City police try to sort out details of alleged hate crime

Victim's wife says officer would not investigate

January 08, 2000|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

Baltimore police officials are investigating the assault of a 30-year-old man by six young men Thursday in which a police report was not taken, a spokesman for the department said yesterday.

Police said they received two calls for the incident, but officers apparently could not find the victim, whose wife disputes that account.

Jonathon Dempsey, a Texan who recently moved to Baltimore, underwent more than six hours of facial surgery yesterday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center for injuries suffered in the 4 p.m. attack. He was listed in fair condition last night.

"He looked like he got hit with a blackjack," said an emergency room technician at Mercy Medical Center, where Dempsey was treated before being transferred to Shock Trauma. The victim's eyes were swollen, his teeth were knocked out and his nose was broken.

In an on-air call to WBAL-AM radio yesterday, a firefighter who responded to the scene characterized the attack as a hate crime. Dempsey is white; his wife said his attackers were black.

Dempsey's wife, Jennifer Christensen, said she and her husband had just returned from the Baltimore Department of Social Services in the 1500 block of Guilford Ave. when they stopped to use a pay phone at the corner of Barclay Street and Pitman Place.

"As soon as he picked up the phone, they beat him, practically slaughtering him," Christensen said last night.

The couple fled the attackers and walked to the corner of North and Greenmount avenues, where someone called 911.

Firefighters responded within two minutes, according to Christensen, who said a black police officer arrived within 10 minutes but failed to investigate.

The officer "jotted down [Dempsey's] name and address and that was pretty much it," she said. She said the officer then said there was nothing he could do.

Sgt. Scott Rowe, a department spokesman, said last night that the department is still investigating the incident and the possible officer involved.

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