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Mass. cop focus of probe in racial slur aimed at Red Sox' Carl Crawford

Carl Crawford (13) completes some drills in the outfield before the second game of a doubleheader with the New York Yankees at Fenway Park July 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Carl Crawford (13) completes some drills in the outfield before the second game of a doubleheader with the New York Yankees at Fenway Park July 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

(CBS/AP) LEOMINSTER, Mass. - A Massachusetts police officer is under investigation by his own department after allegations surfaced that he directed a racial slur at Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford last week.

Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella said Thursday the officer is on vacation and will be placed on desk duty when he returns next week during the inquiry.

He did not name the officer but says he is a 5-year veteran and white.

"Things started to add up, first placing this particular officer at the game, and then his whereabouts in proximity to the field," he told WBZ-TV's Christina Hager.

The mayor says if the allegations turn out to be true, it could lead to disciplinary action, and even dismissal

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 used as a derogatory term for blacks.

Fisher Cats President Rick Brenner has apologized to Crawford.

Crawford, who has not played a major league game this season while battling wrist and elbow injuries, began a short rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday.

Crawford could return to the Red Sox on Monday.

Crawford has had a chilly reception since signing a seven-year, $142 million deal with the Red Sox. In his first season in Boston, he hit .255 with 11 homers, 56 RBIs and 18 stolen bases.

Last week, Crawford said he understands why fans who love their team are disappointed in his production. But he singled out the one in New Hampshire. Crawford says: "He was the only one I had a problem with."