Police: Man Grabs, Lifts Child by the Neck on Brookline Playground

A Massachusetts man is facing charges in connection with the assault of a child at a playground in Brookline.

Christian Amaral, 23, of Newton, was taken into custody and charged with aggravated assault and battery on a child in connection with an incident at the Pierce Elementary School playground on Monday, according to Brookline Police.

Authorities said a child under 12 and his friend were playing with a pet hamster and giving it water when Amaral went up to a victim and grabbed him by the neck, lifting him up and telling him not to hurt animals. Amaral allegedly then dropped the child to the ground.

The child was hurt but the extent of his injuries was unclear.

Police said neither of the children knew Amaral.

"He cried the whole morning," said Li Ling, a parent of the victim's friend.

Overcome with emotion, Ling is still in shock over what happened to her son and her roommate's son on Memorial Day.

After allegedly choking the 12-year-old boy, Amaral reportedly just walked away.

But someone had gotten video of Amaral, which police shared on social media. Within three days, police say five people had identified Amaral as the man in the video and they arrested him Thursday morning. But they say he had tried to change his appearance by shaving off his beard.

"I think he was aware of what he had done and that we were probably looking for him," Brookline Police Deputy Superintendent Michael Gropman said.

The arrest brings some peace of mind to Ling, but doesn’t provide her with any answers for the boys.

"We just want to know why he did that…why?" Ling said.

Amaral is being held without bail pending a hearing to determine how dangerous he is scheduled for next Tuesday.

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