Local teen speaks out about ethnic intimidation

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - Bowling Green police say it was an unprovoked attack and it was racially motivated. Now an 18-year-old is speaking out about the incident that left him and his friend injured and two suspects behind bars and charged with ethnic intimidation and felonious assault.

Investigators say two 18-year-olds walked into the Waffle House on Wooster Street in the early morning hours of March 31 to get something to eat. According to witnesses and the young men, two older men who police identify as Jacob Dick, 22, and Zachary Keller, 21, started spewing racial slurs at the young men. All witnesses interviewed by police say the teens did nothing to provoke the attack.

Justin Hartford was one of the victims. “I tried to let it go, they just kept going and going and going," says Hartford. "They started calling me racial slurs for black people and I got real uncomfortable and asked to move my seat."

That's when according to Hartford, witnesses and a police report, the suspects got up to pay and turned around and started punching the teens.

"He just started hitting me and kicking me, there's nothing I could do about it,” said Hartford.

Police say Dick and Keller fled the scene, but they've since been arrested and charged with ethnic intimidation and felonious assault.

Hartford and his friend, who declined an interview, were treated for injuries at the scene and at the hospital.