FBI has started civil rights probe in Jan. 6 assault

February 23, 2000|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the Jan. 6 assault on Jonathon Dempsey, a white man who says he was severely beaten by a group of black men while trying to use a pay phone in the 400 block of Pitman Place.

City police are concluding their investigation into the incident and whether an officer responded to the beating call but failed to take an incident report.

Dempsey, 30, said the officer, who is black, refused to take a report on the incident. The officer, whom the department will not identify until the investigation is completed, said at the time he could not find Dempsey. A report was filed 24 hours later. The Baltimore police department's internal affairs division has recommended that the officer face neglect of duty charges, said a police official.

Police also said their investigation concludes the incident was not a racially motivated attack.

Dempsey, who police say refused to cooperate with their investigation, said yesterday he does not believe the attack was racially motivated. When asked why, Dempsey responded: "I just don't feel it was," and hung up the phone.

FBI spokesman Peter A. Gullotta Jr. said the agency has an obligation to investigate attacks that might be racially motivated.

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