A Massachusetts man is facing hate crime charges after he allegedly drove his pickup truck toward a group of Black children, according to police.
Police say 36-year-old Shane Belleville of Holbrook was arrested Thursday after getting involved in a racial conflict between children in the town on Saturday.
The incident began with an argument between a 7-year-old and an 8-year-old, police said. One of the children is Black and the other is white.
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Other children in the area between the ages of 9 and 15 joined in the confrontation, which escalated to a physical fight, police said, adding that racial epithets were used.
One of the children asked Belleville to assist them, according to police. By the time he arrived in his red Ford F-350, the fighting had stopped and the groups of children had separated.
Police say Belleville and the group of kids began yelling at each other, with a teenage girl allegedly spitting at him. Belleville is accused of responding by slapping her in the face.
Belleville then got into his truck and reversed toward the group of kids, repeatedly yelling a racial epithet, police say. The kids had to get out of the way quickly to avoid being hit, according to investigators.
"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 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."
Smith added that parents need to have real conversations with children and that he is "committed to being part of the dialog."
Belleville is charged with four counts of civil rights violations, four counts of assault with intent to intimidate based on race, four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and a count of assault and battery.
After his arrest at his home Thursday morning, Belleville was arraigned at Quincy District Court and released on $750 bail, police said.