Salt Lake City police are investigating two possible hate crimes. SLCPD tells Good4Utah over the weekend a group of black men attacked two white men, in two separate incidents, and they think the incidents are related
The first attack happened on South Temple around 10 o'clock Friday night. A 15-year-old white male was walking with two other friends near Temple Square when they were approached by two black males.
"They asked about a cigarette lighter," said Detective Greg Wilking with the Salt Lake Police Dept. "They said basically they didn't have a cigarette lighter and then the black males started saying stuff to the effect of look at the white boy."
Police say the 15-year-old was then attacked. "He was hit in the head and didn't require hospital care, but he was assaulted by these two individuals," said Det. Wilking.
A short time later, and just around the block on 100 S. Regent Street, police say another man was attacked by a group of black men. "We had an attack where a male was walking down the street and he was approached, this time, by three black males and they asked him a question about race. Basically he told them he didn't understand their question and they began assaulting him."
This attack more severe. The 32-year-old victim had to be taken to the hospital with injuries to his jaw and eye socket.
Police say in both cases the suspects descriptions were similar. "Both of the victims in these cases felt like they were targeted because they were white by black individuals," said Det. Wilking.
While police are currently investigating these assaults as possible hate crimes, they say they hope this is where the violence ends. Det. Wilking said, "I certainly hope this is an isolated incident. I don't anticipate that we're going to see more of this. We've got to start healing and stop the violence."
Salt lake city police say they're putting this information out there because a potential hate crime, regardless of the race of the suspects or the victims, needs to be addressed.