Gates disputes police report

The Cambridge Police Department would have some problems even if its account of Henry Louis Gates’ arrest proves to be entirely accurate. But Gates, a Harvard University professor, says it isn’t. According to the Boston Globe’s Tracy Jan:

This afternoon in an interview, Gates said he never yelled at the officer other than to demand his name and badge number, which he said the officer refused to give. The officer, Sergeant James Crowley, said in the police report that he did state his name. He also said Gates unleashed a verbal tirade, calling him racist, telling him that he did not know who he was messing with, and threatening to speak to his “mama” outside.

“The police report is full of this man’s broad imagination,” Gates said in response to a question on whether he had said any of the quotes in the report. “I said, ‘Are you not giving me your name and badge number because I’m a black man in America?’ … He treated my request with scorn … I was suffering from a bronchial infection. I couldn’t have yelled … I don’t walk around calling white people racist.”

Audio of the Gates interview is near the top of Boston.com right now.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the police say in response. This is far from being over.

34 thoughts on “Gates disputes police report

  1. Treg

    Dan, there is also an audio file up at boston.com right now of Gates speaking by phone. He gives more details there – says Crowley refused to provide his name, then lured Gates out of the house so that he could arrest him outside.

  2. Bob F

    Without taking sides, which I wouldn't want to do knowing that the facts are in dispute and I (WE) dont really know all the truths.., it would have been nice to see Mr. Gates allow for a cooling off period before hopping right into the media blitz. I expect it from a Sharpton, but. They put out a joint statement suggesting that it was an unfortunate series of events, and then Gates comes out throwing verbal jabs at the cop, asking for apologies and all.. And I doubt that the cop's superiors will allow him the same 'right' to speak his side of the story as Mr. Gates enjoys. Dont get me wrong, I know how cops can be sometimes, yes, even as a white guy. One might hope this teacher would have have used this issue as a lesson to others, instead on using this lesson to press the issue.

  3. George F. Snell III

    Gates has every right to defend himself for being arrested – for nothing.The charges have been dropped because the police had no case and it probably would have been thrown out of court.He's not "Al Sharpton" for defending his good name.

  4. Treg

    Bob F, seriously – how often do you just chill out after you've been arrested on your own front porch for no good reason?

  5. O-FISH-L

    "Lured" out of the house? I thought he was the scholar and I was the fish? WTF?I love that a bronchial infection prevented him from yelling, but didn't prevent him from wrestling with the locked, er, jammed door. Ha!This is priceless. Talk about failure to quit while you're ahead. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Not knowing when to shut up, etc. etc. Insert your own euphemism. I'm sure Howie will tomorrow.I pray that Sgt. Crowley hires a black lawyer to sue Gates for defamation. Bring in the civilian caller, bring in a crime prevention expert to discuss "See Something, Say Something," bring in the 911 tapes and dispatch tapes, bring in Crowley's presumably clean (he was promoted to Sgt. after all) personnel file. Show Sharpton ranting and raving on TV. Tell how Crowley, on administrative duties, didn't even have to answer the call but did anyway. Produce the photos of how Gates was handcuffed in front, and not in back, a clear violation of preferred policy but sometimes done to comfort the suspect. Earlier I mentioned retired DC Detective Ted Williams as a great lawyer for Crowley, somehow forgetting the brilliant, ex-Cambridge Lieutenant turned prominent local attorney Tasha Tidwell. Tasha and I passed through the academy around the same time, back when it was run by the State Police. I would trade Superbowl, World Series, Stanley Cup and NBA championship tickets to be in the gallery at that trial. Gates should be careful what he wishes for.

  6. mike_b1

    I have a feeling that Gates is right and O-Fish is fried.An unarmed, aged Harvard professor. A couple of young gun-drawn cops. Game, set, match, Gates.Yeah, I wouldn't want to be a Cambridge police officer right now.Or ever.

  7. O-FISH-L

    Emily Rooney's idea of a "balanced" panel, three blacks and Harvey Silverglate, who immediately goes off topic to describe what a Cambridge cop did to him once. (Silverglate is white.) Rooney is trying to bring him back on topic now. You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.

