By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Cambridge police arrest Henry Louis Gates

In case you haven’t heard, it looks like the Cambridge Police Department has a public-relations disaster on its hands. Last Thursday, it has been revealed, police arrested Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates and charged him with disorderly conduct.

According to Boston Globe reporter Tracy Jan, police responded to a call that someone was attempting to break into a house. Apparently Gates had locked himself out of his own couldn’t get into his home because the door was jammed, and he was upset and frustrated. (Been there.) As he is also African-American, the possibility of racial profiling can’t be ruled out. (Haven’t been there.)

Gates reportedly told the officer who arrested him, “This is what happens to black men in America.”

To make matters worse, the Cambridge Chronicle reports that police have refused to release the arrest report*, citing the “investigatory exemption” to the public-records law. Mind you, we are talking about an incident that took place four days ago involving a man trying to get into his own house a little before one in the afternoon.

The Chronicle credits the Huffington Post with breaking the story, but I’m confused. The Chronicle links to an Associated Press story that HuffPo published. It’s time-stamped 2:22 p.m., two hours later than the Globe piece. For the moment, it’s unclear who broke this story.

We can’t assume that the police botched this, though their refusal to release their report sends all the wrong signals. The police need to come clean on this quickly.

*Update: The Globe story has been updated and now includes a link to what appears to be the full police report (PDF). Thanks to alert Media Nation reader J.S. for letting me know.

Still more: The Cambridge Chronicle blog reports that the Cambridge police say the Globe didn’t get the report from them.

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  1. bostonmediawatch

    "According to a police report, Gates then called the officer a racist and said, "This is what happens to black men in America."LOL! Talk about a ham-fisted fabrication…

  2. O-FISH-L

    You're all wet on this one, Dan. Reference #7 on the "Ten Deadly Errors That Kill Experienced Police Officers.""7. RELAXING TOO SOON: YES, the rut of false alarms are accidental or whatever. Still, observe the activity. NEVER take any call as routine or just another false alarm. It could be your life on the line."—Your characterization that a Cambridge police officer, responding to a report of a burglary in progress, should somehow recognize so-called "Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates" is preposterous. Shame on you Dan. The embarrassment is all on Gates, with a smidgen on Harvard for employing such a nitwit. If he had come down off his high horse for a moment (and you yours) perhaps he could have explained himself. It happens in Cambridge and surrounding communities everyday. Every B&E in progress I responded to, I had my gun out, and never a complaint from the locked out homeowner. Your attempt to imply that this is the first "lockout mistaken for burglary" in Cambridge is just hogwash. Big or small (PD's) we do it all. Let me know where I can contribute to the falsely accused officer's defense fund.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: You have totally ignored my bottom line — "We can't assume that the police botched this, though their refusal to release their report sends all the wrong signals."This took place four freakin' days ago. If the Cambridge Police Department has nothing to hide, let's get the report out in public, where it belongs.

  4. mike_b1

    Add Gates to the long list of prominent black men wrongly arrested in/around Boston.Meanwhile, Whitey Bulger roams free, thanks to those same men in blue. Well done, Fish!

  5. Rich

    Huh? The arrest report is linked to in the very Globe article you reference:

  6. Bill H.

    I don't think we know enough about this incident to comment incisively. We only have Gates's side of the affair. When the Cambridge P.D. releases its report, as it will, we'll have a better idea. Until then, I'm giving the police the benefit of the doubt.

  7. Rich

    Now the Globe has changed the link to: difference seems to be that they've blanked out witness Luci Whalen's name and info.

  8. Rich

    The report isn't flattering to the Cambridge officers.Looks like they had pretty much checked things out on site and were in the process of leaving when they arrested Gates for following and yelling at them.

  9. Dan Kennedy

    Rich: The Globe did not have the link when I first posted. It was added later.

