Henry Louis Gates Jr. Arrested Trying to Get Into His Own Home

This one hits close to home for reasons I’ll explain later in the week. Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, co-founder of AfricanDNA.com and The Root Editor In Chief, Henry Louis Gates, was arrested outside his home Thursday for disorderly conduct after trying to get into his own residence. He most likely was frustrated he actually had to force his way into his own crib and probably surprised the police were called. After all, it was his house! Make sure you read the report which is provided below. If you have ever seen Skip on TV or read his work, he definitely (because of his demeanor) should have received a break that has nothing to do with his status. He was in fact in his own crib! Seems like a pattern is occurring in Cambridge as well. Read on.

Here’s the most accurate account of what happened. It’s a statement on behalf of Henry Louis Gates Jr. by his lawyer Charles Ogletree. An excerpt of what happened after Gates was driven to his residence from a trip to China:

Professor Gates was driven to his home by a driver for a local car company. Professor Gates attempted to enter his front door, but the door was damaged. Professor Gates then entered his rear door with his key, turned off his alarm, and again attempted to open the front door. With the help of his driver they were able to force the front door open, and then the driver carried Professor Gates’s luggage into his home.

Professor Gates immediately called the Harvard Real Estate office to report the damage to his door and requested that it be repaired immediately. As he was talking to the Harvard Real Estate office on his portable phone in his house, he observed a uniformed officer on his front porch. When Professor Gates opened the door, the officer immediately asked him to step outside. Professor Gates remained inside his home and asked the officer why he was there. The officer indicated that he was responding to a 911 call about a breaking and entering in progress at this address. Professor Gates informed the officer that he lived there and was a faculty member at Harvard University. The officer then asked Professor Gates whether he could prove that he lived there and taught at Harvard. Professor Gates said that he could, and turned to walk into his kitchen, where he had left his wallet. The officer followed him. Professor Gates handed both his Harvard University identification and his valid Massachusetts driver’s license to the officer. Both include Professor Gates’s photograph, and the license includes his address.

It goes on. Continue to the root for the entire statement.

.pdf of police report

They were inside his residence and still arrested him? They didn’t know he lived there? Didn’t recognize him? This caller…how long has she been a resident? She doesn’t know of her neighbors…especially one of the preeminent scholars in America? I’m so sick of racism. It totally disgusts me. I’m so sick of talking about it. I hate writing about it (but I mos def will). Personally, this is a matter of respect. Seems like you have to take it in this society or you will always be considered a nigger no matter who the hell you are.

43 Responses to “Henry Louis Gates Jr. Arrested Trying to Get Into His Own Home”

  1. origin says:

    Yeah I know the brotha Mr. Gates. Not personally, but have seen him on TV. Sad to hear.

    It doesn’t surprise me Mizzo. I have countless stories like this from when I was growing up in chicago in a 95% white neighborhood.

    I remember one time I went out to my parents car to get something. Well I dropped the car keys on the ground and they rolled under the car. So I had to look under the car to find them. Well some fine white called the police and stated that they saw a black male hot wiring a car. So the police came by looking for me.

    How about the time that I was at my college getting my transcripts after graduating from undergrad. Well I was standing in the parking lot leaning against my car. While at the sametime speaking into my cell phone to the HR department of a fortune 500 company that I was sending my transcript’s to (I had just interviewed with them and was looking to get hired).

    Well guess what, the campus police pull up and tell me that they just received a call from a professor stating that I was in the parking lot breaking into folks cars.

    And please don’t let me get started on the time that my mother was showing me how to drive in an empty lot. When folks called the police and stated that my mother and I were a pimp and a prostitute looking for Johns.

    Man Mizzo I could write a book on situations like this.

    I have been going through black wake up calls (as paul mooney puts it) my whole life.

    But in saying all of this……..I have always believed we as black folks need a black wake up call every once in a while just to put things in perspective and help us understand that the saga continues………………

  2. Melzie says:

    On point, Mizzzzo. I’m saddened, angry, pensive and motivated all bundled in one very irritated package. Your feeling sum up mine…sick and tired, but not defeated.

  3. sankofa says:

    Origin, as bizzar as your story goes, it’s all too real for the invisible men and women from our family tree. You know… we got to be kept in our place!

  4. origin says:

    True brotha sankofa very true.

    We have to still keep fighting the war isn’t over.

