Sixteen-year-old Dayshen McKenzie collapsed and died after being chased through the hot streets of Staten Island recently by a group of mostly white young men yelling racial slurs.

“I got a gun!” one pursuer shouted, according to witnesses. “I’m gonna shoot you, n- – – -a!,” yelled another.

A friend of McKenzie’s said they and the group of white teenagers were outside a hamburger shop when they got into an argument, which ended when the white teens left. But the group returned and began to chase them.

“They were calling us n- – – -rs,” said Harry Smith, according to the New York Daily News. “I just heard a lot of racial slurs. They were mixed — some white, some of them were Hispanic. But nobody was black.”

Think Progress reports:

The black teenagers say they were eventually cornered, but caught a lucky break when police officers were heard nearby. The attackers ran away, but McKenzie showed signs of distress. “It’s mad hot,” he said, before falling to the ground. McKenzie, who’d forgotten his inhaler at home, was unable to breathe.

Ex-NYPD officer Diana Fatigati witnessed the chase and heard the white teenagers yelling racial slurs. When she arrived to stop the attack, McKenzie was down. She tried to save him, but the 16-year-old died at the scene. While the cause of his death hasn’t been confirmed, many believe he died from an asthma attack.

“To me, it’s murder,” Fatigati said. “They were chasing him — that’s a crime. You’re hunting them because they’re black … You’re calling them a n- – – -r.”

Nobody has been arrested yet.

Tisha Richardson, McKenzie’s mother, told the Daily News she wants someone to take responsibility for what happened to her son. “The sadness turns to anger,” she said. “I want justice for him. Somebody should be held accountable.”

After an initial round of interviews, hate crime investigators will be interviewing witnesses again. Police told the Daily News that racist language was not mentioned when they conducted the first round of questioning.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


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