Charges will not be filed in the case of racist graffiti left on the Lunenburg home of a young biracial high school football player, due to lack of evidence, authorities said on Wednesday.
No charges will be filed because there is not sufficient evidence that “a crime has been committed by a particular person,” according to a statement from Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.
School Superintendent Loxi Calmes, in a statement Wednesday, said, “I cannot comment on a criminal investigation conducted outside the school department. I do, however, again want to commend our students, the faculty and staff of our schools and our community for the way they responded to an unprecedented situation.”
The incident began on Nov. 15 of last year when a racial epithet was discovered spray-painted on the home of 13-year-old Isaac Phillips. Born to a white mother and black father, Phillips had reported being harassed by teammates on the Lunenburg High School football team.
The football team was suspected to be involved in the graffiti, causing concern among residents of the small North Central Massachusetts town.
Earlier racially charged incidents involving the team were confirmed by Worcester school officials. Lunenburg football players had been allegedly directing racial slurs toward players on a Worcester team during varsity and junior varsity games.
Phillips’ father, Anthony J. Phillips, expressed his belief that the same football players who had allegedly hazed his son were responsible for defacing his home.
With the investigation under way, the school’s annual Thanksgiving Day football game was canceled, sparking concerns among players, parents, and town residents.
Calmes, the superintendent, said at the time that the cancellation was a matter of safety rather than punishment.
In early December, Lunenburg police concluded that players on the football team were no longer persons of interest in the investigation, and other suspects would be pursued. In statements to the Globe, players said they did not believe that the team had been involved.
The Blue Knights’ head coach, Steve Boone, was “very happy that the team was cleared of the allegations.”
The investigation then shifted to Phillips’ 38-year-old mother, Andrea Brazier. According to court records and police, Brazier was considered a “strong suspect.”
In December, Lunenburg police Lieutenant Mike Luth said that Brazier was the only active suspect, though an arrest was not imminent.
Police conducted a search of Phillips’ home, discovering one can of Krylon indoor/outdoor spray paint and one can of Krylon Fusion spray paint, along with five live shotgun shells. Prior to the search, two burnt aerosol cans were observed outside of the family’s Chase Road home.
Phillips transferred to a nearby school district following the initial incident, and “no trespassing” signs were installed around the family’s property.
No family members were available for comment Wednesday night.
The case has not been officially closed and Early said his office will continue to review any new evidence.Jennifer Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org