A white teenager was indicted on an attempted murder charge after he was accused of calling a Black child a racial slur and repeatedly dunking him underwater as the child said he did not know how to swim.
The 14-year-old suspect is accused of taunting the victim on July 19 at Goose Pond in Chatham, Massachusetts, court documents said.
Another juvenile, also white, laughed and called the victim “George Floyd,” referring to the Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody in 2020, according to the documents.
“Water went into my mouth and my nose and I could not breathe,” the victim said in a written statement to police. “So I shouted out that I can’t breathe over and over and tried to get his hand off me.”
The victim also said as the teen and the other person continued to pull him underwater, he started to feel light-headed and almost vomited, according to his written statement and a police narrative. After he began to feel exhausted, he shouted for help.
He said the pair were his friends and had invited him to the pond so he rode his bike there.
The teen told the victim to ride the bike into the water but the victim said that it belonged to his older brother. The charged teenager and the other person then began throwing stones at the victim, according to the police narrative.
The victim, who could not swim, put on a life jacket and got into the pond, the document states. It says that the 14-year-old “continued to throw stones at him and threatened to beat him up.”
At one point, the teen allegedly grabbed a bigger stone, threatened the victim with it and called him “boy” and the N-word, according to the police narrative.
The taunting continued as the teenager got into the water. The victim told the 14-year-old not to pull him under or wrestle him because he feared he could drown, according to the documents. The teen then allegedly grabbed the victim’s life jacket and dunked him into the water four or five times, it says.
The victim also wrote in his statement that the other juvenile “started laughing and called me George Floyd, obviously making fun of me and showing NO remorse.”
Several people witnessed the incident. One person who helped get the victim out of the water told authorities that he saw the teen and the other person “taking turns” dunking the victim, according to the court documents. He said when he swam over to the group, the 14-year-old “was sneering and had a grin on his face,” the documents state.
Another witness told police that she heard the George Floyd comment, and a third witness said they heard the victim screaming “stop.”
The 14-year-old was indicted on charges of attempted murder and assault with a dangerous weapon, the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office announced on Aug. 31, calling it a racially motivated incident.
His family could not be reached at phone numbers listed for them and his attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Typically, the identity of minor suspects is withheld but authorities released the teen’s name because he is being tried as a youthful offender, which gives prosecutors the option to seek an adult sentence.
NBC News is not naming the teen. Authorities have not released the names or ages of anyone else involved.
It’s not clear if the second person involved will face charges. The district attorney’s office said it can only comment on juvenile cases when the person is indicted as a youthful offender.
The allegations shocked the seaside town about 100 miles southeast of Boston. The town’s Office of the Select Board said it was “disturbed and saddened” by what happened.
“We do not believe that it reflects the true nature of our community, which is diverse and inclusive,” the board said in a statement Friday. “We condemn all acts of violence, particularly those directed at children. Our thoughts are with the victim and their family, and we are here to support them in any way we can moving forward.”
Scott Carpenter, the superintendent of Monomoy Regional School District, called the allegations “incredibly concerning.” He said the 14-year-old and the other juvenile are not enrolled in the district.
“Monomoy continually strives to be welcoming, safe, and inclusive for all. We believe in celebrating diversity, promoting empathy, respecting the dignity of every human being, and fostering understanding among all students, staff, and families,” he said. “Acts of hatred and violence are unacceptable, and we condemn any behavior that seeks to harm or marginalize others based on their race, ethnicity, or any other personal attribute.”
The teen suspect is being held without bail and is due back in court on Sept. 13 for a pretrial conference.