Prominent Black Scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Sees Charges Dropped

The arrest came after Gates "continually screeched at and harassed the responding officer, who was trying to make sure that he was the occupant of the home and that it was secure," the official said.

According to the police report on the incident, a woman identified only as Ms. Walen, called 911 from her cell phone saying that she observed two black men with backpacks on the porch of Gates' Ware Street home.

When Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley arrived on the scene, she told him "her suspicions were arroused when she observed one of the men wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry," according to his report.

Crowley went to the house and finding a man, who turned out to be Gates, already inside, he asked him through the door for identification, the sergeant's report said.

Gates refused and called Crowley a "racist police officer,'' and when he was asked to come outside, yelled, "Why, because I am a black man in America?'' according to the report.

While Crowley was questioning him, Gates allegedly picked up a phone, dialed a number and told someone to "get the chief" and then told the officer he "had no idea who [he] was 'messing' with and [he] had not heard the last of it," the report said.

The sergeant wrote that Gates initially refused to provide identification, but then showed his Harvard University card. The sergeant again asked him to step outside and Gates allegedly responded, "Ya, I'll speak with your mama outside."

Police said the confrontation was witnessed by the woman who made the call and at least seven other people, as well as several Cambridge and Harvard University police.

ABC News' calls to Lucia Walen, the woman who made the 911 call, were not answered.

Gates Under Arrest

Ogletree had a different account of the events, saying that Gates immediately told the police officer that he lived in the house and showed him his identification when he was asked for it.

Gates was on the phone with the Harvard Real Estate office reporting the damage and asking to have it fixed when the officer came to his door, Ogletree said in a statement posted on

The professor opened the door to the police officer, but when the cop immediately asked him to step outside, Gates asked him why he was there, according to Ogletree's account.

When the officer told him that he was responding to a report of a breaking and entering in progress at the house, Gates told him that he lived there and was a faculty member at Harvard, the lawyer said.

Rather than denying or ignoring the officer's request to prove what he said, according to Ogletree, Gates said he could and went to get his wallet, which he had left in the kitchen.

Once there, he handed the officer his Harvard University identification and his valid Massachusetts driver's license, both of which include Gates' photograph, the lawyer said.

However, when Gates then asked the officer if he would give him his name and his badge number -- a request he reapeated several times -- the officer did not produce any identification, according to Ogletree's statement.

Instead, the officer turned and left the kitchen without ever indicating whether there were charges against Gates, Ogletree said.

Only when Gates followed the officer outside did the officer say "Thank you for accommodating my earlier request," and then placed Gates under arrest, handcuffing the professor on his own front porch, the lawyer said.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...