  5. Miranda says:

    After watching that 60+ year old retired school teacher get beaten down like a damn dog on the streets of New Orleans and after 92 yr old Kathryn Johnson got shot down in her own freaking living room and had drugs planted on her to help with a cover story, I knew then if our senior citizens are still treated like this, there is no hope for the young folks. It doesn’t matter what your age, education, social status…nothing matters but the skin you are in.

    Dr. Gates crime was being an uppity negro (that’s the same as disorderly conduct)..that’s why he was arrested, because he dared to get mad that he was being questioned in his own damn home.

  6. Temple3 says:


    Thanks for posting this.

    If every cloud has a silver lining, the gem of this incident (as I understand it based on Professor Ogletree’s report) is that it illustrates the very nature of this beast.

    Two things:

    1) The PDF to the police report has been removed by the Boston Globe. Therefore, I strongly suggest that whenever a document of significance is available online, WE download a copy for our files. None of us can assume that a public document will remain public.

    2) I hope that Skip does not seek to be conciliatory here and bypass his DUTY to sue this police force. If he fails to do so, my cup will not runneth over with compassion for this violation of his civil rights.


    In all honesty, I don’t believe “uppity” has anything whatsoever to do with it. Being BLACK in AMERICA is, in and of itself, a CRIME. Not so long ago, it was illegal for Blacks to read, to travel, to make purchases of ANYTHING before the age of 21, to own property, to sell the products of your labor, to form an association of more than 1 person, to defend yourself, to protest civil injustice, to assert free agency rights in the marketplace of baseball laborers, to join a union, to own a gun, to fire a gun, to seek redress in the courts — and on and on and on.

    We know that power is vested in groups. When the group is stronger AND is capable of exacting SURE and SWIFT REPRISALS, this sort of thing will come to an end — and not a moment sooner. At present, the group is simply not strong enough to do this — but we’re closer than we’ve been in a long time.

  7. Temple3 says:


    I’m sure those cops are thinking, “Damn rookies. Wrong nigger!!”

    Gates has every tool at his disposal to turn this into a nightmare for this police department. He has media power; a pure pitch black record; credibility; and a strong claim of injustice. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

  8. Mizzo says:

    I’m sure I dl’d the pdf. searching for it now.

    It is incredible to me this happened in broad day light just after noon.

    This did not happen at night.

  9. Temple3 says:

    I am interested in the police report because I always find the psychology of the police to be very interesting. When confronted with the evidence of his driver’s license (AND a house full of pictures of the man), the arresting officer made a decision based on SOMETHING (probably a cognitive disorder — and white supremacy is a cognitive disorder).

    Whatever it was, the rest of the officers went along with the decision and did not make a strong enough challenge to override something that seemed to not make much sense.

    I suspect that the officers reluctance to share his name and badge number is evidence of his knowledge that he was in the middle of some really stupid shit — but he didn’t have the psychological tools to extricate himself from his clumsiness. He couldn’t say, “Okay, no problem. Everything seems to be in order.” He couldn’t RETREAT from his position.

    That’s a dangerous person.

    If this had happened at night, that same officer might very well have shot Gates to death and thought nothing of it.

  10. Temple3 says:

    Not surprisingly, the Cambridge PD has slid into damage control mode. They’ve dropped charges and are probably looking to get this off the national radar without losing too much loot.

  11. TheLastPoet says:

    “Open and shut case, Johnson. I saw this once when I was a rookie. Apparently this negro broke in and put up pictures of his family everywhere…Just sprinkle some crack on him and let’s get out of here.” – Dave Chappelle

    Skip’s lucky this happened in Cambridge because NYPD would’ve had but one question for him: “Does 19 bullets in your uppity dome make your day, muthaf*cka?”

  12. Temple3 says:

    Oooh, Mizzo…that looks like SPAM. “Merchant Cash Advanced.” That’s just brazen. C Ronk and Chris R trollin’ for bucks. Nasty, nasty. It’s all about links and hits — and only peripherally about the sanctimonious outrage of so-called “whites.”

    You two (or 1) should get a life and get your own traffic. P.S. — No one even has to click on your “name” to know that you’re spammers.

  13. sankofa says:

    @temple3…”the arresting officer made a decision based on SOMETHING (probably a cognitive disorder — and white supremacy is a cognitive disorder).”

    I am sure you’ve heard of or read the Cress Theory of Color Confrontation or the Isis Papers. Further to Origin’s recital of his driving/walking/leaning on his car while “black”.

