NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD on Monday was investigating how an 84-year-old Chinese immigrant, who speaks no English, suffered serious head injuries while getting a jaywalking ticket on the Upper West Side.
As CBS 2 political reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the family of Kang Chun Wong has threatened to sue the city, and the case has raised questions about police conduct in a city that is trying to be more respectful of its diverse populations.
Wong has been wearing a baseball cap since he was injured. He needed four staples to close up a head wound after police stopped him to give him a jaywalking ticket in his Upper West Side neighborhood.
“I’m very disappointed; angry,” said his son, Wei Hang Wong, 41.
Wong’s son said he knew something was wrong when his father did not come home in time. He was missing for two hours.
Then, the younger Wong received a call from the arresting officer.
“He was looking for the medication,” Wei Hang Wong said.
The officer wanted Kang Chun Wong’s medical history. He has a heart condition, among other difficulties.
But Wei Hang Wong said the officer would not tell him how to find his father.
“I had a horrible time,” Wei Hang Wong said. “Let’s just say it was a big runaround.”
Kang Chun Wong was one of 18 people given jaywalking tickets at the intersection of 96th Street and Broadway on Sunday.
Earlier that day, Samantha Lee, 26, became the third person in nine days to be killed at the intersection. Early Sunday, she was clipped by the driver’s side mirror of a St. Luke’s ambulance, police said.
After she fell face down on the street, she was struck again by a Dodge Charger, according to police. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Kang Chun Wong’s case was under investigation Monday. CBS 2 witnessed some undercover officers going into neighborhood stores, looking to see if there were video surveillance cameras that caught the altercation.
When asked by Kramer if he thought the incident that resulted in his father’s injuries was an overreaction by police or an attempt to send a message, Wei Hang Wong answered, “All of the above – to say the least, let’s just say. I don’t know why, or who came up with the idea, but it is what it is.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has appointed a task force to come up with ideas to limit pedestrian deaths, said the jaywalking blitz was the idea of the local precinct captain and not the NYPD.
With regard to Kang Chun Wong, de Blasio said: “I haven’t gotten all the facts on the case, so I’m not going to comment until I get a better sense of it. Obviously, I wish him a speedy recovery.”
The Wong family is considering legal action against the city.
Police insisted that officers did not strike Kang Chun Wong deliberately, and that when an officer pulled out a summons book and began writing a ticket, a struggle ensued.
During the struggle, police claimed, Wong fell to the ground and struck his head.
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