That less-than-favorable image (and not the quite obvious racial implications) was the first thing that came to mind when I read about Henry Louis Gates, Jr. being arrested at his own home after someone called in a possible robbery. Gates might have said or done some stupid things, but he did so in the process of being falsely accused of breaking into his home and he did so while inside of that home or on that property. The idea that people who have done nothing wrong must defer to police inside their homes is, not to put too fine a point on it, complete fucking bullshit. It may not make one a gracious host, but in one's home you can say just about whatever you want to whomever you want. Once the police saw Gates' identification and realized that he was fully within his rights to be where he was, they should have slinked right the fuck off and accepted whatever verbal abuse a wronged Gates threw at them.
In a just world Gates wins a massive lawsuit against the Cambridge police who sure as hell should have had better things to do. And Gates, unlike most of us without the ability to get our story into the news, has the resources to push a case. I would imagine we'll see word of a settlement in which Gates will have to keep quiet to spare the CPD more richly deserved embarrassment.