Dr. Henry Louis Gates (left), the highly respected Harvard prof may have a fence-mending beer at the White House with the Cambridge. Mass. cop who arrested him in his home last week. Let’s hope it happens.
But there was no reconciliation of that sort in a somewhat similar case involving allegations of racial profiling that happened in New Rochelle 23 years ago. The Gates contretemps reminded me of the New Rochelle incident it because the two players also happened to be a white cop and an affluent black man.
The cop was Arthur Dallas, who was the commissioner of the town of Mamaroneck police department and a controversial figure for a number of reasons, not the least of which wa that he liked to bust down doors and make arrests like he was a TV action hero.
Anyway, one day in 1986 Dallas was cruising through town when he spotted a black man driving a Rolls Royce through town streets and over the border into New Rochelle. Immediately suspicious, he followed the Rolls and called New Rochelle cops when he saw the car pull up in front of a house in the city’s affluent north end..
The man parked the car and went into the house.
Within minutes, Dallas and six uniformed officers had the house surrounded. Their guns were drawn.
Well, you can guess the ending. The “dangerous” man turned out to be the owner of the car and the house. He was a dentist by the name of Dr. William Bowles. (One account has it that the car was actually driven by Bowles’s son, but this predates our electronic archive, so I haven’t had the chance to check this out yet.)
In the end, nobody got hurt, but Dallas was embarrassed and Bowles was outraged.
Bowles ended up suing the town. I tried to reach him today but two listed phone numbers for him were no longer in service.