New context from another black Harvard professor, who, like Gates, was asked to come out on his front porch and summarily arrested on charges of assault and battery on which he was subsequently acquitted. He was never told what he was being arrested for at the time, collapsed at the police station from a heart condition, and was taken to hospital where he was cuffed to his bed. He learned a lesson - do not step out of your door if a you are black and a Cambridge cop is knocking:

“The word around Harvard is never step outside your house with these guys,’’ Counter said in a phone interview. “We advise people not to step out. You call an attorney and stay in your house.’’

Cambridge police would not comment on Counter’s arrest yesterday. But a spokesman said that police have a right to enter homes without a warrant if there is probable cause.

“We don’t bait people to come outside,’’ said Officer Frank Pasquarello, the police spokesman. “All across America, people step outside their houses and meet us on the porch. We don’t go in if they come out. But once we’re in there, we don’t have to take you outside to lock you up.’’

So the cops reply to a complaint with a threat. That tells you something, I'd say.

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