  8. Michael Pahre

    I agree that this is far from over.The key reason is that the joint statement by Cambridge PD and Gates said that the "incident should not be viewed as one that demeans the character and reputation of Professor Gates or the character of the Cambridge Police Department."Note how it excludes any particular statement about the arresting officer, which is probably where this is headed.Gates' desire for an apology from the officer makes it clear what he wants. Regardless of what actually happened that day, any sane officer would take him up on that simple request and put this incident to bed, lest see it explode into something much bigger — and more expensive. Say "I'm sorry," even if you don't mean it, and get out of his cross-hairs.

  9. bostonmediawatch

    "Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory."I thought it was total victory by the CPD. Make up your mind."Insert your own euphemism. I'm sure Howie will tomorrow."The whole police report was nothing but a Howie impersonation.Isn't Howie on vacation? Maybe he can phone in tomorrow's column. Literally.

  10. Michael Pahre

    Back to the media angle: isn't it telling that the Boston Globe's story today ran with "Racial talk swirls with Gates arrest" while the Boston Herald took "Al Sharpton rips Cambridge cops."I think that's the Herald playing to its base with borderline incitement — knowing that any topic Sharpton elbows in on will borderline inflame their readers against Sharpton's supposed ally. Ignore the fact that Sharpton is neither Gates' lawyer nor PR man, all they did was talk over the phone, and that's enough to make the story be about Sharpton.And I got the feeling that the Globe was operating under the assumption that, more likely than not, Gates would turn out to be more credible — though I can't put my finger on anything specific other than the use of a stock photo instead of the mugshot.

  11. Dunwich

    I once lived near a home that was under "observation." During that time my car was stopped three times at night while in my neighborhood. The police knew my car wasn't from this property. Yet I was stopped anyway. Apologies were never forthcoming. That's not what police do. Gates or anyone else who would expect one, probably isn't dealing with the realities of the situation.

  12. Robin Edgar

    According to Gates' own testimony in his interview in The Root nobody "lured" him out of his home -"It looked like an ocean of police had gathered on my front porch. There were probably half a dozen police officers at this point. The *mistake* I made was I stepped onto the front porch and asked one of his *colleagues* for his name and badge number. And when I did, the same officer said, ‘Thank you for accommodating our request. You are under arrest.’ And he handcuffed me right there."

  13. lkcape

    The only check Mr. Gates is likely to see from this is the one for the advance on his next book.An he is milking it for all it could be worth.Disgusting.

  14. Robin Edgar

    "An he is milking it for all it could be worth."Looks that way. . ."By the time I was processed at the Cambridge jail, I was booked, fingerprinted, given a mug shot and answered questions. Outrageous is the only word that I can use. The system attempts to humiliate you. They took my belt; they took my wallet, they took my keys, some change; they counted my money. And I knew that because they said, ‘We’re going to release you upon your own recognizance, and the fine is $40, and we know you can pay it because we went through your wallet.’It’s meant to be terrifying and humiliating. And I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me."As someone who has gone through the exact same process a few times now I can say with authority that it is by no means meant to be "terrifying and humiliating." If Gates felt terrified and humiliated by being booked, fingerprinted, and given a mug shot etc. it says a lot more about him than the police. This is standard procedure that happens to everyone who is arrested, regardless of their race, social status, or indeed guilt or innocence. . .WVC = slappe

  15. acf

    Wanting an apology, and having an expectation of getting one are two different things. It's interesting how quickly the CPD dropped the charges and backtracked to try and put this thing behind them.

  16. Robin Edgar

    From The Root interview – HLG: The police report says I was engaged in loud and tumultuous behavior. That’s a joke. Because I have a severe bronchial infection which I contracted in China and for which I was treated and have a doctor’s report from the Peninsula hotel in Beijing. So I couldn’t have yelled. I can’t yell even today, I’m not fully cured."I guess Gates is just yawning or trying to catch flies in his mouth in this photograph of his arrest. . . and the neighbors who claim that he was yelling are either liars or delusional. Right. . .

  17. Dot Lane

    "I pray that Sgt. Crowley hires a black lawyer to sue Gates for defamation. Bring in the civilian caller, bring in a crime prevention expert to discuss "See Something, Say Something," bring in the 911 tapes and dispatch tapes, bring in Crowley's presumably clean (he was promoted to Sgt. after all) personnel file. Show Sharpton ranting and raving on TV. Tell how Crowley, on administrative duties, didn't even have to answer the call but did anyway. Produce the photos of how Gates was handcuffed in front, and not in back, a clear violation of preferred policy but sometimes done to comfort the suspect."Did they teach you how to prejudice a jury in the academy as well, fish? "Show Sharpton ranting and raving on TV."? To prove what? That one angry black man is the same as every other black man? To scare the jury? To paint Gates as someone who is always complaining about race? You have an odd notion of what types of evidence should be allowed in a court case and, quite frankly, that statement about Sharpton illustrates your thinking better than just about anything else I've ever read from you. You don't care about justice, you just care about winning. I hope you never had to testify in court….

