CLAREMONT - Police are investigating the assault of an 8-year-old boy after he was reportedly the subject of racial slurs and an attempted hanging.
The details of the incident will remain confidential because the alleged aggressors are juveniles, Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase said Thursday.
Chase said Thursday police responded to the incident that allegedly happened off North Street on Aug. 28.
Chase said no adults witnessed the incident. He said the juveniles ranged in age, with one as young as 8.
The boy's grandmother told the Valley News that her grandson suffered rope burns Aug. 28 around his neck after a group of teens started calling the boy racial epithets, threw sticks and rocks at his legs and then finally put a rope from an old tire swing around his neck and pushed him off a picnic table so that he swung back and forth on the rope till he could remove it from around his neck.
The grandmother said the boy was airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon for his injuries.
The boy's mother posted on Facebook about the incident including a photo of her son's injured neck.
The post is no longer on her page, but she posted this message Thursday.
"I just want to put this out there, my only intentions of making (my son's) story public is show this country that racism does in fact still exist. That it is still so alive that our children are living in a world of hate. Being exposed to all types of hatred. It truly saddens me that even in a city so small, racism exists. My son used to love being able to go to the park with his older sister and shoot some hoops! Now, he's not even allowed to go outside without me," she wrote in the Facebook post.
The Upper Valley chapter of Standing Up for Racial Justice says the community needs to speak out on this incident.
"Our community must continue to speak up to those in charge about this incident. And we must hold more community conversations about the reality of individual, systemic, and institutional racism and how we can address it. Shaking our heads and carrying on as usual will not change anything," the group said in a Facebook post Friday.
Chase said he knows people are angry and want the police to release more information, but he is bound by the confidentiality of the juvenile system.
Speaking in general, "If we think a crime occurred because of a bias," Chase said, whether it is a racial, gender, sexuality or a religious bias, that aspect of the case would be investigated.
"I can ensure any report made to the Claremont police, it's my goal to get to the bottom of it," Chase said.