Boston police officer stripped of gun and badge after alleged racial slurs

By Calvin Palmer

A Boston police officer was placed on administrative leave today pending a termination hearing following racist remarks allegedly made in an e-mail.

Officer Justin Barret, 36,  a member of the National Guard is alleged to have made racial slurs to describe Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates in an e-mail to fellow guardsmen and the Boston Globe.

A spokesman for Boston police said: “Police Commissioner Ed Davis was made aware of a correspondence with racist remarks and yesterday removed the officer of his gun and badge.”

Boston’s mayor, Tom Menino, was quoted referring to Barrett as a “cancer in the department” and calling on him to be fired.

The mayor said that Barrett was trained in racial profiling prevention and had shown no signs of racial discrimination in the past.

Barrett’s union, the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, said they condemn and “strongly denounce these statements as being offensive and hurtful”.

But the union added that investigators should consider all the facts and not rush to a conclusion.

Police said Barrett does not have previous violations with the department.

The email allegedly written by Barrett lambasts Gates for getting into an altercation with police.

“I am not a racist, but I am prejudice towards people who are stupid,” reads the alleged diatribe — containing frequent grammatical and spelling errors — against Gates and the Boston Globe newspaper.

“He has indeed transcended back to a bumbling jungle monkey.”

Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct in his home near Harvard University by a white police officer who was responding to a report of a possible burglary. The charge was later dropped but the case sparked a national debate over racial profiling, one that was intensified when President Barack Obama said Cambridge police “acted stupidly.”

Meanwhile, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer accepted the resignation of Lee Landor, his deputy press secretary, after she called Gates a racist and referred to President Barack Obama as “O-dumb-a”.

Landor’s comments on Facebook were inappropriate, Stringer said in a statement.

Landor defended her entries, but added: “It is understandable that a black man encountering police will be suspicious of racial profiling, based on the long history of racism in this country.”

[Based on reports by the Associated Press and AFP.]

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18 responses to “Boston police officer stripped of gun and badge after alleged racial slurs

  1. zelda

    What bull……….the professor is the racist! He was a wise-ass shooting off his mouth!!!
    Not a very smart fellow.
    What a pompous butt head.
    Hmmmmmmmmmm…………this case is the tip of the ice berg.

  2. Thokozile

    This fool needs to get fired. If he is so “tolerant” and appreciates diversity and has so many friends of different races he would never have made the hateful comments he made. FIRE HIM! And we have to PROVE racial profiling exists? This white supremacist society is a damned joke.Isaiah Washington was fired for making derogatory comments about gays. This idiot is supposed to serve and protect? I wouldn’t want this boob to pull over my son in the dead of night in Dorchester.

  3. whitegurlinLA

    who could possibly use that kind of language (a cop no less) and not realize how offensive it is….if he’s not a racist…..then HE’S just DOWNRIGHT STUPID!!!! Do we need STUPID IDIOT COPS??? It’s not possible that he is sensitized to what black people have been through in this country – and that he would still use that kind of language. A good cop anywhere in this country has got to know people – from all kinds of backgrounds – it’s part of his job!!!! He blew it….what a dumba** and a secret “hater”!!!

  4. zelda

    Dear whitegirl…….
    The professor was equally at fault.
    Read the story again if you can get someone to write the story as it really happened.Maybe Calvin can get the “lowdown” of sequential blurbs. You know,who said what first.
    As I understand it the professor inflamed the situation right from the get go.
    Now before you get your water hot..,I am not condoning any stupid remarks from anyone.
    I do however think it important to know the exact actions of all concerned.

  5. zelda

    Calvin….here is a golden opportunity to “correctly inform” your readers.

  6. Glen P

    That damn professor, standing in own living room … while black. String him up.

  7. zelda

    What do you mean Glen P?You mean you think because he was black every one is being unfair to him?

    • Glen P

      Actually, Zelda, yes, I do. Because you or any white American fears black folk does not make it right to single them out for “special treatment.” I think the entire U.S. white population is unfair to African Americans and whatever outrage the blacks feel, individually, or as a group, is totally justified. That “injustice” is the whole basis for one of the most progressive, well reasoned, legal decisions in U.S. jurisprudence history, “affirmative action” and I doubt 100 more years will begin to correct the injustice. Let me give you just a taste of the continuing injustice African Americans suffer and, incidentally, if you don’t actively protest this injustice as a white american, you condone it.

      Both in terms of numbers of arrests and length of sentences, African Americans receive “special treatment.” For example, the mandatory sentences for crack cocaine offenses are roughly 100 times more severe than sentences for powdered cocaine offenses. And more blacks than whites have been convicted of crack cocaine offenses, although the majority of cocaine users are white. In general, no matter what the offense, Blacks usually serve six more months in prison than whites for the same conviction.

