Criminal Justice

Why Does This Banana-Eating Jungle Monkey Have to Make Everything About Race?

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A Boston cop who was suspended for calling Henry Louis Gates a "banana-eating jungle monkey" in a mass email insists, "I didn't mean it in a racist way." Officer Justin Barrett, who sent the message to a bunch of his buddies in the National Guard as well as The Boston Globe, says "the words were being used to characterize behavior, not describe anyone." He allows that it was a "poor choice of words" but says, "I did not mean to offend anyone." His main point, he says, is that people are inappropriately injecting race into the debate over Gates' arrest.

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  1. I’m offended.

  2. So THAT’S what a cop has to do to get disciplined.

  3. His main point, he says, is that people are inappropriately injecting race into the debate over Gates’ arrest.

    Yeah, so unless his words were something like: “Gates wasn’t arrested because of racism. Racism would be something like if the officer had called him a ‘banana-eating jungle monkey’,” I’m finding this dubious.

  4. And yet, some people still insist that only cops are intelligent and responsible enough to carry guns. (Shaking head) I really don’t get it.

  5. Just remember, if you call Barrett a “doughnut-eating authoritarian pig, oink oink” while he’s investigating a possible break-in, you may risk getting shot. According to Jack Dunphy. And that’s A-OK.

  6. I’m not one to see racism under every stone, but I think maybe somewhere in “banana-eating jungle monkey” is a racist sentiment of some sort.

    Frankly, if I were a cop and pissed at Gates, I’d attack him for his Harvardness.

  7. This dumb bastard can’t even get his racial epithets right. It should be either junngle bunny or porch monkey. You lose all effectiveness by trying to merge the two.

    Oh, and sending the e-mail to the Globe was just aksing for trouble.

  8. This is from the Onion, right?

    Right?

  9. Well, he’s stuck in this tar-baby now.

  10. To me the banana eating jungle money comment wasn’t the worst part it was this part:

    For if I was the officer he verbally assaulted like a … jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC [pepper spray] deserving of his belligerent non-compliance

    The attitude that all non-compliance (especially in this case where the homeowner had done nothing wrong) is deserving of violent reactions is pretty shitty.

    Oh and this guy is a racist douche. But I’m sure someone will defend him

  11. Oh and this guy is a racist douche. But I’m sure someone will defend him

    You are probably praying that someone does. It would validate your worldview all the more.

  12. Officer Justin Barrett is a mentally retarded asshole — and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

  13. in all seriouness. Did the guy send it on his official e-mail or do it in any kind of official capacity? It is not clear in the article what account he used.

    Last I looked we had a first amendment that protected the right to free speech. It doesn’t say anything about “free speech except racist speech by cops”. This guy has a write to say or e-mail whatever he wants to in his private capacity. If he used an official e-mail that may be different, although government e-mails are used for personel e-mails all the time. So even that might be complicated.

    Assuming for a moment that this guy really did send the e-mail from a personal account to his friends, there is no way he should be diciplined or fired for it. Free speech means all speech, not just speech you like.

  14. “So THAT’S what a cop has to do to get disciplined.”

    You know, maybe its me, but I certainly think what Crowley did was worse.

    But one thing that puzzles me, why the fuck did he send the email to the Boston Globe????

  15. The worst and most open racist comments I’ve ever heard were in Boston.

  16. “Raaaaaaacist!”

  17. “but I think maybe somewhere in “banana-eating jungle monkey” is a racist sentiment of some sort”

    You fucking lawyers can parse out any meaning, can’t you?

  18. I know, MNG, it’s a stretch.

  19. “Freedom Of Speech” applies to all.

  20. This guy has a write to say or e-mail whatever he wants to in his private capacity.

    “I would have sprayed him in the face with OC [pepper spray] deserving of his belligerent non-compliance”

    He was talking about what he would do in his official capacity, and it included brutality for saying mean things to him. That’s what he should be fired for. And we’re not even getting into what the use of racist terms may mean for his treatment of minorities in his official capacity.

  21. Fucking naggers.

  22. Hey, did anyone read the whole article? It’s way worth the time. Here’s a sample:

    :Barrett went on to question Gates’ credentials, called him a “God damned fool,” and twice challenged the paper to “ax” him what he thinks.

    “I am not a racist, but I am prejudice [sic] towards people who are stupid

  23. This brings up an interesting question. What if there were a cop who had good evaluations and never a complaint about his treatment of suspects but who, on his own time, was a prominent member of a Neo-nazi group or Klan group. Should he be fired for that?

    I’m not trying to be smart, I see it as a tough one..

  24. The attitude that all non-compliance (especially in this case where the homeowner had done nothing wrong) is deserving of violent reactions is pretty shitty.

    But apparently widespread and expected.

  25. You are probably praying that someone does. It would validate your worldview all the more.

    Not really, just my view of you, TAO — cuz you were who that comment was targeted to.

  26. Not particularly tough to me, MNG – I do not believe that a government agency has the right to discriminate (whereas I believe a private one does), so the embodiment of State power is not permitted to hold discriminatory views, either. The police officer is part of Lady Justice, and Justice is Blind.

  27. Hey, I have a prejudice against stupid people, too! Unfortunately, my set of stupid people includes one person his doesn’t include.

    Free speech isn’t absolute protection when you’re stating your intentions to act in a manner contrary to professional ethics. If an accountant talks to people about misappropriating funds, I daresay his employer–even a government one–would be justified in firing his ass. For someone wielding government power, yeah, he should be taking a walk.

    MNG,

    I don’t think you can fire someone merely for being part of an organization, unless he does something more egregious than act as a mere member. The right of association means little if it doesn’t protect membership in organizations. Of course, a publicly held bias against any group might be enough to question the judgment of a law enforcement official. Or a judge.

  28. well, you missed the target, ChicagoTom. Go cry in your unsprayed locovore beer.

  29. MNG, I would say no but I have some doubts that a person having the klan or neo-nazi beliefs would be able to keep them from affecting on the job performance.

  30. ChiTom
    Iirc A fair reading of TAO’s posts the other day were not so much a defense of Crowley, but a condemnation of people putting a racial angle spin on the whole thing. I must confess to some degree he was right on target, to the extent this has become about race the larger (imo) point about police abuse of power has been lost…

  31. This brings up an interesting question. What if there were a cop who had good evaluations and never a complaint about his treatment of suspects but who, on his own time, was a prominent member of a Neo-nazi group or Klan group. Should he be fired for that?

    I think that a case can be made for firing a racist from the police force — for the benefit of the community as a whole. I mean there are already so many exceptions to the 1st amendment that it wouldn’t seem like a stretch to find one for this case.

    But I’m not a lawyer so don’t take what I just said seriously.

  32. although, I will say that if there are no complaints, I would have a hard time making the case that he should be fired. Now, see, individual cities could fix this by requiring that the person, in order to be hired, renounce/relinquish membership in a List of X Groups.

  33. I think he needs a beer and a presidential conference for a teaching moment.

  34. “He was talking about what he would do in his official capacity, and it included brutality for saying mean things to him. That’s what he should be fired for. And we’re not even getting into what the use of racist terms may mean for his treatment of minorities in his official capacity.”

    Bullshit. Thinking about committing misconduct doesn’t count. Unless and until you can point to him actually doing something, I don’t buy it.

    Take this out of the PC context. What if a NYC cop wrote to his friends about the Flintlock case Reason posted yesterday and said

    “Fuck Bloomburg, that nannystate asshole. If that were my rifle I would tell him to shove it. And if he asked me to investigate some law abiding citizen owning an unregistered gun I would tell that bastard to fuck off and go investigate real crime”

    Should that guy be disciplined? He disrespected his commander and chief and says he will refuse to investigate crimes. And he says he would commit one himself.

