Skip Gates’ Arrest Reviewed: It’s OK for Cops to Cuff You in Your Own Home for Not Being Nice

An independent expert panel has released a report on last year’s incident in which Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., a diminutive late-middle-aged man who uses a cane, was hauled from his own house in handcuffs by Cambridge police sergeant James Crowley on charges of disorderly conduct: it was everyone’s fault! The Associated Press explains:

The report suggests that Crowley could have more clearly explained what he was doing and why he was doing it, especially after being shown Gates’ license and university ID. For his part, Gates could have used a more respectful tone to address the officer.

Hey, let’s stop calling it “disorderly conduct” and go ahead and call it “disrespecting a police officer,” then. And go ahead and prosecute it, instead of dropping the charges, since everyone agrees you’re not allowed to do it. Wrong is wrong, right?

Anyway, it all ends well. Gates’ friend and lawyer Charles Ogletree told the AP that “Gates and Crowley have since met many times and have developed ‘a friendly relationship.’” So if you happen to get crosswise to a police officer , don’t worry—you might be making a new friend!