Philosophical Cop is a serving police officer in an urban city. Read his blog here.
When I read about a career like Officer Justin Barrett's ending the way it did, it always makes me angry. And not for the reasons you might imagine. These cases of racial “running the mouth” make me want to punch someone – usually the officer involved. His comment makes it harder for me to get a fair trial with internal affairs.
Follow my reasoning on this:
- Barrett is at most a racist, and at the least has such poor judgment that his employment should probably end. So whether or not he got a fair hearing, he was probably never going to be a cop again.
- I also completely agree with his counsel that Barrett probably did not get a fair hearing. And now, the politicians know they can force the board to screw over the next cop they meet.
This sounds contradictory, but in fact, it is a double whammy of trouble for the rest of us cops left in our departments. Here is why. Barrett made such a stupid remark, he deserved to be fired. However, the political pressure to terminate him most likely prevented the board from considering the case fairly and impartially. That means the next cop – maybe me – could also fall to political pressure, even if our case does not warrant termination.
So Officer Barrett has ruined his own career by making racist comments by email (maybe he is a racist, maybe he is terminally stupid – either way he shouldn't be a cop). Moreover, he has potentially ruined more careers by forcing one more small fracture in the due process wall that protects all of our nation's cops. Thanks a lot.