A man who assaulted a four-year-old boy because he was wearing a red shirt may be a “wannabe” gang member, police say.
The boy was playing in Whakatane’s Cutler Crescent reserve on Thursday afternoon when a man, thought to be in his mid 20s to early 30s, approached the child while his father’s back was turned, poked him in the chest and shouted at him to remove the shirt, Eastern Bay of Plenty acting area commander Inspector Greg Sparrow said.
The man, who was wearing blue bandannas around his wrists and neck, then physically removed the shirt from the boy before his father could intervene.
Whakatane is known as the territory of the Black Power gang, which is associated with blue-coloured clothing. Black Power’s main rival gang, the Mongrel Mob, is associated with red-coloured clothing.