Kang Chun Wong, an 84 year old cantonese man, will be suing New York City after an arrest for jaywalking left him bloodied and needing hospital care.
Wong, who has lived in the same Upper West Side neighborhood since 1966 owns a restaurant in the area and has never had trouble with the law before.
City police have begun cracking down on jaywalking infractions in the city after three recent pedestrian fatalities. The crackdown is dubbed “Vision Zero.”
Phil Walzak, spokesman from the mayor’s office, said Sunday, “We won’t sit by while lives are lost and families are torn apart. These latest crashes underscore the urgent need to make our streets safer, which is why we are moving decisively to enact ‘Vision Zero’.”
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The incident with Wong occurred Sunday. He maintains that the traffic light was green when he began crossing the street but it turned red before the elderly man could reach the other side. He was stopped by an officer who asked to see his ID.
Wong, who only speaks Cantonese and Spanish, understood the officer’s request for “ID” but was unable to understand what, if anything, he had done wrong. As the officer walked away he demanded his ID back.
“I was very puzzled and I was very scared,” he said. “I had no idea why I had been stopped. I used Cantonese and said give me back my ID.”
The policeman radioed for more officers who arrived at the scene.
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“I got more scared,” Wong said.
As the elderly man grew more agitated and frightened an officer pulled out handcuffs and other officers pushed him against a nearby wall . Wong struck his head and blacked out. When he regained consciousness he was bleeding from his head and his hands were cuffed behind his back.
He was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital where his head injuries were treated with four staples. Later he was taken to the 24th precinct and police charged him with jaywalking, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct.
Wong was released to his family Monday.They have retained the services of plaintiffs attorney Sanford Rubenstein and have announced their plans to sue the city for $5 million.