  18. meamoeba

    overlooked by o-fish and other cpd defenders is a simple sentence in the bill of rights called the fourth amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. . ." once gates established his identity, whether his attitude was satisfactory to crowley or not, it is the end of story. yelling at full throat or rasping with bronchitis is immaterial because he's on his own property. there was nothing criminal and a passerby — who, by the way lives in medford, not on ware street according to the report — who says she sees something she believes is not right is not sufficient for a warrant or for further action and crowley and the other cops knew it. their panties were in a snit and somebody had to pay the price, black or white. i agree it's not about racism or racial profiling. it's about the growing chip on cops' shoulders in this state and their belief they make the law, not enforce it. go to masscops.com sometime and check out some of those comments, especially on this issue. everyone confronted by cops or disagrees with them is guilty of something and/or a dirtbag and/or both and the public is regularly termed the "sheeple" if they don't blindly support the thin blue line. that'll scare the beejezus out of you.

  19. Robin Edgar

    Mike_b said – He was handcuffed on his own porch for doing nothing wrong. You'd be yelling too.me*amoeba said – yelling at full throat or rasping with bronchitis is immaterial because he's on his own property.Both of you don't "get" what I said. Henry Louis Gates is on public record as saying, "The police report says I was engaged in loud and tumultuous behavior. That’s a joke. Because I have a severe bronchial infection which I contracted in China and for which I was treated and have a doctor’s report from the Peninsula hotel in Beijing. So I couldn’t have yelled. I can’t yell even today, I’m not fully cured." The photograph I linked to, and independent witness testimony, strongly suggest that Gates is *lying* about being physically incapable of yelling. His honesty and credibility is in question.

  20. meamoeba

    robin, can you hear the voice in that photo. yelling is a matter of volume, not a gaping mouth. you have no idea what that millisecond snapshot is. i could easily see it as stunned amazement with no sound, given there is no sound. you'd fail miserably as a prosecutor. and there is no independent witness. there are cops backing up there superior on the scene. show me where anyone other than a uniform covering his ass said he was yelling. i've yet to read that account. this photo is nothing in the way of evidence, therefore, his credibility is intact with me.

  21. meamoeba

    should be "their superior" not "there." i'm so embarrassed. thankfully i never upbraid anyone on typos, just ideology.

  22. mike_b1

    Robin, what difference does it make whether Gates yelled? Or whether he claims he didn't? That's so much after-the-fact. Old man tries to get into house. Cops arrest old man for getting pissed off over being hassled for getting into house. And for being black. Cops' boss apologizes for cops egregious behavior. Old man considers lawsuit to ensure cops think twice about trampling other old black men's rights.The rest is just talk show fodder.

