While I agree the situation may indeed not have been about race, there is still no doubt to me that Dr. Gates DID NOT commit a crime, and SHOULD NOT have been arrested, PERIOD! A free society cannot tolerate an environment where law enforcement is arresting citizens merely for being insulted. What about freedom of speech?
People hurl insults at each other everyday, but does this rise to the level of criminality? Is a law truly violated because your ego was bruised? I call your attention to the generic job category; LAW ENFORCEMENT, was Sgt. Crowley truly enforcing the law, perhaps to the letter, but certainly not the spirit of the law.
A bruised ego is not justification to take the major step of placing someone in custody. Having been a patrolman, plain clothes agent, and intelligence operator, I for one know that you don't go around arresting law abiding citizens in their own homes just because they pissed you off. Sometimes you gotta just smile, wave, and remove yourself from the situation. Sgt. Crowley is about to learn it's not worth it to unnecessarily engage with a citizen to escalate a situation that no longer called for police intervention.
I've been to Cambridge, MA. It's a rather small city. You would think a resident such as Gates who lived in the same dwelling for 15 years (probably longer than the dummy who called the police) has been there long enough for a cop to easily and quickly verify the call was a false alarm.
Lastly, I have to ask, why would an officer enter a home suspected of having two burglars, by himself, without being accompanied by back up?