It was around 5 p.m. on a Monday in late August, and an 8-year-old boy, like so many others that summer evening, was playing in a back yard. The kids he was with had a few years on him – some were as old as 14 – and he had no reason to suspect that the picnic table or tire swing nearby would become tools for what his family alleges was a racially-motivated near-hanging.
That night in Claremont, New Hampshire, took a dark turn, the boy’s family claims, when the teens started taunting the boy with racial epithets and throwing sticks and rocks at his legs. Family accounts of the incident reported by the Valley News allege the teens stood on top of the picnic table and grabbed a rope attached to a tire swing.
“The (teenagers) said, ‘Look at this,’ supposedly putting the rope around their necks,” Slattery told the Valley News. “One boy said to (her grandson), ‘Let’s do this,’ and then pushed him off the picnic table and hung him.”
The boy swung back and forth three times before freeing himself, the newspaper reported.
No adults were in the backyard during the incident, according to the Valley News, so what happened on the evening of Aug. 28 has largely been drawn from the grandmother’s account provided to her by the boy and his 11-year-old sister, who was also in the back yard and went and found their mother, Cassandra Merlin, soon after.
The Claremont Police Department, in a statement, confirmed that the boy was treated and released from a hospital for injuries received during “this incident.”