  10. Duncan

    Once the officers saw his drivers license and Harvard ID that proved who he was and more important, where he lived, they should have backed off. I am willing to wait until all the details and facts are on the table, but geez guys…

  11. O-FISH-L

    Much like a journalist, a cop never ceases to be a citizen. Shame on the Harvard "scholar" for treating our brave officers as targets of ridicule. From—(An arrest can be made) …when certain misdemeanors are committed in the presence of the officer, particularly if they involve a present or anticipated breach of the peace. Examples of misdemeanors include disturbing the peace, disorderly behavior and trespass." Kudos to the officers who took this self-important rabble rouser into custody. One can argue the breach of the peace, but nobody can argue an anticipated breach. Well done, officers. —The policeman stood and faced God, Which must always come to pass.He hoped his shoes were shining,Just as brightly as his brass."Step forward now, policeman.How shall I deal with you?Have you always turned the other cheek?To my church have you been true?"The policeman squared his shoulders and said,"No lord, I guess I ain't,Because those of us who carry a badgecan't always be a saint."I've had to work most Sundays,and at times my talk was rough,and sometimes I've been violent,Because the streets are awfully tough.But I never took a penny,That wasn't mine to keepThough I worked a lot of overtimeWhen the bills got just too steep.And I never passed a cry for help,Though at time I shook with fear.And sometimes, God forgive me,I've wept unmanly tears.I know I don't deserve a placeAmong the people here.They never wanted me aroundExcept to calm their fear.If you've a place for me here, Lord,It needn't be so grand.I never expected or had too much,But if you don't I'll understand.There was a silence all around the throneWhere the saints had often trod.As the policeman waited quietly,For the judgment of his god."Step forward now, policeman,You've born your burdens well.Come walk a beat on Heaven's streets,You've done your time in hell"Anonymous

  12. Treg

    Hoooooo, boy.Dan – take heart. The comments about this on are even worse than here.

  13. Treg

    So, I read the pdf of the report. Why exactly was Gates placed under arrest? If – IF – the report is accurate, it sounds like he was having a bad day and was making an ass of himself on his front porch. What purpose did it serve to put the cuffs on him and bring him in?This is a matter of some concern to me – I make an ass of myself just about every day.

  14. O-FISH-L

    Treg, spare us the indignation.I thought the liberal comments had ceased (they almost did) once the Globe posted the police report. After all, a Sergeant assigned to administrative duties in an unmarked car…no one ever would have noticed if he drove right on by…but he heard the 911 call and did what we would want any officer to do, he got involved, and now he pays the price. Only in Cambridge (and Media Nation) could his job be in jeopardy. We have all heard of terrible misdeeds by police (and by scholars)…this one is on academia.

  15. Treg

    Oh, Fish . . . Obviously, it's completely appropriate that the police responded to a report of someone attempting to break into a house. Something would be seriously wrong if that part of the story didn't happen.But once they had determined he lived there, why arrest the guy for having a hissy fit on his porch? What purpose did that serve?And of course, there's the issue of taking the bait. Had the officers simply walked away once they determined Gates lived there, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton wouldn't be booking flights into Logan as I type this . . .

  16. lkcape

    Here's a different take: Another "celebrity" thinking he is above the law…an a lawyer at that!Poor Mr. Gates, a victim of his own ego.

  17. O-FISH-L

    Treg, I hate the phrase "let me educate you." So I won't use it here, but here is a remarkably recent and similar case from Worcester::: Regards, FishCOMMONWEALTH vs. Stephen M. HOKANSON.No. 08-P-393February 10, 2009. – June 11, 2009.2. Disturbing the peace. The defendant contends that the Commonwealth presented insufficient evidence to support a conviction of disturbing the peace. "As used in G.L. c. 272, § 53, as amended by St.1943, c. 377, the phrase 'disturbers of the peace' is construed in accordance with the common-law definition of the offense, making it a crime 'to disturb the peace of the public, or some segment of the public, by actions, conduct or utterances, the combination of which constitute[s] a common nuisance.' Commonwealth v. Jarrett, 359 Mass. 491, 493 (1971)." Commonwealth v. Federico, 70 Mass.App.Ct. 711, 714 (2007). A two-part test is used to determine whether a defendant's conduct constitutes disturbing the peace. Commonwealth v. Orlando, 371 Mass. 732, 734-735 (1977). "It proscribes activities which, first, most people would find to be unreasonably disruptive, and second, did in fact infringe someone's right to be undisturbed. The first prong is normative and protects potential defendants from prosecutions based on individual sensitivities. The second prong requires that the crime have a victim, and thus subjects potential defendants to criminal prosecution only when their activities have detrimental impact." Ibid. "Time and place are factors to be considered in determining whether activities are 'unreasonably disruptive.' " Commonwealth v. Federico, supra at 714-715, quoting from Commonwealth v. Orlando, supra at 735.Under this two-part test, the defendant's actions constituted a disturbance of the peace. After confronting the defendant, Officer Ronald Remillard testified that the defendant was "shouting," "flailing," "agitated," and "uncooperative." In addition, Remillard testified that there was heavy foot traffic in the area and that a group of people who appeared "alarmed" began to gather. Thus, the fact finder could reasonably have inferred that the average bystander would have found the defendant's conduct at the time of his arrest [FN4]–"flailing" and "shouting" outside of a police station–"unreasonably disruptive," as evidenced by the bystanders' alarm. See Federico, supra at 715.

