Brainerd Police Department officers have arrested five white males on charges of making terroristic threats against a black teen-ager.
The suspects and the victim, arrested just after midnight Friday, are all from the Brainerd area.
Brainerd Police Chief John Bolduc said today the suspects were believed to be tracking the 18-year-old when they were arrested.
A relative of the victim, who lives near Central Lakes College, called the police department about 11:45 p.m. Thursday. The call came in response to a group of white males allegedly threatening a black male, the police department reported.
Witnesses told police officers that several males in three different vehicles were making threatening statements, Bolduc said. The suspects were reported to be yelling racial slurs and e possibly were armed.
After searching the area, officers located the suspect vehicles in the Pizza Hut parking lot in Baxter. Five suspects, age 17, 18, 19, 21, and 22, were arrested. Bolduc said a knife and brass knuckles were recovered from the vehicles.
Three other juveniles in the vehicles were cited for marijuana or alcohol possession.
Bolduc said it appears the suspects and the victim know each other and the incident may be related to a verbal altercation at Brainerd High School two weeks ago. No one was arrested at the high school but two groups were broken up and racial statements were involved.
Bolduc said he thinks there is more to the story than tensions between blacks and whites, but law enforcement is not getting all of those facts yet. Bolduc said the suspects are not talking about motives.
"We are still interviewing people to understand what is the story behind the story," Bolduc said.
State law strengthens penalties for bias-motivated crimes. Charges were expected when the suspects were to be arraigned at 1 p.m. today in the Crow Wing County Courthouse.
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