BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – A 19-year-old student from Baltimore Polytechnic High School told police he was beaten by two separate groups of juveniles from a rival school in downtown Baltimore on Thursday afternoon, an attack that comes amid a pitched debate over downtown safety.
According to police, the student was walking in the 200 block of W. Fayette St., a block north of the First Mariner Arena, before 4:20 p.m. when he said he was attacked from behind by an unknown male. Nine other juveniles joined in as he tried to defend himself, and his phone was taken during the attack, he told police.
Moments later, police say, an MTA bus stopped in the block and a juvenile male wearing a Digital Harbor High School shirt “forced open the door and got off the bus,” followed by 19 other juveniles wearing Digital Harbor shirts, who again assaulted the victim, police said.
Anthony Guglielmi, a city police spokesman, said the victim told the police he was attacked because of a rivalry between the two schools. Guglielmi said police were coordinating with school officials to investigate the case.
The Sun reported last week that police dispatch tapes revealed a broader disturbance downtown on St. Patrick’s Day than police had let on, and some questioned whether police had been forthcoming initially about the scope of the incident. The tapes showed police struggled to contain large groups of young people moving throughout the downtown area.
Also that night, a Virginia man was beaten and stripped of his clothing near the downtown courthouse, an attack that was caught on tape and garnered national attention.
The racial elements of that crime fed much of the outrage – the victim was white, and the attackers were all black. In Thursday’s reported assault, Guglielmi said the 19-year-old victim was white and the attackers were all juvenile black males.
The reports of the St. Patrick’s Day incidents prompted Baltimore County Del. Pat McDonough, a conservative radio show host, to issue a statement asking the governor to send in the Maryland State Police to control “roving mobs of black youths” at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. He said the Harbor should be declared a “no-travel zone” until safety can be ensured.
His comments were denounced by other politicians, including Gov. Martin O’Malley, and a group of activists to call for an apology. McDonough has declined, saying to do so would be “political correctness on steroids.”