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This is NOT racial profiling

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

From the Boston Globe:

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation’s pre-eminent African-American scholars, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in. The incident raised concerns among some Harvard faculty that Gates was a victim of racial profiling.

Police arrived at Gates’s Ware Street home near Harvard Square at 12:44 p.m. to question him. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, had trouble unlocking his door after it became jammed.

He was booked for disorderly conduct after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior,” according to a police report. Gates accused the investigating officer of being a racist and told him he had “no idea who he was messing with,” the report said.

Gates told the officer that he was being targeted because “I’m a black man in America.” [To read a copy of the police report, click here]

Friends of Gates said he was already in his home when police arrived. He showed his driver’s license and Harvard identification card, but was handcuffed and taken into police custody for several hours last Thursday, they said.

The police report said Gates was arrested after he yelled at the investigating officer repeatedly inside the residence then followed the officer outside, where Gates continued to upbraid him. “It was at that time that I informed Professor Gates that he was under arrest,” the officer wrote in the report.

This was not profiling. The cop got a call that two men were seen breaking into a house and he was investigating. Based on Gates’ later statement about the door not closing properly it can be inferred that he opened it in a way that could look to a passer-by like he was breaking in.  The cop’s actions seem perfectly reasonable.

Gates was out of line, but should not have been arrested just for yelling. The cop should have simply left the scene. (Caveat: We haven’t heard Gates’ side of the story, I’m basing my opinion on the officer’s report)

I had a similar thing happen to me once. I accidentally locked my keys inside my apartment and was trying to jimmy a window when a cop passing by stopped me. Even though it was broad daylight and I wasn’t trying to be sneaky or anything I cooperated with the officer, showed him ID and soon he was on his way. In fact, after he verified I lived there he helped boost me through the window.

I would have thought he was a total dumbass if he just took my word for it that it was my place and drove off. I would have been furious if I came home and found out my home was burglarized and that the cops had seen the burglar in the act but had taken his word for it that it was his house.


Here is a picture of Gates being arrested:


Gates appears to be yelling and at least one of the cops at the scene is black. All the cops are in uniform and appear to have badges and name tags visible.

If a cop’s name and badge number are right in front of you, why do you need to keep asking for it?

300 Responses

  1. from what I have read ( copy of the police report above ) it seems Mr. Gates followed the cop outside and was yelling at him. Does this constitute grounds for an arrest? I wouldn’t think so but now-a-days cops shoot people for standing behind them, I guess he was lucky to have walked away without a beating. As so happens all too many times in Chicago and across the country.

    I don’t see how this was profiling. The cop responded to a call and investigated. Had he not, who knows what crap would have been said about the police force.

    Tp toss the “Race Card” thing so easily is sad. this is what we have come to?

    • RedDragon, I’m unfamiliar with the case where a police officer shot someone for standing behind him. Where did that occur?

      • 1997 South Side of Chicago. I am looking for the article as to not misquote what happened but the victim was a friend of my sister. She was 19 at the time she was shot and killed.

    • Yep. Cops get to pretty much do whatever they want. If they don’t like the way you speak to them, they’ll haul your ass in. You’re right. The man is lucky he wasn’t beaten or tasered. Remember the old woman the cop tasered recently? Some cops have a mean streak a mile wide.

      • I disagree that “cops get to do pretty much whatever they want”. There are consequences for their actions in most departments. Even if there are no departmental consequences, there are life consequences.
        The officer in the Gates case appears to have done nothing illegal or in violation of procedure but he’s being vilified as a racist because he arrested a black man. He’ll undoubtedly be sued by Gates and subjected to endless humiliating depositions and a trial because Gates thinks that he’s better than other people.

        • I appreciate what your saying Jean, but unless you’ve lived it, well i don’t what to say. i do not know where you’ve grown up or where you call home but here on the south side of Chicago, you can get your teeth kicked in for smirking at a Cop. And the Department does NOTHING about it!

          • There are lots of good cops, but there are far too many who are just bullies with badges.

          • That is true Myiq. I have two Brothers-in-law and three cousins that are Chicago PD. They…at least I like to think they are, are good cops. It’s the bad apples that give the whole a bad name.

          • Red Dragon, I’m a retired cop from a less corrupt city. There are consequences in my agency.

          • Amen to that. I live in the DC metro area where some poor kid was tailed from PG County in Maryland into Virginia and then shot DEAD by an off-duty cop. The case was not prosecuted.

            Oh and then there’s the 18-year old kid, only child, who was shot DEAD by an off-duty cop working as a security guard at IHOP. There were no murder charges brought.

            Where I come from cops have a license to kill.

          • I hear ya jean. I am not anti-cop. I know what “Some” bad cops do and i’ve seen them get away with it.

          • One bad cop can ruin the reputations of a whole lot of good ones

        • Then we can agree to disagree. Cops abuse their power on a regular basis and much (if not most) of it goes unquestioned and unpunished. The cop should have realized that Mr. Gates was agitated by the false accusation of breaking in to his own home and just walked away. But noooooo, gotta be the big dog and arrest him for “disorderly conduct” on his own front lawn. It may not be racist but it damn well is BS. Distraught civilians should not be treated as criminals and yet, again and again, cops either make assumptions or lose their cool. Cops are supposed to be the professionals. The burden is on them to remain calm. It’s their freakin’ job. Maybe this cop will think twice before he makes a BS arrest again.

          • The cop was walking away. He did nothing wrong and Gates followed him and continued to threaten him and tried to make the cop look guilty of something he did not do (refusing to give his name and acting in a racist manner) in front of the neighbors, probably so that he could start a law suit. If the cop had not arrested him he should have had his head examined.

          • I don’t think “loud and obnoxious” should be a crime.

          • good points gxm17, I agree with you. especially, “Distraught civilians should not be treated as criminals and yet, again and again, cops either make assumptions or lose their cool. Cops are supposed to be the professionals. The burden is on them to remain calm.”

          • I think some of that may stem from being exposed to the criminal elements repeatedly. Alot of them seem to automatically assume the worst about people.

            I try real hard to remind myself of that anyways when one of them stops me to catch up on what I’m doing(I don’t drive so my walking is enough grounds for them to stop me).

            I think that it was real easy for this man to be offended but he should realize that if the police were sent out there based on a report. Berating the officer for doing his job wasn’t productive.

        • What exactly are “lfe consequences”? sound a little bit like “God will get you for that”. some of us prefer departmental consequences. based on what do you say Gates thinks he’s better than other people?

          • Life consequences are having one’s life turned upside down when we have done nothing wrong. it means being taken out of our regular jobs, vilified by the news, having our children harassed at school because of what mommy or daddy did at work, spending hours answering personal questions and having out lives opened up to the public because someone like Gates decides that no one should question him.

            As for Gates thinking he’s better than other people, he disrespected the officer and tried to contact the chief before the officer had barely spoken to him. He was also full of “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” comments.

        • You are so right. Who the F does this guy think he is. Imagine the ARROGANCe of wanting to be left alon inhis OWN Effin house. Uppity N!!


          Come on, educate yourself a bit…

          • Listen, if the police ask you to identify yourself, you identify yourself … i don’t care who you are or what your background is, they don’t get a direct answer and they’ll drag you in to figure out who you are.

            I know some one who didn’t identify himself ‘adequately’ and got drug in by NOPD and he was an upperclass white dude. They have reasonable cause to think you’re an issue, they’re not going to think twice about it, you’re going to central lock-up.

            just a warning to you, no matter what skin suit you come in

          • I have been there kat (white walking alone in downtown metro after dark..) I was questioned and asked for Id I did it because I WAS sort of out of my element. But if this were my HOME, after I had shown my ID and the cop still didn’t leave, yeah, i would start getting a little defensive. I would ask “if there is no crime being committed why are you still on my property?”

            I know there are two sides to every story, but one side seems a bit more plausible..

          • he didn’t show the cops ID according to the report … that’s where things get interesting:

      • Wait until I let you know what some of my ‘roomies’ were in for when I can talk about the entire experience over the fourth on line. I saw people arrested for absolutely no good reason both black and white.

      • Thing is, you don’t have to be black to get profiled by the cops. Many years ago, I was walking home alone to Lincoln Park on the city’s north side from my job in Chicago’s Loop. At about 5:30 p.m., two seedy looking guys in a shabby, unmarked car with Indiana plates suddenly pulled up onto the sidewalk in the midst of the Rush Street area and began questioning me. I had no idea why. I was young and attractive, had long shiny hair and sunglasses, was neatly dressed in a mauve London Fog coat and slacks and boots and was carrying an armful of books and minding my own business. The two men tried to get me in the car, but I was scared to death because I wasn’t sure they were cops (of course a crowd gathered around, but no one moved to help me) and they wouldn’t tell me why they had stopped me. Only because, when they demanded proof of employment and I was able to produce a pay stub from my wallet, did they finally let me go. It was then that it dawned on me that they had stopped me on suspicion of prostitution – for absolutely no reason. I took down the license number and called the police dept. to complain loud and long, but of course got no satisfaction.

      • Yea and she probably wasn’t even speeding.

        pig Cops have a bad habit of pulling people over just to make their quota — something like 25% of people ARE NOT SPEEDING.

        I really hate SOME cops — Also I’ve seen some that look like they are taking steroids. Could be that they are working out or perhaps popping pills — and steroids can make some folks really unpredictable.

    • I think the woman who called the police was the one who was profiling. I’m quite familiar with that neighborhood–I lived on Ware St. in the late ’60s. I’m also familiar with the Cambridge Police, and I personally wouldn’t trust their report.

      There is little likelihood that any robber would be stupid enough to break into one of those buildings in broad daylight. I agree that the police should have checked on the woman’s story, but they should also have suspected her of reporting the incident because the two guys were black.

      • I think the cop had an obligation to investigate the report, but once he made contact with Gates everything went to hell.

      • I’m guessing she knew her neighbor was black, and was actually trying to stop him from experiencing a robbery. I read elsewhere they were dressed very casual, with backpacks on.

