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NYPD cop of 18 years charged with hate crime over anti-Muslim attack

  • The New York Police Department fired Riggs Kwong, an 18-year veteran, on Sept. 6 for his alleged involvement in an anti-Muslim attack earlier this year.

  • Kwong, 50, is facing multiple charges — including hate crimes — for the Jan. 16 road rage incident, which allegedly saw him pummel, spit on and use anti-Muslim language toward 32-year-old Abdul Motalab.

  • As heard in his own cellphone recording, Kwong referred to Motalab as a “terrorist,” “Mr. Mohammed, “Al Qaeda” and “ISIS” during their altercation.

  • Kwong is also accused of making a false statement in which he claimed that Motalab had thrown the first punch.

  • Motalab, who suffered minor injuries, was charged with drunk driving after reportedly admitting to having three beers before driving.

An officer who spent the last 18 years with the New York Police Department has been fired from the force due to his alleged involvement in an anti-Muslim attack earlier this year.

Riggs Kwong, 50, is facing multiple charges — including hate crimes — for the Jan. 16 road rage incident, which allegedly saw him pummel, spit on and use anti-Muslim language toward a 32-year-old man.

The altercation reportedly started when Kwong’s Honda Accord blocked Abdul Motalab, who was in a Toyota RAV4, from making a turn at McDonald and Church Avenues in Kensington, Brooklyn. Motalab retaliated by cutting Kwong off when the latter tried to turn from Church Avenue onto an Ocean Parkway service road.

Kwong then filmed himself unleashing a series of anti-Muslim slurs, according to prosecutors.

“I’m trying to make a left here on the service road and this terrorist is terrorizing me,” Kwong told Motalab. “You’re upset because I didn’t let you make a U-turn, Mr. Mohammed… Al Qaeda, terrorist, ISIS…”

Motalab exited his vehicle to take a photo of Kwong’s license plate. Meanwhile, Kwong allegedly continued to hurl racial slurs.

Motalab then slapped the hood of Kwong’s car. Kwong got out and allegedly spat on Motalab’s face. Motalab spat back, and in turn, Kwong allegedly punched him several times. Motalab fell to the ground but Kwong continued to beat him while using slurs, prosecutors said.

At one point, Motalab managed to get up, but Kwong allegedly punched him again. That final blow knocked him back to the ground unconscious.

Kwong called 911 himself but allegedly lied and said that Motalab had thrown the first punch. Surveillance footage of the incident shows that the officer was the only one who threw punches, according to prosecutors.

Kwong was arrested and subsequently charged with third-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree menacing as a hate crime, third-degree assault, third-degree menacing, second-degree aggravated harassment, falsely reporting an incident and improper use of colored or flashing lights. However, he was released without bail.

Riggs Kwong. Image via New York Police Department

This week, the NYPD confirmed that Kwong had been terminated from the 70th Precinct on Sept 6. 

Meanwhile, Motalab, who suffered minor injuries, was charged with drunk driving after reportedly admitting to having three beers before driving. The outcome of his case is unclear.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement welcoming Kwong’s termination.

“We welcome this firing as an indication that the NYPD will not tolerate officers who hold bigoted views within it ranks and that appropriate action will be taken when evidence of bias surfaces,” CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher said.

 

Featured Image via Riggs Kwong / NYPD

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