    Of course he shouldn’t be disciplined. And neither should this guy. You guys are proving yourself to be horribly unprincipled here. Yeah, some dumb racist cop is admittedly the hardest person to defend. But defend him you should. There is no law against being a racist in this society. There is no law that says “cops can’t think racist thoughts”. If you can show an actual event where this guy misbehaved, fine fire him. But it is bullshit to fire someone for saying something, no matter how insulting, when he is not on duty.

  35. Pro
    What if he were quoted at a rally of that organization saying something similar to the cop in question here? It seems strange that it would be ok to attend and support the rally, but not to say certain things at it…

    That being said, I’m inclined towards TAO’s view, though BB’s point weighs in my mind too…

  36. Hopefully we can all agree that when they fired that lady cop who posed for playboy an injustice was done…

  37. A fair reading of TAO’s posts the other day were not so much a defense of Crowley, but a condemnation of people putting a racial angle spin on the whole thing. I must confess to some degree he was right on target, to the extent this has become about race the larger (imo) point about police abuse of power has been lost.

    I disagree completely.

    A fair reading of TAOs posts the other day would be that unless the guy makes obvious racist comments like this asshole cop did, than anyone who believes race could play a role is a racist themselves or they just really want to see race. And black people who feel race played a part are “race baiting hucksters”

    That would be a fair reading.

  38. “in order to be hired, renounce/relinquish membership in a List of X Groups”

    i dunno TAO, that scares me…

  39. “I think that a case can be made for firing a racist from the police force — for the benefit of the community as a whole.”

    Everyone has some kind of prejudice. Everyone has certain kinds of people they don’t like. We expect cops to be professional and rise above that. Absent evidence of actual misconduct, merely saying something racist in your off hours should be no more a firing offense than him saying he can’t stand Yankee fans.

  40. The police are misunderstood.

  41. MNG, I would say no but I have some doubts that a person having the klan or neo-nazi beliefs would be able to keep them from affecting on the job performance.

    I used to know a guy who went to Klan rallies because (and I quote) “They do a pretty good pig pickin'”. He though that racism was stupid and that most of the Klan guys were assholes, but they did good barbecue, so he’d go with his cousins. It never affected his job performance dealing with minorities as near as I could tell.

  42. well, you missed the target, ChicagoTom. Go cry in your unsprayed locovore beer.

    And yet you knew who I was talking about and you felt the need to respond. Looks like I hit my target quite well 🙂

    I will say that if there are no complaints, I would have a hard time making the case that he should be fired

    And there it is.

    And Ill say it . I think racists should absolutely be fired from the police force. Official capacity or not. That absolutely has relevance to your ability to do the your job fairly, professionally, and with integrity.

  43. Epi,

    If you posted here that you were going to burn your employers business down, should you be fired?

    It does make a difference if he was on-duty or off duty when he made the statements, IMO.

    If we’re gonna say (as many have) that a cop has no more rights than anyone else when he’s not investigating a crime, then he has to have the same rights we do when he’s off duty. I don’t believe in thought crimes.

    Crowley did something. This guy said something. If he said it while the state was paying him or used state resources to say it, fire his ass. If he was sitting in his house using Gmail to blast his idiocy to his friends it’s none of his employers business, even if his employer is the PD.

  44. Chi-Tom
    TAO’s stance on race strikes me as a bit adolescent (its beautifully mocked by Stephen Colbert quite a bit), but I don’t think it need be read the way you put it…

    Sorry TAO, I realize that’s a backhanded compliment at best, no offense meant really…

  45. Absent evidence of actual misconduct, merely saying something racist in your off hours should be no more a firing offense than him saying he can’t stand Yankee fans.

    So… police aren’t held to a ‘higher standard’? Check.

  46. Should that guy be disciplined? He disrespected his commander and chief and says he will refuse to investigate crimes. And he says he would commit one himself.

    Him being disciplined would be at the discretion of his commanders, because he wasn’t talking about abuse of authority, he was talking about disobeying orders. And I really couldn’t oppose his superiors for disciplining him (even though I wouldn’t like it) because their organization operates on a chain of command.

    You were military, John–would you say a soldier refusing to obey orders shouldn’t be disciplined?

  47. Pro Liberate says:

    “Frankly, if I were a cop and pissed at Gates, I’d attack him for his Harvardness.”

    Let me introduce you to the brilliance of Iowahawk.

  48. This case appears to resemble the case in New York where Judge Sotomayor wrote of the first amendment barrier to firing a cop who had expressed racist views-in his individual capacity and not while in the line of duty.

  49. “So… police aren’t held to a ‘higher standard’?”

    I think the answer should be yes they should be, but only in their official conduct…But again, I find it to be a tough one.

  50. Assuming for a moment that this guy really did send the e-mail from a personal account to his friends, there is no way he should be diciplined or fired for it. Free speech means all speech, not just speech you like.

    John, I usually agree with you, but this time we differ. A cop should not be racist. The very least that should happen is that this guy should be placed in a job that gives him absolutely no contact with, or influence over, the public. Firing him seems reasonable to me whether his sentiments were delivered by official email, private email, or carrier pigeon.

    The cop could, of course, make the case that his emotions were inflamed by the case and that he inappropriately calibrated his words; that seems to have worked to exonerate at least one other hot-head.

  51. I said I would have a hard time making the case, ChicagoTom, not that I do not think he should be fired. Perhaps fourth grade reading skipped you by at some point?

    There is no law against being a racist in this society.

    Um, John? What does the law have to do with him being fired?

    The man is an agent of the State. Any arbitrary or capricious limitations we want to place on state agents, we can. It is the reason why I am not bothered by things like term limits, or financial disclosures. We have given these people a certain measure of power, and we (the people) are more than permitted to dictate who will use it and what they will use it for. If we decide that racists will not have power, then they will not have power. No different than Trent Lott getting voted out.

  52. Good call lm, I remember that now. The wise latina came down for the officer iirc

  53. We expect cops to be professional and rise above that. Absent evidence of actual misconduct, merely saying something racist in your off hours should be no more a firing offense than him saying he can’t stand Yankee fans.

    To an extent John, yes. I don’t think an off color joke or offhand comment should be a fireable offense.

    But if you don’t have the self control or common sense or the proper judgment to refrain from making racist attacks repeatedly in a mass email you are sending (while also advocating for excessive force for daring to be non-complient) than i think it’s fair to assume that this guy can’t keep his racism in check and that it’s possible that it will spill over into his professional work.

    Even if you don’t think he should be fired for racism, his judgment is pretty questionable as well.

  54. Sorry TAO, I realize that’s a backhanded compliment at best, no offense meant really…

    The fact that you do not find that offensive is what scares me more.

  55. If he said it while the state was paying him or used state resources to say it, fire his ass. If he was sitting in his house using Gmail to blast his idiocy to his friends it’s none of his employers business, even if his employer is the PD.

    I understand what you’re saying, kilroy, and normally I am a free speech absolutist. However, when someone works for the government, they gain powers that the rest of us don’t have, and have to be held to higher standards, especially cops. What he said off-duty specifically mentions what he would do on-duty. If he hadn’t said that, you’d have a much stronger case.

  56. MNG,

    My understanding of public employers is that they have some rights to take action for what their employees say in connection with fulfilling their official duties. So, for instance, if a state’s attorney said that he wasn’t going to prosecute blacks any more, because he feels they’ve been unfairly treated over the years, he could be fired. I think in this case his statements do directly connect to his official duties.

    I think (can’t remember for sure) that statements (or associations) that are less connected to employment and are more about public policy are protected. So, for instance, if the cop advocated stripping women of the vote, he’d be immune from his employer doing anything about his views.

  57. I don’t think this prick should be fired for exercising his 1st amendment rights. What he said is fucked up, but what do you expect from pigs now-a-days.

    What I think is fucked up is Crowley will not be fired for his illegal arrest of Gates.

