For the second time in a week, an attack that appears to have racial overtones led to violence in a struggling city neighborhood.
Five black teenagers are accused of roaming through a Lovejoy neighborhood late Friday night, shouting racially charged threats and stabbing three young white men, including a recently discharged Marine.
A week ago, five white men in the Seneca-Babcock area were charged with attacking a black man with a baseball bat and shouting racial slurs at him.
The incident Friday does not appear to be connected in any way to the incident a week earlier, when the five men were charged with a hate crime, felony second-degree assault, police said.
In the incident Friday night, several neighbors and police said the confrontation began when the black teens left a house on East Lovejoy and marched single file along a sidewalk shouting racially inflammatory words about whites and saying, “We own this block.”
Neighbors said they called police but before they arrived, the five black teens encountered four white men and a fight broke out.
Words were exchanged with the young white men, who responded that the black teens didn’t even live in the neighborhood, and it escalated.
Sack, the investigating lieutenant, downplayed the racial elements of the Lovejoy attack.
“If people are angry at one another, they try to wound each other’s feelings, and they call each other names. It doesn’t mean, “I’m a racist,’” she said of the racial slurs.