Justin Tavarez, 19, a sophomore at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, became incensed when the two men sat down near him at Compton’s Restaurant in Saratoga Springs about 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, authorities said.
Three fellow Skidmore students–two of them from New York City–joined in the attack on the white man while his black dining companion was in the bathroom, police said.
“They were expressing their displeasure at the two of them dining together,” said Lt. Gregory Veitch of the Saratoga Springs police. “They started making racially derogatory comments to both of them and that escalated into the attack.”
After Tavarez bashed the man with a plate, Tavarez’s three friends punched and kicked the victim as he lay on the floor, police said.
The victim’s friend and diner employees managed to pull away the attackers–all of whom were black or Latino–and police nabbed the students, authorities said.
Tavarez admitted the assault to police, the Albany Times Union reported. “Yeah, so I hit him with the plate . . . fine, so what?” Tavarez told cops. “It’s not like if he had the chance he wouldn’t have hit me with a plate.”
Tavarez’s family claims he acted in self-defense.