The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a report of a black teenager being attacked at a home in Gray, in what the victim’s family members are calling a racially motivated beating.

The man’s father said his son was kicked and stomped, struck with a beer bottle, and part of his ear was bitten off. He criticized police for not making an arrest right after the attack.

But Chief Deputy Kevin Joyce said no arrest has been made because the investigation is not complete.

“There are plenty of witnesses on both sides,” Joyce said Sunday night. “We want to make sure we have all the facts before we make an arrest.”

According to police, the 17-year-old black male had returned to his friend’s home at 124 Lewiston Road in Gray early Thursday after attending a local party.

Another group of individuals, who allegedly followed the boys when they left the party, approached them outside the home. A fight broke out.

The 17-year-old, who was identified by his father as Zachary White of Greensboro, N.C., suffered several injuries. But police said when they arrived, the teenager refused to answer questions and declined to press charges.

“Family members of the juvenile told the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department they believe this to be a racially motivated attack,” Joyce said in a prepared statement.

If the assault proves to be racially motivated, Joyce said, the evidence will be presented to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution as a hate crime.

Tobias White, the father of Zachary White, said he has no doubt the fight was racially motivated. His son used to attend school in the Gray-New Gloucester system and spoke out after some students made racist comments following the election of President Obama. Zachary White had returned to Maine to visit his mother.

Tobias White claimed his son’s attackers restrained him while a third boy chewed off the top of his ear. Zachary White also suffered tendon damage to his right arm and hand from being kicked and stomped, and he was hit in the head or face with a beer bottle, his father said.

He said he had photos taken in the hospital that showed the severity of his son’s injuries. Zachary White was released Friday from Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

Tobias White, who is white — his son’s mother is black — said police should have made an arrest right after the alleged assault.

But Joyce said that he felt confident, “given the magnitude of what occurred, that my detectives are not dragging their feet. In the end, we need to make sure we have all the facts.”

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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