy. It is a miscarriage of justice all the way around. First with the passerby, presumably conveying that a robbery in progress; next, the police arrive on the scene (apparently a number of police officers), once established that the person may be the resident — why not stand down — and await proper identification, no instead, escalation. I would be irate too — and ultimately arrested because you didn’t act appropriate. What is the appropriate reaction when police refuse to believe that you are the resident of the home purportedly being robbed?
Posted by Roundthaway July 21, 09 04:46 PMI see that most New Englanders are racists, reading all these comments!
Posted by angrywhiteguy July 21, 09 04:47 PMAJ – You should read with a more critical eye. The report you read was written by Officer Figueroa and he stated that when he got there Officer Crowley was already in the house speaking with Gates. You and I don’t know what transpired in the minutes before Figueroa got there. We don’t know that Gates had not already shown Crowley his i.d. and then got upset when Crowley still questioned him why he was there.
Very interesting that the report was not written by Crowley but the second officer on site. Seems shady to me.
Posted by Morningstar July 21, 09 04:52 PMI’m so glad so many people *know* exactly what went down for the rest of us who weren’t there – so many experts and eye witnesses in one forum here, it really is a relief . . . mob justice will be served.
Did it occur to anyone that the DA dropped the charges because they realized they didn’t have a winnable case?
Skip, be safe – there’s a lot of townie idiots out there, apparently . . . racism is alive and well here . . .
Posted by just sayin’ July 21, 09 04:52 PM1st Amendment … so sad that so many have given it up for the false sense of security. I can call a policeman a turd if I wanted to; I have not broken any laws by doing so. That is still legal last I checked. Most cops are corrupt; only a few are good. Too bad that is the case with the police state of america.
Posted by Timehand July 21, 09 04:53 PMThis incident and (more importantly) the deluge of comments blaming the victim (Dr. Gates) is just more evidence that Boston is the most racist city in the U.S.
Posted by TooMuch July 21, 09 04:55 PMHow many Harvard professors does it take to open a locked door?
Posted by OutWest July 21, 09 04:55 PMIt’s appalling that racism is alive and well in this country as exhibited by some of these ridiculous comments. But it’s entertaining to observe ignorant people exhibit ignorance of their own ignorance. Either you know that Gates is far, far superior to you, and you deeply resent it, or you truly think you are superior to him and really believe all this “playing the race card” nonsense, and that, my non-friends, is pathetically funny. That being said, I do kind of feel sorry for people who will spend their entire lives in the dark lashing out at all of the complicated things their tiny brains will never grasp. (It may or may not cool your ignorant rage to know that I’m white.)
Posted by WF July 21, 09 04:55 PMWow. I thought I was reading about an incident in Mississippi, Alabama or Tennessee. Hmmm. Glad to know the South is not the only area of the country with racial problems – something the media would have us believe.
Posted by Avery Insinger July 21, 09 04:56 PMSimplicity folks!
1 – You don’t know who your own neighbors are? That’s just sad and ignorant.
2 – Cops in general abuse their authority.
3 – If you were harrassed by police getting into our own home, wouldn’t you be upset no matter what color you were?
Racism Nah, Cops Blunder Absolutely!
Posted by nospamforme July 21, 09 04:56 PMI’d love to know what really happened, but I don’t. I will say this, the woman who reported Gates might have asked him if he lived in the house he seemed to be trying to get into before she called the cops. I wonder why she didn’t?
Posted by ross July 21, 09 04:56 PMwonder if the cops will be quick to respond if something is amiss at this address in the future. were they not actually protecting him and his property?
I think he needs to rein in his ego a bit….”do you know who I am?” please!
Posted by kathleen July 21, 09 04:56 PMImage you want a cop to know this man but his own neighbors did not even know him. This is too funny.
Posted by billerbong July 21, 09 04:56 PMWhen backed in a corner most animals will attack … sounds like this guy was wrong and went on the offensive here after backing himself in a corner. “Do you know who I am…” What a joke! He knows he went over the edge yelling and being pompous and then got his bell rung for it.
