Gates Speaks out about His Arrest

Henry Louis Gates Jr., historian and director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, shown here in 2008, has accused the Cambridge police of racism after being arrested trying to get into his own locked home near Harvard University on Thursday, July 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds) AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

Prosecutors dropped a disorderly conduct charge Tuesday against prominent black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., who was arrested at his home near Harvard University after a report of a break-in.

The city of Cambridge issued a statement saying the arrest "was regrettable and unfortunate" and police and Gates agreed that dropping the charge was a just resolution.

"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," the statement said.

Still, the resolution of the case did not quell Gates' anger. He said that he planned to talk to his legal team about the next step and that he planned to work on a documentary about racial profiling.

"I'm outraged," he said in extensive comments made to TheRoot.com, a Web site he oversees. "I can't believe that an individual policeman on the Cambridge police force would treat any African-American male this way, and I am astonished that this happened to me; and more importantly I'm astonished that it could happen to any citizen of the United States, no matter what their race."

"There are 1 million black men in the prison system, and on Thursday I became one of them," he said. "I would sooner have believed the sky was going to fall from the heavens than I would have believed this could happen to me. It shouldn't have happened to me, and it shouldn't happen to anyone."

He also said he wanted an apology from the officer, Sgt. James Crowley, who has not responded to a request for an interview from The Associated Press.

Supporters say Gates - the director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research - was immediately considered a suspect because officers were summoned to the house by a woman who said she saw "two black males with backpacks on the porch," one of whom was "wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry," according to a police report.

Gates has said he returned home from a weeklong trip to China, found his door jammed and asked his driver to help him get it open.

When the officers arrived at the house, which Gates rents from Harvard, Gates was already inside and on the phone with the real estate company that manages the property. He had come in through the back door and shut off the alarm, he said.

Police said the 58-year-old Gates was arrested after he yelled at an officer, accused him of racial bias and refused to calm down after the officer demanded that Gates show him identification to prove he lived in the home.

Ogletree said Gates showed his driver's license and Harvard ID - both with his photos - and repeatedly asked for the name and badge number of the officer, who refused. He followed the officer onto the front porch as he left his house and was arrested there.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he was unsatisfied with the resolution.

"The charges have been dropped, but the stain remains. ... Humiliation remains," Jackson said. "These incidents are so much of a national pattern on race."

Harvard has had racial problems recently. The University appointed an independent commission last fall to study how it could create a more welcoming environment for African Americans, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod.

Gates joined the Harvard faculty in 1991 and holds one of 20 prestigious "university professors" positions at the school. He also was host of "African American Lives," a PBS show about the family histories of prominent U.S. blacks. In 1997, he was named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Americans.

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