George Santayana’s admonition that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” has played out again, this time in the town of Lunenburg, Mass. As Renee Nal reported, back in November Lunenburg transformed itself into Looneyburg after a racial slur was found spray-painted on the home of a biracial member of the high school football team. School superintendent Loxi Jo Calmes immediately canceled the remaining two games of the season.
Representatives from all levels of government were called in, ranging from the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI down to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Civil Rights Office, the Governor, and the Commissioner of Education. The de rigueur candlelight vigil was held in the town square.
Fast-forward to today and word that the whole ugly incident was likely a hoax perpetrated by the player’s mother, Andrea Brazier, who is now a prime suspect in the police investigation. Shades of the Duke lacrosse scandal and the city of Durham, N.C.?
A search warrant was issued for police to gather instruments that would be used to deface property and paperwork with Andrea Brazier’s handwriting. Police will use that evidence to compare the graffiti left on the house. At the time of publishing, no arrest had been made and Lunenburg police told media that there may be no movement on the case until next week.
The beginning of the end for Brazier came once the FBI joined the investigation. On Nov. 25, authorities say, she began an interview by curiously stating “that she was done with the whole incident” and “that she wanted the investigation to end.” When an FBI agent grilled her over whether she herself had spray-painted the graffiti on her house, the response according to WCVB was “OK.”
Even though early suspicions were that members of the football team had written the message, the cancelation of the season was a bridge too far for some community members. Calmes attempted to assuage their concerns, claiming that the decision was never intended as punishment but was rather carried out in the interests of safety. Brazier addressed them as well at the vigil, although her remarks were more vengeful than conciliatory. “That’s what has to happen in order for them to realize that it’s not acceptable.” The it in the previous sentence refers to the racist sentiment scrawled on the family abode, which read “Knights don’t need n**gers” (the team name is the Blue Knights).
WCVB notes that Brazier could be charged with obstruction of justice or be given the lesser charge of filing a false police report.
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