Daily Archives: July 29, 2009

Well that’s just lovely, kids. But of the Boston Police were doing the rowing that boat would sink like a stone.

And here’s the not-so-fine print:

“An officer in the Boston Police Department was suspended yesterday for writing a racially charged e-mail about Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. to colleagues at the National Guard, a law enforcement official said.
The law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Officer Justin Barrett referred to the black scholar as a ” jungle monkey” in the letter, written in reaction to media coverage of Gates’s arrest July 16.
Barrett, a 36-year-old who has been on the job for two years, was stripped of his gun and badge yesterday and faces a termination hearing in the next week, said police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll. He has no previous disciplinary record, she said.
“Yesterday afternoon, Commissioner Davis was made aware that Officer Barrett was the author of correspondence which included racially charged language,” she said. “At that time, Commissioner Davis immediately stripped Officer Barrett of his gun and badge, and at this time we will be moving forward with the hearing process.”
Barrett will receive legal representation from Boston Police Patrolmen’s Assocation, the police officer’s union. A woman who answered the phone at the police association said that union president Thomas J. Nee was not available for comment, but said he would be releasing a statement this evening.
Barrett could not immediately be reached for comment.”

And here’s the (soon-to-be-former?) officer now.


Separated at Birth?

Cop 2

Meanwhile in the very place where Two Week With Love was set we find a Commissioner not at all welcome to the likes of Carleton Carpenter:

“City commissioners are looking again to change their folksy logo, this time to incorporate the motto “In God We Trust.”

Commissioner Art Otero, who proposed the addition, said he was prompted to suggest the change because he doesn’t agree with the direction the country is going under the Obama administration, which he referred to as “socialist.” He said his initiative was not based on faith but on patriotism.

“This nation has been moving toward more liberal postures such as homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion and the legalization of marijuana,” Otero said. “I’m against that way of thinking. Those are not the values upon which this nation was founded. I think we need to fight for the values we’re losing.”

The logo for the former cow capital of Florida features a Brahman bull and includes palm trees against a lake and setting sun. In 2007, City Commissioner Cheryl Grieb proposed modernizing the look. Her proposal went nowhere, partly because of cost concerns.

Otero’s suggestion has the support of most of his colleagues. At a recent meeting, commissioners were shown three prototypes with the motto on the logo.

For 45 minutes, commissioners discussed the design’s colors, whether the horns on the Brahman bull should be bigger and the cost to implement changes on city vehicles, decals and official stationery.

Commissioner Carlos Irizarry expressed concern about the potential lawsuits the motto could invite. In an interview later with the Sentinel, however, he said it was important “to support Christianity and faith.”

Advocates of the constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state have argued that it’s not the government’s role to support a religion. Legal challenges against the use of the motto by government entities, nevertheless, have been largely rejected. The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review the issue.

The high court has addressed prayer at government meetings, saying that it’s OK only when it doesn’t refer to a specific religion. In 2007, Osceola County commissioners were advised by their attorney to stop invoking “Jesus” in their prayers at the beginning of each meeting.

A representative of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida said Kissimmee as well should avoid favoring one religion in its motto.

“The courts seem to have carved an exception to the rule for this phrase, but our position is that is does violate the separation of church and state principle,” said Glenn Katon, director of the ACLU of Florida’s Religious Freedom Project. “The motto, although not referring to one particular religion, does refer to one God. It can be interpreted as an endorsement of monotheist religions and the exclusion of Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism, for instance.”

The logo changes, if approved by the commission next month, would be phased in over five years. The $200,000 cost would be spread over that time. Most of that money, City Manager Mark Durbin said, would have been spent anyway.

“We’re not going to throw away the stationery we’re now using,” Durbin said. “But when we run out, probably in a year or so, we will make the changes. We would’ve had to buy more anyway.”

At least one city official volunteered to partially cover one expense.

When told of the $250 cost of carving the phrase into the wooden seal adorning commission chambers, Kissimmee Mayor Jim Swan said: “I do want to see ‘In God We Trust’ added. I’ll pay for half of it.”

Needless to say it should read In Debbie We Trust.

And so in honor of the Jungle Monkey du Jour, take it away kids!