Police brutality in Flushing? Well, an unhappy incident did happen recently on Main Street. The bad news gave local Asians quite a turn. They were wrathful over the alleged use of excessive force on two men, father and son, in a parking ticket dispute.
Police misconduct is not new. New York City has paid millions of tax dollars to settle police brutality cases. According to ABC-TV, the city has agreed to pay about $9 million to Haitian immigrant Abner Louima, a victim of police brutality.
The problem is that a few bad apples among the finest blurred the line between law enforcement and power abuse. They beat and hurt law-breakers at will in the name of self-defense, which, I think, should not be applied to every case.
Some cops are oblivious to the fact that they are public servants trained to protect the public and the civil rights of citizens, regardless of the color of their skin. Their mission is to protect life and property, reduce crime, improve quality of life while dealing with the citizens with courtesy, professionalism and respect.
A couple of officers were accused of roughing up a 31-year-old Asian man, Yang Lin, from Long Island, and his 72-year-old father on July 18 on Main Street in a dispute over a parallel-parking ticket, according to The World Journal and The China Express newspapers in New York.
Ticketed while waiting to load groceries into the family car near an Oriental supermarket by 41st Road, Yang was accused of gripping the arm of a female cop in an attempt to dissuade her from writing the ticket, the papers reported. However, her partner in the cruiser got out of the patrol car and was alleged to have wrestled Yang to the ground and struck him, the papers said.
In the meantime, the other officer radioed for help. In about five minutes, seven or eight squad cars with about 20 cops converged on the scene; it appeared to be a battle zone, drawing a huge crowd and snarling traffic, according to The World Journal.
Both men were arrested on charges of obstruction of public affairs, assault and resisting arrest, The World Journal and The China Express newspapers reported.
City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) called for a fair investigation into the case. Meanwhile, Owen Monaghan, the commanding officer of the 109th Precinct, said there was a big gap in the brutality reports but promised a thorough probe, according to Sino-Vision, a television station for the Chinese in the tri-state area.
An officer for the 109th Precinct said the case was still under investigation and declined to comment further.
Seeing his son being handcuffed and beaten, the elder Yang scurried to the scene from the family car in an effort to stop the violence but was knocked down and beaten, according to both Asian newspapers.
Police charged that the septuagenarian confronted them in an attempt to reach his son, the papers said. His action was considered a challenge to the authority of law enforcement officers, who represent the government, legal experts said. They also advise citizens to hold fire and avoid physical contact with cops. Court is the best place to air complaints.
Yangs mother suffered a heart attack after witnessing the incident and was taken to a hospital. And his 9-month-old son was left alone in the car as his wife was on her knees imploring eyewitnesses to testify against the cops involved in the beating, the papers reported.
Cultural differences also are to blame for the incident. Orientals tend to put compassion and reason ahead of law in dealing with legal issues.
The traffic congestion on Main Street is unbearable during the weekend as Asians pour into town for grocery shopping and other activities. I salute police officers for their resolve to eliminate parallel parking, but I disapprove of the alleged abuse of power. We need humanity and civility.
Racist cops should be prosecuted for actions violating the civil rights of people who trust and depend on them for protection. Ours is a nation of immigrants. There is no room for racism, prejudice or discrimination.
In this great country, all people are equal before the law. If Yang and his father are convicted of wrongdoing, they should be penalized in accordance with the law. Likewise, officers found guilty of violating human rights should be disciplined or punished.
©2002 Community News Group
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