  58. I think that is highly offensive, and by the way I am white.

    1. I think what crowley did and said is “highly offensive” and by the way .. it dosen’t matter what color I am. What if it were the other way around ? What if the officer was black and he called the harvard scholar (white) called him a redneck red-meat eating honky tonk man ….what then ? should he be fired for wanting to spray said individual with pepper spray, especially like how he didn’t even do anything wrong ?? You can write whatever comment you like to this, I will not answer. I have better things to do, like educating myself constantly!

  59. Of course he shouldn’t be disciplined. And neither should this guy. You guys are proving yourself to be horribly unprincipled here. Yeah, some dumb racist cop is admittedly the hardest person to defend. But defend him you should. There is no law against being a racist in this society. There is no law that says “cops can’t think racist thoughts”. If you can show an actual event where this guy misbehaved, fine fire him. But it is bullshit to fire someone for saying something, no matter how insulting, when he is not on duty.

    John, you have to subject yourself to psychological screening to make it into the police academy in Massachusetts.

    One of the things they check for is racist thoughts and impulses. [Maybe they shouldn’t, but they do.]

    This email creates, as far as I am concerned, the presumption that this cop bluffed his way through his psychological exam and concealed racist impulses he knew would have prevented him from being hired.

    Lying in the hiring process justifies immediate termination, even if we set aside all the other issues of community confidence in the fairness of the police, etc.

  60. “You were military, John–would you say a soldier refusing to obey orders shouldn’t be disciplined?”

    If he refused orders yes. But not for, in his off time saying that he was going to refuse orders. You should discipline actions not speech or thoughts.

    To take up Tom’s point that all cops who make any racist remarks should be fired, it seems to me that carves out an exception to the 1st Amendment that really isn’t there. Being a racist may not be socially acceptable, but it is not and should not be a crime. Nor should it be a firing offense unless it is done on the job. I don’t think it is any of my employer’s business what I do and think outside of work or what I e-mail my friends on my time.

    If this guy can be fired for being a racist, why can’t I be fired for being a gun nut and saying awful things about our elected officials? Or for disliking environmentalists or do-gooder Democrats? Or anything other view my boss happens to find offensive.

  61. what makes me laugh, though, is that the e-mail is the obvious blustering of (yet another) little-dicked Boston loser. He would probably see the yelling 60-year-old black guy and we his pants.

  62. John – who says you have First Amendment rights when it comes to your employer?

  63. TAO’s stance on race strikes me as a bit adolescent (its beautifully mocked by Stephen Colbert quite a bit), but I don’t think it need be read the way you put it

    Well let’s agree to disagree. Because the way he was bandying about “race baiting huckster” about the victim of police brutality and improper arrest for suggesting that race played an issue, it’s more than merely adolescent. Oh and at the same time he pretending like he thought they were both in the wrong — but the verbal epithets were reserved only for the race baiting huckster whose worldview always sees race.

    You can choose to read his comments in a more positive light, but I’ll pass. I’ve met plenty of guys like him…they aren’t fooling anyone.

  64. Wayne
    Here that jet plane like noise over your head? That’s the issue of concern for abuse of government granted authority by government officials…

  65. If this guy can be fired for being a racist, why can’t I be fired for being a gun nut and saying awful things about our elected officials? Or for disliking environmentalists or do-gooder Democrats? Or anything other view my boss happens to find offensive.

    Hey, in my ideal world, you could be.

  66. Fluffy,

    There is no evidence that he lied on the test. Maybe he was truthful on all the answers but the test is flawed and just missed him? Further, screening people for racist thoughts is down right authoritarian bullshit. The screening is crap and so is firing anyone for lying on it.

  67. “who says you have First Amendment rights when it comes to your employer?”

    When your employer is the government I think our courts do.

  68. “John – who says you have First Amendment rights when it comes to your employer?”

    When my employer is the government it sure as hell does.

  69. The article also says that he is a captain in the National Guard. I’m ignorant of the rules for the NG(as I am on many things). Can someone comment on the effect this may have concerning his participation in the military? I remember a thread weeks ago here about neo-nazis in the military.

  70. This case appears to resemble the case in New York where Judge Sotomayor wrote of the first amendment barrier to firing a cop who had expressed racist views-in his individual capacity and not while in the line of duty.

    I believe she was the dissent in that case, no?

  71. John, I agree.

  72. awww, looks like poooor baby got all butt-hurt because his little lifestyle was not the object of awe and affection yesterday. Don’t cry, little one, here’s a picture for you, ChicagoTom.

  73. ” why can’t I be fired for being a gun nut and saying awful things about our elected officials? Or for disliking environmentalists or do-gooder Democrats? Or anything other view my boss happens to find offensive.

    Hey, in my ideal world, you could be.”

    What a wonderful wooo-rld.

  74. John,

    You finally have something to agree with Judge Sotomayor about. Recall her dissent in the case of Pappas v. Giuliani. This is where a NYPD employee (who had a desk job) mailed a racist letter, anonymously, to another police department. The Second Circuit court said that, as far as the First Amendment was concerned, the NYPD had the right to fire this guy (which it did), because of the broader discretion government has to punish the speech of its own employees than the speech of a private citizen. Balancing the interests involved, the court found that the importance of police-community relations mean that it should be able to fire those who express anti-minority sentiments.

    Your gal Sonia dissented here, because on balance, she thought free expression should prevail – especially since the guy wasn’t a patrol officer and his racism had been unveiled through a government investigation, not his own efforts to alert to the public to his racism.

    This Boston cop actually patrolled the streets (as he alluded to with his comments about his inclination to pepper-spraying defiant monkeys), and he made his identity and racism known to the public instead of waiting for an investigation to reveal it. Other than that, we still have a case of a government worker exercising free expression!

    ‘Last I looked we had a first amendment that protected the right to free speech. It doesn’t say anything about “free speech except racist speech by cops”.’

    The Supremes apply a balancing test for public employees, weighing the guys right to speak on matters of public concern against the government’s right to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of its work force.

    This rule protects speech more than the old rule, which is that the government can fire any employee whose speech it doesn’t like. As future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes put it, in a case involving a cop: ‘The petitioner may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be a policeman. There are few employments for hire in which the servant does not agree to suspend his constitutional right of free speech, as well as of idleness, by the implied terms of his contract. The servant cannot complain, as he takes the employment on the terms which are offered him.’

    The old, Holmes standard has the merit of letting the government regulate its own employees with less worry about being sued. Even under the modern standard, it seems that courts wouldn’t allow a First Amendment right for this genius in Boston. But he can always sue and find out.

  75. John and MNG – I was saying, ideally, why should it philosophically be the case that you have First Amendment rights with your employer?

    Like I said, public employees, especially police, are entrusted with power. For that, they have to act in accordance with prevailing sentiment. John, what would you say if this were a racist judge? That seems like there is an obvious answer.

  76. “The article also says that he is a captain in the National Guard. I’m ignorant of the rules for the NG(as I am on many things). Can someone comment on the effect this may have concerning his participation in the military? I remember a thread weeks ago here about neo-nazis in the military.”

    If he is not on orders and actually drilling, he is not subject to military jurisdiction. There are prohibitions against joining extremist organizations. But, you cannot be kicked out of the military for merely thinking or writing racist thoughts.

  77. To say “banana-eating jungle monkey” and then insist “I didn’t mean it in a racist way.”
    Where is he going with this? Who is giving him advice?
    – you would think that if he wanted to try to save his job – he would have come up with a better line than this – it is almost like he wants to get fired.

  78. It’s hard not to laugh in retrospect at how well-treated, relatively speaking, Gates was by Crowley and the other cops he actually encountered on his porch. Imagine if Justin Barrett had been the responding officer? What’s funny is that Gates treated Crowley as though he WERE a Justin Barrett–i.e., a rabid Neanderthal of the bile-spewing sort that we don’t even see in Mississippi any more–rather than the sensitivity trainer he actually is.