      That is just one example concerning crime and punishment. So, yes, a police officer arresting a black man in his own home when no crime had been committed, is patently “unfair” no matter what the man said to the officer and to me reflects what the white majority wants. The unvarnished truth is, many white folk don’t approve of the black culture and want to keep the “niggers in line.” Your comment seems to endorse that attitude as well. So, yes, again, unequivocally, that is unfair. He was treated this way because he was an African American and if you think police officers of this ilk were justified then you are part of the problem. If you truly believe this, you are simply a racist and by definition, unfair.

      • zelda

        If you read what I have said more closely you will see that I am the one saying that color should not matter but the “deed” itself should determine the punishment.
        YOU sound racist my friend..
        “The entire white population in the US is unfair to African Americans”……….is what you said.
        I didn’t say all black people in the Us are all bad now did I?
        You said if I don’t agree that means I condone bad treatment of them.What hogwash.THAT my friend is racism.
        I said each of us regardless of color should be held accountable for their actions.Making “blanket” statements just doesn’t fly .
        If in a situation you are unruly and disrespectful of the law , no matter what your color, you are subject to the laws .

  8. zelda

    Bad form Calvin……….you did not engage in this conversation.
    I thought you wanted a blog?
    Your chance to dig into your journalistic “job” that you want money for thrown to the wind.
    I am sorely disappointed.

  9. Sam Thornton

    The speech and mannerisms of Officer Barrett in his TV interview strongly suggested the demeanor of a thug.

    This should come as no surprise, just as Officer Barrett’s racist rant should come as no surprise. Boston has long had a well-deserved reputation as the moral and social cesspool of the Eastern Seaboard. It’s population’s ignorance and violence are matched by its virulent racism. During the 60’s and 70’s, racial violence in Boston exceeded that found in nearly all southern cities. Political corruption — including police corruption — is the norm and attracts what one might expect in the way of serving officers. The Cambridge Police Department is at the mercy of the same sad demographics, so the incident there should equally come as no surprise.

    There are few places in this country where a non-white family can live in dignity and free of harassment. Boston is certainly not one of them.

  10. zelda

    I read your comment several times and feel much more informed. However………there is no mention of any responsibility of the Black people in that area to be law abiding etc. etc. I cannot believe that they are all innocent “put upon” people that never indulge in crime or shouting racial slurs and other forms of illegal doings.
    Don’t we all have a responsibility to engage our higher selves regardless of our color etc. etc.
    Something we should all think about perhaps.
    The police have Black and White officers do they not?Are just the white ones corrupt?
    If we keep fostering “victimization” it divides us don’t you think?
    Individual consequence seems the more rational thought……
    It’s a start.

  11. Glen P


    I rarely make generalized statements but in this case I was responding to your own “blanket” charges. It was your ad hominem attacks and silly comments I was responding to:

    “What bull……….the professor is the racist! He was a wise-ass shooting off his mouth!!!
    Not a very smart fellow.
    What a pompous butt head.
    Hmmmmmmmmmm…………this case is the tip of the ice berg.”

    The “deed” is this case was being an African American. And, “unruly” and “disrespectful of the law” … ???? With that criteria any protester would be a criminal. Is that what you want or do you only want certain classes and peoples to be respectful?

    If you think African Americans are treated equitably in the U.S. then perhaps you are just uninformed. It begs the question, since you so stridently claim to be non-racist, have you ever done a single thing in your life to attempt to correct this racial injustice, … even on a personal level? If so, what have you done?

    So, don’t try to lecture me on “reverse racism.” You are not qualfied and that is an incredibly weak argument no matter who you approach it. You need to educate yourself a bit more before you wander off into these sorts of discussions. In a battle of the wits you are an unarmed opponent.

    Regards, Glen

  12. zelda

    LOL………right on there Glen P.
    I should know better than to match wits with a super star thinker like you.
    You just cannot comprehend the simplest thinking because of your preferential racial patter.
    I will close now so you can “wander’ off into the land of the anointed.

    • Glen P


      In your own “wanderings” pick up a college entry level text on Logic and read up a bit on logical fallacies. Every argument you utter is filled with them. Actually, I understand simple thinking and applaud it. Finding causes and conditions is basic to finding my own truths. I also understand simple minds. You are in the second category … and so gullible to racist propaganda. When I hear you use the word “preferential” in regards to race it is clear you don’t understand that word is a red herring championed by the far right in describing alleged reverse discrimination in affirmative action. If you truly believe reverse discimination is more than a one-off phenomena and I am engaged in “preferential racial patter” then you are surely the worst sort of bigot and an uneducated bigot at that.


  13. zelda

    Your assumptions are more idiotic than your freewheeling finger pointing attacks based on our own need to be right.Your need to berate another persons thinking is a thin veil of your pompous and latent angry personality.
    You can get your point across without demeaning someone who thinks differently Glen.
    Why are you so angry?
    Why do you need to be so verbally violent?
    Not to worry………you may have the stage.

    • zelda

      By the way Glen, I will no longer be on this blog.
      Thank you for your interesting exchange.
      I appreciate your views.
      best regards

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