  18. Dan Kennedy

    Based on what we know so far, the Cambridge Police Department has a lot of explaining to do. But we still don't know what happened exactly. It's possible that the police acted properly.I'm going to make a suggestion. Until we know more, why don't we all hold our fire? All we're doing now is telling each other whom we're inclined to believe, based solely on our political perspective.

  19. Treg

    Yeah, Fishy, some detrimental impact Gates was having. Like I say – what purpose did it serve to arrest him?

  20. Robin Edgar

    Well I am now inclined to believe that your little tempest in a Boston teapot just made international news. . . At least that is what this online evidence proves beyond any reasonable doubt.

  21. Treg

    Dan, sorry, I saw your request to hold our fire after I commented again.

  22. Treg

    But Dan, just to be difficult – I'll point out my position is at least somewhat more nuanced than that. Yes, liberal that I am, I'm distrustful of the Cambridge police on matters of racial profiling. But I'm also suggesting that despite the fact that Gates was apparently acting like a jerk, it was foolish of them to *take the bait.*(Ok, ok, I'm holding my fire now.)

  23. Robin Edgar

    Did I forget to mention that this incident is currently "front page" news on Yahoo Canada? Looks like someone has good media connections if this Google News search on Henry Louis Gates arrested is any indication. . . Made The Wall Street Journal 40 minutes ago.

  24. lkcape

    Hold our fire, Dan? Hold our fire?One might have though you would have considered that BEFORE you posted your "news"!Remember, according to the police report, it was Mr. Gates that played the race card.That is perhaps as disgusting as the police trying to find out what was going on.

  25. O-FISH-L

    Hear, hear lkcape!Dan, we will hold our fire when you amend the opening sentence, "In case you haven't heard, it looks like the Cambridge Police Department has a public-relations disaster on its hands." No, Dan. Henry Louis Gates does.You can't unring the bell. But, if YOU amend the sentence (and attach the persuading police report to the opening) I will stand down. I have tremendous respect, but equally frequent disagreement with you Dan. As I said immediately (before even reading the report) you are all wet on this one. There was a time, not long ago, when reporters sat with us in the Detective Bureau, we shared pen and paper, (and breaking news). Then a beer at Foley's. This new "us against them" mentality saddens me.

  26. Phil

    Fish,I think both Gates and the Cambridge Police Department have PR disasters on their hands. Gates was too quick to play up his race. The sergeant walked away, yet Gates continued to shout this claim to all that could hear that the sergeant was racist. The Cambridge PD has a image problem for two reasons. The racial profiling charge has been levied and that won't easily be undone. They also refused to release the report citing it was still under investigation. However, if you look at the bottom of the police report, the report status is "COMPLETED".

  27. Michael Pahre

    The Cambridge Chronicle said the Cambridge Police Dept were citing an investigatory exemption to the "Freedom of Information Act" in refusing to release the police report.Don't they mean the state Public Records Law, not FOIA? Or do municipal police records fall under an over-riding federal statute?Many reporters confuse FOIA with the state PRL… and I see that you've referred to it as the PRL in linking to their story… although you've strangely used the tag "open-meeting law" not "Public Records Law"…

  28. af1blog

    Seems like the cops got pissed because the Prof was a bit narky. Aw, poor cops. Did the nasty man shout at you?Just a suggestion: why don't the Boston cops do what the Brit cops do? Wait long enough until they're certain any potential burglar has probably left the scene before they turn up.

