African-American Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. was hauled into custody after repeatedly asking a police officer for his badge number, Prof. Charles Ogletree writes in the Root. Gates forced open his front door after arriving home from a foreign trip to find it damaged. When a police officer arrived saying he was responding to a 911 call, Gates provided him with ID proving he lived there, writes Ogletree, who is serving as his colleague's attorney.
Gates asked the officer for his own details and was rebuffed several times. He followed the officer to his porch, where more officers were waiting. After Gates asked them for the officer's name and badge number, the officer who had checked his ID arrested him, and the professor was "handcuffed on his own front porch," Ogletree writes. Gates, who police say "exhibited loud and tumultuous behavior" and accused them of racism, was charged with disorderly conduct and released after four hours in custody.