Harvard Professor Arrested for Breaking into His Own Home

  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jul 22, 2009 11:00 AM GMT
    Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr was arrested after he and his chauffeur tried to get him into his home when he'd locked himself out
    Gates a very well known afro-american studies professor was handcuffed and brought down to police headquarters after the incident

    All I can say was at least he wasn't gay icon_confused.gif


    For me, I know the answer
    but to the rest of the white guys
    If you were locked out of your house and the police came by
    would you be arrested or would they help you get in
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 12:07 PM GMT
    He was already inside, phoning the company that manages the house for Harvard, from whom Gates leases it as one of their senior full professors, to report the front door being jammed. It apparently had swelled tight during his recent time away in China, from where he had just returned. He and the airport taxi driver struggled to push it open (not a personal chauffeur).

    Some white woman saw them and called the police. I've read different reports about whether she's part of the neighborhood, either as another resident or involved with a Harvard-connected agency on the same street.

    I'm reading many online blogs about this incident, claiming it's not a racist incident. I think the comments alone prove that racism is indeed alive in the US. Without even being there and knowing all the facts, the assumption is being made that this distinguished scholar was "arrogant" simply because he's an educated Black man. I think the word is "uppity." Keep your place, N*****.

    The police will routinely claim someone is "resisting arrest" when they aren't, being disruptive when they are in fact being cooperative. That's standard police procedure, as I have personally witnessed, video tapes from around the US have shown, and court cases have proven, especially against Black suspects. It's called CYA, plus making sure you have at least one charge against someone, even if the original complaint is dismissed.

    Is that what happened here? I don't know for sure, anymore than the racist bloggers know Gates was being an arrogant jerk after his own home had been invaded. I do know it happens a lot, as Blacks themselves will tell you, and not just Al Sharpton (whom I personally don't like).

    What's especially disturbing is that the racists feel so safe & comfortable today that they will express their views in open forums and expect to get pats on the back. No wonder some police feel validated in these kinds of actions, and continue to perpetrate them, more commonly against Blacks.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32077998/ns/us_news-race_and_ethnicity/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 12:11 PM GMT
    I live in Cambridge and have met Professor Gates many times. I am not a fan of his at all but I understand why he got so upset. Once he showed the police officer(s) his id. They should have left. I still dont understand how they didnt recognize him when they saw him. He is very well known in Cambridge.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 12:14 PM GMT
    The Police were called to the house because of a report of burglary. It's not as if they were driving by and arrested the man. Also if he had no form of identification to prove that it actually was his residence I can see how the police officers would arrest him. However, the officers should have consulted with his neighbors. Problem solved lol...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 12:22 PM GMT
    gymguy1 saidI live in Cambridge and have met Professor Gates many times. I am not a fan of his at all but I understand why he got so upset. Once he showed the police officer(s) his id. They should have left. I still dont understand how they didnt recognize him when they saw him. He is very well known in Cambridge.

    So, is he gay? LOL! Sorry, that wasn't serious.

    But seriously, that's amazing you know this guy. Why are you not a fan of his? I never saw his PBS series.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 12:59 PM GMT
    What disturbs me a bout it is the person who called in the 'burglary". It seems the media has made a big deal out of the police incident but I am also disturbed is the caller. Would that person have made that caller if it was a 'white person' . Would they have said it was a 'burglary' but instead said ' they locked themselves out or lost their keys." I have to admit my neighbors are white and I would not think to see someone over at their house ( that is white) and think 'oh its a burglary'. I think the person making the burglary call is an example of the hidden stereotypes this nation still holds and refuses to admit.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 12:59 PM GMT
    gymguy1 saidI live in Cambridge and have met Professor Gates many times. I am not a fan of his at all but I understand why he got so upset. Once he showed the police officer(s) his id. They should have left. I still dont understand how they didnt recognize him when they saw him. He is very well known in Cambridge.


    He's also black
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 1:33 PM GMT
    Yeah, this is still a big story here. Gates is now asking for apology from the officer, and personally, I think he deserves one. I really think the officer didn't like the attitude he was getting, no matter if it was justified, and arrested Gates on trumped-up charges. What I found out yesterday was that the arresting Sgt. was a former Harvard police officer.

    Even though this happened in Cambridge, I think the attitude that officer had, and it might not all be racist, is rather common to many police in this area. Perhaps there was some racism, maybe even classism being played out. As for what was written in the police report, yeah, I can believe it was inaccurate (and I'm being kind). I'm personally aware of incidents with police in a neighboring city where there were out-right lies on a police report where the officer was covering his ass.

    As it stands now, the Cambridge police still have a mess on their hands. I wonder if their contract negotiations are coming up soon? This will certainly be held against them.

    EDIT: BTW, the police sergeant involved in this incident earned nearly $110,000 last year. In fact many police make over $100K. I think when you are paid so well, you should show some respect to the people who ultimately pay you.

