Officer Justin Barrett of the Boston PD calls Gates a “jungle monkey”

Officer Justin Barrett

Officer Justin Barrett

POSTED: 3:06 pm EDT July 29, 2009
BOSTON — A Boston police officer was placed on administrative leave after he allegedly used a racial slur when referring to Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Boston Globe

In a mass e-mail, Officer Justin Barrett, 36, called Gates a “jungle monkey,” according to a law enforcement source.

Gates, a black Harvard scholar, was arrested at his home earlier this month on a disorderly conduct charge after he tried to budge open the door of his Cambridge home.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis found out about the e-mail on Tuesday and immediately stripped Barrett of his gun and badge, officials said. The e-mail was first sent anonymously to the Boston Globe and then to local members of the National Guard, where he is a member.

The e-mail was in response to a Globe article about Gates’ arrest. In the e-mail, Barrett writes, “(Gates’) first priority should be to get off the phone and comply with police, for if I was the officer he verbally assaulted like a … jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC deserving of his belligerent non-compliance.”

“I just say that we want to rid our department of the cancer, and that is what we did — rid the department of the cancer. All the police officers I know don’t condone any of that,” Boston Mayor Tom Menino said. “An individual preaching hate has no place in our society.”

Barrett is assigned to District B-3. He was placed on administrative leave pending a termination hearing.


The officer has had a badge with the department for two years and received extensive training in racial profiling prevention while in the academy.

“People go through these courses and they pass them and you don’t know what they are going to do in a situation,” Menino said.

The July 16 arrest sparked a national debate about race relations in America and set the stage for a meeting between President Barack Obama, the arresting officer Sgt. James Crowley and Gates.

The trio is set to meet at the White House on Thursday and discuss the incident over a beer.

Earlier Wednesday, the woman who called 911 to report the possible break-in at Gates’ home said she was vilified and called a racist after the incident and hopes the release of the police tapes “will help heal the community” as they have helped restore her reputation.

Whalen told the 911 dispatcher that she saw the men trying to push open a front door.

“I don’t know if they live there and they had a hard time with their key, but I noticed they had to use their shoulder to barge in, and they got in. I didn’t notice if they had a key or not, because I couldn’t see from my angle,” Whalen said.

“Are they white, black or Hispanic?” the dispatcher said.

“There were two larger men. One looked kind of Hispanic, but I am not sure. The other one entered, and I did not see him at all,” she said.

StreetGangs.Com Staff Posted by on Jul 30 2009. Filed under Good Cop / Bad Cop. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

7 Comments for “Officer Justin Barrett of the Boston PD calls Gates a “jungle monkey””

  1. It’s good to see swift action on the part of Commissioner Ed Davis

  2. Info for a criminal lawyer in Boston…

    Keep up the informative posts!…

  3. nivek_nailgun

    So, the first amendment doesn’t apply to him? I don’t agree with anyone’s offensive comments (white, black or otherwise), but this IS still America. He shouldn’t be fired.

  4. Ms Pinky

    There is a difference between the 1st amendment and what happened here.

    As civil service employees, police officers are and should be held to higher standards. You serve the public! And if you take a oath and only apply it to a select few than you have broken the law! Can the fire dept come to your burning home and realize its a black family and turn around and leave?!?!?!

    Boston has been and always will have its issues with racism. As a white woman, I hated my experience in Boston because I felt totally degraded and discriminated against during my first and only visit in 1999. I was on a business trip and happened to be accompanied by two co-workers who were black men.
    The police and all the residents looked at us with such crazy faces, looks of disgust, and laughter. When we finally found a restaurant to eat in, the waitress happened to be from Los Angeles too, with a son who was LAPD.
    I asked her why the funny looks and stares, she explained that around there a white woman with a black man (let alone 2) was 99.9% a prostitute! It didn’t matter that we were in $1,000+ suits and very well groomed and spoke intelligently.

    Needless to say we found a place to stay in Peabody (right off the fwy) and spend our free time in Dorcester… rather have dealt with the Big Dig traffic than the ignorance.

  5. Omg, that stuff is so funny. I will share that.

  6. People like Officer Justin Barrett join the police force so that they can hide behind their badge and get away with crap like this. Just like that criminal police officer that shot Oscar Grant for no reason at all !!! I guarantee you he wouldn’t have said that if he didn’t have that badge!!! It’s pussies like him that give good cops a bad name!!!

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