Justin Barrett, the Boston police officer who sent an e-mail that used a racial slur to describe Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., was fired from the force today by Police Commissioner Edward Davis.
Davis called Barrett's e-mail "egregious'' and said that the department cannot achieve its mission of getting the community involved in helping police to protect the city with an officer like Barrett on the force.
Barrett wrote his e-mail after controversy erupted last year over Gates's arrest by Cambridge Police, an incident that sparked a national debate over police treatment of minorities.
"Our department has a top to bottom commitment to community policing, which is founded in trust,'' Davis said in the statement. "We will not allow the actions of one to damage the community relationships that are essential to our mission to serve the citizens of Boston."
Barrett has sued the department and city contending that his civil and due process rights were violated. Barrett's attorney, Peter Marano, didn't immediately return a message seeking comment this afternoon.
Barrett called Gates a "banana-eating jungle monkey" in the July e-mail responding to a Boston Globe column by Yvonne Abraham about Gates's arrest.
The prominent professor was arrested by Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley, who had responded to his home for a report of a break-in. The charge of disorderly conduct was quickly dropped. Gates demanded an apology and the story began generating headlines internationally.
President Obama even became involved. At first, he criticized Cambridge Police. Then -- in an attempt to cool off the discussion -- he invited the two men to a "beer summit" in Washington.
Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
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