A Massachusetts firefighter has been accused of assaulting a man because he was taking too long to order food at a Mexican restaurant, officials said.
Joseph Ward, 37, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after he allegedly followed a man out of Anna’s Taqueria in Brookline late Sunday and pushed him.
He allegedly called the man a “f****** homeless a******” to the ground before pushing him to the ground and punching and kicking him, the victim and witnesses told police.
“I guess the guy was tougher than I thought,” the purported victim allegedly told police.
The man admitted to officers that after Ward asked him to hurry up, he told him they could take it outside, but did not think they would get into a physical altercation, according to a police report obtained by INSIDE EDITION.
Once outside, Ward allegedly pushed the victim and punched him in the face, calling him a “homeless f***,” a witness said.
After the man fell to his knees, Ward allegedly threw a bottle that hit the alleged victim in the back and threw food at the man, the witness told police.
The firefighter then allegedly straddled the man and punched him in the face between five and seven times.
He only stopped attacking the victim because a woman yelled at him to stop, a witness told police.
That witness told police she saw Ward “really hitting a guy on the ground, he punched him multiple times and kicked him on the side,” the police report notes.
Police said Ward allegedly fled the scene and was found by them shortly thereafter, telling cops: “I know what this is about and I did punch him.”
He claimed to only have punched the victim and did not kick him, according to police .
The alleged victim was taken to a local hospital to be treated for a laceration to his right eyebrow.
Ward, who has served as a firefighter with the Brookline Fire Department for almost 10 years, was placed on administrative leave following the incident, the department told INSIDE EDITION.
The department said it plans to take “appropriate action when it has concluded its investigation.”
He was released on Tuesday on his own recognizance by Judge Mary Dacey White, who ordered him to have no contact with the alleged victim or witnesses. The government had requested $10,000 bail.
Benjamin Urbelis, Ward’s attorney, told INSIDE EDITION: “We’re pleased that despite the fact that the government asked for $10,000 bail, Mr. Ward was released on his own recognizance today. He’s a 10 year veteran and a respected member of the Brookline Fire Department.”
Urbelis also said he requested a copy of security video from the restaurant where the alleged altercation began. “The investigation is still ongoing, so we’re looking to gather as much information as possible,” he said.
Ward is due back in court on November 19 for a pretrial conference.