US brothers, allegedly inspired by Trump, face hate crime charges

Scott Leader (left) and brother Steve Leader are seen in police photos..
Scott Leader (left) and brother Steve Leader are seen in police photos.. REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Two brothers, purportedly inspired by Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump, face felony hate crime charges for allegedly beating a homeless man because they believed he was an immigrant, authorities said Friday.

The brothers - Scott and Steve Leader of South Boston, 38 and 30, respectively - have been in custody since Aug 19 after allegedly kicking, punching and urinating on the 58-year-old, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in Massachusetts.

They were subsequently arraigned and have now been indicted by a grand jury for civil rights violations while causing bodily injury, a charge that carries up to 10 years behind bars, as well as a series of other charges, according to the statement.

The victim suffered a broken nose and other injuries during the alleged attack, the statement said, and at one point was hit repeatedly with a metal pole by one of the brothers, who witness said walked away laughing.

The Boston Globe, citing court documents, reported that Scott Leader told police that "Donald Trump was right; all these illegals need to be deported."

Trump, a billionaire real estate developer who has never held elected office, has promised, if he wins the 2016 presidential election, to expel immigrants who are in the United States illegally and build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

He has also alleged that Mexico sends rapists and other criminals across the border.

Scott Leader allegedly told police that he and his brother "tuned up" an "illegal immigrant," and that their actions were acceptable because the victim was homeless and Hispanic, according to the district attorney's office.

Trump, meanwhile, said after the alleged incident that he would never condone violence.

"Boston incident is terrible," Trump tweeted.