  29. Dan Kennedy

    Michael: A lot of people tend to refer to state public-records laws generically as "freedom of information" laws. I'm sure that's all that was meant.Fish: I stand behind my full post, starting "In case you haven't heard, it looks like the Cambridge Police Department has a public-relations disaster on its hands" and ending with "We can't assume that the police botched this, though their refusal to release their report sends all the wrong signals." Both points, equally.

  30. O-FISH-L

    We are talking apples and oranges. Officer conduct at the scene and conduct of civilian clerks in the Records Department days later. My experience tells me that without evidence that the Sergeant (a supervisory position awarded after many years) has falsified a police report (a felony), the report stands as written. If the Sergeant lied, the Professor should bring a felony complaint, forthwith. Actually, anyone of us as citizens can arrest on a felony. I'm not rushing over to CPD to place the bracelets on the Sgt. I doubt anyone from Harvard is, either. Even with their own quasi-police force, headed by Bud Riley. The arguments about record keeping/release of same, are a red-herring, especially on a Monday when even the most important of public record rooms has been closed all weekend. Let's stick to the false allegations made by the Harvard prof at the scene. As Howie Carr so often says, You can tell a man from Harvard, but you can't tell him much." How true.

  31. George F. Snell III

    I'll reserve final judgment for now, but as a former cop reporter (and grandson of a Boston police captain), I can tell you that the police report has fairy dust all over it.I'm willing to bet Sgt. Crowley acted pretty aggressive when he first arrived. Gates should have known better than to react the way he did. Police don't take kindly to being shouted at – by anyone.I'd also be willing to bet that if it had been a white man trying to get into his locked house there wouldn't have been a call to police in the first place.But arresting a man in his own home for yelling? Come on.

  32. Dan Kennedy

    You know, even though I said I want to withhold judgment, I can't help but note that the police, by their own account, came to realize they were questioning a black man on suspicion of burglary who turned out to be in his own home.Gates, being human rather than a saint, went off. Given the racially charged situation in which the police found themselves, you would think they would have understood why he'd gone off, and done everything they could to defuse the situation.And they did, up to a point. But then they just had to arrest him. In his own home. For giving them lip. Good grief.And this is all from their own report. Talk about — yes — a public-relations disaster.

  33. Bill H.

    Just a hypothetical: What would have happened if Gates, upon being approached by the C.P.D. had said, thanks for your concern, officer, but I'm locked out of my own house. Here's my I.D. to prove it?

  34. O-FISH-L

    I tend to believe the sworn report of Officer Carlos Figueroa, (a back-up officer) presumably a wise Latino in the Sotamayor mold:"The Sgt. along with the gentleman (sic), were now on the porch of xx Ware St. and again he was shouting to onlookers, (about seven) "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO BLACK MEN IN AMERICA"! (sic) The gentleman refused to listen as to why the Cambridge Police were there."—Disturbing the peace all day long. A "ground ball," as retired Boston Capt. Harry Prefontaine used to teach in the academy.

  35. lkcape

    Now Dan… Is it acceptable for a black man…or white or green or yellow or blue…to go off at the police?Stop dragging dead squirrels across the tracks to lead people astray.Gates was a fool and now he is paying the price. That he is highly educated and a professor at Haavaard has absolutely nothing to do with it nor does his being black.That he is both of those just seem to me to make him an even bigger fool.

  36. thedailyreason

    I'll be surprised if anyone ever gets to the bottom of this.

  37. Treg

    Ikcape, would you be willing to entertain the notion that while it appears, based on the information currently available to us, that Gates acted like a complete jackass in this situation, the police also went too far in arresting him?And further, would you be willing to consider the possibility that absent some very compelling reason to slap the cuffs on Gates and take him away, the Cambridge police now have a terrible PR problem on their hands? They arrested a guy on his own front porch for (according to their own account) doing nothing more than railing against racial profiling in America?If I'm those guys' supervisor, I've got smoke – not steam; hot, blue-white smoke – coming out of my ears right now.

