The big news in Cambridge these days is that the police arrested a
Harvard professor for having trouble with the key to his
apartment building. Here’s a Boston Globe story about what the
professor, William Gates, was up to in 2004.
If you want the raw data about the arrest, here’s the
If I were having trouble getting into my building, I would
expect more sympathy from both the neighbors and the police than
it looks like Gates got. Some people who commented on the news
reports said that it looked to them like Gates played the race
card awfully soon, but I think his judgement was correct that
the difference between what I’d expect and what he was getting
was because he’s a large black man and I’m a small white woman.
I would also expect that people would cut me some slack if
under the circumstances I were a little upset or angry. I think
there’s a lot of reason to suspect that the Cambridge police
don’t all have enough experience doing this.
In any case, as a Cambridge taxpayer and homeowner, I expect
that if someone sees what they think is a breakin, the police
will ask for ID. No matter how rude the “suspect” is, if the ID
reveals that the “breakin” is to the person’s actual residence,
I would expect the police to either go away or be helpful.
I certainly hope the people running the city figure out a way
to make this go away without wasting lots of taxpayer money on lawyers.