I think the cops are right in this situation. If this were three black cops and a white male – this would be no story!
Posted by bob July 21, 09 04:56 PMI understand why the CPD and City backed down….It’s a no-win for them even though Gates was the person in the wrong here. He should be apologizing to them. We all live in backwards world now I suppose.
Posted by franktalk July 21, 09 04:57 PMIf they continue to profile, then the race card is appropriate.
Posted by leslie July 21, 09 04:57 PMWhat a jerk.
Posted by JustMe July 21, 09 04:58 PMWow, look at the comments you all make and then look at what Gates is talking about. Why are people so prone to defending cops? They work for us. As such, we are entitled to call them out whenever they do a poor job. Oh and you know why he should sue….? Because if more people brought civil rights actions against cops we would till have a 4th amendment warrant clause. You guys rather who joked about Gates and how he is out of line, you are hypocrites. If that same incident had happened to you, you would be outraged, anyone would be. Unfortunately Gates is right, we have a race problem in this country and it is clearly apparent from the comments on this website. By the way I’m white.
Posted by aj July 21, 09 04:58 PMThe response on here is absolutely unbelievable. The police wer eonly doing their job, but when is it part of their job to arrest someone who acts like a jerk? Being a jerk isn’t against the law yet.
Playing the race card? Without racial bias, this would never have happened, The neighbor wouldn’t have called it in, nor would the cop have reacted as strongly as he did.
I’m a white adult male, and if a cop bothered me while I was shouldering my stuck front door open, he’d get a dose of language I learned many years ago at Parris Island. And he’d deserve it.
Posted by Charlie Self July 21, 09 04:58 PMSome of the people here are a sorry excuse for humanity. Racial profiling goes on. Being very dark for a caucaision, I am aware of the profiling that does go on.I hope those who are criticizing Gates get a sudden darkening of the skin that renders them looking black. Perhaps them they will learn what it is like.
Posted by Michael Vitale July 21, 09 04:59 PMIt would seem that the police department was responding to a neighbors fear that professor Gates home was being burglarized, and were attempting to protect his property. If the professesor had simply identified himself to the police this whole thing would probably not have happened.
Posted by Walter Fiedler July 21, 09 04:59 PMi’m sorry, but IS OR ISN’T loud and tumultuous behaviour a ‘crime’? give Prof. Gates and the rest of the US population a break – it’s an outrage that he was busted on his own porch; the P.O. had to ‘save face’ rather than turn the other cheek on someone exercising his right to free speech. if the P.O. didn’t like how Prof. G. was talking, yelling, smiling, growling, whatever, then said P.O. needs to buck up, not bust the guy. BTW: the comment thread here is pretty vitriolic with no apparent sensitivity toward what it might possibly be like to walk in a black mans shoes. Prof. Gates has my apologies – education, dignity, untold scholarly contributions and commentary on popular culture and history are no shield against insular powertrippers. and i’m still waiting for all of Central Square and half of Harvard Square to be busted for loud and tumultuous behaviour.
Posted by hanknted July 21, 09 04:59 PMI am a native american indian by heritage, a few years ago I mouthed off to a cop during a traffic stop, I got thrown on the ground and tased, then thrown in jail for disorderly conduct, I ended up paying the $287 fine. Racial profiling? What planet is this Gates guy from? Maybe he needs to take a course on what defines being charged with disorderly conduct involves?
Posted by whiteeagle July 21, 09 04:59 PMIt’s amazing how much very thinly disguised racism is being exhibited here. Disgusting.
Posted by FrankD July 21, 09 04:59 PM”Do you know who I am?” My guess would be Gates did no Vietnam or Desert Storm time. He probably managed to skip those annoyances whilst acquiring multiple freebie degrees on the taxpayers’ dime. His societal contribution? Demonstrating the efficacy of affirmative action and now, pledging to conduct further inconsequential studies of racial profiling and stereotyping. He plays the card when needed, but he’s probably never walked the walk. My advice is throw the race card back in the deck–yeah, we know who you are, mamma’s boy!