  79. To take up Tom’s point that all cops who make any racist remarks should be fired,

    My actual statemet:

    I think that a case can be made for firing a racist from the police force — for the benefit of the community as a whole.

    I didn’t say any cops who make any racist comments should be fired. I said racist cops should be fired. There is a difference there.

  80. If we privatized police forces we wouldnt need to worry about his free speech. He could be fired at his employers will.

  81. “John, what would you say if this were a racist judge?”

    It would be strong evidence to examine his record on the bench. But if you can’t show me where he is actually doing something, I don’t think you should do anything to him.

  82. Cops aren’t racist. No really. They aren’t. To continue to beat a deceased equine.

    * I agree with the faults expressed in the article about the statistical methods. One is serious the others are just footnote grips.

  83. awww, looks like poooor baby got all butt-hurt because his little lifestyle was not the object of awe and affection yesterday. Don’t cry, little one, here’s a picture for you, ChicagoTom.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!

  84. are you kidding? I could subject the guy to Article 15s (under the General Article that racist thoughts fall under 134):”all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces”

    I’d do it, too.

  85. “If he is not on orders and actually drilling, he is not subject to military jurisdiction.”

    That’s not right, is it?

  86. You might be right CT. I did not read the case itself. I do recall some posters addressing it in a Sotomayor thread.

  87. MNG – actually, that is correct. You’re under UCMJ only when on orders, at drill or on Title X.

  88. “I didn’t say any cops who make any racist comments should be fired. I said racist cops should be fired. There is a difference there.”

    Point taken. But I think this guy is at least on some level a racist. That said there are levels of racism. There are tons of racist people out there, black and white, who manage to do the right thing when dealing with the other race. It is possible to put aside your prejudices. People are full of prejudices yet somehow manage to generally get on in the world. There are levels of racism. That is why you have to judge people on how they act not how they think.

  89. “I could subject the guy to Article 15s (under the General Article that racist thoughts fall under 134):”all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces”

    First, the guy is not active duty so not under jurisdiction. Second, you can technically apply 134 to about anything. But actually getting a conviction is something else.

  90. Further, screening people for racist thoughts is down right authoritarian bullshit. The screening is crap and so is firing anyone for lying on it.

    The police work for all of the citizens.

    Are you saying that those citizens can’t take cognizance of the fact that someone hates and despises some of them for their race when making the decision about whom to hire to wield the police power?

    Your First Amendment right to express yourself does not entitle you to declare that you do not accept the requirements of holding a particular government job, but still get and keep the job.

    What if the guy wrote an essay saying, “I support worldwide Marxist revolution, and I think that one way to achieve that would be for all of us Marxists to infiltrate police and military organizations, and then use those organizations to topple the bourgeois capitalist government. Maybe to warm up, we should use our position as cops to trump up false charges against people who make too much noise about fighting Communism, to get them out of the way.”

    If I write that essay as a non-cop, it’s protected speech.

    If a cop writes that essay, we are entitled to believe that it means that he cannot be trusted to be a cop.

  91. Would I get banned if I said this shit stain should resign.

    That still kills me. I have issues with letting things go.

    MNG – actually, that is correct. You’re under UCMJ only when on orders, at drill or on Title X.
    Is that the same for officers?

  92. That’s amazing.

    But yeah, I am totally okay with restricting the rights of those given power over other citizens in order to decrease the chance that they will abuse it. Or rather, I think they should be free to use those rights, but that their job might be conditional on not using those rights in a way that conflicts with their duties. Demonstrating racist or other prejudgemental views would fall into that category, even if in reality there was no conflict, because the risk is too high. Judges, cops, DAs, and to a lesser extent other political officials would all fall into the group that their jobs should be dependent on their lack of bias.

  93. OK, upon reading the whole e-mail, the guy should be fired for being a fucking nutcase.

  94. But actually getting a conviction is something else.

    Well, you were saying about the military in general. But I could certainly write Company-Grade Article-15s, and when I moved to process him out for failure to fit in with the military, I would have a whole file of damaging Article 15s to back me up. The vast amount of powers that we have (and you know this) is amazing, and you know I could do it.

    And with this guy? I would, too.

  95. or what Flufferificus said.

  96. This has nothing to do with the First Amendment. No one is saying he should be criminally prosecuted, just disciplined by his employer. The “State” is acting in the capacity of an employer in this situation, and has the prerogative to fire whomever they wish. Of course there is no law against being a racist, and I don’t believe in “thought crimes” ether. However, the government is not denying him his liberty or property if they fire him in this case; they are simply doing what any other employer may do. The idea that this man has some kind of “right” to his job and that he can’t be fired for any reason (or no reason at all) is pretty un-libertarian.

  97. MNG – he was active duty. Active duty subjects you to 24-7 UCMJ jurisdiction, and you can be tried under the UCMJ for crimes you committed while on active duty, even after your service obligation expires. Technically, we could go after, say, someone who committed murder in Viet Nam today, in 2009.

  98. Absent evidence of actual misconduct, merely saying something racist in your off hours should be no more a firing offense than him saying he can’t stand Yankee fans.

    Yankee fans didn’t suffer through slavery and institutional discrimination for hundreds of years. So, equating the two is idiotic.

  99. MNG,

    The First Amendment definitely applies to government-as-employer, but there are exceptions. What I referred to earlier about statements relating to official duties comes from at least one Supreme Court case, unless my memory is completely off.

  100. This part:
    “We therefore hold that the requirements of the Constitution are not violated where, as here, a court-martial is convened to try a serviceman who was a member of the Armed Services at the time of the offense charged.”

  101. I’m not defending what he said, but just because you use a racial slur does not mean you are a racist. If you want to insult or demean someone verbally you pick the words most likely to do the most harm. In this case a racial slur. If that asshole in accounting pisses me off I might call him a fat bastard. That doesn’t mean I hate the overweight or think they they are inferior. Also a lot of what is called racism is actually bigotry. And while I’m at it racial profiling does not necessary mean the the profiler is a racist or a bigot.

  102. MNG – what’s the problem?

  103. Oh wow, that letter is amazing. My brain hurts.

    I don’t understand how someone so stupid can not realize they aren’t even approaching intelligent enough to be condescending to anyone. Definitely check out the full text.

  104. Pro
    I think you’re right, I was just responding to TAO’s comment that the two (public employer firings and the 1st) were not related.

    TAO
    I see. So an inactive military person, or just one who is not on drill currently, though obligated to go back on drill in the future, would not have the status of of being “a member of the armed forces?” That seems odd…

  105. He has been suspended from the national guard pending an investigation.

  106. well, you would not have very many people in the Reserves and National Guard if they were subject to the bullshit UCMJ in their civilian lives.

  107. Forget firing him for being racist, the complete lack of intelligence he has shown is more disconcerting. Sending out the email shows that he is too freaking stupid to ever be trusted to make semi-intelligent decision regarding when to use a gun, what the laws are or be able to investigate a crime and draw valid conclusions.

  108. Regarding 1st Amendment.

    http://www.cityofboston.gov/police/pdfs/rule113.pdf

    Canon Eight: Employees shall conduct their private affairs so as not to reflect unfavorably on the Boston Police Department; or in such a manner as to affect their ability to perform their duties honestly, effectively, fairly, and without impairment.

    Read the rest.

  109. I guess the problem is that the court adopts a status test for the jurisdiction, that is, simply, was the person a member of the armed forces or not at the time in question. I guess what you are saying is that when a NG member is not doing his guard thing he no longer has the status of being a member of the NG? Maybe you’re right, but that seems odd.

  110. I believe libertarians support the right of employers to fire employees for any reason they desire. After all, people don’t have a right to a job. First amendment has nothing to do with this, as the cop in question can still spew his idiocy even without retaining his employment with the force.

  111. Who says that the government gets to fire any employee because they express an allegedly racist view? The state is NOT like a private employer. I see no grant of power in the Mass constitution authorizing the state to fire an employee upon the basis that the employee allegedly made politically incorrect statements.

