A pair of white teens were viciously attacked by a large group of black youths after a fireworks display at a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania festival on Sunday evening, authorities report. The beating capped off a weekend filled with violence after black teens rampaged through the area, destroying property and smashing car windows.
The white teens, brothers from nearby Newville, Pennsylvania, had driven in to Harrisburg to attend the Kipona festival and the attack occurred while were walking to their car after the evening’s fireworks display.
The victims were swarmed by a large group of African American teens near Third and Walnut streets on Sunday night.
Harrisburg Police Chief Thomas Carter admitted that the attack was racially motivated.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Chief Carter said that the two out of town white brothers were “minding their own business” when the large group attacked them, yelling racial epithets.
After noting that the victims were “very nice” and “well-mannered,” the Chief swore he would pursue the case.
“That should not have happened. Believe me, we’re not going to tolerate it,” Thomas said.
“It really irks me that it happened,” Thomas added. “Hopefully we can arrest the people responsible for this.”
Thomas did not mention if hate crimes charges would be levied if any arrests were made.
One of the brothers, age 16, received a broken jaw and his older brother, age 19, was battered and bruised. The teens told police that the elder brother used his own body to cover his younger sibling to try and keep him as safe as possible from the blows rained down upon them.
After being beaten, the two were able to regain their feet and flee their attackers.
Chief Carter said that the attackers may have been part of a large gang of black teens that rampaged through the area over the weekend, destroying cars and businesses.
On Monday, Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse blamed the racial attack and the rioting and destruction on a “lack of opportunity” in the city but still insisted that the riotous behavior was an “isolated incident.”
Papenfuse went on to insist that “in Harrisburg it has to do with a lack of economic opportunity, as well as lack of educational opportunity.”
Last year Harrisburg figured in as number five among the ten most dangerous cities in Pennsylvania.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org