  23. Robin Edgar

    @Mike_b1 – If Gates actually yelled, and independent witness accounts say that he did, but Gates publicly claims to have been physically incapable of yelling this calls his credibility into question. His self-serving "interview" is not sworn testimony in court but his dubious "testimony" in it none-the-less casts doubt on his honesty and integrity, to say nothing of his grasp on reality. . . Please be so kind as to show me where Gates was hassled just for being black. I see no evidence of that but see plenty of evidence of Gates hassling the cops for trying to do their job of responsibly investigating a reported break-in.@ me*amoeba – No I cannot hear the voice in that photo but Gates' gaping mouth *strongly suggests* that he was in fact loudly shouting and independent witness reports, to say nothing of the police report, assert that Gates was loudly shouting aka yelling at the police and the onlookers aka *witnesses* who had gathered in front of his house. Ergo I do have a pretty good idea what that millisecond snapshot is. . . :i could easily see it as stunned amazement with no sound, given there is no sound. Someone who reads lips *might* be able to hazard a guess at what Gates is actually shouting. . . His mouth is open about as wide as anyone's mouth can open. People gaping in stunned amazement don't have their mouths open so widely. People who are shouting, yelling, or screaming at the top of their lungs do. :you'd fail miserably as a prosecutor. Don't be so sure of that. I have blown a Crown Prosecutor out of court representing myself in defense against bogus criminal charges that he never should have attempted to prosecute. I blew him out of court in the prosecution phase of the trial in my cross-examination of prosecution witnesses. This Crown Prosecutor practically begged me to file a motion of non-suit so he would not have to deal with the unnecessary defense I intended to deliver anyway. . . When I made it clear that I intended to present a defense, even though it was not necessary to do so because my cross-examination made it clear that he could not prove a single one of the four or five points of law that he had to prove beyond any reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction, the prosecutor moved for an acquittal that I was unable to prevent because I was not properly notified of the court date where he moved for the acquittal to prevent me from presenting my defense. :and there is no independent witness. Wrong. From the sound of it there were at least a handful of independent witnesses at the *scene* that Gates made.:there are cops backing up there superior on the scene. Including a Latino cop and an African American cop from the look of it. . .:show me where anyone other than a uniform covering his ass said he was yelling. i've yet to read that account. I have been unable to find any independent witness reports which is kind of curious in itself. There are reports about independent witnesses, including a neighbor or two, asserting that Gates was shouting but I have not been able to find their actual words. :this photo is nothing in the way of evidence, therefore, his credibility is intact with me.The photo is by no means nothing. It aligns with what two officers stated in the police report and what independent witnesses are alleged to have said. One only has to read Henry Louis Gates' ridiculous hyberbole and BS in his "interview" to see that his credibility leaves much to be desired. . . There is no credible evidence that Sgt. James Crowley is a racist, but here is some evidence that he is by no means a racist.

  24. Robin Edgar

    @ me*an=moeba You asked – show me where anyone other than a uniform covering his ass said he was yelling. i've yet to read that account. Read it and weep. . .From the Boston Herald -In online interviews, Gates said that claims that he was publicly yelling at Sgt. Crowley are false, and that with a bronchial infection, he was not capable of shouting, a claim repeated to the Herald by Ogletree. Crowley’s report said Gates had refused to show his ID, which Gates also has denied.A 55-year-old neighbor who said he witnessed the incident but declined to give his name, however, said that Gates was in fact *yelling loudly*, as indicated by *a photo* taken by another neighbor. (Now that's what I call killing two birds with one stone)“When police asked him for ID, Gates started yelling, ‘I’m a Harvard professor . . . You believe white women over black men. This is racial profiling.’

  25. mike_b1

    Robin wrote: Please be so kind as to show me where Gates was hassled just for being black. Try the entire episode. And the police department has admitted as much already.

  26. meamoeba

    two things, robin: you conveniently left out the so-called witness said cops shouldn't have arrested him, which sort of waters down the bellicose charge. secondly, it's a witness who doesn't want to be identified. doesn't quite validate the independence. i'll stick with the person i believe is telling the truth, the one named gates.

  27. Robin Edgar

    I left that out because it was largely irrelevant to your challenge to show you where "anyone other than a uniform covering his ass" said Gates was yelling. It is however quite relevant in one sense that I considered mentioning, but decided to hold off on. It shows that the witness is not biased against Gates and thus is most probably telling the truth about him yelling. . .The witness is described as a neighbor of Gates so even if he is not named there is little reason to believe that he is a cop or otherwise lacking in independence.Based on all the available evidence I am very confident that Henry Louis Gates almost certainly lied about not yelling and, if he lied about that, the rest of his testimony comes into question.

  28. mike_b1

    His testimony? Can you point to any study, anywhere, that proves that if someone speaks a mistruth about one thing, it means they would necessarily speak a mistruth about something else?You assume the cops are telling the truth. You miss that the cops have more to gain by lying than does Gates. The cops need their jobs. Gates isn't losing his.

  29. Robin Edgar

    Actually I do not assume that the cops are telling the truth. I check to see if their testimony aligns well with the testimony of independent witnesses and other available evidence, including the testimony of Gates himself for that matter. I don't need to point to any studies. If Gates speaks a "mistruth" aka falsehood, or indeed outright lies, in any part of his testimony pertinent to this matter that definitely calls his personal integrity and credibility into question. It does not *necessarily* mean he told any more falsehoods or lies but it *does* mean that the rest of his testimony may contain more falsehoods and lies, especially since one lie often leads to the telling other lies to support or hide that lie.

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