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Boston men face hate crime charges over Trump-inspired beating of homeless Mexican man

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Two Boston brothers accused of urinating on and beating a homeless Mexican man have been charged with hate crimes after being quoted by police as saying, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said on Friday a grand jury had brought the new charges against Scott Leader, 38, and Steve Leader, 30, arrested on Aug. 19 on suspicion of beating 58-year-old Guillermo Rodriguez as he slept in a subway station.

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Trump, a candidate for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination, has been vocal on immigration, proposing to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and promising to deport the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States if elected.

The brothers were initially charged with assault and battery for the purpose of intimidation because of national origin. A grand jury on Thursday charged each with one count of civil rights violations while causing bodily injury.

The new charges mean they face an additional possible 10 years in state prison if convicted and moves their forthcoming trial to Suffolk Superior Court, rather than the lower-level Dorchester Superior Court where they had initially been charged.

A police report released at the time ascribed to them the quote about Trump.

Prosecutors said Scott Leader told arresting officers that the two had “tuned up” an “illegal immigrant” and that he believed the attack was justified because the victim was homeless and Hispanic.

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The pair also allegedly threatened police officers while in custody.

Trump, a real estate developer and reality television personality, initially described the attack as an outcome of passionate views on immigration but later called it “terrible.”

Daniel Hernandez Joseph, the consul general of Mexico in Boston, said the attack illustrated the importance of keeping political language civil.

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“Political rhetoric has consequences and this is clearly an example,” Hernandez Joseph said. “People need to remain responsible for the consequences of their statements, regardless of whether that was their intention.”

Rodriguez, who is in the United States legally, is still in Massachusetts and recovering from his injuries, Hernandez Joseph said. He declined to provide further details on the man’s condition.

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Lawyers for the two accused men could not be reached for immediate comment.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Howard Goller)


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Woman allegedly involved in Central Park scandal placed on leave from job: ‘We do not condone racism’

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Video circulated on social media on Memorial Day of a woman in Central Park claiming she was calling 911 to falsely claim an "African-American man" was threatening her life.

It reportedly started after he filmed her walking her dog without a leash.

https://twitter.com/melodyMcooper/status/1264965252866641920

Internet sleuths worked to identify the woman. During the day on Monday, rumors of her identity spread online.

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Scientists fight online coronavirus misinformation war

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With cat photos and sometimes scathing irony, Mathieu Rebeaud, a Swiss-based researcher in biochemistry, has nearly tripled his Twitter following since the coronavirus pandemic began.

With 14,000 followers, he posts almost daily, giving explanations on the latest scientific research and, in particular, aims to fight misinformation that spreads as fast as the virus itself.

He is among a growing number of doctors, academics and institutions who in recent weeks have adapted and amplified their scientific messaging in hopes of countering what has been termed an infodemic -- a deluge of information, including widespread false claims, which experts say can pose a serious threat to public health.

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Ted Cruz doesn’t want people shamed with body bags for going to beach: ‘Please stop the hate’

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In early May, Florida attorney Daniel Uhlfelder made news by dressing up as the Grim Reaper in an attempt to scare people from crowding beaches during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Days later, he escalated by laying out body bags on the steps of the Florida capitol building in Tallahassee.

He escalated further on Saturday by announcing he would be handing out body bags to Florida beachgoers and started a fundraiser with the funds going to two progressive Political Action Committees.

https://twitter.com/DWUhlfelderLaw/status/1264412394794647552

The effort caught the eye of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

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