Posted by the colonel July 21, 09 04:59 PMPeople of any color who appear to be breaking into a residence, doesn’t suggest a police response. It demands it. Most law abiding residents would thank the police for their effort to protect their life and property, not condem them for some imagined alterior motive.
Posted by R. Newman July 21, 09 05:00 PMI would take it by the tone that most of the posters here are white and have never had to prove their innocence. I am also white but my nephew, who is black, had a similar situation. He rode his bike to a HS football game (hes a freshman) but went home with friends. The next day, he went to the school to pick up his bike. He unlocked the combination lock, folded the chain and got on the bike. Immediately, a cop grabbed him and forced him to the ground saying he was stealing the (locked) bike. These situations DO occur and if blacks “use the race card” its because they have more justification.
Posted by Beth July 21, 09 05:02 PMFor one of the commentors on this blog,
Gates didn’t act like and idiot, the cop should have gave him the information and left!!! But he knew he was wrong and then he felt threaten by Gates. Also if he said he was not yelling I’m sure he was not doing it.
Also, why do folks think the police can do NO WRONG?
Posted by DA, Maryland July 21, 09 05:02 PMits always easy to say who is right & who is wrong but to be fooled into thinking racism & profiling does not exist in america is stupid, for the comment by the non-african american person who said maybe the next time he gets in a pickle he should play the race card oops he white. You don’t have to play you already have a pass. because in an affluent neighborhood with you on your porch trying to get into your house the passerby would have stopped to assist
Posted by dee nice July 21, 09 05:02 PMRace is still an issue in this country. I hope he sues the pants off the police department. Arresting someone for breaking into their own home? White people are still in denial that racism still exists. I got news for you… It does!
Posted by Dismayed July 21, 09 05:03 PMThe police work for us, we don’t work for the police.
It was clear that Mr. Gates was not breaking into the house. He was wearing a polo shirt, grey slacks and is 58 yrs old.
The officer should have quickly sized up the situation, apologized, given his badge number and name and left.
Most police officers have an attitude that you’re never supposed to question their actions. Those days are past !
There is no doubt that if Mr. Gates was an elderly white man, the police would have taken an opposite attitude instead of being immediately confrontational
Posted by Joe R July 21, 09 05:03 PMSounds like both parties were indeed fairly stupid and belligerent.
(Incidentally buffoons ought to learn how to spell the word buffoonery correctly. Sort of undermines their position when they can’t.)
Posted by Seneca July 21, 09 05:03 PMthe charges are ridiculous. they cops ARRESTING Gates was theatre of the absurd. I find it sad that cambridge cops can’t find anyhting better to do than arrest 58yr old men for trying to get into their own homes, then being surprised and mad that police are troubling him about being in his own house where he pays egregious taxes that ultimately pay the pig’s salaries…. the cops are power hungry ego maniacs and should be either suspended or fired.
Posted by Lycan July 21, 09 05:04 PMWow, most of the opinions defer to the police officer’s version of the ‘truth’. I am appalled that there is so little critical thinking being applied to this matter.
Post #343 by Waltercito seems to have it right: “And to arrest him for “disorderly conduct?” – the classic “trash can” charge. No allegations of battery on a police officer, no allegations of resisting arrest…”disorderly conduct?” This comports well with my experience of living in New England for six years: beneath the veneer of civilized, cultured attitudes is a strong undercurrent of authoritarianism and control, based on harsh classist and racist notions of what is “acceptable” behavior. I don’t care what Dr. Gates said to that
sergeant; if there was no evidence that a crime had been committed, and he did not touch the officer, the arrest is inexcusable and the officer should be reprimanded. I am extremely disturbed by the doubt, derision, and criticism that is being directed at Dr. Gates by what are, presumably, white writers. (For the record, I am a 62 yr old, white male born, raised and educated in North Carolina.) But I am most troubled by the level of racism reflected in these comments, most presumably from New Englanders.”
