An Ohio family’s Wickliffe home has been targeted by a group of teens in what seems to be a racially motivated attack.
Despite racial slurs being used in the attack, police will not label it as a hate crime.
According to the father, Anthony Peck, part of the incident was caught on camera. In an interview about the June 18 incident Peck, 57, said he expressed his concerns about securing his family from this level of hatred going forward.
“I’m very angry because I fear for the safety of my family now. I’m sitting here thinking what’s next?” Peck said to News 5 Cleveland.
According to the dad, a surveillance camera captured two people banging on his back door early that Sunday morning. Most of the family was asleep, but upon hearing the noise, Peck went to check the house. By the time he checked the door, the suspects had run away.
The family’s doorbell camera captured one of the teens yelling the N-word into the camera. Wickliffe police since have said they have apprehended a teen from Mentor, Ohio, who “admitted to going up the Peck residence” and committing the harassment.
The police report stated the teen “yelled the racial slur because it was a word the three (people involved in the disturbance) use ‘more often than they probably should.’ ”
A delinquent trio has been charged with criminal trespassing. Two of them were charged with curfew violations. Both sets of charges are considered misdemeanors.
Officers have determined that low-level crimes should not be considered hate crimes, despite the racial slur being used. The predominantly white City of Wickliffe has a Black population of 7.2 percent, the U.S. Census reports and does not publicly report hate crimes in the area.
Peck disagrees and points to the trauma the incident has impressed on his family, including his autistic son. He offered a message to the teens.
“We’re all human beings, and one day you’re going to figure that out,” said Peck. “One day, I hope you figure it out before you take your last breath.”