What appeared to originally be a hate crime involving racist graffiti, has moved to an investigation of the victim’s mother, whom police have identified as a ‘strong suspect.’ In mid November, Andrea Brazier called police to report racist graffiti that had been spray-painted on the side of her family’s Lunenburg, Massachusetts home. The vandals sprayed the words, “Knights don’t need n******” and the family believed it was targeted towards their bi-racial 13-year-old son, Isaac Phillips.
Isaac was the only African American player on the Lunenburg High School freshmen and junior varsity football teams (but has since transferred schools) and, as reported by WCVB, had previously been a victim of hazing from the team.
A candlelight vigil was held by residents of Lunenburg after the incident in a show of unity against racism. Loxi Jo Calmes, superintendent of the Lunenburg School ended the team’s football season early, cancelling the last two games of the season. At the vigil, Andrea Brazier supported the decision saying, “That’s what has to happen in order for them to realize that it’s not acceptable.”
Some in the community were upset by Calmes’ decision and recently the superintendent released a statement saying, “I never looked at the cancellation as a punishment although it is certainly viewed that way by many. In the end the safety of students and attendees at the game was deemed to be of paramount importance. At no time did I or any employee of the schools indict or implicate any of our players. In fact, my statements were that the graffiti investigation could NOT be limited to the team.” She also emphasized that an investigation into racial harassment is proceeding at the school after a separate case in which the high school’s football players were found to be guilty of directing racial slurs towards Worcester’s South High Community School players.
WBZ reports that by December 2, the Lunenburg Blue Knights football players were cleared as suspects in the case and police focused on Brazier. Lieutenant Mike Luth, of the Lunenburg Police Department told WHDH, “Most of the leads that we have followed up throughout the investigation have led back towards the house,” adding that Andrea Brazier was a strong suspect. The Sentinel & Enterprise obtained court documents of the investigation and reported that on November 18 officers found two burnt aerosol cans in a fire pit. When asked about the evidence, Anthony Phillips, Isaac’s father, changed his story to police, giving three different explanations of what the cans were used for.
Officers also noted in the court docs that Brazier gave police several different dates that the graffiti incident occurred, originally saying it was November 14, then November 4, then November 15. Brazier missed a scheduled meeting with officers. Then when she eventually met with a detective and a FBI agent on November 25 authorities said that she began the conversation, “saying that she was done with the whole incident,” and, “that she wanted the investigation to end.” When the FBI agent responded saying that “she wanted the investigation to stop because she was the one who spray painted the graffiti on her house,” Brazier said, “Ok.”
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. WCVB reported that officers said Brazier could be charged with obstruction of justice or be given the lesser charge of filing a false police report.