    Moreover, a perfectly reasonable libertarian position is that one has property rights in his job and that a free society canot sanction the state depriving said rights without some due process.

  112. ” perfectly reasonable libertarian position is that one has property rights in his job and that a free society canot sanction the state depriving said rights without some due process.”

    Why wouldn’t that apply to private employers, especially if we say the property right in the job exists if there is exists an expectation of continued employment? Private folks should not be able to deprive me of my property…

  113. ……and I could care less if a cop is a racist. If he treats everyone with the same professionalism (and I know there are cops that can choose to act professionally if they so wish) and courtesy (even if it is faked and ungenuine), then I could give a shit about what he thinks. I only care about his actions and especially those actions that have tangible effects on others.

  114. We are just way too thin skinned. Way.

  115. I’m not defending what he said, but just because you use a racial slur does not mean you are a racist.

    Quite true. I’ve used colorful language in reference to a few half-assed repairs I’ve done. I am a racist, but my use of the term wouldn’t have been any indication.

    That’s not true. I’m no racist. I think all races are eaual, except for maybe one or two inferior ones.

  116. After all, people don’t have a right to a job. First amendment has nothing to do with this, as the cop in question can still spew his idiocy even without retaining his employment with the force.

    Pretty much what Oliver Wendell Holmes said, back in the day.

    Sounds about right to me.

  117. ……and I could care less if a cop is a racist. If he treats everyone with the same professionalism (and I know there are cops that can choose to act professionally if they so wish) and courtesy (even if it is faked and ungenuine), then I could give a shit about what he thinks. I only care about his actions and especially those actions that have tangible effects on others.

    I think it’s more than that. Even if he is courteous and professional, a racist cop might be more willing to only look at certain people as suspects or be less responsive to certain peoples complaints or be more willing to use his discretion to favor certain races over others. Or decide to courteuosly subject more of certain races to random (or barely justified) stop/searches.

    I do think that racism is inherently bad for someone with that type of power over average citizens, but I admit that it’s difficult to see where the line should be. I don’t think every one who has racists thoughts or beliefs, or says anything racist should be fired, but in this specific case, this guy is a racist with really poor judgment who made the police look bad. I would have no qualms about him being fired.

  118. MNG-

    Well, let me say first that I am not talking about layoffs triggered by financial constraints or, in the case of the state, layoffs motivated by the goal to just plain shrink government.

    Second, absent the layoffs trigered by economic factors and shrinking government period, I basically agree.

  119. CT-

    “a racist cop MIGHT (emphasis added) be more willing…”

    Speculation. We do not want the state to limit what we can do upon the basis that a given activity MIGHT lead to other problems.

  120. Dude signed a contract stating that he would not conduct himself in a manner that reflects unfavorably on his employer.

    The only question is whether this act fits that description, it seems.

  121. “Employees shall conduct their private affairs so as not to reflect unfavorably on the Boston Police Department;” (Thanks Neu Mejican)

    Fair enough. Seems to me like he accepted that contractually when he took the job. That, IMO, justifies his canning.

  122. “This brings up an interesting question. What if there were a cop who had good evaluations and never a complaint about his treatment of suspects but who, on his own time, was a prominent member of a Neo-nazi group or Klan group. Should he be fired for that?”

    Isn’t that almost a pre req for employment with the FBI?

  123. kilroy/NM,

    A published policy doesn’t affect the First Amendment issues, because the policy could be unconstitutional on its face or in its application.

    That language sounds potentially unconstitutional if applied to speech outside that connected directly to the duties of the employee.

  124. Speculation. We do not want the state to limit what we can do upon the basis that a given activity MIGHT lead to other problems.

    No we don’t. But the state should be able to limit what their agents might do. If a person as an agent of the state has power over people he sees as inferior.

    I don’t have a problem with not allowing him to have that power based on how he might use it. Agents of the state should be held to a much higher standard than you and I.

  125. Dude signed a contract stating that he would not conduct himself in a manner that reflects unfavorably on his employer.

    The only question is whether this act fits that description, it seems.

    In fairness to the other side in this debate, the question is whether the city can constitutionally make that a job requirement. If not, that element of the contract would have no force.

    If they put it into the contract that you could not be a practicing Christian and be a police officer, that would get struck down as a religious test for an office or government benefit.

    The problem is that the state obviously has the right to make judgments between different candidates when hiring. Could someone who got all the answers wrong on the police exam sue and claim that his free speech right to proclaim different answers to be correct had been violated by the graders of the test? Of course not, because the state is entitled to prefer people who wrote different answers on the test in its hiring. Not hating and despising black people is just the “right answer” on the meta-test to be a cop.

  126. Pro L,

    Perhaps.
    But see RC Dean’s post above.

    I don’t see how this amounts to a law that infringes the freedom of speech. Even when the employer is a city government.

  127. “We are just way too thin skinned. Way.”

    Hey …

  128. I somewhat got interested in this issue because of this.

    P.S. On a completely unrelated note, anyone know anything about Conor Friedersdorf? He seems to be a punching bag for a lot of folks (now including me); is he trying to make himself into the newest John Cole or something like that?

  129. We do not want the state to limit what we can do upon the basis that a given activity MIGHT lead to other problems.

    True. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t limit what the state can do on the basis that its activities might lead to other problems.

    The relationship between the State and the citizenry is not symmetrical.

  130. I don’t think that asserting his freedom of speech will be enough to save his job. They may not have the right to fire him based on what he said, but they can definately fire him because his comments will make it impossible for him to do his job in the future. No jury in their right mind would believe a word this guy said or wrote in a police report if the case involves a minority defendant. Since he has proven that he is a racist simpleton, he isn’t really credible as an impartial witness for the prosecution anymore.

  131. . I must confess to some degree he was right on target, to the extent this has become about race the larger (imo) point about police abuse of power has been lost…

    You are right on the money with that quote. I watched ABC World News, and they interviewed Eric Holder specifically on racial profiling as the subject of the interview with the lead in ‘he too (the other party being referenced was Gates) has been the victim of racial profiling.’

    The mainstream press is bending over backwards not to mention or examine the civil liberties aspect of this incident. What are they worried about, getting the ACLU liberal label thrown at them if they ever had a realistic report on police activity?

  132. The government is generally prohibited from discriminating on the basis of content or viewpoint in freedom of expression cases. A narrow exception is allowed for government-as-employer, but the general rule is that vague laws, rules, or other government pronouncements can be unconstitutional on the grounds that they chill expression. Applying the rule you mentioned to speech could be very problematic, because what would that allow? Publicly criticizing the president could place the department in an unfavorable light, but that’s clearly protected speech.

    As I said above, this guy in this instance probably can be fired, because his statements refer to the performance of his job.

  133. The rule that you can’t fire someone for saying racist things is ripe for abuse. If a civil servant didn’t already have tenure, he could effectively get it by saying something about banana eating jungle monkeys. At that point, his bosses would know that any attempt to fire him would bring a civil rights lawsuit, claiming that they were really firing him for what he said.

    Private employers see this all the time with “whistleblowers” who file spurious complaints and reports.

  134. The monkey comment is likely protected. The other comments about what he would’ve done might not be.

  135. In the spring of 1989, I was in school and I had begun driving a cab in the shitty of Boston for extra cash. One night I picked up two black guys and a single black female. They directed me to turn into the parking lot of a Roxbury housing project, located in back of the builidng. There was just one means of ingress/egress. I was held up at gunpoint.

    Ten days later, after having dropped off a fare in Roxbury, I was approaching a set of lights turning red. I noticed a black guy approaching the cab in a suspicious manner. My instincts kicked in and as he appraoched the driver’s side door, I opened the door forcefully thereby knocking him back. I jumped out of the cab and put him down. I took his gun and bashed his face with the gun. I took the gun with me as I got into the cab and drove off looking for a cop. About three or four minutes later I located a cruiser and signaled the cop. He was black. I told him what had happened. I gave him the gun and again told him that my assailant was just a couple of blocks away.