Posted by Darnley Thomas July 21, 09 05:04 PMHmmmm…. Here we go again. Good old cops doing their job! Things never change, or do they? I remember my two friends and being harrassed, humiliated, and stripped near naked publicly on a snowy winter night when I was moving out of my rented house in Newton. Just like in Mr. Gate’s case, one little old lady with prying eyes called the cops on us alleging that 3 black men were robbing a house across her street. Before we knew it, tens of Newton police cruisers decended on us and you know how that goes!
On another incident, when my friend’s home security alarm went off before he could it off upon returning home from work, Milton police cops put him in handcuffs refusing to believe he was the homeowner even after producing his drivers license. It took his white neighbor to positively ID him before the cops would released him. I guess the cops never expected a black person to live in that neighborhood, or perhaps they were just doing their jobs. Should I go on to recount numerous other similar incidents that I have first hand knowledge of? I hope you can see why there’s mistrust between blacks and cops.
Posted by KC July 21, 09 05:04 PMI once locked myself out of my apartment so; I decided to try to climb in a window I left unlocked. A neighbor saw this and called the police. A couple of minutes later I was flipping through my mail and watching TV when I heard a loud knock on my door “Police, open the door!” I opened the door and they asked me some questions, asked me for ID. I showed them my license and the mail I was flipping through and explained to them the situation.
I told them I was sorry they came by for nothing but was happy I had a neighbor who was looking out for me enough to call the cops when they saw something that didn’t look right.
I didn’t cry racism, I understood it what it looked like.
Posted by raym02118 July 21, 09 05:05 PMBeing rude is not illegal but being belligerent to police officers regardless of race or stature is illegal. Does the London based betting company set up bets for how long until Al Sharpton rears his ugly head after such an “incident?” If not, they should! In a few years the white population will become a minority group in America, what then Al?
Posted by Garrett July 21, 09 05:05 PMHere’s some common sense:
There are 2 sides to the story, the officer’s and Gates’s. Whoever has the true story should not determine if the arrest was warranted, it just determines who was being a jerk.
The arrest was unwarranted. The officers responded to a possible break-in and asked for ID, which is legitimate. With ID being shown, Gates’s rude behavior still doesn’t warrant his arrest. This is People’s rights not just blacks.
Posted by Jon July 21, 09 05:05 PMWhen did being rude on your own property constitute a crime? The policeman was out of line, period. If we arrested people for being rude or idiots or ignorant or pompous, most of the people that posted on this thread would be in jail right now. “15 minutes of fame in effect” is one of the multitude of ridiculous comments on here. I think being named one of the 25 most influential people by Time magazine might mean that you have a little more going for you than trying to get 15 minutes of fame. Morons.
Posted by Jason July 21, 09 05:05 PMWant to get a PhD in Race Relations? Analyze all the comments to this article!. You couldn’t get more honest and anonymous material to work with.
Is the USA racist? If George Bush were black, do you think he ever would have been elected in 2000? And if by chance he was elected, do you think he would have been re-elected in 2004?
Posted by MEC July 21, 09 05:05 PMProfiling can happen to almost anyone who isn’t white, male, and mainstream, especially in the lower midwest and south. One especially diabolical example of this involves the many people here who approach strangers in public whom they perceive as having a physical limitation with the patronizing question,” Need help?” They are choosing you out based on bigoted assumptions and you’re actually expected to show gratitude!! As a scholar I resent my body being made the subject, and I’ve had schools abuse their disciplinary channels to harshly punish me for showing anger about this. Schools like Missouri and Nebrasa routinely have cops respond to civil rights complaints in
order to bring contrapower charges of harassment against the victim and save
the school from financial liability.
