A Massachusetts motorist accused of hitting an Asian man, dragging him for 200 yards and ramming him into a ditch while making anti-Chinese statements has been charged with a federal hate crime.
John Sullivan, 77, was arrested shortly after the incident on Dec. 2, 2022, which left 38-year-old George Ngo limping from multiple injuries, including a concussion, a fractured shoulder and torn ligaments.
“I could’ve been dead. I am lucky to be alive. He left me a lot of scars on my whole leg,” the father of three told CBS Boston last month.
Ngo said he was standing with his sister and her three children outside a local post office when he noticed Sullivan speeding.
He called Sullivan out, resulting in an angry exchange.
The incident reportedly escalated when Sullivan told the family to “Go back to China” and threatened to “kill all of you.” After returning from the post office, he allegedly rammed his car into Ngo — who rolled onto the hood and clung to it — dragged him for some 50 yards, hit the brakes, yelled “Go back to China” again, hit Ngo a second time, dragged him even further and ultimately rammed him into a construction ditch 10 to 15 feet deep.
Ngo’s sister, Desiree Thien, managed to film part of the encounter. Aside from being upset for her brother, she is outraged for her children, who all witnessed the violent act.
“I want him [Sullivan] for the rest of his life to stay in prison where he belongs because he is a danger to society,” Thien told Boston 25 News. “He is 77 so Satan is waiting for him with open arms.”
Sullivan, however, was released on conditions after pleading not guilty to two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a civil rights violation, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of a crash with personal injury.
He was ordered to stay away from the family, abstain from drugs and alcohol, stay at home under GPS monitoring and refrain from driving, save for medical checkups.
On Wednesday, Sullivan was charged with one count of violating the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
According to his indictment, he used his vehicle to willfully cause bodily injury to Ngo because of the latter’s actual and perceived race and national origin.
U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins weighed in on the case:
Hate has no place here in Massachusetts. As this case demonstrates, we will aggressively prosecute hate crimes and other civil-rights offenses committed because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any individual or group.
“There is no way to undo the alleged damage that Mr. Sullivan did to this victim with his hateful, repulsive, and violent behavior,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge at FBI Boston. “No one should ever be targeted or threatened because of their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or immigration status.”
If convicted of the hate crime, Sullivan could land up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. He still has other charges to face.