A suspected white supremacist has been arrested and charged with hate crimes for allegedly trying to run over two Black children with a pickup truck in Massachusetts last weekend.
Despite the serious and violent charges that specifically cite the race of the children allegedly targeted by Shane Belleville, the 36-year-old was released from prison after posting a bond of just $750 in the town of Holbrook, which is about 18 miles south of Boston.
The incident unfolded at a local middle school on Saturday when the Holbrook Police Department said two kids — ages 7 and 8, one white and the other Black — began fighting, prompting other children to join in. Witnesses and video footage confirmed racial slurs were used during the fight, according to a police press release.
At some point, Belleville was called by one of the children and asked to come and intervene, police said. However, by the time he arrived, the fight was over, prompting Belleville to drive his pickup truck toward a group of Black children who were walking away from the school, police said.
Police said Belleville confronted the children and even slapped a girl in her face after she allegedly spat on him.
“Belleville allegedly got into his pickup truck and reversed toward the group of juveniles, allegedly yelling a racial epithet multiple times,” the police press release said. “The investigation shows that the juveniles had to quickly get out of the way to avoid being struck.”
It would take nearly five days later for Belleville to be arrested and charged on Thursday with multiple crimes, including 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 (motor vehicle). He was arraigned and bailed out the same day.
“I was extremely dismayed to learn the details of this incident, from the children being racially divisive toward each other to the abhorrent behavior and alleged hate crimes committed by the suspect in this case,” Holbrook Police Chief William Smith said in a brief statement “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. We need to have real conversations with our children and with each other to avoid this type of situation from ever happening here again. I am committed to being part of the dialog.”
The arrest and charges do nothing to help the Boston area’s reputation for anti-Black racism and came on the same day a judge ruled that a local police officer would be criminally charged for allegedly threatening and intimidating a Black teen friend of her son over his support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Boston Globe reported that Milton Police Officer Patricia Lio “allegedly derided and threatened her son’s 14-year-old friend, who is Black,” and “allegedly attacked her husband” when he tried to play peacemaker during a sleepover at her home in September in Westwood, which is about 24 miles south of Boston.
The mother of the 14-year-old friend told the Globe that Lio only “targeted” her son “because he’s Black.”
This is America.