Two men who work at a downtown bar were arraigned on civil rights charges Thursday with prosecutors claiming they shouted homophobic slurs before battering a man who was waiting for a train at South Station.
The alleged victim, who was punched in the head and left with a broken nose in a pool of blood early Saturday morning, told police that the men began taunting him because of the way he was dressed.
“The victim stated he is a homosexual and was dressed in a manner which made it obvious to his attackers,” Transit Police wrote in their arrest report, stating that the attackers called him by a homophobic slur. “They then attacked the victim, punching him, and taking his iPhone.’’
Attorneys for the men said in Boston Municipal Court that their clients were not the aggressors and that surveillance video of the fight will show that the alleged victim was the instigator. The alleged victim, a 32-year-old man from Worcester, did not return messages.
Colin Hayes, 21, of Quincy, and Derek Ruiz, 28, of Brockton, both of whom work at the Julep Bar on High Street, pleaded not guilty to charges of civil rights violations with injuries, unarmed robbery, and aggravated assault and battery, Transit Police said.
Judge Mark Hart Summerville set bail for each man at $15,000 cash and ordered both to return to court Aug. 22 for probable cause hearings.
Hayes’s attorney, Leonard E. Milligan III, said in court that video of the incident shows that his client did not strike the victim, and that he was instead trying to break up a fight between Ruiz and the other man.
“I think it’s too early to judge his guilt or innocence,’’ Milligan said after the arraignment. “It sounds to me as if he didn’t hit anyone.’’
Ruiz’s attorney, William Roa, added his client has insisted on his innocence. “The video will tell who is telling the truth,” Roa said.
The confrontation began at about 5:40 a.m. as the Worcester man was charging his iPhone at an outlet while waiting for a train. The man told police he asked the two men to leave him alone after they allegedly began taunting him.
The men left him for a few minutes and then returned, argued with him, and then began punching him in the head, prosecutors said. Then they stole the victim’s phone and fled the station, according to the police report.
In court, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Jessica Erickson said that when first responders came upon the victim, his head and face were covered with blood. The victim was taken to Tufts Medical Center in Boston for emergency medical treatment, Transit Police said.
Erickson said in court that Transit Police tracked the Quincy men down after identifying a Boston man who bought the victim’s cellphone on Craigslist. That man, who told police he bought the phone for $180, put them in touch with the man who posted the phone on Craigslist.
Investigators, without identifying themselves, exchanged texts with the man who posted the ad. He offered to purchase an iPhone and marijuana from the detectives at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Andrew Square. That man, who helped identify Ruiz as the original seller of the phone, was later arrested for possessing more than an ounce of marijuana.
When Transit Police viewed Ruiz’s Facebook page, they noted that one of his Facebook friends, later identified as Hayes, could be seen in surveillance footage from the scene of the attack.
Hayes was arrested Wednesday while working in the kitchen of Julep Bar after he allegedly identified himself in surveillance images presented by police.
Hayes told police that he had left his job at midnight a few hours before the attack and drank alcohol as he waited for Ruiz to leave work. Ruiz, who was not working during the police visit to the bar Wednesday, was arrested Thursday morning.
Officials at the Anti-Defamation League called the alleged attack “brutal and senseless.”
It “is yet another example that people in our community continue to be attacked because of who they are,” said Robert Trestan, the ADL New England regional director, in a statement. “Everyone has the right to conduct their daily affairs without fear of violence and ridicule.”