New Hampshire investigating reported attempted lynching as hate crime

New Hampshire investigating reported attempted lynching as hate crime
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State authorities in New Hampshire are investigating the reported attempted lynching of an 8-year-old biracial boy by teenagers as a possible hate crime, according to a new report.

The attack, which occurred on Aug. 28 in Claremont, N.H., resulted in wounds to the boy's neck. He was treated at a hospital before being released.

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The New York Times reported on Thursday that state authorities are investigating whether to treat the investigation as a hate crime. New Hampshire's Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said Wednesday that he had instructed investigators to respond to the attack.

“Yesterday on my instruction, the attorney general’s office sent a team to Claremont to provide assistance. It is my expectation that local and state authorities will investigate appropriately and I’ve asked for regular updates on how things are proceeding. Hatred and bigotry will not be tolerated in New Hampshire," Sununu said in a statement.

“It truly saddens me that even in a city so small, racism exists,” Cassandra Merlin, the boy's mother, wrote on Facebook. She further described the attack in an interview with The Root but did not respond to the Times' request for comment.

“The older boys had put the ropes around their necks,” the boy's mother said, adding that they then told him it was his turn. Her son “got up on the table and put the rope around his neck, and another kid came up from behind him and pushed him off of the picnic table. And they walked away and left him there hanging.”

According to Merlin, this isn't the first time her son has experienced racism from classmates.

“When they were teaching in school about slavery, kids would tell him they couldn’t play with them because they were white and he was black,” she told The Root. “And he’s had kids call him the n-word, and tease him for being a different race.”

The Boston Herald reported that police say the suspects were likely all 14 years of age or younger.

“The investigation revealed that an 8-year-old child was injured while he was on private property off of North Street in Claremont, N.H.,” police said in a statement.

“Claremont Police detectives assigned to this case are taking all steps possible to investigate the incident and have been doing so since the police became involved in this matter in late August," the statement said. "The investigation principally revolves around the conduct of people who are 14 years-of-age or younger.”