Until this week, Justin Barrett was a young Boston patrolman with no record of misconduct, who had served in Iraq and once tackled an armed man inside a police station where he worked. Now, says the Boston Globe, Mayor Thomas Menino has called him a cancer and said he should be fired for writing an e-mail comparing Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates to a “banana-eating jungle monkey.''
“This kind of attitude will tar all of our efforts, set us back 30 years,'' said the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, head of the Boston TenPoint Coalition, which works with police to stop gang violence. Yesterday, Boston police held a press conference, inviting dozens of black community leaders and members of the police command staff to stand with Commissioner Edward Davis as he denounced Barrett's comments, announced he had moved to fire the officer of two years, and promised a sweeping investigation that would try to uncover whether other officers responded to the e-mail and agreed.