        • Practically everyone in the Harvard Square area wears backpacks–children, adults, dogs, whatever.

        • the neighbor, Lucia Whalen should have known Prof. Gates. One would assume she was calling from her office, which is next to Gates’ home.

          Her office is at HARVARD Magazine, where she is a fundraiser.


          Prof. Gates was returning from an overseas trip, with luggage. I would find it odd to break in with luggage, but that’s just me.

          • Excellent point.

          • That makes it much much worse–especially since according to the police report Whalen was standing outside the house when the police were talking to Gates and presumably when he was arrested. This is going to be a really ugly story around here.

          • Great, lets attack the person that does nothing more than her civic duty and reports what she believes is a crime. Gates and the limo driver werer trying to enter through the rear of the house, because of issues with the front door. I am guessing that they did not lug the luggage to the rear entrance.

  2. I agree with you, myiq. This is going to be one big old pain in the butt for the police. The sergeant should’ve left Gates to screech about racism and make a fool of himself. Arresting someone for disorderly conduct on their front porch may be legal but it’s not a good idea.

    • Hoboy, reverse racial profiling here we come.

      Sounds like Gates should’ve just kept his mouth shut, but “Do You Know Who I Am?” syndrome got in his way. Not to mention the cop.

      • I think that comment of his is what made the situation worse.

      • When I was in the military police I was working the gate at a secure installation and a captain I didn’t know came up and wanted in. I asked him for ID so I could check it against the access roster (which was SOP) and he got mad and pointed to the bars on his collar and said “Do you see this rank?”

        I pointed to my .45 and said “Do you see this gun?”

        He gave me his ID

      • you know – there are consequences for all out actions – sometimes we don’t know what they will be — I for one am so sick of the “I am black – therefore you’re targeting because of it — NO, you have a big f’ing mouth, you’re rude and you think you’re above the law —

        I feel because I am white I have this HUGE target on my back — I can be accused of being a racist just because I am white — g-d forbid I am in the wrong place at the wrong time

        Hell, I live in the Bay Area and there are part of Oakland / Hunters Point I can’t go to – I am white and I would be killed for being white — how racists is that? Yet if a black person is walking on my street and I watch them from my window – I am a racists — go figure — BTW – I watch everyone from my window if I don’t know them

        • BTW — the movie CRASH — I think was excellent — everyone caught up in their own world abusing each other — unbelievable.

  3. I’m born and raised in Boston and am in Harvard Square a few times a week. This is a LOUSY story. I agree with you Miq2xu — I’m sure when the cops asked you to show ID you were cooperative. According to the police report, Gates was furious and abusive to the cops from word one. BAD IDEA.

    EVERYONE, no matter what color they are, knows you just DO NOT yell at cops. This fact is disturbing to me (cops are REALLY obnoxious sometimes about forcing you to grovel to them), but it applies to ALL races.

    But but but — it seems pretty clear from the officer’s own report that after checking Gates’ ID and talking to witnesses that he KNEW Gates was the homeowner and was not in fact a burglar. So it appears he arrested Gates simply for being a loudmouth. I would assume he put the cuffs on him just to show who was boss, NOT because Gates is black.

    But all that will be lost in the media circus and I’m betting the officer wishes he had just swallowed his pride and left the premises.

    Two other little tidbits from the police report: the witness who called the police when she saw a man trying to force his way into the home (Gates) was a white woman who assumed it was a breaking and entering (racist assumption?). Also, the reason Gates was forcing the door is that the lock was jammed because of a PREVIOUS BREAKIN!! So Gates KNOWS that his house is fancy enough and in a nice neighborhood to attract break-ins, which means he was pretty freaking self-centered about the whole thing.

    Like you said, how come Gates couldnt appreciate the fact that the cop was trying to PROTECT the homeowner (in this case Gates himself).

    No matter what, I guaranTEE this will become a story where the cop is assumed to be a racist bastard (rather than just a thin-skinned bastard).

    • Couldn’t agree with you more Murphy. But as you state….

      EVERYONE, no matter what color they are, knows you just DO NOT yell at cops. This fact is disturbing to me (cops are REALLY obnoxious sometimes about forcing you to grovel to them), but it applies to ALL races.

      This is happening all over the country. If you look at a cop the wrong way, you are in cuffs and he is lucky. It could have gotten ugly. Too many times the cop decides he has had enough and goes to the “baton.”

      Gates was wrong. He assumed this was racism. This had nothing…as far as we know..to do with racism. I suspect he was angry that the cop had the stones to question him and Gates took offense to it!

    • I’ve read all the blog posts about this linked at Memeorandum and most of them misstate the facts in the story (like saying he was arrested inside his house) and they just assume the officer was a racist.

    • I agree. Sounds like more of a case of elitism by Gates, and overreaction by the cop because Gates was screaming at him.

      • It sounded like a joke. The pre-eminent African-American scholar is arrested at his house. The symbolism itself it probably why Professor Gates threw a fit.

      • The symbolism itself is so undignified for a scholar like Gates.

        I don’t blame him at all.

        • Getting asked a few questions by a cop because someone reported a break-in is undignified?

        • And what does it take to qualify as “dignified”? The right clothing, the right house, and a teaching spot at Harvard? Gates isn’t above any of us, no matter how many degrees he has.

    • IMHO, the cop would have been much better off not to arrest Gates. It’s going to get really ugly now. The cop let his ego get in the way. Gates would have looked like an idiot if the cop had just filed his report and leaked the story to the media.

  4. boston your right its This is NOT racial profiling,
    i hear they same thing it seems evertime you turn around i hear the same thing . & im getting sick of it

  5. Once I was visiting a teen in N.E. Washington D.C. and I was the only “racial minority” at the apartment complex. The police came by and assumed I was selling drugs (not a bad assumption), and started accusing me of various infractions (parking etc.) to have a reason to detain and/or search me. Being a law student, I knew my rights and resisted verbally, adamantly though not disrespectfully.

    Everything he said, I turned back at him. When the teen started defending me, the police officer started accusing him too. (The teen did have a record, so I just wanted the teen to be quiet.)

    This was shortly after Rodney King and I was known in the community, which the officer could probably perceive. The officer then said, “You just want me to hit you, don’t you, so you’ll have something against me!” It was the furthest thing from my mind.

    When the officer then grabbed the teen, I grabbed the officer. That was SO wrong of me, but I was young. He could have arrested me for assault, even though I was (with respect to what he though I had done) completely innocent. For some reason, after telling me he could arrest me, he didn’t.

    Never once did I think that the officer was racist. And never once did it cross my mind (after I crossed the line with him) that he shouldn’t arrest me because I wasn’t guilty of selling drugs like he thought.

    I guess that’s the difference between me and a Harvard Professor. Never once did it cross my mind, “He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.”

    Assault. Disorderly conduct. No excuse for either.

    • Not all cops are stupid. 🙂

    • I sat around for 15 minutes while a police officer ran my id and my only “crime” was that I was walking.( They used it as an excuse to check for outstanding warrants.)

      I get asked routinely if I require assistance and where I am going if and when I walk during the evening(when it is cooler during the summer months).

      I still giggle when I remember the one police officer with a vivid imagination who ran my id because he said “I could be a disgruntled ex employee who had just got through vandalizing my previous employment” because I was walking home from work at 1 AM in my uniform. My husband called to read them the riot act but he did so AFTER the fact. I was polite, cordial and cooperative during the process. Acting agressive only seems to make the process go much, much slower.

  6. I agree. Mr. Gates should have been cooperative and grateful the police investigated suspicious activity. I’m getting real tired of people believing everything that happens to them is negatively connected to part of their identity.

    My son woke up last week to the sound of “LAPD, LAPD, come out with your hands up.” When he opened his bedroom door, there were 8 police officers with their guns pointing at him. My son isn’t one for sudden moves, so he fully cooperated. They cuffed him, questioned him, then apologized and left. My son is 6’6″, very white, and always laughing. The police were looking for a set of black twins who registered his address as theirs when released on parole. Apparently, police can now enter a residence without showing a warrant. Had he decided to get loud and angry with them, I shudder to think what could have resulted.

    • I’m very glad that your son was okay. Those are incredibly dangerous situations.

      • Me, too, that it turned out okay. He’s a gentle giant, but his size is very intimidating. LAPD, adreneline running, guns drawn…scares the daylights out of me just thinking about it.

    • Police can not enter w/o a warrant — there is an excellent book “Beat the Heat” by Katya Komisaruk that teaches kids / teens what their rights are.

      If you open the door and step back the cops can come in and go where ever you go. It’s always best to open the door and step outside – even if you’re in your boxers.

      I always cooperate — I swallow my pride real quick. Especially when I am protesting — I start moving out of the way.

      • The police can enter without a warrant if exigent circumstances exist.

        They do not have to have a warrant in hand in order to enter the residence of a wanted felon if I recall correctly. That sounds like the circumstances that may have been the situation involving meeee2’s s.on

        • Parolees are subject to a search provision, and if they gave that address the cops wouldn’t need a warrant to enter (to look for the parolees.)

          • It is distressing that the parole officers apparently don’t verify the addresses they are given by parolees. These things can have really dire outcomes, as you noted in the tasered to death comment…these were loaded guns.

            I just hope that the police did a very thorough job of erasing that address from their files for these guys and there isn’t a repeat performance.

        • I’m thinking they missed their parole meeting. But, these must be some dangerous guys to merit 8 cops with guns drawn.

          • Why in the world would you trust the word of people that dangerous?

            It’s kind of scary knowing these people were able to give a false address to the police.

  7. Gates sounds like the type of person who because he was the shining example of what an acceptable black person is supposed to be, and is probably treated as something glorious amongst his colleagues, got it in his head that he was forever above being treated like the common “negroid” which he was now supposed to be above.

    So the cop incident brought him back to earth, and he apparently didn’t take the landing too well. Looks like he was going to teach this lowly “white” cop who he could buy as sell 1000 times over HIS place.

