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Thread: Black scholar's arrest raises profiling questions

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Black scholar's arrest raises profiling questions


    This booking photo released by the Cambridge, Mass., Police Dept., shows Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who was arrested while trying to force open the locked front door of his home near Harvard University Thursday, July 16, 2009. Gates, a pre-eminent African-American scholar, is accusing Cambridge police of racism after he was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after police said he 'exhibited loud and tumultuous behavior.' He was released later that day on his own recognizance and arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 26.
    (AP Photo/Cambridge Police Dept.)

    Black scholar's arrest raises profiling questions - Yahoo! News

    BOSTON – Police responding to a call about "two black males" breaking into a home near Harvard University ended up arresting the man who lives there — Henry Louis Gates Jr., the nation's pre-eminent black scholar.
    Gates had forced his way through the front door because it was jammed, his lawyer said. Colleagues call the arrest last Thursday afternoon a clear case of racial profiling.
    Cambridge police say they responded to the well-maintained two-story home after a woman reported seeing "two black males with backpacks on the porch," with one "wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry."
    By the time police arrived, Gates was already inside. Police say he refused to come outside to speak with an officer, who told him he was investigating a report of a break-in.
    "Why, because I'm a black man in America?" Gates said, according to a police report written by Sgt. James Crowley. The Cambridge police refused to comment on the arrest Monday.
    Gates — the director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research — initially refused to show the officer his identification, but then gave him a Harvard University ID card, according to police.
    "Gates continued to yell at me, accusing me of racial bias and continued to tell me that I had not heard the last of him," the officer wrote.
    Gates said he turned over his driver's license and Harvard ID — both with his photos — and repeatedly asked for the name and badge number of the officer, who refused. He said he then followed the officer as he left his house onto his front porch, where he was handcuffed in front of other officers, Gates said in a statement released by his attorney, fellow Harvard scholar Charles Ogletree, on a Web site Gates oversees, Home | The Root
    He was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after police said he "exhibited loud and tumultuous behavior." He was released later that day on his own recognizance. An arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 26.
    Gates, 58, also refused to speak publicly Monday, referring calls to Ogletree.
    "He was shocked to find himself being questioned and shocked that the conversation continued after he showed his identification," Ogletree said.
    Ogletree declined to say whether he believed the incident was racially motivated, saying "I think the incident speaks for itself."
    Some of Gates' African-American colleagues say the arrest is part of a pattern of racial profiling in Cambridge.
    Allen Counter, who has taught neuroscience at Harvard for 25 years, said he was stopped on campus by two Harvard police officers in 2004 after being mistaken for a robbery suspect. They threatened to arrest him when he could not produce identification.
    "We do not believe that this arrest would have happened if professor Gates was white," Counter said. "It really has been very unsettling for African-Americans throughout Harvard and throughout Cambridge that this happened."
    The Rev. Al Sharpton is vowing to attend Gates' arraignment.
    "This arrest is indicative of at best police abuse of power or at worst the highest example of racial profiling I have seen," Sharpton said. "I have heard of driving while black and even shopping while black but now even going to your own home while black is a new low in police community affairs."
    Ogletree said Gates had returned from a trip to China on Thursday with a driver, when he found his front door jammed. He went through the back door into the home — which he leases from Harvard — shut off an alarm and worked with the driver to get the door open. The driver left, and Gates was on the phone with the property's management company when police first arrived.
    Ogletree also disputed the claim that Gates, who was wearing slacks and a polo shirt and carrying a cane, was yelling at the officer.
    "He has an infection that has impacted his breathing since he came back from China, so he's been in a very delicate physical state," Ogletree said.
    Lawrence D. Bobo, the W.E.B Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard, said he met with Gates at the police station and described his colleague as feeling humiliated and "emotionally devastated."
    "It's just deeply disappointing but also a pointed reminder that there are serious problems that we have to wrestle with," he said.
    Bobo said he hoped Cambridge police would drop the charges and called on the department to use the incident to review training and screening procedures it has in place.
    The Middlesex district attorney's office said it could not do so until after Gates' arraignment. The woman who reported the apparent break-in did not return a message Monday.
    Gates joined the Harvard faculty in 1991 and holds one of 20 prestigious "university professors" positions at the school. He also was host of "African American Lives," a PBS show about the family histories of prominent U.S. blacks, and was named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Americans in 1997.
    "I was obviously very concerned when I learned on Thursday about the incident," Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust said in a statement. "He and I spoke directly and I have asked him to keep me apprised."