    The black cop’s response: “Let the nigger lie there.”

    Was the black cop racist? Should he have been fired for his statment?

  136. “A published policy doesn’t affect the First Amendment issues, because the policy could be unconstitutional on its face or in its application.”

    You are probably right but it’s my opinion that you should be able to enter into a contract that restricts or eliminates your rights, if you’re stupid enough to do so.

  137. Was the black cop racist? Should he have been fired for his statment?

    To the first question, yes, to the second, no. But if he ever wrote an idiotic, mass-distributed screed, maybe.

  138. I’m all for people saying whatever they want. He voluntarily subjected himself to the military laws and restrictions placed on him by his employer.

    Don’t be a comma happy fucking retarded racist shit stain and you won’t have these kinds of problems.

  139. He deserves to be fired for being dumb enough to send it to the Boston Globe. Get a clue, morans!

    The police need to loosen up on their too smart to be a cop limits.

  140. You are probably right but it’s my opinion that you should be able to enter into a contract that restricts or eliminates your rights, if you’re stupid enough to do so.

    Right. I’ve been there and I’m still there.

  141. Was the black cop racist? Should he have been fired for his statment?

    Yes and Yes. He should have gone and arrested him instead of making that statement (Did he go and arrest him?)

  142. Art-P.O.G.-

    Did you think that the white priest who preached with Rev. Wright was a racist for referring to certain white folks as “crackers?”

  143. Judge Dorsey ruled that Mr. Jordan was not denied equal protection because the city of New London applied the same standard to everyone: anyone who scored too high was rejected..

    So then instead it should have been a class action suit and all the high IQ people should claim discrimination?

  144. CT-

    I don’t think so. The cop did take down the info-what happened, my name, address, phone, etc. I was never contacted.

    I will add in some context. At the time, the spring of 1989, Boston was undergoing a terrific amount of gang violence, drive by shootings, etc.

    The black cop did ask me what the hell I was doing in Roxbury at 2 AM.

  145. Let’s make this an extraordinary educational opportunity for Officer Barrett and for all of America. For the next 12 months, have him do community work without pay, walking up and down Harvard Square dressed up in a monkey suit and on a strict bananas-only diet for 12 hours a day. In a case like this, humor would be both the best individual punishment and the greatest form of collective healing for the country.

  146. Did you think that the white priest who preached with Rev. Wright was a racist for referring to certain white folks as “crackers?”

    Yes.

  147. The black cop did ask me what the hell I was doing in Roxbury at 2 AM.

    I’m sure he assumed you were buying crack. 😉

  148. Hey, does Barrett get a beer, too?

  149. I just think there are more respectful ways to refer to people than as “niggers”, “honkeys” or “banana-eating jungle monkeys”.

  150. Umm, guys, some of you need to re-read the First Amendment. It restrains the government from making speech a crime (“Congress shall make no law…”). It doesn’t mean that the government can use force to make speech completely consequence-free.

    If I said something in public that embarrasses my employer, I would not be “suspended”; I would be out the door without even time to pack up my desk. And, in my view, rightly so. Why should they be forced to keep the millstone around their neck that I’ve become?

    Of course, I’m just a lowly private citizen. I suppose some of you are going to explain to me now why standards ought to be looser for people like cops.

    This cop displayed poor judgement–shit, downright stupidity–at the very least. Do you want somebody like that to have the kind of power that he does?

  151. Don’t be a comma happy fucking retarded racist shit stain and you won’t have these kinds of problems.

    If it were only that easy. The blatant racist like this guy are few and far between in regards to those public employers who are disciplined for what they believe. Most of the cases involve those who belong to unpopular groups like Islamic oriented charity organizations, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  152. I like to use “assholes” and “fuckers”.

  153. Enjoy Every Sandwich,

    That’s not what the Supreme Court has ruled. Public employers absolutely are constrained by the requirements of the Constitution. They are given some leeway as employers, but not all that much, especially when it comes to statements or actions outside of the workplace.

  154. I believe she was the dissent in that case, no?

    Dissent or not, she was right.

    What makes this case a bit different is the part about the pepper spray. Racism is one thing, but racism combined with explicit written thoughts of using official power to do harm on the basis of one’s racism is another.

  155. People like him scare me.

  156. I just think there are more respectful ways to refer to people than as “niggers”, “honkeys” or “banana-eating jungle monkeys”.

    AAs a somewhat white guy, you wouldn’t offend me with honkey. That is a funny word. I asked an old black guy where did that word even come from, according to him, white people in the old days wore shoes that squeaked when they walked by, hence ‘honkey’.

    Cracker hurts though.

  157. and the guy wasn’t fired, he was suspended,

    if one of my employees stated that he would use his job to assault another person, I’d suspend him, too.

  158. It’s not assault (or battery) when you’re a cop educating little people.

  159. Pro Libertate, I understand that’s the reality. But is it right? Explain how.

  160. If the Boston police don’t fire the guy, if he is in a “racial incident” all good faith they have go right out the window. Just like a parish moving a kiddie-diddler priest around or a rapist who wasn’t fired after repeated sexual harassment complaints.

    Sexual harassment (or any sort of verbal harassment) isn’t covered by the 1st (or at least only narrowly.)

  161. John,
    What’s your opinion on Ward Churchill getting fired?

  162. I think it is right. The Constitution, in fact, doesn’t create exceptions on when it applies. It’s generally a grant of enumerated, limited powers. To take it to an extreme, if government-as-employer is not subject to constitutional limits, then what couldn’t it do to its employees?

  163. Free speech is not always nice speech.
    I don’t like the “Porch Monkey in Chief” and I have the right to say so.

  164. Barret suggested the title of the article should have been “Conduct unbecoming a jungle monkey, back to one’s roots.”

    This, to me, speaks of a much deeper level of racism. It isn’t just some “off-color comments.” It isn’t just a “prejudice(sic) against stupid people.”

  165. Government-as-employer couldn’t do anything more than private company-as-employer could do. Why do government employees need extra special protection?

  166. I think he was talking about Gates’ Irish background.

  167. Carl, yes of course you can say that. But if you say it in some parts of Compton or West Palm Beach then there may be some consequences to you exercising your right to speak freely. The cop is gonna lose his job and probably his position with the Ma. national guard as a consequence for his exercising his right.

  168. JB, wow, I would think that disparaging Irish ancestry in Boston would be worse than what he actually did.

  169. Because they’re citizens, too. Look, you can’t create broad exceptions to constitutional limits. I think the Court has handled this fairly well, because government employees get hired, fired, and diced all the time without a whole lot of issue.

    I’m not sure that the comparison between public and private employers is apt, anyway. Government writes the rules. It could easily say, for instance, that the ADA doesn’t apply to government employees. What it can’t do is say that the Constitution doesn’t apply.

  170. So how can they say that the Constitution doesn’t apply to me? How do I get the “alpha” citizenship package?

  171. Pro Lib, doesn’t the government say that the constitution doesn’t apply with folks employed by the military? I’m speaking of the neo-nazi affiliation and gays being booted in particular. Free speech gets manhandled as well for military members.

  172. Of course he should be disciplined. He sent a racist screed to a newspaper and identified himself as a police officer and a member of the National Guard. If he’d run down the street yelling “I’m a Boston Police Officer and you are are all jungle monkeys,” he should get fired even if he’s off duty.

  173. well kids, this is fun and all that but I have to shell a hamper of field peas. A great afternoon to all.

  174. brotherben,

    I’m no military law expert, but I think the idea is that military personnel get all the constitutional rights, but they have a different set of interpretations governing the protection of those rights. So, for instance, there might not be a Miranda warning. Obviously, it’s a lot worse than that in the military, but I think that’s the general viewpoint.