    Seems like the cop didn’t like his “lesson” so rather than just leave the scene, exorcised his duty and arrested Gates, and no doubt enjoyed hauling off another snotty rich person who thinks the rules don’t apply to them, maybe there was a extra satisfaction that it was a black rich person….only that cop knows for sure.

    They both acted poorly I think, but all things being equal, which they seldom are, he who gets to play the race card inevitably wins….we ALL should have learned that in 2008!

  8. From Gawker:

    The fact that someone as prominent as Gates could get arrested late Wednesday night and it doesn’t get out until the following Monday just goes to show what happens when the Harvard Crimson takes its summer vacation.

    I don’t know where they got that information but it would indicate to me that he refused to sign a promise to appear or post bail and demanded to see a judge.

    • Myiq….some people will use this as an example of whats wrong in our society. rational thinking folk will see it for what it truly was…

      One man who thought because of his station in life ( at Harvard ) was above being treated like us common folk. he learned quickly that this didn’t cut Ice in the cops eyes.

      To try to use this as an example of racial profiling or Racism…is..well….bullsh@*! But the sad reality is that there will be some that do just that. They have made their living off of screaming racism. Not that it does not exist. we all know it does, but you can scream fire for so long before the people start to tune you out.

      I am afraid that by going to the racism well so often, we are becoming desensitized to it and when it really strikes….no one will give a damn!

    • I think the commenter meant that the info didn’t get out. I wondered, myself, why it took so long to make the national news.

      • Ahhh, okay.

      • Sorry. I “misplaced” my comment. It was meant as a response above. 🙂

      • The fact that the news didn’t get out for three days suggests to me that Gates is the one who notified the media. There was no reason for the police to leak the information–it would only be embarrassing to them.

        • I have never trusted the Cambridge police since I personally witnessed several of them take a kid into a paddy wagon and beat him so badly that the vehicle was shaking. I could tell you plenty of other horror stories about the Cambridge police.

        • They may have wanted to avoid embarrassing Gates too

  9. LOL, oh goodness I could tell some bad cop stories! The most surreal incident was when they showed up at 2 AM with a pot bellied pig, threatening to arrest me because the critter was interfering with traffic. I was half asleep, the piggy was squealing, and it took me a full 3 minutes to realize we didn’t own a pig and none of this was making any sense.

    Yeah, my advice to Mr. Gates would have been to stay polite and keep your mouth shut. If he thought he was being treated unfairly, then you get a badge number and start going up the chain of command after the incident is over. The cop doesn’t sound too swift either. You don’t want to escalate the situation and make a big fuss, which is going to become political and public at some point. Geesh.

    • Lord knows i’ve gotten snippy with a cop many times. It was my wife that told me to shut up! LOL

  10. Did anyone else watch Gates DNA programs in PBS? On the second one, Gates’ heritage was investigated. As it happens, Gates is half-white. I thought that he was going to cry in despair when he found out.

    • Really? Wow!

    • that was him? Yeah I remember, he had hoped he was native american…or was that someone else?

      • I don’t recall that he was hoping that he was Native American but he seemed incredibly disappointed to find out that he was half white.

        • Half? Doesn’t that require one of your parents be white? Did he not know who his father was?

          • No, just that 1/2 of your ancestry is white, so parents or grand or great grand or great, great grand parents were white. So you could have parents that seem black to you and them, but in fact they are mixed, and not even in ways that seem obvious even knowing some of the grand parents.

            We’re all muts in the end. Just go back far enough. 🙂

  11. From the AP:

    Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Harvard professor, author, friend to Oprah, and chronicler and excavator of African American culture, was arrested for disorderly conduct Thursday at his home in Cambridge, Mass., according to the AP.

    None of those facts about Gates is relevant to whether he is guilty or innocent.

    “Friend to Oprah” isn’t a get out of jail free card.

    • Apparently for millions of Oprah fans, it is! There are people who follow Oprah like a religion. Anything she says has to be righteous and good. So of course no one who is good friends with her could ever be guilty of anything (snark).

      This incident undermines the real racial profiling that has happened to people of all races when confronted with police officers on a power trip. The police officer might have overreacted by arresting Gates but he only helped escalate the situation by going on a power trip himself and accusing the officer of being r@cist simply for doing his job. Whenever dealing with the police, regardless of your race or gender, the best thing you can do is STFU and cooperate. If there is any police abuse you can report it later (after you get away from the situation alive and unharmed).

      • Am I the only one out here who can’t stand Oprah? Haven’t been able to for years.

        • I never saw the big deal about her. My hubby can’t stand her.

        • No, there’s actually a very large number of people who agree with you. She only gets some 7M viewers out of a country of nearly 300M. But, she has her greedy hands into everything.

          I haven’t been able to tolerate her for over a decade.

  12. Skip Gates is a good person who I respect immensely… because he is black and allegedly yelled racism, we cannot assume this is “reactionary” on his part. I have a temperament, and if an arrogant cop was treating me like a criminal in my own home because some stupid white lady (my neighbor?) called the cops on me, well… after a certain point, I would say some things to the cop. I cannot count the times I have called cops or other authority figures, fascists, which is just as bad as calling them a racist, probably. AND I have never been arrested for it, though a cop and his cop friends did get me fired from my job when I was a student and went to their Captain about their bullying…

    Mr Cambridge Police Officer should have just let it go. Professor Gates is not a radical/reactionary black panther out to get whitey, he is an academic……

    • From my limited exposure to Gates, I’d say that he’s exactly the kind of guy who would try to get the officer in trouble just for doing his job. Please read the police report before you assume that Gates was being harassed.
      Granted, it one side of the story but people need to understand that there are times when law and common sense should compel anyone to cooperate with the police. This appears to have been one of those times.

      • ??? did I assume anything… police-shmolice reports… yeah… uh huh… a badge and a gun do not make a well-rounded utterly honest upstanding lawman either. Arresting a man for being unruly in his own home? Why, in Cambridge??? Utterly unheard of.

        How do you know the cop did not have a pre-disposition against Mr. Gates, for his work?

        I call authority figures fascists when they are acting all authoritarian… because I am an anti-authoritarian. That is my world view.

        If Skip Gates calls a cop a racist, well, that comes from a world-view steeped in the reality of centuries of brutal oppression, of which he is a scholar.

        white people, get over it already. let it gyooooh.

      • Have you met Gates personally?

    • huh? What’s his job got to do with anything?
      He was threatening the officer with trouble just for doing his job. Gates was trying to make the officer look guilty of refusing to give his name and of having acted in a racist manner. Neither was true.
      what evidence do you have that the white woman was stupid? Wouldn’t you want your “typical stupid white woman” neighbor to call the cops if it looked like some one was breaking in?
      I have broken in to my own house several times and if someone who didn’t know me called the cops I would have cooperated and been grateful they came.

      • it is called compare, contrast, inverse, converse, whatif, whatever.

        If an african american wants to call a cop a racist, what is the BFD anyway?

        I say we not add anymore fuel to the fire, and let. it. go.

        Harvard and CPD will sort it all out. It makes me sick to my stomach they dragged him off of his property in handcuffs.

        • compare and contrast? Is this fifth grade thinking and reasoning we are using now?

        • Dead Girl,

          It makes me sick too. Yes, Gates may have been rude to the cop, but I’d bet a lot of money the cop wasn’t as polite as he claims in the police report. I have had enough experience with the Cambridge police to be very suspicious of this story.

          • Isn’t this Police Profiling? You know nothing about the officer except that he works for the Cambridge PD but you doubt his veracity?
            There are bad cops. There are rude and arrogant cops. There are also thoughtful, respectful, competent police officers who put their lives at risk on a daily basis so that you and I can live in a semi-civilized society. It’s unfair to assume that they’re all knuckle-dragging liars because you’ve witnessed inappropriate behavior by an officer in the past.
            I’m unfamiliar with the Cambridge Police Dempartment but I don’t think that it has the same kind of corrupt reputation that Chicago and New Orleans have (both well-known amongst other cops).

            BB, if you were asking me if I’d met Gates, the answer is no. I’ve simply seen him on PBS talking about white people. He’s a very angry man, imo.

    • G*d forbid a police officer should arrest an ACADEMIC for disorderly conduct when he’s being, well, disorderly. Are we only to arrest “radicals” when they break the law? Perhaps if Professor Gates remembered he is just another citizen to a police officer (who may not spend his spare time reading intellectual treatises), he might have been happy to see that the police are responding to such calls in his neighborhood.

      Oh, and maybe he will fix his door.

      • WAS he disorderly? and I am the last person you’d want passing judgment on the veracity of a cop…

        I just think we should concentrate on when/how/why we are being called racists for not supporting Obama, and not getting our tightie-whities in a bunch over Prof. Gates calling a cop a racist.

        My default is, I side with Skip Gates. Most of the rest, side with the cop.

        What has Henry Louis “Skip” Gates done, to not earn your benefit of the doubt?

        • fix his door… it is all his fault for not fixing the door… for returning ill, from a long trip to the other side of the world.

  13. OT but interesting from :

    Obama Third Least Popular President Since World War II

    A new USA Today/Gallup poll puts President Obama’s approval rating at 55 percent, which ranks him 10th among 12 post-World War II presidents at the same point in the survey. His approval is down from 61 percent in late May.

    That is all … carry on!

    • Where is ABG with his “most popular President-elect ever” schtick?

      • The story at RCP doesn’t say, so who were the two post-war POTUSes with lower ratings at the 6 month mark?


        I’m guessing it was Carter and G-Dub (Bush wasn’t doing too well right before 9-11)

        • I’d guess LBJ and Dubya. I remember dubya was a total flop before 9/11. But I was thinking Carter was doing OK right at the beginning. I was wondering if LBJ was having trouble because of not being JFK and then getting stuff done in a hurry as he was want to do. But I don’t have the stats, just pondering for no good reason. 🙂

    • music to my ears !!! let it keep coming !!!