  38. O-FISH-L

    Treg, please tell us when probable cause of disturbance of the peace triggers in this type of case? Or are police, lawfully called to the scene, supposed to run with their tails between their legs, when an unruly citizen lashes out at them. As I stated earlier, this happens all the time in every community. Show me a cop who doesn't have a locksmith in his speed-dial and I'll show you a rookie. Had this buffoon acted appropriately, he would have gotten a helping hand, rather than the iron fist.

  39. Treg

    Phish – Imprecise language is so handy. What precisely do you mean by "lashing out"? That's a fairly broad term. Also, "unruly." Was he a threat to anyone? If he was on the verge of inciting a riot that Thursday in Cambridge, how come we didn't hear about it until Monday?The guy had a bad day. He locked himself out of his house, then had the cops show up. He evidently did not handle the situation with poise. But what threat did he pose to anyone? Is this a justifiablle use of our tax dollars?Hate to play the fiscal card here, but it's the only thing you guys seem to understand.

  40. mike_b1

    Henry Louis Gates is almost 60 years old. He was unarmed. As such, it's only natural the Cambridge police would see him and think "my life is on the line."And cops never, ever lie on reports. Or on the witness stand. Or anywhere else! They are saints. Just like Whitey Bulger.

  41. O-FISH-L

    Treg, I have treated you with nothing but respect and admiration, even though we disagree. Why then, the juvenile misspelling of my pseudonym?I'm not sure if "bad day" is codified in the law. You lash out at me for imprecise language but you revert to it yourself. Read COMMONWEALTH vs. Stephen M. HOKANSON, above. We don't make the law, we merely enforce it. Remember, the police are part of the executive branch. I'm not sure if you are arguing the law (legislative branch) or the application of it. Of course the judicial branch will dismiss all charges and no jury will entertain a suit against the cop, who went out of his way to answer a CITIZEN'S call. My prediction is that the Harvard professor will apologize within 48 hours, most likely less. Like my fellow Republicans Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, I cherish the opportunity for a good civil rights fight. This isn't one of those opportunities, and merely cheapens the cause.

  42. Dan Kennedy

    We don't make the law, we merely enforce it.Fish, please. As a retired police officer, you know better than most that officers use discretion and judgment all the time.I'll go your prediction one better. I agree that a Gates apology is probably in the offing. And the charges will be dropped, with a possible apology coming from the police as well.

  43. Treg

    Dan, I disagree there. Gates will never apologize. He behaved (according the the report) like a nitwit. But that was all trumped when the cops arrested him.He won't apologize. He'll sue. And he'll win.

  44. O-FISH-L

    Dan for once (I don't know how to make that trendy slash through once, but if I did, I would), or is it twice, we agree.Two HUGE points for the Sergeant (from someone who has been internally investigated and whose been the internal investigator):(a) The CPD Sgt. didn't "self-initiate" the incident, so claims of police racial profiling ring hollow. Perhaps the civilian caller had a racial bias, but in the days of government funded "See Something, Say Something," I would argue this is the type of neighbor we should all want.(b) The Sgt. was in a plain car on administrative duties, but decided to answer a 911 call close by anyways. He didn't need to. In the era of pension and detail abuse, even a cub lawyer will sell to the jury that this is the type of police officer we should all want in our community. Police radio tapes of this fine man volunteering for the 911 call (and the female caller's voice) should prove telling.(c) The report of the apparently Latino officer is devastating to the Professor Gates. Some may buy a white v. black bias, but the Latino officer seems to confirm that Gates was out of control.Frank McCourt — R.I.P.

  45. O'Rion

    I doubt Gates will sue but apologize? Not bloody likely. Sounds to me like this was an attitude problem. As in, these officers were in his home, and were not particularly respectful of that and the obvious implications.

