BOSTON (AP) _ One of the nation's preeminent Black scholars was arrested by Cambridge police and initially charged with disorderly conduct at his home near Harvard University.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested Thursday night after police said he "exhibited loud and tumultuous behavior'' after police investigated a call of breaking and entering that was false. An arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 26.
Cambridge Police announced Tuesday afternoon they would be dropping disorderly conduct charges, calling the arrest "regrettable and unfortunate."
Gates is the director of Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.
He told the Washington Post, in his only interview since the arrest, that he wanted an apology from the arresting officer. He also said he would be directing his future research toward the criminal justice system, which he said was "rotten."
According to the police report, a woman reported that she saw two men with backpacks trying to shoulder open the front door of Gates' home at 12:44 p.m. near Harvard Square. The police report did not make mention of another man with Gates, which according to the professor was his longtime driver. According to reports in the Boston Globe, Gates said he had trouble unlocking his front door. Police responded to the alleged break-in, only to find Gates in his home.
The police report said Gates accused the officer of being a racist and targeting him because he was a "black man in America." According to Gates' Washington Post interview, Gates gave the officer his identification, then asked for the officer's name and badge number. Gates said he got upset when the officer refused to respond, although the police report, written by the officer, says otherwise. He said he felt he was mistreated simply because he was Black.
Several of Gates' colleagues at Harvard told the Boston Globe they wondered if police would have arrested a White Harvard professor after finding the initial report of a break-in to be false.