Boston Cop Justin Barrett sues commissioner and mayor for suspension

Filed in Local News, Politics by on August 4, 2009 0 Comments

Justin Barrett Cop

Last week we reported on a racist email Boston police officer Justin Barrett sent to the Boston Globe, likening Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates to a “banana-eating jungle monkey.” The move got Barrett suspended from the force, and the officer is now looking to sue the mayor, the police department, and the police commissioner for compensation.

The lawsuit claims that all three were “conspiring to intentionally inflict emotional distress” on Barrett, and that they were “conspiring to intentionally interfere with the property rights, due process rights, and civil rights of the plaintiff.’

Directly after the incident, police Commissioner Edward F. Davis called Barrett’s remarks “racist and inflammatory,” adding that they “will not be tolerated.” Mayor Thomas Menino also called for Barrett’s removal, telling the press: “He’s gone. G-O-N-E.”

It is Barrett’s position that these remarks were premature, opinion-based and judgmental, and that they tainted any official investigation into the incident, thereby tainting his suspension and possible firing.

The lawsuit calls the fallout “disproportionate to the allegations against Officer Barrett,” saying that he has not “had any meaningful opportunity to prepare any defense to the allegations based on [the] statements.’’

According to the document, Barrett seeks momentary compensation due to emotional and physical stress. The purported injuries include: mental anguish, pain and suffering,  post-traumatic stress, emotional distress, restrictions on personal freedom, sleeplessness, degradation, injury to reputation, and indignities and embarrassment.

Commissioner Davis was expected to rule on Barrett’s termination within ten days of the incident. No word yet on whether or not the lawsuit will alter that time-frame.

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