  46. Albert A Rasch

    Fellows,Jeez Louise! I am not a law enforcement official, lawyer or academic, but I do know how to act properly.When LE stops to chat wih you, you are polite, answer their questions within reasonable bounds, and you don't talk smack!I've never had an issue with any LE personel except for one, and he was a bad apple. Five or six years after my run in with him, he got his comeuppance another person he rousted, and it almost cost him his life. But again, he was a bad person and a bad cop.If Mr Professor had kept his mouth shut, thanked the police officer for his tim and attention, nothing would have happened. But instead he decided to rail against the "Man."You get what you give.Best regards,AlbertInstincts and HuntingReal Men Hunt

  47. O-FISH-L

    O'Rion, are you reading the same police report and witness accounts as the rest of us?There WAS an actual breaking and entering, reported by a civilian caller. Prof. Gates admits he broke into the home. In this case, the B&E had no criminal intent, as the "scholar" apparently locked himself out. Still, police would have been derelict if they didn't respond immediately and demand positive ID from the person breaking in. No crystal ball has yet been invented that tells police (or concerned citizen 911 callers) what the motivation is for someone breaking into a home. Police would have been derelict in their duties had they not responded.It was Prof. Gates, looking for a racial grievance where none existed, who is at fault here. Mark my words, he will apologize or resign. He will also rue the day that Sharpton got involved. As black Republican US Rep. J.C. Watts said at the time, Jackson and Sharpton are "race baiting poverty pimps."

  48. Darkskeleton

    Must suck to be so misunderstood like that

  49. O'Reilly

    please tell us when probable cause of disturbance of the peace triggers in this type of case?That's easy:Not when the cause of investigation is a report of B&E and the suspect cooperates with the request for identification thereby demonstrating he is the homeowner, and is no longer a wrongly-accused suspect of breaking and entering. Not when the wrongly suspected [of B&E-at-high-noon] homeowner is a black man who was likely considered a suspect by the dime-dropper because he is a black men using his shoulder to force the door open. Not when the wrongly accused suspect, who demonstrated to the satisfaction of the investigating officer he was not guilty of B&E, was wrongly-accused, acquitted on the spot, and is standing on his own front porch. Not when the cop has the experience to diffuse rather than antagonize, and minimize rather than compound, a mistake. Think about how it would feel to be suspected of breaking & entering your own home. Once the cop knew the score, you'd think he'd have the sense to apologize for the interruption and let them man be. The offensive part of this is charging him with anything and in my book that's were the cop showed his poor judgment because he took it personally and misused used the law for his personal agenda. Ogletree is defending. And it will be dealt with quietly and without any more fireworks, no thanks to the Cambridge police department which should its rookie stripes.

  50. O'Reilly

    should = showed.

  51. O'Reilly

    Cambridge cops treat wrongly-suspected elderly black men standing on their own front porches like they're a threat to civil order. It's bullshit. The only thing he was a threat to was the cops ego.

  52. O-FISH-L

    O'Reilly, Cambridge cops are the cream of the crop, tiptoeing on eggshells every day with every student, race, color and creed.Cambridge wasn't invented overnight, and this particular police sergeant didn't climb the very competitive ranks because he's a slacker, or a racist. One only needs to read the police reports by both officers. They are a testament to our police academies and better than most of the reportage you'll see put forth today in our dailies.If this continues, it may become a witches brew that the race baiters didn't want. I can't see truly oppressed colored people getting aroused by this issue, but I can see 17,000 cops, families and supporters who may. Hold that Red Line train until my pro-police sign dries!

  53. LFNeilson

    Turn off the heat, already.

