Residents in a New Hampshire town are demanding that police officials release details about an incident where White teenagers tried to lynch a black boy.
According to the Valley News, the racially-motivated incident occurred in late August when the group attacked an eight-year-old boy by putting a rope behind his neck and pushing him off a picnic table in Claremont. They were also yelling racial slurs.
Claremont residents only found out about the incident a week after it happened, and only because the boy’s mother decided to write about it on Facebook. Police officials are being quiet about the case because minors are involved.
They have kept so quiet that event the grandmother of the victim, Lorrie Slattery, has had to piece together details from the other children involved. Her grandson had to be airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center with cuts and rope burns on his neck.
According to Slattery, the group of teens started taunting her grandson with racial slurs, while hitting him with sticks and rocks. Things then further escalated when they used a rope from a tire swing to string up the boy from a picnic table.
“Mistakes they make as a young child should not have to follow them for the rest of their life,” Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase told Valley News, adding that a full probe was currently in place.
“It was an unfortunate incident between some juveniles,” City Manager Ryan McNutt. “Folks should have confidence in the law enforcement investigation.”
The handling of the case is being questioned, because like many crimes between minors nationwide, it is possible to release information about the incident without naming those involved. Many are hoping that the case is not just swept under the rug
“Folks don’t just deserve to be informed about what’s going on; it is imperative that we disseminate this information,” said Mark Hughes, the co-founder and executive director for Justice for All, a Vermont-based group for racial justice. “Because to not do this feeds into the problem.”
“I am upset and saddened and angered about how the police and city officials have chosen to play this,” Kendra Colburn of Showing Up for Racial Justice said. “(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.”
We hope the Claremont Police Department decides to swiftly and thoroughly disseminate information to the public of what happened.