An 8-year-old Claremont boy had to be flown to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center after an older teenage boy allegedly hung him from a tree by a rope placed around his neck, according to a Facebook post by the boy’s mother. Cassandra Merlin posted a photo of her son’s injuries with the caption, “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.” (sic)
Activists and community members in Claremont are calling on police to provide more information after allegations that a young boy was injured late last month in a racially motivated incident. The family of an 8-year-old biracial boy said he was taunted with racial epithets by a group of young teenagers and then intentionally pushed off a picnic table with a rope around his neck in the backyard of a home near Barnes Park.
Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase would not comment on the specifics of the case, only that they were still investigating an incident that happened last Monday. Chase said the fact that the people involved are juveniles prohibits him from confirming any facts or talking specifically about the incident.
The police chief claimed that he was protecting the alleged perpetrators by not giving out this information.
“These people need to be protected,” Chase said. According to New Hampshire state law, “All case records, as defined in RSA 170-G:8-a, relative to delinquency, shall be confidential.” Chase did confirm the youngest person involved was 8-years-old and the oldest were teenagers but beyond that would not give more specific details about ages or identities.
Slattery said she was able to recount what happened from her grandson’s 11-year-old sister and other children present (there were no adults) and that her grandson and some teens were playing in a yard on Aug. 28 when the teens started calling the little boy “racial epithets” and throwing sticks and rocks at his legs. Some or all of the teens allegedly stepped up on a picnic table and grabbed a nearby rope that had been part of a tire swing, Slattery said.