Police Charge Massachusetts Man With Trying to Run Over Black Children After Playground Fight

A Massachusetts man was recently arrested and charged with attempting to run over a group of Black children in response to a school playground fight.

Shane Belleville, 36, of Holbrook was charged with assault and battery, four counts of civil rights violations, four counts of assault with attempt to intimidate based on race and four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon (motor vehicle).

Belleville was arrested by the Holbrook police last Thursday at his home and was arraigned at the Quincy District Court. He was released that day after posting $750 bail.

The arrest and subsequent charges came shortly after police responded to a call on April 10 at approximately 1:15 p.m. Police said "a juvenile called and said that a man in a red pickup truck tried to run the caller and a group of friends over."

According to the statement from the Holbrook Police Department, after an investigation and interviews with witnesses, officers determined that the incident occurred after two children got into a verbal argument at a middle-senior high school. The children were not identified by name, but the statement noted that they were 7 and 8 and one was Black and one was white.

"Other juveniles in the area, ranging in age from 9-15 years old, joined the confrontation. The incident escalated with racial epithets being used, and the altercation became physical, though no serious injuries were reported," the police wrote in the statement.

Police Line
Police tape hangs across the street in front of a Kansas City house on February 26, 2005 in Park City, Kansas. Larry W. Smith/Getty

As the situation between the juveniles continued to escalate, one called a relative and asked a man, who was later identified as Belleville, to help them.

According to police, by the time Belleville arrived at the scene, the groups of juveniles had already separated.

After separating, one group of children was walking down a "paved pathway," near the school when Belleville "allegedly drove his red Ford F-350 pickup truck onto the path and confronted the group of all Black children."

After driving his pickup truck onto the path, Belleville and the group of children began yelling at each other, police said.

"During the argument, a teenage girl allegedly spat on Belleville and Belleville responded by allegedly slapping her in the face, the investigation determined," the police statement said. "As the verbal altercation continued, Belleville allegedly got into his pickup truck and reversed toward the group of juveniles, allegedly yelling a racial epithet multiple times. The investigation shows that the juveniles had to quickly get out of the way to avoid being struck."

Police noted in their statement that Belleville left the scene shortly after the incident.

"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 J. Smith said in the 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," the chief added.

Newsweek reached out to the Holbrook Police Department for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.