Group holds peace rally in wake of ‘hate crime’

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WANE) “All lives matter.” “Justice and equality.”

A small group gathered outside New Haven City Hall on Friday to promote justice and equality in the wake of a beating of a teen by three boys that some in the community have characterized as a hate crime.

On June 6, three boys beat 15-year-old Jason Gardner near a creek and left him nearly unconscious by the time police arrived. Gardner’s family claimed the beating was racially charged based on the language the suspects used during the incident.

In the days that followed, New Haven Police investigated the case, the local NAACP chapter became involved, and the details of the incident were forwarded to the federal Department of Justice.

On Thursday then, New Haven Mayor Terry McDonald issued a statement in which he said he was “deeply troubled” and pledged to provide justice. McDonald urged residents to know that the city values all of its residents, and said the city would not tolerate any form of racism or discrimination.

The group that rallied Friday echoed that sentiment. The activists held signs that read, “Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color,” and, “Justice and equality are the keys to peace.”

Another rally is planned for Saturday, NewsChannel 15 has learned.