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Prominent Black Professor Arrested in Own Home for Being Black July 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chad L. @ 3:48 pm
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(imported from old site)

The Washington Post brings us a story about Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a prominent literary critic and professor at Harvard and editor-in-cheif of who was arrested in his own house after a neighbor called the police on him thinking he was his burglarizing house. Appearntly his locks had been tampered with and he ended up having to push the door in to get it to open. According to the article things just went down from there.
Gates’s home is owned by Harvard so he picked up the phone to call the university’s real estate maintenance office. Before he could finish the conversation, a police officer was standing on his porch and asking him to come out of the house. “Instinctively, I knew I was not to step outside,” Gates said, describing the officer’s tone as threatening. Gates said the policeman, who was in his 30s and several inches taller than him, followed him into his kitchen where Gates retrieved his identification.

“I was thinking, this is ridiculous, but I’m going to show him my ID, and this guy is going to get out of my house,” Gates said. “This guy had this whole narrative in his head. Black guy breaking and entering.”

After handing the officer both his Harvard and Massachusetts state identification, which included his address, Gates said he began to ask the officer this question, repeatedly. “I said ‘Who are you? I want your name and badge number.’ I got angry.”

According to Gates’s account, the officer refused to give it. The police report says, however, that the officer identified himself.

While Gates ended up having spending four hours in the jail before he was released on bail, the charges were later dropped by the Middlesex County district attorney’s office, upon the recommendation of the city of Cambridge and the Cambridge Police Department, calling the incident “regrettable and unfortunate”