An 8-year-old biracial boy in New Hampshire suffered rope burns around his neck, reportedly at the hands of local teens, sparking outrage among his family members, who have categorized the incident as a “lynching.”
The incident occurred in late August when the young boy, whose first name is Quincy, had reportedly been playing with a group of teenagers two doors down from his home in Claremont. The teens then began calling him racial slurs and threw rocks at him, his grandmother told the Valley News. Things escalated when they grabbed rope from an old tire swing and encouraged Quincy to put it around his neck.
“The older boys had put the ropes around their necks, and they told Quincy that it was his turn to do it,” Quincy’s mother, Cassandra Merlin, told The Root. “And Quincy 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.”
Merlin’s sister Lyrik shared a post about the incident last month with an image of the injuries Quincy sustained:
Merlin said her daughter, Quincy’s younger sister who was with him at the time, began screaming for help while Quincy reportedly swung from the rope three or four times before setting himself free, according to the Valley News. No adults were nearby when the incident occurred.
The teens fled upon Merlin’s arrival, and she rushed Quincy to a local hospital. Doctors there recommended Quincy be airlifted and transported to another medical facility, where he stayed for two days. Merlin told The Root that Quincy did not suffer permanent physical damage, but she is considering therapy for him.
Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase initially refused to comment on the matter, but he put out a “Special Press Release” on Tuesday stating the department had opened an investigation into the incident. Investigators have not yet determined if the case warrants prosecution as a hate crime.
Merlin is still furious over what happened to her son and said she ultimately wants to leave the city and move her family to a better place.
“My main goal is to try to remove ourselves from that area,” Merlin said. “I am not trying to leave [the town completely], only because this is where my family is, my mother, my brother is around here, but just to move to a better area, one where Quincy doesn’t have to be reminded of what happened.”
Hundreds of activists and community members gathered for an interfaith vigil Tuesday to denounce racism and reassure Quincy and his family that they will stand together and support them. They walked through the city and chanted, “Quincy’s life matters.”
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) released a statement on Tuesday calling on state police to work with local officials in resolving the case.
“Hatred and bigotry will not be tolerated in New Hampshire,” he wrote.
Correction:An earlier version of this story misidentified the city where Quincy lives. He resides in Claremont, New Hampshire.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.