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    The Rev. Al Sharpton is vowing to attend Gates' arraignment.
    Naturally. Racial leech.

    Anyway, the guy was trying to break into a house near Harward and then got belligerent with police?

    Uh, they'll arrest anybody doing that, retard.
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    I think things would have been different were he a white professor at Harvard.

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    Elite Member Wiseguy's Avatar
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    Anyway, the guy was trying to break into a house near Harward and then got belligerent with police?

    Uh, they'll arrest anybody doing that,
    ITA.

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    Elite Member sparkly's Avatar
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    If he'd had his driver's license on him, the police would've stopped bothering him and may have even helped him into his house. A little proof goes a long way.
    Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    When the police arrived he was already inside his home? I guess it's a horrible ordeal to be accused of breaking into your own home. And why in the hell did the neighbor call the police, lying about seeing two black men breaking into the home!?!
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    Seriously. If DH were in that position, he'd have no problems. The cops would probably help him in. Me, if I were caught breaking into my own house, I'd probably be arrested or at the very least questioned six ways Sunday. Thankfully my neighbours are the type who if they saw me caught outside, they'd do something like HELP ME and not call the police.

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    Some racial profiling was definitely going on. But if you're black, in a white neighborhood, and you're trying to force your way into a house, even if it's your's, somebody's going to call the cops.

    And he didn't help matters by refusing to come out or show I.D. He's lucky a trigger-happy cop didn't shoot him because 'he feared for his life.'

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    I think everyone involved is a bit at fault in this case; the neighbor, for calling the police, because you would think he/she would recognize their own neighbor as the one trying to get into the house (I'm guessing the driver was also black, which is why 2 black men were reported trying to "break in"); Mr. Gates, for initially refusing to show ID and allegedly immediately launching an accusation of racial profiling; and the police officer for maybe overreacting by arresting him, though others have pointed out that more than likely, anyone who became belligerent would probably be arrested.

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    Elite Member Moongirl's Avatar
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    Default Charges have been dropped

    So, sadly, Al Sharpton won't get to attend the arraignment:

    Henry Louis Gates Jr. Arrest: Police Drop Charge

    BOSTON Prosecutors dropped a disorderly conduct charge Tuesday against prominent black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., who was arrested at his home near Harvard University after a report of a break-in.

    The city of Cambridge issued a statement saying the arrest "was regrettable and unfortunate" and police and Gates agreed that dropping the charge was a just resolution.

    "This incident should not be viewed as one that demeans the character and reputation of professor Gates or the character of the Cambridge Police Department," the statement said.

    Supporters say Gates the director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research was the victim of racial profiling.

    Officers responded to the home Gates rents from Harvard after a woman reported seeing two black men trying to force open the front door. Gates' lawyer, fellow Harvard scholar Charles Ogletree, said the professor had returned from a trip overseas, found his front-door jammed and had to force it open.

    Police said the 58-year-old Gates was arrested after he yelled at an officer, accused him of racial bias and refused to calm down after the officer demanded Gates show him identification to prove he lived in the home.

    Gates declined immediate comment Tuesday, and Ogletree did not immediately return a request to comment on the charge being dropped.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Wouldn't shock me if Al dragged his perm and a camera crew to Boston and organized a march even though the charges were dropped.

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    I definitely think it's evidence of systemic or pervasive social racism --> that if you see a black man slamming his weight into a front door, he must be trying to rob the place. I mean, to clearly jump to this conclusion right away is just proof that racial stereotypes still exist in our culture.

    Oh, and not surprised they dropped the charges. It would've been ridiculous if they had.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkly View Post
    If he'd had his driver's license on him, the police would've stopped bothering him and may have even helped him into his house. A little proof goes a long way.
    He had his license and showed it to the cops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkly View Post
    If he'd had his driver's license on him, the police would've stopped bothering him and may have even helped him into his house. A little proof goes a long way.
    Actually he had his license as well as his Harvard ID that proved his address. The police STILL insisted on him leaving his porch and speaking with them further. They arrested him for disordely conduct because the cop was upset that he followed the cop outside accusing him of racial profiling and because the office refused to give him his name and badge number(which is against the law to refuse)
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    I don't have an issue with what the neighbor did. I would hope that if one of my neighbors saw what they thought was a break in taking place at my house, that they would call the cops.

    I disagree that this was racial profiling. Someone called and said they saw two black males, and when the cop arrived, he saw a black male. Fit the reported description. That's not the same as profiling.

    It appears that both Gates and the cop overreacted.
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