The victim, a 26-year-old San Francisco man, was getting off the J-Church line at Church and Market streets at about 12:40 a.m. as a group of youths were getting on the train, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.
The man apologized when his backpack bumped one of the boys, but the boy allegedly yelled a gay slur at him and then punched him several times in the face, police said.
As the victim tried to get away, his cell phone fell and was picked up by one of the youths, police said. The victim was treated at the hospital for minor injuries.
The incident was recorded on the train’s surveillance video, which “clearly showed” the primary suspect in the attack, police said.
The victim also viewed the video and identified his attacker, according to police.
Officers at the Juvenile Justice Center who were shown still shots of the video recognized the youth from “prior contacts,” Esparza said.
On Friday, officers from the Police Department’s hate crimes unit arrested the boy, police said. He was booked on suspicion of battery and possession of stolen property as well as a hate crimes enhancement.
Police did not identify the boy because he is a juvenile.
The other youths involved in the incident “were basically cheering on the suspect in the attack,” Esparza said, and are not being sought at this time.