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Police Release 911 Call, Radio Dispatches In Gates Arrest02:48
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Click the "Listen Now" button above to hear the 911 call that led to the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his own home.

Cambridge Police Sergeant James DeFrancesco hands out copies of the 911 and dispatch recordings concerning the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates. (AP Photo)
Cambridge Police Sergeant James DeFrancesco hands out copies of the 911 and dispatch recordings concerning the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates. (AP Photo)

Cambridge police say the tapes speak for themselves.

Police on Monday released a copy of the 911 call and the radio communications that led to the arrest of black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his home two weeks ago.

On the tapes of the 911 call they received from Lucia Whalen about a possible break-in at Gates' home, the only mention of race involves a question from the police dispatcher. "Are they white, black or Hispanic?" the dispatcher asks Whalen.

"Well, there are two larger men," Whalen says. "One looked kind of Hispanic, I'm not really sure, and the other one entered and I didn't see what he looked like at all."

The two men turned out to be Gates and a driver. Whalen goes on to tell police that she doesn't know whether the two men live or work at the house.

During a radio communication with a police dispatcher, a Cambridge police sergeant who responded to the call, Sgt. James Crowley, is heard calling Gates uncooperative.

When Sgt. James Crowley gets to Gates' house, he says he is with a man claiming to live in the house and with identification showing he is Gates. Crowley says the man is not cooperating and requests back up, telling the dispatcher to "keep the cars coming."

Another man can be heard talking in the background. Crowley then asks that Harvard Police be sent to the house. The disorderly conduct charge against Gates was dropped a few days later.

Gates' supporters called the arrest racial profiling and President Obama said the Cambridge police "acted stupidly." Police say Sgt. Crowley acted appropriately.

Police say an independent panel will review the incident.

This program aired on July 27, 2009.

Fred Thys Twitter Reporter
Fred Thys reports on politics and higher education for WBUR.

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