    • Well that didn’t take long did it Dak?

      We tried to warn them! But Nooooooo….Hope and Change! he walks on water and parted the Red Sea! He was born of the Virgin and fed the people from the Pharaoh Bush!. He raised the dead.

      Let’s see how they spin this one!

    • in the words of Nelson from the Simpsons:

      “Hah hah!!”

    • so who is less popular? Must be Carter and bush2. See, just like in 2000, no one steals an election to do good things. Carter got a raw deal, but dubya one and dubya two both wanted a job (neither one was qualified for) so bad they didn’t care about democracy and it is biting them in the ass.

  14. fed/freed…my bad

  15. Two sides to every story indeed, but it seems Gates was out line on this one. Sounds like a simple mix up that could have been easily clarified but for his heightened sensitivity and presumption of r@cism on the part of the police.

    Now certainly police can be r@cist and bullies, but that seems to be reason to cooperate more than to make a scene especially over something so insignificant. He could have just told them that he was the one trying to get into the home and he understood how it could look like he was breaking in, shown his ID and been done with it.

    Besides, should he not have enough money at this point in his career to get his door fixed?

    • According to the AP Gates denies yelling at the cop but other than that he isn’t alleging any different facts.

      The cop’s radio may have caught Gates yelling in the background (assuming he was) so I would be interested in hearing any recordings.

    • ah yes… the freaking door. I will make sure one of my colleagues fixes it the next time they go to his house…

    • I read the police report and based on that I think there’s another side to this story. Couple points of interest: the officer stated that he spoke first to the witness who called in the report of an apparent burglary and was still on the scene when he arrived. He stated that after speaking to the witness he noticed Mr. Gates in the foyer through his glass paned front door; he then approached and asked Mr. Gates if he could talk to him to which Mr Gates said, no. First, lets assume the caller was not motivated by racism in her assumption that the house was being burglarized. Wouldn’t a trained police officer immediately notice that there WAS NO FORCED ENTRY.

      Secondly, the officer stated that Mr. Gates asked him who are you or somthing to that effect when he asked speak to him . That rings false to me since it would be obvious that he’s a uniformed police officer. Makes more sense that he would ask why or what for, but not who are you.

      Third, after Mr. Gates identified himself, he still felt it necessary to call the Harvard police. why?

      Fourth, after reading the “narrative” of another officer on the scene it was so similar to that of the arresting officer, there are instances where they use the identical words. It reminded me of Courage Under Fire.

      • I agree with you. I’m very suspicious of the police report. Gates should not have been arrested. The report says the cop asked Gates to step outside and talk to him? Why should Gates step outside? And why should the Harvard police have been involved? It think something smells about this whole story.

        • Proper procedure would be to ask the person to come outside because of the possibility of weapons inside the house. Calling the Harvard cops may have been because of a courtesy agreement between the departments.

          But I still think the cop overreacted when he arrested Gates for yelling.

          • Everything that the police officer did suggests to me that he had made an intuitive conclusion upon arrival at the scene that there had been no burglary. He was being anal and thereby unnecessarily antagonized Mr. Gates by asking him to step outside.

            If he feared there might be weapons in the house he should have waited for backup before approaching. It’s why most police officers travel in twos as do a lot of probation and parole officers.

            do these “courtesy agreements” require a call even when there’s no offense? At the point where the call was made to the Harvard police Mr. Gates was apparently not a burglar and had not yet commited any other offense?

          • He may have formed an intuitive conclusion but the proper procedure would have been to check things out anyway. Verifying with ID that Gates was who he said he was was reasonable and proper.

            Asking someone to step outside would be proper “officer safety” procedure – it was not a command.

            As for a courtesy agreement, the only specific ones I have experienced dealt with military personnel, and our agreement (when I was in the MP’s) was that we be notified whenever active duty military or their dependents were arrested or were victims of violent crimes. I don’t see anything sinister there.

            I was just speculating why Harvard PD was called, but I can see where they might have an agreement to notify HPD anytime one of the faculty or staff are involved in anything.

      • Thank You Joanie… I think I am too emotionally invested to break it down clearly.

        • I’ve never heard of Mr. Gates and I won’t offer a defense of his behavior; assuming the cops’ accounts are accurate. But I’m thnking the guy was probably more than a little upset at being considered a possible butglar of his own home which had been burglaried not too long ago. I’m betting he was thinking where were you (and the caller) when the real burglars were here?

          I went to Boston University in the 70s, I don’t know how things are now, but back then Boston area police had a HORRENDOUS reputation in the Black community.

  16. Just further proof Myiq is a freeper nutbag.

    • Ah, a blogstalker.

      Can you state what the officer did wrong? Please define what the proper police procedure is (the one the real cops use, not your jailhouse lawyer version) and explain what “reasonable suspicion” is and why the officer didn’t have it.

      • LOL. I didn’t just see you trying to reason with the failbot did I? Really, questions for him? Just poke him with a stick and he’ll go back under his rock. 🙂

  17. You can already see the hysteria and lack of logic in the headlines:

    “Famed black scholar arrested for breaking into his own home”

    Well, if he was arrested for breaking into his own home, he’d be charged with breaking and entering, right? Duh, people, he wasn’t arrested for breaking into his home.
    This is a misleading headline designed to rile people up. That’s what the media does, they twist and distort things to create sensational headlines.

    • it is even more ridiculous, that he was arrested on his porch, for

      “disorderly conduct after police said he ”exhibited loud and tumultuous behavior.'”

      goodness gracious. Have you seen closing time at any of the bars in Central Square??? I have seen a lot of loud and tumultuous, and nary a single arrest for it…

      I think we should let it go.

      • I said in my post that I thought the cop overreacted by arresting Gates.

        But I don’t see any reason to assume the cop was a racist either.

        • But what about the woman who called the police? I suspect her of racism.

          • I don’t disagree, but the cop couldn’t just assume she was a racist and ignore the report.

          • No, I don’t think he should have ignored the report. What I think is that the policeman probably lied in his report and that he probably didn’t treat Gates in the respectful way he describes. I say this because I know the Cambridge police.

          • I can believe that.

          • Agreed. She is either a racist or amazingly unaware of who her neighbor is that lives so close she can see his door. This is the first time she’s seen him? She is probably what got his dander up to begin with and it went downhill from there.

          • I don’t like to assume facts that aren’t in evidence, and (especially after last year) I hate to see accusations of racism made without specific proof.

            Maybe the woman was racist and maybe not, but she deserves the benefit of the doubt just like everyone else (including Gates)

          • yeah because God knows black men never break in to houses. Should I NOT call the cops when it is a black person I think might be committing a crime and instead examine myself for possible racist feelings? Maybe Obama is right and those of us who did not support him are racist and don’t know it.
            I think we insult African Americans when we think that way. It is like saying “well it makes sense that Rev. Jeremiah Wright thinks AIDS is a plot to kill black people, after all look at what happened to the Tuskegee airmen”… well no, he is supposed to be educated and if that is all we expect from a black guy with a doctorate, isn’t that racism?
            No, she thought maybe there was a crime going on and she reported it. The cop came and just asking for an ID brought him all kinds of threats and accusations. Seems to me the only racist involved was Gates.

          • Teresa, I’m pretty certain that the Tuskeegee project was did not involve the Tuskeegee Airmen.

          • How completely uncalled for. I guess you will be happy to know that they had to disconnect her email.

            A Black family lives across the street from me, I guess I am not allowed to report it if someone looks like they are breaking in.

            Gates had just recently move in and he along with the limo driver were trying to enter the back of the house by forcing the door.

            BB–I am disappointed.

      • “I am an anti-authoritarian. That is my world view.”

        That also describes the people who want to assassinate the President. If we accept your world-view, we’re in trouble as a nation.

        Dead Girl, I think you can’t understand where others come from on this if you don’t understand that police officers (who are out on the beat) put their lives on the line every day, and that is one of the reasons we need to treat them with respect, even if they think we are drug dealers, or own disorderly swine, or are breaking into a house that happens to be ours.

        We can’t just call them pigs or fascists because we feel like it. Society doesn’t tolerate that, and demands you show a little more self-control. Most jurisdictions make it a misdemeanor to be disrespectful to or disorderly with a police officer. It is not a misdemeanor to be disrespectful to a bar owner, though he can throw you out on your rear, for good reason, if you are.

        A black officer treated me the same was that the professor was treated (you can see my post above), and besides for my mistake (which I’m sure I apologized for – maybe that was why he didn’t arrest me), he got (and deserved) my utmost respect.

        Your world view is too small, Dead Girl. (And yes, so is mine.)

        • You’ve got to be kidding. It’s against the law to call a policeman a “pig” or “fascist”? I’m not saying it’s good thing to do, but how can a law be passed against it? If so, the first amendment is meaningless. I’d like to see such a law tested in court.

          • Calling cops names is not a crime, but neither is teasing a mean dog.

            I wouldn’t advise either one.

          • For a really good time walk up behind a cop, touch him on the shoulder, say “you’re it” and run like hell. Saw someone do that. Cops chased him for a long time. Stupid kid, equally stupid cop. Typical day at college.

          • It’s also illegal to yell “fire” in a crowded theater.

            The disorderly conduct is proscribed as a matter of public safety. You don’t know how disorderly words can incite, and put lives in jeopardy as a consequence. (I’m not saying this was happening here – my guess is the professor’s chip on his shoulder produced a harvest….)

            The first Amendment is not meaningless, BB, it’s precious – but it was not meant to give you license. Use it wisely.

          • Finely,

            The first amendment is not “precious” if it doesn’t mean what it says. The kind of society you’re describing is a police state. I don’t want to live there. I’m not saying it was smart for Gates to say those things (IF–and it’s a big if–he said them). But if it’s illegal, we have no freedom of speech.

