UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. See main page for full contents

July 21, 2009

FAMOUS BLACK PROFESSOR ARRESTED FOR TRYING TO ENTER HIS HOUSE (AND ALLEGEDLY BADMOUTHING THE COPS ABOUT IT)


Harvard Crimson - Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr., professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Studies, was arrested at his Cambridge home for disorderly conduct, according to a Cambridge Police Department report.

The report, obtained from the Cambridge District Court, said that the 58-year-old professor was arrested by Cambridge police shortly past noon for "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior," during which he allegedly accused police officers at the scene of being racist. The report said that a woman had called police to the scene after seeing a man "wedging his shoulder in the front door [of Gates' house] as to pry the door open."

When a police officer arrived on the scene to investigate the tip, Gates was reportedly already having an altercation with another sergeant inside the home. The professor allegedly shouted "this is what happens to black men in America" when asked for identification and repeatedly told the police officer that "you don't know who your messing with," according to the report.

The two then moved to the front porch, the report said, where Gates continued to shout that the sergeant was racist, catching the attention of roughly seven "surprised and alarmed" onlookers. . .

According to an e-mailed statement from law school Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., a friend of Gates' who is now representing him, Gates was returning from a week-long trip to China and tried to enter through his front door, which was damaged. Ogletree said that Gates had forced open the front door with the help of his car driver, who also helped carry Gates' luggage into the home, after first entering through a backdoor and turning off his alarm.

"I think that the charges should be dropped because Professor Gates was a suspect for being a burglar in his own home," Ogletree said in an interview with The Crimson. "This was precipitated on a false assumption that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time." He added that Gates has been "traumatized" by the entire affair and is now resting comfortably in his summer home in Martha's Vineyard.

According to Ogletree, Gates noticed a police officer on his porch while he was on the phone requesting a door repair from Harvard Real Estate Services, which owns the home. The professor reportedly stayed inside when the officer asked him to come outside, but provided the officer with both his Harvard identification card and his driver's license as proof that he lived at the home and taught at the University. Ogletree said Gates then asked the police officer for his badge number and name several times but received no response.

But the police sergeant who first arrived on the scene said he had told Gates his name multiple times when requested, and that Gates simply shouted over him. The sergeant said he was forced to step out of the home because of Gates' uncomfortably loud yelling, according to the report obtained from the Boston Globe. He said he told Gates that they could discuss the matter further outside, to which Gates allegedly replied, "ya, I'll speak with your mama outside."

The officer said he warned Gates multiple times that his behavior was becoming disorderly before the actual arrest, but Ogletree says the officer did not provide his name or give any indication that charges would be filed. Ogletree says the officer simply exited the kitchen to leave the home, and that Gates followed the officer to the front door only to see multiple other police officers standing outside. When Gates stepped onto the front porch to ask for the police officer's name, the officer said "thank you for accommodating my earlier request" and placed Gates under arrest, Ogletree said.

The police report says that Gates complained that the handcuffs were too tight and that he was "disabled," prompting officers to handcuff him with arms in front for comfort and to search for a cane in the home. Gates was held at Cambridge Police Station for roughly four hours before being released from custody Thursday evening, Ogletree said.

GATES POLICE REPORT

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all know that the police have never, ever told a lie or attacked innocent people.

July 21, 2009 2:11 AM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

Exactly. Our "Finest" are always exaltedly above such mundane matters as racism, stupidity, and CYAism. Saints is what they are, veritable saints.

July 21, 2009 7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a cop's lips are moving, expect that he or she is lying!!!

July 21, 2009 7:10 AM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

The very fact that Dr Gates was held for FOUR HOURS says it all: summary, extra-legal punishment for Not Being Properly Subservient While Black.

July 21, 2009 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Chris R said...

The person who called the police was visiting from out of town. If anyone was profiling it was her.

