Gates Arrested in His Own Home
Posted by shadmia on July 23, 2009
Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr. (born September 16, 1950) is an American literary critic, educator, scholar, writer, editor, and public intellectual. Gates currently serves as the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, where he is Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.
The above was taken from his Wikipedia biography. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is also Black. Whether this fact played a role in his arrest at his own home or not is as matter of conjecture. Below is one account of what happened when police were summoned to his house, because a neighbor, identified as Lucia Whalen, thought that two Black men were trying to break in. See Video here
“What I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately,” Obama said. “That’s just a fact.”
The police sergeant accused of racism after he arrested Gates insisted that he won’t apologize. Police say Gates at first refused to display ID and then accused the officer of racism. Sgt. James Crowley said he followed proper procedures in arresting Gates.
Crowley said he was disappointed by the national debate triggered by the incident and insisted he followed proper procedures in arresting Gates last week in Cambridge on a charge of disorderly conduct.
“I’m outraged,” Gates said in extensive comments made to TheRoot.com, a Web site he oversees.
“I can’t believe that an individual policeman on the Cambridge police force would treat any African-American male this way, and I am astonished that this happened to me; and more importantly I’m astonished that it could happen to any citizen of the United States, no matter what their race.
There are 1 million black men in the prison system, and on Thursday I became one of them,” he said. “I would sooner have believed the sky was going to fall from the heavens than I would have believed this could happen to me. It shouldn’t have happened to me, and it shouldn’t happen to anyone.”
He spoke of a “terrifying and humiliating” experience at the Cambridge jail, where he was booked, fingerprinted, photographed and questioned, then locked up in a tiny cell that made him claustrophobic. He said he wants an apology from the officer, Sgt. James Crowley. He also said he planned to talk to his legal team about the next step.
Prosecutors dropped a disorderly conduct charge against Henry Louis Gates Jr. The city of Cambridge called the arrest “regrettable and unfortunate,” and police and Gates agreed that dropping the charge was a just resolution.
The city of Cambridge, a Boston suburb, released a statement saying the situation “should not be viewed as one that demeans the character and reputation of professor Gates or the character of the Cambridge Police Department.”