LPD: Accusers Become the Accused in Racially-Charged Theft Case

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Lexington Police Department announced in a press release Wednesday that, following an investigation into a disorder between a group of teens and some employees at Portofino restaurant back in November, criminal complaints have been filed against three of the juveniles.

Officers say one 17-year-old and one 16-year-old were charged for theft by unlawful taking.  Charges were also filed against another 17-year-old for receiving stolen property and tampering with physical evidence.

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Police say the disorder happened November 5th outside of the restaurant in the area of Main Street and Esplanade, after a group of teens came in Portofino’s to charge their cell phones and use the restroom.  As the group was leaving, restaurant employees confronted them, saying that a jacket from the coatroom had been taken.  The group of teens told officers that the Portofino’s staff then assaulted them, and that the assaults were racially motivated.

Investigators confirmed that the jacket was taken from the restaurant, and had been hidden in a nearby area.  They also say through video and witness interviews, that no other allegations could be corroborated.  Police say, additionally, that one of the juveniles recanted on their initial statement.

The case will now proceed through the judicial process.

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11/7/16 3:26 p.m.

Police in Lexington say they are continuing an investigation into a disorder in the area of Short Street and Esplanade involving multiple people, assault, and alleged racist abuse between a group of teens and some employees at the Portofino restaurant.

Officers say they received a call regarding the disturbance at around 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.

According to investigators, five young people entered the building where Portofino’s is located to charge their cell phones and use the bathroom.  Police say Portofino employees, who suspected the youths had taken something belonging to an employee, attempted to stop them, and then followed them outside.

The group of minors tell officers that the Portofino’s staff assaulted them, and that the assaults were racially motivated.  Police say one person was treated at the scene.

Officers say they are receiving conflicting statements as to how the person was injured, but that an assault report was taken and is being investigated.

Police say they continue to gather information about the case.

ABC 36’s Veronica Jean Seltzer is following this story and will have the latest details on ABC 36 News at 5, 5:30, 6, or watch on our livestream at http://www.wtvq.com/livestream/.