        • I have to say, that is about the stupidest fucking thing anyone has ever posted in regards to anything I have ever said.

          yeah, that’s right ________ the President… yeah…

          then there’s pigs… fascists… society does not tolerate that…

          pinching myself, did I die and wake up in Mayberry???

          a couple points here:

          1. you do not know me
          2. you do not know anything about me, and what you glean from a blog is going to be very little.
          3. I can say whatever I want to whomever I want to, and it is still not against the law. This is USA. We have CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. Just because the Patriot Act and FISA started stripping them away does not mean we do not have them.


          4. in the interest of free speech, why don’t you go find a porta-potty to cozy up to and discuss your shared too small of a world view, since you will get more empathy affection and discussion there than you will here with me, and a very confined space to think about your small world.

          Failing 1-4, can someone get the neighborhood scold off my ass…. its a public service if you do… so that they can contemplate Professor Gates’ experience without distraction.

        • What a joke. A police officer chose his line of work. He deserves common courtesy in his dealings with me, so long as he provides me with the same. That is all. I am not legally or morally obligated to lick the boots of power-tripping dicks, regardless of their career choices.

      • Here in the South that’d get you drunk and disorderly and a $25 fine.

  18. After showing his licence and Harvard ID, why was this guy arrested and worse, kept at the station for hours …. for yelling? They have handed him a new gig.
    He’ll be on Oprah about it shortly

    • It is relatively easy to get arrested for disorderly conduct. An arrest for just about anything is easy. Cops don’t usually arrest people, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot. Besides an arrest is not a conviction. Gates can go to court and argue that he wasn’t being disorderly; his word against the cop.

      • mostly it’s Gates being at the station for hours I find odd . I can see someone being uncooperative being arrested. But why was he there for hours? Where was Harvard ? Having said that, I greatly respect the police and the job they do.

  19. If you don’t believe the cop then you have to believe that he went out on a 911 call of a possible burglary (which would have been recorded) and when he arrived he met a cooperative Gates, determined it was Gates home, and then arrested Gates on trumped-up charges anyway.

    • It really is a sad case…

      • Sorry, I don’t think it’s sad or even distsressing. No one got killed or tasered. Gates got to go back to his home which hopefully hadn’t been burglarized while he was gone. And he got a tast of what his non-Harvard brothers have to deal with on a regular. Hopefully he’s a better man for it; not to mention the amount of press coverage holds nothing but upside for him.

        • It happens to black Harvard students and profs regularly. Just read the article posted below.

        • “and he got a taste of what his non-harvard brothers have to deal with on a regular basis”

          i guess the lesson to learn in this is, that society sees successful black people the same way they see gangsta blacks.

          a person seriously must be fooling themselves, if they believe people have gotten past skin color and have begun to look at one based on merit or the individual…

  20. On an entirely different note, Gates looks a like my father.

    • Speaking of fathers, mine probably would have started yelling at the cop, calling him names, and most likely been hauled off to jail too, LOL. He taught at a college and did not like cops or campus security.

  21. This is an interesting analysis. I tend to agree with it. I admit I don’t care for the Cambridge police. I think they are as corrupt and crooked as they come.


  22. Well, if nothing else, this cop needs to review the handbook, Public Relations for Dummies.

    Harvard has had problems for a while now and Gates even commented on it in this article last year. Given this climate and the criticism the police have been receiving, the cop really wasn’t acting like the sharpest tool in the shed.

    At Harvard, blacks perceive culture of prejudice
    August 29, 2008


    • That rings true to me. Racism is alive and well in Cambridge, MA and at Harvard.

      • Rac!sm is alive and well everywhere. And it’s not just blacks who are victims.

        • True, but we were discussing a specific case that took place in Cambridge, MA.

  23. Your situation is a little different, you were trying to break in a window, obviously that’s going to raise eyebrows. But trying to turn someone having a hard time getting his key in the lock into a break in suspect is a bit of a stretch. I have a hard time thinking that some college student standing on the doorstep trying to get his door unlocked would get the same treatment in that neighborhood.

    • Let’s say the cop went out and talked to the woman, decided she was just some crazy racist and left without bothering to investigate, and it turned out that the guys she saw really were burglars, or worse – home invasion robbers.

      How would Mr. Gates feel about the cop then?

      The woman was correct – the guys were trying to force the door open. They weren’t breaking in, but she didn’t know that.

      • The problem is that the cop arrested Gates. He was wrong to do that and now there will be a big stink over it. The same thing wouldn’t have been likely to happen to a white professor.

        • That’s just not true. Imo, Gates was arrested because of his attitude. I posted earlier that I thought the officer made a mistake arresting Gates on his front porch for disorderly conduct but, in my experience, lack of cooperation, not race, was likely the determining factor.

      • They have the right to ask Gates a respectful question or two, but they ascertained his identity, that should have been the end of it. He had every right to be furious. You know how cops treat people for no reason, yet when someone stands up and asserts his rights when the rest of us are too scared, we get mad because “he thinks he’s better than us.” You go, Skip. 🙂

  24. There is a LOT that I don’t like about this one. Consider it from Gates’ perspective. He’s coming home, he’s tired. He can’t get his damn door open. Cop comes up, tells him that someone (likely a neighbor) called to report a break in. Frustrating, because recent break-in was free of such good neighbors and police intervention, and for Christ’s sake, my neighbors should know what I look like- I’ve only been living here for Blank years! Not to mention that, yes, the stereotype of Black criminal is alive and well, and that’s an ugly damn thing to be confronted with in your home, whether it was the neighbor or the cop doing the stereotyping.

    So yeah, guy is cranky. Also, keep in mind that there may be considerable friction between university folks and townies. For instance, academics are often stereotyped to be- well, exactly like the description of Gates in the police report and the less than flattering descriptions made in comments in this thread. We’re elitist pretentious assholes who think we’re better than anyone, who think we know better, and who try to use our connections or prominence to get what we want. So not really odd that Gates was A) Irate, B) Exhibited understandable, but less than ideal behavior ACCORDING TO THE POLICE.

    Here’s the thing. The guy showed ID. He established that he was the resident. I don’t care what the hell else he did. Cops are obligated to provide their badge numbers, and I don’t give a shit if it hurts their fee-fees. Astute cops would have been aware that there are some relevant racial dynamics going on in the situation, and would have understood accusations of racism. Cops need to get the fuck over themselves and start worrying about the motivations of the people they’re dealing with instead of their own fucking egos. Anyone with a brain in their head could have understood that the guy would be pissed and given him a little leeway no matter how belligerent he was ON HIS OWN FUCKING PROPERTY.

    It is absurd that he was arrested. Yes, it is inadvisable to say boo to cops, because cops are regularly way the fuck out of line in our culture. That’s like saying that you shouldn’t report sexual harassment because you’re unlikely to get a good outcome and you’re just causing trouble for yourself. Sure it’s true, but it’s also stupid and unfair and wrong.

    I live in Seattle where a fifteen year old girl was just arrested and beaten viciously by cops for borrowing her parents’ car, BTW. So no, I don’t have a great view of the trustworthiness of cops. Of course, that could also be because I know a police force psychologist, and from what I know, many of these guys are not operating at the top of their game mentally. Hair trigger powertripping authoritarians? http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1520621/sheriffs_deputy_paul_schene_police.html

    So do I buy that this cop was not the polite and helpful paragon of brave virtue we’d like him to have been? Yeah. Do I think he was racist? I think until we can get an unedited transcript of his interaction with Gates we won’t know. But I’m giving Gates the benefit of the doubt, I’m going to assume that he knows something about this encounter that we don’t. I also find it very suspicious that what the police report the guy’s behavior as so CLOSELY mirrors the totally cliche behavior of an uppity fucking academic, of someone above their station. I wonder what THAT means. I mean, “Do you know who I am?” How often do you really actually hear that in real life? It’s a Hollywood cliche. More memetically prevalent than behaviorally prevalent.

    • “Do you know who I am?” How often do you really actually hear that in real life? It’s a Hollywood cliche. More memetically prevalent than behaviorally prevalent.

      I heard exactly that question from more than one person in my decades as a police officer. The last person I heard make the comment was the son of the mayor as I arrested him. Cliches are cliches because some people have no imagination.

  25. I’m curious to hear Prof Gates’ side of the story. He’s somebody I know fairly well and he’s a very reasonable man. He’s not really the type to gratuitously cry racism, but the story is a little strange.

    The cop was right to be there and question somebody who seems to be forcing his way into a house. The whole thing should have been cleared after Prof Gates showed his ID.

    I know the headline screams this is NOT racial profiling. Yes it’s not the classical form of profiling known to all, it’s a a variation thereof: The cop would never behave like that with a white Harvard prof. Those who are from Boston can tell you: There’s a looong history of such incidents at Harvard and to some extend in Boston.

    My own experience is that the cops will sometimes go out of their way to humiliate you or to severely punish you just for the hell of it. It has happened to me many times, although I’m always very courteous in my dealing with the police. I have an undescribable fear of being beaten to death or outright shot by the police, especially each time they stop me at night, which always compels me to be on my best behavior.

    • The article yttik linked talks about the pattern of racial profiling on campus, students at a picnic being bothered by cops because someone looked out his dorm window and reported them as “tresspassers” etc.

      Harvard also has a long tradition of losing black faculty members to other schools, possibly because they get sick of putting up with this bs.

      • Exactly. This type of thing has a veeerrrrryyy long history in Cambridge and at Harvard!

    • mablue, i agree with what you said..i try to stay calm, cause im scared i will be murdered by them. the police pretty much can get away with anything.

      im starting to believe, that the think black people are the same, no matter what…they view them all the same.

      it seems like racism is getting worse….any chance of race relations getting better are going out the door.

      ive been profiled before…and i am half black…..my mom is white, and she witnessed what they were doing….both of us chose to ignore it…it just wasnt worth the drama…..

      we blacks have to remember, we are not afforded the luxury of getting mad at the cop’s face. we have to be submissive…and even then, that will not ensure anything.

      it seems like they will arrest any black person…guilty or not.

      its alot harder being black in america, than white people are willing to accept.

      and the fact that many white people deny this, only further prove they dont want to improve this or stop this.

