A brawl between a large group of young Somali men armed with bricks, bats, and other weapons left one local man hospitalized in Lewiston, Maine, this week.
Lewiston police arrived at the scene of the conflict near the city’s Kennedy Park late on June 12, Maine First Media reported.
Officials say that up to two dozen Somali youths allegedly assaulted three adult local men after rumors of a fight began circulating. The Somali teens who reportedly attacked the men were carrying bats, sticks, bricks, and other implements and weapons, police said.
One white resident ended up in the hospital with a critical injury to his head, reportedly from a brick thrown at him.
By some witness accounts, the Somali youths first drove past the park and fired BB or pellet guns at men standing there. The car then pulled over, and the two groups confronted each other. Soon, a larger group of Somali teens arrived and waded into the three men, the witness added.
Video taken on the scene shows police activity after the June 12 incident:
Tuesday evening’s attack is not the first time a mob of Somali youths engaged in a brawl with locals. A similar brawl occurred at the same park in May.
At the time, Lewiston Mayor Shane Bouchard waved off the attack, saying it was not evidence of a trend.
“Kennedy Park is a large common space in the middle of some of the poorest census tracts in the Northeast,” Bouchard said. “When you have large, diverse groups of people in the same place you are bound to have incidents. Lewiston is no different in that respect than any other medium to large city, except that Lewiston’s violent crime rate is one of the lowest in Maine.”
Lewiston has faced mounting tensions since an influx of Somali immigrants began arriving after the year 2000. Indeed, in 2002, Mayor Larry Raymond issued an open letter to the new residents, asking them to tell their relatives to stop coming to Lewiston.
Since then, tensions have only grown. A recent story notes that the town’s high school soccer team was embroiled in hard feelings after many of the local white kids were kicked off the team in favor of the incoming Somali kids. Perhaps more galling for some, the newly staffed team then went on to win the state championships in 2015 and 2017.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.