A white teenager was indicted on an attempted murder charge after he was alleged to have repeatedly held a Black boy — who thought they were friends — underwater while hurling racial abuse at him.
The attack by the 14-year-old happened at Goose Pond in Chatham, Massachusetts, on 19 July, court records claim.
The victim said in a written statement that he was continually pushed underwater until he started to feel lightheaded, police said. He also vomited and eventually screamed for help.
A third teen at the Cape Cod pond, also white, laughed and called the victim “George Floyd,” police said, while the other continued to wrestle him underwater. George Floyd was a Black man who was brutally murdered by Derek Chauvin, a policeman, in Minneapolis in 2020. The cop kneeled on Floyd’s neck, eventually killing him.
Authorities say the victim rode a bike to the pond for an outing he thought was with friends.
But what should have been a safe trip to the pond with peers allegedly turned into an racist ordeal.
According to police, the two teens started to throw stones at the victim after he refused the pair’s demand to ride his bike into the pond. And then, after the victim put on a life jacket — as he could not swim — and got into the pond, the pair persisted in throwing “stones at him and threatened to beat him up.”
The indicted teen then picked up a larger stone, police said, threatening the victim with it while also calling him “boy” and the n-word.
The racial and physical torment continued as the teen got into the pond with the victim, according to authorities. Despite the victim’s pleas, the teen pulled him by his life jacket and forced him under four or five times, according to the police narrative.
The teen then also swam under the water and “attempted to grab his feet to again pull the victim underwater.”
“Water went into my mouth and my nose and I could not breathe,” the victim wrote in a statement. “So I shouted out that I can’t breathe over and over and tried to get his hand off me.”
While this was happening, he said the third teenager just stood and “started laughing and called me George Floyd, obviously making fun of me and showing NO remorse.”
Fortunately, several people at the pond witnessed the incident and helped stop the racially charged attack.
A person who helped the victim out of the water told police that he saw both teens “taking turns” submerging the victim under the water, according to court documents.
One witness said they heard the “George Floyd” comment by the third juvenile and another witness also heard the victim screaming for them to stop.
The Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office announced on 31 August that the incident was racially motivated and that the 14-year-old was to be indicted on charges of attempted murder and assault with a dangerous weapon.
Also on 31 August, the teen was found to be dangerous after a hearing at the Barnstable Juvenile Court, meaning he can be held in custody without bail.
It is not yet clear whether the other boy will also face charges.
An attempted-murder sentence in Massachusetts can be up to 20 years. Assaulting with a dangerous weapon can bring up to five years.
The Chatham Select Board issued a statement on 1 September about the attack, with officials offering support to the victim’s family and saying they will work with police and Monomoy school officials “proactively to deter events such as this from taking place in the future.”
“We are disturbed and saddened to learn of the event that occurred earlier this summer between juveniles,” they said in the statement. “We do not believe that it reflects the true nature of our community, which is diverse and inclusive.”
The teen is due to appear back in court on Wednesday for a pretrial conference.
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