27 Jul 2022


Disorderly Conduct: The Incident at Ware St., Cambridge

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In every country throughout the globe, there are laws meant to that everything is in order. To keep these laws and ensure that all relevant individuals and institutions observe them there is the need for police officers. The officers' primary duty is to uphold and maintain public order. Police officers persuade and apprehend the lawbreakers thus protecting those who follow the laws of the country. The laws vary from on nation to another. For instance, there are some nations which have severe and strict to comply with those that if broken the penalties may include a death sentence. In the United States, there are provisions that ensure that all the law abiding citizens are protected taken care of by the government. Disorderly conduct is one of the many offenses that can lead to apprehension and arraignment in court. Disorderly conduct is simply a behavior which is unruly which in most cases constitutes a minor offense. Disorderly conduct as an offense since those who instigate it usually disturb the peace that was initially there just like the Cambridge, MA case reported on 16 th July 2009, 12:44:00. 

What was this incident about (briefly summarize what happened)? 

The incident between Sgt. Crowley, James, and Gates, Henry at Ware St Cambridge, MA entailed a disorderly conduct. Officer Crowley, who was the only officer around the area at the moment responded to an ECC broadcast and headed to the place where the caller was, Ware ST Cambridge, MA. The caller who was a woman acted as a good citizen since what she saw happening around the neighborhood was a strange thing in the area. She reported to Officer Crowley what she saw as two black men with backpacks on the Ware Street porch. She panicked after she saw one man wedging over the door with his shoulder, as though to try force his way in the house. He looked over to the house and saw an old black man (Gates, Henry) standing just within the ware street foyer. Officer Crowley then asked Mr. Gates if could step out to the porch so he could speak to him, he (Gates) replied, "no I will not." He then later demanded to know who Crowley was, which he gladly told Gates that he said, "Sgt Crowley from the Cambridge Police" he added that he was conducting an investigation claim regarding a break in which was in progress within the residence (Cambridge PD, 2009). 

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After answering Gates question, he opened the door and asked Officer Crowley, "why, because am a black man in America?" Officer Crowley tried to ask him some questions, but Gates was yelling out loudly at him and went further to branding him a racist police. Officer Crowley sought to calm him down, but Gates could not hear him all he did was yelling and ignoring him. Then, Officer Crowley radioed in through channel 1 that he is off the residence an uncooperative individual who seemed to be a resident of the place. He threatened Officer Crowley several times claiming that "he did not know whom he was "messing" with and added that he had not heard the last of It." By the time they stepped out onto the porch, Gates had attracted at least seven people, and all through he kept on asking for Crowley's name. At this time another officer Figueroa, Carlos had already arrived at the place. Mr. Gates continued yelling at Officer Crowley, but this time Crowley warned him that he would be arrested. He warned him twice before he cuffed him and had him taken to 125 6 th ST (Cambridge PD, 2009). 

How did Henry Gate’s conduct escalate the situation? 

It is clear that Gates conduct had a hand in escalating the situation. This is because Officer Crowley was very polite in his approach to the matter; he wanted to know what is going on. From the start Gates was uncooperative, just from the way he answered officer Crowley. After Officer Crowley tells him the reason why he wants to speak to him, Gates concludes that this officer is a racist and is after him since he is black. He yells out loudly at him calling him a racist police officer. He even goes further to threaten him claiming that he was not a person to be messed with (Cambridge PD, 2009). 

How did Officer Crowley’s conduct escalate the situation? 

On the other hand, Officer Crowley's conduct did not have much to do with the escalation of the situation at hand. This because all through he was and remained composed and what he wanted but Gates made it hard for him. It only one instance which may have made the situation to escalate, that was when he told Gates that he would only speak with him outside. 

Was the arrest of Henry Gates’ justified? Why or why not? 

Due to his unruly behavior, Henry Gates had to be arrested and taken into custody. This is because Gates clearly had intentions of causing a scene within the area, from the way he started answering officer Crowley. Furthermore, Gates was reckless and thus created the risk which resulted to public annoyance. Also, Gates threatened an officer on duty this may also add to the justification for his arrest. 

What might have Henry Gates and/or Officer Crowley done to de-escalate the situation? 

Every problem has a solution, and in this case to de-escalate the situation at hand could be easily done. First, Henry Gates could have some higher level of courtesy in addressing officer Crowley. He could have composed himself and answer the questions the way they were asked. Another thing is that Gates could have understood that Crowley is an officer who is just trying to watch out for citizens' safety, him included. Also, Gates could have remained composed all through and cooperate with Officer Crowley to find a better solution later. 

Do you believe race was a factor in this incident? Why or why not? 

Racism is all over the world and is raging like wildfire, but in this case, racism was not a factor. After Officer Crowley had told Mr. Gates that he was investigating a break which was in progress, he reacted negatively. He never bothered to know why and how the subject came up. He just concluded that since he was a black officer, Crowley picked him among the other residence. He himself concluded that it was a case of racism when it was not in real sense. 

What are the lessons that can be learned from this incident? 

This incident teaches well to the society. For instance, the incidence teaches that it is rewarding to be civilized and always remain composed at all times. The officer was calm and civilized, but Mr. Gates, on the other hand, was not. Another thing is respect; it is rewarding to respect those in authority since it is for our own good. Also running into conclusions is never a good thing in life, since it may bring harm with it. 

Disorderly conduct is an offense since those who get involved in it usually disturb the peace that was initially there just like the above Cambridge, MA case reported on 16 th July 2009, 12:44:00. Mr. Gates exhibited a high level of disorderly conduct not just to office Crowley but to the whole neighborhood who were surprised. If only Mr. Gates could have remained composed, then the process would have gone smoothly, and he would not have exhibited the unruly behavior. 


Cambridge Police Department. (2009). Incident Report #9005127. Cambridge, MA 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Disorderly Conduct: The Incident at Ware St., Cambridge.


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