"This guy Gates is a real 'bomb thrower' .
He hates the cops and whitey with a passion !"
Gates said he has gone out of his way in the past to avoid run-ins with police. When he first arrived at Harvard in 1991, he moved into a large house in the mostly white suburb of Lexington and promptly visited the police station to introduce himself.
“I wanted them to see my black face,’’ Gates said. “I would be driving home late from Harvard. I had a Mercedes. I didn’t want to be stopped for ‘driving while black.’ . . . I should have done that with the Cambridge Police Department.’’
Gates said he is concerned about the “unconscious attitudes’’ that police can hold.
“Because of the capricious whim of one disturbed person . . . I am now a black man with a prison record,’’ Gates said. “You can look at my mug shot on the Internet.’’
Harvard’s president, Drew Faust, said in a written statement that while she is gratified that the charges have been dropped, she remains “deeply troubled by the incident.’’
“Legacies of racial injustice remain an unfortunate and painful part of the American experience,’’ Faust said. “As President Obama has remarked, ours is an imperfect union, and while perfect justice may always elude us, we can and must do better.’’
Civic, religious, and civil rights leaders also said the case shows that more needs to be done to improve race relations.
“On one hand, there is a black man who is a millionaire who occupies the White House, and on the other hand, you have one of the most distinguished racial bridge-builders in the country, a scholar intellectual, being arrested,’’ said Rev. Eugene Rivers III, a black leader in Boston.
“The reality is that it doesn’t make a difference how distinguished or exceptional a black person thinks he or she is or may in fact be,’’ Rivers said. “You can be arrested for breathing while black in your own house.’’
Mayor E. Denise Simmons, the first black woman mayor of Cambridge, said the incident has reminded the city that people need to be vigilant about their own behavior and biases.
“Certain things just should not happen, to anyone, whether it’s Professor Gates, a renowned national figure, or a public works person,’’ Simmons said.
Two months ago, Cambridge held a public forum on race and class at City Hall. It will hold another dialogue on the topic in October with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
“Let’s not focus on the Police Department,’’ she said. “It’s all of our problem.’’