But she wasn't. She saw what she thought was a break in. I suppose she thought it was better to be safe than sorry. Maybe she thought that if they did own the house they would say so to the police, but he didn't. He could have given his ID but he didn't. He was angry and wanted to make a point.

Police are generally assholes but in this case the police were just doing there job and the good doctor was acting like a child. "You don't know who you're messing with" What an arrogant statement.

I would personally be thankful if my neighbor called the police on someone breaking into my house. even if that person was me.

July 21, 2009 12:55 PM  
Anonymous C D Ronk said...

Last time I mouthed off to the police, they beat me with their baton... and I'm white.

Looking back, I understand that I was at fault for resisting arrest. I was angry and was not doing what they asked me to do.

If I had done what they asked, the outcome would have been different.

In order for the system to work; police need to be able to exert their authority.

July 21, 2009 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The professor reportedly stayed inside when the officer asked him to come outside, but provided the officer with both his Harvard identification card and his driver's license as proof that he lived at the home and taught at the University. Ogletree said Gates then asked the police officer for his badge number and name several times but received no response."
Apparently CD Ronk can't or doesn't read. Little surprise he doesn't understand police are public servants, not judge, jury, and executioner-- theoretically.

July 21, 2009 1:08 PM  
Anonymous C D Ronk said...

Anonymous is making assumptions. I did read the article as I have read a few regarding this matter.

He offered his identification well after he was initially asked and well after the indecent escalated.

The police did not judge, they are not acting as jury nor did they execute him.

The police are public servants who we have given a certain amount of authority to do their jobs properly. And that job is to protect and restore order.

You might understand this if you weren't so smug.

July 21, 2009 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

The fact that he was "detained" for FOUR HOURS even after he had proven his identity should be sufficient evidence that the cops effed up.

As someone else remarked: housebreakers usually aren't middle-aged and don't arrive in a cab with luggage.

July 21, 2009 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Police authority is subsequent and subordinate to the rights of law-abiding citizens. Once this fact starts getting promptly and forcefully asserted, such stories will fade in occurrence. Pabulum about respect for violent and unaccountable cops is weak and beneath contempt.

"Our Enemies In Blue" and "Beat The Heat" are essential reading in the face of uniformed lawlessness.

July 21, 2009 3:30 PM  
Anonymous runescape gold said...

You obviously have not spent any time as an African American Male! If you had, you would know exactly how, why and for what reason Dr. Gates responded the way that he did!
For God’s sake, every break-in in Cambridge does not involve Black males…..
runescape money

July 21, 2009 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having 'met' only a few police in my life, with one exception I believe they were chosen for their occupation because of their physical presence, and their mental inability to relinquish control over any/all situations.

This lack of mental flexibility is not what 'normal' people find enjoyable. But when confronted with a situation at work, they have the responsibility to sort things out. And this does require a sharp mind and even temperment. Of the people that criticize police, very few would be able to do the job themselves, without resorting to screaming and shouting at their suspects. Or worse.

As in this case, if a suspect rails against them, closes themself off behind a door, or acts less than cooperative in any way, people should realize that any police officer is going to view this with distain.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Gates reacted as he did. But I suppose it won't be the last time somebody is brusque or physically defiantly to a police officer, and that alone doesn't mean they are 'in the Right', or innocent, or just very smart.

Just because Mr Gates is Black, doesn't mean the police only responded and acted like they did Because of his race.

July 22, 2009 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

It should be noted that the woman who called the cops was not "from out of town" or a random "passer-by", she's a manager at Harvard Magazine up the street from his home, and would have frequently seen Prof. Gates and/or his photo in the course of her work.

July 22, 2009 12:58 PM  
Blogger robbie said...

Once the police established Gates as resident of the home, the call should have been over. These pukes should face charges.

July 22, 2009 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cop's at the scene, sterotype Mr Gates from the minute they showed up at his house, they didnt care whether or not if he was a Professor at Harvard

October 4, 2009 5:58 PM  

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