BY: AYA ELAMROUSSI
Content Warning: GRAPHIC images, child injury, hate crimes
A group of white teenagers in Claremont, New Hampshire attempted to lynch a biracial 8-year-old boy late last month. The teenagers allegedly pushed the boy off of a picnic table with a rope wrapped around his neck as they shouted racial slurs, the victim's family first told Valley News.
The teenagers and the boy were playing in a yard in their neighborhood said Lorrie Slattery, the victim's grandmother. At around 5 p.m. on August 28, the teenagers started calling the boy "racial epithets" and throwing sticks and rocks at his legs.
It was reported that the boy swung back and forth three times before he was able to remove himself from the noose. He sustained rope burns and cuts on his neck. It is unclear how the rope got around the boy's neck, but it is clear, Slattery said, that the attack was racially motivated. Her grandson had reportedly been the target of racial attacks by the same group of teens in the past.
No adults were present during the incident, Valley News reported. The family pieced together what happened through the accounts of the children who were present.
The boy was rushed to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital where he was treated and released. He is now recovering, Raw Story wrote, and expects to start school on Tuesday.
The Claremont Police Department is investigating the incident, according to a statement released Tuesday. Even though the incident occurred two weeks ago, it appears that the family's Facebook posts are what brought attention to the issue and spurred the investigation.
"The investigation principally revolves around the conduct of people who are 14 years of age or younger," said Police Chief Mark Chase. He said that more information could not be released since all involved are minors. "These people need to be protected," Chase told Raw Story. "Mistakes they make as a young child should not have to follow them for the rest of their life."
The use of nooses to intimidate black people is an old tactic, and has occurred on several college campuses. In May, bananas hung from nooses were found in three different locations on American University's campus. The bananas had the letters "AKA" â€• the abbreviation for the historically black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.â€• and "Harambe" â€• a reference to the gorilla killed by Cincinnati Zoo officials in 2015 written in bold black text. A noose was also found at a fraternity house at the University of Maryland, College Park in May. The police investigated the case as a hate-bias incident, officials told The Washington Post.
In response to student protests, AU created the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center to combat racism on campus and to have difficult conversations surrounding race. Newly-hired scholar and historian Ibram X. Kendi is the founding director of the center, as well as a professor of history and international relations in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of International Service.
Dr. Kendi will lead a presentation and an extended discussion of the Center on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. in SIS Abramson Family Founders Room. Although tickets for the presentation are sold out, the event will be livestreamed here.