GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump backtracked on comments made about the beating of a Hispanic homeless man in Boston, committed in his name, saying he found the attack to be "terrible". Trump initially did not condemn the attack, telling the Boston Globe that his supporters were "very passionate."
The Republican candidate took to Twitter on 21 August to clarify his initial comments to the Globe. "Boston incident is terrible. We need energy and passion, but we must treat each other with respect. I would never condone violence," the real estate mogul tweeted.
Two South Boston brothers were charged on 19 August after they allegedly attacked a 58-year-old homeless man purely because he was Hispanic. As previously reported by IBTimes UK, the two brothers ripped away the man's blankets and sleeping bag, urinated on him and then viciously attacked him.
The brothers, identified as Scott and Steve Leader, told Boston police that it was fine to attack the man because he was Hispanic and homeless. Scott Leader allegedly told authorities, "Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported."
When Trump was told of the alleged assault, he told the Boston Globe, "[I]t would be a shame...I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate."
Boston city leaders, however, were quick to condemn the attacks by the two men. Mayor Martin Walsh said the brothers "should be ashamed of themselves," while Police Commissioner William Evans told reporters have his South Boston neighbourhood "a bad name," adding the incident was "a disgrace".
According to CNN, the victim was not an undocumented immigrant and in fact has a Social Security number. Social Security numbers are granted to US citizens and individuals who are authorised to work in the US.
The Leader brothers, who have extensive criminal records, pleaded not guilty to several assault charges with a dangerous weapon, indecent exposure and making threats. Steve Leader faces additional charges of malicious destruction of property over $250 (£159.39) after he allegedly punched and kicked a cell door at that State Police barracks in South Boston. They were ordered to be held without bail.