A father whose son was racially abused by teenagers in York says he feared they could have killed him if he hadn’t intervened.
Police are investigating after the 13-year-old boy was targeted twice on the afternoon of Saturday 17 April.
He was subjected to racist abuse on a playing field at around 4pm – and then a group confronted and assaulted him on the doorstep of his Tang Hall home an hour later.
A group of around 11 teenagers gathered there and shouted at the boy, and one stamped on his foot, before his father called police.
The boy has been left shaken and frightened by the incident, his father told YorkMix.
The ordeal began after the boy went out with two of his friends on Saturday afternoon.
He came home by about 4.30pm.
About half an hour later a group of about five young people aged 12 to 14 called at the house for his son. They then started shouting at him and demanding he say sorry.
This referred to an incident which took place on the field earlier that day, in which the boy was said to have assaulted another teenager – see below.
He apologised, then said one of the boys should say sorry to him – because he had racially abused him, including using the N-word, on the field.
Another six teenagers then arrived and joined in the confrontation. They were trying to goad him into a fight, the father said, and his son said sorry twice.
Then one of the boys “jumped in and stamped with his feet on my son”.
That was when he called the police.
Mother speaks out
He said the boy who had racially abused his son had previously been racist to him several times at his school, Archbishop Holgate’s.
The school says these incidents were not reported at the time, but they have been working with the father since they came to light at Easter – full statement below.
The father said a police officer has twice visited, once to complete a hate crime reporting form, and then to take a statement.
However, one of the boy’s abusers told the officer that he had been assaulted by the young victim in the park.
The mother of that boy told YorkMix: “He punched my son, stamped on his head with his foot and also pulled his pants down.
“This is when my son used racial language. He’s autistic, he didn’t fight back, he took it. And he did go to the house to try to find out why.”
She also said that he hadn’t been racist before being assaulted.
“Police fully focused on that incident,” the father of the racially abused boy said. “Now the victim has become the aggressor.
“I pointed out to the officer there had been ten or 12 people outside my house. They were ferocious. They terrorised us. If I was not there, they could have beaten my son to death.
“But now the police are treating my son as a perpetrator.”
What the police say
A North Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “Targeting hate at a person because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender is a crime which can have a devastating impact on individuals, their families and whole communities.
“North Yorkshire Police takes all reports of hate crime extremely seriously and this incident is no exception. The investigation is still ongoing and as such we cannot provide any further specific details.”
The father, a university researcher who came to Britain as a refugee from Bangladesh and is now a British citizen, said: “I think the system is sending a clear message – that if you stand up to racism, you’ll get into trouble with the law.”
He said his son was frightened. by what had happened.
The father has had several meetings with the school to talk about the racism he said his son faced there.
The family is being supported by York City of Sanctuary, a charity that seeks to offer a culture of welcome and support to refugees and asylum seekers.
“Is this a City of Sanctuary? No for me,” the father said. “The British government denied systemic racism was in place.
“I say that systemic racism is everywhere, it’s embedded – and is very visible in this incident with my son.”
What the school said
Archbishop Holgate’s School headteacher, Andrew Daly, said: “There is no place for discrimination or bullying in any form either at school or in the wider community. We treat any such incidents extremely seriously.
“Whether an incident takes place inside or outside of school, we take action as soon as we are made aware of the situation.
“It is important that everyone works together to stop discrimination and bullying and I would like to thank the family for their positive and productive engagement with school.”