BALTIMORE, JULY 20 -- Police arrested a 21-year-old Baltimore man today after a racial incident in which a group of whites taunted and chased a black man into the path of an oncoming pickup truck.
The black man, who was struck by the truck and critically injured, was walking with his white girlfriend, police said, when they were accosted by three white men on the street and two in a different pickup.
"They were objecting to him being with a white woman," said Lt. Ronald Savage, the first Baltimore police officer to reach the scene.
The incident, which occurred Thursday night in the mostly white Highlandtown area, is the second racial incident reported in Baltimore this week. On Wednesday, two black men were attacked by a group of whites in the Remington area after an argument over a public telephone. One of the two victims was stabbed to death, and the other was slashed and beaten.
Daniel Porter, 21, of Baltimore, was charged with assault and reckless endangerment in connection with the incident in Highlandtown, which occurred just before 10 p.m. Porter was released on $25,000 bond.
The Highlandtown victim, Herbert Jennings, 32, of the 3000 block of East Monument Street, was listed in critical condition today at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center with a severe head injury and cuts and bruises.
Jennings and his 32-year-old companion, whom police declined to identify, were first taunted by the two men in the pickup truck. Then a group of three men on the street joined in, taunting the couple with racial slurs, Savage said.
Porter, one of the men on foot, asked the men in the truck if they wanted Porter and his companions to "get" Jennings and began to chase him, Savage said. Jennings, attempting to run through an intersection to a bar to telephone police, slipped and fell under the wheels of another pickup, Savage said.
Jennings's companion was not injured and the driver of the truck was not charged.
Police sent members of its community relations division to the neighborhood today. Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke told radio station WBAL that he didn't think racial attacks "represent a general problem in this city."
"But we also recognize that there are people that like to feed on these things and encourage them some more," Schmoke said.
People interviewed in Highlandtown today gave different views of race relations there. "Blacks don't live here but they work here and shop here and I've never seen a problem," said Kim Martin, who is white.
According to a young black woman waiting for a bus, the area is dangerous for blacks. Pamela Dennis said she usually avoids the neighborhood but came this day to shop.
"My children have been chased and hassled at the school here -- not by kids, but by white adults, neighbors. There are certain areas you're not supposed to be in after dark unless you live there. This is one of them," Dennis said.
The other racial incident took place after a fight between two black men and a group of white men over a public telephone. Harold Parker, 27, of Baltimore, died of stab wounds and his companion, Tarey Faust, was slashed and bruised.
Faust told police his attackers told him he couldn't use the phone and they didn't want him in the area. Then they smashed the windows of his car. On Thursday, police charged John Edwin Mooney, 28, of Baltimore, with first-degree murder, attempted murder, possession of a deadly weapon and malicious destruction.
Staff writer Paul Valentine contributed to this report.