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=ppqSkDFTaIsmo4tYExA1YCQ
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13999

    Jul 22, 2009 1:45 PM GMT
    From what I've read, both sides should be doing some apologizing.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 1:54 PM GMT
    jk1432-

    He produced two forms of identification. His driver's license and his Harvard faculty identification, He was on the phone with university housing leasing department. What more did he need to do. That was ENOUGH! I would have been pissed too.

    In fact: Picture it West Hollywood 1994:

    I got stopped at 7:45 am on Saturday I was walking down Santa Monica and Westbourne on my way to the gym full gym attire.

    I produced my license and I was local resident lived two blocks away, even after I produced my gym id and my valid driver's license. That still did not suffice. I told the deputy where I worked which at the time was tier 1 law firm.
    Gave him my work number because my boss was there and demanded that he called.

    When I asked why he was stopping me he said that there has been a rash of break in Hollywood as of late and I looked very much like the guy. I asked that she show me the composite. The guy looked nothing like me. My hair was down to end of my neck and on that day it was not pulled back.
    After looking at the picture the guy was darker than me, our facial structure was different. We looked nothing alike. When I pointed this out to the deputy, he said and I quote. "You have the same smile" and I countered by saying. "I have not smiled once since you stopped me"!

    My point is once you have produced valid id and after a check has been made that should be ENOUGH!!!

    This a reality that every African American male live with in our country
    every single time we leave our residence, walk down the street or behind the wheel of our car.

    Are you sure you want to still be called the "NEW BLACKS"!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 2:03 PM GMT
    medfordguy saidI'm personally aware of incidents with police in a neighboring city where there were out-right lies on a police report where the officer was covering his ass.

    As it stands now, the Cambridge police still have a mess on their hands. I wonder if their contract negotiations are coming up soon? This will certainly be held against them.

    Exactly as I wrote above, having been in military law enforcement, and working in conjunction with civilian police departments. I always had to keep a wary eye on my own MPs, who'd get a maverick attitude and start abusing their authority. I assume it to be a human weakness, and more endemic to those attracted to law enforcement in the first place.

    Harvard is a very big presence in Cambridge, a massive employer and source of community income you don't want to offend. My partner is from that area originally, and was on campus for a time. He still loves to speak with a Hahr-vud comic accent at times (though his regular accent is Bostonian anyway, funny enough for me -- hope he doesn't read this!)

    A paste from Harvard's web site (my emphasis added):

    "With an annual operating budget of approximately $2.4 billion, Harvard University has a considerable impact on the local economy. Harvard is one of the largest employers in Massachusetts and in its host communities, Cambridge and Boston. More than 15,000 people work at Harvard, including more than 2,000 faculty, as well as casual workers and 12,000 staff on the University's regular payroll." That doesn't include what thousands of well-heeled students spend locally, either.

    If the President of Harvard and the Regents make their displeasure known about the police actions I think there'll be at least some shake-up. The Mayor of Cambridge doesn't want to lose his honored invites to the President's receptions and other functions, nor have to listen to rehashes of this whole mess. There'll be lots of pressure to "solve the problem."

    The more important question is what happens when this goes on elsewhere that's not Harvard? We don't have a solution for that.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 2:11 PM GMT
    [quote][
    If the President of Harvard and the Regents make their displeasure known about the police actions I think there'll be at least some shake-up. The Mayor of Cambridge doesn't want to lose his honored invites to the President's receptions and other functions, nor have to listen to rehashes of this whole mess. There'll be lots of pressure to "solve the problem."

    The more important question is what happens when this goes on elsewhere that's not Harvard? We don't have a solution for that.[/quote]

    And considering that Harvard gives Cambridge money in lieu of taxes, they do have a bargaining chip. And I expect that some group in Harvard will ask Harvard employees who live in Cambridge to put pressure on the city to address these issues. I'm sure that a sizeable number of Harvard employees reside in Cambridge.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 2:12 PM GMT

    We had a similar arrest in my neighborhood in Port Orange. Sort of.

    The alarm went off next door to one of my neighbors. Becoming concerned, the neighbor peered out a window and saw a black man trying to enter the home. The neighbor, knowing it had to be the owner dismissed the alarm and any potential threat. We know each and every black man who attempts to enter a locked home is the owner. This is fact. Plain and simple.

    Now if the person attempting to enter where white, we'd immediately call the police and attempt to fire on the white man entering the home. White men are awful, evil...they have such a history of violence within white communities. And after all we are in a white community, except for this black guy who lives next door. Fine man.

    Well, several hours later the Ford F-350 sitting in the home that the owner entered appeared down at the security gate loaded with furniture. The guards waved and allowed the owner to pass through with his furniture.

    It was so odd. The white man who was renting the home came in after 5 PM and could not understand why his landlord had removed all of the furniture. He mumbled to himself, "one of those damn white men must have been here."



  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 2:32 PM GMT
    I said "if" he had no form of identification...hypothetical...you took it the wrong way
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 3:04 PM GMT
    jkl432-

    I did not miss understand the hypothetical. But this is not a hypothetical situation. It's true if he could not furnish valid id then arrest him. The fact is did produce his credentials and still this Harvard educated professional with pedigrees as long as one of my arms.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 4:06 PM GMT
    I bet the police officers where white.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jul 22, 2009 7:19 PM GMT
    I agree, once the person produces an ID showing that he lives there, the police should back off.