      • I tend to agree with a lot of what you say, but anyone who dares to “talk back” to many police officers had better watch out. Many are on a power trip and love to lord it over you whenever they can. I am an older white woman, and I had a really bad experience with a Cambridge cop in a traffic situation about a year ago. It was extremely traumatic.

        But I remember a lot of history of the Cambridge police. I dealt with them back in the ’60s during demonstrations, etc., and know lots of other who had terrible experiences. It was routine back then for the Cambridge cops to beat up anyone they arrested who gave them a hard time. It might be harder for them to do it now, but there have been numerous beating deaths by Cambridge police over the years.

        • As I’ve aged, I find the police tend to be nicer to me. But I have also learned to remain calm in situations where I’m being treated unfairly.

    • I don’t blame you for being afraid. It’s actually quite a rational fear in Cambridge, IMHO.

      • I actually don’t think it’s all about race. Part of the problem is the town-gown resentment, which is very strong in Cambridge. It’s understandable in some ways, because Harvard and MIT have way too much power, own massive amounts of property and yet don’t even have to pay taxes. They pay some voluntarily, but probably nowhere near enough.

        • Absolutely. My college town, and probably many others as well, had massive town/gown resentments.

  26. this incident, along with the incident where the black police officer was shot by a white police officer because the black police officer was trying to catch a criminal breaking into his car, is giving more blacks a reason, to just not bother trying in life.

    essentially this is their way of telling black people, that you can be educated, rich, but you are still as bad as gangsta blacks. and should be treated like a criminal.

    i dont trust police.

    white people say that blacks are treated this way because many blacks are bad.

    so i guess that means, all whites should be treated as racists, since, alot of whites do racist things.

    if you dont want to be called a racist…then stop lumping all black people with the bad black people.

    gates should have kept his cool, but by no means, was he in the wrong. the neighbor obviously doesnt even know who her neighbors are, and she is the one who should really be shouldering the blame. as for the police, i highly doubt they even tried to be understanding or nice about it.

    so many racist incidents have been happening lately to blacks…..its time this gets addressed, alot of white people want to keep ignoring the whole thing…but its only going to get worse, if people keep doing that.

    you cant keep denying its happening….wasnt the holocaust museum murder, proof enough?

    • Good grief.

      • no one asked you to respond…..stay in denial……if you dont like the truth, then just keep pretending.

        • You’ve made some sweeping accusations without any basis in fact. That “white people” comment was about as disgusting as they come, and had I started a nasty judgmental sentence with “black people” you’d have every right to call me racist. So, what do we get to call you?

          • you didnt read what i wrote. im sick of people denying whats going on….things are getting worse, and all people like you want to do is keep shoving PC on people for no reason. stop denying reality, and wake up!!!!!!

          • what i said was the truth. its not up for discussion. i will not apologize. im done hiding it to make white people feel better at night.

            if you want to keep pretending racism against blacks no longer exist then, fine.

            be apart of the problem. you will be just like the millions of other morons who dont want to enter the real world.

          • YOU are not black.

            therefore, YOU will not understand the pain and trouble and how hard it actually is to be black in america.

            stop justifying racism against blacks. its wrong. gates represents exactly what black people are being put through.

            people like you dont want to understand. its too easy for you to be apart of the problem. its too much work for you to want to be a solution.

            you know what? this isnt up for debate.

            you decided you support racism, therefore you arent worth talking to.

            in the end, what i said is the truth. i will not apologize for it. if you dont like what i said, then why dont you stop being part of the problem?

      • its non-negotiable and non-debatable.

    • That incident with the black undercover cop being shot by white cops was horrendous. I think it was in NYC, whose police also have a very bad rep for racial profiling. That poor guy who was shot right before he was to get married, the plunger incident, the guy who was shot outside his house because he reached for his wallet–it goes on an on.

    • “if you dont want to be called a racist…then stop lumping all black people with the bad black people.”

      I don’t think most people lump law-abiding blacks with criminal blacks – I think behavior is the salient point. There was a suspicious behavior reported (an apparent break-in), and at this point, the policeman has no idea if the suspect was a “good guy” or a “bad guy”. If he truly had been racist and lumped all blacks together, he would have arrested him right off the bat.

      But back to your “lumping together” issue, I think the companion piece, though, must be for blacks to work harder in their own families to not produce people who enter the criminal justice system – there’s an incredibly, incredibly high rate of black men who have criminal records. (It can be quite difficult for a woman to find a black male partner who has no record. )

      IMO it’s not a simple question of having been raised in poverty, then turning to crime – most people on the planet, even many in our own country, were raised in poverty or their parents were – people of all different races – but they didn’t choose the path of criminal behavior. This is something the black families must take responsibility for – no one else can do it for them.

      I just don’t see any obvious racism here. Even the caller may have responded the same way, were she to have seen two white guys trying to get in the back door of the residence. And it sounds as though the police asked for ID to make sure he was the lawful resident, and then they stepped outside, and the resident just kept following them, throwing insults and threats at them.

      I’m a mild-mannered, middle-aged woman, but if I got pulled over for something and started laying into them, I’d consider myself very stupid and opening myself up to danger. And then, for all they might know, based on my behavior, I could be flying on meth!

      I just think that too often, when people get into trouble, instead of looking at their own behavior, they lay the blame on the OTHER – on their (fill in the blank: racism, ageism, hating people with foreign cars, whatever). And it sounds like this Gates guy has made a career on the narrative that any criticism of a black person = racism, irregardless of the behavior of that black person. That extreme narrative is a recipe for trouble.

  27. Dammit. Please delete one of these for me? That was an accident.

  28. Harvard also has a long tradition of losing black faculty members to other schools, possibly because they get sick of putting up with this bs.


    This is not a grievance thread, but there’s a really long history here and it’s not good at all.

    • I agree.

    • With Summers gone, hopefully we will not lose any more of the best and brightest AA and African studies scholars… Losing Cornell West was a tragedy that should not be repeated.

      • Professor West appeared on PBS’ “Bill Moyers Journal: Faith and Social Justice.”
        He finally admits why he supported BO for POTUS. “And if this charismatic, brilliant, young, black brother can somehow get over the Clinton machine, he can become president. That’s why I supported him.” When asked, he lists as his first 2 (two) concerns about a BO Presidency that people might assassinate him or his “precious” family; and that people will attack his performance because they are racist. (Luckily, neither implication deterred the next speaker, Gary Dorrien, who is white, from proclaiming, BO could be doing “way better” than he is.)

        Speaking euphemistically, I propose that Mr. West should go to hell. Of course, being a Jew, I believe in no such thing.

        • I am pretty sure that in retrospect, Cornell West sees his Charismatic, Brilliant Young Black Brother is merely a tool of an Oligarchy.

          This is only one aspect of Cornell West, recent. His work over the years is not wiped away by his drinking the kool-aid and talking up a black potus candidate.

          Larry Summers engineered the Cornell West departure from Harvard – that says something right there.

          being from a long line of atheist black sheep jews, hell is not an option for me, it just does not exist 😉

  29. It not just blacks that are profiled, it the poor also. I am white and at this time of my life I did not have a lot of money. I had recently wrecked my car and I also had a very sick 9 year old child. She was completing tests that would have told us whether she had leukemia, rhematoid arthritis, or lupus. She had been sick for several months. I lived in the Corpus Christi, Texas area. I had to rush her to Driscolls Childrens Hospital in Corpus because of vomiting and high fever. I had a tail light out because of a recent wreck and because of the money situation I had NO heat in the car. It was about 20 degrees outside and it was cold. I had wrapped her up with blankets and we had just left the hospital after hours in the ER. We were stopped 5 times on the way home for a tail light. I was livid and kept telling the police I had just got my daughter out of the emergency room and need to get her home and had already been stopped. Each and every police threated to put me in jail if I did not quit talking to them as the wrote yet another ticket. I told them of the illness of my daughter and the problem of no heat in the car and they did not care. One said he hears all kinds of stories all the time and said if I did not shut up he was taking me to jail. I am a healthcare worker, I was poor. Cops are jerks with power problems. It was over 20 years ago and I lost all respect for the cops when that happened.

    • Wow, Connie. I’m so sorry that happened to you!

    • I’m sorry that happened to you, too, Connie. As one who has had similar experience with police, I’ll pass along what one of them told me to do if you have a broken taillight. Turn on your blinkers. That way, at least they know you know there’s a problem. Might not help, but, it might give somebody in that situation a fighting chance.

      • I also would have shown them the previous ticket. If I’m not mistaken they are fix it tickets.

        My husband often gets stopped when in NW Roanoke when he has to go to work early, early in the AM. The neighborhood is poor and the area is known to have some drug issues.

  30. As someone who was raised in Cambridge, who knows the city well, and who was also once arrested for disorderly conduct for mouthing off at Cambridge cops, this piece I have posted assessing the situation in those lights may be of interest. It’s already generated over 400 hits in just a couple hours. Top headline at Digital Journal right now.



    I’m white, by the way. But that don’t matter to Cambridge cops. A very egalitarian police force in a very egalitarian city. They’ll arrest anybody who mouths off to ’em long enough.

    • And therein lies the rub. Would this story be in play if we were to replace the adjective “black” with “white”, “chinese”, or “female”? Would it merit more than the most cursory of mentions? Granted, the whole scenario is ludicrous. The police overreacted, and Prof Gates, most probably tired and frustrated, clearly responded. As I see it, this is more a story of police ovcerreaction that one of racism.

      • I think the cop was a dick for arresting Gates, but I see no evidence that he was a racist dick. He was just being your standard dick with a badge.

        • ITA. Personally, my symapthy lies with Gates. It sounds like he had just returned home from a long journey. He was probably tired and annoyed that this door was broken. And look at his picture for crissakes, he looks like a genial grandfather. Arresting him was stupid and unnecessary and it really makes me wonder whether the cop has the right temperament to handle his job.

