Boston Cop Suspended For Gates Racial Slur

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A Boston police officer has been suspended for using a racial slur to describe black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Commissioner Edward Davis put 36-year-old Justin Barrett on administrative leave pending a termination hearing after learning of the slur.

A person with knowledge of the case who was not authorized to speak publicly about the details said Barrett, a member of the National Guard, used the racial slur in messages to Guardsmen and to The Boston Globe.

Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct in his home July 16 by a white police officer who was responding to a report of a possible burglary. The case has sparked a national debate on racial profiling. The charge was later dropped.

Barrett and the police union did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

This program aired on July 29, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.