TRANSCRIPT: 911 Call And Police Radio Dispatches in the Arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Cambridge Police Department release audio tapes from the day of the arrest.

July 27, 2009— -- Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested on June 16 on charges of disorderly conduct, which were later dropped. The police was dispatched to Gates' house after a 911 call reporting a break-in. Here is the full transcript of that 911 call, made by Lucia Whalen, and the subsequent police dispatches.

DISPATCH: 9-1-1 (inaudible) what's the exact location of your emergency?

CALLER: Hi, uhm, I'm actually at (inaudible) Ware Street in Cambridge in a house, number is 17 Ware Street.

DISPATCH: Ok ma'am. Your cellphone cut out. What's the address again?

CALLER: Hi, uhm, it's 17 Ware. That's W-A-R-E.

DISPATCH: The emergency's at 7 Ware street?

CALLER: No, sorry, some other woman is talking next to me. It's 17 one-seven Ware Street.

DISPATCH: What's the phone number you're calling me from?

CALLER: I'm calling you from my cell phone number.

DISPATCH: Ok what's the problem? Can you tell me exactly what happened?

CALLER: Uhm, I don't know what's happening. I just had a, uh, older woman standing here and she had noticed two gentlemen trying to get in a house at that number 17 Ware Street. And they kind of had to barge in and they broke the screen door and they finally got in and when I (inaudible) and looked, I went closer to the house a little bit after the gentlemen were already in the house I noticed two suitcases. So I'm not sure if these are two individuals who actually work there or maybe live ther.

DISPATCH: You think they may have been breaking in?

CALLER: Sir, I don't know. Because I have no idea. I just noticed --

DISPATCH: You think the possibility might have been there? What do you mean by barged in? Did they kick the door in?

CALLER: No they were pushing the door in, like uhm, uhm, like the screen part of the front door was, had like cuts --

DISPATCH: How did (inaudible) the door itself with the lock?

CALLER: They -- I didn't see a key or anything so -- I was a little bit away from the door, but I did notice that they pushed their --

DISPATCH: What did the suitcases have to do with anything?

CALLER: I don't know I'm just saying that's what I saw.

DISPATCH: (inaudible) that they broke into?

CALLER: No there's just a first floor, I don't even think that it's an apartment. It's 17 Ware Street. It's a house. It's just a yellow house. Number 17. I don't know if they live there and they just had a hard time with their key but I did notice that they had to use their shoulder to try and barge in. And they got in. I don't know if they had a key or not, because I couldn't see from my angle. But when I looked in closely that's what I saw.

DISPATCH: Was it a (inaudible) or Hispanic?

CALLER: Uhm...

DISPATCH: Are they still in the house?

CALLER: They're still in the house I believe, yeah.

DISPATCH: Were they white, black, or Hispanic?

CALLER: Uhm, well they were two larger men. One looked kind of Hispanic but I'm not really sure. And the other one entered and I didn't see what he looked like at all. I just saw her from a distance and this older woman was worried thinking someone's breaking into someone's house. They've been barging in and she interrupted me and that's when I had noticed otherwise I probably wouldn't have noticed it at all to be honest with you. So I was just calling because she was a concerned neighbor. I guess.

DISPATCH: OK, are you standing outside?

CALLER: I'm standing outside, yes.

DISPATCH: Alright police are on their way you can meet them when they get there. What's your last name?

CALLER: Yeah, my name is (censored)

DISPATCH: Ok they're on their way.

CALLER: OK. OK I guess I'll wait. Thanks.

CONTROL1: Control to Car 1, 18-4-0.


CONTROL1: Respond to 17 Ware Street for a possible B-D in progress, two S-P's barged their way into the home. They have suitcases. (inaudible) S-P. Standby. Trying to get further.

OFFICER1: 52-0. Ware Street right now, 17?

CONTROL1: 17 Ware Street, uhm, both S-P's are still in the house, unknown on the race. Ah, one may be Hispanic I'm not sure.

OFFICER1: Is there an apartment number there?

CONTROL1: Negative on the apartment. Single family yellow house.

OFFICER1: (inaudible)

OFFICER1: You have the (inaudible) coming in the front door?

CONTROL1: I'm sorry, repeat?

OFFICER1: Do you have the caller coming to the front door?

CONTROL1: Not her house, she doesn't live there. She's a witness in this.

OFFICER2: C-13 to control, I'm on Broadway, I'm going to respond.

CONTROL1: Received.

OFFICER3: 52 (inaudible)

CONTROL2: Answering 52.

OFFICER3: A (inaudible) gentlemen says he resides here, but uncooperative. Uh, keep the cars coming.


OFFICER3: Can you also send the Harvard University police this way?

CONTROL2: Ah, we can send them in.

CONTROL1: 13 and 5-2 when you get a chance I need to talk to you.

OFFICER3: 52 Control.

OFFICER2: Answering.

OFFICER(unknown): Can have a (inaudible) escape.

OFFICER(unknown): Channel 2.

OFFICER2: C-13's off.


OFFICER1: 52's on 2.

CONTROL2: Answering 52.

OFFICER1: Going to give the name of the resident, a Henry Louis Gates Jr. of the Harvard faculty.

CONTROL2: Sir can you repeat?

CONTROL2: Control to 52.

CONTROL2: (inaudible) 52.

CONTROL2: Control to 52.

CONTROL2: Control to Car 52.

OFFICER1: (inaudible)

CONTROL2: 52 go back to channel 2.

OFFICER4: One's on.

CONTROL2: (inaudible) Car 52.

UNKNOWN: (inaudible)

UNKNOWN: 18 I didn't copy 52's last when he got on 2.

OFFICER(unknown): Right, standby.

CONTROL2: Control to 1-R.

OFFICER4: I'm off on Ware Street with 52.

CONTROL2: I received.

OFFICER(unknown): This is (inaudible) do we have a wagon coming to the location?

CONTROL2: Control to wagon.

WAGON: Wagon.

CONTROL2: Uh 17 Ware Street.

WAGON: Copy.