Thursday, July 30, 2009

Justin Barrett Calls Gates a "Jungle Monkey," Then Tries to Say He's Not Racist

Boston Police Officer Justin Barrett (CNN)
I thought that with Gates and Crowley meeting Obama today for a beer (which has been covered ad nauseum, down to what kind of beer they're going to drink) this issue would be mostly resolved. Gates overreacted and Crowley unjustly arrested him. End of story.

But then Lucia Whalen, who I thought initially wanted her privacy, held a news conference to say that she picked her words carefully and would call 911 again. But then her lawyer came to the mic and chided Obama and his administration for not inviting her client to the beerfest that Gates and Crowley will have today. She quipped, "Maybe it's a guy thing." So now people can incorrectly say that Obama is sexist and racist when talking about the same incident.

After Whalen's press conference I thought finally Gatesgate would die down. But then when I awoke this morning I was shocked to get a CNN alert about the Boston police. It seems that Officer Justin Barrett sent an email to coworkers and the Boston Globe calling Gates a "jungle monkey." The full text is here, but here are some lowlights: "Your defense of Gates...assumes he has rights when considered a suspect," "for if I was the officer he verbally assaulted like a banana-eating jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC," "You are a hot little bird with minimal experiences in a harsh field. You are a fool. An infidel," "He [Gates] has indeed transcended back to a bumbling jungle monkey," "Your article title should read CONDUCT UNBECOMING A JUNGLE MONKEY-BACK TO ONE'S ROOTS."

Boston Police Officer Justin
Barrett (Daily Kos)
So what is Barrett's defense? The two classic ones: 1) I can't be racist - I have a black friend! 2) My comments were taken out of context. Barrett said, "I have so many friends of every type of culture and race you can name. I am not a racist." Sorry Barrett, but when you call a black person a jungle monkey multiple times and then send it to that "hot little bird" Yvonne Abraham over at the Globe for media consumption, there aren't many more levels of racism you can descend to. As to things being taken out of context, just read the email linked above. There's no way around this one: Justin Barrett is a racist and, as such, does not belong on the Boston Police Department in any capacity. In addition, he thinks that suspects have no rights and calls Abraham and "infidel" - a xenophobic word in and of itself whether used by terrorists in modern-day lingo or by the Christians back in the day.

Mayor Menino thinks so, too, and has called for Barrett's dismissal from the force: "I said, ‘He has no place in this department, and we have to take his badge away.’ That stuff doesn’t belong in our city, and we’re not going to tolerate it." The National Guard has suspended Barrett barring a full investigation into the manner. Barrett has been suspended from the BPD, but he's still being paid.

If I were Sergeant Crowley I would be extremely angry at Barrett. Crowley, who made an unjust arrest and probably just wants everything to simmer down (whether it was motivated by race we don't know and speculating about it is worthless). Now he is thrown back into the spotlight thanks to the actions of a person he's probably never met. Barrett has embarrassed himself, the Boston PD and the National Guard. Not only is he racist, but he sends a racist email to a newspaper. In his email he states, "I am prejudice [sic] towards people who are stupid." Racism and self-hate; now that's a dangerous combination.

1 comment:

  1. I just read the complete email. Immediate thoughts:

    1) This guy was an English teacher? Seriously?

    2) Not just a jungle monkey--a "banana-eating jungle monkey"?

    3) A suspect has no rights?

    4) He sent this to a journalist at a NEWSPAPER? What did he think would happen?

    5) He was either drunk when he wrote and sent this, or he is the stupidest police officer in the northeast (I hope).