Authorities in the town of Claremont, New Hampshire have opened an investigation into the alleged attempted hanging of a biracial 8-year-old boy. The incident, which is now being treated as a possible hate crime, was first reported by the Valley News last Tuesday when the boy’s family came forward. According to his grandfather, Lorrie Slattery, they were “trying to determine what led him to suffer from rope burns around his neck” while playing with other children in late August. Apparently a group of teenagers “started calling the boy racial epithets and throwing sticks and rocks at his legs.”
That’s when, as Slattery told Valley News, they “supposedly [put] the rope around their necks” while encouraging his grandson to do the same. The teenagers then allegedly “pushed him off the picnic table and hung him.” The boy’s mother, Cassandra Merlin, confirmed Slattery’s story in an interview with The Root, saying her son “got up on the table and put the rope around his neck.” That’s when “another kid came up from behind him and pushed him off of the picnic table. And they walked away and left him there hanging.” Days after the initial Valley News story, however Claremont police remained silent on the matter.
On Tuesday, everything changed when New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu issued a statement regarding the story and the state’s reaction to it. “Yesterday on my instruction, the Attorney General’s office sent a team to Claremont to provide assistance,” it read. “It is my expectation that local and state authorities will investigate appropriately and I’ve asked for regular updates on how things are proceeding. Hatred and bigotry will not be tolerated in New Hampshire.” State Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald subsequently declared he would consider the matter a hate crime “[t]o the extent that there is any credible information that this incident constituted” one.
(Via New York Times)