FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 31, 2022
Off-Duty Police Officer Arraigned on Indictment Charging Him With
Assault and Menacing as Hate Crimes in Anti-Muslim Attack
Defendant Allegedly Used Racial Slurs During Alleged Road Rage Assault of Motorist
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an off-duty police officer was arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with assault as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime and aggravated harassment for the alleged attack on a driver during a traffic altercation in Kensington, Brooklyn.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant is charged with brutally assaulting a man until he lost consciousness while using anti-Muslim slurs following a traffic altercation. We have no tolerance for hate-motivated violence in Brooklyn, and the alleged conduct is especially reprehensible because the defendant is a law enforcement officer. The prosecution of hate crimes is a priority for my office, and we will vigorously seek accountability and justice in this case.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Riggs Kwong, 50, who was assigned to the 70th precinct. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Raymond Rodriguez on an indictment in which he is charged with third-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree menacing as a hate crime, third-degree assault, third-degree menacing, second-degree aggravated harassment, falsely reporting an incident and improper use of colored or flashing lights. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on March 22, 2022.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on January 16, 2022, at approximately 11:45 a.m., the defendant allegedly blocked the victim, a 32-year-old man, who was driving a Toyota Rav 4, from driving down Church Avenue toward Ocean Parkway near the intersection of McDonald Avenue and Church Avenue. The victim then allegedly followed the defendant’s vehicle, a Honda Accord, to the intersection of Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway.
The defendant was making a turn onto the service road at Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway when the victim allegedly drove in front of the defendant’s vehicle, cutting him off. The defendant allegedly videotaped himself stating to the victim, “I’m trying to make a left here on the service road and this terrorist is terrorizing me, you’re upset because I didn’t let you make a U-turn, Mr. Mohammed…Al Qaeda, Terrorist, ISIS…”
The victim then exited his vehicle to take a photo of the defendant’s license plate and then got back in his vehicle, while the defendant allegedly continued to use racial slurs. The victim then got out of his vehicle and slapped the hood of the defendant’s vehicle, and the defendant got out of his vehicle.
The defendant allegedly spit in the victim’s face and the victim spat back at the defendant. The defendant then allegedly punched the victim several times, causing him to fall to the ground and continued to punch him and use anti-Muslim language. The victim stood up and the defendant allegedly punched him again, causing him to fall to the ground and lose consciousness.
The defendant called 911 and stated that he was an off-duty police officer, and allegedly falsely stated that the victim threw the first punch and that he then punched the victim back. He allegedly made the same claim to NYPD officers who responded to the scene. Video surveillance allegedly shows the defendant punching the victim without the victim ever punching the defendant.
The hate crime case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Samantha Perlstein, of the District Attorney’s Hate Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kelli M. Muse, Chief of the Hate Crimes Bureau.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.