My lawyers later told me that that was a good move and had I walked out onto the porch he could have arrested me for breaking and entering. He said ‘I’m here to investigate a 911 call for breaking and entering into this house.’ And I said ‘That’s ridiculous because this happens to be my house. And I’m a Harvard professor.’ He says ‘Can you prove that you’re a Harvard professor?’ I said yes, I turned and closed the front door to the kitchen where I’d left my wallet, and I got out my Harvard ID and my Massachusetts driver’s license which includes my address and I handed them to him. And he’s sitting there looking at them….
HLG: The police report says I was engaged in loud and tumultuous behavior. That’s a joke. Because I have a severe bronchial infection which I contracted in China and for which I was treated and have a doctor’s report from the Peninsula hotel in Beijing. So I couldn’t have yelled. I can’t yell even today, I’m not fully cured.”
The problem with police reports is that they are not always the truth. The are a selective narrative by the police officer used to bolster his version of events. Unfortunately, they never ask the arrestee to immediately write down their version of events and sign and date it. When arrested, always do this, like as if you were an officer and write your version. This is considered better evidence than your testimony at trial, as your memory was fresh. Your lawyer will love you for it – it will help him understand what happened. Be as detailed as possible. Do not give this written document to anyone, but your attorney.
The best commentary on this incident I’ve seen yet from an outstanding officer and police educator. See:
The fact that the arrest was illegal is clearly explained by law school Prof. Aman at:
He explains that since Sgt. Crowley admitted in his report that Prof. Gate’s words that he considered “disorderly” occurred after he had concluded that no burglary had occurred (the investigation was over so there was no obstruction of justice), whatever Prof. Gates said was protected by the First Amendment right to free speech per the U.S. Supreme Court holding in Houston v. Hill two decades ago. Justice Brennan in that case stated “Speech is often provocative and challenging…[But it] is nevertheless protec`ted against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest.” Therefore, Prof. Gates comments were protected by the First Amendment and were not “disorderly.” That clearly is a reason why the charges were dropped.