olice are examining new footage of an incident in which a white woman allegedly hit a 12-year-old black boy in the face with a canoe paddle.
Avon and Somerset Police faced criticism for its initial decision not to prosecute the woman for the incident at Conham River Park in Bristol on the afternoon of March 26 this year.
A petition calling for the police to take action featured a picture of the boy’s bloodied face.
Avon and Somerset Police said on May 6 it was reviewing the decision not to prosecute, with the process being monitored by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
On Tuesday, the force said it was now reclassifying the incident as racially motivated.
The assault allegedly occurred after the woman accused the boy of throwing stones at her from the river bank, despite the fact he was one of a number of mostly white children present.
The petition claimed the woman had attacked him with her paddle “for throwing stones which he didn’t even throw”.
On Thursday, a two-minute clip was posted on Instagram of the suspect screaming at the group of children and threatening them with her paddle.
The victim can be seen in the background with blood dripping down his face.
Chief Inspector Mike Buck said: “This new video has been passed to the reviewing officers and they will examine it in detail.
“Our ongoing review will be thorough and comprehensive, and as such will take a bit of time to complete, but we can confirm that we’re preparing a file of evidence for the Crown Prosecution Service.
“We are listening deeply to people’s concerns and completely understand the strength of feeling this incident has generated.
“We want our communities to have full confidence in this review process and we’ll be doing all we can to achieve this.”