Hate-crime trial starts with varying details in eyewitness testimonies 

click to enlarge Fight: Two Mexican nationals were brutally beaten outside the Nite Cap in 2010. (Examiner file photo) - FIGHT: TWO MEXICAN NATIONALS WERE BRUTALLY BEATEN OUTSIDE THE NITE CAP IN 2010. (EXAMINER FILE PHOTO)
  • Fight: Two Mexican nationals were brutally beaten outside the Nite Cap in 2010. (Examiner file photo)
  • Fight: Two Mexican nationals were brutally beaten outside the Nite Cap in 2010. (Examiner file photo)

The trial of two men charged with beating two Mexican nationals last November outside a Tenderloin bar in an allegedly hate-motivated attack opened Monday with testimony from eyewitnesses.

Robert Allen, 39, and Justin Meskan, 29, are accused of assault and hate crimes in the Nov. 10 nighttime brawl outside the Nite Cap bar at O’Farrell and Hyde streets. One of the alleged victims was beaten to the point of unconsciousness.

Prosecutors have said witnesses heard the attackers yelling “white power,” though witnesses who testified Monday did not say they heard those words.

Jeffrey Barcus, who lives in a fifth-story apartment at the intersection, said he looked out his window to see “a group of eight to 10 white men attacking the smaller Yucatan Mexican men” in the street.

Barcus said one of the Mexican men was able to get away, while the group circled around the other man “and just started punching and kicking him.”

Under questioning from prosecutor Victor Hwang, Barcus said he heard a lot of swearing, and someone say “white something,” and “native.” He said he also heard someone yell, “Get the f--- out of here.”

Another witness, Meitar Moscovitz, testified he heard a bottle breaking and saw the fight from his third-story apartment window at the intersection. Moscovitz said he saw what appeared to be five or six people huddling around someone, and after they fled down the street, a man lay prone on the ground.

Hwang has said he intends to call other witnesses who will testify about hearing the phrase “white power” being yelled during the attack.

Anthony Weston, 33, who had been arrested along with Allen and Meskan in connection with the alleged hate crime, pleaded guilty last month to felony assault with a hate crime allegation in return for a sentence of probation, on condition he testify at the trial. He is expected to take the stand Tuesday.

Hwang has said the three men had links to white supremacist skinhead groups in The City.

Defense attorneys dispute this, and say the incident was a drunken brawl and nothing more.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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Ari Burack

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Saturday, Apr 18, 2015

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