  54. O'Reilly

    So now your arguing that police, police families and supporters are the ones who have been wronged by the concern expressed about how this cop handled this situation. And your personal crystal ball sees 17,000 of them descending into race-baited violence in Cambridge. Is that a threat or a delusion? This cop (no need to elevate all Cambridge cops to try to insulate this one from his responsibility, decision-making, and error in judgment), this cop had no good reason to arrest this man unless accusing a cop of racism is a crime, in which case Mr Gates should have been charged for calling a cop a racist.You call it walking on eggshells. Let's all ignore the central issue and give a pitty party for how hard, unreasonably hard it is to be a cop in Cambridge. And this Mr Gates, I hear he is one of the worst offenders, all reading his books and judging Pulitzer prize winners. Walking on eggshells? I call it being a good cop. Is he or isn't he? A good cop recognizes when they have wrongly accused a man of breaking and entering their own home: Grade A.A good cop recognizes that the black homeowner, who knows he is not guilty of b&e his own home, might suspect his race had something to do with the sudden appearance of a policeman at his door. Grade ?A good cop, after he determined the man was not a suspect, would apologize and leave: Grade C. No indication of an apology in the police report. A good cop knows how to diffuse tense situation: Grade F. A good cop would not charge a man for a public order crime when the man is standing on his own porch. Grade F. I don't question his rank or the skills are required to attain it, I question his judgment and decision-making. Grade F

  55. meamoeba

    "colored people," fish? what color and just who did the coloring? do you still have flesh in your crayola box? that is the attitude i think most people are talking about here. not so much racist as clueless. i remember living in cambridge years ago and calls to cpd about loud motorcycles after midnight driving down brattle were met with "we can't do anything about that. it's just noise." if that's not disturbing the peace, then how can a man yelling in his own accoustically-challenged kitchen be disturbing the peace? seems there is an equal ego problem here between both gates and crowley. gates pulled the "do you know who i am" card when "homeowner" should have sufficed and crowley for noticing that seven people were witnessing him being dissed by an old uppity "colored" man, with a cane no less. but in gates defense, he was at home. crowley should have left him there.

  56. meamoeba

    and whatever happened to the old cop line "show's over, go home folks, nothing to see here" to disburse the gathering crowd? would that not have quelled the episode a lot quicker rather than creating an act II and an encore performance?

  57. mike_b1

    I'm still laughing over Fish's notion that a Hispanic couldn't be racist.

  58. Boston Venerable Bede

    Did you see the poor redactive job of personal information by the BOSTON HERALD?

  59. Michael Pahre

    @ O-FISH-L: You addressed how Gates behavior satisfied the first of the two-part test for Disturbing the Peace ("that the average bystander would have found the defendant's conduct [disturbing] at the time of arrest"), but I don't think you addressed the second part of the test ("that the crime have a victim").Am I correct to infer that you consider the Cambridge PD officer to be the victim here in order to satisfy the second part of the test? Nobody on the street appeared to submit a complaint to the officers, so they don't appear to be victims of the allegedly disruptive behavior.The story that appeared in the Globe today has a little bit more information in dissecting the play-by-play: when Gates failed to open the front door, he then unlocked the rear door and tried top open the front door from the inside. Later, when Gates decided to show the officer his ID, they went into the kitchen where Gates had left his wallet. It sounds as though they must have walked into the kitchen through the rear door, since the front door still was not opening.At that point — when walking into the unlocked rear door — the officer didn't need to see Gates' ID anymore. Burglars don't struggle to open jammed front doors while knowing that the rear door is unlocked.

  60. Michael Pahre

    Since this blog is supposedly about the media — not about dissecting crime reports — may I steer the discussion back to the media?Why did the Boston Globe run an attractive stock picture on the front page (above-the-fold) story about an arrest over disorderly conduct? (Many other media sources did the same.)Why did the Harvard Crimson run the booking photos?If Gates were a poor and/or uneducated man arrested on disorderly conduct, then both papers would have published the booking photos (if running a photo at all).If the arrested person were a Hollywood celebrity, the media would've run the booking photos. Think Lindsay Lohan, et al. Salacious and fun entertainment on the news pages!But if the arrested person is a Harvard professor, then the Globe chose to be more deferential than other cases and instead ran a flattering, stock photo.Am I correctly (and cynically) stating the correct media standard that they should run the booking photos when the editor thinks that the accused is guilty (or that they will sell more copies), and should run the stock photos when the editor thinks that the accused was wrongly arrested? Methinks these decisions smack of editor's bias. What say you?I suspect that the Crimson editors thought harder about the ethics of the photo selection than the Globe's editors did. If anyone might be deferential to a University Professor, then it is the undergraduate students. The kids might have a lesson to teach the professionals here.