  175. Wow… Just wow. This continues to boggle the mind.

  176. The Constitution says “Congress shall make no law . . . ” It doesn’t say “The government shall not fire. . . .” I don’t think the government firing an employee for what they say violates the First Amendment (unless it is done pursuant to a law passed by Congress).

  177. It’s pretty simple… he was within his right of Free Speech to say what he said. However, he does not have a right to a job – publicly funded or not.

    They have a written policy that he agreed to when he agreed to work there, he clearly violated it. So while he should not be imprisoned, fined or criminally prosecuted, etc, that does not protect his employment. He broke his agreement when he sent an email that included going to a major media outlet representing his credentials as a Boston police officer citing how he would have (violently & probably illegally) handled the situation had it presented to him in his official capacity.

    Had it simply been an email exchange between him and a friend, I would likely argue differently… but it went to the Globe as well, so this clearly falls under ‘reflecting unfavorably on the Boston Police Department’. When you make a VERY PUBLIC statement citing your credentials and stating how you would handle the situation, I am in full support of your employer having the ability – government or otherwise – to use that as a judgement of your performance including a determination as to termination of employment.

  178. R C Dean,

    You’re going to make me go research this, aren’t you? Well, I won’t, but I will link. And excerpt:

    Thus, although the public employer cannot muzzle its employees or penalize them for their expressions and associations to the same extent that a private employer can (the First Amendment, inapplicable to the private employer, is applicable to the public employer), the public employer nonetheless has broad leeway in restricting employee speech. If the employee speech does not relate to a matter of “public concern,” then Connick applies and the employer is largely free of constitutional restraint. If the speech does relate to a matter of public concern, then Pickering’s balancing test (as modified by Connick) is employed, the governmental interests in efficiency, workplace harmony, and the satisfactory performance of the employee’s duties being balanced against the employee’s First Amendment rights. While the general approach is relatively easy to describe, it has proven difficult to apply. The First Amendment, however, does not stand alone in protecting the speech of public employees; statutory protections for “whistleblowers” add to the mix. [citations omitted]

  179. Very funny, Art-P.O.G. A white cabbie dropping off a black passenger, in a black neighborhood, just ten days after having been robbed at gunpoint in that same neighborhood, would make for good cover.

    BTW, a Kenyan cabbie, who was a grad student at Harvard and who leased a cab from the same cab company as I did, thought that I was an idiot for picking up american black passengers.

  180. Yeah, I don’t know about ya’lls military experience, but when I was in the Army everything you did off-duty could and would be used against you. Hell, if your wife screwed up on post it could affect your career.

    As for a racist officer!?!?! Fuck him. Get his sorry ass out of the military.

  181. Which classes of animals and which habitats are and aren’t racist when used as epithets? Thank you.

  182. Eagles?

  183. The officer needs to offer the following as a defense: “I misspelled ‘cheese-eating surrender monkey'”.

    That’s so totally not racist.

  184. Ah, yes…

  185. Lions?

  186. Tigers? Bears?

  187. It has been said, for years, that the use of the vernacular “they have the horses” or “that team has more horses” or “he is quite a horse” to describe a good ball club or individual player in the context of team sport in America is racist as “horses” is code for black.

    Heck, the word athlete itself could, by today’s standards, be considered racist if the word is pronounced “ath’ a letes” and used as follows:

    Well, even though this BYU squad is talented, they are going to have a tough time today competing with FLorida’s ath’ a letes.

  188. Raccoons?

    Maybe former president Chimpy McBush can help sort this whole thing out.

  189. It has been said, for years, that the use of the vernacular “they have the horses” or “that team has more horses” or “he is quite a horse” to describe a good ball club or individual player in the context of team sport in America is racist as “horses” is code for black.

    Anyone who has been in an, er, integrated, locker room can tell you why.

  190. This guy was obviously intoxicated when he wrote that rambling, incoherent, & highly offensive screed. Any other explanation I’ve heard considered is incomplete or inaccurate or both.

  191. This man is not a private citizen. He is a police officer (a public servant) who serves at the will of the people; i.e.; government. He is also a member of the National Guard. He sent a private email from the server used by the Boston Police which was against the police policy. He is sexist and racist (she should serve me coffee) and a potential hothead (pepper spray). Good riddance.
    He used historically racial epithets in his email and uses the ol’ standby; “My friends are…”. Yeah right buddy. I hope they toss you out on your bigoted tail.
    PS This jerk works in a mainly black enclave of Boston called Mattapan. I am sure all the jungle monkeys there will be happy to see him go.

  192. He claims to be a writer, yet he writes “ax” instead of “ask” several times in his email…That’s got to be embarrassing.

  193. Dorothy Gale | July 30, 2009, 5:59pm | #

    Tigers? Bears?

    Oh my!

  194. Just to make this very clear…he is not just a member of the National Guard, he is an *officer* in the National Guard.

    Unlike the police, military officers are held to what I believe they call a “higher standard”.

  195. Some people are stupid. Highlights at eleven.

  196. Toward the end of the email, right after he suggested that the author slap him or herself, look in the mirror and admit to being a failure, he wrote “Again, I like a warm cruller and hot Panamanian, black. No sugar.” Juh? Wtf was that?

  197. highnumber, earlier in the email he had suggested that the writer was barely fit to serve him his coffee and donuts. I guess he likes panamanian coffee.

  198. He wrote “ax” instead of “ask” intentionally as a racial slur. He meant it to be an insult, as it is a common racist sterotype that blacks cannot pronounce words correctly. In fact, I found this to be the most blatantly racist content in his entire screed.

  199. highnumber, oh, and no thanks are necessary my friend. I just happen to be fluent in raging delusional dumbassese. It’s a gift really.

  200. Mister DNA | July 30, 2009, 6:02pm | #
    Raccoons?

    You’re toast.

  201. This brings up an interesting question. What if there were a cop who had good evaluations and never a complaint about his treatment of suspects but who, on his own time, was a prominent member of a Neo-nazi group or Klan group. Should he be fired for that?

    I’m not trying to be smart, I see it as a tough one..

    I don’t see it as a tough one at all. If his or her conduct on the job was exemplary, then they should not be fired. The flip side to the Gates thing is that not only should a private citizen have the First Amendment right to be an arsehole to a cop, but a cop has a First Amendment right to be an arsehole off the job. Your private conduct should not matter, so long as on the job you behave professionally. You should be able to blow off steam all you want in private, so long as you can compartmentalize it.

    And, if a police department tried to fire such an officer for that reason, they’d likely get sued and lose.

  202. Of course he should be disciplined. He sent a racist screed to a newspaper and identified himself as a police officer and a member of the National Guard. If he’d run down the street yelling “I’m a Boston Police Officer and you are are all jungle monkeys,” he should get fired even if he’s off duty.

    This hypothetical in the last sentence, on the other hand, should be a firing offense, since by identifying himself in his official capacity while acting as a racist, he’s crossed the line from private to public.

  203. I don’t see it as a tough one at all. If his or her conduct on the job was exemplary, then they should not be fired. The flip side to the Gates thing is that not only should a private citizen have the First Amendment right to be an arsehole to a cop, but a cop has a First Amendment right to be an arsehole off the job.

    Jesus, you’re right only about one thing: this isn’t a even a close call, but after that you’re just completely wrong. This isn’t about first amendment rights. Come on. Of course he has a first amendment right to say whatever racist thing he wants, and because of that right he will not be arrested and prosecuted for it. But he doesn’t have a right do have whatever job he wants and he certainly doesn’t have a right to a job as a cop. He has to qualify for the job, which means meeting your employers reasonable requirements. Given the power police have, not to mention their spotty history with race, the city absolutely has a massive, overwhelming and compelling interest in not employing racist cops. Period. Anything the cop does or says, on or off duty, which reveals that he does not in fact meet the city’s reasonable requirement of not being a racist pig, is grounds to fire him. This isn’t even a close call. I’m more of a first amendment absolutist than most, but employment has absolutely nothing to do with it. It is merely a right not to face criminal sanctions for what you say.

