Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Friday he “would never condone violence” after Boston police said two men beat a homeless man while making anti-immigrant statements.
“Donald Trump was right,” the two men said, according to police, as they beat the man with a metal pipe and then urinated on him. “All these illegals need to be deported.”
Trump tweeted on Friday that the incident was “terrible.”
“We need energy and passion, but we must treat each other with respect,” Trump said.
Trump is dominating the Republican presidential race with his controversial immigration proposals, which including building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, revoking citizenship of babies born in the U.S. to undocumented parents and deporting undocumented immigrants.
During a press conference earlier this week, Trump said that while he hadn’t heard about the Boston incident, it would “be a shame.” But he didn’t stop there, as he quickly went to applaud those who echo his views.
“I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate,” Trump said. “They love this country, they want this country to be great again.”
The two men, identified by police as Scott Leader, 38, and his brother, Steve Leader, 30, are being held in jail without bond. Authorities say they were on their way home from a Red Sox game when they came upon the victim sleeping near a train station, according to a police report.
Witnesses told police that the two men beat the victim with a metal pole repeatedly and walked away laughing, according to a press release from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
The elder Leader brother, Scott, later told police they attacked him because he was “homeless,” “Hispanic,” and an “illegal immigrant.”
The victim told police that he awoke to the men urinating on him. He was brought to Boston Medical Center to be treated for a broken nose and serious bruising across his ribs, among other injuries, the press release said.
The victim is not undocumented, according to a Social Security number for the man listed in the police report but blacked out for privacy reasons. Social Security numbers are issued to U.S. citizens and authorized workers, according to the Social Security Administration website.
The Leader brothers, face a number of assault and battery charges as well as gross lewdness, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. They are expected back in court on Sept. 3.
Calls to their lawyers were not immediately returned Thursday.