I don't get why the cops took so long to release these. There's nothing especially damning here for either side.
A few points:
1. The issue of race doesn't come up until the 911 dispatcher asks. The caller describes them as "larger" (Gates is 5'7" and 150 pounds) and says one "might be hispanic." Crowley writes in his police report that the witness told him that there were "two black males with backpacks." I guess Crowley was told a different story when he got to the scene. But that's really, really odd given that the 911 call and Crowley arriving on the scene were moments apart. That she would be inaccurate is not a surprise given that she was looking at their backs for just a few minutes. That she would be inaccurate one way and minutes later be inaccurate a different way is kinda weird.
2. The suitcases are mentioned by the caller from the beginning, and are mentioned on the police radio. No one talks about backpacks on the tapes. Again, this differs from Crowley's report, but he could just have been told different things or reported inaccurate facts.
3. Crowley said in his report that he radioed from inside the house to say the man was being "uncooperative" and that is born out by the tape. He later told the New York Times that he had to step outside because Gates was being loud. Crowley's voice is VERY clear on the tapes, and Gates' is a blur in the background. At one point, it sounds like he says "No, I want..." but otherwise, his voice is an inaudible blur. It's not at all clear whether he's talking or shouting. If he is shouting, it's certainly not loud enough to make ANYTHING Crowley is saying inaudible. So yeah, Crowley's excuse that Gates was being so loud that it was "making it difficult to transmit pertinent information to the ECC or other responding units" does not seem to be true. The 911 caller has to repeat herself more than Crowley does.
4. I don't see anything in Gates' version that is contradicted directly by the tape, though Gates doesn't really talk about the times that the officer was talking on his radio, so that's not a big surprise.
5. The caller says of the two men "So, I'm not sure if this is two individuals who actually work there, I mean, who live there." I guess it was just a slip of the tongue. But it made me sad to wonder if, for a moment, she saw two big guys, one of them hispanic, and assumed they must be either breaking in or carting the luggage of the REAL guy who lived there as it reminded me of a story Will Shetterly posted about Gates buying a fancy house in Raleigh, NC, then being constantly assumed to be the help when he was in it, with workers on the renovation he was doing asking him to point them to the owner.
So that's that. I don't think the tapes really show all that much and I wonder what the fuss about releasing them was.