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Black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. is accusing a Massachusetts police department of racism after being arrested while trying to get into his locked home near Harvard University.

Police say they were called to the home Thursday afternoon after a woman reported seeing a man try to pry open the front door.

They say that they ordered the man to identify himself and that Gates refused. According to a police report, Gates then called the officer a racist and said, “This is what happens to black men in America.”

Police declined to comment Monday. Gates referred comment to his lawyer, fellow Harvard scholar Charles Ogletree, who did not immediately return a call.

Gates is the director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois (doo-BOYS’) Institute for African and African American Research.

From The Crimson:

Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr., University professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Studies, was arrested on Thursday at his Cambridge home for disorderly conduct, according to the Cambridge Police Department’s daily online public log.

The online report said that the 58-year-old professor was arrested shortly past noon after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior.” Joanne Kendall, Gates’ assistant, confirmed that the professor had been arrested but said that he was away from Cambridge for the summer filming a documentary and would only be making periodic returns. She said that Gates is not in police custody.

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