Two white men in Manchester, Connecticut were arrested Monday (June 22) after being accused of chasing down three Black teenagers riding their bicycles as one of the men hurled racial slurs at them.
Matthew Lemelin, 27, and his brother Michael, 28, were taken into custody and now face charges of risk of injury to a minor and reckless endangerment, NBC News reports. Matthew Lemelin also faces charges of second degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias.
According to Manchester police, officers responded to a report of a car that attempted to hit someone on a bicycle and the theft of a bicycle from a pedestrian. The teenagers said to police that they were followed while riding their bikes and a car with two men riding in it tried to run them off the road. One of them said he was almost hit by the car.
An occupant of the vehicle got out and chased them, taking one of the bicycles that one of the teens dropped when they ran away, a police statement said.
According to Manchester Police Lt. Ryan Shea, the incident was investigated as a hate crime.
"There's no doubt in my mind that if they got their hands on one of these little boys, they were going to hurt them," Christina Torres, the mother of one of the teenagers, told NBC Connecticut. "We got to stand together because this could have been very different; I could have woke up on Sunday morning hearing" that my child was dead.
"We need justice and we need to work to ensure incidents like this don't happen to another group of Black boys."