A group of white teens apparently attempted to hang an 8-year-old biracial boy by a noose in Claremont, New Hampshire on August 28.
Lorrie Slattery, the boy’s grandmother, told Valley News that her grandson was playing with the teenagers at a yard in their neighbourhood when the teens started calling him racial slurs and throwing sticks and rocks at his legs.
Then, Slattery said, some or all of the kids took a rope nearby that was part of a tire swing.
“The [teenagers] said, ‘Look at this,’ supposedly putting the rope around their necks,” Slattery told Valley News. “One boy said to [Slattery’s grandson], ‘Let’s do this,’ and then pushed him off the picnic table and hung him.”
The boy allegedly swung back and forth three times from the rope before he was able to free himself. He was flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and sustained cuts and welts to his neck, according to a now-deleted Facebook post by his mother, Cassandra Merlin.
“So my son is being flown to Dartmouth after a 14-year-old kid decided to hang him from a tree,” the post said, according to The Root. “I don’t care if this was a so called accident or not. My son almost died because of some little s— teenage kids.”
Merlin’s brother also posted about the incident on Facebook:
The boy did not suffer serious physical injuries and is now recovering.
Claremont authorities have said they are investigating the attack but did not comment on specific details of the case because it involves juveniles.
“These people need to be protected,” Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase said of the teenagers accused of hanging the boy. “Mistakes they make as a young child should not have to follow them for the rest of their life.”
Cassandra Merlin spoke out about the incident again last Thursday, saying in a Facebook post that the reason she had publicized her son’s story was to “show this country that racism does in fact still exist.”
She added that while her son “used to love being able to go to the park with his older sister and shoot some hoops,” he’s now “not even allowed to go outside without me.”
Merlin said it was “sad that in a city we considered to be safe, we aren’t safe at all.”
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