Kang Wong, 84, was jaywalking on New York City’s Upper West Side on Sunday when police stopped him and attempted to issue him a ticket for the time-honored infraction among New Yorkers. He ended up in a hospital after a police beating.
According to witnesses, a physical altercation between the senior citizen and several NYPD officers erupted after Wong, who apparently doesn't speak English, tried to walk away while the officer was issuing the ticket, the New York Post reported
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Wong was bloodied, arrested and admitted to a hospital bed – all for crossing against the light.
"The guy didn’t seem to speak English. The cop walked him over to the Citibank [where the officer] stood him up against the wall and was trying to write him a ticket," Fordham University law student Ian King, 24, told the Post.
"The man didn’t seem to understand, and he started walking away," King continued. "The cop tried to pull him back, and that’s when he began to struggle with the cop."
"As soon as he pushed the cop, it was like cops started running in from everywhere," King added.
Kong had reportedly suffered several cuts to his face and was subsequently taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, after which he was brought to the 24th Precinct station house for processing.
The 84-year-old man’s son, an attorney who refused to give his name, arrived at the police station Sunday evening where he discussed the incident with reporters after claiming the NYPD had given him the run around inside the precinct.
"The cops are playing games. They won’t tell me what he’s being charged with," the son initially told reporters.
After learning that his father’s arrest stemmed from a jaywalking incident, the son said, "Oh, great! Beating up on an 84-year-old man for jaywalking."
Wong’s son added that that police prevented him from seeing his hospitalized 84-year-old father until 10 p.m. Sunday, referring to him as a "prisoner," while adding that the family "will probably press charges."
Wong was charged with jaywalking, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct. He was eventually allowed to go home with a desk-appearance ticket while accompanied by several family members, the Post reported.
As to the manner in which the 84-year-old was treated by officers at the scene, the NYPD reportedly said it will be conducting an "internal review" into the incident.
The street which Wong decided to jaywalk across had apparently been targeted by police due to several recent pedestrian deaths tied to people crossing against the light.
The enforcement of jaywalking laws appears to be a new measure under the recently sworn-in NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio whose spokesman, Phil Walzak, told reporters on Sunday, "We won’t sit by while lives are lost and families are torn apart. These latest crashes underscore the urgent need to make our streets safer, which is why we are moving decisively to enact ‘Vision Zero’. "
MyFoxNY.com reported that the jaywalking citations
will be between $40 & 100 depending on the circumstances.
A similar attempt was made by de Blasio’s predecessor Mike Bloomberg early on in his term in office; however it was quickly abandoned due to backlash from New Yorkers who have been jaywalking their entire life.
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