An investigation is ongoing into allegations of police brutality by a Chinese Long Island family, who allege that an argument over a parking summons in Flushing turned violent.
Lin Yang, 31, and his 71-year-old father Decai, both of Lynbrook, are alleging that a New York Police Department officer from the 109th Precinct punched and choked Lin after he had argued a double-parking summons issued to him on the afternoon of Saturday, August 17th.
The incident occurred on Main Street and 41st Avenue, and turned physical after the younger Yang reportedly touched the officer, who was writing the ticket. The officer was reportedly an Asian female.
Her partner, who is black, allegedly intervened after Lin Yang touched her. The elder Yang also got out of the car and both were charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration, according to police.
In published reports, Frank Liu, the Manhattan-based attorney representing the Yangs, alleged that the male officer punched Lin three times and also choked him. He also alleges that Decai was tripped after he got out of the car.
He also reported that other officers lifted his head and feet and dropped him. According to the report, Liu said that crowds had gathered and called for police to stop.
Liu could not be reached for comment.
Lin Yang reportedly double-parked his car briefly while he loaded groceries during a thunderstorm. His wife, infant daughter and parents were reportedly in the car at the time.
Decai Yang is a retired professor, who was visiting his son from China.
Police launched an internal affairs investigation in response to the charges. A police spokesman indicated that one of the Yangs suffered bruises, but police are not commenting until the investigation is completed.
Calls to the police seeking an update on the investigation were not returned.
Councilman John Liu of Flushing, who represents the 20th District, does not believe this incident points to an overall tension between the Asian-American community in Flushing and the 109th Precinct.
“I think the 109th and the Flushing community have a very good relationship, but there has to be an investigation into these charges so that they can continue to have good communication between the Police Department and the community,” he said.
The councilman spoke with the commanding officer of the precinct and the family and admitted that “there’s a pretty big gap between the two versions of the event.
“I certainly wish it didn’t happen, but I’m going to reserve judgment until the investigation is completed,” he said.
Margaret Fung, executive director for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said her organization was aware of the incident but is not directly involved.
“We obviously are following it to see what happens and we want to make sure that if something did happen, people are held accountable,” she said.
Fung noted that this is not the first time that the NYPD and the Asian-American community in Flushing have clashed. A few years ago, a Chinese immigrant named Austin Whang was allegedly unfairly arrested by police in a subway station in Flushing.
Police officers had stopped two Chinese men he was traveling with for allegedly not paying their subway fares. When Whang offered to help translate for the two men, he was reportedly placed under arrest for disorderly conduct.
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a New York-based advocacy group, stepped in and sued the NYPD over the incident. Whang was awarded $15,000.