I have a question about this:
The police and Professor Gates offered differing accounts of what happened after officers arrived. The police said Professor Gates initially refused to show identification and repeatedly shouted at officers. Professor Gates said that he had shown photo identification to Sergeant Crowley but that the sergeant had not appeared to believe that he lived there.There's a crucial, missing fact that the journalists, Susan Saulny and Robbie Brown, don't seem to have any interest in. What I want to know — and I haven't seen it mentioned in other articles — is whether Gates's photo ID had the address of the house on it. Was it his University ID? My UW ID doesn't have my home address on it. I have read elsewhere, not in this article, that Gates rented the house. Perhaps he had a driver's license with a different address of his on it.
If the ID did not show the address of the house that had been broken into, then Crowley's continuing investigation into whether Gates really lived there was perfectly reasonable. (Or do you — did Gates? — think that affiliation with Harvard University should end the matter?) Moreover, Gates's belligerence and presentation of himself as a person too important to be questioned should have heightened Crowley's suspicion that Gates didn't live there. While a person who really lived in the house might get outraged, many — I think most — would respect the need to make sure that there was no crime in progress and quickly find something in the house — such as an addressed envelope — that connected the name to the address.
A person who didn't belong in the house would not have that option and would be forced to pursue a different strategy, and protesting the investigation might be that strategy. The police officer is obviously not going to accept shouted assertions that this is my house and questioning of his authority. He shouldn't!
ADDED: In this radio interview, Crowley — at around 6:30 — says that he was shown only a Harvard ID, which had no no address and that an ID with an address "would have been helpful." Thanks to commenter Mike for pointing me there. Bearbee, the commenter, points me to Gates's interview with his daughter, in which Gates says:
... I got out my Harvard ID and my Massachusetts driver’s license which includes my address and I handed them to him.So there is a real factual dispute here. (Also: My lawyer's eye catches the phrase "my address" and makes me want to ask the follow up: "By 'my address,' do you mean the address of the house Crowley was questioning you about?")
By the way, in the linked interview, Gates goes on to say:
So he’s looking at my ID, he asked me another question, which I refused to answer. And I said I want your name and your badge number because I want to file a complaint because of the way he had treated me at the front door. He didn’t say, ‘Excuse me, sir, is there a disturbance here, is this your house?’—he demanded that I step out on the porch, and I don’t think he would have done that if I was a white.Crowley tells us the question was: "Is there anybody in the home with you?" (at 4:40 in the radio interview). It was asked, Crowley says, because of his concern that the man he was talking to was not one of the persons seen breaking into the house. Now, it seems that Gates knew that the front door had been tampered with before he arrived home, so why wasn't Gates worried about whether there was someone somewhere in the house? Shouldn't Gates have taken the opportunity to tell the police that when he arrived home, he discovered evidence of a break-in? Why didn't he seek Crowley's help with that?
Crowley says that Gates's "tone" was "peculiar." And I'm wondering why the question "Is there anybody in the home with you?" would have upset him so much. It could have been just that it was an invasion of his privacy, but think about this along with the fact that Gates didn't seem to want to report the damage to his door that made him need to force it open when he got home. Did Gates already somehow know who had broken the door while he was away, so that he wanted to protect that person? Was that person in the house, such that the question "Is there anybody in the home with you?" felt threatening to Gates?