The assault happened on Sunday night on a bridge when the father was out walking with his son. He was approached by a gang and the attack started when a man assaulted his son and later threatened to kill the boy.
“He insulted them verbally in relation to their skin colour and their ethnicity. And he threatened to kill the boy,” said Thomas Bull, the head of the police hate crimes unit, to local newspaper Sydsvenskan.
“It’s a hate crime,” he added.
Police said that the assault unfolded after one of the gang kicked a toy out of the boy’s hand. When the father intervened the 18-month-old was thrown the ground. The father then sustained several blows after an estimated dozen men came running to the scene.
“They beat and kicked his father on the body and the head. When he fell they tried to throw him off the bridge which is about five metres from the street below,” said Bull.
The father held onto the railing while the gang hit his hands in an attempt to make him lose his grip. A witness ran up and rescued the screaming son.
“Everything happened in front of the boy’s eyes,” Bull said.
Several witnesses alerted police which were quickly on the scene. The father went to hospital bloodied and with some broken teeth.
Police have appealed for further witnesses to come forward but as yet nobody has been arrested.
“The callousness they showed by doing this was incredible. We are taking it extremely seriously. It hurts even more when you know what they have done to an innocent child too,” concluded Thomas Bull.
The crime is currently classified as assault and battery but may be upgraded to attempted murder depending on witness statements.