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A Massachusetts man was arrested and slapped with hate crime charges last week after being accused of trying to run down a group of Black children with his truck while allegedly yelling a racial epithet repeatedly at the group.
Shane Belleville, 36, is facing both multiple hate crime and assault with a dangerous weapon charges. Holbrook Police said he tried to run into the children on April 10 while they walked down a path, according to a statement from authorities.
Police said the incident began earlier that afternoon as a verbal argument between a Black and white child, ages 7 to 8 years, old erupted.
Other children in the area, ranging in age from 9 to 15 years old, “joined the confrontation” as it escalated, with some of the kids using racial epithets. Police said the altercation “became physical,” but no serious injuries were reported.
One of the children involved in the incident called a relative, who investigators later determined was Belleville.
“By the time Belleville arrived, the fighting had stopped and the groups had separated,” police said.
Belleville, however, allegedly came upon a group of children walking down a paved path away from the school and drove his pickup truck onto the path to confront the group; they were all Black children, authorities said.
He began “yelling back and forth” with the kids, police said. When a teenage girl in the group allegedly spat on him, he slapped her in the face, according to police.
The argument continued to escalate until Belleville allegedly got into his truck and “reversed toward the group of juveniles” while he was “yelling a racial epithet multiple times,” police said.
All of the kids were able to quickly get out of the way.
Belleview was arrested on Thursday without incident and was later released from jail after posting a $750 bail, police said. He is now facing charges of assault and battery, four counts of civil rights violations, four counts of assault with intent to intimidate based on race, and four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.
“I just want to put it out there they’re portraying me as something I’m not,” Belleville told local station WHDH, apparently referencing the allegations or reporting of his actions; he declined to provide any further details before consulting with a lawyer.
Police Chief William Smith said he was “extremely dismayed” by the “abhorrent behavior” allegedly demonstrated in the incident.
“This type of behavior has no place in our community and I am calling for our community members in Holbrook to come together to recognize the gravity of what took place in our town,” he said. “We have to have real conversations with our children and with each other to avoid this type of situation from ever happening here again."
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