Posted by Aaron July 21, 09 05:05 PMI’m a white brother. Bunch of stupid rednecks on this blog. They will
never understand until they are in pain. Good for the Prof. I would have been
very upset at the handling too. The whites on this comment-board need their
butts kicked…they are such snobs…probably Limbaugites…the nadir
Posted by SAK July 21, 09 05:06 PMPersonally, I think that I’d be a real schmo too if I were getting back from a God-knows-how-long flight from China only to discover that the stupid door of my very own house was standing between me and the comfort of my own bed. I can definitely understand why the person called in the break-in if they were a passerby and unfamiliar with the residents of the area, but I hope they weren’t actually a neighbor. Although who doesn’t know someone who has a batty old lady that calls the police at the drop of a hat in their neighborhood? I think see a game of oneupsmanship(Gates played the “do you know who I am” card, the officer played the “I am an officer of the law and I could really mess up your day” card, Gates pulled the race card, the officer pulled the “I’m going to arrest you now” card…and on and on) rather than an issue of race. Gates had had a long crappy day, and I would wager that the officer was having some sort of crappy day too if he couldn’t have a little compassion for this guy who went a little ballistic when the fates prevented him from just being able to go in, curl up, and go to sleep.
Posted by bluidshay July 21, 09 05:06 PMWhy didn’t the police officer look at the man’s driver’s license? It has the man’s home address on it. The average citizen CANNOT get angry at the police these days, even when in the right, without risking arrest on trumped up charges. I hope Gates sues. And just for the record, I am not black, I am a caucasian , college educated female. I am absolutely appalled at the lack of professionalism and good judgement, as well as absence of diplomacy of today’s police. Why couldn’t this officer simply have the grace to admit his error and apologize right on the porch. Why did he have to add insult to injury and arrest Mr. Gates?
Just a few weeks ago, we had a police officer shoot and kill a miniature dachshund that ran up from behind him barking. Then he lied that he had no other recourse but to shoot the little dog. By all accounts of the neighbors, this dog was a friendly, sweet dog who took his job protecting his neighborhood seriously. The police who shot the dog had pepper spray that he could have used instead. It took getting the incident reported in the paper for the chief of police to personally look into the matter and realize that his officer had shot a tiny, defenseless dog.
Posted by LB July 21, 09 05:06 PMIf I can’t get into MY house and I need to bust my way into MY house, and the cops show up demanding that I prove that it’s MY house, you bet I’ll be asking for a name and a badge number. And if that cop won’t provide it, yet I’m expected to show ID and proof that I live there, well, let me just say that you’ll probably have to arrest me to…because I’d probably lose it.
Oh, and “nice job” neighbor who called the police. How about if the next time you see a middle-aged black man in a polo shirt and khakis, carrying a cane, you NOT think that it’s a burglar.
Posted by steamedinsomerville July 21, 09 05:07 PMJust another angry black man with a chip on his shoulder who was disrespected, that is asked for his ID. If the officer leaves without proof he is the resident and the place gets robbed, who is in hot water then. Not Gates. I am sure if that happened Gates would have complained about no police protection for blacks. Racist if you do, racist if you don’t. Throw away that crutch and complain to the president about how bad life has treated you.
Posted by ireverent July 21, 09 05:07 PMCrowley screwed up big time and he’s going to take a fall on this. Good. He deserves to go down for this obvious racist behaviour. This bully will get what he deserves. Nobody, including the racist, cowards on this blog, wants to be held to public ridicule like this guy will be. Too bad. Now he’ll know. He’s hired to uphold the law not break it.
Racist bully….now that’s something to be proud of. Will he teach his poor kids to grow up and bully 60 year-olds with a cane? Will he brag to his family how he coreced someone out of his house so he could arrest him? Pitiful, racist jerk. And all you racist backers can do is watch while your hero goes down in flames. And people wonder why Boston’s reputation is what it is across the country.
Posted by John July 21, 09 05:07 PMI seriously doubt the need to call for an apology. Had the gentlemen remained calm and identified himself he would never have been arrested. As a white male growing up in New England I have been questioned by Police on multiple occasions. I reacted calmly each time and once the police had conducted their due diligence that was the end. At some point, you need to consider that you live very close to Boston, security is high these days. Its to bad because next time someone is breaking into a house I hope the police dont just drive by because they are affraid to ask for ID.
