SEPTEMBER 2002

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Flushing Street Scuffle Between Police and Chinese Driver
Sing Tao Daily
August 18, 2002.

Main Street witnessed a forceful arrest yesterday (August 17th) afternoon over a double-parking violation. As the incident took place in a busy area of Flushing, plenty were on hand to note the rude manner in which a black police officer treated the owner of the vehicle. Approximately two hundred observers raised frenzied shouts of "police violence."

The recent wave of alleged violence on the part of law enforcement officers against suspects has incited much controversy regarding the proper extent of their powers. Yesterday’s episode has brought up the issue yet again.

Around 4 p.m., a 30-year-old Chinese man, Mr. Yang, stopped his car for a moment before the "New China Supermarket"(Xin Zhongguo Chaojishichang) at 41-42 Main Street to pick up some items he had bought.

Two police officers in from the 109th precinct stopped their car to ticket Yang for double-parking. A female Chinese officer got out of the car to write up the violation. After an indignant Yang pushed her arm aside, her partner, a black male officer, immediately exited the police car and roughly caught him by the arms.

Seeing his son on the verge of arrest, Yang’s agitated 70-year-old father got out of his car and began to argue with the officers. A crowd converged on the scene with fierce cries of police misconduct. The tension mounted as more stopped to watch, forming a group that extended all way to the "Golden Mall" (Huangjin Shangchang) at the end of the block.

Eight additional police cars soon arrived to alleviate the situation. A dozen or more hefty officers got off and proceeded to arrest father and son for obstruction of justice (literally obstruction of public duty/affairs). With strong arms, they pinned the white-haired 70-year-old father to the ground before the staring eyes of hundreds. At that very moment, observers upped their protests of police abuse. The crowd disbanded when the two men were carted off to the precinct.

According to Mr. He of New China Supermarket, an eyewitness, "the police didn’t actually raise their fists and carry out a beating; nevertheless their attitude was quite cold." For him, the fact that the Yangs hadn’t even stopped their car a minute when they were fined was a bit unsavory. He felt sorry for the older man, who received such brutal treatment in spite of his age. "And they aren’t terrorists?" he added with regard to the police.

A member of the law enforcement community privy to the incident remarked that the United States is a nation founded upon set laws; police officers enjoy great leverage when it comes to enforcing them.

Suspects should never resist arresting officers under any circumstance, and should especially avoid reacting with violence. If they believe themselves to have been unfairly treated, they may always go to court after the incident to seek proper means of redress. Suspects should never challenge officials. Turning situations involving mere fines into ones of physical aggression could potentially end in injury, especially to members of the Chinese community who lack a clear understanding of the law. As of now, the Yang family has hired an attorney. They express dissatisfaction at their treatment by the police yesterday, and are considering legal action.

 

Translated from Chinese by Kelvin Wu

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