As everybody knows by now, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, a top African-American scholar, was arrested on July 16 and accused of disorderly conduct after police responded to a report of a possible burglary at his Cambridge home.
None of us were there, but we can probably guess what happened. The policeman, responding to a legitimate break-in call, found a man in the house who turned out to be the homeowner.
The much-esteemed prof probably blew his top at the cop. Highly thought-of professors tend to think highly of themselves. I am confident he reacted badly to the questioning he took. Bad form.
The police officer also acted badly. Once he established that the professor owned the house, he should have made a quick getaway and saved his “that professor is an A——” story for the squad room.
Nope. He had to escalate it by arresting a gimpy little 58-year old man in his own house. The charge later was dropped, but the black/white issue was too tempting for the national press to resist.
Then Obama stuck his foot in it, and finally he invited both men to the White House for a beer…. blah, blah, blah.
That should have been the end of it.
Somewhere along the line a Boston Globe columnist asked readers, “Would you stand for this kind of treatment, in your own home, by a police officer who by now clearly has no right to be there?”
Uh-oh. Boston police officer Justin Barrett, with a black-belt in “Moron,” decided he could not let that (seemingly rhetorical) question go unanswered.
So he sent a mass e-mail to some of his fellow members of the National Guard and also to the Boston Globe. In it he referred to professor Gates as a “banana-eating jungle monkey,”
He used that phrase, “banana-eating jungle monkey,” FOUR TIMES in the e-mail and indicated, were HE the arresting officer, he also would have pepper-sprayed the professor.
This is a guy that LOVES being a cop.
According to a statement from Boston police, Commissioner Edward Davis took action immediately on learning of Barrett’s remarks, stripping the officer of his gun and badge.
They indicated that Barrett is now “on administrative leave, pending the outcome of a termination hearing.”
Not surprisingly, officer Barrett has apologized, saying he’s not a racist.He told a Boston television station that he was sorry for the e-mail. “I regret that I used such words, I have so many friends of every type of culture and race you can name. I am not a racist.”
Listen, soon-to-be-former officer Barrett, don’t bother telling us you have a black friend. We sort of doubt it anyhow, but if you do have a black ‘friend,’ he either doesn’t really know you, or knows you better than you think.