    At the same time, I disagree with jpopenb. You don't know that the neighbor who called the police was acting out of racism. It is possible; it's also possible that he or she simply doesn't know Professor Gates or doesn't know that he lives there. I can tell you that I don't know the neighbors who live a couple of doors down--I am vaguely aware that a couple own the house, but I don't know what age they are, what race they are, and could certainly not identify them on sight. If I saw someone breaking into their house, I'd call the police and say that I saw someone breaking into a neighbor's house, I don't know that neighbor so I don't know if it's them, but it seemed like something I should report. And I'd hope that they'd do the same if they saw me breaking into my home; I'd rather live in a neighborhood where people would report what is legitimately suspicious behavior (even when it has a perfectly legitimate basis that the neighbor is unaware of) than one where people would let me be robbed because they didn't want to risk offending me.

    Basically, I try to avoid attributing to malice what could rationally be explained by ignorance.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 7:30 PM GMT
    Why couldn't the police let him into the house and then have him prove it was actually his house? While I know there are many good police personnel out there - - it needs to be said that there are many, many bad police...........people who should never have been hired.........people who couldn't do anything else..........people with chips on their shoulders. My attorney and friend reminds us all to have as little as possible to do with the police. He said it is usually a big mistake to talk to the police........foolishly expecting to find a kindly, neutral cop to explain your position to. He says the best thing is to remember never to open your door to them - - - and if stopped in traffic - say nothing (or as little as possible) to them. Avoid the police if at all possible............far too many of them are bad hires. I myself am a white guy - clean living and looking - polite - nice to everyone --------- and I have been treated horribly by police in traffic stops or neighborhood situations - more than a few times..........and so have many others - - - white or any color.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jul 22, 2009 7:49 PM GMT
    Let me put it this way ......

    If I was in my house and the police came and said let me see some identification
    My reply would be ... OK officer after you shoot me dead right here and they identify the body? ... That's when you'll find out who I am

    Even the idea that he was resisting arrest is ridiculous
    The man was in his HOUSE icon_neutral.gif

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 7:51 PM GMT
    Jockbod48 saidWhy couldn't the police let him into the house and then have him prove it was actually his house? While I know there are many good police personnel out there - - it needs to be said that there are many, many bad police...........people who should never have been hired.........people who couldn't do anything else..........people with chips on their shoulders. My attorney and friend reminds us all to have as little as possible to do with the police. He said it is usually a big mistake to talk to the police........foolishly expecting to find a kindly, neutral cop to explain your position to. He says the best thing is to remember never to open your door to them - - - and if stopped in traffic - say nothing (or as little as possible) to them. Avoid the police if at all possible............far too many of them are bad hires. I myself am a white guy - clean living and looking - polite - nice to everyone --------- and I have been treated horribly by police in traffic stops or neighborhood situations - more than a few times..........and so have many others - - - white or any color.


    He was in his house and he showed identification.

    well if you are white and have been treated so badly, imagine what some blacks have been treated like
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 7:58 PM GMT
    Jockbod48-

    Professor Gates was in his home and he was on the phone with University Housing Company that leases his home to him alerting them to the problem regarding his door being jammed.

    He provided the authorities with both his valid DL and Harvard Employee ID. Fat lot of good that did.

    Your are right there are police officers who will to the mat for you and on that same token you have police officers who are racially biased and homophobic and there is just no place for it.

    Unless you have been through it no matter what race your are you'll never know the humiliation and the rage , and fear that wells up inside.
    When it happened to me I thought, so this is what my relatives meant.

    When it happened to me my roommate wanted to report the deputy. I told him this guy knows where we live, knows where I work. If I were to report him who's to say that he would not get his cop friends to take me for a ride.

    He being white could not understand why did not walk over to the local precinct and file charges.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2009 8:59 PM GMT

    The only way to truly have a opinion is if you were there and saw the events as they unfolded
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jul 24, 2009 4:51 PM GMT
    You don't need to have been there to know that a man was taken OUT OF HIS HOUSE and handcuffed

    I don't care if the man gave the finger to the police man
    He was in his house

    Now Obama has weighed in and of course the racist elements of the republicans are going wild
    and the officer himself is making statements trying to defend the indefensible
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 24, 2009 4:54 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa said
    gymguy1 said

    But seriously, that's amazing you know this guy. Why are you not a fan of his? I never saw his PBS series.


    I worked at a dry cleaners in Harvard Square for years in college. He would come in and you could feel his arrogance. He even made a rude comment to my older female co-worker.

    This whole thing is being blown way out of proportion. He is embarrassed that he was not recognized as well for being arrested. I think they both could have handled it a lot differently.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 24, 2009 5:04 PM GMT
    I've been wondering about the burglary caller myself. Something doesn't click.

    And after watching the tv interview with that cop...he's got some serious issues. Those crazy eyes!