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Black teen targeted in ‘racist’ attack has only just moved to UK, mother reveals

Black teen targeted in ‘racist’ attack has only just moved to UK, mother reveals

A Black student who was beaten up during an alleged racist incident in Carlisle has been been bullied at school since moving to the UK three months ago, his mother has said.

In a distressing video which prompted outrage on social media, a schoolboy was seen being taunted, pushed and punched by a white boy, who ordered the victim to kiss his shoes.

The boy’s mother told The Independent that the attack, which is being treated by police as a suspected hate crime, had been witnessed by the boy’s 11-year-old sister and had left them both traumatised.

She said: “My son doesn’t want to go back to school. At first, he wanted us to move out of Carlisle. My son said ‘if we relocate, I’ll probably be safer but if we stay then I don’t know what’s going to happen next’.”

She added that she believes he was targeted because of his ethnicity. “I feel that my son was targered because he’s Black - I strongly feel so,” she said.

“He has been receiving a lot of hate from the class; one of the boys teased my son during breaktime that day and my son didn’t see it coming that they were trying to bully him. Then the boy went home and told his older brother, who doesn’t even attend the school, about my son, then the brother came to harass him (along with the others).

“The boy who told my son to kiss his shoes doesn’t attend the school; that clearly shows it’s racism. He doesn’t know my son but had the guts to do that to him.”

According to the mother, the family recently migrated to the UK from Zimbabwe. She moved to this country in 2022 and her children, both born in Zimbabwe, joined her in December.

“For them to have just moved here and come across this? It’s not good,” she said.

After the incident, which took place on Friday near St John Henry Newman Catholic School, Cumbria police said it was aware of “concerns in the community”.

The force urged people not to share the video.

The mother, who asked not to be named, said the police and school appear to be taking the matter seriously. The school is arranging for some study packs to be given to the child and counselling sessions for him have also been discussed.

“From the way they’re communicating with me, they are taking the matter seriously but we will see what happens as time progresses,” the mum continued.

In the clip, the schoolboy is seen being repeatedly harassed. He suffers several blows before being forced to kiss the white teenager’s shoes.

In another clip purportedly filmed after the incident, the white teenager can be seen following the vicim up the street and punching him twice before onlookers intervene.

Police have arrested four teenagers, all from Carlisle.

One of the teenagers was arrested on suspicion of racially-aggravated actual bodily harm while the other three were arrested on suspicion of abetting racially-aggravated actual bodily harm.

“These are abhorrent images circulating online that have caused shock and concern in both the community and among officers here at Cumbria Police,” said Superintendent Sarah Jones in a statement.

She added: “We can reassure the community this is an incident we are taking very seriously – and we have made four arrests.

“Our officers have worked through the night and continue to carry out investigations today.”

Police will be increasing patrols in Carlisle in response to concerns from the community.

The Zimbabwe Embassy is supporting the family.