Last Thursday night (July 16), reputable scholar and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was charged and arrested for “disorderly conduct” outside his Cambridge home. Gates, also the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, was trying to get into his house at the time – apparently his door had been jammed – when Cambridge police officers approached him. Reportedly investigating a break-in at Mr. Gates place of residence, of which had been called in by an anonymous female, the officers arrived and questioned Gates, asking for his identification.
Gates responded saying the questioning officer had “no idea who he was messing with,” and that he had only been targeted as he was “a black man in America.” Furthermore, Gates called the officer a racist, after which he was handcuffed and charged for exhibiting “loud and tumultuous behavior.”
Now, several days later, some faculty at Harvard are claiming Gates was a victim of racial profiling. One professor, S. Allen Counter, said, “He and I both raised the question of if he had been a white professor, whether this kind of thing would have happened to him, that they arrested him without any corroborating evidence,” further remarking, “I am deeply concerned about the way he was treated, and called him to express my deepest sadness and sympathy.”
Counter, himself, had been the victim of a similar fate only a few years prior. Stopped in 2004 by two Harvard police officers, he was threatened with arrest when he could not produce the proper identification. Apparently he had been mistaken for a robbery suspect.
Here’s a copy of Gate’s incident report.
UPDATE: Since this story went to post, new facts of come to light. Continue following the story with, Henry Gates Louis Round Two: Boris Kodjoe Edition