NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WPTA21) - The city's mayor and police chief are expected to speak at a "Stop the Hate" rally that follows the attack earlier this month on a 15-year-old boy.
The incident has sparked racial tensions in the community, with family members citing the language used during the assault on Jason Gardner and the discovery of a rope that may have been used, as well.
"They hit me in my face and I fell down and as I fell down I kept being called the N word, saying that you don't belong here," Jason said.
There is an indication that the problems center around a dispute over a dating relationship that went sour. The assailants, the family said, were white.
Besides the cuts, scratches and hairline fracture to a rib that Jason suffered in the assault, relatives claim he had marks on his neck consistent with rope burns. A rope was found in the creek where Jason was attacked.
"The family, as of last night, said some white supremacy group reached out to them and told them to get out of the neighborhood," NAACP president Larry Gist told ABC21. "(That) they need to leave and go back to wherever they came from."
Police department officials said they were investigating, but the family has not been satisfied with the progress and, with the support of local civil rights groups, is calling for federal involvement.
The "Stop the Hate" rally takes place at the town's Municipal Hall, at 918 Lincoln Highway, starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. Among those expected to speak: Mayor Terry McDonald and Police Chief Henry McKinnon.