    I have found that “can’t see the trees for the forest” as apt when it comes to the African-Caucasian dynamics. There is certainly a disconnect from reality when Ice people meet Sun people and the psychosocial-psychosexual mal adaptations based on their his-storical experiences. Again Cress Welsing talks about the big brown ball/small white ball syndrome that always guides how we are viewed by the doers of isfet.

    An earlier poster mentioned us needing a wake up call, but you know what? Know yourself and know your enemies make your ventures all ways a success. If we’re on this, then we get fucked with less.

  14. Patrick says:

    I am glad this didn’t escalate to the point that police drew their gun(s) on Professor Gates and had a ‘shoot first, ask questions later…’ mindset.

    That scenario could have happened.

    On the news, I thought I had seen at least six police officers on the scene… that’s a little much…

    Gates is a man approaching sixty years old who uses a cane and for the police to treat him like that was disgraceful.

  15. Mizzo says:

    Funny stuff brotha Poet but definitely the truth as well.

  16. AXG says:

    Its interesting that Dr. Gates was arrested even after he proved that he taught at Harvard, and lived in the residence. If its like that, then no thank you…

  17. Temple3 says:


    One of these days, we need to kick it about all of that.

  18. Matthew Fudge says:

    “Not so long ago, it was illegal for Blacks to read, to travel, to make purchases of ANYTHING before the age of 21, to own property, to sell the products of your labor, to form an association of more than 1 person, to defend yourself, to protest civil injustice, to assert free agency rights in the marketplace of baseball laborers, to join a union, to own a gun, to fire a gun, to seek redress in the courts”

    Temp, I’m ashamed to say that some of this I didn’t know. Not the traveling and purchasing anything before reaching 21.

  19. origin says:

    Sankofa, Temple, Poet.

    I really can’t add anything else to what you brothas have said.

    I hope that Dr. Gates sues the mess out of them.

  20. HarveyDent says:

    Check this crap:


    I’m not the biggest fan of Dr. Gates but it is still an American right to be secure in our persons. I know that right wasn’t guaranteed to us Africans here in America but we here to stay and we will get our rights. Dr. Gates has already started to call off his dogs but this is not something that should be flushed down the memory hole until the next outrage is committed and it will be as sure as white homosexuals try to equate their movement with our HIS/HER-story.

    Dr. Gates is not the most confrontational brutha but he has a pulpit and he should speak out about this and if that means joining hands with Revs. Jackson and Sharpton so be it. If it means putting the lie to the myth of the post-racial America of Barack Obama then pull that mutha down because the fact this can happen to Skip Gates is proof positive that Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Kathryn Johnson and others too many to name were not accidents.

    Origin quoted Paul Mooney and I’ll paraphrase him as well by saying I say Bell, Grant, Diallo fifty times every morning because it keeps me aware that trying to LWB (Live While Black) in America is always a dangerous propositon.

  21. michelle says:

    No words…….

  22. Temple3 says:


    Please. Don’t be ashamed of that. I didn’t know it until last week. I was listening to my iPod. There is a very valuable feature on there called iPod University or something to that effect. There are downloads from the Smithsonian Institute of live narratives from enslaved Africans that were recorded in the 1930s and 1940s. I was listening to a recording of a 101 year old man made in 1942.

    It’s an AMAZING thing.

    He recounted aspects of his life in vivid detail: the danger, the hunger, the fear and desperation, the humiliation, and the joy of freedom.

    Check it out if you can. The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know. I’m like an infant in the wilderness, trust that.

  23. white man can do shit in this country without bro calling him a racist says:

    I would suggest you bros go read the actual police report…COP WAS DOING HIS JOB>>>BUT GATES JUST WANTED TO ACT LIKE A NIGGER!!! HOW many times has this happened to a white guy…..1000’s of times…but nobody gives a rats ass unless its a darky…..what the fuck!!

  24. Slim Pickens says:

    Good God,

    Gates is lying about what happened. Another (minority) officer even backed up the original cops statement.

    Gates is the racist

  25. Intellectually Honest says:

    Read the police report. GATES is the racist and the one behaving inappropriately. End of story.

  26. peter says:

    Mug shots are hilarious on this one…..uppity Negro gets arrested for running his mouth……uhhh….if you saw ANYONE trying to bust their way into a house whether white or black, wouldn’t you call the cops? Hello? Then instead of calmly explaining what he was doing, he yells and calls everyone racist…..I’d arrest his black ass too if he can’t listen and cooperate.

  27. HarveyDent says:


    sorry Miz, I know you try to keep it clean up in here but you know…

  28. Slim Pickens says:

    Mr. HarveyDent

    When someone disagrees with you the first thing out of your mouth is EAT A DICK…A BIG BLACK ONE?

