Two brothers arrested, accused of trying to run down 3 Black teens on bicycles

Connecticut

MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — Two brothers accused of nearly running down three black teens on bicycles with their vehicle Sunday in Manchester, Connecticut were arrested on multiple counts, including a hate crime charge.

Twenty-seven year-old Matthew Lemelin and 28-year-old Michael Lemelin, both of Manchester, were taken into custody Monday.

Manchester police said they responded around 1:30 a.m. Sunday for a report of a “vehicle that attempted to strike a bicyclist and a theft of a bicycle from a pedestrian.”

When they arrived, three Black teens told the officers they were riding their bikes when the two men followed them.

Police said they were told that the vehicle ran off the road at one point, almost striking one of the bike riders, and that one of the two men yelled racial slurs before getting out of the truck to run after the teens.

One of the men is accused of stealing a bicycle abandoned by one of the fleeing teens. No injuries were reported from the incident.

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

Protesters gathered in Manchester Monday night to express their anger and frustration over the alleged incident. Parents told sister station WTNH that while the teens who were chased were not physically hurt, the racially-charged incident has sparked a new charge for justice and equality.

“My daughter says, ‘I’m not going to ride my bike in Manchester anymore.’ And what do I tell her?” said Keren Prescott, of PowerUp Manchester. “I can’t tell her with confidence, ‘no, it’s OK’ 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.’”

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

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