A 36-year-old man is facing numerous hate crimes and assaults charges after reportedly attempting to run over Black children in his pickup truck after a playground fight after a Massachusetts school.
Shane Belleville of Holbrook is charged with assault and battery and four counts each of assault with a dangerous weapon, a civil rights violation and assault with the intent to intimidate based on race.
Belleville allegedly showed up at Holbrook Middle-Senior High School after a young family member called him following a conflict between two groups of children.
“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,” Holbrook Police Chief William Smith said in a statement. “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.”
According to police, officers responded to the school at around 1:15 p.m. on Saturday after receiving a call from a minor who said a man tried to run a group of his friends over in the southern Boston suburb.
Through interviews with witnesses and viewing surveillance footage, police discovered that the conflict began after an argument broke out between a 7-year-old and 8-year-old. One child was Black and the other was white.
Other children and teens in the area, ranging in age from 9 to 15, joined in on the conflict, which became physical at times, although no one was seriously injured.
One of the juveniles called a relative, now identified as Belleville, for help. By the time Belleville arrived, the conflict among the youths had ended.
A group of Black children and teens was walking down a path away from the school when Belleville drove his Ford F-350 pickup truck onto the path and confronted them.
As yelling continued, Belleville got out of his vehicle at some point, and a teenage girl allegedly spat on him. He responded by slapping her in the face, authorities say.
Witnesses claim Belleville got back in the truck and, while shouting racial slurs, reversed toward the group of children, who had to jump quickly out of the way to avoid being struck by the vehicle.
Bellville spoke to 7 News to give his side of the story. “I just wanna put it out there they’re portraying me as something I’m not,” he said.
However, he declined to provide further details. saying he needed to consult his lawyer.
Belleville was arrested at his home on Thursday and later released on $750 bail.