Officials: Hub cop used racial slur in Gates e-mail
Boston police officer allegedly sent a mass e-mail using a disgraceful racial slur in referring to Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., prompting the commissioner to move immediately to fire the cop, the Herald has learned.
Officer Justin Barrett, 36, a two-year veteran assigned to District B-3, was placed on administrative leave pending a termination hearing yesterday afternoon. When a supervisor confronted Barrett about the e-mail - in which he called Gates a "jungle monkey" - he admitted to being the author, according to officials.
Police Commissioner Edward Davis immediately stripped the cop of his gun and badge, according to officials. Barrett, who could not immediately be reached, has no prior disciplinary history. Barrett is also a member of the National Guard, a source said, and the e-mail was sent anonymously to his fellow guard members and the Boston Globe. It was unclear whether the scurrilous missive was sent to members of Boston police as well.
"There is no room on the department for someone who uses those words," said Boston police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll, who declined to provide the specific text of the letter.
Gates, a preeminent black scholar, was arrested at his Cambridge home July 16 by a white Cambridge cop, triggering a national debate on race that reached all the way to the White House. Gates, 58, and the officer, Sgt. James Crowley, 42, are scheduled to hash out their differences over beers at the White House tomorrow evening. The meeting is being hosted by President Obama, who became embroiled in the controversy when he said, "Cambridge police acted stupidly" in arresting Gates.