The Claremont Police Chief has acknowledged the lack of information being released surrounding the case of the 8-year-old biracial boy who was hung by his neck during an incident with older kids.
On Tuesday, Chief Mark T. Chase posted an apology on Facebook about not being able to deliver more details.
“Claremont Police detectives assigned to this case are taking all steps possible to investigate the incident and have been doing so since the police became involved in this matter in late August,” he said in the post.
Additionally, New Hampshire officials are investigating whether the assault against the unidentified child can be categorized as a hate crime, reported the New York Times.
Gov. Christopher Sununu has also instructed the state attorney general to assist Claremont police in the investigation.
“It is my expectation that local and state authorities will investigate appropriately and I’ve asked for regular updates on how things are proceeding,” Sununu said in a statement. “Hatred and bigotry will not be tolerated in New Hampshire.”
Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald announced that the Department of Justice had contacted the Claremont Police Department and the Sullivan County Attorney’s Office about providing support in the investigation.
“To the extent that there is any credible information that this incident constituted a hate crime or a civil rights violation under New Hampshire law, the office is prepared to take any and all appropriate action,” MacDonald said.
Police in Claremont, New Hampshire, are refusing to release information on the case of the biracial 8-year-old who was involved in an incident that left him with rope burns around his neck.
According to NH1, the unidentified boy was injured so severely he needed to be airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The child’s mother posted on Facebook about the incident, wherein one or more teens used a rope to hang her child from a tree
Currently, Cassandra Merlin’s Facebook post is the only account detailing what happened to the boy.
Merlin’s post read in part, “So my son is being flown to Dartmouth after a 14-year-old kid decided to hang him from a tree. I don’t care if this was a so called accident or not. My son almost died because of some little sh** teenage kids.”
The boy’s grandmother Lorrie Slattery said she believes the attack was racially motivated, saying that the teens taunted the boy for being half Black.
Slattery told the Valley News the incident motivated and “intentional.”
Slattery said other children described what occurred during the Aug. 28 incident. According to her other grandson, the children were playing the year when the teens started calling the boy “racial epithets” while throwing sticks and rocks.
Then one or all of the teens allegedly grabbed a rope that had been part of a tire swing and put it around his neck, Slattery said.
“The [teenagers] said, ‘Look at this,’ supposedly putting the rope around their necks,” Slattery told Valley News. “One boy said to [her grandson], ‘Let’s do this,’ and then pushed him off the picnic table and hung him.”
Slattery said the boy swung back and forth by his neck three times before he was able to free himself.
Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase has not commented on the specifics of the case and has only said they were still investigating. He's also said those involved are juveniles, prohibiting him from specifically making any comment. Many activists are upset the teens are being protected and treated like children.
“I am upset and saddened and angered about how the police and city officials have chosen to play this,” said Kendra Colburn of the Upper Valley chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice. “[They] all seem like they do not want media attention on this story, and I am concerned about that. I am really concerned that we can’t change what we don’t know about or refuse to look at.”
(Photo: via Getty Images)
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