“Author of Racist Email About Gates Sues to Keep His Job”

We haven’t weighed in on the Henry Louis Gates vs. Cambridge police affair, but it looks as if at least one really choice employment-law suit is going to come out of it. [WSJ Law Blog, Boston Globe]. The cop, Justin Barrett, is suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other harms. Elie Mystal, Above the Law: “I. Just. Love. America.


  • Well, you’d think he’d have a good 1st amendment claim.

  • Do you really think that the police union in Boston is going to let there be precedent that a policeman can be fired (or even suspended) for 1 off-duty statement? Wait till the brou-ha-ha dies down, then the matter will be quitely settled and this guy will be returned to work, with back pay. And the Mayor, who needs donations and votes, won’t say a word against it.

  • More news of the irony-challenged.

  • Being a police officer means having a license to carry weapons and bully people, usually with no oversight: we all know the potential penalty for “contempt of cop.” And when a police officer says something as dehumanizing as the “jungle monkey” comment, it *will* scare people and he can’t help knowing it. They’re going to be justifiably afraid he’ll bully them because they’re black.

    Every member of the public has a right to due process against that happening — and that must trump the police officer’s own freedom of speech, because if there are no limits on a cop’s license to bully people, then we no longer have the rule of law.

    The same goes for President Obama’s request that dissenters from his health care plan be reported to him. Many of us remember Nixon having the IRS audit people for being on his “enemies list” — and Obama has a *lot* more agencies and powers with which to do likewise than Nixon did, plus a filibuster-proof majority in Congress to protect him from any consequences. If Nixon and his cohorts in CREEP had ever had those advantages, he might still be there today as generalissimo!

    I want our constitutional form of government back.

  • Mr. Galt,

    There is a cottage industry of people making claims against police for disrespect. I don’t understand where your “no oversight” comes from.
    In the Professor Gates case, there was no evidence of the officer being bullying or disrespectful. The professor presumed some form of racial profiling when the police were protecting him and his property.

    The nuns in my grade school taught us that the worst sin was to be a pain in the butt. We were to respect authority. Professor Gates may have been legally able to protest his treatment by the officer, but he did have a duty as a citizen and department chairman to work with the officer.

    Your comment about President Obama is just foil-hat crazy.

  • “there was no evidence of the officer being bullying or disrespectful”

    I’d say arresting someone in their own home for “disturbing the peace” of no one but the arresting officer is evidence of bullying and dispect.

    I continue to believe that as a law-abiding citizen I have the right (some might believe duty) to say “Screw you, get the hell out of here” to a police officer at my home and to repeat that phrase until the public servant obeys my lawful demand.

  • Frank,

    Would you say “screw you” to a fireman putting out a fire in your house.

    Professor Gates was not arrested in his house. Apparently he was acting up in his yard ib front of a crowd and other police officers.

    As I understand it, the policeman had a duty to account for the second person and the backpacks. The backpacks could have been laptop bags., I suppose. But I just can’t understand why Professor Gates wouldn’t want to settle the matter politely. What kind of duty would it be to give the policeman a hard time?