After 11-year-old pushed off bike in Deep River, advocates call for hate crime charge
The family of an 11-year-old Black boy who was pushed off his bicycle by a white man in Deep River, Conn., last week is calling for the man to be charged with a hate crime.
A phone video taken by the boy’s friend shows the man asking the boy if he grew up in Connecticut. When the boy said no, the man yelled, “So get the f- - - out of town.”
The video, which has been widely viewed, shows the man knocking the boy off his bicycle into the street.
Jameson Chapman of Deep River has been charged with assault, risk of injury to a child and breach of peace. The boy’s family wants the chief state’s attorney to charge Chapman with a hate crime as well.
“I don’t think it’s a tough charge to prove, because there were little white kids with him. So why did [Chapman] have to single out this one biracial, Black individual?” said Rev. Boise Kimber, president of the Connecticut State Missionary Baptist Convention. He spoke for the family at a news conference Wednesday. “And [Chapman] asked him the question ‘Are you from around here?’”
The state’s attorney has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Chapman has been released on bail. Court records show he has a previous assault charge and was on probation for drunk driving charges at the time of the incident. The boy's family said he should be back in custody.
“This is a violent person. This person needs to be on a list. Watched,” Kimber said.
The boy's mother, Desiree Dominique, also expressed concerns about retribution from community members sympathetic to Chapman.
"[Chapman] has a group of supporters who are siding with him, who are very angry about what happened," Dominique said. "We have to be diligent."
Officials in Deep River said in a public statement that “the assault on an 11-year-old is unacceptable” and that the town plans to schedule a community forum and education programs. Kimber criticized the town’s response, saying the family and the Black community haven’t been included in the discussions.
“White people cannot decide how they’re going to treat Black people if Black people are not at the table,” Kimber said.
Deep River town officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.