TOO much remains unclear about the details of the actual event for us to say with certainty whether or not what happened to the two Harvard students constituted racial harassment on the part of Cambridge police.
However, what is clear is that police conduct in the incident was deplorable. Whether or not the decision by Cambridge police officers to search the two students was motivated by race, the fact remains that the two students were detained and searched--apparently without any probable cause.
The job of a police officer is not just to apprehend criminals. In a more fundamental sense, police are supposed to protect citizens and to ensure that their rights are safeguarded.
That these two students were merely running down the street does not, in itself, constitute grounds for detention and search by the police. The Cambridge police gave no explanation for their actions at the time, and have yet to do so, and Harvard police present failed to ensure that the students were treated courteously and with respect.
We have a right to expect more from people sworn to uphold the law.