ENGLEWOOD, N.J. – Hispanics in a northern New Jersey city are being targeted for violence, police have concluded after a string of multiple assaults.
Englewood police say there have been six incidents in the past month in which Hispanics were assaulted. Police Chief Arthur O'Keefe told The Record newspaper they were not isolated incidents and that his department is investigating whether there's a potential link to gang initiations.
“We have information that Hispanics are being targeted,” Police Chief Arthur O’Keefe said. “These are not isolated incidents.”
Englewood has a population of 27,147 and 27.48 percent of which is Hispanic.
The most recent attacks took place Tuesday. A restaurant worker walking home was able to fight off four attackers by the Depot Square playground but not before being severely wounded in the head. Later that night, a man leaving a bakery was accosted and robbed by six people.
The victim said the people who attacked him were juveniles appearing to be no older than 14 years old. They were all wearing black. He also noticed four older men standing by watching one of whom was motioning as if he had a gun.
Authorities believe it's a good chance the attacks were done by the same group.
Police say many Hispanic immigrants work in the food service industry, carry cash on them from tips, and are easily identifiable as they walk home at night after their shifts wearing aprons.
Police are assuring victims that they will not check their immigration status.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.