A Massachusetts mother says her 14-year-old twin boys were handing out free donuts in Newburyport last Thursday when a man shouted a racial expletive at them.
City officials announced Monday that Newburyport police are investigating the incident involving a group of middle school-aged boys, saying they are "using all resources at our disposal."
"We do not tolerate acts of racism or bias in our community, and we will pursue this investigation, wherever the facts take us," City Marshal Mark Murray said in a statement.
Adama Barry says her sons are still very upset about what happened last week on State Street.
"This guy came from nowhere and attacked my son, using the N word," Adama Barry said. "I cried for two days, ya know, and my kids are so polite, I wish you could meet them."
State Street was packed at the time of the incident, and witnesses rushed to comfort the boys.
"I just said I was sorry, this is not about you," Kelly Mount recalled.
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Mount even confronted the driver in his car before she says she had to remove herself because of how scary the man's anger was.
"He just went off on me, and he was literally, the anger was scary, and that is when I removed myself, and I said, 'Your racism, you, people like you are not welcome here,'" Mount recalled.
City officials say Newburyport police did respond to an outside location on July 16 to take a report of a verbal dispute. Officers were told a man had engaged in a dispute with a group of young teenagers before driving away in his vehicle.
Police were provided with cell phone video that shows part of the exchange that took place.
Witnesses say the man circled the block, parking again in the spot and casually walking by.
After all of that, video shows the man repeated what he had said before driving off.
"It is sad," Barry said. "We are all one race, ya know? I just don't get it, I don't get it."
A witness provided authorities with a complete license plate for the suspect's vehicle, and Newburyport police say they have identified the man. Police are working with the Essex County District Attorney's Office to determine if Thursday's incident meets the standards of a hate crime.