BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Police have charged a Bangor man with allegedly assaulting another man last Friday, an incident bystanders claim to have possibly been racially motivated.
Joshua Penderghast, 42, was charged with Class D assault Monday, according to Bangor PD Sgt. Tim Cotton.
Cotton said an investigation was launched after a 27-year-old Bangor man reported being assaulted by another man Friday near the intersection of Somerset and Essex streets, which is located between the Broadway Historic District and Tree Streets neighborhoods.
A Facebook status posted Sunday by a Bangor resident who claims to have witnessed the aftermath of Friday's incident had been shared hundreds of times.
In it, Kate Dickerson claims she and another person were walking home from an event and found a young black male on the phone with police who looked "very shaken up."
According to Dickerson's post, the man told them that another man, dressed in a suit and tie, smelling of alcohol and carrying a plastic cup, yelled at him, punched him in the face and threw him to the ground while yelling at him "that Trump would deport him."
Bangor Police have not referred to the incident as a hate crime. Still, Dickerson, who would not be interviewed on camera, said she stands by her story that it was racially motivated.
"I want to see everyone in Bangor come forward and reject this type of racism," Bangor city council chairman Joe Baldacci said Tuesday.
Baldacci was not the only city leader to be outspoken on the issue in light of the post.
Bangor city councilor Ben Sprague quoted Dickerson's text in his own post later that night, beginning it by saying, "The City Council learned this afternoon of a race-based attack on a Bangor citizen this past Friday night. Attacks of this nature, violence of any kind, and racial discrimination have absolutely no place in our city."
In a statement to NEWS CENTER, Cotton said he could only confirm what he had initially released. "I don't have first-hand knowledge of [Dickerson's] connection," Cotton said. "Only what I have seen on Facebook."
Baldacci said he commends Dickerson and her husband.
"Both of them have been involved in the community in a number of different ways. They're both good people I've known them for a long time," he said.
Bangor Police said its detectives worked through the weekend to try and identify and locate a suspect.
"I think the police department has acted extremely well and quick in resolving this issue," Baldacci said. "We have to be sober. We have to be clear-headed and really embrace each other as a community."
Penderghast is scheduled to be in court Dec. 21.