    Why didn’t you throw in a YO MAMMA as well?

  29. sankofa says:

    That’s because he forgot to say YO MOMMAY should have swallowed you! Or your DADDY should have left you on the bathroom wall.

    Respectful disagreement is welcomed here and is different from the bullshit of “white privilege”, which is the response from you and your “buddies” clearly showing how your disdain for our 500 year response to anti-African Hatred, hides your limp dick mentality and fear of African people!

    Personally I wouldn’t want your hog maw anywhere close to my dick. The feted stench and rottenness would require tetanus shots. Keep it and your snarky response to your self.

  30. HarveyDent says:

    Don’t have a YO MAMMA for you, Slim Redneck, but to quote my sister, Lauryn Hill, I have a muthafucka to make sure you ignorant crackas hear me.

    Co-sign Sankofa.

  31. Temple3 says:

    I wonder what people think Gates is lying about exactly.

    After all, his principle contention is something that could hardly be corroborated by someone outdoors.

    This should be interesting.

    The burden of proof lies with those who DROPPED the CHARGES and their advocates.

  32. Mizzo says:

    It seems this story has taken a total mainstream turn. The Lewis resuscitation attempt is being mass reported as a reason Crowley is not racist.

    As you all know, President Obama has set up a meeting with both to smooth this out.

    He’s a better man than me.

  33. Temple3 says:

    Unfortunately for him, the POTUS leapt into something that could not turn out to his benefit. This tradition of Black folk answering questions from the media about shit that’s not really our business needs to come to an end. When Farrakhan was a popular and visible figure, every Black leader was asked to repudiate him (not merely the comments he was alleged to have made). Was every Democrat asked to repudiate Eliot Spitzer? Was every Republican asked to repudiate Herr Pill Popper (Limbaugh) or the FudgePackin’ Solicitor At a Bathroom Near You? Nope. We have to peep this game — AND STOP PLAYING.

  34. Slim Pickens says:

    if I am a cracka then Harveydent and sankofa are just another couple of stupid niggers that think they are intelligent because affirmative action let them get a degree.

    Gates is a fucking racist just like you are. A civil servant responded to a possible residential breakin and he started screaming racists and you mamma.

    He probably thought the cops was there to steal his grape drink and watermelon.


  35. Slim Pickens says:

    Also if the mods allow the shit that harveydent and sankofa to be posted and don’t allow mine to be posted then it proves this site is nothing but a bunch of racists niggers.

  36. HarveyDent says:

    Yeah, the mods allowed the affirmative action nigger to post here and when I change my online name to Cap-A-Cracka I’ll still be that racist to every redneck who comes here spouting that same retrograde George Wallace shit like you do.

    I’d advise you to hit the bricks, redneck, because you and your kind aren’t wanted here. Us niggers are in danger from you so I’d better call a cop. Nah, I’ll just bust a cap thru your John Deere cap.

  37. HarveyDent says:

    My apologies to the family for the tone of my last posts especially to you Miz but these trolls who come on here and post with nothing but disrespect bring the bile out of me.

  38. Skim Pickens says:

    Will you be holdin yoor 9 sideways gangsta style?

    Anytime whitey says somfin you don’t like you cry racist, muhdick and I dint do nuffin.. Imagine that.
    Yeah I am done with your ignorant ass. You might think about shaking the rocks out of your head and get a clue as to how the world really works.

  39. sankofa says:

    Give a dog an inch, he takes a yard. HarveyDent, this is nothing but internet gangsterism, a tuff guy hiding behind a keyboard. For any body else who thinks this is a minority, I hope your eyes are open?

    Skum Prickins, AmeriKKKa is decaying, like the rest of your Dinosaur entity whose siege Hail the flag. And like the Dinosaur, you’re too fucked in the head to know it.

    Don’t apologies for coming strong against devils brother, in my world righteous violence does have some cleansing property. Skum Prickins is safe in the knowledge that he is in his parent’s basement, one hand on his wiener and the other picking his nose.

  40. faina silber says:

    When proffesor gates spoke 7-26-2009,he said “you here in America…”,where is he from,because he did not say we here in America ,he may not be American?

  41. TIM TIDWELL says:

    I am tired of black people being arrested and blaming it on race. Use your head and know when to shut up. If you act like a nigger you will be treatedlike one.

  42. niggertits says:

    come on guys, it’s just a nigger doing nigger things