Distraught Family, Friends Of George Wong Furious With City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As New York’s finest saluted and honored a retired police officer in Chinatown, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was defending the city’s medical examiner Tuesday.

Officer George Wong, 48, died Thursday after a two-year battle with gastric cancer, which was initially determined to have been a result of exposure to 9/11 toxins.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg with Officer George Wong’s mother

On Monday, the medical examiner interrupted grieving loved ones at Wong’s wake to reclaim his body.

(Photo/Steve Sandberg)

The family was allowed to carry out the wake but the body was taken by the medical examiner’s office at 10 p.m., forcing the family to postpone the next day’s viewing and delay his cremation and funeral.

Wong’s devastated mother said she is not forgiving the city for taking her son.

“Why did they take the body to test it again?” Mei Sin Wong said.

Bloomberg said the medical examiner must review all unnatural causes of death.

“They are as sensitive as you can be at what is obviously a very difficult, emotional time for families,” Bloomberg said.

“The medical examiner has to follow the law.”

When Wong died Thursday the doctor at Bellevue hospice put “9-11 toxic exposure” on the death certificate, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello. When the city saw that, it insisted on examining Wong’s remains. A Health Department spokesperson said the city maintains that there is no conclusive link between illnesses and exposure to ground zero toxins.

On Wednesday night CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis caught up with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, who described the ME’s actions as unfortunate, but confirmed that the “9/11 toxic exposure” cause of death was the point of contention. Kelly said that was written likely as a way to secure Wong’s city pension.

“I can only say that Officer Wong was determined to have a line of duty injury by our pension board, by our medical board,” Kelly said.

(Photo/Courtesy: Steve Sandberg)

Wong retired in 2006 after 20 years on the force. He had spent several weeks at ground zero doing security following the 9/11 attacks.

PBA president Patrick J. Lynch said in a statement, “This is an unforgivable case of bureaucratic overreaction where legal concerns outweighed compassion for the grieving family of a hero police officer.”

Lynch said it is time for the city to accept that people have died and will continue to die from illnesses related to exposure from the recovery and cleanup at ground zero.

“To pretend anything different is just foolish and hurtful to those left behind,” Lynch said.

Mourners said there had to be a better way to treat Wong’s family.

“At a time of crisis, a time of tragedy, they should not be having to make decisions after the fact because somebody mishandled the situation,” retired NYPD officer Christine Leung told Aiello.

Wong was remembered by his partner, Franklin Cosom, as a “sweet guy.”

“He would do anything in the world for you and he’s just going to be missed,” Cosom said. “To be interrupted with such bad news during the wake … it’s a shame.”

Shocked by this? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

Comments (42)
  1. Christine says:

    It is about not having it happen again. From being there, listening to George how he remembers all of us and where we’ve worked, saying a prayer with him for how God have provided him comfort and never blaming for his sufferings. Being at the wake and watching his younger brother Howard’s hand shakes while talking on the phone trying to figure out what to do about the ME’s notification. As Brothers and Sisters in Blue, we all are someone’s Father, Mother, Son, Daughter, Spouse and Partner…loved by our family. We should be there for the Good times, Bad times and when you don’t know where to turn times. I hope when tragedy strikes any of our families, we would be treated with compassion, dignity and respect. We should be there to give support for the love ones that are left behind. We had suffered many losses and there will be more to come, anyone of us could be that family. Pay it forward and remember it could be your family. George would agree. God bless.

  2. J says:


  3. pentup says:

    MORAL TRUTH. You must be really born an IDIOT. If you keep insisting the family is making this racial…AND the MORAL truth is that YOU are an idiot. If you do not see the tragedy that the family had to endure not able to bury their loved one without being interupted and having the body hauled out. RESPECT.

    1. Moral Truth says:


      Skroo you and thats the moral truth.

    2. pentup says:

      moral truth. Thank God that you are one of a kind. I hope they broke the mold when they made you. Go to school and learn how to spell . You are so pathetic

  4. Devenio says:

    I hope all the police officers and firemen are watching this. Your city pretty much is selling you out. Please think twice before rushing into harms way in event of another catastrophe. Think of how your families will have to fight just to get the basics of what they should have. Its cheaper to fight your loved ones than to admit that 9/11 dust is killing people.

  5. tom says:

    Are we going to blame all deaths on 9/11 dust? Sometimes people just die. What about the guys who actually worked on the pile and never had a problem, are they superhuman?

  6. pentup says:

    how is this racial? what would you say if this happened to your love one. If you have any. Stupid

    1. Moral Truth says:

      pentup families make incidents racial and thats the moral truth.

  7. Saddened says:

    This is entirely typical of Mayor Codfish’s arrogant, tyrannical behavior. The ME ought to be fired, even though he’s acting under the dictator’s orders. These are people, not puppets to be shoved around. The poor family is coping with a great loss, and an incredible insult. The WTC Healthcare Registry is tracking the illnesses and probable deaths from the 9/11 pollution; initially, in focus groups, officials wanted to compare it openly to Chernobyl!!!

  8. YUI says:



  9. c smith says:

    could you imagine if bloomberg did not run for a 3 rd term against the vote of the people. we really needed this guy, please go away to your mansion, townhouse, bermuda -just go away

    1. Devenio says:

      This just goes to show the stupidity of the american citizen. What does a billionaire have in common with the average citizen? How a thing! Billionaires care about one thing… More billions. People have to start voting for people in the same economic class as themselves. Poor people voting for rich people is like the sheep voting for the wolf.

      1. Cate says:

        The unfortunate thing is that it is the rich who can afford to toss around millions like pocket change for their campaigning that only ever make it to the ballots. I totally agree with you though. I’d love to see someone with a blue collar background in office.

