Attorneys for two men facing civil rights charges after they allegedly shouted homophobic slurs and then punched a man in the face said today that their clients were not the aggressors during the incident in South Sation on Saturday.
Colin Hayes, 21, of Quincy and Derek Ruiz, 28, of Brockton pleaded not guilty in Boston Municipal Court to charges of civil rights violations with injuries, unarmed robbery, and aggravated assault and battery, the Transit Police said. Bail for each man was set at $15,000 cash and both were ordered to return Aug. 22.
Hayes’s attorney, Leonard E. Milligan III, said in court that video of the incident shows that his client did not strike the victim, but was instead trying to break up a fight between Ruiz and the other man.
Milligan said after the court proceeding it was too soon for anyone to conclude that his client acted improperly while he was at South Station.
“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, said that his client has insisted on his innocence and adamantly believes that an examination of security videos will vindicate him. “The video will tell who is telling the truth,” Roa said.
According to Transit Police, the victim, a 32-year-old man, was in the commuter rail lobby around 5:40 a.m. charging his iPhone.
“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 they called him by a homophobic slur. “They then attacked the victim, punching him, and taking his iPhone.’’
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 suffered a nasal fracture and was taken to Tufts Medical Center in Boston for emergency medical treatment, Transit Police said.
She also said that during the incident, the man’s attackers called him by an antigay slur. She said authorities believe the man’s clothing led his attackers to conclude he was gay.
During the attack, the man’s iPhone was also stolen, Erickson said.
Erickson said in court that Transit Police tracked the Quincy men down after seeing the victim’s cellphone for sale on Craigslist.