Enough evidence exists to put a Lafayette man on trial for allegedly assaulting a University of Colorado student and calling him racist names in September, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Joseph Coy, 22, has been charged with second-degree assault, third-degree assault, a bias-motivated crime and obstructing a peace officer in connection with a University Hill attack on two men of Nigerian descent. He is accused of punching student Olubiyi Ogundipe in the face.
Coy and a co-defendant, 21-year-old Zachrey Harris, are suspected of calling Ogundipe and another man from Nigeria "monkeys" and other racial slurs, according to police.
Coy appeared in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing on the most serious charge only -- second-degree assault -- which was added by prosecutors earlier this month after it was determined that Ogundipe had sustained a facial fracture in the confrontation.
Harris, arrested on suspicion of harassment and a bias-motivated crime in connection with the incident, pleaded not guilty in October. His case is set for a pre-trial conference next week.
The prosecution called two witnesses to the stand Wednesday morning.
CU police Officer Jaime Mayoral testified that she was patrolling Broadway during the early morning hours of Sept. 18 and came upon four men involved in what appeared to be an altercation near Pleasant Street.
She said she saw one man, who she later identified as Coy, punching someone in the group.
After Coy spotted her getting out of her patrol car, Mayoral testified, he ran down Pleasant Street. She said she pursued Coy into an alley, where she arrest him.
"He said something to the effect of, 'I punched him because he was trying to choke me,'" the officer said.
Boulder County prosecutor Karen Peters asked Mayoral if she saw anyone else in the group, besides Coy, raise their hands or touch anyone.
"No," Mayoral responded.
Boulder police Detective Kurt Foster was also questioned on the stand. He testified that Coy told him that Ogundipe's friend, Ahmad Abdulkareem, had him in a headlock and that in trying to get out of the chokehold, he was flailing his arms and accidentally hit Ogundipe.
But Peters asked him if any witnesses reported seeing Coy being put in a headlock.
"Nobody saw that happen," Foster said.
Coy's attorney, Larry Mertes, questioned the reliability of at least one witness at the scene, who told police that Coy appeared to be the aggressor in the confrontation. He noted that Foster had put in his report that the witness had been drinking.
"What he saw was obviously affected by what he consumed," Mertes said.
After the hearing, Mertes told a reporter that Coy has been unfairly painted as a racist.
He said since Coy's mother died four years ago, a black woman has effectively served as his surrogate mother and that several black people are in his inner circle of family friends.
"This kid's not a racist," Mertes said, pointing the finger at Harris as the one responsible for uttering racist words. "It's our intent to take this case to trial."
Coy is scheduled to enter a plea in the case on Dec. 17. He is free on $10,000 bond.
Contact Camera Staff Writer John Aguilar at 303-473-1389 or firstname.lastname@example.org.