AVALON (KDKA) — A least six people will be charged for allegedly assaulting a black man at a bar in Avalon.
It was the night Saturday, July 7, when several people, allegedly part of a group describe as a white nationalist organization, were alleged to have intimidated and assaulted a black man in the Jackman Inn neighborhood bar.
On Tuesday, Avalon Police Chief Tom Kokoski said six or seven of those individuals will be charged.
“They’re definitely going to be charged with simple assault, ethnic intimidation, conspiracy for simple assault, and a conspiracy for ethnic intimidation,” the chief said.
After interviewing witnesses, the chief says that patron Paul Morris, an African-American man, was called a racial epithet and attacked by the group in a backroom of the bar.
Morris is in California now, but says the attack was unprovoked.
“They attacked me because they had hate in their hearts. I didn’t do anything to these people personally. I was just back there talking to my friend,” he said.
According to police, the group had tattoos and t-shirts with the insignia of Keystone United. It’s an organization formerly known as the Keystone State Skinheads, which is a neo-Nazi group. The present form claims not to be neo-Nazi but white nationalist. Still, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors the group, says it’s a racist organization.
A woman caller, who says she was with the group, declined to be identified, but claims that it was Morris who provoked the fight, and that no one made a racial slur.
But, bar manager Jackie Scanlon said those who were there disagree.
“What happened wasn’t right,” said Scanlon. “Everyone who was here and witnessed it stands behind what I just said, and I think they’re willing to stand up.”
Scanlon said the bar clientele and the neighborhood are racially mixed and don’t discriminate.
“There’s no discrimination as to who can come in here,” she said. “But what we don’t want in here is people who hate, who have some kind of mission to hurt other people. So that is not welcomed.”