DULUTH (AP) -- The beating of a black teenager in Duluth has raised concerns about racism in the Twin Ports, though police said the attack didn't appear to be racially motivated.
Police said Antonio Burch, 17, and several girls were walking in downtown Duluth Tuesday evening when they were accosted by several young men of another racial minority. One of them accused Burch of talking to his girlfriend, then struck the teen with a golf club.
"The fight went on for a while," Police Lt. John Hall said. "Eventually, the male was beaten down, and one or two guys" with the attacker kicked Burch, who suffered bruises and was taken to a hospital.
The youth, who recently moved to Duluth from Milwaukee with his family, stayed home from school Wednesday.
About 30 people gathered at St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night to find ways to confront racism.
"We're dealing with a long-standing legacy of hatred toward African-American children," the Rev. Arthur Foy said. "It's about time we do something about it."
Hall said police had information indicating race was not a motive for the attack. He would not give the race of the attackers, except to say they weren't white.
Foy said the attackers were American Indians who have been in trouble with the law before, and not just with blacks.
At Wednesday night's meeting, some parents said their children are afraid to go to school because of racism.
Ellis Simmons, interim pastor at Calvary Baptist Church, said concerned community members have to come together and confront racism.
"Racism is a learned behavior," he said. "We should be taking action. We need to make Duluth recognize it has a problem. We need to have a presence in the schools."
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