Mother: Son's near strangling 'attempted murder'

Cassandra Merlin says her biracial son was 8 years old when he suffered severe neck injuries from a tire swing rope and now the New Hampshire state Dept. of Justice is involved.
8:34 | 09/28/17

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Mother: Son's near strangling 'attempted murder'
Reporter: With that signature smile and boundless energy, this is how Cassandra likes to picture her son. Now when she clothes her eyes she has nightmares. I never in a million years would have thought it would come to my son nearly being lynched. Reporter: She says the unthinkable happened to her biracial son at the hands of neighborhood kids last month. It's always been attempted murder in my eyes. Reporter: These photos show the deep wounds the rope left on her child's throat. They went viral, outraging the public and bringing national attention to little quincy's case. He was only 8 years old at the time. How would you describe how you feel about it? Very shocked. It's a pretty intense thing to try to swallow as a mom. Reporter: Especially now, in 2017. Several hundred miles north of the mason-dixon line. In an industrial hamlet in the western part of New Hampshire called Clairmont. Quincy lives in this house here. The incident happened two doors down at this house on the corner. Cassandra didn't want her son to be interviewed yet so we sit on the steps where she tells us the story she says he told her. It happened at the end of August, right before school started. She says her son was playing with some neighborhood boys and his older sister iana. She says they were horsing around, then the older boys started playing with the rope from a tire swing. They continued to pretend like they were hanging themselves. Then they told quincy it was his turn to get up on the table and told him to tie the rope around his neck. He tied it around his neck, one of the older boys came from behind and pushed him off the picnic table. My daughter started screaming. Quincy was kicking his feet and grabbing his neck, she said. Reporter: Eventually he was able to swing his legs back onto the picnic table and free himself. He was airlifted to dartmouth hitch mock medical center where he was treated for injuries. Cassandra says she's certain the incident was racially motivated. They've called him the "N" word at one point in time. Made remarks about how he should be white. How did the police respond? At first they told me quincy's story matched up with the boys' stories, that maybe it was an accident. Reporter: She didn't think police were doing enough, so three weeks after the incident, Cassandra took to Facebook. Racism is still so alive, that things like this happen in a little old mill town in new Hampshire. Reporter: Her 20-minute Facebook live ignited a firestorm on social media. #Clamemont trending, with people calling for the police and town officials to act faster. Police chief mark chase says the criticism wasn't justified. Any time we respond to an initial call, our preliminary goal is to figure out what happened, immediately becomes an investigation. You said of the juvenile suspects, these people need to be protected, mistakes they made as young children should not have to follow them for the rest of their life. Would you change that, take it back? I've maintained with any media that I have spoken to that I wouldn't speak about the facts of the case, other than confirming the injury. Everything in the juvenile justice system is set up to hopefully protect those juveniles that are involved in the juvenile system from ever being in the adult system. Reporter: But he adds the victim is always his primary concern. Now the New Hampshire department of justice has join the investigation into whether a hate crime occurred. But quincy's grandmother, Laurie Slattery, has come to her own conclusions. I'm going to get my grandchildren through this. Reporter: Now more than a month later, she's still so distraught about what happened to quincy and his sister, she's barely able to get the words out. They're not well. At all. I don't know what to say, I'm sorry. Reporter: In an interview with "Newsweek" magazine, the parents of one of the boys allegedly involved say that what happened to quincy was child's play gone horribly wrong. That their son never pushed him. So my son jumped onto this bench and then my son went grr and the boy jumped, they claim their son tried to help quincy and he's been so upset he's having night terrors. They're adamant that racism had nothing to do with it, noting they have black people in their immediate family. I've never heard him say anything about race at all. ABC news reached out to the family but they declined to comment further. But there's no doubt this incident has struck a chord. People traveled to clamemont from all over new England gaering for a rally and condemning hate. You see a young person of color with a rope around their neck, you can't help but be reminded of all the tactics that were used to try to control and intimidate the African-American community. ??? Black bodies swinging ??? Reporter: It's been nearly 80 years since Billie holiday famously sang the protest song -- ??? strange fruit hanging ??? Reporter: Strange fruit, a metaphor about how commonplace it was to lynch blacks in the south in the 1960s as African-Americans fought for civil rights. Groups like the Ku klux Klan went on fiery rampages. They burned crosses and hanging was often their method of choice. Today advocacy groups like the anti-defamation league say there's been a surge of hate crimes around new England and across the country, especially since the election. This is what Wakefield high school students arrived to on campus, a black teddy bear hanging by a noose. Reporter: According to the southern poverty law center, there were nearly 1,900 bias incidents from November to March, nearly 16% of which are anti-black motivated and often carried out with a noose. What about for young people today, in 2017? Where would they even get the idea to do something like this? Even though a young person may not be cognizant necessarily of the fill historical context, they may have stumbled across on the internet or among friends images or language that hearken back to those days. We need to be really careful about this because just dismissing this as kids being kids I think is a little naive. Are you scared for your children's safety? Now I am. I don't even let them go out anymore. Reporter: Cassandra says quincy, though physically better, is still traumatized by what he experienced. He's saying, what's different about me? I try to explain, it's not you, it's that some people are clearly rather ignorant. I believe this event happened in new England because racism exists across our country. Reporter: Dr. Middleton Goodwin is the school superintendent. While he says the boy who allegedly pushed quincy isn't in the same district, he says the issue is still his responsibility. We as society have some choices to make. Do we turn our back on it because it doesn't happen a lot? Or do we acknowledge that perhaps this is the tip of the iceberg? Reporter: That night across town Goodwin and other community members gathered for a conversation about racial justice. This is about how do we come together as a community? Reporter: Coming to grips with a lingering prejudice that some thought no longer exists. History was taught to me as if we were the good guys, the north won, and anything below the mason-dixon line were the bad guise. And it's just not that cut and cry. Reporter: For Amy cousins and her biracial children, the news only confirms their unfortunate reality. This is nothing new to us. Reporter: 10-year-old adia says she saw herself in quincy. I got really scared and I want to feel safe but sometimes I just can't. It doesn't make me feel free even though America is a free place. Reporter: For Cassandra, a white mom with brown kids, this is her new Normal. One she's still grappling with. She hopes the kids involved in the incident with her son get help. I do feel like counseling is one of my biggest things for that child. I do feel like maybe some time in juvenile detention center. How you're staying so calm in all of this. I don't have a choice. Most days I want to break down and just kind of let it all go. But I can't because I have to keep fighting the fight for them. Reporter: But with the support of a big community, they're starting to heal. A go fund me for the family raised more than $50,000 nationwide. And they've been invited to visit quincy's favorite football team. He's so excited. So excited. They'd offered to fly us out there for a game. And they sent quincy a big package in the mail with a bunch of stuff for him tort game. Reporter: A small salve for a child whose scars might stay with him forever. Linsey Davis in New Hampshire.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":50147549,"title":"Mother: Son's near strangling 'attempted murder'","duration":"8:34","description":"Cassandra Merlin says her biracial son was 8 years old when he suffered severe neck injuries from a tire swing rope and now the New Hampshire state Dept. of Justice is involved. ","url":"/Nightline/video/mother-son-strangled-attempted-murder-50147549","section":"Nightline","mediaType":"default"}