Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Cop set for disciplinary hearing
LEOMINSTER, Mass. -- A Massachusetts police officer was put on paid leave Wednesday after an internal investigation found that he directed a racial slur at Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford.
Officer John Perrault was suspended pending a disciplinary hearing scheduled for next week at which he could face more severe punishment, and even could be fired, Leominster mayor Dean Mazzarella and police chief Robert Healey said.
Perreault engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer, according to the chief and mayor.
The officer, who is white, was placed on desk duty after the July 5 incident. He was described as a veteran officer with no prior disciplinary problems.
Perrault was off duty and attending a minor league game in Manchester, N.H.
Witnesses said a heckling fan called Crawford, who is black, a "monday" before a game between the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and Portland Sea Dogs. Crawford said he interpreted the word as a racial slur.
"It surprised me he was a police officer," said Crawford, who admitted he is attempting to move on from the incident. "It's disappointing in all that kind of stuff. I just want to put that stuff behind me and not worry about that stuff anymore."
The word can be used as a derogatory term for blacks, and is often associated with Mondays being one of the least-liked days of the week.
Crawford was playing for the Double-A Sea Dogs while rehabilitating a wrist injury.
Crawford alerted stadium officials to the remark, and team management apologized.
"I don't know how I really feel about it," Crawford said. "It was disappointing that it had to happen. It's just one of those things you've got to let go."
Leominster police reached out to Crawford as part of their investigation but did not talk to him, Mazzarella said.
The mayor and chief also issued an apology to Crawford.
"You would think we would have grown past that kind of stuff," Crawford said. "Hopefully that's the last time something like that happens."
Crawford returned to action for the Red Sox on Monday night against the Chicago White Sox.