‘Called me George Floyd’: 14-year-old accused of submerging Black teen indicted for attempted murder

CHATHAM, Mass. — A grand jury has indicted a 14-year-old white teenager boy on attempted murder and civil rights violations for allegedly holding a Black teenage boy underwater while calling him racial slurs, according to the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office.

Police and court records obtained by Boston 25 News provide the latest details about the alleged act of racially motivated violence on July 19.

Records show a group of teens arranged on social media to meet up at Goose Pond that day.

The alleged victim told Chatham police he soon felt targeted.

In a handwritten statement, the victim told police that 14-year-old John Sheeran began “…threatening me, calling me racial slurs.”

The victim said that Sheeran “continued to throw stones and threatened to beat me up.”

Then, he said things got physical.

“…Sheeran held on to my life jacket and pulled me under water and back up about 4-5 times,” reads the statement. “…while doing it water got into my mouth and nose and I could not breathe.”

Boston 25 reached out to Sheeran’s defense attorney by text, email and phone call, but didn’t get a response Wednesday.

His defense attorney has requested a psychological evaluation of his 14-year-old client, who’s being held after a dangerousness hearing.

The 14-year-old is being charged as a youthful offender, meaning his case will be open to the public. He’s due back in court Sept. 13.

The victim said he was shouting over and over again that he couldn’t breathe.

He said that’s when the suspect and another teen “starting laughing and called me George Floyd.”

A white police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the Black man begged for his life in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.

The victim said Sheeran and another kid came toward him again trying to pull him back under water.

That’s when he called out for help.

He said other kids started coming in the water telling the suspect to stop.

The victim said he then got to shore, packed up his stuff and left.

Visitors to Chatham hearing the allegations said they were shocked and saddened.

The Chatham Select Board released a statement in town saying: “We are disturbed and saddened to learn of the event that occurred earlier this summer between juveniles. We do not believe that it reflects the true nature of our community, which is diverse and inclusive. We condemn all acts of violence, particularly those directed at children. Our thoughts are with the victim and their family, and we are here to support them in any way we can moving forward. The Town and our Police Department have a strong relationship with the Monomoy Regional School District, and we will be working together proactively to deter events such as this from taking place in the future.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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