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Suspect in Boston Public library assault insists he didn’t start fight

The interior of the Boston Public Library main branch on Boylston Street.
The interior of the Boston Public Library main branch on Boylston Street. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff/File)

A man was arrested after allegedly assaulting a Boston Public Library employee Wednesday night, according to Boston police.

William Zaniboni, 49, of Boston, is facing charges of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and assault and battery, according to a posting on bpdnews.com.

Officers were called to the Copley Square library at about 8:54 p.m. The victim told police that he had been working in the library’s computer section when Zaniboni suddenly become irate for no apparent reason and started yelling at him, police wrote.

When the employee asked him to leave the building, Zaniboni allegedly indicated that he would be waiting outside for him.

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A short time later, when the employee was leaving the library, Zaniboni allegedly approached him and punched him in the face. The employee tried to defend himself and brought Zaniboni to the ground, the posting said.

Zaniboni allegedly took out a can of what is believed to be mace and sprayed the victim in the face and then walked towards Exeter Street. Zaniboni was taken into custody a short time later by police.

In an interview with the Globe late Thursday night, Zaniboni insisted he did not start the fight.

“I’m the victim here,” he said. “He hit me first inside the library.”

Zaniboni also denied that he had any mace with him, and said he himself got pepper sprayed during the incident.

Zaniboni said he wants to see security video from the library that shows what happened.

He was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on Thursday morning and released on his own recognizance, Renee Algarin, spokeswoman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office, said in an e-mail.

Zaniboni was ordered to stay away from and have no contact with the victim, stay away from the location, and not possess pepper spray.

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His next court appearance is scheduled for September 17, Algarin said.


Correspondent Adam Sennott contributed to this story. Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.