Scholar Mistaken For Thief, Racial Profiling AllegedHarvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., respected as one of the nation's lead scholars, was arrested last week on his porch in Cambridge, Mass., after authorities mistook him for reported a burglar, described to police as a black male. But although Gates presented identification as a resident of the home, he was still taken into custody. Charles Ogletree, Gates' attorney, discusses the case and why his client believes he was racially profiled.
Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., often referenced as one of the nation's lead scholars, was arrested last week on his porch in Cambridge, Mass., after authorities mistook him for a burglar, described to police as a black male.
But although Gates presented identification and indicated he was owner of the home, he was still handcuffed and arrested on charges of disorderly conduct.
The author and professor's high profile has attracted widespread attention to the case, along with Gates' belief that he was racially profiled. The incident is resurfacing strong opinions on the practice of racial profiling by some law enforcement agencies.
Charles Ogletree, fellow Harvard Professor and Gates' attorney in the case, gives details of the police confrontation and explains why his client and believes race factored into his arrest. (Through Ogletree, Gates recently issued a statement with his account of what happened. )
Official Statement: Charges Dropped Against Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
The City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Police Department have recommended to the Middlesex County District Attorney that the criminal charge against Professor Gates not proceed. Therefore, in the interests of justice, the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office has agreed to enter a nolle prosequi in this matter.
The City of Cambridge, the Cambridge Police Department, and Professor Gates acknowledge that the incident of July 16, 2009 was regrettable and unfortunate. This incident should not be viewed as one that demeans the character and reputation of Professor Gates or the character of the Cambridge Police Department. All parties agree that this is a just resolution to an unfortunate set of circumstances.