Shane Belleville, 36, of Holbrook, is charged with assault and battery and four counts each of assault with a dangerous weapon, a civil rights violation and assault with the intent to intimidate based on race.
He was jailed Thursday, but later released after posting $750 bail.
“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.”
Police officers responded April 10 to Holbrook Middle-Senior High School, where a young complainant said a man in a red pickup truck had attempted to run over him and a group of his friends.
Police: Man tried to run over Black children after racially charged playground fight https://t.co/QgadlsKoVV— FOX13 Memphis (@FOX13Memphis) April 19, 2021
Through witness interviews and video surveillance footage, detectives determined that the incident began that afternoon with an argument between two children, ages 7 and 8, on the school playground.
The group of Black children was heading away from the school when Belleville is accused of driving his red Ford F-350 onto the paved path and confronting them. During the subsequent shouting match, a teenage girl allegedly spat on Belleville.
A Massachusetts man is accused of trying to run over a group of Black children following a racially charged playground fight with a group of white children https://t.co/U96TlMOldP— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) April 19, 2021
He slapped the girl in the face, police officials 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. BELLEVILLE then left the scene, according to authorities.