EDITED TO ADD: Look at the photo, what could have set the cop off? Must have been that beard, never trust a guy with a goatee.
Recognize the dude in the photo? I do. Before reading the story I was at a loss for his name, but I recognized him.... from things like this:
I might not have known his buddies call him Skip, but I would have remembered him interviewing Spike Lee, being on CNN, I would have just thought, "Hey, it is that intellectual I always see talking about race."
I sure wouldn't have thought "My God, he is breaking into that nice house".
Read the story.
Second best line of the story: "Being a black man is often Kafkaesque"
Best line is a Malcolm X quote, you find that one yourself.
The story basically goes like this. Terrifying black man (read: almost 60, nationally known Harvard academic carrying a cane) attempts to enter house in nice (white) suburban (white) Massachusetts (really white) neighbourhood.
Neighbour (frightened honky) calls cops. Cops show up.
This is where the reports differ. Skip says this:
-- Door got jammed. Gates and his driver go in back door, turn off alarm, and force the front door open.
-- Call the campus housing folks, tell them to fix the damn door.
-- Cops show up.
-- Gates asks, "Can I help you", shows ID and everything, in HIS OWN HOUSE.
-- Officer refuses to give him a badge number or a name.
At that point, Prof Gates may have got a little hot... according to the police report, he said.
"A visibly upset Gates responded to the officer’s assertion that he was responding to a report of a break-in with, “Why, because I’m a black man in America?’’
“Gates then turned to me and told me that I had no idea who I was ‘messing’ with and that I had not heard the last of it,’’ the report said. “While I was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence, I was quite surprised and confused with the behavior he exhibited toward me.
Gates was eventually arrested for shouting at the officer.
Not for a B&E on his own house, but for having the teremity to question the officer who wouldn't even give him his badge number, and if you are dealing with the police, get a badge number and a name, otherwise, they are very accomplished at closing ranks.
I would have shouted.... real loud and real long. Probably would have swore, made some comments about the level of training and academic capability of city police officers, and I still wouldn't have been arrested.
OK, he did work in some choice material,
When the officer repeatedly told Gates he would speak with him outside, the normally mild-mannered professor shouted, “Ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside,’’ according to the report.
Since when is it a crime to be rude? Or to makes remarks about someone's mama? Not very dignified, but hardly arrest worthy.