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Two Manchester residents arrested for alleged hate crime against three Black teens

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MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — Two brothers — Matthew and Michael Lemelin — were arrested Monday in connection with an incident in Manchester over the weekend that police are calling a hate crime. Monday night, protesters were out in force following the arrests.

Manchester police reported, around 1:30 a.m. Sunday they were called to the area of 364 Main St. for a report of a “vehicle that attempted to strike a bicyclist and a theft of a bicycle from a pedestrian.”

Upon arrival, the officers located three Black teens who told police while they were riding their bikes they had been followed by a truck occupied by two men.

Police said they were given reports that the truck ran off the road in the area of Main Street and Middle Turnpike East almost striking one of the bike riders, and that one of the occupants of the vehicle yelled racial slurs at the youths before getting out of the truck to run after them.

According to police, one of the men stole one of the bicycles that had been dropped by one of the fleeing juveniles.

Police found the truck involved in the incident in the driveway of 364 Main St. No injuries were reported from the incident.

The two suspects were identified as brothers 27-year-old Matthew Lemelin and 28-year-old Michael Lemelin, both of Manchester. Both were arrested Monday.

Matthew Lemelin was charged with:

  • Intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the second degree.
  • Risk of injury to minor.
  • Reckless endangerment in the second degree.
  • Breach of peace in the second degree.
  • Larceny in the sixth degree.
  • Criminal mischief in the third degree.

Michael Lemelin was charged with:

  • Risk of injury to minor.
  • Reckless endangerment in the second degree.
  • Breach of peace in the second degree.

Both were held on $150,000 bond and are scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 18.

Protesters out in Manchester Monday night were angry and frustrated. Parents told News 8, while the teens who were chased were not physically hurt, this whole racially-charged incident has sparked a new charge for justice and equality.

News 8 has learned the parents of all three young men have been notified of the incident. This has left community members on edge.

Keren Prescott of PowerUp Manchester said, “My daughter says, ‘I’m not going to ride my bike in Manchester anymore.’ And what do I tell her? I can’t tell her with confidence, ‘no, it’s okay’ because it took police almost three days to get these men…So what do I tell my children? I tell my children ‘you have to stay with me until I can make this place, this world, a safer place for you, and I don’t know when that’s going to be.’”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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