A veteran New York Police Department (NYPD) sergeant has pleaded guilty for punching two homeless men on two separate occasions in 2019 and 2020.
Sgt. Phillip Wong pleaded guilty at the Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday. He admitted to assaulting the first man, who was in police custody, and the second man, who was at the platform of West 96th Street and Broadway subway station.
“Law enforcement officials are sworn to serve and protect their communities, including New Yorkers in their custody,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said during Wong’s hearing. “In this case, Sgt. Wong violated not only his oath – but the law – during the violent arrests of two New Yorkers, on two separate occasions.”
Wong allegedly assaulted a 48-year-old man being escorted by other police officers into a holding cell inside NYPD Transit District 3 in Hamilton Heights on Oct. 4, 2019. The man allegedly kicked the cell’s door and spat at the officers, which angered Wong. The NYPD sergeant reportedly charged at the man and punched him in the face, as NextShark previously reported.
Wong was still under investigation for the first assault when he got involved in the second one.
A 35-year-old man was reportedly arrested at the West 96th Street and Broadway subway station on April 29, 2020, for punching another passenger. Wong was supervising the officers at the scene of the incident.
The man reportedly hurled anti-Asian slurs at Wong and kicked him in the leg after his arrest. In response, Wong and another officer brought the man to the ground, and Wong knelt on his back.
At one point, the apprehended suspect allegedly told Wong, “I can’t breathe,” but the officer continued with his assault and replied, “I don’t give a f*ck if you can breathe or not.”
Wong eventually surrendered to authorities following the incident. However, he initially pleaded not guilty to third-degree assault and third-degree attempted assault charges. It is unclear what made him eventually change his mind.
The veteran NYPD sergeant, who joined the force in 2006, was slapped with a two-year probation. He was also ordered to complete 70 hours of community service and undertake anger management or other counseling.
The district attorney’s office has requested for Wong to be given a 60-day prison sentence. Wong, who has been on modified duty, is expected to face a department trial on March 22.
Featured Image via CBS New York