Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cambridge, Massachusetts - Take Two

Let's say you are a nationally renowned African-American scholar returning from a trip to China. When you arrive at your house, the front door is stuck. You enlist the help of the taxi driver to force open the door. A passerby sees two African-American males forcing their way into a house.

The passerby calls the police.

The police respond to a possible burglary in progress. They don't know you live at the house. They don't know you are a nationally renowned African-American scholar. You come to the door and the officer asks you to step outside.

The quickest way to resolve the situation is to provide the officer with identification that shows you live at the residence.

A driver's license perhaps.

Instead of getting indignant and becoming argumentative with the officer, pull out out your driver's license.

The conversation then goes something like this:

Officer -- I'm sorry Mr. Gates Jr. There must have been a mistake. I'm sorry to have bothered you. I hope you have a nice day.

Mr. Gates Jr. -- Not a problem officer. I understand these things happen. Hey, by the way, what's your name.

Officer -- It's Sergeant Crowley. Have a nice day.

Mr. Gates Jr. -- Stay safe.

But that doesn't make the national news.


brian said...

absolutely the way that one should have played out. Gates should have been thankful the officer cared to verify...

.escamilla. said...

from what i watched on the news, the man who lived in the house DID show the officers proof he lived there - which is why this is such a big deal?

TimB said...

Two phrases cops just love to hear:

"Do you know who I am?" and

"This is because I'm black."

I think there was a little of both. He showed his Harvard ID first which didn't have his address on it.

Personally, I don't think he should have been arrested. But I wasn't there.