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Photo taken by Common attack victim leads to arrests

Two Dorchester teenagers were part of a larger group that allegedly attacked a man and a woman on Boston Common on Thursday night, according to police and one of the victims.

Officer Rachel McGuire, a Boston Police Department spokeswoman, said a 16-year-old Dorchester boy was with a group of other juveniles near Frog Pond when he allegedly assaulted a 23-year-old man at about 9:30 p.m.

The man was walking with a 27-year-old woman, who took a picture of the assailant on her cellphone, McGuire said. After the woman snapped the photo, a 15-year-old Dorchester girl emerged from the group of teenagers and allegedly attacked her and tried to steal the phone, McGuire said.

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The victims escaped with minor injuries and called 911, and later showed police the cellphone pictures of the attackers, police said. Officers found the two Dorchester teens nearby and took them into custody.

One of the victims, a Cambridge woman who declined to be named for fear of retaliation, said she and her male companion had just met to begin tutoring one another in Korean and English, and they were about to part company when the first attack occurred.

“Suddenly a kid ran up and sort of punched my friend in the head and knocked him to the ground,” she said. “We were shocked. The [other] kids didn’t really do anything. They didn’t run away. And then my friend got up, and we backed away from them and took photos of them. I called the police.”

At that point, the woman said, about four or five youths threw her to the ground and attacked her, shouting for her to give up the phone.

“They started punching me on my head and body,” she said. “They were pulling my hair. I was holding onto my phone for dear life.”

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Eventually, she said, other teenagers in the group told the attackers to stop, and police arrived. She said she feared for her life but was determined to hang onto her phone.

“I hope this is not my last moment,” the woman said she was thinking. “I don’t want to die. And then my other thought was, I cannot lose my phone. . . . My phone has the evidence; it’s the only way I can contact anyone for help. And it has my whole life on it.”

As for the initial assault, the woman said, “It looked like just an attack for the sake of punching him. . . . They were sort of laughing about it.”

Both juveniles were charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for allegedly pushing their victims down onto the sidewalk, authorities said. The 15-year-old was additionally charged with unarmed assault with intent to rob.

Pleas of not-delinquent were entered on their behalf Friday in Boston Juvenile Court.

Craig Collins, a lawyer for the 16-year-old boy, said his client has no prior criminal record and adamantly maintains his innocence.

“I believe this is a case of mistaken identity,” Collins said. “My client was simply a bystander who witnessed a portion of this incident. He did not participate in the attack in any way.”

The other juvenile’s lawyer could not be reached for comment

Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, said prosecutors requested $1,000 bail for each defendant, but a judge released them without bail to the custody of their parents.

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The Cambridge woman said her mother is Japanese, and she contacted her male companion, who speaks Korean, because she wanted to learn other Asian languages. She, in turn, is helping him practice his English.

She said they plan to meet up again soon.

“We’re actually planning on meeting in a couple days over a drink to discuss what happened,” she said.


Aneri Pattani can be reached at aneri.pattani@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @apattani95. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.