Police Officer & Harvard Professor — Your Response

By Tom Johnson

Jul 22, 2009 3:01pm

Harvard's Henry Louis Gates is still considering legal action over his arrest last week while trying to enter his own home.  At the least he wants an apology from the police officer who arrested him for disorderly conduct.  The department dropped the charge yesterday.  The arresting officer's police report claims that Gates was unruly and uncooperative.  Gates says that's untrue.

On the Daily Beast today Gates' daughter Elizabeth wrote up an interview she had with her father.  A key quote… 

Henry Louis Gates:  If I had been white this incident never would have happened. He would have asked at the door, “Excuse me, are you okay? Because there are two black men around here try’na rob you [laughter] and I think he also violated the rules by not giving his name and badge number, and I think he would have given that to one of my white colleagues or one of my white neighbors. So race definitely played a role. Whether he’s an individual racist? I don’t know—I don’t know him. But I think he stereotyped me.

On our blog this morning we asked should the police officer apologize to the professor.  We got a lot of responses...here are a few:

"This is pure racial profiling and abuse of power. So a black man cannot force himself into his own home? All the police officer should have done is use his training to spend extra minutes to confirm that it is indeed the professor's home.  This case is very usual for a black men in America. This case is getting attention because of his prominence."  david johnson

"I am a police officer and asking for ID is the most common way to ensure that people are not lieing to you, god forbid you dont ask for id and find out the next day that the persons house was robbed. bet the head line would read "dumb cop lets robber go". Leave this guy alone he was just doing his job."  KJH

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