Henry Louis Gates, Jr, and the Law
"Professor Gates, who has taught at Harvard for nearly two decades, arrived home on Thursday from a trip to China to find his front door jammed, said Charles J. Ogletree, a law professor at Harvard who is representing him.
"He forced the door open with the help of his cab driver, Professor Ogletree said, and had been inside for a few minutes when Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department appeared at his door and asked him to step outside.
"Professor Gates, 58, refused to do so, Professor Ogletree said. From that point, the account of the professor and the police began to differ.
"According to his lawyer, Professor Gates told the sergeant that he lived there and showed his Massachusetts driver’s license and his Harvard identification card, but Sergeant Crowley still did not seem to believe that Professor Gates lived in the home, a few blocks from Harvard Square. At that point, his lawyer said, Professor Gates grew frustrated and asked for the officer’s name and badge number.
"According to the police report, Professor Gates initially refused to show identification.
"In the report, Sergeant Crowley said a white female caller had notified the police around 12:45 p.m. of seeing two black men on the porch of the home, at 17 Ware Street. The caller, who met the police at the house, was suspicious after seeing one of the men 'wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry,' according to the report.
"Sergeant Crowley said that as he told Professor Gates he was investigating a possible break-in, Professor Gates exclaimed, 'Why, because I’m a black man in America?' and accused the sergeant of racism."
Given that Professor Gates was confrontational, I believe the cop -- that Gates refused to show ID.
I certainly hope that if a neighbor of mine saw two people -- any people!! -- apparently forcing entry into my house, they would call the cops. And I also hope that the cops would ask for ID.
And I'm sorry to say that if someone sees two black men forcing their way into a private home, there is a chance that they are up to no good. That's not "profiling"; that's statistics!!