        • ITA. Personally, my sympathy lies with Gates. It sounds like he had just returned home from a long journey. He was probably tired and annoyed that this door was broken. And look at his picture for crissakes, he looks like a genial grandfather. Arresting him was stupid and unnecessary and it really makes me wonder whether the cop has the right temperament to handle his job.

  31. You are most probably correct in that assumption.

  32. What about “standard procedure,” also know as CYA?

    I called 911 last year to report a home invasion, which turned out to be my husband coming home early and trying to open a basement door to get some tools he needed to fix a car problem.

    Even though I told the 911 operator (who had stayed on the line with me) that all was well and the intruder was my spouse, the police came and made him show ID-they said it was standard procedure.
    And for the record, he’s a white guy.

    For many reasons, I don’t like cops.
    OK, that’s an understatement.
    I think many cops just suck. Especially here in the Boston area.

    The Boston Globe has taken the police report offline so I continue to reserve judgement. But it sounds like Gates might have blown a gasket and provoked his own arrest.

    Did Gates really say this?
    When the officer repeatedly told Gates he would speak with him outside, the normally mild-mannered professor shouted, “Ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside,’’ according to the report.


    • I’ve read the police report and the statement by Gates’ lawyer, and I don’t see anything in either one that would justify Gates losing his temper.

      OTOH I don’t see anything that would justify the cops arresting Gates either.

      I do have a problem with people assuming that racism must have been involved. Maybe it was or maybe it wasn’t, but I can easily believe that the cop would have acted exactly the same if Gates had been white.

    • it also sounds like the cop maneuvered him outside so that he could arrest him. Talk to Yo’ Mama indeed… and walked right into a TRAP.

      • Maybe the cop wanted Gates outside where there would be witnesses?
        He could have arrested him while inside.

        • That was my thought, too – the guy was throwing all these insults and threats at him – what next, that he “touched him wrong?” Better to get out in front of the witnesses when someone is acting like that.

  33. Just want to add my voice to any above who’ve already said that this damn well IS racial profiling. As a commenter at the Boston Globe said,

    “Lets not blow this out of proportion. Every day thousands of white people get locked out of their homes and arrested once they gain entry. Look at your local locksmith’s advertisement “we change locks and have you arrested within 2 hours or your money back.”
    Posted by Jess Helms July 20, 09 02:27 PM

    I mean, honestly.

    It’s good the neighbor called. It’s good the police investigated. Once they found out there was nothing wrong, the only appropriate response for the police was to say, “Sorry you were bothered, sir. Good day, sir.”

    Nor does it matter if he was impatient with them. Burglary is a crime. Impatience is not. The police are supposed to be professionals.

    • Other than the fact that Gates is black, what evidence is there of racism?

      • (Sorry, took me too long to get back, so I’m not sure where in the thread this will show up. This is in response to myiq’s question, “Other than the fact that Gates is black, what evidence is there of racism?”)

        The evidence of racism isn’t that Gates is black. It’s that this situation is unheard of for whites. I’ve heard of this type of thing happening to other black people (not tenured Harvard profs) and also to some of my current Hispanic neighbors. I’ve never heard or read in any medium of the same thing happening to a white person. What happens to a white person is the cops say, “Sorry to have bothered you.”

        That’s the difference.

        • No, it’s not unheard of. White people get arrested for mouthing off to cops all the time. I’ve seen it happen.

          Last month a white 70-something grandmother got tasered.

        • It happens all the time to white people. Grannies get tasered. Just this week, a cop jumped and CHOKED a young white girl after a routine fender bender (video was just on the news.) It has happened to my husband. Good Lord, our own dakinikat just had a big post where the cops allowed her to be assaulted!

          Yeah, it happens more frequently to black people, esp black men. But it is not, as you claim, “unheard of” for a cop to treat white people that way. Happens ALL the time.

          • Depends on the behavior of the accused, not their color. Anyone who doesn’t know enough not to mouth off to a cop is either on drugs, has high testosterone issues, or is looking for a new chapter in their next book on how everything is racist….

    • If the woman had said she saw two white men forcing open the front door of a house do you think the cops would not have investigated? Would the cop have taken Gates’ word that it was his house and not asked for ID if he was white?

    • Is it possible for a white police officer to overreact while dealing with an irate black citizen and there NOT be am underlying racist motive?

      • The Harvard fundraiser probably wouldn’t have reacted to two white men which makes it racial profiling.

        He reacted the way he did because of who he is. The symbolism is very sad. It’s a very sad day. To me, it’s like Rodney King.

        • What evidence do you base that on?

          • I know what you mean but it’s the symbolism again.

            You all are technically correct but it’s just sad.

          • Meaning if this can happen to Skip Gates, the most benign, law-abiding black man, no black man is safe.

          • It can happen to ANYONE, black or white, male or female.

            What does symbolism have to do with it?

        • Two white men forcing a door?

        • The fundraiser was a she. And the issue isn’t that she called the cops. It’s good she called the cops if she feared a break-in. That’s just taking care of your neighbors.

          (Admittedly, Gates doesn’t look remotely like a burglar, but this is Cambridge we’re talking about. I actually grew up on Ware St. The burglars could well be smart enough to disguise themselves as respectable citizens.)

          The problem is that the problem did not end after Gates had shown ID. That’s the part that would not happen to a white Harvard faculty member.

          • Can you cite incidents where white Harvard faculty members were yelling at cops and did not get arrested?

          • Sure: Demonstrations against the Vietnam war, the sit-in at Massachusetts Hall over pay and benefits for staff, and so on.

            I suspect that not what you meant though. You meant an exactly equivalent situation. And that’s my point. Gates showed them ID, just like you did when you had your similar situation. And the cop turns helpful. In your case. (I assume you weren’t wearing your makeup. You might have had a different experience if you had :D.)

            In Gates’s case the cop keeps at him. That’s the part that doesn’t happen to whites. So no, white Harvard faculty haven’t, as far as I know, been in an exactly equivalent situation. That’s the point. It doesn’t happen to them. They aren’t put in a position where they’re goaded into yelling. and then arrested for it

            Again, the issue is not that someone called the cops or that they wanted to see his ID. The issue is that they kept hassling him after that. That’s the racist part or the racial profiling part or call it what you will.

          • According to the cop Gates got angry right from the git-go.

            According to Gates he wasn’t yelling and just asked the cop for his name and badge number.

            Take a look at my update above.

  34. From the AP:

    Prosecutors dropped a disorderly conduct charge Tuesday against prominent black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., who was arrested at his home near Harvard University after a report of a break-in.

    The city of Cambridge issued a statement saying the arrest “was regrettable and unfortunate” and police and Gates agreed that dropping the charge was a just resolution.

    “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.

    • So, both sides realized that they had over-reacted.

      • No, both sides have not realized they overreacted. That’s what
        the prosecutor said.

        • Gates agreed that dropping the charge was a just resolution.
          Imo, Gates would have demanded an apology from the officer or the department if there were reason for such to be given. Clearly, both men let their tempers impact their judgment. If the arrest had been illegal, I’d certainly demand an apology before I agreed to anything.

      • “Both sides over-reacted” ?

        One side: citizen gets impatient over being hassled in what he has proved is his own home.

        Other side: police arrest citizen because they don’t like the language he’s using after they hassle him in what they know is his own home.

        That’s kind of like saying “Both sides lit fires,” when one person used a bit too much lighter fluid on a barbecue, and the other one tossed out a cigarette and started a forest fire.

        • We have a civil contract. We hire the police to keep the peace and to protect us from criminals. They are not paid to be screamed at for no good reason. It’s clear to me that Gates went out of his way to be obnoxious and did fit the description of disorderly when he was yelling at the officer outside of his house.

          Personally, I wouldn’t have arrested him just to avoid this kind of fall out but that doesn’t mean that the arrest wasn’t legal and justified.

          • I don’t want to be disrespectful, but being screamed at for no good reason is part of having a job. We all have to put up with it and there’s nothing we can do about it. For someone who guards the public trust to retaliate for free speech with bogus arrests on trumped up charges possibly indicates they might not have the temprament needed for certain jobs, and especially maybe we shouldn’t be issuing them guns.

          • The person screaming at them might be on meth or PCP. Disorderly conduct can quickly become something much more aggressive. The police don’t know this guy, they’ve discovered he does belong in the home, but he’s spent the whole time going off on them – it suggests there may be more going on here that they may need to check out. I don’t think it’s as simple as “the police need to be able to handle people like that” – they need to do their jobs and make sure everything is okay. Now, I’m sure the guy wasn’t on drugs, but if he’s going to lose control like that, it’s another factor for the police to consider.

  35. I think the cop was likely a complete ass, and throwing his weight around when Gates, being tired and cranky, didn’t respond with what the cop thought was the appropriate “respect for the badge”.

    But I also don’t think that amounts to racial profiling. Sorry, but I’ve seen too many cops be utter authoritarian jerks to all sorts of people to buy that without more evidence.

    Racial profiling does indeed exist, and is serious. I’d not like to minimize that by calling every encounter of a neanderthal cop with a black man “profiling”. Sometimes a cigar (or a dickwad) is just a cigar (or a dickwad.)

    • didn’t respond with what the cop thought was the appropriate “respect for the badge”.

      Are you suggesting that police officers aren’t due respect?

      I don’t believe that there is a legitimate reason, tired and cranky or not, for people to show disrepect to others who are just doing their jobs.

      • But disrespecting a cop is not a crime.

        (It’s not usually a good idea either)

      • Don’t be ridiculous. No, I’m suggesting that sometimes an officer’s definition of respect (shut up and treat my word as god, and don’t you dare question me) is very different from what most people consider respect. It’s relatively common for some (not all) police to be arrogant jerks, and quite disrespectful themselves. Happens every day.

  36. The more are read about the incident, the more I’m surprised that the title of this thread was authoritatively and immediately after the police report came out:

    This is NOT racial profiling

    Wasn’t it kinda jumping the gun?
    I found one other person awho also came out immediately with the same conclusion: That asshole from Legal Insurrection, which is not surprising coming from that Rightwing freak.