  10. 1608 says:

    It’s about the $$$$$$’s This is all I could think to say with out being rude, that would make me no better than them.

  11. Drumaine says:

    What a disgrace, NYC, Coroner’s Office, Mayor Bloomberg and all the other fat cats that sit on their duffs and make stupid decisions like this one, should be sued to no end. They really don’t care about us!

  12. Stop Lying to Us! says:


    The hospice doctor putting “9-11 toxic exposure” as cause of death was red to a bull for the powers that be. We can’t allow that kind of honesty now can we? After all, that might set a precedent resulting in big pay outs.

    I’m placing my bet on the ME coming back with a cause of death that aligns with the Health Department’s “no conclusive link between illnesses and exposure to ground zero toxins”.

    I wonder how long they can keep up this charade. I wonder how long too many people will continue to believe the “official” 9/11 snow job.

  13. rich says:

    In memory of a man who after retiring from the NYPD and surviving the daily confrontations with the worst side of NYC life, in addition to 9/11.

    He never loss his simple trust and faith in the system and his fellows. Sorry to see that the simple idea of Noblesse oblige escapes the powers that be.

    For those of you that are interested, the commentary from his friends and acquaintances on the Asian Jade site reflects more of what George was as a person than all the media and one sided speculations.

  14. Eddie says:

    Hopefully Bloomberg will suffer from a mix of Ground Zero ailments and slowly and painfully die alone in his mansion.

  15. TONY F says:

    WOW!! Nice way to treat a retired police officer! IF the family reads this, you should sue the city and who ever was involved with the stupid decision! And as far as Bloomberg is concerned, You should hang your head low in disgrace!

  16. capt bill's daughter says:

    this is an outrage. officer wong retire in 2006, 5 years after the 9/11 tragedy. there was a link already to more than just lung related disease to those who worked at ground zero. the federal government tried to say agent orange related diseases weren’t combat related illness back in the vietnam era. the family had their beliefs violated. there must have been some process in place for specimens to be taken after officer wong’s death at bellevue nearly 1 week ago. this was an infringement on the family’s grief and traditions – religious or cultural. my dad was nypd for 34 yrs, and despite his advanced alzheimer’s was outraged that bureaucracy caused this mother to grieve even more painfully the loss of her son. stay away from all future heroes’ funerals mr bloomberg, you are not part of our families. my condolences to the wong family and my extended long blue line family.

  17. American Worker says:

    The proper way this should have been done was after the 2 day wake the
    body should have gone to the medical examiner and the service for the final resting place postponed if the family agreed to it . Threre would be no way you would take somebody in my family in the middle of a 2 day wake with out us all going to jail first.
    The city was wrong on this one . My sympathy to officer Wongs Family.

  18. mak says:

    If that had been one of my family member’s funeral I would have hit the roof! Does not the city, or the mayor, have ANY sense of human compassion or common sense? This place has turned into one big bureaucratic nightmare and the people that work for it have lost their sense of what it is to be human. I hate this place. I hate this place. I hate this place.

  19. jimmy says:

    Spider jerk!

  20. Richard Cranium says:

    It’s too bad Bloomberg wasn’t in the towers on 9/11.

  21. Christopher M. Torres says:

    Bloomberg is a pompous ASS!!! He is so far removed from the people of this city that he has the audacity to defend this lack of respect for a grieving familly -of an NYPD officer no less. I am sick and tired of this jerk telling everyone how they should think and act! We are not sheep Bloomberg and you are sure as hell not our shephard!

  22. valoispq says:

    Just a thought, if they can retest and find if was a result of ground zero, they can sue and that might help the family. I know, I know, they should have waited until the viewing was finished. If he had a wife and kids, I am sure the money would help. God Rest his soul.

  23. Violet Rag says:

    I bet they wouldn’t do this if the deceased was black.

    1. Brooklyn says:

      I bet they wouldn’t do this if the deceased a yuppie.

      1. badman says:

        I bet they wouldn’t do it if deceased was a chimp

  24. ratt says:

    i bet they wouldn’t do this if it was jew

  25. RoscoeNY says:

    When the family sues and the city pays, the city will still never learn. Another F-up by Bloomturrd and the taxpayers will foot the bill!!!.

    1. Junior says:

      There is no acountability, and there never will be until they can personally be held liable for their stupity rather then havng the taxpayers pay. Want to see quck and good change,make them liable and accountable for their acts or lack of acting, or plain stupidity!

  26. GREG says:


  27. Sam says:

    Officer Wong weighed 80 lbs when he died, what the hell do you think killed him. Stinkin’ Bin Laden still killing Americans 10 years later, I hope you have all your guts and skin ripped out in Hell, you filthy murderer.

  28. Richard T. says:

    Damn, I hope that they never do that to one of my family members! Talk about cruel and inconsiderate?

  29. Junior 1 says:

    May lightning strike them where they stand! My god show his wrath upon stupid people.

  30. Junior says:

    Freaking unacceptable! They should have at least waited until all his viewing services were over! Sue the freaking city and Bloomberg that freaking halfwit. NYC su-cks, as does NY. !

  31. brooklyn4ever says:

    Wow, just wow! I always thought that Mayor Bloombucks was an idiot, but now this has sealed the deal for me.

  32. Sue the City says:

    I hope the mother sues the city for this act! What legal authority can they claim to a dead body? There must be laws protecting such seizure! No crimes were committed.

  33. Jane says:

    The NY Department of Health are a bunch of beaurocratic creeps using their authority to abuse people in service such as the EMS and Police, punishing those they choose to hold in suspicion. Bloomberg speaks with compassion and acts completely opposite. The fool with two faces. When will he leave already!

  34. Putz says:

    No wonder nobody likes you Bloomberg !

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