Leominster mayor: Police officer uttered racial epithet at Red Sox player Carl Crawford

LEOMINSTER — Mayor Dean Mazzarella said today that an internal investigation has found that Officer John A. Perreault uttered a racial epithet at Red Sox player Carl Crawford this month when Crawford was doing a rehabilitation stint in Manchester, N.H.

Mazzarella and Police Chief Robert Healey said Perreault will be the subject of a public disciplinary hearing next week on charges of conduct unbecoming an officer for the comment he made to Crawford and for making inappropriate comments to other members of the public.

“This is a tough enough world we all live in. Nobody wants to be subjected to that,’’ Mazzarella said at a press conference today at the Leominster emergency management facility. “This shouldn’t happen anywhere, not any baseball park, not anywhere.’’

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Perreault, 38, has been a Leominster officer for the past five years. He worked for another police department that officials declined to identify before joining the Leominster force. He is on administrative leave with pay pending the disciplinary hearing set for July 25.

Crawford, who is black, said last week that a fan called him a racial slur during a rehab assignment with the Portland Sea Dogs, which were playing at the Fisher Cats’ stadium in Manchester, N.H. on July 5.

“Of course I took it personally,” Crawford said July 6 in the Red Sox clubhouse before the team’s series opener against the Yankees. “You got to understand I’m from Texas, and I’ve never had to go through that kind of stuff before. It was kind of the first time it was just so much in your face like that. So, it is what it is.”

Crawford said he was signing autographs before his Sea Dogs game when the fan called him a “Monday.” The racial epithet is less well-known. Urban Dictionary defines “Monday” as “Another way of saying [the N-word] without getting caught.”

Mazzarella said today that whether Monday qualifies as a racial epithet was not an issue for investigators. What was relevant to them, he said, was the fact that Crawford believed it to be a racial slur.