Posted by Richard Moran July 21, 09 05:07 PMI’m shocked at the tone of these responses, attitudes supportive of a police state. Issues of race aside, the officer said in his report that he was ultimately satisfied that Mr. Gates was the resident and no break-in occurred. He should have left THEN, no matter what was said. Whatever Gates said, he was in his own home and on his own property. How could he be “disorderly”? He was taken away in chains, handcuffs actually, already a punishment depriving him of his liberty. This can never be undone. Gates was a threat to no one and nothing except the official vanity of the officer, and the arrest is clearly an abuse of authority. The officer should be dismissed at once as an example to others.
Posted by Dana M. Reemes July 21, 09 05:08 PMA prison record? He was at head quarters for 4 hours, that’s not a prison record. Statements like that just deminish any real conversations that could occur about this incident.
Posted by joemac22 July 21, 09 05:08 PMDON’T BE DISTRACTED! We can spend all day speculating about how either side could have handled the situation better. But that’s irrelevant. The fact remains that once Mr. Gates provided the officer with identification, making it clear that it was his home, the officer should have left. No dialogue other than perhaps “I’m sorry sir,” and “Have a nice day,” should have followed.
Posted by GC July 21, 09 05:08 PMThis is pathetic and Gates is pathetic. Any normal person would show ID when it looks like they are attempting to break into a house.
Posted by Cyd63 July 21, 09 05:09 PMHow would you feel if cops came to arrest you for entering YOUR OWN HOUSE!
He did give them identification, as far as his story goes.
Posted by Ben July 21, 09 05:09 PMI don’t know. I am a white older female, very peaceful, no crime history in my life or family, and yet I have had a few unpleasant experiences with the police. They can be really bully-ish. Yes, they have all of these pressures, but, please, the culture of the cop world can be quite jaded and they need to get better training about how to listen and how to be FLEXIBLE. I think this: Gates got all scared and defensive (the police can be very intimidating and here he is a black man treated with suspicion) and Gates got defensively belligerent in his words and manner, perhaps, but certainly not way, way out of bounds. Yes, he kind of freaked, it seems, but the cop SHOULD HAVE MADE ALLOWANCES for that and he didn’t. To arrest and handcuff him is stupid and wrong.
Posted by Martha July 21, 09 05:10 PMThe City of Cambridge P.D. is filled with young, white pukes that should all be given a serious beatdown.
Posted by diggyzazz July 21, 09 05:11 PMTo all of the people who are saying things like “wish I could use the race card when I get in a pickle”, or other such nonsense, I say to thee, respectfully: Get over yourselves!
I am of Italian, English and Acadian stock. I do not pretend to know what it feels like to be black. I think that, honestly, white people cannot fully grasp the impact that slavery has had on the psyche of African Americans in the US. If the white people who are whining so loudly really took a few seconds to imagine living in a country that formerly regarded people of your race to be subhuman property, you might begin to have a glimmer of empathy for the position that black men and women find themselves in here in the US. If you were able to extrapolate the negative effects that slavery has had on the social interactions between whites and blacks, maybe then you’d take pause before spouting the kneejerk responses we see on this board.
Oh, but wait. That kind of mental exploration would be too thoughtful, too complex, and it would take you beyond the safety of your catchphrases and Caucasian Tribal comfort.
Posted by Richard W July 21, 09 05:11 PMWait a minute, I’ve seen this movie. Amos and Andrew, staring Samual L. Jackson and Nicolas Cage (1993). “…when a successful black urbanite writer buys a home in New England the police mistake him for a burglar… ”
I think both of them need to apoligize to the public for wasting our time, and burdening our emotions.
Posted by jeremy July 21, 09 05:11 PMWhat would you, a white person, do if the cops showed up on your doorstep and accused you of breaking into your own house? Maybe you would yell a little??? Maybe you would be a bit indignant? Then, finally, you show your ID and you are arrested? Why couldn’t the cop just apologize for making a mistake and leave? It’s called EGO this cop has more than his share, I think.