  61. O'Reilly

    "I'm still laughing over Fish's notion that a Hispanic couldn't be racist."That's right, minorities are immune of the affliction of ignorant prejudice. Didn't we just witness a week of testimony from the most learned men in the US – GOP Senators – telling us that our next supreme court justice is a racist Hispanic who's going to use her jackboot to keep whitey down? When will Hispanic women stop keeping whitey down?

  62. mike_b1

    And that Dr. MLK Jr. was a REPUBLICAN!*Guffaw!*

  63. Greg Shenaut

    It seems to me that the police guy should have apologized profusely while leaving once he realized the mistake that had been made. He should also have given Gates his card. I think that would have defused the situation. Arresting someone for disturbing the peace in his own house? A house that the police officer had not been given permission to enter?I think the police officer was too arrogant to make a sincere apology for the original misunderstanding and that that was the root of the problem.

  64. Treg

    In my comments here yesterday, I suggested that, based on the information available to us, Gates, while in no way doing anything that should have gotten him arrested, had probably behaved like a jackass.Having read today's piece in the Globe, I'm not so sure he's even guilty of

  65. O'Reilly

    It looks like the Cambridge Police had second thoughts about the public disorderly charges. Details to be announced later today.

  66. O-FISH-L

    meamoeba, colored people as in the last two letters of NAACP. Look it up. I didn't create the name for the organization.—Nobody wrote that a Hispanic couldn't be a racist. My point is that the presence of a minority officer, who corroborates the white officer, is devastating if Gates attempts a lawsuit. Unless, of course, Gates' attorney can somehow find a jury to believe that anti-black sentiments run deep within the white AND Latino Cambridge police ranks. Good luck.—Why Martin Luther King Was Republican by Frances Rice (Human Events)08/16/2006 "It should come as no surprise that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. In that era, almost all black Americans were Republicans. Why? From its founding in 1854 as the anti-slavery party until today, the Republican Party has championed freedom and civil rights for blacks. And as one pundit so succinctly stated, the Democrat Party is as it always has been, the party of the four S's: slavery, secession, segregation and now socialism…."

  67. Treg

    Oafish – how come they're dropping the charges?

  68. mike_b1

    O-Fish, a scholar you ain't. That "citation" of yours is so much Internet nonsense. Do you also believe Martians landed on the White House yesterday?MLK Jr. voted Democrat in every election (this is per his family) and worked tirelessly to sign up voters for the Democrats. Try reading one of the several books about him.Or even Wikipedia.

  69. Paul

    The Cambridge Chief of Police may be in need a leave of absense to grow backbone after hanging his Sgt.out to dry.Still the same story in the good old Bay State…if your important enough you can get away with anything.Just why I left 28 years ago to do my policing in another state.Paul D./High Springs,Fl.

  70. mike_b1

    Paul, your viewpoint assumes the sgt. was correct and everyone else is either lying or covering their butts.There's no third-party evidence supporting your conclusion.

  71. Treg

    Paul, what exactly is it that Gates is "getting away with" here? Yelling on his front porch?

  72. Hagenow

    Aloha! Did Boston, Mass vote for President Obama? It's obvious that the Republicans on this blog didn't.

  73. mike_b1

    Of course they didn't, Hagenow. He's black.**Or "colored," according to O-Fish, an observation simultaneously incorrect heuristically and in terms of hue.

  74. O'Reilly

    The police acted stupidly and the DA decided the charges were without merit. Crowley went to investigate a B&E and pretty quickly (and with Gates cooperation) determined that it was Gates home all along. At that point, I would have hoped Crowley would have been as apologetic and cooperative as he could. …sorry for the inconvenience. …my name is Sgt Jim Crowley. …my badge is XYZ. No. He arrested Mr Gates for public disturbance. Well done.

  75. O'Reilly

    O-fish is making progress. He used to identify black people as Negroes. Before that, don't ask. Now, he calls black people 'colored' having read up on the NAACP, which was founded in 1908. Regrettably, O-Fish is unaware of the preferred usage 'Black' which came into use in the 60's. It's been 40 years. A little more patience for a slow learner is warranted.

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