  204. The truth has been hijacked for a lie in our society today. The alleged “professor” was acting just like a chimpanzee who’d had his banana taken from him. 100 years ago, Gate’s ancestors were picking our cotton….Go figure…..

  205. A police officer or his canine partner are on the job and are present as a matter of duty, and so a crime against them takes on a greater harm to society than an act between two private citizens.

  206. Urm,

    “Freedom of speech” just meant that you weren’t thrown in jail for saying stuff. You can say anything you want but don’t expect that people are forced to listen.

    There is no economic right to say anything you want, and that some how you are immune from the economic downsides to what you say. If you say things that disqualify you from certain jobs then you should have to pay the consequences.

    There is no right to a job.

  207. A citizen or his canine partner are within a jurisdiction and are detained as a matter of imprisonment, and so a crime against them takes on a greater harm to society than an act between two private citizens.

  208. I’d like to thank Charlie for coming up with another line that would have gotten the good officer in trouble. Good example, Charlie.

  209. If you are not cop, or K-9 cop, you are little people.

  210. Some IDIOT mentioned free speech. It has nothing to do with the issue at hand. If you want to violate somebody’s free speech, it’s easy. You lock them up in prison for political dissent like they do in communist China. No one is suggesting that this be done to the racist cop. The city of boston, ya know, the ones who EMPLOY him, wish to fire him the same as your boss would fire you if you went on a racist rant during work.

    Free speech is not the issue here. Mr. “banana monkey n-word” Cop can go screaming about how much he hates darky all over town and no one will arrest him merely for talking….except for possibly officer Crowley. It’s always fun to violate the Constitution under the banner of a vague statute like “disorderly conduct.”
    Gates should still sue.

  211. What ever happened to common sense. Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean you should do it. Sometimes when you are gonna do something before you do it say what it is out loud, and if it sounds like a bad idea it probably is. All he had to do is say, “I am gonna send an e-mail out calling a man who happens to be black a Banana-Eating Jungle Monkey for the way he acted.”

    Wow, that doesn’t sound like a smart thing to say, maybe I just shouldn’t say it. Stop being so ignorant people.

    Lastly you all miss a major point. Police need to be good decision makers, and sometimes they have to make that decision very quickly during a crime. If this officer could not see that saying something like this was a bad decision, a decision he took ample time to make by actually typing it out, then you have to question if he should really be a cop.

  212. I propose that Dave York and Justin Barrett be put up against one another in the Thunderdome, the one who lives gets to wander the wasteland ostracized from civilized folk.

    So, which statement of these two gentlemen is the worst, the racist stupidity of the cop, or the attempts of the prosecutor whose purpose for promoting the rights of the canine are to diminish the rights of the people?

    Oh, charlie, you owned cotton one hundred years ago?

  213. Legend has it that First Ammendment does not extend to shouting fire in a crowded theater. The public good outweighs the individual’s right. I would suggest that having arrant racistc on the police force damages police community relations, make minorities less willing to cooperate with police, casts doubt over the fairness of police conduct and may make police greater targets for violence by the pissed off jungle bunny class. Sounds like enough justification to fire or discipline Klan cops etc. – especially in a time of war, when we already have enough to fear from the A-rabs right.

  214. And people are DEFENDING this dude’s comment…Seriously?

  215. I think in today’s age of moral-
    *notices this came out of Boston*

    haha, you guys stay classy.

  216. Wait, i am getting sick of people saying that Gates did nothing wrong. Yeh he was in his house, but refuse to give any I.D. for 1/2 an hour and after he finally did, with very crazed deterance, he produce the I.D. only to verbally attack Sgt. Crowley with racist remarks, and verbally abusing the officer, that tried to protect his home, with nasty things about his mother. I don’t care if your black, white , yellow or purple, the officer would arrest anyones ass after that treatment from a person that was acting like a …………….
    …..(you fill in the blank)

  217. The U.S. Constitution was badly written and is now poorly interpreted to this day.

    IIf the Boston Police Department or Mr. Gates does prosecute the police officer, they are only harming their own reputation since they are denying the police officer his right to free speech. There is nothing whatsoever in the U.S. Constitution which outlaws racism. He is entitled to his thoughts and to speak his mind publicly, verbally, and written in any way he sees fit.

    No doubt, we will hear Al Sharpton and his big mouth for many more days on this subject.

    Many people are calling for Justin Bartlett to resign or be fried. Ironic though, I don’t see many people asking for Barack Obama to reign or be impeached for calling James Crowley’s actions “stupid.”

  218. Common sense Isn’t common…

  219. Cut the guy some slack much like our racist President he just did not take the time to “calibrate” his words. Nothing to see here moe on, beer wagon in on its way and this will be a teaching lesson by days end.

    That is how things are done now, right?

  220. i’m also deeply offended, all the way in jamaica. and this man has a gun?? he just made himself a few million global enemies. i could respond with a few choice words myself but i’m calibrating…

  221. The U.S. Constitution was badly written

    I beg to differ. It is written quite well. People think its badly written because it doesn’t say what they wish it said.

  222. He maybe should have skipped sending it to the Boston Globe. Creating a public relations mess can’t be good for his continued employment.

    I don’t like what he said, but he certainly has every right to say it.

  223. This dude needs a time machine to head back to 1957 Little Rock, Arkansas. He’d fit right in outside Central High School around that time.

  224. If you fire someone it is not denying them the right of free speech.

    If you throw someone in jail then you are denying them the right of free speech.

    There is no economic right of free speech.

  225. To: “Henry Louis Gates” hgates@fas.harvard.edu
    Subject: About Horrible Rasssizzm and other stuff.
    Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2009 19:52:18 -0700

    To blame somebody in Racism or anti-Semitism without very serious proof is like to fart loudly in public places.
    I know there are some people who find that very witty, but most people have no respect for such “jokers”, even in USA.
    Especially for professor is unfitting to act like a monkey in the Zoo, without trace of respect or self-respect.

    BTW, James Crowley act like ass, too. I cannot decide who is worse. I think, you are both worse.

    Fornit
    —————

    I sent this e-mail long before I read about Justin Barrett’s letter. As you can clearly see, we have something in common.
    If somebody will say now “rassizm”, I’ll say “politcorrect idiot, kill yourself, make this world better”.
    Because if somebody is acting like a monkey, I’ll call him a monkey, regardless of his skin color or paycheck, or his rank.
    And I will not tolerate him even if he is black. Your skin color does not give you right to act like a retard and animal.
    I don’t have that brain disease called “politcorrectness”, so I will call the spade a bloody shovel!

  226. Now,would’nt all Americans and the world be “STUPID” to believe his explaination?

  227. fornit, you are like an order of magnitude smarter than Barbara Boxer.

  228. I think that a case can be made for firing a racist from the police force — for the benefit of the community as a whole. I mean there are already so many exceptions to the 1st amendment that it wouldn’t seem like a stretch to find one for this case.

    But I’m not a lawyer so don’t take what I just said seriously.

    If i had a choice i would rather they simply got around to firing Police who behave unprofessionally….like, I don’t know, firing an officer who arrests a citizen in his own home who didn’t beak any law.

  229. Did racism play a role in Gates arrest? Is there any indication that racism exists in police departments?

    Maybe there is a clue in this widely disseminated email.

  230. banana eating jungle monkey is funny. not to call someone though. whenever i hear or think of banana eating jungle monkey i laugh. my mom gets mad at m. but then again she also says jokingly dont all monkeys come from jungels

  231. I decided to purchase the seeds for the Dwarf Cavendish Banana variety
    due to the fact that I plan on cultivating the plant in a hydroponic environment.
    Starting the plant from a soilless media would be required,
    due to the seedlings later introduction into a top feed drip hydroponic system.

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