Posted by Littlepaws July 21, 09 05:11 PMSeems to me that any racism that occurred here didn’t come from the police but rather the caller who originally reported the “crime.” The cops were just following up on a call that someone was breaking into this home. Perhaps they would have been more careful to ascertain the person’s identity had he been white. But the reason they showed up in the first place was because they were called by someone witnessing a black man break in to a house. So the real question is: would that person have called to report a break-in if the person doing the breaking-in had been white?
Posted by Patty July 21, 09 05:12 PMhello DC police!….I saw a black guy tromping around inside a white house on Pennsylvania Ave…better get someone over there. Oh, and I think he’s smoking something…must be some of that mari-ja-wanna. Looks like he’s move the whole damn family in there too. There goes the neighborhood.
Posted by RaceToTheBottom July 21, 09 05:12 PMThe picture attached to this article tells a thousand words.
Posted by thearchisuck July 21, 09 05:12 PMOne evening I was trying to use the hook of an umbrella handle to disloge a plastic bag that had blown into the branches of a tree. A passer-by apparently thought it looked like someone was tossing a rope to an upper window in my house and reported the concern to the police. An officer came to my door, told me what had been reported, and I explained the situation and said that I could appreciate how it might have looked strange to someone passing by. The police then asked me for ID. For a split-second I thought about being offended that the cop didn’t “believe me,” then I realized that the request was basic prudence. [Spoiler alert: I wasn't escorted from my home in handcuffs with my mouth in an open scowl.] I think that if Prof. Gates had been less ready to assume the worst of the responding officers because of his race, he might have said “happy to provide any other information you need — I appreciate your fast response in protecting my home.” It’s the job of Gates to be as helpful and cooperative as possible, and for the police to be calm and courteous AND thorough. Had that happened, everyone would have left , promptly, and as friends. Instead, I see Gates is going for a second helping of his trademark pomposity. He is just unbearable.
Posted by Richard July 21, 09 05:12 PMIt’s a classic case of police abusing their power. If any one has ever dealt with the police or has any common sense knows, police do whatever they want when their “authority” is questioned, then lie in their “reports” about it later. Leaving the race issue aside, the fact that so many people whole-heartedly support cops who drag people out of their homes for the crime of knowing their rights, shows what a sad, pathetic citizenry we have.
Posted by Brandon July 21, 09 05:13 PMHow is this profiling? The police receive a report of two black males possibly burglarizing a house, respond and find a black male? Should they have been looking for a Scandanavian? The photo above clearly shows Gates flapping his jaws, yet he says he didn’t yell anything? This does not pass the small test but will be exploited to the max nonetheless. Great country we live in!
Posted by Former Bostonian July 21, 09 05:13 PMProf. Gates gets into his house through the back door but still feels it’s neccessary to break his front door down. Huh? He said he had a “big Moroccan” driver who could have helped him carry his bags around back.
He sounds like a complete nincompoop. I’ll bet he isn’t responsible to pay for the damage to his door either.
Posted by Ashwar July 21, 09 05:13 PMThere was a judge in the BMC many years ago who summed it up quite well, “ANOTHER CAMBRIDGE IDIOT!”
Posted by Jimmy D July 21, 09 05:13 PMThe police dropped charges–and that means they saw their error. The party involved showed two IDs and the one was proof of residence. If I see a police officer, I get nervous, too–and I’m European-decent white. African American males and other male minorities have been targets of illegal and rough treatment historically in the USA; no wonder people sometimes react defensively. The point is, why didn’t the officer accept the very obvious fact that Professor Gates was trying to get into his own house? Repeat: Gates had proof that he lived there. Burglers don’t preprint fake IDs for every house break-in–in case the cops come to card them. We need to wake up to our latent pre-judging, already. Stereotypes are dangerous. I am working on my own preconceived issues about–well, about people who voted for war, for instance. I have to give them the benefit of the doubt, that they sincerely believed that was wise (Iraq) and that they weren’t playing politics with everyone’s fear. I can’t just stereotype all in Congress who voted for the Bush-Cheney war as idiots, for instance.