|Boston Police Officer Justin Barrett (CNN)|
I called the Boston Police Department just to make sure, and they confirmed that Officer Barrett is suspended from the force with pay. So he's not even doing work and is being paid. I called the Mayor's office, knowing that Menino had previously called for Barrett to be fired, but got no comment on Barrett's suspension and continued tax dollar drain. The BPD said that Barrett's employment with the department was pending a termination hearing, but no one I spoke to seemed to know when that hearing would take place.
Now here's the ridiculousness of the entire situation: in an economy where unemployment is so high and layoffs are happening left and right as companies try to downsize, to have someone employed in a position he is not qualified to handle is ludicrous. Even going beyond the racism/sexism in Barrett's email, the line, "Your defense (4th paragraph) of Gates while he is on the phone while being confronted (INDEED) with a police officer is assuming he has rights when considered a suspect." That's Constitution 101 and any half-decent police officer should know that even suspects have rights in this great country.
Barrett's continued employment by the Boston Police Department while other city services are cut is a slap in the face to every person out there who has suffered and will suffer because of city budget cuts. I know that if I had sent an email like that to a newspaper and embarrassed my company the way Barrett did the BPD, HR would not think twice about letting me go, especially in this economy. So why is there a double-standard here and why is Barrett still being paid with Massachusetts tax dollars in the worst recession in recent memory?