Ricardo Muñiz, the 23-year-old Mexican immigrant living in Brooklyn, is headed for a jury trial for the July 2009 beating of Jose Cruz, 66. Except, um, didn’t Muñiz report that Cruz attacked him in an anti-gay assault?
Last year Muñiz alleged that after Cruz spotted him at a bar dancing with another man, Cruz followed him out of the venue and started screaming anti-gay slurs while beating him with his belt; Cruz was also found beaten. Two weeks after Muñiz reported the attack, he was arrested — and faced deportation to boot. But prosecutors say it is Muñiz who is the aggressor, not the victim, and they’re going after Muñiz for putting Cruz in a coma. The NYDN reports:
Prosecutors claim Cruz merely complimented Muniz on his dancing when the two crossed paths during a boozy night in a Church Ave. bar. By the end of the fight, Cruz was “lying flat on his back, unable to defend himself, and the defendant strikes him three time with a blunt wooden object,” said assistant district attorney Ronald Snyder. “You decide who’s the violent thug here,” defense attorney Deron Castro told the jury. “There are plenty of times when the bully ends up getting injured.”
He alleged that Cruz, who was at the bar from about 9 p.m. until the 4 a.m. closing time, made anti-gay remarks to Muniz and his friends who were kissing and cavorting on the dance floor. When he made another snide comment upon seeing the group outside the bar, violence erupted, with Cruz ending up hospitalized for a month.
And while there’s at least one witness to the attack — Muniz’s friend German Serrano, who prosecutors painted as drunk on the night in question — this is likely one of those situations where we’ll never know the full truth about who attacked whom (first), and whether both men are assailants, victims, or both.