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(NECN: Ally Donnelly, Leominster, Mass.) – There’s news off the field for the Boston Red Sox. Leominster, Mass. Police say it was one of their own who aimed what's being described as a racial slur at Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford.
That officer has been suspended, and city officials will soon decide on further punishment.
According to Manchester, N.H. Police, Officer John Perrault admitted to heckling Carl Crawford and says he did call him a ‘Monday,’ but insists he was talking about someone you don’t like because who likes Mondays?
But city officials in Leominster don’t seem to be buying it and they are calling it conduct unbecoming of an officer.
“A word was said that offended somebody,” says Mayor Dean Mazzarella.
That word was ‘Monday.’ It’s known by some as a racial slur against black people.
Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford says an off-duty Leominster police officer called it out to him during a minor-league game in New Hampshire earlier in July. Now, that officer could be fired.
“Whether that word means anything to us,” says Mayor Mazzarella, “it clearly meant something. All you have to do is watch the reaction of Mr. Crawford to see it meant something to him.”
The Mayor was standing with the city’s police chief Wednesday to announce the end of an investigation and an upcoming disciplinary hearing where 5-year veteran officer Perrault will learn his punishment.
“He has an explanation,” says Chief Robert Healey, “and he will reveal that to the Mayor. That’s probably all I should say at this point.”
According to an internal Manchester, N.H. police department letter, officers working the July 5 New Hampshire Fisher Cats/Portland Seadogs game say they got a complaint that some fans were harassing players on the field. When they approached, Perrault apparently identified himself as a Leominster officer and admitted to heckling, telling them that he did not say anything but yelled to Crawford that he was overrated and a Monday.
When the officer asked what a Monday was, Perrault allegedly told him the term Monday was meant to indicate a form of dislike. He stated something to the effect, ‘you know, nobody likes a Monday,’ referring to the day of the week.
The officer says he only learned it was a possible racial slur when he got home and Googled the term.
Leominster Police Chief Healey says he’s disturbed by the incident and says he has since learned about other complaints against Perrault, who has been put on paid leave.
“They were comments that would violate our rules of conduct,” says Chief Healey.
“I love my uncle to death and this is just wrong,” says Perrault’s niece Cassandra Matteo.
Perrault’s nieces say the 38-year-old is not a racist and call the investigation a witch hunt.
“He said that he hated Mondays,” says Matteo. “Crawford should have been paying attention to the game.”
“It’s a day of the week, what can you do,” asks Perrault’s niece Samantha Matteo. “It’s freedom of speech.”
Perrault hung up on NECN when we called and wouldn’t come to the apartment door when we knocked.
The Red Sox haven’t responded either.
The disciplinary hearing is public and is being held Wednesday, July 25.
City officials say Carl Crawford is welcome to come, but they haven’t specifically asked him to.’
Fisher Cats President Rick Brenner released the following statement:
“While we are saddened that this took place at our ballpark, we are satisfied that Leominster officials have fully investigated the situation. Based on Mayor Mazzarella’s findings, this individual is no longer welcome at our ballpark. We will continue to do all we can to enforce our zero-tolerance policy forbidding foul, abusive, or discriminatory language and behavior at all events at our ballpark.”