Arrest of Henry Louis Gates Brings Charges of Profiling

July 21, 2009

Cambridge police arrested Henry Louis Gates Jr., a Harvard University professor who is one of the leading figures in African-American studies, outside his home on disorderly conduct charges Thursday in an incident some see as racial profiling, The Boston Globe reported. According to the police, someone walking saw Gates trying to get into his own home without a key. (Gates has said that his door was jammed.) When police arrived and questioned Gates, the police report characterizes him as argumentative, while friends who have spoken to Gates said that he did cooperate, and that a white professor outside his own home would never have been treated in the same way. “It’s unbelievable,’’ Lawrence Bobo, a Harvard sociologist who visited Gates at the police station Thursday and drove him home, told the Globe. “I felt as if I were in some kind of surreal moment, like ‘The Twilight Zone.’ I was mortified.... This is a humiliating thing and a pretty profound violation of the kind of trust we all take for granted.’" The Root published a statement on behalf of Gates, in which his lawyer describes how Gates says he cooperated and was still arrested at his own home.

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