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Mass. officer focus of probe in Red Sox slur

July 13, 2012
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LEOMINSTER, Mass.—A Massachusetts police officer is under investigation after allegations that he directed a racial slur at Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford last week.

Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella said the patrolman is on vacation and will be put on desk duty when he returns next week.

The mayor said Friday that he expects the city's inquiry to conclude by Tuesday at the latest, and that officials are hoping to interview Crawford as part of the probe.

Mazzarella said the city's police chief is conducting the investigation, and the chief would make a recommendation to him about any potential discipline if the allegation is sustained.

The mayor would then decide on any sanctions, which he said could include anything from suspension to termination.

Mazzarella, a life-long Red Sox fan, wouldn't name the officer who's involved since the allegation hasn't been proved.

But he said the officer is a 5-year force veteran and white, with no prior disciplinary issues.

The mayor said that even while off-duty, police officers should be held to a higher standard of conduct than other people when it comes to free speech.

Crawford, who is black, was on a rehab assignment with the Portland Sea Dogs on July 5 when he says before a game against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in Manchester, N.H., a heckling fan called him a "monday," which can be a derogatory term for blacks and is often associated with Mondays being one of the least-liked days of the week.

Fisher Cats President Rick Brenner has apologized to Crawford.

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