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Police Officer Sues For Right to be Racist

In a bizarre twist to the ongoing reality inversion, where blacks and latinos are now the ones who are racist, the Boston Police officer who called Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates a “banana-eating jungle monkey” and said he would have sprayed Gates in the face with pepper spray, has filed a lawsuit against the police department, police commissioner, and mayor, saying the city violated his civil rights, causing him pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, posttraumatic stress, sleeplessness, indignities and embarrassment, degradation, injury to reputation, and restrictions on personal freedom.



  1. Sammy wrote:

    It is conservatives who often (always) say government should be run more like private industry (I mostly agree, btw). Well, employment in private industry in every state is “at-will”, meaning a company can fire you for any reason at any time (and you can leave on your own accord, as well) with a few discrimination exclusions. If I wrote a signed letter to my local paper calling a black man a “banana eating jungle monkey” and my employer read that, I could be fired.

    I hope he gets a black judge.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  2. starluna wrote:

    It won’t go very far. Our local federal court just ruled against a guy who sued his company for firing him for smoking.

    The difference with Barrett is that he belongs to a fairly strong union and MA is a strong union state. The civil service unions are particularly strong.

    Regardless, I can’t see this guy getting much sympathy. He hasn’t even been fired yet. He’s mainly suing for emotional distress. The lawsuit only makes him look worse.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink
  3. Sammy wrote:

    I’d like to sue Justin Barrett for making me sick to my stomach.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 9:23 pm | Permalink
  4. Di wrote:

    We just got punk’d cause I am not buying that anybody with the right to carry a gun and a badge is that stupid!

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 12:59 am | Permalink
  5. anonymous wrote:

    This guy has a black Mayor for a boss and sent out an email like this? He has the foot in mouth disease and could not help it. There is a severe case of foot and mouth disease going around, but I hear you have to be really dumb to catch it, Officer Barrett has a real bad case of it, poor guy!

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 1:02 am | Permalink
  6. starluna wrote:

    Anonymous – Justin Barrett is a Boston Police Department officer. Boston has never had a non-white mayor. At least not yet.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 7:48 am | Permalink
  7. gracie935 wrote:

    What he said was not very nice, but he is entitled to his opinion. I have seen and heard much worse and have possibly said worse myself. He should not be fired for what he said unless it is proven that he always acts in a racist way in all situations concerning blacks.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 9:54 am | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    Always? Seriously Gracie?

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Permalink
  9. starluna wrote:

    Gracie935 – are you serious? What Barrett spewed was not his opinion. It was his attitude. And as someone so colorfully demonstrated earlier with an example involving a woman being called a cunt, it shows his complete disregard to what those words mean. What he said was just shy of calling Dr. Gates a nigger.

    These kinds of racist attitudes are not acceptable in law enforcement anymore than they should be acceptable in the rest of society. Indeed, bigotry of any kind should be less acceptable among people with as much authority and power as police officers.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Permalink
  10. Daniel Habtemariam wrote:

    @Gracie935. The man is entitled to his opinion if his comments were an obvious parody of a public figure, if the alleged conduct failed to meet a level considered beyond the bounds of civilized society, and if there were no threats of harm.

    Barrett fails on all 3 counts (in my opinion). My guess is that he’s taking a gamble. By hiring expensive lawyers, he’s hoping for a cash settlement. He was already looking at very real prospects of termination after the e-mail was made public, and so he doubled-down. After all, what does he have to lose at this point?

    The mayor was quoted referring to Barrett as a “cancer in the department”. I’d tend to agree. Barrett is on paid leave…he’s essentially getting a paid vacation for all of this. If you think about it, Gates could counter-sue over the same emotional distress charge. After all, we all now have access to an e-mail with Barrett explicitly describing what he would’ve done to Gates, had he been there, including the threat of harm. I think staruluna is right. This won’t go very far. Courts in most jurisdictions take a decidedly unfavorable stance towards emotional distress claims.

    Monday, August 10, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Permalink