    • Racial profiling is something specific – it is when cops pull over or detain people because of the color of their skin.

      This is not what happened here.

      • Wiki:

        Racial profiling is the inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether a person is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime or an illegal act or to behave in a “predictable” manner.

        • BTW – that asshole from Legal Insurrection is an attorney and a professor at Cornell Law School

          • I know. Assholes are found everywhere.

            Btw doesn’t the Wiki definition of Racial Profiling you provided kinda fit what happened here? I may be bias because I’m from Boston and I know these guys. As I said this earlier, they’ll sometimes go out of their way to humiliate you.

            I can tell stories about it.

          • Profiling is when you have no idea who did something, and they come up with likely scenarios – like the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit does for serial murderers (based on the knowledge of past ones, percentages from history in similar situations), they’ll say something like, it’s usually a male, since the victim was white, the perp is probably white (serial murderers usually kill within their own race), his age is probably between 25 and 50, etc, etc.

            Racial profiling would be when there has been a crime and automatically the police (for no reason) start looking for a suspect of a certain color. The “for no reason” is the operative part of this, I think.

            I remember a few years back, whenever some black people would be witnessed committing the crime, and the police would say they’re looking for “3 youthful black males”, everyone started screaming “racial profiling”. Drove me nuts (and wouldn’t that also be “gender profiling??!!!). It’s not profiling if the attributes of the criminals in question are known – it’s “identification”.

    • I’ve read everything I can find online about the incident and when you remove all the opinions the alleged facts all come from two sources – the police report and the statement by Gates’ lawyer.

      The only real disagreement between the two stories was whether Gates was yelling at the cop or not.

    • My sympathies lie completely with Mr. Gates. But I’m not sure it was racial profiling. It sounds like the cop got pissed off at being called a racist, when if he had any sensitivity whatsoever he would have understood why Mr. Gates raised the question. As a professional, the officer should have used more restraint and plain old common sense. It was both stupid and petty of him to arrest Mr. Gates. He (the cop) should be ashamed of himself.

  37. Let me clarify. A police officer’s job, by it’s nature, is to be intrusive. Officers can and should, in most situations, be liberal with their “I’m sorry to have disturbed you” and other ameliorative comments but citizens have a responsiblity to tolerate a minimum level of discomfort. The police can’t do their jobs without occasionally running across the innocent bystander which is what Gates started out being. Acusations of racism hurled at a man who’s just doing his job is not a violation of the law but it’s a violation of the unwritten contract that we have that keeps our country fairly safe, all things considered.

    Think about how you felt when you were accused of being a racist for supporting Hillary and you knew it wasn’t true. Imagine having that repeatedly shouted at you by a man whose property you were trying to protect. When that officer approached that house, he didn’t know whether there were armed criminals emptying the house or harming the residents. A certain level of adrenalin is going to be present. Throw in an ungrateful homeowner who’s on the phone trying to get to the chief to tell him that you had done something wrong. The adrenalin goes up. Police officers are human beings. They have feelings. They can have a bad day when a comment about their mother makes them look a little harder for a crime such as disorderly conduct.

    If it still needs to be said, I’m well aware that there are racist officers and badge-heavy officers who take advantage of their position on a regular basis. Those kinds of officers need to be charged if their behavior rises to the level of a crime and the rest just need to be fired. No one sensible would find that kind of behavior acceptable.

    This officer may be such a person but we can’t know that just because we were once, or often, ill-treated by a police officer once upon a time.

    • Cops get paid to be suspicious. Gates and the other man DID force the front door open. The witness saw them and called the cops.

      If I had just broke into my own home and the cops showed up because someone saw me and called them, I would tell them who I was explain what happened and show my ID without being asked.

      They would be there to protect ME and MY stuff.

    • Well, arresting a man because he argued with or yelled at you in his own home after having committed no crime, is sort of evidence of being “badge heavy”. Doesn’t make it profiling, though.

      • The problem here is that this type of behavior is too coomon when the police deals with Blacks and they’re more respectful when dealing with whites, especially in a Community where inhabitants are profs and other Harvard faculty members.

        • I disagree that cops are always more respectful when dealing with whites. Hell, I just watched the video of the cop in Ohio who charged into that convenience store and grabbed that white woman around the neck after a fender bender.

          Does crap like that happen more often to blacks? Yep. But you can’t extrapolate that and say that therefore in any case of an officer being a dick to a black man, it is automatically profiling. The logic doesn’t hold, unless a cop being an ass to a white person were practically an unheard of thing – and that is DEFINITELY not the case.

          • Profiling is not only when police officer unnecessarily stop you on the street, it goes beyond that. Racial Profiling is also when the police treats you as a black man the way they would never treat a white man.

            And that is a well known pattern, especially in Boston.

          • “treats you as a black man the way they would never treat a white man

            Can you define that? I’ve been detained, questioned, searched, pulled over, given tickets and even arrested (later dismissed) when I had broken no laws. I’ve seen white people get arrested for arguing/mouthing off to cops.

            What is the difference?

          • I understand that, mablue. But I’ve seen too many cases of a cop getting all “you will respect my authoritaaaay” to a white guy who dared argue with him.

            That stuff happens too often for me to agree with you that they treated Gates in a way that they would NEVER treat a white man. Yeah, they would, if the cop was a dickwad. Happens all the time.

      • Based on Gates’ ongoing inability to put out a civil statement over this, I’m guessing Gates’ really pushed to get under the guys’ skin.

        Gates is demonstrating that he has the capability of getting disorderly in his conduct.

  38. Check out the picture in this report. Gates appears to be yelling and one of the cops at the scene is black.


    • All the cops are in uniform and appear to have badges and name tags visible.

      If a cop’s name and badge number are right in front of you, why do you need to keep asking for it?

      • He’s entitled to it and he asked for it. Why can’t they just provide it? If he had to lean in close to read it off the guy’s chest he probably would have been charged with felony assault.

    • http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/07/charges_to_be_d.html

      This article is a bit more interesting. Gates claims he is owed an apology, of course. The problem is, even with his own quotes, he’s making it clear that HE was the only person in the exchange who said anything about him being black. He is the one who decided he was being profiled from all I’ve read.

      I’m not saying it isn’t possible someone profiled him, though I don’t think it is probable. He leans toward embellishment, IMHO.

      “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.”

      • A prison record. Sheesh.

        He’s still poking the officer in the chest…”capricious whim of one disturbed person”.

        The behavior he is exhibiting has seriously damaged his credibility with me.

      • Well, he doesn’t know what profiling means, then, IMO. If he is accusing the officer of treating him a certain way because he is black, that would be racism, not profiling.

  39. I hope I’m not posting an article that was already linked to here in the comments.

    Gates Says He Is Outraged by Arrest at Cambridge Home

    The least you can say is that the police abused it’s authority.

    • I would agree with that – in fact I said in the original post that I did not think Gates should have been arrested.

      I just don’t see evidence of racism.

    • The least you can say is that the police abused it’s authority.

      I’ll say!

    • Is there any circumstance in which you think that a police officer is justified in arresting someone for disorderly conduct, mablue2?

  40. Oh shit, small world alert.

    Gates’ attorney, Charles J. Ogletree, is from Merced.

  41. […] This is NOT racial profiling From the Boston Globe: Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation’s pre-eminent African-American […] […]

  42. gates should be glad he came out of it not beaten or murdered. he is lucky considering what has been going on. like with the sean bell murder and the omar edwards murder.

    a 12 year old black girl (dymond millburn) was beaten, because she had short shorts and the white officers (who were dressed undercover and didnt identify themselves) said she was a prostitute. although their descsription was 3 white women, not black. and they had the wrong house. the dad tried to protect the daughter. the girl and her father were arrested. and the police officers were “justified” in their attack on an innocent.

    then there was the case where the 92 year old black woman (kathryn johnston) was murdered by police. they then planted marijauna to make it look like it was justifiable to kill her. its amazing they even got sentenced, since society doesnt want police to take ownership of their crimes. but sadly these guys will get out without serving their full sentence. well i would hardly call between 4 to 10 years a sentence, considering the whole story.

    these are just some of the crimes against innocent blacks you dont hear about. the ones that really would make people wake up and see that the so called police are nothing more than the american version of the nazi gestapo!

    someone else, on a different forum said it best. the problem wont be addressed until white cops start doing the same thing to white people.

    police are never there fore you when you need them…but they are always there to punish you for things you didnt do.

  43. police are never there fore you when you need them


    • I seem to be one of the few in this thread that think the police have a huge job to do, and that most of them are good.

      • I think most cops are good cops. Bad cops are in the minority.

        But sometimes even good cops do things they shouldn’t – they are human just like the rest of us.

    • “Ballocks”

      lol – I had to look that up. Is it usage usually British….?

  44. White middle class women have indeed been beaten and killed by white cops. And just by sheer numbers white people are in fact the main target of cops as they are more often arrested, again just by sheer numbers. But obviously there is bias in the justice (or injustice) system because the proportions of their populations of blacks and whites arrested is unbalanced. And worse the proportions of blacks vs. whites convicted is even more out of balance.

  45. But if you’re not white, you can tell a white person what they all do or don’t do……? You’re saying that blacks aren’t a monolith, but you’re resting it on the opposite logic that all whites ARE a monolith. That’s ridiculous. Matter of fact….. it’s kind of …. racist…..

    There is racism in this country – there are people in all races who act racist towards others of other races – like insisting that all whites treat blacks in a certain way. My guess is you need to enlarge your circle of acquaintances and your geographical familiarity.

    But particularly since “Obama’s brilliant campaign strategy”, any criticism of a black person is seen as racist, and the race card is thrown around. You seem to want to bury the currently popular faux race card issue, and only focus on the alleged block racism of whites.

    If you really think it’s okay to point out the truth that NOT all blacks are the same, but also think it’s okay to say ALL whites are the same, with all due respect, you need to do some self-reflection, get a view from around the chip.

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