NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An NYPD sergeant was indicted in Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon, accused of assaulting prisoners.
Phillip Wong, 37, pleaded not guilty to third-degree assault charges at his arraignment, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported.READ MORE: NYPD Lieutenant Shot In Ankle Apprehending Suspect In The Bronx
Wong stayed silent while walking into court. He is accused of assaulting at least two people who were in custody.
Prosecutors allege the first incident was in 2019 inside the West 145th Street subway station. The alleged victim was handcuffed and put into a holding cell when he started spitting at officers and kicked the cell door. The sergeant is accused of reopening that cell door and punching the person, which cut the prisoner above his eye, requiring stitches.
The NYPD then put the sergeant on desk duty while the Internal Affairs Bureau investigated.
Prosecutors allege about six months later, in April of 2020, Sgt. Wong arrested someone at the West 96th Street subway station. That person, while in custody and in handcuffs, then taunted the sergeant and the sergeant punched the person in the face while he was the supervisor on scene.READ MORE: Justice Department Says Russians Hacked Federal Prosecutors
Wong’s defense attorney, Andrew Quinn, said on at least one occasion the sergeant, who is Asian American, was set off by the person in custody using an anti-Asian slur.
“People in this city feel it’s perfectly in their jurisdiction and right to simply call a cop whatever they want, and they are right, First Amendment protects free speech. But at some point somebody has got to start to realize that cops are not getting paid enough to have racial and ethnic slurs hurled int their faces every single time they step out of a police car,” Quinn said.
Sources also told CBS2 Internal Affairs found body camera footage of at least one incident and turned it over to prosecutors who brought the charges.
Wong was working in Transit District 3 at the time and has 16 years total with the NYPD.
Prosecutors are recommending Wong receive 60 days in jail if he is found guilty.MORE NEWS: Police: Woman, 61, Killed In West Islip House Fire
He’s due back in court in October.