Racial Profiling?: Middlesex District Attorney Drops Massachusetts Criminal Charges Against Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Massachusetts criminal charges have been dropped against Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Gates was arrested on July 16 at his home in Cambridge.

The 58-year-old Harvard professor, who is one of the most prominent African-American scholars in the US, had just returned home from a trip abroad. He was standing outside his home when he motioned to his driver to help him open his front door, which was jammed. A passerby who observed the interaction contacted police to report a possible break-in.

According to the report, Gates was arrested for his allegedly “loud and tumultuous” conduct and taken away in handcuffs. Gates claims that he turned over two forms of ID to the police officer and when he asked the cop to provide his name and badge number, the police officer refused. Disorderly conduct charges were filed against the Harvard professor.

The arrest sparked an outcry among those who believe that Gates’s arrest involved racial profiling. A number of his colleagues say that this type of profiling is not uncommon in Cambridge.

In 2004, Allen Counter, a neuroscience professor at Harvard said two campus police officers apprehended him after mistaking him for a robbery suspect. They threatened to arrest him when he was unable to produce identification.

Reverend Al Sharpton says the incident involving Professor Gates is an example of abuse of police power.

Racial Profiling
Racial profiling involves law enforcement officers using race as their basis of suspecting someone of having committed a particular crime.

Gates lashes out after authorities agree to drop criminal charge, Boston.com, July 21, 2009
Prominent Black Scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Sees Charges Dropped, ABC News, July 21, 2009
Profiling Charge In Black Scholar’s Arrest, CBS News, July 21, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard.edu
Racial Profiling, Amnesty International
Police Department, City of Cambridge
Please contact our Boston criminal defense law firm about your arrest.

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