Police refuse to release information regarding 8-year-old boy who was hung from a tree
It's being reported that an eight-year-old boy was lynched by a group of teenagers in what his family are calling a racially-fuelled attack. The boy, from Claremont, New Hampshire, had to be flown to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center after he was hung from a tree with a rope.
Cassandra Merlin, the boy's mother, took to Facebook to show the horrific injuries that her child had suffered, and amazingly gave those who were responsible for the attack the benefit of the doubt. Uploading a graphic image of the boy's neck, Merlin said:
"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."
According to the 2010 consensus, Claremont is a small town with a 96 percent white population, 0.6 percent of its citizens are African-American and 1.8 are biracial, like the boy in question.
Lyrik Martin, the uncle of the youngster, also posted images of his injuries on social media and echoed the Merlin sentiments, saying he wasn't sure of the motivations behind the attack.
However, the boy's grandmother has gone on record to say that he was regularly taunted for being half-black, and she believes that this was a factor in the incident. Lorrie Slattery told local press that the actions of the teenagers were racially motivated and that they were "intentional".
Slattery says that she was able to recount what happened, due to her grandson's 11-year-old sister and other children being present at the time of the incident. She claims that her grandson and the group of teenagers had been playing in the yard when the teens began calling the youngster a series of "racial epithets" and began throwing sticks and rocks at his legs.
According to Slattery, some of teenagers then stepped up onto a picnic table and grabbed a rope that had been part of a tyre swing:
"The (teenagers) said, ‘Look at this,’ supposedly putting the rope around their necks. One boy said to (her grandson), ‘Let’s do this,’ and then pushed him off the picnic table and hung him."
It's believed that the boy swung back and forth by his neck three times before he was able to remove the rope from his neck, and Slattery says that none of the teenagers involved came to his aid.
Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase is refusing to comment on the specifics of the case, saying that those who were involved were juveniles, which prohibits him from making any specific comments regarding the case.
Chase also said that the teenagers being investigated need to be "protected", and that the "mistakes they make as a young child should not have to follow them for the rest of their life". Unsurprisingly, people are not happy with this response from the police, and are demanding more information.
"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."
There definitely seems to be something funky going on here, with the use of "young child" being a particularly strange description for these juveniles. Maybe it's just me, but I'm pretty sure that by the time you're a teenager, you're well aware that hanging a child from a tree by his neck is not a good idea.