A New Hampshire boy has been hospitalized after several teens allegedly taunted him with racial slurs and pushed him off of a picnic table with a rope around his neck, the boy’s family said.
The 8-year-old boy, who is biracial, was with several teenagers when the incident occurred Aug. 28 in a backyard in Claremont, the child’s grandmother, Lorrie Slattery, told the Valley News.
One of the teens allegedly got on a table and grabbed a rope that held a tire swing, she told the newspaper.
It was not immediately clear how the rope got around the child’s neck, but he was allegedly pushed off the table with it still around his throat.
The alleged victim said he swung from his neck three times before being able to break free from the rope, his grandmother said. She added that none of the other boys came to his aid.
"One boy said... 'Let's do this,' and then pushed him off the picnic table and hung him," Slattery told the newspaper.
No adults are believed to have witnessed the incident.
The boy was brought to a hospital, where he was treated for cuts to his neck.
Photos taken of the boy’s throat after the alleged incident showed wounds, bruises and redness.
The child’s mother posted the photos online, writing: “I don’t care if this was a so-called accident or not. My son almost died because of some little s*** teenage kids.”
The images quickly went viral, and social media users demanded justice for the child.
Authorities have confirmed an incident occurred on the day the boy’s family said he was attacked, but noted very little can be confirmed due to the ages of those involved.
“The incident on August 28 involves minors and N.H. law restricts what we can say,” City Manager Ryan McNutt said in an email to InsideEdition.com. “Social media does not face the same restrictions, nor does it have to report accurately. Our Chief of Police is a professional and I have full confidence in him to handle any investigation.”
McNutt noted that while officials appreciate the concern, he asked to “please allow the patience needed to let the N.H. legal system have due process.”
"The investigation principally revolves around the conduct of people who are 14 years of age or younger," Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase said in a statement. "I want to assure everyone in our community, our neighboring communities, and the nation at large that we take all reports made to this agency very seriously, and will complete our investigations in a thorough and professional manner."
The Claremont community and faith leaders will gather at 5:20 p.m. Tuesday to respond to hatred.
“The purpose of this gathering is a compassionate public witness to support all in our community who are wounded by racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and to stand up against it,” McNutt wrote. “No one in this administration condones bigotry, or hatred, nor would they cover it up. We are following legal advice given about the sensitivity of anything that involves minors and nothing more.”
After being treated for his injuries, the boy was released from the hospital and has since returned to school in Claremont.
However, his mother said on social media that things have not and may not ever return to the normal that existed before the incident occurred.
“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 on Facebook. “It’s sad that in a city we considered to be safe, we aren’t safe at all. I will tell you this; my son will get the justice he deserves."